Samsung Galaxy S3: Overpriced, oversized and overrated

Sunday 1 July 2012 @ 10:28 am

Having spent a few weeks with the Samsung Galaxy S3, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s getting silly now. I mean really, who on earth needs to lug around a phone that barely fits into a pocket, offers a plethora of trivial functionality that 90% of people will never use and has all the visual appeal and stylistic flair of a wet kipper?

The answer is nobody of course but that won’t stop the hoards of slavering technophiles queuing up to dump their existing handset so they can fawn over the latest shiny shiny. Monkey see, monkey do as you were.

Let’s start with the size; quite simply it’s too big. The mobile market is a fickle affair with the goalposts constantly shifting between small, sleek and slender handsets with tiny displays and stupidly large, outlandish models that consist of a screen and little else. Currently, it’s the latter that seems to be winning and the S3 is blindly following the market like an oblivious lemming.

Then there’s the looks and build quality, something that often comes top of the list of what people, usually women, want from a phone. The S3 casing is all glossy plastic and feels cheap and nasty. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a problem but the S3 is Samsung’s flagship model and carries a premium price tag. For that, I’d expect far better quality materials.

The old Samsung Galaxy S2 looked great with aggressive dimensions and a metal bezel. The S3 has a similar bezel, however, the softer rounded corners with less buttons and a strictly conventional style doesn’t elevate it any higher than the other hundreds of run-of-the-mill Android handsets available at less than half the price. This is one mobile that won’t standout in the crowd.

Much has been made of the supposedly market leading S3 “features” but few of these are actually useful in a real world scenario. For example, NFC support means you can now be mugged of your mobile taking all your electronic cash with you at the same time. Not that you’ll be loading it with money in the first place since hardly any shops accept NFC and are unlikely to do so anytime soon.

Smart Call allows you to call a contact by simply raising the handset to your ear when viewing anything about that contact. This saves all of one button press and is hardly anything to crow about unless you’re the type of idiot who thinks an extra hundredth of a second wasted pressing a button is time worth saving.

Similarly, Smart Stay uses the front camera to check for a pair of eyes looking at the screen and if undetected, turns off the display to save power. That should make your battery last about 5 minutes longer than usual, more than enough to time to annoy commuters by trying out yet another stupid ring tone.

S-Voice is Samsung’s answer to Siri on the iPhone and as with that, is simply another gimmicky “feature” designed for the lazy bastard who can’t be bothered to dig for information. Fun whilst the novelty lasts in the privacy of your own home, embarrassingly inept when out and about which is why you’ll never ever see anyone actually using it on either handset.

Popup Play lets you watch video’s in a small window so you can use the mobile for something else although quite frankly, if you’re keen on multitasking on a mobile whilst watching a tiny video, you need to get out more.

Having a long held view that Facebook is a steaming pile of shit, there’s a whole bunch of social media crap to do with sharing that I didn’t bother to use but I gather it allows you to tag photos with your contacts and then share them with other contacts. Or to put it another way, shovelware to appease the masses of sheep intent on handing over every aspect of their daily lives to people they’ve never met.

In short, I can’t see the fuss over the S3. It’s overpriced, oversized and overrated. Roll on the next stupidly large mobile with a screen that’s 5mm larger to keep the fan boys happy.