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Samsung Galaxy S III

The 8-megapixel main camera works perfectly; there's hardly a noticeable shutter speed lag. It can also take up to 20 burst shots in a row, or 8 burst shots with automatic selection of the best photo. Pretty neat if you ask us. Videos can be captured in 1080p HD resolution. As for image quality, the Galaxy S III performed really well. Photos were bright and details are crisp although there's a bit of over-saturation in some pictures.

Noise is, as expected, still pretty evident in low-light situations, but that is understandable given that even dedicated cameras are still having problems with it. Overall, the Galaxy S III's camera gets the job done admirably well. Nope, it's not as good as the one found on the Nokia 808 PureView, but it can match up pretty nicely with the rest of the pack and gives you improved overall quality compared to what the Galaxy S II can manage.

We guess it's safe to say that, in a nutshell, the Galaxy S III is a fast and powerful, well-stocked device, able to do all your smartphone chores and multimedia needs seamlessly. It's not all about the specs really, we think Samsung did a great job in combining software and hardware on this one.

Features

Although the S III runs Ice Cream Sandwich, Samsung also slapped its own TouchWiz UI into the superphone. With that, the Galaxy S III also hosts a few other nifty features you might not find in other phones, enticing you even more to give this handset a go. Here's a few:

  • Smart Stay 

The phone doesn't dim while you're looking at it---this is represented by the little eye icon at the top. We've tested this for about a week and are really pleased with the results although it might not always work while you're running 3rd-party apps like ebook readers, for some reason.

  • Direct Call

The phone will automatically call the person you're texting when you lift the phone to your ear while in the messages app. In our experience, this only happens when there is a text thread going on, so you can't text a new number and expect this feature to work when they haven't replied. Also, while we do appreciate Direct Call, we don't think that this is their main make or break feature, but we agree it's a pretty good gimmick. 

  • Smart Alert 

The phone vibrates when you pick it up after being idle for a while. We personally haven't seen the massive benefit of this feature as the LED indicator lights up anyway if you have any missed calls or messages. However, we think this probably is for checking if you've missed anything important when semi-conscious (i.e. just having woken up). However, the LED does get annoying if you've linked your Gmail to your phone as it will light up even if the email is not that urgent or even if you've already opened it on a different device.

  • S Voice 

A personal voice assistant---pretty similar to Siri in our opinion. However, using it seems to be a sort of hit and miss affair; sometimes it works just fine while at other times it's having a hard time recognizing our voice and executing certain commands like setting alarms.

  • Tap to Top 

When browsing through a list, swatting the top of the phone will return to the top. However, in our experience, it doesn't always work. Sometimes you have to tap multiple times, or tap harder to activate it, which obviously isn't worth the effort. It would be much easier to just scroll in that case.

  • S Beam 

With S Beam, you can instantly transfer data (documents, contacts, etc.) when your device comes in contact with another Galaxy S III. We haven't really tried it that much since we only had one Galaxy S III to play with although during the Unpacked event we were have able to test it and it does work, albeit slower than expected.

  • Personalization

The Galaxy S III allows for quite a huge amount of personalization. Most of the features can be turned off, such as Tap to Top or Smart Stay to name a couple. The UI is also very flexible, as you can drag apps around the screen, customise your home screen with widgets and choose which motions you want to enable. If this is not enough, there are also a bunch of free 3rd-party apps to download from S Suggest under the personalisation category. 

It's also worth noting that the phone comes with NFC functionality which lets you do certain things wirelessly like paying for something with your mobile phone. However, we think the Philippines is still a long way from maximizing something like this. 

Battery life

We admit, when it comes to flagship phones, we expect a battery life that's not really impressive, and the Galaxy S III is no exception. It does come with a huge 2,100mAh battery and, if you go the power-saving route, it's easy to juice out over a day's worth of play time. However, if you're going to use the device "normally," (and by that we mean opening different apps mixed with some mobile surfing on the side and multimedia entertainment) a 24-hour limit, more or less, could be expected which is, by no means, nothing special in the land of Android smartphones.

The Verdict

Truth be told, the Samsung Galaxy S III is (together with the HTC One X) the most powerful, most capable handset we've handled so far. It's fast, it's zippy, it has the multimedia capabilities, and top-notch software which puts it in a league only a few of its rivals are on. Is it perfect? No. But, then again, no handset is. It has its shortcomings but, rest assured, its sheer speed, power, and the overall user experience will make you forget about those. However, at P32,990 a pop, it certainly is expensive but, given that it has the right, almost harmonious, blend of hardware and software, once you use it you'll see that its steep price tag is very well justified. 

Click here to view the Samsung Galaxy S III in the Buyer's Guide

Check out the gallery below for review photos