Samsung Galaxy S III Smartphone Is Something New Altogether

REVIEW: The Samsung Galaxy S III is no ordinary phone. It's an overly big and slippery feature-packed device. In a hands-on review, eWEEK found the Galaxy S III to be a phone to experiment with, turning on and off features, and figuring it out as it learned about us.

The Samsung Galaxy S III is a lot of phone. In every regard. The smartphone feels extra big, extra slippery. It does a lot of buzzing in the hand. It's jam-packed with features. So many features€”and tips and shortcuts and options€”that Samsung doesn't trust or expect a user to intuitively discover or figure them out, and so one's early days with the phone are filled with pop-up windows telling you€”until you opt for it to stop telling you€”things like tapping the top of the phone will send you to the top of your user inbox or contact list.

Getting to the top of my inbox has never been a challenge for me, or something I gave any thought to, but there it is€”a new option. And really, that is the epitome of the Galaxy S III. It is features galore. Don't like tapping away at the keyboard? Try simply dragging your finger from letter to letter, in a meandering squiggle, a pop-up window advises. (It feels a little silly and unnecessary, but it works and with shocking accuracy.)

The Galaxy S III offers more features than most people likely need or want, and as a person who tends to favor minimalism in such matters, I found it to be€”with some exceptions€”all a little too much.

But this is not about me; this is about everyone. Samsung wants the Galaxy S III to be all things to all people€”as it released the phone on five networks and in at least three colors. (It's rumored that there are more colors to come.) The world's top-selling phone maker has created a smorgasbord of a phone that offers something for everyone.

This week, Samsung shared that the GS III is Samsung Approved for Enterprise, or SAFE€”a distinction that it says makes it secure enough for even regulated industries like government and health care. Last week, the news was that the Galaxy S III is compatible with TecTiles, postage-stamp-sized, NFC-enabled (that's near- field communications) stickers that with a free Android app can be programmed, and reprogrammed, to create shortcuts for users. And still before that, the news was of the phone's extensive sharing capabilities.

With NFC options enabled in the settings menu, two people with Galaxy S IIIs can tap their phones to share a video, a photo, a presentation or pass a Web link. Once you figure out what to do, and what can't be shared, it's very simple to use.

And while some of the Galaxy S III's shortcuts struck me as no simpler than the traditional method€”for example, there's a sort of awkward gesture one can perform from the home screen that will open the phone to the camera app€”this Share capability is one people will be glad to have. It's a drag to email videos; they're often too big, and even when they're not, they still slow things down. With the Galaxy S III, it's a tap, a few seconds, and you're done.

There are a number of Share capabilities, as I'm sure you've read before. Samsung hasn't stopped pushing this phone since it introduced it May 3. To activate them means hopping into the settings menu. And truly, I have never spent so much time in a settings menu, but this is the key to the Galaxy S III: wade through the options, turn on what you'd like, turn off what's not useful to you€”the ability to have the camera snap a photo when you say "cheese," for example, which works well enough but made this user feel kind of lame€”and customize it as you'd like.