November 27, 2012

Galaxy S III: the new smartphone reference?


Spearhead Samsung Galaxy S III is simply the most anticipated Android smartphone of the year. The wait is over: here in our hands. Is it a worthy successor to the Galaxy S II?

In 2 years, Samsung has upset the landscape of Android smartphones. Party after HTC or Motorola, the Korean manufacturer has unsheathed a 2009 Galaxy S which has found a winning formula: design from all but the top components, a screen large enough and flashy to high printing, and it must be confessed, a certain resemblance with the iPhone in both lines in thedell Studio XPS 1647 batteryuser interface.

Upon its release, the Galaxy S was nevertheless opposed to sharp competition: HTC was including in front of smartphone performance, but also better finished, as the Desire HD. However, Samsung has widen its lead with the Galaxy S II, a successor signing ultrathin, lightweight, and benefiting from a dual processor heart. Become a reference in its domain, the Galaxy S II has naturally created a strong expectation of his successor. The latter was also awaited for ... By Apple, which has meanwhile released its legal arsenal to defend its patents and design.

However, Samsung has taken its time to unveil the Galaxy S III, leaving especially enjoy HTC's Mobile World Congress to get its new line One: no need to rush, since Samsung can now impose its own agenda. After mounting the buzz, the manufacturer can finally unveil its new baby!

Therefore more hype, but a true smartphone that will have to face competition. On paper, you could be disappointed by some technical and aesthetic choices of the Galaxy S III. However, upon closer look, the new Galaxy S may well impose natural successor to the GS II on the throne of best current smartphone.

Equipped with a quad processor heart home, Exynos 4412 Quad, a Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1280x720 pixels and a photo / video sensor 8 MP/1080p the Galaxy S III runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich . As usual, off Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, Samsung has "customized" using its interface Touchwiz overlay, modified for the occasion. It's not just because the smartphone embeds some additional keys, including S-Voice, a voice assistant that is reminiscent of some memories ...

Design and ergonomics

Samsung was expected to turn on the design of the Galaxy S III. IPhone 4 to the latest HTC smartphones through the N9/Lumia Nokia 800, we have witnessed in recent years a move towards more materials and design quality "unibody" focusing on the fineness and uniformity ... to the detriment of caches and removable covers. We therefore asked whether Samsung would not take and break theDell Latitude E5400 Batteryplastic design of the Galaxy S II battery cover and rather ... low end. And the answer is negative: Samsung continues its momentum and renewed with the S III his own style. The hull of the smartphone is fully plastic cover keeping it thin, flexible plastic that can scare the first time you retire, but remains firmly in place, without play or cracking.


A short tour of the phone reveals the most classic choice: there is a 3.5 mm jack on the top, a micro USB port at the bottom of the hull, the volume buttons on the left and the lock button on the right. On the back, the camera / video is elevated relative to the rest of the hull, and indeed quite exposed to scratches. It is surrounded by a LED flash and a speaker. An objective video is on the front, with two sensors on which we will have the opportunity to return. Invisible in normal operation, the LED through the hull to blink when charging and notifications.

Thisdell latitude e6400 batteryapproach may therefore seem conservative, but it has an advantage at a time when more and more manufacturers seal their shell, Samsung continues to opt for a removable battery. We still regret the rim plastic imitation brushed metal: a bit of metal on a real high-end smartphone was not too many. But Samsung is Samsung, and if the materials used are not the most luxurious, all is well finished and inspires confidence when assembled.

The balance is quite successful outside: therefore move the components that drive the Galaxy S III, because this is where Samsung traditionally shines. After the Tegra 3 HTC One X, Samsung followed suit with no quad-core version of its Exynos home: Exynos 4412 Quad. This SoC ARM v7 is composed of 4 core Cortex A9, clocked at 1.4 GHz. The chipset is engraved in 32 nm. Compared to HTC One X is a little better on paper: the hearts of Tegra 3 operate at 1.3 GHz when used together, and spend 1.4 GHz when only the heart is used. In contrast, no pseudo fifth heart for low energy consuming tasks little.

Dell Inspiron 1320GPU SoC is a Mali-400 MP4, responsible for leading a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED screen with a resolution of 1280x720 pixels and a resolution of approximately 306 dpi. Characteristics reminiscent obviously the Galaxy Nexus S III screen is slightly larger (4.8 against 4.65 inches) and pixel density a little lower, the Nexus amount up to 316 pixels.

As usual, critics criticize him its Super AMOLED oversaturated colors and features AMOLED display that reveals a small frame on the screen, still much less visible than on a Galaxy S II, Due to the resolution denser. However, the colorimetry of GS III is still more convincing than its predecessor, and the viewing angle is simply impeccable.

The camera offers some common characteristics for a high-end smartphone: sensor retro-exposed pictures of 8 MP, 1080p video, and features that seem to be common: f/2.6, focal length of 4mm maximum aperture of 2.76 mm. These are features quite satisfactory for a smartphone, and we'll see in practice that the photos and videos take all their promises, but one could imagine that Samsung is playing brinkmanship and pass the bar as 12 MP Sony Xperia S andDell Studio 1558 Battery.

In front, there is a goal generating video still shots of 1, 9 MP and 720p videos. Both sensors operate at 30 frames per second.

No change either on memory and storage. Regarding RAM, 1 GB is found, which is the maximum of the current smartphones. The phone is available in 16 and 32 GB and storage capacity can be expanded with a MicroSD slot that can add up to 64 GB! A good point, especially since HTC has removed the possibility of extension on its terminals One.

We arrive at wireless, and what more, if it is that Samsung has thought of everything? We pass on the 3G: HSDPA (21 Mbps) and HSUPA (5.76 Mbps) are supported. Ditto for the Wi-Fi compatible B, G and N. Bluetooth 4.0 is the game, and manages the GPS A-GPS. Classic, what ...

What is less, even if the Galaxy S III is not the first Android smartphone to integrate, it is the presence of an NFC chip: it is especially designed to work with two integrated applications: Android beam, which is part of Ice Cream Sandwich, and S-Beam, an application for transferring files from Samsung, not working for the trouble between two Galaxy S III. A quick glance at the sensors to finish: the phone has an accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass and ... barometer.

Galaxy S III runsInspiron 1464Android Ice Cream Sandwich, version 4.0.4 to be precise. Unsurprisingly, the manufacturer does not Android in its basic version, as on the Galaxy Nexus, but mostly with its TouchWiz overlay, or more precisely a variant exclusive to the Galaxy S III. If you have a Galaxy S II ICS in the past, you will have noticed that the differences between 2.3 and 4.0 are strongly erased.

The variant of the GS III named Touchwiz Nature, however, is more radical in its changes, and finally closer to the original spirit of Ice Cream Sandwich, as it was designed by Mattias Duarte, as imitation of iOS Touchwiz original. Should we see again a desire to avoid the wrath of Cupertino? Whatever the reason that prompted these changes, they are welcome, because the interface is both pleasant to use, while retaining the simplicity of the ICS "vanilla".

Before going into the details of the interface, however, a difference back to the fundamental shot between the original spirit of ICS and the Galaxy S III: the virtual keys are not integrated into the interface as the Galaxy Nexus or Android tablets. As was mentioned earlier, Samsung has chosen to renew its usual ergonomics: a central physical button and two touch keys. The center button serves several functions: a simple press returns to the home screen and long press opens the list of recent applications. The twoDell Vostro 1520softkeys are assigned to the parameter display, and back. ICS purists may prefer the Google approach, where we have a dedicated button to display the Application Manager, but can not find the time needed to hold down the center button too long. However, this change has a second consequence: the use of a smartphone button to display the options, while the practice advocated by ICS is more access to settings from the icon in the upper right of the interface.

Overall, the interface of the Galaxy S III is conspicuous by its simplicity. Samsung has sold a few effects such as scrolling carousel screens receptions reminiscent Sense, or manager of browser tabs Coverflow way, but in general, it is far from a Sense 4 which redraws all ICS sauce: Samsung, for example, kept the task manager minimalist and intuitive from the standard version of Android 4.0. In addition, we always appreciate the presence of shortcuts to disable the various circuits directly from the notifications panel.

Samsung additions occur especially in applications provided, as well as various small features added here and there, including using proximity sensors. All are not really necessary, and some even suffer a functioning quite random, but include particular Smart Stay, a feature that uses the front objective to detect your face, especially your eyes leave the screen on, or instead it off if you do not look. Other gestures are included rather original: Wear your phone to your ear after reading an SMS to call the recipient, place theVostro 1015screen side to disable ringtones ... Why not!

Telephony

We will not stop raving about the telephony layer, but simply say that we did not notice any problem call quality is there, transmission and reception, and not worry proximity sensor that would cut a call inadvertently.

Multimedia

Key Samsung is also reflected in the media, and lose nothing of the main strengths of the Galaxy S II's video support seamless. The reader has a home provided DivX Certified, and therefore reads, without adding a third player, almost all videos that gave him: DivX, Xvid, MKV, H264 ... And what is more without re-encoding necessary.


We note in passing rather original functionality: the ability to display a video "picture in picture" over any application. It may seem a little gadget, just to show that the Exynos Quad was in the belly, but one can imagine cases where you want to keep an eye on a video while doing something else. However, the interface of a smartphone is not made for it, we never know where to place the window. It might be more interested on a shelf.


On theDell Inspiron 1521output video to the TV, the Galaxy S III provides an HDMI output via MHL protocol, but with one caveat: Micro USB connector with additional pin, it will be impossible, as we made the sad experience of use the adapter of the Galaxy S II. And in the absence of new adapter when our test, so we did not test this feature. In contrast, no problem regarding the DLNA, which works exactly as expected, and without a hitch.

The audio is a little less difference, even if Samsung provides a pleasant drive to use and feature rich enough: it manages profiles preset equalizer, but a real equalizer preset to suit his tastes. On this point, Samsung has not eroded the basic features of Ice Cream Sandwich as did HTC Sense on the 4. In addition to equalization, Samsung has also included some more or less useful effects: the spatial and improving clarity, so X-Fi, are quite effective, but adding reverb is superfluous. We regret, however, since the power of the processor allows clear lack of management fade or play "gapless". However, the alternative is no shortage of players on the Play Store for more picky. We note in passing that thexps m1530retains the FM tuner of its predecessor. It is always better than nothing.

Internet

We will not dwell on the Internet, because it is absolutely no surprise: there are Google applications (web browser, mail client Pop / Exchange / IMAP, Gmail ...), and not much more. The web browser has a few "customizations" made in Touchwiz: tabs, for example, displayed horizontally and in 3D, so HTC Sense. However, unlike Sense 4, Samsung has not cropped on the boundary already binding, 8 tabs. We may regret the absence, by default, support for Twitter and Facebook, not even through a widget: Google+ is logically put forward.

Obviously, the screen of thedell xps m1330is a treat for surfing and Ice Cream Sandwich forces, fluid scrolling and zooming is perfect. Despite the abandonment of Adobe Flash on mobile, you can always find a compatible version of ICS on Play Store, and again, videos and animations are no problem fluidity. It took until the monsters power as GS III to finally have a plug-in that delivers the performance expected of it!

Not much to complain about either side of the game: the higher resolution of the Galaxy S III is not flinching GPU Mali 400 MP4. The few games tested, including Riptide, Shadowgun and Dungeon Defenders are rotated perfectly fluid. In contrast, the presence of tactile buttons on the bottom of the unit increases the risk of accidental pressing holding the smartphone in landscape mode: we arrived to operate the Menu button during game in Riptide.

S-Voice: a clone of Siri without genius

The gossips say that they could not help it: the Galaxy S III incorporates its own alternative to Siri, the voice assistant in the iPhone 4S. The concept is the same, and application design is largely inspired from Apple: the bottom of the screen icon microphone can start a voice request. Once the above stated, it is sent to the server with a latency Samsung, and executed with a return speech.

S-Voice handles requests altogether classic call a contact, send an SMS, create a memo or event title play on the MP3 player, launch an application, search or learn about the weather.

In practice, we found imperfect speech recognition, especially for names. The application includes commands correctly but often tangled brush as soon as you place a contact, artist or song title in the equation. On this level, Siri seems more powerful, but still far from optimal though.

The problem ofDell Inspiron 1520S-Voice, it was his lack of personality. Already, nasal voice is quite unpleasant. But above all, Samsung has not been able to reproduce what is part of the effect of "wow" Siri: humor and feel that exudes intelligence, even if it is absolutely not. S-Voice knows he has to respond to requests, and answer "I do not understand" when he does not speak English with a French accent for no reason. Do not try to be funny, or ask questions in a roundabout way, you will hit a wall.

In short, if the original is already more or less a gadget in the current state of things, this pale copy unoriginal and not more effective, even somewhat less, is even more futile and does nothing. That is, just to say that Samsung has its own Siri, and that's all.

Galaxy S III is equipped with the latest in family Exynos. How is this processor quad heart "home" clocked at 1.4 GHz compete Qualcomm, NVIDIA and ST Ericsson? To find out, we conducted all our usual benchmarks. Start with the processor ...

Linpack

Linpack is a benchmark that evaluates the power of the processor. The result is expressed in millions of floating point operations per second (MFLOPS). Compared to Benchmark Pi, the main advantage lies in the possibility to test multi threaded (multi-core processor so).

The single and multi threaded tests remain largely dominated by S. HTC One The dual-core SoC Snapdragon S4 Krait (1.5 GHz) Qualcomm does wonders managing to hold a candle to the quad-core Exynos 4412 (1.4 GHz, Galaxy S III) and Tegra 3 (1.5 GHz, HTC One X).

Multi threaded, the Galaxy S III ascended still the second step of the podium almost tied with the iPhone 4S (A5 SoC, double heart 800 MHz).

SunSpider

Web site with SunSpider, the authors of the benchmark JavaScript HTML rendering engine Webkit (Safari, Chrome ...). Galaxy S III lets talk powder by winning the high score ranking. Good results are confirmed by practice. Surfing is perfectly smooth in all circumstances.

GL Benchmark (Off Screen)

GL Benchmark evaluates the performance of the graphics terminal. Offscreen test is independent of the resolution. Here, the Galaxy S III again won the race, ahead clearly HTC One X and other iPhone 4S.

Autonomy

The Galaxy S III has a 2100 mAh battery, which is supposed to guarantee a good autonomy despite intensive components. And it is true in practice: on our test autonomy in use, it ranks third position behind the Huawei Honor and the Motorola Motoluxe, two smartphones much more modest. It is also better than its closest competitor, the HTC One X, which is still much better than leaving the road.

Photo / Video: the software part

Before detailing the performance of the Galaxy S III pictures and videos, make a turn on the software, which is always full. Among the many options available, it will benefit from a timer, some scenes (sunset, sport, indoor, fireworks ...), a burst mode, an HDR mode, the settings of parameters such that the exposure or sensitivity, scenes, macro mode, and some gadgets like smile detection.


Performance picture

No 12 MP for Galaxy S III, then, but that does not mean, however, that the photo and video sensor is recessed. Let us recall briefly the characteristics of the sensor back that we used in our tests: it is rétroexposé, which provides better sensitivity even in difficult lighting condtions, and goes up to 8MP photo.


Speak now practice. Very simply, the Galaxy S III displays excellent image quality, among the best we have ever seen on a smartphone.

It begins with our test scene, which allows us to immediately note two characteristics of the lens. Firstly, the very high accuracy of the images produced: one can quibble around the edges a little less well defined, but it is the case of all sensors of smartphones, and the gap is far be obvious. We also note the side very flattering colors and contrasts: it is certainly a little less saturated than it looks on the Super AMOLED screen of the mobile, but the images are a bit more "flashy" than in the real life.

The exterior is also an opportunity to test the rendering device in HDR mode, and again, we are amazed: the responsiveness of the device, apparently supported by the processor quad-heart is so remarkable that it took several shots to inspect realize he took out two different views.

Conclusion

A year after the release of theInspiron 1720 Battery, which probably remained, until very recently, the best Android Smartphone available, his successor he managed the handover? Certainly, yes! The qualities of the Galaxy S III are numerous, and so we will start with what leaves us cold, namely the design and finish. Of course, once in hand, the Galaxy S III is much less "cheap" it looks on paper. The design is not the most original, even if you feel that Samsung has at least made an effort to move away from the lines of its predecessor, but on a smartphone sold over 600 euros, we still expected a little more luxurious than glossy plastic shell with a metal rim in imitation.

Fortunately, Samsung catches up with a few surprises of his choice: the phone is almost as light and thin as the Galaxy S II, while a portion of smartphone users will appreciate the presence necessarily a removable battery and a Micro SD slot. In addition, if your back is weak, the facade Gorilla Glass 2 is excellent. However, it really reached the limits of use in terms of size: despite the undeniable comfort of the 4.8-inch screen, we meet as the Galaxy Nexus or HTC One X situations or use a hand is uncomfortable, especially forDell XPS M2010users with smaller hands.

One could also criticize some software additions that do nothing, as S-Voice, a botched clone of Siri that is not better than his model, though not very brilliant, and that is even worse. In the end, the functionality will only give grist to critics that Samsung will surely ironic about the plagiarism.

So what we have to blame the new flagship of Samsung. Else is simply the best of what we can expect from a smartphone in 2012. The processor quad-heart Exynos 4412 Quad explodes almost all its competitors, with the exception of S HTC One on some tests. The graphical part is not left: Mali 400 MP4 obtains excellent results. Regarding performance photo and video, the Galaxy S III is faultless: the images produced are accurate, the camera is a perfect response, especially with regard to gusts and HDR videos are fluid, responsive development ... We look good, there is nothing to complain aboutDell Inspiron 1721 Battery!

With a 4.8-inch screen (1280x720 pixels) and a quad-heart, one might have feared for the autonomy of the smartphone, but again Samsung ensures: 2100 mAh battery there is probably not unrelated.

Finally, the software has not been neglected: the photosensitive layer is rich in features, video player, DivX Certified, swallows all videos that he has provided, regardless of the format and definition, and audio player provides the essential (equalizer, enhancing effects and spatial ...). The overlay software is in sobriety: Samsung has adapted its Touchwiz interface conventions of Ice Cream Sandwich, with which he nevertheless takes large liberties, and provides an interface that is both simple and enjoyable, even if purists regret the disappearance part of "true" ICS.

In the end, theStudio 1535 Batteryappears in fact in line with expectations, but certainly below fantasies that buzz before its launch had been generated. It is, finally, a product Samsung's invoice is classic, but its performance is impeccable, and its full functionality. Its size XXL will not suit everyone, but the smartphone will satisfy those for whom it is not fatal.



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