"Android flexible plus iPhone smooth equals a winner."4.5 starson by billrosenblatt
Pros: - Super smooth user interface
- Huge, sharp screen with bold colors
- 4G speed
- Android 4 power and flexibility
- Typing experience
- Super fast camera
- Audio quality
- Replaceable battery
- SD card slot
- Lots of little cool s/w features
Cons: - Inferior screen brightness
- Stock email app not great
Summary: I got this a few days ago, when my upgrade time came, to replace a Moto Droid 2 running Gingerbread. I had to decide whether to get the S3 now (based on all the rave reviews) or wait for the iPhone 5. Let's just say I am not at all disappointed.Update: the camera is good, not great. Autofocus occasionally goofs, but you can fix that by touching the screen where you want it to focus. Color balance good. Sharpness OK.
This is the first Android device I have seen that truly equals the iPhone for smooth, responsive user experience. Most other Android devices just aren't powerful enough to keep up with the software.
Samsung sure got the UI right, including the TouchWiz overlay to Android 4, which may not satisfy Android purists but works nicely for me. Unfortunately, the display on which the UI takes place is too dim. Whoever designed this must be a cave dweller, especially since the auto-brightness feature makes it worse. However, the screen is glare-free, so it is readable in outdoor sunlight and therefore this issue shouldn't be a deterrent to purchasing this otherwise outstanding device.
Here are some observations that go beyond what most of the reviews have mentioned. Photo face recognition is a great idea but the software only gets it right about half the time. I didn't have much problem getting S Voice (Samsung's Siri competitor) to recognize my words if I speak clearly, but it doesn't do a great job of actually answering the question or obeying the commands.
The auto-brightness feature confirms my suspicion that the designer was a troglodyte. If the display brightness can't be improved, then a software update should fix this so that it only dims the screen in the *dark*. I had to disable it, which means that the screen is actually too bright at night.
I use the stock email app as a client for my company's POP server. The look and feel is nice, but unlike the rest of Android, this app suffers from lack of customizable features (e.g. no way to just download messages and turn server syncing off, no way to purge messages that are N days old). If you don't need this app then this is not a problem.
Otherwise these are all features that Samsung ought to be able to fix in a software update.
The audio is excellent in both sound quality and maximum volume. I pump it through my car stereo and it's a big improvement over the Droid 2 and (once again) at least the equal of the iPhone.
I may post an update once I've given the camera a proper workout, but for now suffice it to say that the shutter lag is almost zero.
Updated on Aug 2, 2012
Smart Stay is another great idea that doesn't work all the time; it is limited by ambient light and viewing angle.
But overall I LOVE this phone. The super-smooth response and actual personality combine with Android flexibility to make it a real iPhone alternative for those who don't like donning the iStraightjacket.