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Galaxy S3: Light years ahead

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The latest mobile from the Samsung stable is out. The device sports a huge display aimed at winning your heart. Besides the looks, it has also got muscle: A 1.4GHz quad-core processor. Now, all you need is a deep pocket

Every once in a while, there comes a worthy of all the pre-launch hype. The is one such. It competes for attention with Nokia’s flagship device, the Lumia 900, Apple’s iPhone 4S and its own predecessor, the Galaxy S2.

What’s S3 all about
The Samsung Galaxy S3 is somewhat larger and heavier than its predecessor, the Galaxy S2, but the display is significantly bigger and better. The dimensions of the new Galaxy phone are 136.6 mm x 70.6 mm x 8.6 mm. It has a 4.8-inch super AMOLED HD screen and weighs just 133g. This makes it lighter than iPhone 4S which weighs 140g. It is hard not to be wowed by a display that has a 1,280x720-pixel resolution and a pixel density of 306ppi. In effect, this would mean a screen that displays colours brightly and distinctly. Powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and a 1GB RAM having 16 or 32GB of internal storage (expandable with micro SD), it is truly power-packed.

The smartphone delivers the slickest Android experience you may have ever had, and brings iPhone-like levels of seamlessness while switching between apps and tasks. You will notice how swiftly the S3 flits between apps, games and web pages.

In order to provide enough power for the larger display and to improve battery running time, Samsung has equipped the S3 with a 2100 mAh battery. This is unprecedented in a smartphone—only the larger Galaxy Note has a battery with more capacity. The S3 is a significant step ahead of the current top models, the and the Galaxy Note, in terms of processing power. The 1 GB RAM and 16 GB storage are the same, but the processor has been upgraded and it shows. Camera-wise, you’re looking at an 8-megapixel rear camera with single LED-flash and 1080p HD video capture as well as a 720p HD front-facing camera. Video quality is remarkably impressive, with 1080p-recorded video serving up vivid colours and sharp details.

The S3 runs on the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, laced with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. One of the most eye-catching features in the S3 handset is Siri’s-rival S Voice. If you have ever tried Siri, then perhaps S Voice may look like a me-too feature but if this is your first tryst with voice commands then it can turn out fun. We asked S Voice to set alarms, give directions to a local restaurant and movies running nearby, and it gave accurate results promptly. Still, much like Siri, we can't really see why anyone would actually use this app in everyday life.

Another noticeable feature is Smart Stay that ensures the display never dims or turns off while one is looking at it. The eye-recognition feature (in which the front camera scans the user’s face) works well and comes handy while watching videos.

How S3 compares with peers
The Nokia is sleek and beautiful. It has won accolades for its design, although the specifications are not as high as those of the Samsung Galaxy S3. But Lumia addresses a user who wants to carry Windows OS. The Lumia 900 runs on Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, while the Galaxy S3 sports the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

The S3's camera is easily on par with imaging heavyweights such as Sony Xperia S. A comparison reveals that the S3 has a better camera output than that of iPhone 4S. This is because of new features that make photography easier on the S3 – like Burst Shot, where the phone captures 20 photos quickly and selects the best pictures for you. The second function is zero-shutter lag. The S3 is equipped with face-recognition software, which marks a picture of your friend and reminds you to send a photo to him/her.

You can’t dispute Samsung’s superiority with a quad core processor inside S3, best witnessed when running multiple applications. But surprisingly, the Apple iPhone 4S, with just a dual-core Cortex-A9 processor, did not seem to lag either. And, in design, we are rooting for Apple's iPhone 4S, because it’s elegant and fits in the palm. The back glass which the iPhone 4S has is the icing on the cake.

Verdict
Samsung Galaxy S3 is worth a buy, if you have the pocket to spend Rs 43,180 (listed MRP; the retail prices at stores may differ). The device is a superior amalgam of hardware and software that you can cram in your pocket. Does it beat Apple iPhone 4S? It does—in hardware—but that doesn’t mean the iPhone 4S is inferior. The iPhone 4S is equipped with iOS 5, one of the most user-friendly interfaces. The question—which is superior: Android or iOS?—has been debated for years. A device purchase, after all, can be a matter of preference. Here’s the last gem: While one has more functions, the other is easier to use. We will leave it at that.

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