The Samsung Galaxy S III figures to be one of the biggest smartphone launches of the year, a phone that the company hopes will take on both the iPhone 4S and the upcoming iPhone 5. We were able to go hands-on with the non-carrier specific device at CTIA 2012 in New Orleans and got a good look at the phone that Samsung announced last week at an event in London.
Samsung’s Galaxy S III is the third device to wear the Galaxy S name. It follows up the original Galaxy S and the wildly popular Samsung Galaxy S II which launched globally in 2011.
There had been quite a bit of anticipation leading up to Samsung’s “Next Galaxy” event which took place last week. However amidst all of the rumors and speculation, Samsung was able to keep a pretty tight lid on the Android-powered smartphone.
Now though, it has come out of hiding for the world to see and we were able to spend a considerable amount of time with it on the showroom floor.
The device in the video below is the global version of the device. That means that it’s packing the Exynos quad-core processor and HSPA+ speeds.
The United States will be getting a 4G LTE version of the phone in June and it’s assumed that the Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor will be on board that device, in place of the quad-core processor.
Other than that difference though, the device should remain the same.
The Samsung Galaxy S III features a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display with 720p resolution which looks great but is also massive. The footprint of the phone reminded us a lot of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and the HTC One X in that it’s a pretty big phone. Still, we found it fairly easy to grip with one hand.
Speaking of the design, the phone is thin, but it also feels like the Galaxy Nexus in that it has a plastic-feel to it. Some love that, some hate it. It’s not a deal-breaker though as the phone, plastic or not, features good build quality.
Oh, and it’s glossy. Really, really glossy.
The Galaxy S III also features an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 1.9 megapixel front camera. Samsung has included quite a few nifty features along with the cameras and the video will go over most of them.
They include Group Tags which will assign photos to groups kept in contacts, Social Tag which will match photos with peoples contact page images and something called Buddy Photo Share which makes it share a photo with a specific friend with a single tap.
As for the software, the Samsung Galaxy S III runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Google’s latest operating system, and yes, it does have TouchWiz, Samsung’s user interface, over the top. Like the plastic build, some like it and some hate it. From what we could tell, Sammy hasn’t done much with the interface so if you hated TouchWiz before, you’re probably not going to change your opinion.
We also were treated to an S-Voice demo, which is a virtual assistant that can help you control the device.
We came away fairly impressed by the device and it’s pretty clear that Samsung wants to focus on the software found on the Galaxy S III and not the hardware, similar to what Apple did with the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 and Siri.
The Samsung Galaxy S III will hit shelves in Europe on May 29th and it will be arriving in the U.S in June, although no carrier has announced availability yet.