Samsung Galaxy S III Smartphone Review And Test Report

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USABILITY

Lets look at the Galaxy S III from start to finish and how it works in daily use.

As a Phone

Galaxy S III Voicemail

Phone interface

Despite headlines to the contrary, most people still use their smartphones as (drum roll please) a phone. This means people place calls, receive calls, put calls on hold, check voicemail, make conference calls, in short, everything that one expects a phone to be used for.

Here the Galaxy S III shines. Even if you have no interest in smartphone features at all, it is an excellent mobile phone. The onscreen dialing pad, thanks to the high-res display, is clear and sharp. The buttons are fairly large (thanks in part to the size of the screen) and that means fewer misdialed calls. Context specific options appear and disappear in response to the situation, i.e. you won’t see an option to place a call on hold until you’re already on a call.

Having used other smartphones, including the iPhone and models from HTC and Samsung, which are more computer than phone, this was a refreshing change of pace.

As a Small Tablet

The Galaxy’s S III’s 4” display isn’t really big enough to put it in the hybrid “phablet” category, a category where the Samsung Note II’s 5.5” display makes it king, but it’s more than enough to look at web pages, read ebooks, play games, and get a larger view of maps.

The responsiveness of the display, combined with the size, results in a great user experience for apps that lend themselves to a large screen. Reading books on the Kindle App, for example, works so well on the large screen that on shorter journeys I have started forgoing a tablet or regular Kindle in favor of just using the Galaxy S III.

As a Wi-Fi Hotspot

One reason for carrying a smartphone is for the built-in tethering functionality. Until tethering became more prevalent, I carried a portable hotspot but it was easy to forget to bring it along, whereas most people wouldn’t forget their mobile phone.

Setting up tethering is easy. A few taps, point the tablet or laptop to the phone’s hotspot, enter the password (which is easily editable), and you are connected.

I have been able to clock speeds of over 7 Mbps on T-Mobile’s HSPA+. While I did not enable tethering on the Verizon version, I would expect it to perform in a similar fashion.

Click here to continue to Page 4Setup, Problems, and the Bottom Line

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