LONDON, UK–You’ve probably read all the rumors about the next Samsung Galaxy smartphone. And guess what — most of them are pretty spot on. Samsung’s upcoming flagship handset, now with an official name, the Samsung Galaxy S III, has finally made its debut here in the chilly English capital.
The handset official specs include a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display with a 720p resolution (1,280 x 720 pixels), HSPA+ connectivity, an 8-megapixel camera, 2,100mAh removable battery as well as a quad-core Exynos processor. It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as its operating system, and will come in two color options — blue and white.
While this is the global version that Samsung showed off at its unveiling event, an LTE version of the Galaxy S III phone will come to the U.S., but it isn’t slated until December, a full year after the Samsung Galaxy Nexus launched on Verizon.
I had a chance to handle the smartphone before the official launch event, and here are my initial impressions of the handset, including a look at some of the newer features of the TouchWiz user inferface.
The 4.8-inch 720p display looks great — everything appears sharp, fonts were crisp, and colors were vibrant. Samsung was not willing to tell me early if the display uses a RGB matrix display (three sub-pixels per pixel) or a PenTile (two sub-pixels per pixel) one. I suspect it’s the latter due to the name of the display — it lacks the “Plus” at end, which denotes the RGB matrix version. It’s likely the S III uses the same display found on the Galaxy Note, but for a slightly smaller panel.
While the screen is huge, the phone doesn’t feel big. It’s slightly larger and thicker than theGalaxy S II, but still feels comfortable in my hands. At 4.7 ounces, it’s .6 ounces heavier than the Galaxy S II and about .1 ounce heavier than the HTC One X. The S III is however, thinner compared to the One X — .3 inches versus .35 inches.
Samsung has also made its 2,100mAh battery removable, and the handset will come in three storage capacities: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB (this latter size won’t be immediately available.) In addition, it has a microSD card slot for up to another 64GB of storage. The handset will have 1GB RAM for running applications.
Like the S II, the S III will feature an 8-megapixel camera. Samsung has learned some lessons from making the Galaxy Nexus, as the S III will have the zero shutter lag feature, too. The company also seems to have gotten some inspiration from the HTC One X, as the S III also sports a “select your best shot” feature after taking multiple shots. The implementation is different though — the Samsung smartphone will automatically suggest the best image for you based on a few factors including smile detection and facial recognition.