Available on all major carriers, the Samsung Galaxy S III must compete against every other smartphone on the market. Yet its innovative new features, impressive camera, strong call quality and vibrant display easily outrank most others. While reviewers say the HTC One S (Free with contract) and HTC Evo 4G LTE smartphones are good alternatives, the HTC One X is the GS3's biggest competition. "With no [HTC] One X in the picture, the GS3 would be the unquestionable Android king," says CNET's Jessica Dolcourt.
Useful features make the GS3 more responsive, though S Voice stumbles. The GS3 runs the TouchWiz interface over Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). Reviewers are happy with most of TouchWiz's changes, though it's not as good as stock Android. Samsung's latest features include S Beam, S Voice and Smart Stay. S Beam lets users share pictures between GS3 smartphones by tapping the two devices together. Smart Stay keeps the screen lit as long as the user is looking at it, which reviewers say is useful but doesn't always work in dim environments.
S Voice is Samsung's voice-activated assistant. It's Samsung's "garbled answer to Apple's Siri," according to Dolcourt, and reviewers agree that while it may help set an alarm or read a text message, it usually misinterprets voice commands.
Excellent call quality and long battery life unite. The GS3 offers the best of both worlds in call quality and battery life, according to reviewers. "Voice calls on the Galaxy S III were a revelation," says Vlad Savov of TheVerge.com. Customization settings allow the user to alter voice quality to the right pitch and volume. Despite the power-hungry screen, the smartphone's battery lasts throughout the day.
The dual-core processor keeps the smartphone speeding along, with reviewers noting little to no lag when running apps or playing games. Though 4G speeds vary by carrier, reviewers have no trouble quickly browsing the web.
Despite plastic backing, GS3 can handle a fall. Reviewers say the smartphone can likely survive a few falls without breaking. The plastic backing offers some protection, and Corning's Gorilla Glass 2 covers the screen. The glass is thinner and more responsive than its predecessor. Dolcourt confirms the smartphone's sensitivity, reporting she "barely had to brush the display for a response."
Brilliant display shines while plastic design disappoints. "The GS III's display is a 4.8-inch window onto wondrousness," says Sharif Sakr of Engadget.com. Its major selling point, the 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD screen, offers crisp, clear images and plenty of room. While it utilizes PenTile matrix technology generally considered unfavorable on previous smartphones, reviewers say the size of the screen and improvements to the design make the usually too-green tint virtually unnoticeable, except when compared with the HTC One X's superior Super LCD display.
The GS3's sleek overall design appeals to reviewers. "It's thin, light, and shaped just right to make handling it a joy," says Savov. Some, however, feel the plastic backing cheapens the smartphone. Though large, the GS3 is lightweight enough for most reviewers to use comfortably.
Camera and video offer speed and quality. The GS3 is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera "worthy of a flagship phone," says Dolcourt. Reviewers agree that Samsung has once again released a high-quality camera that creates clear, colorful images with little to no shutter lag. Its 1080p video-recording capabilities also perform well.
Rating the Galaxy S III at 4 out of 5 stars, Jessica Dolcourt credits its "high-performing hardware and creative software features" for making it a top smartphone and placing it neck-to-neck with the HTC One X.
Review: Samsung Galaxy S III, Jessica Dolcourt, June 28, 2012
Scoring the GS3 at 4.5 out of 5, Sascha Segan notes it features "state-of-the-art everything." It receives the PCMag.com Editors' Choice award.
Review: Samsung Galaxy S III (T-Mobile), Sascha Segan, June 21, 2012
Sharif Sakr rates the GS3 highly, but says it still doesn't beat the HTC One X, which offers a better user interface and physical design.
Review: Samsung Galaxy S III Review, Sharif Sakr, May 25, 2012
Calling the GS3 a "technological triumph," Vlad Savov rates the smartphone an 8.5 out of 10.
Review: Samsung Galaxy S III Review, Vlad Savov, June 20, 2012
Brent Rose concludes that the GS3 is the best smartphone on Verizon and T-Mobile, while AT&T customers have a choice with the HTC One X and Sprint customers may consider the similar HTC Evo 4G LTE.
Review: Samsung Galaxy S III Review: A Great Phone That Tries Too Hard, Brent Rose, June 20, 2012