Samsung Galaxy S III, the Android phone to beat, say reviewers

The powerful, large-screened Galaxy S III smartphone--available from all carriers--garners mostly rave reviews across the Internet.

Samsung’s Galaxy S III is the Android smartphone to beat, the first reviewers of the phones concluded, as the phone arrives in the U.S. on AT&T and Sprint to boot.

All major carriers have singed up to sell the S III and, this time around, you won’t get any silly names or slightly changed designs--the phone is set to look exactly the same for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile aside from carrier branding on the back.

[Read PCWorld's Full Review: Samsung Galaxy S III: Your Next Android Phone]

There are however two differences between the U.S. variant and the international sibling: The quad-core processor has been swapped for a dual-core 1.5GHz chip, but the RAM has been bumped from 1GB to 2GB.

The other specs include a 4.8-inch screen with a resolution of 1280 pixels by 720 pixels, an 8MP camera with 1080p video-capture capability, and the Android 4.0 operating system on board and topped with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. Prices start at $200 with a two-year contract for the 16GB model.

In PCWorld’s review of the Samsung Galaxy S III, Ginny Mies found the large display brighter and more vivid than on the Galaxy Nexus, while for performance, the S III was only topped by the LG Optimus 4X HD, which has a quad-core NVidia Tegra 3 processor.

Mies found the camera to be very good too, concluding the Galaxy S III lives up to the hype. “At its core, the Galaxy S III is an excellent phone, and Samsung did the right thing in making it uniform across the multiple carriers,” she wrote.

Complicated to Use?

Walt Mossberg reviewing for All Things D agrees: “The Galaxy S III is a solid, capable phone. But its most important feature may be ubiquity.” Mossberg brings up an interesting point: “The Galaxy S III lacks any game-changing capabilities and is instead packed with a dizzying array of minor new tricks that users will turn to frequently. There are so many of these that it can take hours to learn and configure them. I had the strong impression Samsung’s designers failed to focus and just threw in as many technical twists as they could, some of which didn’t work very well.”

David Pogue at New York Times was also impressed with the Galaxy S III, but noted “with great flexibility comes great complexity. The phone bombards you with warnings and disclaimers--sometimes upside-down. You really need a Learning Annex course to master this thing.”

Wired’s Nathan Olivarez-Giles was less impressed with the phone though, saying “simply doesn’t feel like a finished product. It could use more polish, more thought, and a more elegant user experience.” He also picks on Samsung’s TouchWiz software, which “includes a lot of half-baked features that aim for innovation but miss the mark--sharing apps in particular. Styling is boring, and not exciting enough for a flagship phone.”

Vlad Savov at The Verge wrote the “Galaxy S III is a technological triumph. Not at first sight, perhaps, but Samsung has done the overwhelming majority of things right. The camera is easily the best I’ve used on an Android device, the processor claims the title of benchmarking champion, and the customizations layered on top of Ice Cream Sandwich are mostly unobtrusive and sometimes even helpful.”

He does, however. note “the extra-large size of this phone, even with its great ergonomics, may prove to be a stumbling block for those who can’t comfortably fit a 4.8-inch handset into their daily routine.”

USA Today’s Ed Baig couldn’t fault the S III besides the lacking S Voice feature, which doesn’t work as smooth as Siri on the iPhone.

“So is it an iPhone killer?” asks Hayley Tsukayama at the Washington Post. “Let’s call it a worthy contender. It’s not worth breaking your current contract over, but if you’re in the market for a new, top-of-the-line Android phone then [the S III] should be a top consideration.”

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Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)

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