Comparing Oppo Find 5 with Samsung Galaxy S4. Thickness and weight seem pretty identical, so are the camera and screen quality. The Find 5 has a thicker chin though, so it’s taller and its lens’ depth of field is narrower but the S4 produces much sharper and more vivid photos.
A lesson in redundancy
To make sure you don’t miss the time or date, the Galaxy SIII by default shows the time and date three times each (and twice on the same widget) but somehow the third clock at the bottom right hand corner is late. A manual refresh brings that clock up to date. For what it’s worth, it looks like that one is meant to be a time stamp for the weather condition. It says cloudy but it’s raining outside. – View on Path.
In short, the evaluation report makes the case that the Galaxy (identified here as the “S1″) would be better if it behaved more like the iPhone and featured a similar user interface. And it appears to play directly into Apple’s charge that Samsung “slavishly copied” the iPhone.
Is this document the smoking gun?
Of all the phones that I’ve ever had to use, I’ve never had one anywhere near as large as the Samsung Galaxy S III. At 4.8 inches, the S III is the largest phone I’ve ever held in my hand, but it’s also the thinnest. The screen is simply enormous and it is quite a sight to behold. It is also very clear and very sharp. This new flagship phone from Samsung runs Google’s latest version of Android, called Ice Cream Sandwich, and comes in two colors which it calls Marble White and Pebble Blue. It officially retails for Rp 6,999,000 (USD 740).
I hardly ever use the telephone function on these so-called smartphones. As far as I’m concerned, these are data pads, mobile devices that take advantage of the high speed cellular connections for various Internet-reliant apps and services, and for this purpose, the S III simply screams. It’s clearly up there among the best, if not the best Android phone I’ve ever used.
The S III comes with several Samsung-exclusive apps and features including the S Beam, S Memo, S Planner, S Voice, Smart Stay, Direct Call, and an early beta version of Flipboard through the Samsung Store. Owners of the S III are entitled to receive 50GB of Dropbox storage for two years, which is double that of the offering from HTC.
The S Beam allows you to exchange files with other Samsung phones that carry this app by only bumping the phones together over a special wireless network that needs to be activated from the phone. Unfortunately at this moment this means the feature works only among S III phones.
The S Voice is Samsung’s answer to Siri. Voice recognition on this device is pretty decent but you’ll probably still find it faster to just type things out because it would sometimes dictate the words wrong, even if you don’t have a thick accent.
While S Planner and S Memo sound pretty explanatory, Smart Stay is one feature that Samsung seems to be very proud of. It lets the screen to remain bright and active by tracking your eyes through the camera. Unfortunately even though it does have a disclaimer that it needs a bright environment to perform properly, this is one feature that rarely works and therefore falls under the category of plain old gimmick.
Flipboard is an app that has become crucial to my daily routine. If older people are attached to their newspapers, Flipboard is what I read every morning and whenever there’s a free time and to have the app available from the Samsung Store is almost a godsend. To get Flipboard from the Samsung Store you’ll have to sign up for a Samsung account, but it seems that the exclusive period has ended and you can get the app by signing up for a beta program directly through Flipboard’s website.
If you already have a Dropbox account, you won’t need to sign up for a new one as the Dropbox entitlement will simply be added to your account. While the promo says 50GB, it’s actually 48GB on top of the standard free 2GB, so if you sign in to Dropbox from the S III with your existing account, you will have 48GB added to your account. In other words, if you already scored 16GB from the referral scheme, you will now have 64GB of Dropbox storage. Just remember that the extra 48GB will expire after two years.
On the hardware side, the rear camera captures videos at 1080p high definition and photos at eight megapixels, while the front camera produces two megapixel shots and VGA recording. Both cameras take really good photos, especially the rear camera which takes amazingly sharp and detailed photos. Due to the position of the front-facing camera, which is a little bit off center, video calls can look a little bit off in terms of angle. Facial recognition isn’t much to talk about, probably best ignored because it would fail half the time.
The battery on the S III is pretty decent. From a full charge, the phone would last for 10-12 hours with significant Internet use thanks to the 2100mAh battery capacity. If you rely more on WiFi, it would easily last longer. Given the capacity of the phone, I expected more out of it but since the screen is quite large, getting up to 12 hours with my regular usage pattern is perhaps reasonable.
The phone is very thin, quite light, and easy to carry although it feels plasticky and hollow. Somehow this seems to be a trademark of Samsung’s as the Galaxy S, the Galaxy Y, and even the Tab, all have that same feel.
In short, the Galaxy S III is clearly a phone that’s ahead of the pack. A lot of the Samsung-exclusive apps may be not much more than gimmicks but the device itself does the job very well. It wouldn’t be surprising to see this phone on top of the Android line up, even ahead of the benchmark Galaxy Nexus.
On a personal level, this phone is a bit difficult to use due to its size. Having used to the iPhone’s 3.5-inch screen and the N9’s 3.9-inch screen, going beyond 4 inches posed a lot of typing and usability issues. If you’re the kind of person who would use such a device with two hands, it might not be a problem but for those who are used to using smartphones one handed, anything beyond a 4-inch screen would require some palm acrobatics, or resort to using two hands.
Oh one last thing, the Motion feature set is certainly one that is worth checking out and what is probably my favorite Motion feature of the phone is the screenshot action. On other Samsung phones you press a combination of physical buttons to take a screenshot, but on the S III, you can swipe the side of your palm across the entire screen from one side to the other and it will capture it for you. It can be hit and miss from time to time due to your hand pressing too hard on the screen, but it’s certainly pretty cool.
Samsung Mobile USA put up a video this week showing several tasks that supposedly the iPhone can’t do but can be easily done on a big ass 5-inch Galaxy note with a stylus. A STYLUS! How 1994.
Of course, when Tap Magazine found out about it, they went to work on rebutting every point in the video by doing everything it said the iPhone can’t do, on an iPhone. Including shooting and editing the video.
Elizabeth Woyke for Forbes:
Bada/Tizen could eventually power a lot of Samsung products, but the transition will take time. Kang said Tizen will probably find its way to “at least one to two” Samsung devices this year. ”Tizen will not become Samsung’s main operating platform anytime soon,” he added.
"anytime soon" in the mobile world means within a year. In two years, who knows. Five years is an eternity, just ask Nokia and RIM.
I can’t believe I forgot about Tizen, the MeeGo offshoot that Intel and Samsung had been working on since September after Nokia practically abandoned MeeGo to join the Windows phone camp. This is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about in my earlier blog post.
Looks like Tizen is far enough in its development that Samsung is said to be ready to show it at Mobile World Congress next month in Barcelona.
Given that Samsung has been delivering phones that have become hits among consumers, it’s only a matter of convincing them that these Tizen phones are as good if not better than its Android offerings.
Though Tizen right now looks like a poor copy of Android, things could change between now and launch time.
An important factor in delivering a mobile platform is the support of third party developers working on the most important apps for consumers. Right now, apps and web services are still the primary draw cards for smartphone platforms and if Samsung can convince developers to create the right apps for Tizen, consumers could be ready to pick up.
It’s never the number of apps available on a platform but which apps, games, and services are available. At the moment, social network services as well as photography apps are the major draw cards to smartphones in addition to productivity and games.
Put the right apps and payment system in a platform’s application store, and consumers will be tempted. Of course, this is if the phones and the operating system themselves are solid enough. Nokia’s N9 with MeeGo and Microsoft’s Windows Phone have the hardware and operating systems all set but neither have managed to convince developers of the most persuasive apps and web services to adopt their respective platforms.
Not having killer apps would kill a platform. All platform vendors know this and it’s something they have to deliver to ensure consumer adoption.
Today’s Monday Note by Jean Louis Gassée sparked an interesting thought and possibility that Samsung is gaining a serious upper hand in the Android world and could use it as leverage against Google. Now why would Samsung do that?
At this point, Samsung probably wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize the relationship with Google, after all, it’s selling tons of Android phones across the world and has become the number one smartphone maker on the planet because of it. Samsung owes a lot of that to Google.
On the other hand, it’s exactly this position that may allow Samsung to put pressure on Google. Samsung is large enough to dwarf its closest competitors and enough of an influence to pull off two of the three Nexus phones, the pinnacle and showcase of Android.