- Reception and call quality No comments
- Display I still prefer the non-PenTile screen on the HTC One X, but there's no denying that the screen on the S3 is really good.
- Battery life Not amazing, but better than I'd expected.
- Camera Fast, but image quality could be better.
- Ease of use No comments
- Design and form factor I talk a lot about this in my extended review.
- Portability (size / weight) Very impressive, especially for a device with a screen of this size.
- Media support No comments
- Durability No comments
- Ecosystem (apps, accessories, etc.) No comments
Rather than go through and evaluate every little element of it -- we've pulled together a list of over 50 editorial reviews from around the web you can go through if you're looking for that -- I thought I'd try and explain the frustration I feel with the S3 and the needless shortcomings that detract from what could have been a near-flawless device.
To be very clear, there are plenty of things that are great about the S3, first of which is the degree of engineering that went into cramming so much technology into such a small device. Here are few other features that impressed me:
- For starters, it's faster and more responsive than any other Android phone I've used. I haven't seen any lag in the five or so days I've been using it. It feels like the first phone to have enough RAM and a fast enough processor (even with the dual core version I've been using) to overcome a lot of the lag issues that have plagued Android from day one.
- Despite having a large 4.8-inch screen, the S3 is so thin and light and sports such a narrow bezel that I've never once felt like it was too big. (I happen to like larger screens, so you may feel like it's too large regardless.) The S3's Super AMOLED display is excellent and I think most people will be happy with it. (I still prefer the non-PenTile screen on the HTC One X, which is brighter and renders text more crisply.)
- Battery life has been better than I'd expected. Not amazing -- apart from Motorola's Droid MAXX, few high-end smartphones really impress in this area -- but I'd say it's been better for me than the HTC One X. I have to keep an eye on my usage if I went to get through a full day, but it feels like I have a little better "cushion" than I do with comparable phones.
- I've been testing the AT&T version, and LTE on it has been phenomenal. I was regularly able to get as fast as 17 Mbps down and 14 Mbps up.
- Design-wise, Samsung needs to do better. The S3 is Samsung's flagship phone, but they really undermine that feeling that this is a premium device with its cheap-looking glossy plastic exterior. This is one area where Apple and HTC are really kicking everyone else's ass. The S3 doesn't feel special when I pull it out of my pocket, and that is something that needs to change.
- It doesn't stop there, of course. TouchWiz continues to be a mess. I know they're trying to bring some friendliness and ease-of-use to stock ICS, but whatever Samsung is doing isn't working for me. It's ugly and seriously makes me not want to use the phone (at least not without installing a new launcher). I don't get why Samsung hasn't made improving it a priority. It'd be an easy way for them to improve things.
- Samsung is touting S-Voice -- it's Siri-like voice command integration -- as one of the S3's key features, but I rarely was able to get it to perform as expected. Either Samsung will get it right in future versions or Google will bake something similar into Android itself, but didn't find S-Voice to be something I could use reliably. Not that it never worked, just not often enough when I did try it.
- There are a bunch of other smaller features and nice touches that Samsung added to the S3 (like the ability to call someone you're texting just by holding the phone up to your ear, share photos directly with other S3 owners via WiFi, tag people in photos and have their faces automatically recognized in future pics you take, etc.) that definitely do add to the experience. I'm not sure I'd miss any of them if they were taken away, to be perfectly honest, but I do appreciate the effort to improve the user experience of the phone.
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Updated detailed review
Edited comment on Display
Updated detailed review