Exclusive: Samsung Galaxy S3 Hands-On & First Impressions

Samsung invited us to London for the unveiling of their next flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S3 i9300. The successor to the popular Galaxy S2, the Galaxy S3 combines impressive hardware configuration and an improved and customized platform, Android 4.0 ICS.

The Samsung Galaxy S3 was packed with a great set of hardware, starting with the recently announced Exynos 4 Quad – a quad-core mobile processor with each core running at 1.4GHz.

The super-sized form-factor of the handset included a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1280x720ppi. The size of the S3 is very close to the Galaxy Nexus which only had 4.5-inch screen but because f the much narrower bezel on the S3, it was able to fit a larger and somewhat curved glass display in the chassis. The only other handset that’s larger than the Samsung Galaxy S3 is the Galaxy Note.

The polycarbonate case of the S3 comes with a hyper-glazed finish that’s almost similar to brushed-metallic finish we’re familiar with with other handsets. That gives it a more solid and elegant look that’s not too plasticky at all. The design somewhat resembles the Galaxy Nexus but with a more rounded corner, soft edges and curved glass.

Samsung managed to upgrade almost every significant aspect of the handset, coming from the S2 – faster processor, bigger screen, larger internal storage, faster connectivity and an improved camera.

Samsung Galaxy S3 i9300 specs:

  • 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED screen @ 1280×720 pixels (306ppi)
  • 1.4GHz Samsung Exynos 4 Quad processor
  • Mali-400MP GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB, 32GB, 64GB internal storage
  • Up to 64GB via microSD card
  • 3G/HSPA+ 21Mbps
  • LTE (optional)
  • 8MP rear camera with LED flash
  • 1080p @ 30fps video recording
  • 1.9MP front-facing camera with HD video recording
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n with WiFi Bonding
  • 2,100mAh Li-Ion battery
  • 8.6mm thickness, 133gram weight
  • TouchWiz UX
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich

Aside from giving the handset a souped-up configuration, the Galaxy S3 also included a number of very interesting software enhancements which includes motion and facial recognition, an eye-tracking sensor, and an intuitive S Voice that understands natural language (obviously an inspiration derived from Siri in the iPhone 4S).

While the Galaxy S3 still had the same 8MP camera, they managed to make improvements with the sensor allowing it to boot up really fast, take photos in rapid successions (3.3fps) and work well even at low-light conditions.

We’ve only managed to take a few samples during the demo stage after the event but so far the results are pretty impressive both with the still shots and the full HD 1080p videos.

Samsung also made a lot of enhancements with the TouchWiz UX that customized the look and usability of Android ICS. The experience is more fluid, transitions are much smooth and the over-all responsiveness of the handset is impressive.

Our initial synthetic benchmarks showed the Exynos 4 Quad chip showing record-breaking results.

Images copyright Abe Olandres