1 Store155 Reviews
Pros: Almost everything about this phone is a pro!
Cons: Doesn't give saved attachments an automatic name.
We have had cell phones for a little more than 15 years now. Aside from a brief stint with the original Smart Phone from Kyocera, we have never had the "kewl kids" phone...until now!
We decided to get Samsung Galaxy S III Smartphones, when our renewal date came up 2 months ago. I say we, since my husband and I both got one! I got the blue and he got the white, figuring it would be easier to tell them apart...once we put different cases on them though, it didn't matter what colors the phones were.
Our phones for the last 2 years were LG Optimus S; great phones but absolutely NO memory. We would try apps from the Google Play Store, and then find they took up too much space and had to be deleted. Some of those apps were really cool but they had to be sacrificed so the phone could receive a simple TEXT MESSAGE! When discussing new phones, my husband originally said he "needed" the 32GB version of the S3... I just smiled and agreed.
THEN I found that our provider, Sprint, was offering the S3's for $49 on Black Friday. The kicker was convincing my husband that the 16GB version would suffice. That was when I realized that the LG phones didn't even have 1G of memory. When I pointed this out, my husband agreed the 16GB version should be fine...even though it does not have the option to move ANY apps to the microSD card. I told him IF he filled up the 16GB version, we could talk about the 32GB version. For $49, or even $85 once you throw in the phone's activation fee, it was worth a try.
One of the first things we did after getting home with the phones was venturing over to the Google Play Store. There we chose the option of all the apps we had tried. I was STUNNED to see how many apps had come and gone in my brief relationship with my LG phone...some I loved and some I could have lived happily never knowing about. I installed all the beloved and missed apps to my S3, along with some that were just eh. Then I started thinking about all the apps that I had bookmarked, that the LG wouldn't run...I installed those too. Then I installed some more apps just because they were there! Long and short of the whole app thing?! Even though ALL of the apps are in the phone memory, there is still almost 1/2 of the app memory left! My husband has more apps on his phone, and well...I think the 32GB version would have been overkill after all!!
Once we had installed all the apps that we had tried and deleted due to space, we were set to just start exploring this little computer I lovingly refer to as my PHONE!! My new Galaxy 3 has more memory and more computing power than my first few computers...maybe combined!
The first thing I did was set up the screen lock. On Android phones, there is an option to use a pattern that goes from dot to dot to dot on a screen with 9 dots. On my LG Optimus, this was very touchy and had to be done just right and at the right speed. On the S3, it allows me to be a bit sloppier and I can stop to think if I have to. It is much less touchy and fickle, which means I don't find myself grumbling and cursing out my phone...a somewhat frequent occurrence with the Optimus, since after 3 tries it locks you out for 10 minutes! Oh, sure! You could still make an emergency call during that time, but you couldn't use the phone!
Not only is the pattern screen more forgiving, but now you also have the option of adding a numbered pin to the works...for days when your fingers are too fat to get the right pattern, but really I haven't had a problem with the new phone...unless you count picking up my husband's phone and trying to unlock it using my pattern...
Once the screen lock was all set, I started just playing with the phone. I had received a few texts while exploring other features, so I went there next. INSTANT ADORATION on my part! I could now keep texted conversations and just add to them, without having to worry about filling up the phone's memory! I have my text limit set so that at 300 messages, the oldest falls off. I have several conversations in the texts folder, and no indication of using too much memory any time soon! I like being able to keep the conversations, so I can refer back as needed.
Pictures sent through texts are easily saved to my MicroSD card, by placing my finger on the thumbnail and waiting a second or so. It pops up with a screen asking me if want to save the attachment. This feature is one of my biggest peeves with the S3, if not the biggest. For EVERY SINGLE picture, it asks me if I want to save it as "imagejpeg_2.jpg". That means I have to come up with a name to save an attachment. My Optimus just saved and called them download[whatevernumber].jpeg. Having to name them right on the spot is not cool. Being able to save them and know they were saved was great!
Onto the next day, when my iPhone loving friend saw my new S3...her first comment was about how BIG my phone is! I just sort of laughed at that, until I saw her iPhone3 next to my S3...her iPhone3 in its Otter Box BARELY covered just the screen portion of my S3...YEP, the phone IS big alright! I think had I not had the Optimus, this would have been too big. But now the S3 is PERFECT...even IF my friends do laugh when I have it to my ear and talking. I have to admit that next to my Nook, there really isn't THAT much size difference...well there is, but not really...that is really hard to explain since it isn't just an inches thing, but also a perception issue.
The S3 is large, measuring in at just under 5.5 inches top to bottom, about 3 inches side to side, and just about 1/2inch thick, it is just right on that cusp of being too big for a phone. Any wider and it would be very uncomfortable to hold while conversing...yeah, yeah...that is what bluetooth is for. I don't like those bugs!
The screen on the S3 will blow you away!! At 4.8 inches, it is big enough to really enjoy what you are looking at, be it a picture or a game or a video! There is enough room to really enjoy the detail. I really enjoy playing Facebook games that have included an app for cell phones. I have started playing a few of them again just because they can be played on my phone. This helps fill time waiting for people in line or in the car. I also enjoy watching hulu and netflix on my S3, though I tend to lean toward watching shows that are easily followed by listening...I still like the bigger screen for tv and movies...but having the option also fills time when waiting for someone.
The power button on the S3 is used for power and screen on/off, controlled by how long you press the thing. On the other side is the volume button, it functions up and down like most volume phones. On the bottom front of the phone is a button that takes you the home page, and will light up the screen if it is off. It took me some time to like the buttons on the S3, since my Optimus had 3 buttons on the front bottom. The one button was too much like an iPhone for my immediate liking...but that is most likely because I dislike the iPhone.
The S3 gives you the option of having just one home screen or up to 7. I love this feature, as it allows you to arrange your app icons to suit your needs and desires. I even have one page for the kids who like...scratch that...LOVE my phone. There are 16 app icons to a page, so they have everything right there. I don't have to worry about them scrounging all through my phone looking...though they do it anyway.
One of my home screens has my background picture and nothing else. This makes it easy to share my current favorite picture without having to look! Unlike the Optimus, the S3 does not stretch that picture to fill all the home pages. Instead, each home screen as the complete picture as the background. I really like this when my picture is of one of my dogs or cats! I no longer have to just see a part of them, but their whole sweet faces!
I have both the Google Chrome and Firefox internet browser apps on my phone. I can pretty much look up anything so long as I have a phone signal. GONE are the days of telling a kid to grab a dictionary to find out what a word means! Now it is "Google it!" And they can instantly!
The camera on the S3 is incredible! First of all, there are TWO!! One "regular" one, and one front facing one! The regular camera off the back of the phone is 8 mega pixels of utter enjoyment! It has features like panoramic, which allow you to glide the camera around on a horizontal plane to get "all" the view. The "Burst shot" feature is one that enables you to make a still picture video. It also allows you to take 20 shots quickly of say a playing child, and then pick and choose the "best" ones.
Even though the Burst Shot allows you to make a still picture video, there is also a video feature. You can record things to video to share on Facebook or youtube. There is also a face detection feature, but I have not used this.
On the back of the phone is a flash for the camera. This also doubles as a flashlight with an appropriate app installed. The flash can be turned on or off or to auto. My black cat hates the flash, as it is VERY bright!
The camera has the same basic features as most phone and digital cameras, such as sepia tone, and black and white, etc. Switching from the front to the back camera is as easy as touching an icon on the screen. The front camera is only 1.9 mega pixel, so it is best for sharing...I have to laugh at that 1.9 MP is "only", since it is better than the first Sony digital camera I reviewed here more than a decade ago!! How times and mindset has changed the digital photography world!
If my husband or I take a really great picture or video that we want to share, the NFC or Near Field Communication feature allows us to do so by merely punching a few buttons and touching the phones together! It isn't always simple to get the phones to connect, but once a connection has been set up, the transfer of even long videos is done REALLY quickly! The NFC also allows you to use the phone in place of a credit card, if you have a card on file and the place of business has this feature. As another Epinions member said to me, it will make your iPhone users crawl with envy!
The speakers on the S3 are fairly decent. I have found that if I am listening to something, I can hear better if I place my hands behind the phone. I am pretty sure this is something to do with a feature of the phone that allows it to ring louder when in your pocket or purse.
My friend's husband is always teasing me about how hard this phone vibrates. We were out at Chili's a few weeks back. We were sitting at opposite corners of the table, and he was all giggly about the extent of vibration. I had to laugh because at the time it was only set to about 1/2 of its vibrating potential. Like most modern phones, the vibrate setting doesn't seem to be silent anymore, especially when it is sitting on something.
I have found myself using my phone as much as I use my desktop and Nook to read, play games, send emails, and surf the web. I have to wonder what on earth I ever did before the days of all this internet stuff!!
Oh wow! I almost forgot to talk about the battery! That is a rather important detail, especially when the S3 doesn't have a great one! I am just thankful that the makers of Android devices all see fit to use the same power plug! This has enabled me to have chargers at just about every place imaginable. I have a charger in the car, one by my computer, one in a USB port on my computer, and a cord and extra external batteries in my purse! The battery on the S3 will run out within just a few hours if you are playing a game or watching a video. I have depleted a full battery in just 3 hours playing on the phone, and had the battery last 2 days with just phone use.
Some of the more fun features that I think are more the Android 4.1.1 version and not the phone, are things like tapping the top to make a page scroll down and shaking the phone to change the look of things on the screen.
As to how the phone works as a phone? Hmmm, it works like a phone! Heeheehee!! No, really though. It has great phone features as well. There is no canned or tunneling sounds when you talk on the phone. Even on speakerphone, the sound is reasonably good. It sounds a bit canned or tunnel-ish, but it is still understandable. I only use the speakerphone when driving and going through a school zone...using the cell phone in your hands will get you a ticket in these zones in Texas...
I live way out in the middle of nowhere in Midland, Texas. If I can get great coverage here and not experience dropped calls, I would say that is a pretty good phone!
I have had no issues with signal, except when Sprint had overall outages...well no issues except when I get farther out of town than usual...remember, there is NOTHING out there! My husband works way out on the south side of Midland. With the old LG phone, he rarely had a signal. It is improved with the antenna on the S3 to the point that if he stands at a certain place he can get a call or text out.
I have had a few issues with the screen and the dial pad while using the S3, but I am more convinced that is either user error or the Android system's quirks, as I have had the same problem with every phone I use. There is something about holding it at a certain angle that the screen blacks out...I think it must be the angle that one usually holds a phone to talk on. The blacking out is a safeguard to avoid accidental hangups if the phone touches your cheek...been there and done that with one of the phone along the way. It is annoying when trying to press one, but like I said...it isn't unique to the S3, and it is just as likely ME as anything else.
I am so smitten by the Samsung Galaxy S 3, that I can see the next 2 years as being phone bliss! Unless there is a next best thing when upgrade time, the S3 is the first phone that I have had that I think I will love using...even as the dinosaur it will be by then!