An opinion from someone who’s read the internet -
Announced last Thursday as, believe it or not, the third device in the Samsung Galaxy S range. The SGSIII was all set to inherit the crown of ‘biggest selling non-iPhone / smartphone of the year’ from last year’s winner, the SGSII.
At least, that’s what we thought.
You can’t argue with the numbers – in 2011, the SGSII was a fantastically popular phone and Samsung, with its large screen, speedy graphics and TouchWiz’d version of Android – hit the sweet spot for consumer awareness + desire for the best Android phone on the market.
Admittedly, I was never a fan. I prefer my Androids to be pure Google experiences and both HTC + Samsung (amongst others) like to skin their OS accordingly. It’s a bit rubbish and generally gets in the way of being able to actually use the phone… but still, I can see why some people like it.
I’m rambling. Let’s get cut to the chase -
Is the SGSIII a worthy successor, is it actually any good?
Before I answer that question, let’s make one thing very clear:
I have not had hands on with this device at all.
What you are about to read is pure conjecture based upon the opinions of trusted friends & peers, images & video from the launch event, and several years working in and around the mobile industry.
Understood? Good. I don’t exactly love this kind of post, but to those of you that are still here, thanks – there’s a few things I’d like to cover -
1: The Samsung SGSIII is ugly + made of cheap plastic
I am going to just go ahead and say it: Samsung needs to fire its entire handset design department and start over.
— Eric Zeman (@phonescooper) May 4, 2012
As per my note above, I agree with Eric’s comment purely based upon the photos, videos and posts I have seen from the launch event. But even so, he’s not alone, and the man has a point. And while it might be harsh (I’ve seen worse devices), we – the industry at large – were just expecting something more.
And actually, while we’re at it, when your software is fundamentally the same across different handsets, design is a fundamental key selling point. It’s why I rock a Lumia 800 and it’s why I’ll recommend the HTC One X over the SGSIII should someone ask me about Android phones.
2: The Samsung SGSIII features
some a sweet innovation
The word ‘innovation’ is bandied about too fast and loose these days however, reading this post TechCrunch shortly after the SGSIII announcement I was actually quite impressed by one particular paragraph -
“The Galaxy S III looks deep into your eyes and only turns off when you do,” noted Jean Daniel Ayme to the audience. That is to say, the screen will note when your eyes are on it and will stay “awake” for as long as you look at it. “It knows precisely what we are doing and our intentions.”
Now this is more like it.
While ‘creepy’ is a word I’ve heard a couple of times since discussing this particular addition to the handset, having a phone that turns on *when I look at it* is actually kind of awesome. I like this, a lot. Proper ethnographical research, informing technological innovation. More of this please.
3. TouchWiz Android is horrible
TouchWiz still makes my eyes bleed though. The icons just look so… dated.
— James Whatley (@Whatleydude) May 3, 2012
As Android skins go, HTC Sense is pretty darn ugly but, TouchWiz takes it to a whole new level. If you want a ‘pure’ Google experience with Android, buy a Nexus. Other device manufacturers can’t be trusted.
4. The SGSIII is a HUGE disappointment
As much as I dislike their current advertising, the HTC One X is probably my favourite Android device on the market today and the SGSIII has done nothing to change that. But don’t just take my word on it, the out pour of disappointment around this particular phone launch is staggering -
For example – ‘How Samsung Broke My Heart‘, ‘The Galaxy SIII is a “Me Too” Device and a Disappointment‘ and ‘Dear Internet: I am incredibly sorry for over-hyping the disappointment that is the Galaxy S III‘ are just three well-written and well-informed pieces that I’ve read over the past couple of days, of which I am sure there are many more.
And, even though I happily acknowledge that I haven’t even played with the SGSIII yet, I can safely say: if you’re in the market for an Android phone, look at the Galaxy Nexus or check out the HTC One X.