Samsung Galaxy S3 : The Kenyan Story

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Samsung, They got it right:
Having previously owned previous flagship galaxy models I can proudly say they got it RIGHT.
I’ve had this device for roughly a week now all thanks to Safaricom for subsiding the price to a mere Ksh 60,000 while it goes for around Ksh 68,000 on Amazon. It comes in only two colours, Marble White and Pebble Blue. In my couple days of use I’ve noted the following:

 

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User Experience:
Its smooth, fluid and FINALLY NO LAG as you shift between tabs and panes. The phone doesn’t hang and Ice Cream Sandwich has been well skinned (Touchwiz) and optimized for this device. I haven’t restarted the phone in over 3 days (android woes) and that makes me a happy man. The calling and messaging functionality is really good (& that goes without saying).

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Camera:
Has one of the best 8 megapixel cameras in the market.The UI is simplistic with various modes. Shots occur with no lag. Video recording & simultaneous photo capture is possible. The pictures taken are of very high quality and the flash plays its part well in low light conditions.
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Hardware:
As it has a Quad Core Exynos processor running at 1.4Ghz, speed is on my side & so is power… Applications launch much faster & web pages load swiftly.

The 1GB RAM works hand in hand with the processor to allow excellent & REAL multitasking; I’ve managed to reach 8 concurrently open apps at a time without the phone screaming for help.

The phone sports a 4.8 inch screen. Too big you say? To the contrary…you get accustomed to the size and come to realize that you’ve been ‘needing’ it all along. According to trusted sites this phone is iPhone 4 fragile…..please don’t drop it as chances are you will shatter your screen.

I have fallen in love with the shape and design of this phone despite its extremely PLASTIC nature. The curved edges are a welcome change from the near rectangular predecessor.

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Browser:
The browser is fast & I see no imminent need to get other browsers on board. The browser allows you to Save web pages for offline reading, save bookmarks to your Google account and the data consuming Desktop View is also available.

Lock Screen:
Like the Galaxy S II, there’s no wrong way to unlock the device, you just drag your finger across the screen in any direction to unlock. Instead of having the lock screen drag itself with you like on the Galaxy S II, a new water ripple effect takes its place, along with the accompanying water sound. It’s nice. It’s cute. It’s different.

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Nifty apps & Features:
S-Voice – The competitor of Siri. This app is a far cry from good but has improved from the latter version of Vlingo. It allows you to use your voice to manipulate most bundled system apps. Its not as intuitive as Siri and me & my Kenyan accent/pronunciation doesn’t help the phone at all. All in all its a fun app to use but beware of data charges.

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S- Beam – This is a pretty interesting feature that takes Android Beam to the next level. S-Beam essentially initiates a WiFi-Direct connection between two phones by using NFC to make things easier and allow users to share pictures and videos quickly. Now as this feature only works with Galaxy S3’s ONLY (for now), its not a feature I’ve gotten to test.

Smart Stay – This is what we’d call one of the more ‘Human” features. The front facing 1.9 megapixel camera will track your eye movement and knows when you’re looking at the screen so that it doesn’t lock or go off while you’re using the device….nifty eh? It’s a behind the scenes feature that you never need to think about, which seems to be exactly what Samsung was going for.

Smart Alert – This reminds the user that they have unread notifications or missed a call. If the phone has been idle, the phone will vibrate once it’s picked up to let you know you have notifications waiting for you. This works all the time unlike the Smart stay that could disappoint.

Direct Call – For a feature that you might under use, Direct Call works well. It’s a very simple feature that will automatically call someone you’ve been texting simply by putting your phone to your hear while in the open text thread.

Screenshots – Samsung allows you to take a screenshot by swiping your hand across the screen from either side. It’s easiest to swipe the screen with your hand when its in a karate chop style.

Multimedia:
Video Player – The revamped video player shows live thumbnails of all the videos on your phone and also allows you to view nearby devices that you can view content from. From the video player, you can use the new popup video, which will open the video in a small window that you can move around on the screen. This allows you to surf the web, check your email, or whatever you might want to do on your phone without missing a moment of the video.

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Wolfson audio output: Using the standard 3.5mm jack, the drivers provide the best audio output in the market and it can still be improved by some devs I know. Check out Voodoo Sound…..

Music Player: This app has improved, offering smoother scrolling, search, Sound Alive and Music Squares.
Sound Alive is a set of predefined EQ’s that are better than most apps provide.
Music Squares checks the mood of the song and groups the similar ones in squares. A lovely app when in need of songs of a common tempo & mood.

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Battery:
The 2100mAh battery is nothing to write home about as its work is to support the power hungry processor running the system. Not to take all the credit away, this battery offers one a lovely 8 hrs of in between moderate & hard use with all settings on high other than Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Conclusion:
Samsung and the Galaxy S III prove that they aren’t after making Apple replicas but are designing and pressing on in their own way. 5 years ago Samsung had the most ill equipped phones in the market and now they lead the way, the tech world never seizes to amaze me and so does this phone.

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