The Samsung Galaxy S III comes with Android 4.0.4 out of the box, however, we have to deal with TouchWiz again, this time inspired by nature! They call it - TouchWiz Nature UX, but we failed to see any connection with the skin and nature excpet for the water disturbed screen effects that are also available in any other Android device with Live wallpapers. Moving on, Samsung has tweaked and changed a few things to give it a fresh look. The lock screen is no longer a glass, but has water effects instead. Touching it creates ripples on the screen and you simply swipe anywhere in order to unlock it. You can also add and slide over shortcut icons to open that app directly. They've also added a slide up notification bar from the bottom that updates you on missed calls, unread messages, etc. Upto 7 home screens are allowed. The notification bar plays host to plenty of toggle switches and this time, Samsung has made it scrollable to accommodate more of them.
Better than before but not the best
Viewing angles are pretty good of the HD AMOLED screen
The Galaxy S III is powered by a 1.4GHz Exynos 4212 quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM and 16 gigs of onboard storage. It’s blazing quick in every single aspect and manoeuvring through the various menus, home screens as well as multitasking is an absolute breeze. While performance is top notch, we did have an occasional hiccup as the phone would catch its breath, before resuming normal dazzling speeds. Samsung’s TouchWiz UX may be superquick and all of that, but it doesn’t really look all that fancy. Beneath the glossiness that they’ve given it, lies a stark and glum feel that could definitely do with better colour schemes.
The S III clearly leads in the benchmarks
This is one area where Samsung never disappoints and the S III passes this test in flying colours. Let’s talk about the most important aspect of the music and video playback and that's the sound quality. Samsung have chosen the Wolfson WM1811 audio DAC, which is a huge step up from the Yamaha chip used in the S II and is nearly as good as the one used in the Galaxy S and the Nexus S (Wolfson WM8994). The only real difference between the DAC in the S III and the S is that it has 1x stereo DAC, instead of two and a 2x 2W speaker amp, instead of 2x 1W. However, this shouldn’t impact the audio quality at all, as it supports a sampling rate of 44,100Hz, so music is handled directly by the DAC without any software upsampling. Also, if we’re lucky, Supercurio will add the the S III to his VooDoo Control Plus app, which would be the proverbial icing on the cake.
Samsung still rules in audio and video playback
Okay, getting back to the music player, Samsung has used a different skin for their Nature UX UI, which we quite like. It looks slick and is functional as well. Like before, you can sort your music via albums, artists, folders, etc., and a new addition, called Music Square scans all your songs in your library and then groups them according to mood, which are ‘Exciting’, ‘Joyful’, ‘Calm’ and ‘Passionate’. Let’s say you’re in the mood for some up tempo music and a bit of lounge as well, you simply highlight the squares around ‘Exciting’ and a few around ‘Calm’ for a mix of both. This will work well provided you have all your songs categorized under the right genre. There are plenty of equalizer presets present as well, including a 7.1 channel surround mode. To be honest, you won’t really need any of them, since the DAC automatically produces rich and highly detailed sound.
A very good video player
The video player supports MP4, MKV and everything in between. Samsung has beefed up their video player with every codec under the sun and anything and everything just plays, flawlessly. 1080p video just works and their new Pop up play feature works as advertised. We’re not too sure how useful it will actually be in everyday use, but it’s a good option to have. You also have the option to share the video, edit it, view it by chapters or stream the audio via Bluetooth.
Updated 20 May, 2013, 7:41 pm IST
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