Most helpful positive review
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely great phone
on 14 March 2013
This phone is both a beauty and a brain. I was unsure about its size at first, but after reading lots of good things, I decided that this is probably the best one in the market right now. I found it to be a bit big and heavier than my old SI and my hand got tired when I held it for a long time. However, it took me only a couple of days to get used to it. Now I don't find the size to be a problem at all. The design looks better than I had expected. As I have the blue one, I love the glossy back cover. It makes the phone look more sleek. Plus, it fits well in the hand because of the curvy sides (but it can be a tiny bit wobbly if you want to type when it lies on the desk).
As for the software, mine comes with Jelly Bean 4.1.2, which I think is a great improvement from my old Gingerbread. With this update, you can install Google Now, which people say is better than the in-built Samsung S-Voice. Although I don't really use it much in my daily life, I'm impressed by how clever it is. The innovative Smart Stay works in a limited condition. If your face is not directly looking at the screen or if the light is not enough, it won't work. It is nice to have, but I won't depend on it. A big screen means a big keyboard, which helps my chubby finger to type faster and more accurately. The clarity and vividness of the display is stunning. I heard some complaints the dimness. I have to disagree. I don't even have to set it to half the brightness level to get a good picture.
Regarding battery life, which is everyone's concern, I think it is pretty decent, if you know how to handle it. For example, turn off the functions that are not in use, like GPS, Wi-Fi or Mobile data. Don't set the screen too bright (it's even better if you use a darker colour wallpaper). Clear the running applications by using the Task Manager (long press at the home button and then delete). Set reasonable frequency of data syncing. If the phone has to constantly download something all the time, the juice is sure to run out fast (so is your data quota). Importantly, install an energy-saving application. I have been using Juice Defender for many years and I highly recommend it. Especially in the paid version (only costs a couple of pounds), you can select the level of saving mode. I choose Custom Mode, which will turn off the Internet connection when the screen shuts down, but let you select the programmes that you want to keep connecting. This means you can still receive emails and instant messages real time. I did all this and I got my phone battery to last over 18 hours with moderate use (browsing, making calls, watching a few youtube videos). That is quite impressive by a smartphone standard.
Now, the S3 owner's biggest nightmare - the vulnerability of the screen. The phone huge display makes it more likely to crack when dropped on a hard surface. Gorillaz glass can prevent minor scratches, but not a direct impact. A good screen protector is still a must, and for a peace of mind, use a protective case. Sadly, it may compromise the gorgeous design of the phone. But if you will, you might want to choose the one that also covers all the rim of the front screen because it will help if you drop the phone on the side or face down. From many drop tests that I've watched, I notice that the screen tends to crack while the software still works fine.
Sorry for the long review. Like many have said, this phone is outstanding, but it's not perfect. That's why I gave 4 stars. However, so far I am very happy with it and think I made the right decision.