Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Update to My Samsung Galaxy S III Review

Samsung Galaxy S3

I posted a review of the Samsung Galaxy S III a little over a month ago. My initial reaction was that I was fairly impressed but not overwhelmed by anything. Overall I felt it was a good upgrade of hardware and software but not anything spectacular.

What’s changed in a month’s time is my impression after over 30 days of daily use. There are many things that bother me about this phone now that cannot be discovered by just using it for a day.

To start, Samsung’s Touchwiz skin is disappointing compared to HTC Sense. There is much more functionality with Sense. Sense gives me the ability to control any audio that I have playing right from the lock screen. No need to swipe to control. All the player buttons and volume controls just work from the lock screen. Touchwiz requires that I tap to bring the screen to life, swipe to unlock the phone and only then can I access the player to pause. The several seconds this takes doesn’t seem like a lot when you talk about it but try listening to something and have someone walk in your office to talk to you and have to wait 3, 4, or 5 seconds before you can silence the damn phone.

In the first week the Touchwiz skin constantly crashed. It got so bad that I downloaded a new skin just to stop the damn thing from constantly crashing. This shouldn’t happen with any phone especially one that is brand new and literally just out of the box. I don’t know if Samsung pushed an update or not but I reverted back to the Touchwiz skin and the phone no longer crashes like it use to.

There are performance issues that crop up from time to time. When trying to unlock the phone sometimes nothing happens. In the past month this has happened at least a dozen times. I swipe to unlock the phone and nothing happens. No unlock no nothing. Just my lock screen. If I wait 30 seconds to 1 minute the phone catches up to what I’m doing and unlocks like a ghost is fiddling with my phone.

Recently I went to make a phone call using Google Voice. I’ve been using Google Voice on my old HTC Incredible with no trouble that I can recall. On this day I dialed the number and chose to make the call with Google Voice and then nothing. The phone just froze on the dial screen. The call doesn’t go through, it doesn’t drop, it doesn’t do anything. I had to reboot the phone in order to get it to work again.

The sleep/awake button placed exactly opposite the volume rocker remains a problem. I don’t like this button placement. I think it would have been better to put the sleep/awake button on the top of the phone. Far too many times in the last month I’ve totally muted my phone without realizing it. I pull out my phone to check on something and low and behold there are calls and text messages missed.

I don’t know if the software problems with this phone are caused by Samsung or by Google’s Android but regardless of who is responsible the problems are annoying. I tend to lean on the side of Samsung being the culprit. Largely because I also have a Nexus 7 tablet running stock JellyBean and it has been near flawless. I realize these two devices use different versions of the Android OS but the Nexus 7 is not skinned in any way where the Galaxy S III has Samsung splattered all over it.