This is a not so good review of the Samsung Galaxy S III cellphone. I bought one Saturday and I’m probably going to return it later today for a refund and reactivate my Motorola Droid X. Maybe some of you can talk me out of it. The interesting thing is that the Samsung Galaxy S3 gets glowing reviews everywhere and I will say up front, ALL THE STUFF IN THE GLOWING REVIEWS ARE TRUE.
So – you are asking – if this is such a great phone, why am I thinking about returning it?
It has to do with what I use my phone for and what I need it to do. I have been generally happy with my droid X but it’s not a 4G phone so I can’t talk and be on the Internet at the same time. The GPS is somewhat flaky and at times GPS stops working for some unknown reason. And a faster processor with more memory would be nice. So I’m interested in upgrading. But the upgrade has to do all the stuff my DroidX does and more.
The Galaxy S3 had all the specs I was looking for and then some. Assisted GPS works far better than the DroidX, the screen was bigger, faster processor, more memory, talk and surf at the same time, front facing camera, Android 4.0x ice cream sandwich. I thought – this is the phone for me. I very much wanted for this phone to be something I liked and was highly motivated to make it work.
But – after buying it I came to realize it had flaws that I just can’t live with and am about to wipe it to factory setting and send it back. Here’s why:
The DroidX has real buttons at the bottom for Back and Menu. The Galaxy S3 has touch buttons that are far too sensitive. And the real buttons are far too easy to push. So you can pick up the phone or hand it to anyone without accidentally pushing things that you don’t intend to push.
The phone is also thin and slippery and hard to pick up and when you do pick it up you find yourself pushing the side buttons accidentally. I did buy a cheap plastic case protector to put it in and that did help a little and maybe if I got a better one that would help solve that problem.
The next big item is that I use my phone in the car a lot. I live in the San Francisco Bay area and GPS navigation is a must and Samsung has no car dock for this phone. Tried some generic docs but just not the same. With my DroidX it just snaps in and I have power and it brings up the vehicle menu and it just works. After fooling around with a number of options I eventually realized that I was never going to get the car functionality from the Galaxy S3 that I needed.
Unlike Microsoft Windows which is about the same no matter what brand you get the Android phones are very different from brand to brand and Motorola gets the details right on usability. It generally just works. Samsung doesn’t pay that much attention to detail. I think the difference is that perhaps Motorola actually tests with real users and perhaps Samsung doesn’t or they would realize their problems.
It’s just a lot of little things. When I pair the Bluetooth with my 2012 Honda CRV the music player starts automatically. When I push the button on the dash to stop the music it doesn’t work. So I have to dig through the menus to stop the music when I get into the car. The DroidX auto launches the car app as soon as I mount it. The S3 doesn’t. So I have to unlock the screen and start a car app manually.The DroidX also would display the song title on the Honda screen, the S# doesn’t. I though the music player would be more compatible, not less.
Rotation is also annoying on the S3. This is a software issue but the damn thing is always flipping between portrait and landscape modes in an annoying way. Just enough to drive me nuts and makes me hate this phone. Generally I want it in portrait mode unless I turn it all the way on its side. Actually the DroidX flips too often for me as well but the Galaxy S3 is worse.
All the ring tones that come with the unit suck.
The S-Voice feature sucks as well. They are trying to clone Siri and Siri is just a gimmick. What I’d like to see is Google voice search get a few more useful commands and hold off on the nonsense until they get the AI really good.
The larger screen is nice but actually because it is larger it doesn’t fit in my hand as well. I’m not seeing as much benefit as I had hoped and Android is written for a smaller screen. So I’m beginning to think that 4.3 inches is actually the sweet spot for screen sizes.
The battery is larger than most 4G phones but you really need 2500 mah minimum for a 4G phone and battery like on the DroidX still seems better. Because of the larger screen this phone should have 3300 like the Razr Maxx. If they did it would make the phone a little thicker and easier to pick up.
The phone dialer is lame compared to the DroidX which shown more options. Much easier to redial.
Overall, this phone’s software needs a lot of work. There are just a lot of little things that should work that either don’t or don’t work right as compared to my DroidX. I think Samsung just doesn’t get it when it comes to doing it right.
So I’m about to take it back unless someone can talk me out of it. Feel free to comment. I’m thinking I’m going to hold out until someone comes out with a better phone than a DroidX.