Samsung Galaxy S III: A First, Hands-On Look Before It's Everywhere

 
 
By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2012-06-20
 
 
 

Samsung Galaxy S III

The Samsung Galaxy S III arrives in a rather involved box, whether it's a Pebble Blue version from T-Mobile or a Marble White from AT&T.

Samsung Galaxy S III

AT&T, T-Mobile

Out of the box, the touch of each carrier is lightly apparent. AT&T uses the protective sticker to further a safe driving campaign, while T-Mobile uses it to begin getting the user acquainted with the phone's seemingly endless features.

AT&T, T-Mobile

Apps

While Samsung tweaked the Galaxy S II for each carrier, the Galaxy S III phones are identical, save some tinier details. For example, each carrier was able to include five apps of their own.

Apps

Measuring the Galaxy S III

The GS III measures 136.6 by 70.6 by 8.6mm and weighs 133 grams. It is not for the small of hand nor pocket.

Measuring the Galaxy S III

Galaxy S III and What It Means to Be Thick

It is, nonetheless, a thin phone. The HTC Evo 4G LTE, which features a 4.7-inch display, measures 8.9mm thick, making Samsung's feat that much more notable. (Both phones here are the GS III.)

Galaxy S III and What It Means to Be Thick

GS III Versus the iPhone 4S

For more context on the Galaxy S III's size, here two sit below Apple's iPhone 4S.

GS III Versus the iPhone 4S

View From the Back

Samsung says it created a special process to come up with the Pebble Blue shade, which looks like what nail polish makers call "pearled." The phone has an 8MP rear camera and a 1.9MP front-facing camera.

View From the Back

S Beam

One of several NFC-based features is S Beam, which lets Samsung Galaxy S III owners touch their phones to pass content such as files, photos or even movies. When the phones touch, they vibrate in a jolt of recognition and then a user is prompted to touch the content to share it—in this instance, an image. Sharing a photo takes just a second or two. A short video doesn't take much longer.

S Beam

Share

In the camera Gallery, images received through S Beam are sorted into their own album.

Share

Tips

The GS III has more nifty shortcuts than Samsung trusts a user can intuitively figure out. Pop-up windows—which a user can select a box to never see again—are a constant presence as a user gets to know the phone. Sometimes they're helpful, sometimes annoying, sometimes confusing.

Tips

Cheese

The phone can do a number of things when prompted by voice—not always well, but reportedly with increasing accuracy as it gets to know a user. In the camera mode, when the little "coughing person" icon is present, a user can say "cheese" or "shoot" to take a photo without pressing the on-screen shutter.  This works perfectly. While potentially a little weird, it allows a person to take a photo while steadying the phone with both hands.

Cheese

TecTiles

Separately, the carriers will also sell TecTiles in packs of five for $15. The NFC-equipped stickers are programmable and reprogrammable, and can, when swiped, be made to do things like check a user into FourSquare, turn on WiFi or send a particular text message. Users can program the TecTiles using a free app in the Google Play store.

TecTiles

Charger Stand

The Galaxy S III comes with a standard charger, but for an extra $40 or so, one can purchase a charger stand that turns the phone into a bedside clock/alarm/everything else. The stand is said to be also convenient for charging a spare battery for the phone. This photo was taken with a GS III in low light.

Charger Stand

Camera

In this photo of a painting, it's clear the camera performs far better in natural light. As with the rest of the phone, the features on the camera are extensive; it can be adjusted in more ways than most people will have the patience to figure out.

Camera

Rocket Fuel