LONDON — Samsung has officially announced the Galaxy S3 smartphone in London on May 3 (that’s May 4 in Manila), and we were there to witness the unveiling of the successor to the most popular Android handset by the Korean manufacturer.
Samsung’s quad-core processor, the Exynos 4 Quad, powers the new Samsung Galaxy S3 with each core running at 1.4GHz. Samsung used a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display with an HD resolution of 1280×720 giving the screen a really good pixel density of 306ppi.
As such, the display on the Galaxy S3 is among the clearest and most vivid in any flagship handset in the market. The glass stretches out towards the edges in a slightly curved shape giving way for a narrow bezel.
On paper, the handset looks impressive and comes with a lot of upgrades from the Galaxy S2 that became one of the most popular Android handsets of 2011 – from the processor, to the screen, storage, connectivity and even the camera, which was also really good on the earlier S2.
Samsung Galaxy S3 i9300 specs:
4.8-inch Super HD AMOLED screen @ 1280×720 pixels (306ppi)
1.4GHz Samsung Exynos 4 Quad processor
16GB, 32GB, 64GB internal storage
Up to 64GB via microSD card
8MP rear camera with LED flash
1080p @ 30fps video recording
1.9MP front-facing camera with HD video recording
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n with WiFi Bonding
2,100mAh Li-Ion battery
8.6mm thickness, 133gram weight
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Samsung did not stop with the hardware on the Galaxy S3. They added a ton of features and functionalities that are built into the Android platform making the handset more responsive and interactive.
Here are some of the more notable usability features we liked the most:
S Voice. The Galaxy S3 will be able to respond to voice commands with natural language as if you’re just making a normal conversation with the handset. This lets you instruct the phone to run basic functions – making calls, locating places in maps, taking a picture, organize schedules, music payback and even taking a “snooze”.
Note: S Voice reminds us of the Voice Talk function on the Galaxy Note, though it’s much more improved, which is powered by VLingo. If that’s the case, we might see this feature in older Galaxy models in future updates.
Face Recognition and Eye Tracking. The handset is able to recognize faces taken with the camera and you can tag them to their social networking profiles, like Facebook. The eye-tracking feature makes the smartphone more intelligent by monitoring your eye movements so it’s able to maintain the display brightness when you’re reading something or automatically turn it off when it detects you are not looking at the screen anymore.
Motion Detect. The Galaxy S3 anticipates some normal behaviors when you are using the phone – like when you’re exchanging text messages, bringing the phone directly to your ears will activate Direct Call. The phone assumes you wanted to call up the person you are texting and dials up their number right away.
To exhibit the real power of the Exynos 4 Quad processor, the Pop Up Play feature allows you to play a movie and continuously run it floating on the screen while you’re doing something else, like browsing the web or sending an email.
The rear camera on the Galaxy S3 comes with an 8-megapixel sensor that’s capable of shooting full HD 1080 videos. The 1.9MP front-facing camera can also take HD videos.
Our initial sample shots taken with the Galaxy S3 showed impressive picture and video quality. Photos and video are very clear and crisp even in low-light conditions.
The camera boots up really fast (under a second) and shoots photos in quick successions of 3.3 frames per second. The built-in burst function allows for up to 20 burst shots in one press of the virtual camera shutter. This feature could prove to be useful for action or sports scenes to help get a perfect moving shot.
Like many new flagship handsets in the market today, the Galaxy S3 now uses a micro-SIM form factor. The combination of internal storage and expandable SD card storage sets the S3 with a maximum storage capacity of 128GB.
The Galaxy S3 comes pre-installed with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with a layer of user-interface Samsung calls the TouchWiz UX. The system looks and feels very fluid, very snappy, and responsive while the new TouchWiz UX has improved on the navigation with smoother transitions, additional widgets, and visual enhancements.
Samsung indicated the release date of the Galaxy S3 in Europe by May 29 followed by several countries including South East Asia. Our sources inside Samsung Philippines promised the Philippine launch to be scheduled on May 22 or May 24 with eventual release date in a few weeks after that.
Local Samsung reps did not provide details about the pricing of the Galaxy S3, but we reckon that based on previous price positioning of earlier Galaxy models, we are looking at a suggested retail price of P29,990 for the 16GB and goes up to P35,990 for the 64GB. It’s just our hunch but we’re confident it will be within 10% of those figures.
Samsung has definitely exceeded expectations on the Galaxy S3 both on the hardware and platform fronts. However, we will reserve final judgment until we can get our hands on a unit and take it out for a longer test.
Now writing regularly for InterAksyon’s Infotek page, Abe Olandres a.k.a YugaTech is the top technology blogger in the Philippines. You can visit his popular blogsite at http://www.yugatech.com/