The Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone brings to the market a quad-core 1.4GHz Exynos processor built by Samsung, 1GB of RAM, a 4.8" touchscreen display with 720 x 1280 in resolution based on the Super AMOLED HD technology and protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 2, full HD video recording with simultaneous image capture, an 8 megapixel camera with auto-focus and LED flash, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC, and the usual Wi-Fi and microSD memory card capabilities.
If the above wasn't enough, users will also find Samsung's additions to the Android operating system, such as Siri-rivalling S-Voice, the TouchWIZ 4.0 user interface that maintains consistency throughout the Samsung Android line, and features such as Video Hub (HD movie rentals for seven countries, including South Africa), Social Hub (emails and social networking in one screen) and Readers Hub (newspapers and magazines' subscriptions) that were explored in last year's Samsung Galaxy S II review.
The specifications of the device are already impressive, but handling the device in person is a completely different story, for the positive reasons of course. The very first feature that we noticed when playing the device are its size and weight - although it has a large screen, it offers something in between the Galaxy Note and its predecessor Galaxy S II, while with this size the 133g in weight are so evenly distributed that the phone actually feels light.
The Galaxy S III's screen never seemed to go out of light, and that's thanks to the eye-tracking technology that identifies when the user is not looking at the screen and locks it accordingly in order to save power, and vice-versa. A small feature, but quite revolutionary.
The 8 megapixel camera introduced a lot of noise when capturing low-light images and even overexposed them, as visible below, but for regular users in regular occasions it will be more than enough, especially with the possibility of capturing images while filming HD video, with the zero-shutter lag (no delay in capturing), and burst mode that captures several images in one go and thus allowing the user to choose the best.
Unlike the Galaxy S II that is quite rectangular, its successor brings more personality thanks to its different shape and even close thickness, at only 8.6mm versus 8.5mm for the former.
A disappointing feature of the device is the single speaker that was not loud enough when playing video or music. Owing to the Galaxy S III's size, it would have been very difficult to fit two stereo speakers. To counter this, there is TV-out via HDMI (through microUSB port) and Wi-Fi link, as well as 3.5mm audio jack.
When it comes to multi-tasking, it is difficult to top the video pop-up function added to Android by Samsung, that clips the video in one corner and allows the user to continue operating through other functions of the handset.
With a single hour to review the device, it has been enough to declare the Samsung Galaxy S III a must-have smartphone, thanks to both its hardware and software features.