We’ve been using the Galaxy S III in place of our own personal phone for the past several days — going back and forth between a white AT&T model and a blue T Mobile model — and we’ve learned a lot about where the phone shines and where it falls short.
If you love big phones with lots of options, the GS3 will deliver state of the art performance with bonus sharing and media features that you’re likely to continue discovering a year from now.
With the Galaxy S III, Samsung added multiple ways to get video and photos on the phone onto larger screens nearby.
So does the Samsung Galaxy S III do enough to stand out from the pack.
That said, we’re testing each device separately, so read the review for your carrier of choice.
The Galaxy S III is a sexy piece of hardware, all angles and curves; its back panel is so smooth and glossy that you can actually see your reflection in it.
Each is available in dark blue or white (AT&T also has a red option coming this summer), and they’re some of the biggest phones we’ve ever handled.
At 5.4 by 2.8 by 0.34 inches (HWD) and 4.7 ounces, the GS3 is slightly bigger than the already large HTC One X ($199, 4.5 stars), although it’s still noticeably smaller and lighter than the Samsung Galaxy Note phone/tablet hybrid ($299, 3 stars).
But we’ve given up on panning them because every time we suggest these handsets are too big, we get pummeled by comments from people who adore them.
The all plastic body feels a little less high end than the exotic materials of the HTC One series, but the phone is solidly built, and light despite its size.
The front of the phone is dominated by the 4.8 inch, 1280 by 720 pixel Super AMOLED HD screen.
Below the screen, there’s a physical Home button, as well as light up Back and Multitasking buttons that start out invisible, so you have to memorize where they are or change a setting to keep them illuminated.
The default Automatic Brightness setting makes the screen too dim.
Unlike the competing HTC One X, the S III has a removable 2100mAh battery.
Taking off the back cover also reveals the microSD card slot, which supports cards up to 64GB.
What’s best: Unlike HD Voice in the Sprint HTC EVO 4G LTE ($199.99, 4 stars), they don’t require network support.
Bluetooth headsets work fine with Samsung’s “S Voice” voice dialing system.
But as with so many things here, call quality gets richer if you burrow down into the GS3′s settings screens.
A volume boost button throws the phone into a super loud, quasi speakerphone mode for noisy areas, but that’s just the start.
There’s also an option to set custom call EQ: The phone plays you a sequence of quiet high and low tones and you tell it which ones you can hear, and then it EQ’s calls accordingly.
We prefer our calls sharp, with more high end, for instance, and the GS3 offers that.
For data, the GS3 hits AT&T’s super fast LTE network, along with global HSPA+ and Wi Fi on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
AT&T still blocks Google Wallet, but Samsung found its own uses for NFC, which we’ll get to below.
But that’s good; we still had about 20 percent battery left after a 9 hour, 17 minute call.
We wouldn’t be surprised if Samsung announced a Windows version of the Galaxy S III, perhaps later this week.
The Qualcomm S4 chip running at 1.5GHz is the fastest one we’ve seen in smartphones so far, and it’s able to take on any app challenge you throw at it, including games on the HD screen.
Our benchmark tests proved this, although they were within the margin of error when compared with the One X.
Exclusive new features include S Beam, the ability to transfer files by tapping two phones together and using a combination of NFC and Wi Fi Direct; S Voice, Samsung’s answer to Apple’s Siri; TecTiles, NFC enabled accessory tags that can change the settings on your phone, and lots of sharing and tagging options in the camera, such as the ability to automatically tag your friends’ faces, and the ability for multiple GS3s within a few feet of each other to automatically share all of their photos.
Take Smart Stay, a neat new feature which detects your face and keeps the screen from going black while you’re looking at it.
Claire Cain is a business journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. Claire has a passion for financial markets and breaking news stories and loves writing about business news, stock market, and economic opinions that matters most to its audience. Claire spends a lot of time discovering and researching latest financial markets and industry news stories in order to make sure the latest and greatest stories are brought to you first on BigBoardNews.com.