Samsung's Galaxy S III is stellar phone [Tulsa World, Okla.]By Robert Evatt, Tulsa World, Okla.McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
July 07-- Hundreds of Android smartphones are out there, put out by many companies, but the market seems to have chosen a preferred brand.
Samsung Electronics has become the second-biggest maker of smartphones behind Apple Inc., which isn't too much of a surprise considering the strong performance of its Galaxy line.
As a result, the gradual rollout of the Samsung Galaxy S III to all the major carriers might be the most-anticipated Android phone release of the year. I got to try out the AT&T model, although the others shouldn't be much different.
The device's body is sleek and light, if not spectacular. Though the back is plastic, it doesn't feel cheap, and the front is dominated by a 4.8-inch screen. In a nice touch, only the home button is visible at all times -- the back and option buttons are backlit, touch-sensitive panels that fade when you don't need them.
That large screen might be the best thing about the Galaxy S III. Images are downright gorgeous on them, and videos are particularly crisp. It might not have the pixel density of the iPhone 4 series, but it's hard to complain about a display that blends size and sharpness.
Running a close second is the blazing-fast processor. Nothing I threw at it caused any kind of slowdown or even minor stuttering -- not even complex websites that typically give most smartphones problems.
It's a perfect complement for Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest major revision of Android that brings another layer of polish to the experience. It might sound like a small thing, but the 3D animation plus the extra smoothness makes flipping through Android pages much more enjoyable.
The camera works quite well, as the shutter button captures a picture almost instantly, and my bad photography skills could only make a fraction of the shots blurry. The resulting pictures might not be absolutely top-of-the line, though they look great on the phone's screen.
The only real fly in the ointment is crapware -- and there's a lot of it. Both Samsung and AT&T contributed quite a bit, and from what I've heard the other carriers haven't been shy about adding their own. To make matters worse, none of them can be deleted.
That's a minor quibble, though. I actually appreciated one piece of software AT&T included called DeviceHelp. It's really just a link to the company's help page on the smartphone that breaks down advice by category. But as my recent smartphone test with my mother-in-law showed, a lot of people could use a little guidance on how to get the most out of their devices.
Crapware aside, the Galaxy S III offers an impressive refinement of most of what needs to be in a smartphone. It just might be the best Android I've experienced.
Samsung Galaxy S III
AT&T (model tested), Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular
$199.99 to $329.99, dependent on retailer and storage amount
Pros: Light and comfortable, runs the latest major Android revision, remarkably smooth
Cons: Loaded with crapware you can't delete
Robert Evatt 918-581-8447
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