I’m very excited about the near future of my blog, friends. My next few entries will be taking an interesting turn as I review a couple of products in-depth. Thanks to a generous agreement with Verizon Wireless, I have been sent a Samsung Galaxy SIII and a Verizon Jetpack Mobile Hotspot to get a hands-on impression with the devices and review them for my readers.
This will be a three-part series, covering three blogs and consisting of the phone review, the hotspot review and a summary.
As a small disclaimer, I want to preface this with the fact that I entered this review with no bias whatsoever. What you’re about to read may lead you to think that I hate iOS, but in reality (if you look at my last blog), I enjoy certain aspects of both operating systems. I wrote this with a neutral feeling toward both brands, and the best came out on top.
Today’s blog is about the phone, and let me say… wow.
That’s all I could come up with at first when trying to think of how to describe this beautiful, 4.8-inch phone. When I took the Galaxy SIII out of its box, my jaw hit the floor as I saw its huge screen. Putting it next to my iPhone 3GS, the advantage of this screen is absolutely phenomenal and immediately apparent. Now, to be fair, I won’t be comparing these devices very much, as they are three years apart and that would just be silly. Aesthetically, though, the Galaxy SIII is the best-looking phone I’ve ever seen.
The beauty of this screen is absolutely tremendous. No matter what I did—from unlocking the device to putting a galaxy live wallpaper in the background — I was extremely impressed with how well the resolution of the screen goes with the size of the display. I do not agree with people who say phone screens have gotten too big. With what I do on my phone and how I expect it to be my third “computer-away-from-actual-computer”, a bigger screen just makes sense as long as it fits in my pocket. Luckily, this screen does — and the very slim design doesn’t hurt either.
The phone has a physical button and two “hidden” buttons that only appear when the device is being used. I love this layout, and it’s a very stylish-yet-practical way to keep clutter down and sleekness up.
Now, about the camera. As I mentioned when I talked about my new tablet, the cameras we can get on our devices these days are just as remarkable as some DSLRs that can run you 400 bucks at a tech store. With the 8 whopping megapixels this thing has on its back, the quality of its photos is blowing away the competition in the mobile market. As someone who’s used the same type of camera on his tablet for the last month, I can safely say that this thing could easily replace whatever point and shoot you may also carry. Rest assured, this beauty will get the job done. Clarity is brilliant and speed is superb. The LED flash is intensely bright, and the video recording/photo options make this feel like so much more than a phone.
I know I said I wouldn’t compare this to my 3GS, but I must say that the speed and fluidity on this device is the nicest I’ve ever seen from a handheld. Only my tablet beats this thing, but then again it is a tablet and is meant to handle more than this. That said, the phone actually has more RAM than my tablet! Yes, the GSIII sports 2GB of RAM, and with its amazing processor and the wonderful Ice Cream Sandwich (soon to be Jellybean), this is the fastest phone/handheld device I’ve ever encountered.
Speaking of the operating system, it all comes down to preference at this point. Personally, I far prefer the freedom of Android as compared to Apple’s boring, way-too-streamlined iOS. I’ve been using the app-grid system for years, and I want something better, like this phone. I’ve also been spoiled with Android on my tablet, and it’s really shown me just how much I prefer the operating system (that’s why I love Windows so much too, compared to a Mac: it’s more forgiving, versatile and open). With Android comes the amazing Google Play store, formerly known as the Android Market. In here, you’ll find a much better version of Apple’s App store, in my opinion. I enjoy how you view updates, view app info, navigate apps, and view categories in the Play store much more than in iOS. Maybe the best way to explain it is that Android simply feels more advanced that the Apple I’m used to. I’m spoiled by live-updating widgets, complete home screen customization, and an overall awesome user interface.
I tested many apps that people use daily, from Facebook to Netflix and even graphically-intensive games. This thing powers through them like nothing, and the fluidity will improve even MORE with Android Jellybean, due to come out any time for the device.
Having a Google account makes using the phone much easier. After just signing in once, I have full access to all browser features within Chrome, all mobile YouTube features, all Android sync features, and much more. The way that Google has seamlessly connected people’s Android devices is a step above Apple. Speaking of Chrome, once you get it from the Play store, it automatically syncs all of your favorites, history, and tabs from your other devices. This means that on the GSIII, I can view the webpages I have open on both my tablet and my Chrome browser on my PC. Kudos, Google. That is simply awesome.
Now, down to the verdict and a revelation I had with this thing. Remember in my last entry how I talked about how I was pretty much sold on the upcoming iPhone 5, mainly because of the bigger screen and the money I’ve invested in the app market? Well, this phone has officially changed my mind.
Now that I’ve had some experience with this thing, I don’t see the iPhone 5 in my future at all. Quite honestly, I don’t think it will have as big of a screen as this Galaxy SIII, not to mention I’ll be bound by Apple’s tight OS rules. The iPhones (unless the 5th changes this) don’t even have expandable memory! The GSIII houses a compartment for a micro SD card, which is great and makes the 16GB version your best bet since you can upgrade for cheaper than going for the 32GB.
Oh, and the phone has super fast 4G LTE connectivity. Yea, this was actually faster than our Wi-Fi.
But back on topic: this phone has me sold. As for my argument about investing so much money in iOS, I can deal with it. Much of what I bought was useless junk that I never even played, and I’m smarter now about what I need. I have a list of 50 essential apps that I will be putting on my Galaxy SIII when I buy my own, and the great part is that if they cost me something on iOS, they might not on Android (many apps are free on Android that cost money on iOS). As for my music, I don’t buy much at all, but I will still use iTunes. My iPhone 3GS will be for my car’s music, and the Galaxy SIII will have to be manually updated by me every time I want to add a new song (which is a small process that requires converting songs and copying them. No big deal.).
I’ve found many reasons to just say goodbye to Apple. I’m an Android user now, and this phone pretty much set me over the line. I was already close to transitioning with Chrome on my PC and my Transformer Infinity tablet, but this takes the cake.
As I would like to emphasize how impressed I am with this device, I’d like to give a numerical rating. I’d say this beast deserves 9.5 out of 10. Absolutely superb.
Thanks for reading my longest blog ever. Next time we’ll be looking at the 4G LTE Jetpack also sent to me by Verizon.
*I was not paid, asked or encouraged by Verizon to write positively about this phone. All opinions are mine and solely mine. Verizon simply supplied the demo product.*