Last night, Samsung announced one of the most hotly anticipated Android handset of 2012, the Galaxy S III. From the hardware point of view, the Galaxy S III absolutely trumps its competition out there. The GPU inside the SGS3 even manages to beat the powerhouse PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU found inside the iPhone 4S, which clearly shows the raw horsepower of the SoC ticking inside the handset. Samsung also fixed two of the biggest complaints with the Galaxy S II in the S3, poor battery life and disappointing music quality.
The Galaxy S III comes with a much bigger – 2100mAh – removable battery for an (hopefully) improved and all day of battery life. The handset also uses a Wolfson audio chip for providing stellar music quality, and will please all the existing Galaxy S and Nexus owners who use Voodoo Sound on their handset. If the 8MP camera on the Galaxy S II was good, the new 8MP sensor on the SGS3 is going to be even better and provide iPhone 4S like image quality.
What’s The Problem Then?
The Galaxy S III is probably the best Android smartphone out there, but there is a very big problem with it. It looks ugly…. extremely ugly. A phone’s look is a very subjective matter but nevertheless, I am sure majority people out there will agree with me here. The Galaxy S2 was a handsome looking phone, while the Galaxy Nexus with its clean, uninterrupted curved glass in the front looked simple yet futuristic. The Galaxy S III however looks like a larger version of the Nokia C7 or the Galaxy 3, except that it is made of plastic.
This brings me to the second problem with the phone – plastic. Ever since the original Galaxy S was released, Samsung has always been criticized for making phones using plastic that have a very poor in-hand feel. I have absolutely no issues with Samsung using plastic to manufacture its phone. The plastic on the Galaxy S2 was the main reason why my SGS2 managed to survive a 15-foot fall without any major dent or scratches. However, I really really expected Samsung to improve the build quality with the Galaxy S3. The HTC One X and the Nokia Lumia 800 are also made of plastic (polycarbonate), but both these handsets don’t feel cheap in any way. Samsung has single handedly dominated the Android market in 2011, and had nearly become the “Apple” of the Android ecosystem in terms of market share and technological advantage.
I, and many others, really expected Samsung to show off a Galaxy S III that had a much better build quality unlike the previous offerings from the Korean company. Sadly, that did not happen. Yes, I understand expectations were high from the Galaxy S III all thanks to the insane amount of rumors and Samsung’s decision to not unveil the handset in MWC.
What I however fail to understand is that since the Galaxy S III does not have a better build quality or a unique design, WHY was Samsung so hell bent on hiding the final looks of the handset from the public? Every leaked picture of the handset was different and rumors suggested that the original design of the SGS3 was camouflaged so as to prevent it from leaking before its announcement. No, I am not saying that Samsung should have let the final design leak before the handset’s announcement, but if this is what Samsung was trying to hide then I am speechless.
Samsung is known to copy Apple’s product design, and the Galaxy S3 was their chance to show that they can innovate as well. The company has however failed miserably. The S Voice feature on the Galaxy S3 is nothing but the Korean company’s poor attempt at copying Apple’s Siri. The new TouchWIZ in SGS3 is themed around nature but it looked kiddish and still looks like one. Samsung has added a lot of new gestures and innovative features in the S3 like Direct Call etc. but how useful they will be in real life is something which only time will tell. If anything, all these additional features from Samsung will only help in delaying future Android updates for the S3 even more.
Even after all its flaws, the Samsung Galaxy S III is still the best Android smartphone announced, and soon to be available in the market. I will however still prefer the One X to it even though I absolutely despise Nvidia’s Tegra SoC just because the latter has a much better build quality, in-hand feel and a screen.