- Samsung Exynos 4212 SoC with 1.4 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU and Mali-400MP GPU
- 1GB RAM and 16GB/32GB/64GB built-in flash storage
- 4.8" Super AMOLED HD capacitive touchscreen with 720 x 1280 resolution PenTile matrix
- Quad band GSM and 3G
- 21 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
- Wolfson DAC (yay for audiophiles!)
- 8 Megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash and 1080p30 video recording
- 1.9 Megapixel front camera with 720p video recording
- Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi 802.11b/g/n
- GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
- Contactless charging, NFC
- microUSB with MHL
Specifications aside, the 4.8" Super AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass layer is the main focus of the Galaxy S3. With a HD resolution of 720x1280 and 306ppi, the display is sharp. While Super AMOLED's over saturation isn't to everyone's taste, if you like your colours to pop out, the S3's display will not disappoint. On the other hand, the PenTile RBGB matrix is sadly noticeable so I wouldn't class this as a true retina-class display, and I know quite a few people will be disappointed by that fact.
Speaking about slim bodies, the Galaxy S3 is very slim. In fact at 8.6mm, it's one of the slimmest smartphones ever announced. On the other hand, it feels light and cheap. Liberal use of glossy plastic isn't the sort of material one would expect from a high end device like this. Design wise, Samsung has moved away from the blocky iPhone-ish design that the S2 sported. The S3 looks more like an older Samsung phone from yore, the Windows Mobile-powered Omnia II. Samsung has also claimed that the bezel on the S3 is thinner but a side by side comparison with the S2 proved that this isn't true.
Samsung has made a big deal about the speed of the camera with the ability to take almost instantaneous shots from start up, including shooting at a rate of up to 3.3 frames per second. The S3 also allows automatic sharing feature called buddy share. When activated, the S3 will use its facial recognition software to tag pictures and automatically shares them out to relevant people. While it may look neat on paper, it sounds like a disaster waiting to happen (imagine if the face recognition failed and send compromising pictures to someone else). Like the HTC One X, Samsung has also introduced simultaneous video and still shooting.
It isn't pretty, and the icon-based UI is getting rather dated. Despite using an interface that belongs in noughties, you can't argue that it doesn't get the job done. Power users will likely prefer to run something else (or root it and get a custom ROM on it), but the majority of users will be perfectly at home with TouchWiz. Samsung has attempted to give TouchWiz a more 'mature' look, but I still think it looks rather cartoony.
Overall there isn't much changes to TouchWiz UI, at least from a superficial level, over its previous version and to say that is a disappointment is an understatement. TouchWiz has existed in some form for many years and it is about time Samsung overhauled the interface. Beneath the interface however Samsung has upgraded the software with plenty of new features that they hope will differentiate their offering from other Android handsets.
Will the SGS3 dislodged the HTC One X as current world champion? Not on design it won't. HTC has paid plenty of attention to detail when it came to making their devices desirable. Samsung on the other hand seems content with providing the best in specs in what many seem to agree is a mediocre looking device.
Will raw specs be enough? After all there is more to a phone than just raw speed. Certainty Samsung seems to believe so. The key question here is will Sammy's ignorance of the need of good design cost them one day. Based on my conversations with other members of the media, many share the same disappointment with the design of the SGS3, so I believe that sooner or later Samsung will have to see the light and hire an actual designer. For what is essentially a hero phone, you kinda expect a mixture of premium materials of good design. Alas, only a proper review will reveal all, so do watch this space.
My friend from FoneArena has posted an extensive collection of pictures, and will no doubt offer his hands-on preview soon.