After perhaps more speculation and rumours than any handset in the history of smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S III has finally landed at the Samsung Unpacked event at Earls Court in London. We were fortunate to be able to attend the launch in all its orchestra-backed, Oscar awards ceremony tinged grandeur, where we would be introduced to this most anticipated of devices and, most importantly, get our hands on one.
On picking up the Galaxy S III the first thing that jumps out is the stunning 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display which offers dazzling colours and excellent contrast. The device is extremely lightweight at just 133g and also slender with a thickness of 8.6mm. The overall form factor is reminiscent of the Galaxy Nexus complete with rounded corners, however, the inclusion of a physical home button differentiates the S III from its predecessor.
In terms of design, the S III is said to be inspired by nature and this is apparent in both the colourways the device is available in (pebble blue or marble white) and the glazed finish of the plastic rear panel which supposedly represents flowing water.
The S III features a quad-core processor under the bonnet and the device also comes loaded with a huge 2100mAh battery, one of the largest capacities we have come across in a smartphone. Connectivity options are plentiful with 3G, NFC and Bluetooth 4.0 built in ensuring connectivity is as cutting edge as the rest of the phone. Internal storage comes in 16GB, 32GB or 64GB options with expansion options catered for by microSD slot.
Android ICS runs out of the box as expected and comes skinned with an all new TouchWiz Nature UI which, as the name suggests, is built broadly around the themes of air, water and all things outdoorsy.
The onboard 8 megapixel camera offers some particularly intuitive features including “best shot” mode (which will automatically pick the best image from an 8 shot burst), zero shutter lag for instant capture and a start up of just 990ms. Video capture is available in full 1080p HD and impressively, the front-facing camera is also capable of HD recording.
Samsung has positioned the S III as a device that is ‘effortless and intuitive’, meaning great measures have been taken in order to make the features included as useful as possible in everyday use. These features include S-Voice, a function that appears to be along similar lines to Apple’s Siri, and S -Beam which is built upon the foundations of Android Beam. One particularly innovative inclusion is the Pop-up Play video functionality which offers the ability to watch videos at the same time as carrying out other tasks on the handset.
Another innovation is Smart Stay, an intriguing feature which uses the front-facing camera to read the users eyes. This technology has the ability to place the handset into standby if you fall asleep while watching a movie, or even stop auto-rotation of the display if you lie down whilst using the handset.
The focal points of the Galaxy S III all appear to be built around the need to be intuitive and Samsung’s desire for this handset to effortlessly fit into the user’s everyday life. Although the numerous features are a little overbearing at first, they will undoubtedly be attractive to consumers wanting the very latest technology in their pocket. Also, innovative functionality such as pop out video really did provide the wow factor in our short time with the handset.
Although we will withhold judgement of the Galaxy S III until we can really delve into the workings of the device, we’re sure that it will be another Samsung creation that really pushes the boundaries of smartphone technology.