Review roundup: Samsung Galaxy S III called a strong iPhone competitor

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Samsung's new flagship smartphone, the Android-powered Galaxy S III, hits all four major carriers in the U.S. this week, and has been met positively with reviews from the mainstream media.

Reviewers generally found the Galaxy S III to be a formidable competitor to Apple's latest smartphone, the iPhone 4S. Below is a roundup of reviews for Samsung's latest handset.

Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal

Though he said the Galaxy S III lacks "any game-changing capabilities," Mossberg concluded that Samsung's latest is "a very good phone, and a strong competitor for the iPhone and other leading models." He noted that it performs well for calls, browsing the Web and photography.

Mossberg believes the Galaxy S III would be best suited for people who want a smartphone with a much bigger screen than Apple offers. He said that the latest Galaxy S phone features a "dizzying array" of new, minor "tricks" that will likely be confusing or not very useful to most users.

"There are so many of these that it can take hours to learn and configure them," he said. "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."

Galaxy


He gave the example of a new feature that allows users to share photos with other Galaxy S III owners in real-time. But it requires that all handset owners turn on a special feature in settings, then tap a series of on-screen buttons to utilize the feature.

But while Mossberg wasn't impressed with some of the new, more frivolous features, he did say that the Galaxy S III succeeds on the "major criteria." He noted the screen looks good, calls didn't drop on the three networks he tested, and the camera had nice features.

David Pogue of The New York Times

Pogue was even more positive about the Galaxy S III than Mossberg, calling Samsung's latest phone a handset "teeming with features aimed at humiliating the iPhone." He praised the hardware, saying the designers did a "spectacular job" creating a 0.34-inch thick handset that's even skinnier than Apple's iPhone.

He noted that the Galaxy S III display has more pixels than the iPhone 4S, though it doesn't have quite as high pixel density, packing in 306 per inch rather than Apple's 326. But he said the AMOLED screen is "bright, vivid and relatively energy-efficient."

Pogue praised the new features of the Galaxy S III as "truly ingenious" and "handy." He highlighted "Smart Stay," which uses the front-facing camera to track a user's eyes and dims the screen when they look away to save battery life, as well as "Buddy Shot," which uses facial recognition software to identify people when pictures are taken of them.

Galaxy S III


Other features touted by Pogue were "Direct Call," which automatically dials a person you are texting if you lift the phone to your ear, instant muting, which allows users to mute audio and video playback by covering the screen with your hand.

But Pogue did find that Samsung's Siri competitor, dubbed "S Voice," doesn't work as well as Apple's voice-driven solution. He said S Voice "just doesn't work well," and has a more restrictive required syntax than Siri.

Ed Baig of USA Today

Baig said the Galaxy S III is one of "the finest Android handsets I've come across," praising the 4.8-inch display and lightweight design. He also said the dual-core Qualcomm processor running Android 4.0 is "zippy," though the units "run a little hot."

Like Pogue, Baig said that Samsung's new S Voice feature on the Galaxy S III didn't work as well as advertised. He said the software was sometimes slow to respond, and gave him "mixed results."

He also called the Galaxy S III an "excellent camera phone." It features an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash that can capture full 1080p high-definition video.

"Most human beings will like the Galaxy S III, as I did," Baig said, referencing Samsung's marketing campaign touting the handset as "designed for humans."

Other takes

Additional reviews of the U.S. version of the Samsung Galaxy S III were published on Wednesday by Jessica Dolcourt of CNet, Brad Molen of Engadget, Brent Rose of Gizmodo, and Vlad Savov of The Verge.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 57


    The only 'strong competitor' for the iPhone is an iPad with Skype.

  • Reply 2 of 57
    markbyrnmarkbyrn Posts: 591member
    It will be a 'strong competitor' until the next Android hero phone comes out next quarter. No doubt they'll be plenty of Fandroids trading in their HTC One X for the latest and greatest.
  • Reply 3 of 57


     "relatively energy-efficient."


     


    relative to what?


     


    sort of a squishy review term... 

  • Reply 4 of 57
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,249member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Mossberg believes the Galaxy S III would be best suited for people who want a smartphone with a much bigger screen than Apple offers. He said that the latest Galaxy S phone features a "dizzying array" of new, minor "tricks" that will likely be confusing or not very useful to most users.

    "There are so many of these that it can take hours to learn and configure them," he said. "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."




    This alone encapsulates all the problems with Android for the regular joe-user.  Tech-saavy folks with lots of time to burn fiddling with inanimate objects will obviously be attracted to this "feature" of Android to resolve their quick 5-minute fixes.  Call it "user-choice" and "user-control", for most it's a waste of time.  

  • Reply 5 of 57
    desarcdesarc Posts: 642member


    i know it's pushing phablet, but it's a great phone.


    if it ran iOS i would rather use this than the iphone4 that i have.


     


    i still think apple needs to do two different size phones - pack the existing 3.5" screen into a smaller case and add a big boy to compete w/ the 4.8" screen of this baby.


    yes i know it won't happen, it's as crazy as offering macbook's or imac's with different screen sizes, right? stupid idea.

  • Reply 6 of 57
    tylersdadtylersdad Posts: 136member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post




    This alone encapsulates all the problems with Android for the regular joe-user.  Tech-saavy folks with lots of time to burn fiddling with inanimate objects will obviously be attracted to this "feature" of Android to resolve their quick 5-minute fixes.  Call it "user-choice" and "user-control", for most it's a waste of time.  



    Yeah, but as an iPhone user and devotee, I can tell you it would be really nice if the iPhone had a little more "user-control". For example, I'd love to be able to switch my default browser from Safari to Dolphin (for me) or Mobicip (for my son), so that when we click on a link in iMessage or email, it takes us to the default browser instead of Safari.


     


    It would also be nice to be able to quickly turn off certain features, such as Bluetooth. I know you can do this by jailbreaking.

  • Reply 7 of 57
    shogunshogun Posts: 360member


    I find Android generally to be a barf of features; flashy but confusing, jumbled together and half digested.


     


    That said, I saw someone with a gigantic black android phone the other day and I couldn't help but love the screen.  After using the iPad for a while (bought my first one with gen 3), my iPhone screen is so small I barely want to touch it except to make calls.  Pretty much never play games on it any more.  Just don't want to.


     


    To my untrained eyeballs I find this phone is very nice looking.


     


    Come on Apple, give us something really gorgeous for iP5!

  • Reply 8 of 57


    I really like some of those new features. While I won't be switching from iOS anytime soon, it's cool to see innovations in how users interact with the phone as opposed to innovations in how users interact with the OS.

  • Reply 9 of 57

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by desarc View Post


    i know it's pushing phablet, but it's a great phone.


    if it ran iOS i would rather use this than the iphone4 that i have.


     


    i still think apple needs to do two different size phones - pack the existing 3.5" screen into a smaller case and add a big boy to compete w/ the 4.8" screen of this baby.


    yes i know it won't happen, it's as crazy as offering macbook's or imac's with different screen sizes, right? stupid idea.



    I totally agree. Some users think 3.5 is ideal for one-handed use. Others want the larger screen. Like you said, it's just like Macbook users wanting different sized displays. For all the web surfing and video watching I do, 3.5 honestly doesn't cut it anymore.

  • Reply 10 of 57

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post



    It will be a 'strong competitor' until the next Android hero phone comes out next quarter. No doubt they'll be plenty of Fandroids trading in their HTC One X for the latest and greatest.


    When it comes to worldwide sales, The Galaxy S series is the only Android phone that can even talk about competing with the iPhone. The One X and all the others are pretenders.

  • Reply 11 of 57

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by desarc View Post


    i know it's pushing phablet, but it's a great phone.


    if it ran iOS i would rather use this than the iphone4 that i have.


     


    i still think apple needs to do two different size phones - pack the existing 3.5" screen into a smaller case and add a big boy to compete w/ the 4.8" screen of this baby.


    yes i know it won't happen, it's as crazy as offering macbook's or imac's with different screen sizes, right? stupid idea.



    i have been thinking this for awhile. why wouldn't apple do this? i would guess it will happen next year if they want to grow market share.

  • Reply 12 of 57
    markbyrnmarkbyrn Posts: 591member
    [quote]The Galaxy S series is the only Android phone that is even close to competing with the iPhone. The One X and all the others are pretenders.[/quote]

    Well i'm keeping my Galaxy Nexus backup phone - I don't see anything worth trading 'up' to and I prefer the stock OS. In having both an iPhone and Android phone, I find that I still reach for the iPhone first unless I'm wanting to some nerd activities like WiGLE and Pixie (capture network traffic). I'm still honked off at Apple killing off WiFi scanning.
  • Reply 13 of 57


    My first questions as always is: How's the battery life, not today or next week but after a couple weeks of use.


    A friend of mine purchased the Samsung Note because he saw someone else editing a document on theirs.


    He returned it a couple days later because it wouldn't run more than 4 hours after charging it up!


    I had a Samsung Galaxy II for a trial phone and experienced the same issue.


    A V****on rep had a Motorola Droid Razor and said he made it from 6 in the morning until about 2, he couldn't make it a full work day.


    I told a co-worker to get the new Nokia phone (she doesn't like iPhones) and she's fixing to return it for the same problem, no battery life!


    It seems to me they would make these phones a little bit thicker, with a bigger battery for a longer running time, and use that as a major selling point!


     


    I have an iPhone4 and constantly get 2 days from a single charge! Sometimes 3 with light use.


     


    My first question will always be... How's the battery life?

  • Reply 14 of 57

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jusjeff View Post


    My first questions as always is: How's the battery life, not today or next week but after a couple weeks of use.


    A friend of mine purchased the Samsung Note because he saw someone else editing a document on theirs.


    He returned it a couple days later because it wouldn't run more than 4 hours after charging it up!


    I had a Samsung Galaxy II for a trial phone and experienced the same issue.


    A V****on rep had a Motorola Droid Razor and said he made it from 6 in the morning until about 2, he couldn't make it a full work day.


    I told a co-worker to get the new Nokia phone (she doesn't like iPhones) and she's fixing to return it for the same problem, no battery life!


    It seems to me they would make these phones a little bit thicker, with a bigger battery for a longer running time, and use that as a major selling point!


     


    I have an iPhone4 and constantly get 2 days from a single charge! Sometimes 3 with light use.


     


    My first question will always be... How's the battery life?



    Battery life info with the iPhone and a bunch of Android phones. iPhone is still the best, but some of the Android phones are getting close.


    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6022/samsung-galaxy-s-iii-review-att-and-tmobile-usa-variants/3

  • Reply 15 of 57

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jusjeff View Post


    My first questions as always is: How's the battery life, not today or next week but after a couple weeks of use.


    A friend of mine purchased the Samsung Note because he saw someone else editing a document on theirs.


    He returned it a couple days later because it wouldn't run more than 4 hours after charging it up!


    I had a Samsung Galaxy II for a trial phone and experienced the same issue.


    A V****on rep had a Motorola Droid Razor and said he made it from 6 in the morning until about 2, he couldn't make it a full work day.


    I told a co-worker to get the new Nokia phone (she doesn't like iPhones) and she's fixing to return it for the same problem, no battery life!


    It seems to me they would make these phones a little bit thicker, with a bigger battery for a longer running time, and use that as a major selling point!


     


    I have an iPhone4 and constantly get 2 days from a single charge! Sometimes 3 with light use.


     


    My first question will always be... How's the battery life?



     


     


    To my way of thinking, anything less than 16 hours of moderate usage isn't enough.

  • Reply 16 of 57
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,286member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by BuddyRevell View Post


    Battery life info with the iPhone and a bunch of Android phones. iPhone is still the best, but some of the Android phones are getting close.


    http://www.anandtech.com/show/6022/samsung-galaxy-s-iii-review-att-and-tmobile-usa-variants/3



    The best for stock battery use on most common tasks is the Razr Maxx. No one else is even close for now. Of course they have one ginormous battery, tho the device profile wouldn't indicate that.

  • Reply 17 of 57
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,583member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tylersdad View Post


    Yeah, but as an iPhone user and devotee, I can tell you it would be really nice if the iPhone had a little more "user-control". For example, I'd love to be able to switch my default browser from Safari to Dolphin (for me) or Mobicip (for my son), so that when we click on a link in iMessage or email, it takes us to the default browser instead of Safari.


     


    It would also be nice to be able to quickly turn off certain features, such as Bluetooth. I know you can do this by jailbreaking.



    This is a tough one. It is easy to get feature bloat which translates into confusion and complications. Windows XP is a fine example of this - offers up granular control over everything leaving all but the most tech savvy Windows expert scratching his or her head. (I admit it for a while I dabbled in the PC world in spite of being a Mac user). But yes, there are some seemingly simple features that could be included on the iPhone, such as the ones you mention. 

  • Reply 18 of 57
    shogun wrote: »
    Come on Apple, give us something really gorgeous for iP5!

    Oh no you didn't! Tallest is going to get you now...
  • Reply 19 of 57
    lvidallvidal Posts: 158member
    [QUOTE]Other features touted by Pogue were "Direct Call," which automatically dials a person you are texting if you lift the phone to your ear, instant muting, which allows users to mute audio and video playback by covering the screen with your hand.[/QUOTE]

    Stupid useless features. Nobody is going to use that. A lot of flashy useless things to impress for the moment but that doesn't have any impact in day-to-day use.

    I'm not impressed at all.
  • Reply 20 of 57
    DaekwanDaekwan Posts: 174member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by markbyrn View Post



    It will be a 'strong competitor' until the next Android hero phone comes out next quarter. No doubt they'll be plenty of Fandroids trading in their HTC One X for the latest and greatest.


     


    I've always wondered how do they even keep up.  I generally buy a new phone every 1-2 years.  In the past 5 years, I've only owned 4 phones (Blackberry 8800, iPhone 3GS/4/4S).  I bought the 4S, only because I switched from AT&T to Verizon.  And I admit that I'll probably go for the iPhone5, but mainly because my unlocked 4S should be worth around $400 if kept in excellent condition.  


     


    I still cant understand why these Android guys constantly buy the latest & greatest everytime it comes out?  Just a couple of months ago it was the OneX.  Before that Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Nexus, the Droid Rzar and of course the SGS-II.  Seems like theres a new iPhone killer every month, and the Android faithful are singing its praises about how they must have it.  But for what?  Its a phone.  What exactly does one do with a phone, that requires this upgrade cycle of a few months.  Is it the specs?  Is it the increasingly large screen?  Is it more HDMI ports?  I just dont get it and I consider myself a techie.  I attend CES, I read tech blogs every morning and I make sure to watch the latest & greatest tech announcements as they happen.. but I dont empty my bank accounts chasing it.  


     


    Hell my 50" 720p HDTV, bought in 2005, still works well enough that I wont replace it.

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