Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

My Samsung Galaxy S III Review

From Tech Stuff

I’m a technology enthusiast yes, but, not always an early adopter. I just received my Samsung Galaxy S III phone from Verizon after two plus years of using an HTC Incredible. I loved the Incredible. The size of the phone was perfect for my pocket and once the phone was upgraded to FroYo and rooted it did everything I needed it to do. But, as everything with technology, a two year old phone is ancient and as apps upgraded the performance of the Incredible degraded over time. This is why I decided now was the time to switch phones and I chose the Samsung Galaxy SIII.

I’m not a professional tech reviewer (obviously) so these impressions are from purely a users perspective. The first thing is that the S III is HUGE. Compared to my Incredible it’s a giant freaking phone.  But, believe it or not, it feels about the same weight. I thought with such a big phone I would be getting a larger virtual keyboard in portrait mode but was sadly disappointed that it’s not much different than my Incredible. I really hate virtual keyboards because I’m constantly mistyping and the predictive text is never accurate enough for my taste. I always have to go back and re-read what I just wrote to make sure I didn’t type out something stupid. I crave a great design with a real keyboard.

The S III is running Android 4.04 (Ice Cream Sandwich) with plenty of Samsung flavor added on top. I’m use to using HTC Sense (and liked it quite a bit) but I don’t see too much difference here with the exception of some widgets that I like. Over all from the first several hours of use I don’t find ICS much different from FroYo.

The hardware is fast and LTE on Verizon is fast. One of the first things I did was download the app to see what kind of bandwidth an I was getting 14 mbps down and 5 mbps up. Not too shabby! I also downloaded an app which allows me to use my phone as a wireless hotspot without rooting or signing up for Verizon’s extra fee. I won’t mention what the app is because I don’t want it to be blocked or want it to disappear from the Google Play store. It worked like a charm though.

Bloggers have talked a great deal about the screen on this phone. I find the screen fine but not hand over fist better than my Incredible. Sure the S III screen is more smooth but as long as I can see what I need to see I don’t care much. I’m also one of those people that don’t care for HDTV, Blu-Ray, or “retina” screens. I’m 45 and grew up with analog TV with dials that you had to tune. I’m happy if I have a clear picture and I don’t care if it’s super sharp.

Brief tests of the camera seemed adequate. I’m not a big phone photographer but I do like to take the occasional snapshot. If this camera is fast enough and a great improvement from my Incredible then who knows, I may actually use it. It has a front facing camera to which I can’t see much use. I thought I would be able to sign on to a Google+ Hangout but I don’t see that functionality available in the G+ app. Maybe it will be added later.

I’m a dinosaur in the smartphone world of users. I do use apps but I mainly use my phone for phone calls, text messages, and web browsing. The other functions I use rather sparingly, with the exception of wireless tethering,  as I’m rarely not in reach of a full fledged computer. The one transition I plan to make with this phone is that I am abandoning my Zune media players (yes I have multiple Zunes and I love them) because I’m trying to reduce the number of devices that I carry. I’m in the process of uploading my important music tracks to Google Music (boy are they in need of a better UI for this on the web) and I purchase all my new music from Amazon (which offers unlimited storage for all MP3 purchases) so this will allow me to stream my music collection rather than store it locally on the phone.

The one thing besides a real keyboard that I crave is a full fledged web browser. I’m sick and tired of having a powerful computer in my pocket and not being able to access everything the web has to offer. For example, I use GoToMyPC to connect to various computers remotely for work and this phone is not compatible with the current version of the GoToMyPC app. Even though I’m using the Chrome browser it is not able to use GoToMyPC as I do on my PC. I’m guessing Java doesn’t run properly in the mobile browser. WHY?????  So, I resort to using Teamviewer, which is a great service and mobile app, it’s just not the one I prefer to use and I don’t like having to have multiple remote desktop software running on my PCs if it’s not necessary.

Things I haven’t covered are navigation, maps, and many more functions. I just wanted to blast out on the web the quick and dirty amateur technology enthusiast opinion. If the phone is good I’ll probably use it another two years. If not, it will enter the great tech scrap heap along with other phones I hated like iPhone and Blackberry.