The wait is finally over folks. The Next Galaxy has arrived. Based on the amount of Internet activity from around the world, this event is, on the face of it, historic. Samsung released a poster a few weeks ago only revealing the device in question to be the Next Galaxy. The smartphone “Designed for Humans” was at an event in London, UK. Most of us, however, have always known it to be the Galaxy S3 (or SIII for some). The device will launch in 145 countries and 296 operators, making it a truly global experience.
In the build-up to the event, a few rumours were flying around online, including carrier availability, online pre-order, right down to the colour scheme (blue and white as the most recent rumour revealed).
Since we weren’t lucky enough to attend the actual event, I’ll skip right passed all the detail and discuss the new smartphone. At first glance, you will notice that Samsung has ditched its signature Galaxy shape, and replaced it with the Nexus-like design, with exaggerated rounded edges. Early rumours suggested the smartphone would be packing a 4.7” 720p display, but the event has unveiled a 4.8” 720p, HD Super AMOLED display. The HD Super AMOLED display is the same spec you’ll find on the Galaxy Nexus, with Samsung still keeping the HD Super AMOLED Plus under wraps. Why? Due to the larger screen of the S3, the pixel density has also decreased (306ppi), but isn’t visible at all, stated by a few of the lucky users to get their hands on the device. To protect the screen, Samsung has fitted the latest Gorilla Glass 2 from Corning.
In regards to the other hardware specs, the Galaxy S3 is packing a 1.4 GHz quad-core Exynos 4 Quad, which includes 4 Cortex-A9 cores (with 32nm architecture for those out there really into their specs) and 1GB RAM. Also integrated within the device is the Mali 400-MP GPU, with pre-released benchmarks wiping the floor with its rivals, and 65% faster than that of the S2. The rear-facing camera has an 8MP lens (3264×2448 pixels), which is surprising for the wrong reasons. Look, none of the big name OEMs will look to compete with Nokia’s 21MP PureView, but at least improve on the previous version.
At 8.6mm thin, weighing 133g; slightly heavier than HTCs One X, but thinner than the rest. It also packs a 2,100mAH battery, extending your smartphone use considerably over the S2. Samsung also offers 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, and also includes a microSD slot. In terms of the connectivity, we’re looking at Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi Direct, DLNA, an MHL-compatible micro-USB port and headphone socket and NFC. The specs also include: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, UMTS 850/900/1900/2100 MHz, HSDPA 21 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps; region-dependent 4G.
In regards to the included software, there was little doubt that it would be sporting the latest Android 4.0.4 OS (Ice Cream Sandwich). What can we expect then from the included apps? Quite a bit actually. For Android purists, you’ll be sad to find Samsung’s TouchWiz. Be that as it may, it’s been revamped and looks similar to ICS on the S2 and Note. The UI has 5 icons across the bottom of the homescreen and app drawer, while the remainder of the homescreen still keeps to the default 4. In terms of media extras, Samsung includes plenty of splashy water graphics, sound effects and numerous seasonal wallpapers.
Also updated is the lockscreen, which includes gesture based shortcuts. After enabling the intelligent lockscreen, tap and hold the screen, rotate the phone, and using the accelerometers opens a specific app. Samsung’s Smart Stay feature can detect if your face is looking at, which turns the display on/off. There are quite a number of accelerometer based shortcuts, each very unique and supposedly easy to use. Samsung also introduces S Voice, allowing improved voice interaction with your Samsung device.
My biggest concern is the looks, the Pebble Blue device (also available in white) following too close to the Galaxy Nexus than the previous line of Galaxy S devices. Samsung remains true to the signature middle button though, contrary to rumours that it will feature onscreen buttons, similar to the Galaxy Nexus. There’s no doubt, however, that the Samsung Galaxy S3 is the smartphone to beat this year, laying down the gauntlet to its closest rival, Apple.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 will be available on 29th May in Europe and June in North America. No word on South African residents as yet. Enjoy the new ad: