Samsung Galaxy S3: The Hype And My Thoughts

The Samsung Galaxy S3 (also known as the Galaxy SIII) is said to be the best and most powerful smartphone on the market.  Unless you’ve been under a rock, behind a tree or maybe somewhere in the back-woods of New Zealand you will be more than aware of the ongoing battle between Apple and Samsung.  The battle though isn’t limited to high paid lawyers and courtrooms, it’s alive and kicking amongst people like you and I; those who use the products.

The fight has gone through numerous evolutions.  iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Tab… the only constant seems to be that Apple and Samsung both claim to have truly incredible products.  My experiences with the iPhone have left me with a frustrated taste in my mouth, so I have to ask myself…

Is the Samsung Galaxy S3 worthy of all the hype it gets?

My first smartphone was a Blackberry Bold 9000.  When we upgraded 18 months ago we got the Apple iPhone 4 and while the hardware and technology was a massive step forward from the Bold, the heavy limitations Apple put on their products was a constant thorn in my side.  iOS6 and its well publicised issues were the final straw.  The iPhone had to go, and what better to upgrade to than a shiny new “Pebble Blue” Galaxy S3.

First Thoughts:

blue-s301

Despite its large size, this is one of the most comfortable phones i’ve held.  The ergo edges are tireless on the hands and it’s such a light weight that you hardly feel like you’re holding a phone.  The screen is vibrant… and the colours “pop” better than anything else i’ve seen (and yes, that includes the iPhone 5).  But the biggest first thought.. it’s fast.  I mean, it’s real fast and has such a smooth fluid movement that everything is so effortless.  It’s driven by a Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9 processor with 1GB of RAM meaning you’re not going to have any problems with speed on this handset.  The OS is Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

To top off the processor, the Galaxy S3 boasts a massive 4.8 inch Super AMOLED HD (high definition) screen that delivers incredible depth of colours.

Using It:

Taking into mind that i’ve come from an iPhone 4 to the S3, there is a massive upgrade in technology involved for a users point of view.  The S3 really has it all, and if it doesn’t there is probably an App that can make it happen.  Standard features such as S-Beam allowing you to instantly send files to other S3 users, FM Radio tuner, 8MP Camera and Google Maps (yes, Google… Apple users may remember those great maps) are just the start with the Galaxy S3. 

blue-s302

Everything seems so well connected on this phone.  With as little as a click you can take a photo and then send it / use it on almost any App on the phone.  I’ve not had that kind of flexibility with applications since my days on the Blackberry.  The notifications screen isn’t just there to tell you what’s new on your phone, it also contains instant access to common system settings such as Wifi, Blue Tooth, Audio, GPS, Power Saving and more.

And hey, if you want to stand around looking like a fool talking to your phone you can even play with S-Voice.  Apple users will surely love that feature.

Apps aside, it’s the customisation ability of the phone that really has me sold.  You control what your home screens display.  Whether you want widgets, app icons, or maybe just your full schedule you can do it, and then some.  You control the number of home screen (slides) you have on the phone, and what they contain.  Take a look at the image to the right to see what i mean about blending widgets, and icons.

What About Apps?

In case you’re wondering, there IS an place to get your apps – it’s called Google Play and much like the Apple App Store, its easy to use and contains apps that have been approved by Google.  Accessing it can be done by both phone or browser.

App availability is quite incredible and i’ve been blown away by the number of applications that you can install and more importantly, the number of developers who have started to really push Android app development.  Zynga are a prime example of a company who are making a push to ensure Android apps are available at the same time as other platforms.

Final Thoughts:

Has my experience with the iPhone made me a little biased?  Yes, absolutely and I make no apologies for that.  But mark my words, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is truly a smartphone worthy of the hype it receives.  Not only does it reach expectations, it surpasses them and leaves you with a smile on your face. 

Samsung have created a truly magnificent product here, and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anybody looking to upgrade or replace their mobile phone.

Other great reviews of the S3:

Trusted Reviews: Galaxy S3 tops iPhone 5 as UKs prefered Smartphone
Tech Radar: Galaxy S3 Review

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After 18 Months Of iPhone Problems, Switching To Android

Around the middle of 2011 I published an article on this site about upgrading my (then) Blackberry Bold 9000 for the all-new Apple iPhone 4.  It was a bold move by me at the time as I had little love for Apple products.

18 months on, and my thoughts on Apple have not improved any, in fact, to the contrary they have very heavily deteriorated.

The iPhone 4 was fun at first.  Sleek, fast and a major upgrade from the Blackberry, the iPhone was a novelty with many apps to get my geeky fingers into.  However, like many who switch to Apple products, it was not without problems.  The inability to really modify or customise the phone was a big setback for me, and though Apple addressed this with their iOS5 update it was not enough.  Then there was the home button that begun to stick about 3 months ago.  Apple support were useless, suggesting there was no hardware issue, yet over time the problem became much more prevalent.  Still, Apple refuse to admit there is an issue with the button / hardware.  Hitting google you will find many reports of iPhone 4 users with this exact same problem, yet still, Apple refuse to admit there is an issue.  As it stands right now, I have to have assisted touch enabled, as the home button doesn’t work 80%+ of the time. Then of course came iOS6.  Maps etc aside, iOS6 biggest problem is that it has my phone running so hot it reboots itself at least once every day.

I’m done with Apple and the iPhone experiment.  It was never really destined to succeed as unlike many Apple users appear to be, I wont just blindly follow.

so, Samsung Galaxy SIII here I come.  A phone that is super fast, has a great size screen, loads of incredible apps and most importantly, it doesn’t have that Apple logo on it! 

Samsung Galaxy s3

In the coming week I will post a detailed review of how I find the new phone.

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Goodbye Blackberry, Hello iPhone: First Thoughts, Feelings & Gripes

Ok so the long anticipated wait is over. Last week we got the phone call that offered us an upgrade on our old phones (Blackberry Bold 9000), so we opted to get the shiny Apple iPhone 4.

iphone4-250As you can imagine, going from the Blackberry, which is very straight forward, almost business like to the iPhone, which can best be described as “ooohhh it’s shiny and does fancy stuff” was quite the learning curve. But learn we did, as learn we must… and for the most part, I am very pleased.

But as with everything, there are a few gripes.

Custom Text Tones

For a start, why the hell can’t I add a custom ring tone for my text and / or sms messages? This is a stock standard feature on almost every single phone out there, including $30 cheapie phones from the servo, so i am confused why Apple don’t offer this? It is annoying, especially as my wife and I both had custom text alerts on our old phones. Bad form Apple, very bad form.

Better Push Mail Service

Ok, so I was spoiled on the Blackberry, who have the best email system of any Smart Phone availble, but i just wish the iPhone email program would allow me to auto-check for new mail a lot more often than 15 minutes. I can do it manually, of course, and do so, but the auto every 5 minutes like I had on the Bold was very efficient and handy to have. Just saying.

Viewing Photos Then Sending To FB, Twitter etc.

Not sure if this is a gripe, or if we were just lucky on the old phones, but is there a way to view a photo you’ve taken and from that photo screen send direct to Facebook, Twitter etc? Or do we have to add the photos from inside the other apps themselves?

iTunes

Yes, I know, you get an iPhone you get stuck with iTunes. I knew that before I got it, and I know that now. Not griping, just saying what you all expected me to say.

Now, on to the GOOD parts!

This phone is so slick to use. Super fast interface, killer apps store and the most intuitive touch keyboard I have ever used. I have heard horror stories about Auto correct issues (take a look at http://damnyouautocorrect.com for some great laughs) but so far have found the touch keyboard to be incredibly accurate.

I used to think the Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare apps on the Blackberry were great, but on the iPhone they are a whole new level. More features, more speed and much more usable, it makes the entire “using” aspect of the phone simply better.

The camera is spectacular, and the video camera is outstanding. High Def video, tap to auto-focus, the whole package is great quality.

Angry Birds. You know, I had to mention this. I’ve played this game on friends iPhones and iPads lately and really do see why it gets all the mentions it does. So, consider this another mention out there in cyberspace.

I guess all-in-all, I am very pleased with the switch. It’s all a learning curve, and eventually things like the email, tones etc simply wont bother me anymore. So kudos Apple, the phone is great and so far, I am very pleased.

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The Torch Dreams Extinguished: Making The Jump To iPhone4

As many of you know from my earlier post on this issue, I have always been a fan of the Blackberry smartphones. My current phone, an older Blackberry Bold 9000 is up for contract renewal soon so i’m naturally going to need to upgrade my phone to a newer model.

Apple iPhone Version 4I was going to get the new Blackberry Torch 9800 – the latest smartphone from RIM. The Torch is a smooth looking full touchscreen phone with a slider that gives access to the full qwerty keyboard that Blackberry users have come to love. Notice I said “was”.

I have been doing some pretty intense research into the Torch and the other option I am looking at; the Apple iPhone4 and much to my own shock… the iPhone has stolen my heart, converted my soul and robbed me of all interest in the Torch.

Trust me… this is something I thought would NEVER happen.

So I guess you’re wondering what the iPhone did that is so amazing to get me to want to swap? In truth, it wasn’t the iPhone that did it, but rather the time I spent using the Torch at a Telstra store the other day. The Torch looks awesome and has great features, but it doesn’t have the polished finish of the iPhone. The chip that runs the phone is slower than the iPhone and the OS isn’t as smooth and seamless. The iPhone4 absolutely wreaks of a company that has experience and history driving it’s design team. It’s a well crafted phone with all the features you want and need. Oh, and it’s packed in a system run by a faster processor.

RIM Blackberry Torch 9800

Battery life between the 2 is said to be very similar, although from my own research I have found most people find the iPhone4 has MUCH better battery life. Social Networking and Media is designed into the new Torch and it has the incredible universal search, but Apple again, have experience. We all know Apple mastered the MP3 technology a long time back with the iPod, so you know the media technology in the iPhone will be exceptional. Social Networking apps on the iPhone are as good as or better than what the Torch offer.

The Blackberry Torch 9800 does have two things the iPhone can not compete with. First is the unlimited internet via the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS). Truly unlimited data when using the BIS browser and most apps, and of course the Blackberry Messenger is second to none on communications between RIM users. The second thing is the the “push” technology that RIM uses to deliver the email system on the Blackberry.

Unfortunately, while the BIS and Push technology are HUGE reasons I love my Bold 9000, when forced to choose between the 2, my heart takes a giant leap towards the smoother designed Apple iPhone 4.

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