The latest Android smartphone--Samsung's Galaxy S3--has been called a potential iPhone killer. It's certainly a sleek eye-catcher, but is there anything to the claim?
Read on to find out why it may be among the year's bestselling mobile devices--and why it might not be the best option for your business.
Display and Size
Featuring a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED (ultra crisp and colorful) screen, the device offers a large display for videos and presentations. If you frequently access database programs, enjoy reading eBooks, or often find yourself pulling up product pages, you may appreciate the extended visual real estate.
Road warriors who prefer portability and convenience may be less impressed by the cell phone's physical footprint. Although lightweight, the Galaxy S3's dimensions sit somewhere between a phone and a tablet.
Operating System and Battery Life
Packing a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, the S3′s computing performance is snappy and responsive, although the speed at which apps load and close lags behind other Android devices. That being said, thousands of business-friendly apps will run comfortably on the device's Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" OS.
Besides standardized features like Google apps, Bluetooth, and WiFi, the Galaxy S3 also offers near field communications (NFC) capabilities that allow you to beam files, photos, documents, and videos between compatible handsets. Multimedia such as photos and slideshows can be shared between Samsung TVs, phones, and tablets using the AllShare Play service.
Whether you're surfing the Internet or immersed in applications, the phone's battery life holds up favorably under intense use. However, you'll still need to recharge the device daily, unlike long-lived competitors such as the Droid Razr Maxx.
Wireless Download Speeds and Performance
Offering 3G wireless speeds, the Galaxy S3 provides industry standard performance when browsing the Web, downloading apps, or accessing streaming media. Faster 4G LTE support is limited by carrier and market, with users in major metropolitan areas most likely to enjoy a performance boost. While baseline download rates are adequate for everyday business purposes, note that actual speeds will vary by carrier. Heavy multimedia and data users should consult wireless providers' coverage maps before buying.
Face and Speech Recognition
S Voice, Samsung's response to iOS speech-controlled personal assistant Siri, allows you to dictate commands to open apps, dial numbers, schedule tasks, take notes, or get turn-by-turn directions. You can also use it to unlock the phone, or access features such as voice recording. But real-world performance is haphazard--so expect some glitches. Siri is still the better assistant for hire.
Built-in face recognition software allows for image tagging, useful when promoting snapshots of friends or coworkers on social networks. The device's front-facing camera also detects eye movement and prevents the display from going dark while in use.
Camera and Video
As with the iPhone 4S, an 8MP camera with LED flash allows for sharp-looking product or event shots. Speedy shutter response times and burst shot modes also help produce pro-quality images. That 1.9MP front-facing camera unit is provided for mobile videoconferencing while on the road. Footage can be captured in 1080p high-definition, and audiovisual performance lacks the noise, muted colors, and jerky playback common to video captured on smartphones.
Competitively priced (starting at $199.99 for the 16GB and $249.99 for the 32GB), the Samsung Galaxy S3 is not a must-have for entrepreneurs. It comes close to rivals like the Android stalwart HTC One X and the iPhone 4S, but it doesn't top them.