Samsung Galaxy S III – First Impressions of the ‘Nature-Inspired’ Superphone

The Samsung Galaxy S III is perhaps the most exciting smartphone the industry has ever seen. The phone, which was initially slammed badly by critics for not being up to their expectations has been smashing every single sales record since the day its pre-order page went live.

India is one of the few lucky countries where this sleek piece of technology was first launched and without wasting much time, I quickly went to a Samsung store and returned with this superphone. It has been only two days since then, but I’m already in love with it. I often find myself holding the phone in my hands and adoring its beauty. No matter what other people say, the Galaxy S III is undoubtedly the best phone I’ve ever handled.

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The Super AMOLED HD screen of the Galaxy S III is the foremost thing that comes into notice. It’s huge, black as an onyx and stunning in all its beauty. The Galaxy S3’s 1280×720 (SAMOLED HD) screen is one of the most impressive screens I’ve ever seen, which produces eye popping colors that are bright, vibrant and rich in colors, especially when set to Dynamic screen mode which gives a stunning picture.

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Obviously, it does not produce images as sharp as the Super-LCD 2 display of the HTC One X due the pentile structure of pixels in SAMOLED HD screen, but the difference is imperceptible in daily use and not at all a ‘bummer’. On a comparison note, the Galaxy S III easily beats One X when it comes to creating more vivid colors and blacker ‘blacks’.

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The display is remarkably visible under direct sunlight, thanks to its screen technology that has the highest contrast ratio in any smartphone.

The Galaxy S II is also the first phone to boast a coating of Gorilla Glass 2 and surprisingly, the screen is (really) a lot smoother than the Galaxy S II’s screen. It’s now also resistant to fingerprint smudges, something which was very frustrating about my Galaxy S II.

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side-fullMoving on to the aesthetics, contrary to what many ‘expert’ people have commented about the phone’s design, the Galaxy S III is a very beautiful phone. In fact, it even puts my Galaxy S II to shame when held together.

The phone feels very solid and better than what I was expecting before handling it. The Hyper-Glaze coating on the phone feels great in hands. As my personal opinion, the smooth and glossy back-cover feels even better than the mesh textured back cover of Galaxy S II. However, it does invite a lot of fingerprints.

On the sides, the Galaxy S III flaunts a wrapping of a silver band. This combination of silver band and glossy Hyper-Glaze coating gives an amazing fake perception of premium brushed aluminum on a glass build of the phone. Even if it’s not real, it does look and feel really good.

Another interesting thing to note about this phone is that, unlike the recent trend in smartphones, the Galaxy S III is a tad heavier (by a few grams) and thicker than the Galaxy S II. Despite that, its uniform thickness makes this difference unnoticeable and is still very light to hold.

LEDAn LED is also present this time, which was missing from the first two Galaxy S phones. I had to previously rely on third party apps like noLED and BLN to keep track of missed events, but thankfully they are no longer needed now.

The arrangement of physical buttons remain the same as any other Samsung phone, one Home button being at the bottom center and two capacitive buttons beside it. This time, the size of the home button has been narrowed down, which does look good, but is a bit harder to press, which is my biggest gripe with this phone. However, the volume and power buttons are actually softer and easier to press than the stiff buttons in Galaxy S II.

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The capacitive buttons have been beautifully crafted by Samsung. Instead of just being normally back-lit, the back-light of buttons in Galaxy S III seem to diffuse over the surface, and give a pleasant ‘inspired-by-nature’ experience.

The volume buttons are as usual present on the left while the power button is on the right. The front camera has been moved to the right and the headphone jack to the left. Talking about the microphones, there are two mics present on the phone, one at the bottom and one on the top with both being in one straight line for noise cancellation.

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The speaker grille has also been moved to the top. Although a bit changed, this position of speaker still possesses an old problem of getting muted when placed on a flat surface (like a bed). For some unknown reasons, Samsung is still adamant of placing speakers on the back of its phones instead of moving them to the sides which would have solved this problem.

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There is so much to say about this phone, but I’m saving my words for a full review of this phone. Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S III is a splendid phone that is ready to repeat the massive success of previous Galaxy S phones and once again raise the bar of smartphones to act as a benchmark for upcoming phones. The phone has already captivated me with its design in just two days of use. In the next couple of days, we’ll be intensively testing the phone and will come up with a detailed review. Stay tuned!

Nokia Lumia 900: My Hands-On from CES 2012

Nokia Lumia 900

I was at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas for the past few days and I got a chance to put my hands on the gorgeous new Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone. It was announced at the Nokia CES press conference by Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop.

The Lumia 900 is a sleek device with a ClearBlack 4.3-inch display. The 4.3-inch display may sound huge, but it really does not feel that big in the hands. I use a Samsung Focus which is a 4-inch device and the Lumia 900 is only a tad bigger. However, if you are an iPhone user, you will definitely feel that bigness. Having used a 4-inch screen for the past 14 months, I don’t think that I can go back to the 3.5-inch screen of the iPhone.

The device build is very similar to the sleek Lumia 800 but unlike the 800, which has a slightly curved (bubble) glass, the 900’s screen is flat. The reason being, for the size of the screen, the curvature would end up being too much. As a result of going with a flat screen, you can clearly see a ridge around the edges. Whether that is actually an issue or not, we will have to wait and see after we use it normally for a few days.

The Nokia Lumia 900 comes as an exclusive to AT&T and has 4G LTE support. One of the other features touted over and over again by Nokia and Microsoft executives in various interviews and presentations at CES is the fact that it comes with an 1800mAh battery. In talking with the Nokia folks who have been using this phone for a few weeks, it seemed like they were able to get through an entire day of “heavy” use and a couple of days of “normal” use. I can’t get my Focus to go an entire day of “heavy” use, so here’s hoping this is a significant upgrade over the other Windows Phones.

The Lumia 900 has a f2.4 front-facing camera which Nokia says allows as much light as many rear-facing cameras on other phones. Unfortunately, the Nokia booth representatives were told not to show much of the camera or the software since the phone has not been officially released yet. The representatives confirmed that the ESPN and CNN apps will be pre-loaded on the AT&T Lumia 900 phones and we know that Nokia is going to get exclusive games from EA (which was later revealed to be a 6-month exclusive for Nokia, see this interview of Chris Weber with The Verge where he mentions it).

This phone is clearly the flagship Windows Phone, at least in the US where it is going to be available. Among other things, Elop mentioned that they are going to “aggressively” price the phone, not just as a flagship phone but also for first-time smartphone buyers. It was an interesting quote and I look forward to seeing how it is priced, since I will not only be buying it, but doing do off-contract!

Nokia Lumia 900 Image Gallery

Nokia Lumia 900 at CES