Samsung Galaxy S III Android phone (preview)

The Samsung Galaxy S III has finally been announced. Is it the new king of Android phones?

Samsung has finally lifted the lid on its much anticipated Galaxy S III Android phone. It boasts a 4.8in Super AMOLED HD display and an 8-megapixel camera that captures 1080p HD video, but largely focuses on software innovation in a bid to push ahead of the pack.

In pictures: Samsung Galaxy S III
Samsung Galaxy S III vs. Galaxy S II: We compare Samsung's Android phones

The Samsung Galaxy S III has a 4.8in Super AMOLED display with a HD resolution of 720x1280. It has a pixels per inch rating of 306ppi — slightly less than the market leading iPhone 4S and just behind the HTC One X and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Samsung says it worked hard on the ergonomics of the Galaxy S III. Despite a 4.8in screen that is 22 per cent larger than its Galaxy S II predecessor, the Galaxy S III is only 16 per cent bigger and weighs just 133g. It will come in "marble white" and "pebble blue" colours, though the rumoured ceramic design did not come to fruition — the Galaxy S III has a largely plastic build. We'll have to wait until we get our hands on the Galaxy S III, but it's glossy plastic rear appears as though it will be second best to the polycarbonate finish of the HTC One X

The Galaxy S III is equipped with an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.9-megapixel front facing camera that also shoots 720p video. The rear camera doubles as a full HD 1080p video recorder. Numbers aside, Samsung appears to have made a number of software tweaks to the camera to create a better user experience. These include Best Photo, which takes 20 shots in burst mode (six photos per second) and uses software algorithms to select the best photo, Face Zoom, which recognises individual faces and zooms in to take a photo of them, Face Slideshow, which focuses on a single person in an image slideshow, and Smart Stay, which uses the Galaxy S III's front-facing camera to dim the screen when you aren't looking at the phone. The Galaxy III's camera can also take still photos while recording video, similar to the HTC One X.

The Galaxy S III runs the latest Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android, but it also comes with the latest version of Samsung's TouchWIZ UI overlay. New software features include Direct Call, the ability to call a contact you are currently messaging by simply holding the phone up to your ear, Smart Alert, which vibrates and flashes a notification LED when you pick up the phone after a missed call, and S-Voice, which appears to be a Siri-like voice recognition feature that can be configured to control various features of the phone. Samsung also includes 50GB of free Dropbox storage for all users, while the popular Flipboard social network aggregator app will be exclusive to the Galaxy S III for a limited time before being made available on other Android phones.

The Samsung Galaxy S III runs the company's new 1.4GHz Exynos 4 quad-core processor, has 1GB of RAM and either 16 or 32GB of internal memory. Samsung says a 64GB model will be available at a later date, while all models will have a microSD card slot for memory expansion. The Galaxy S III is a quad-band HSPA+ smartphone, but Samsung will have an LTE 4G model available in the US, Japan and Korea. It is not yet known if a 4G model will be available in Australia.

Samsung hasn't confirmed local availability or pricing, but the Galaxy S III is available at the end of May in the US, Japan, Korea and various European markets.

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Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World

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