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Samsung Galaxy S III review: Your next Android phone

Ginny Mies | June 21, 2012
The Samsung Galaxy S III ($200 with a new two-year AT&T contract, price as of June 20, 2012) is one of the most hyped phones this year

Video does look excellent on the Galaxy S III's display. All of my test videos played smoothly, and the sound was quite good. You'll definitely want to watch movies on this phone--just don't try to pop them out of the player.

Since the Galaxy S III has a MicroSD slot, you can tack on more storage. Depending on the carrier, some Galaxy S IIIs come with 50GB of Dropbox storage for two years (the Sprint and T-Mobile versions both do, at least, and all of the Canadian versions will).

Performance

While the global versions of the Galaxy S III have Samsung's quad-core Exynos chip, the U.S. versions have a dual-core Qualcomm S4 chip. We tested a series of benchmarks on the Galaxy S III, and it performed very well against the competition. The Galaxy S III outperformed the HTC EVO 4G LTE, which has the same chipset, on the Geekbench, Andebench, and Sunspider JavaScript benchmarks. It lost out, however, to the LG Optimus 4X HD, which has a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor.

We also tested page-load time over Wi-Fi for the Galaxy S III, using a page custom-built by the PCWorld Labs. The page has multiple JPG images, as well as text and tables. The Galaxy S III loaded the page in 11.5 seconds, while the LG Optimus 4X HD loaded it in 10.3 seconds and the HTC EVO 4G LTE loaded it in 6.5 seconds.

Call quality over AT&T in San Francisco was quite good. My friends sounded clear and natural on the line, with no static or hissing. My friends offered similar praise for the call quality. I did not experience any dropped calls during my hands-on time.

We tested AT&T's 4G LTE speeds using the FCC-approved Ookla app. In the South Park neighborhood of San Francisco, I got an average download speed of 23.28 megabits per second, and an average upload speed of 8.66 mbps. Those are ridiculously fast speeds, and I could see the power of AT&T's network when downloading apps (which took seconds), browsing the Web, and watching streaming video.

In my hands-on time, I found the battery life to be satisfactory. The Galaxy S III lasted through a full day of heavy use (lots of Web browsing, picture taking, and game playing) before I needed to charge it again. We'll update this review with the Labs' formal battery-test results once we finish our testing.

Camera

Competing handset makers have made a big deal about the cameras on their phones, but Samsung hasn't hyped up the Galaxy S III's camera. Not that the company really needs to; in my experience using multiple Galaxy phones, I've always found the cameras to be good. The Galaxy S III's 8-megapixel snapper is no exception.

 

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