Few thoughts on the Galaxy S III

Wanted to post this right after the event but I was quite disappointed by what I saw. So I waited a while till I could generate enough fucks for me to be able to write this. So here it is. 
  • The design is terrible. It’s even worse than what I expected it to be. I don’t expect Samsung to design good looking phones. That’s like expecting Apple to make an ugly product. They are just not capable of doing that. But the fact that the phone managed to disappoint me despite my low expectations means something is seriously wrong with it. The worst part about it is the back that actually looks like Samsung’s low-end Android phone. I’m not sure what made Samsung’s designers think that it was a good idea to make their flagship model look like their low-end models. When the iPhone 4S came out, people were wondering how people would tell their phone apart from the previous iPhone 4. Galaxy S III users will have to worry about how people will tell their phone apart from one that costs 1/3rd of that. 
  • The display seems impressive. I assumed it would be the same as the one on the Galaxy Nexus but it is a bit bigger. Some people are complaining about it having a PenTile matrix. I think that’s just being pedantic. The Galaxy S III has a pixel density of 300 PPI. You seriously think you will be able to make out the difference at that resolution? 
  • Samsung has opted for placing the keys below the display unlike on the Galaxy Nexus, which in my opinion is a smart move. Let’s face it, Android developers are dicks and it would take them years to adopt Google’s new system in ICS. Till then, you will have annoying menu buttons popping up on the screen like on the Galaxy Nexus and the One X. Having the menu button at the bottom is also very convenient. Google’s moronic decision to move it to the top of the screen in ICS makes it a pain to reach, especially on phones with bigger display. Now everything is within your thumb’s reach at the bottom of the screen. 
  • The phone seems to be pretty thin but that’s not such a big deal considering it is wide enough to land planes on. Android manufacturers seem to be having a hard time grasping how big a normal human hand and the thumb on it is. They seem to think that as long as you can hold the phone in your hand you will be fine, which is why we see abominations such as the Galaxy Note. But what about using the phone? Is your thumb automatically going to stretch to celebrate the fact that you now have a ridiculously big phone with a 5-inch display? 
  • The new SoC is good. Very good. It bested Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 in CPU benchmarks and even managed to beat the A5 on the iPhone 4S. Of course, five months later Apple will blow everyone out of the water again but for now the Exynos 4 Quad is the king of the benchmark hill. 
  • The camera seems to be identical to the one on the Galaxy S II, which is not bad because that is one of my all time favorite cameras. It’s just faster now thanks to the new processor and optimizations. 
  • The S-Voice seems like a Siri rip-off on surface, which is mostly because it is. But it has a few advantages over Siri. First of all, it can understand more accents. Secondly, it can launch applications, something that Siri inexplicably cannot do. Finally, you can launch S-Voice itself with your voice. It always felt silly to me that you have to launch the voice controlled feature on your phone with a button. Why not go all the way and have the whole thing voice operated from start to finish? Having said that I don’t think S-Voice is able to find Wolfram Alpha results for you, or suggest restaurants based on their menus or anything clever like that. 
  • The eye-tracking thing is cool. I feel like punching poodles whenever the phone’s display switches off when I’m reading something. This feature can come very handy. It remains to be seen how well it works in the dark and how much battery the front camera consumes. 

Overall, I think the launch event was a bit anti-climatic. The Galaxy S III is by no means a bad phone but I think we all expected a bit more than just an evolutionary upgrade. Samsung is the world’s biggest mobile phone manufacturer and the most profitable Android phone manufacturer but their phones don’t reflect that. The quality is there but it’s wrapped up in such a mundane shell that it generates practically zero emotions. 

Unfortunately, people will lap it up as usual, even those who are now complaining about it. People who buy with their head and not their heart. One can’t help but feel bad for such people. It must suck to be so practical all the time. To compare spec sheets and buy the one with the greater numbers. Then again, that’s practically every Android buyer out there, including myself whenever I’m pondering over which Android phone to buy. And you can’t blame us. Without the emotions, all that is left in these phones are the numbers. 

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