Samsung's new flagship Galaxy S III will definitely be the talk of town for weeks to come, so it is probably time for my two cents. To be honest, we did not cover a lot of Galaxy rumours over the past few weeks, simply because many of them were too farfetched. This is a good thing, Samsung did a great job in keeping the new Galaxy under wraps and thus created a lot of hype, not unlike the masters of suspense at Curpertino.
However, shortly after the live stream Samsung showed a pre-recoded hands-on video and showed some of the new features. You can tell that TouchWiz UI looks similar to the one that on 2.33 and 3.2 Android phones / tablets, and we still believe that the icons could look better. Of course, UI is a matter of personal taste, some users love Sense, other just like plain vanilla ICS, while others are in the TouchWiz fan club.
Direct call from SMS is a nice feature as well as S voice that wasn’t demonstrated on this short video. From what we can tell from the video, the HTC One X camera is somewhat faster in burst mode and HTC’s flagship can take more burst photos than the new Sammy (99 vs. 20). Although this indicates that HTC has a faster camera, both the One X and the SIII still lack a dedicated camera button and Sony is the only vendor to implement it in this market segment - yes, we are looking at your Xperia S.
The S Beam feature looks nice, it is very similar to basic Android beam. Eye tracking is a nice touch but sadly it wasn’t demonstrated in the video. The shape of the phone is definitely inspired by the good old Galaxy Nexus and if you liked that one, you will love the Samsung Galaxy III. The SIII does not only look better, but it also features a much better finish than the Nexus. What’s really impressive from an aesthetic point of view is the tiny bezel. Measuring just 136.6x70.6x8.6mm, the SIII is no bigger than the One X or Nexus, although it has a bigger screen. However, Samsung opted for a PenTile panel and many fans who expected a non-PenTile screen will be disappointed.
Samsung’s trump card is storage. The SIII will be available in 16GB and 32GB versions at launch, with a 64GB version on the way later. Even better, a microSD slot is also on board. Samsung also slapped a 2,100mAh battery in the package and if the Note is anything to go by, we should see pretty good battery life.
This brings us to the CPU, the new 32nm quad-core Exynos. We still have to see it go head to head with Qualcomm’s S4 or Nvidia’s Tegra 3, but the 1.4GHz chip looks promising to say the least. Samsung retained the Mali-400 graphics core, but at a higher clock. Although some might be a bit worried about overall graphics performance, it should cope with the extra pixels nicely. Frankly until next generation mobile cores such as the Mali-T604 are ready for prime time, chipmakers don’t have much of a choice in the matter.
Samsung has done it again. The Korean giant generated a lot of hype and the SIII lived up to most of it. It looks gorgeous, it packs an impressive processor backed with plenty of storage, but it is not perfect, i.e. Samsung went for a PenTile screen and then there is TouchWiz, which could and should look better. [Why do I get the feeling that you hate TouchWiz? Ed]