I'm actually coming from a Galaxy Nexus to an S3. On screen buttons to physical ones.
I agree, it sometimes is a pain to hit the "hard" home button.
But, I'm able to remap the other buttons to offer different activities. For example, if I long press my back button, it simulates a "home" press.
This way required root, but there are other ways to do it without. Check out this article:
Customize Android's Home button shortcut | How To - CNET