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Samsung Galaxy S III: First impressions

June 20, 2012|By Michelle Maltais and Salvador Rodriguez
  • The screen on Samsung's new Galaxy S III, left, dwarfs the iPhone 4S next to it.
The screen on Samsung's new Galaxy S III, left, dwarfs the iPhone 4S… (Bebeto Matthews / Associated…)

The Samsung Galaxy S III is set to make its U.S. debut Thursday for T-Mobile and for Sprint a week later. And we have in our hot little hands the Galaxy S III from T-Mobile.

The things that jumped out at us and made notable first impressions were its huge screen, sleek design and S Voice.

Clearly, the very first thing you can't help noticing is that expansive 4.8-inch screen, whose largeness seemed to be offset by the phone's light weight and slim design. It never became too difficult to navigate, although it could take some getting used to for fingers accustomed to stretching across a 3.5-inch screen.

The next thing you notice about the Galaxy S III is that its vibrant, crystal-clear AMOLED screen makes the same images and videos on the iPhone 4's Retina display look downright dingy and faded when placed side by side.

The direct call feature was kind of slick, allowing you to stop mid-text and just raise the phone to your ear to dial that person and pick up the conversation when your thumbs get numb.

Another feature we played with a little bit was Palm touch mute/pause. While watching, say, "Archer" via Netflix, you can cover the screen with your hand to pause the animation until you finish that surprise exchange with your boss or roommate.

A few initial complaints: The buttons on the bottom of the screen could be too sensitive at times. The back button, in particular, seemed to respond too quickly if your thumb began sliding back down, which interrupted any activity you engaged in.

We had different experiences with the motion gestures such as swiping your open palm across the screen like a photocopier to snag a screenshot. It worked fine for me, but Sal never got it to work. Hand size might be a factor, and you might have trouble with the gesture if you have smaller hands.

And then the biggie we absolutely agreed on: S Voice, the voice-activated personal assistant, might be named "F Voice" for fail. It rarely worked, and when it did, it was too much like Siri -- and that's not really a good thing.

We're going to spend a little more time with the Galaxy S III smartphone and post a full review at the end of the week. Check back.


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