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Samsung Galaxy S III [Hands-on][HD]

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Published on May 3, 2012

You remember that Galaxy S II? A phone so good they launched it, well, a whole load of times. But after seeing phablet cousins and LTE variants, the true handset sequel is finally here. The Galaxy S III is moments away from being outed in front of journalists and Sammy's business partners in London, but in advance of the big reveal we were given a few hours to acquaint ourselves with the new star away from the crush of the show floor.

And what did we make of it? In short, Samsung's tried to bring its Galaxy S series in line with (and in some ways, further ahead of) what its team-up with Google accomplished. It's added some new quad-core Exynos processing juice, a 4.8-inch, HD Super AMOLED screen and a handful of Galaxy S III-only features in an earnest bid to maintain its place at the top of the Android pile. You'll find our detailed impressions and a hands-on video just after the break.

At first blush, we were a little disappointed that Samsung didn't intend to push the design envelope with its new flagship. That's not to say we were repulsed: it just looks a lot like an amalgam of all the Galaxy phones we've seen in the last year. It flies closer to the Galaxy Nexus than the Galaxy S II, with a shape and contour all too similar to Google's first Android 4.0 handset. In the hand, the 4.8-inch screen is counter-balanced by the thin bezel, resulting in a shape that is still comfortable to hold. It feels very light, a mere 133g (4.7 ounces -- just a smidgen heavier than the HTC One X), and measures 8.6mm (0.34 inches) deep across its central waistline. (That's right, there's no more chin.)

A glossy plastic coats both the front face and flat battery cover, with a particularly attractive finish on the Pebble Blue option, making it our early favorite over the Marble White. A slightly different (but still glossy) plastic follows around the edge of the device. Thankfully, the absence of a metallic chassis does nothing to hurt the feeling of quality or solidity in the build.

The phone retains the physical home button, though it's now slimmer and generally less visually obvious. It's flanked by a pair of capacitive buttons that light up and disappear, and as expected there's the camera module, flash and loudspeaker at the back.

The 8-megapixel camera looks to be very similar to what we've seen on both the Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note -- which means it's a pretty capable shooter, although we're withholding judgment until we can test it out it in a mix of scenarios. Instead of shaking up the camera hardware, Samsung's pushed forward with the software interface -- something we've gone into more detail here. In brief, the new camera app supports dual still and video capture, adds face tagging for existing contacts and boasts improved face identification and tracking. Via engadget

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