So to start -- Received the S3 yesterday at about 4:30pm. I had to do some work with he scouts yesterday evening so I pseudo charged and activated (I know I should charge the full amount before but I could not help myself
This went seamlessly. I simply called 611 on my Droid X, spoke what I wanted to do, followed the prompts and pressed 1 to activate now. Immediately my Droid X was no longer able to make calls. I followed the rest of the instructions about inserting the new 4G SIM card and turning on the phone and then followed prompts for activation which took nearly 5 minutes
I stepped through the setup wizard and skipped the email setup and went to the Google Account setup. I had to use the Droid X on Wifi for this since I have a password gen/vault tool I use and do not remember my passwords for everything like Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Hotmail, ... After entering Google account information I verified wifi was on and allowed the phone to sync both Gmail and Facebook contacts that were backed up on the Droid to Google. It also immediately started to download/install apps as well (paid and free since I also backed those up to Google). Download/installation speeds were phenomenal on WIFI.
This thing shines on Wifi. In the same facility with the Droid X right beside it they were day and night in terms of connection and speed. The Wifi reception was excellent. This is in a facility (Church) where it is a known poor Wifi/Phone reception area. Although it did not "SHOW" full bars the connection speed/transfer speed was fast. Similar downloads on the DX were taking sometimes twice as long.
INITIAL PHONE RECEPTION:
The church is known for being a very poor reception area for ALL phones and ALL Carriers. There is always someone leaving the building to take a call (
with one hand over their other ear and screaming into the phone cause that will make it better
). With that said the SGS3 was NOT an exception to this but I will say it handled it well. The SGS3 down moded to 1x RTT and switched between 3G and 1X every so often. This is the exact same thing the DX would do. The SGS3 held signal and was able to make calls (inside the building) without having to shout and step out. Was this ideal? No. But it worked. Traveling home I saw similar reception to my DX even in the tough areas (I live in a somewhat rural area). When I got home that was another story. I have always been on the fringe of the VZW 3G service area but always got excellent 3G coverage due to the altitude of my home. What is that icon in the upper right? 4G LTE service at my home? FULL BARS of 4G LTE service at my home? 18M Down and 18M Up! Oh my
Happy Dance. What great reception/speeds from home. So much so that it dwarfs my home internet connection (reminds self that VZW has 4G residential service now??? But can I game?). At work today I had less than stellar 4G service which is still far better than less than stellar 3G service on DX. So as far as reception goes I have to say I am quite pleased. I am seeing very little bouncing from 1X, 3G, 4G. I am getting similar if not better service as my DX. NO I did not check my dbms. I purposefully did not. I did not because I know those are only as accurate as the tool measuring them. Therefore an uncalibrated tool measuring an uncalibrated signal, on a differing operating system with a differing radio, with a differing driver is only going to get you so close. I would expect there to be AT LEAST a 5 - 10 dbm margin of error. The fact is I can use my phone in areas where others have difficulty. I can use it where my DX had service (both minimal and great service). Sometimes it is MUCH better than the DX.
When first using this device I was a little upset. Not at Samsung but at Google and myself. When it downloaded my apps I forgot to tell the device to NOT create shortcuts on the desktop. This was a major faux pas on my part. After I sorted the ones I wanted into folders (not too much more difficult than standard ICSs drag and drop method) it was a much cleaner experience. I also removed a number of the default widgets. The Samsung Hubs were the first to go. If you are not going to use the hubs (ie.. pay for music and movies through Samsung) then they really serve no use (for me anyways). As I opened apps and did things in the interface I was often asked if I would like to enable the motion features, for instance when going into contacts for the first time it shows a pop-up that asks to enable the double tap motion effect for return to top of a list. I enabled most of them to give them a chance. I did not think the tap-to-top feature would come in handy but it actually does. Animations were smooth and transitions flawless. The delay on the "HOME" button is there but is minimal and I can accept it. I did not opt to disable the S-Voice Double Tap feature on the Home button. I can handle the .5 second delay while it waits to see if I want to use S-Voice.
I enabled the news feed option of the lock screen while also opting for the live wallpaper news feed for homescreen and lock screen (redundant I know but I like the effect of both so far). The provided Samsung Calendar is a very welcome item. I like the layout, presentation and ease of use of the app/widget (although the swipe down/up to change months is somewhat counter-intuitive to other calendar apps I have seen/used.
I almost immediately changed from the seemingly random order/presentation of the apps/widgets in the app drawer to an alpha/numeric order. This makes navigation and finding things much easier for me. I also installed the audio manager widget to easily maintain my volumes for all areas (a nice add).
I am going to keep this somewhat short but have a couple comments. There are four very visible VZW apps as delivered. There is the typical "My Verizon Mobile, Apps, Vz Navigator, and finally Voicemail". This is a pretty standard deployment for VZW. Also delivered is the S-Apps. Samsung has provided the S-Voice, S-Memo, S-Suggest applications for use. I have not tried these but I will give them a go sometime. All apps launch quickly and are a treat on the big vibrant screen (more on this later). I played with S-Voice some and until it can do some other items like stock quotes (say Verizon Stock Quote and it offers to look it up on the web for you instead of returning a response). It also failed a number of easier requests like (Colorado Rockies Score, What movies are playing in theater, ...) Each time it got exactly what I was saying correct but was unable to return a response. It did however return me to Flixster (installed already) when I asked "Where is the Avengers playing?".
Setting and alarm and choosing the "Alarm Type" of "Briefing" is just plain awesome. This is an old trick from the Tasker days (OK not that old
) where you would scrape news content from web sites and pass it to the text to speech engine upon alarm Date/Time being reached. This is all in a simple point and click feature under the "Clock" app delivered with the phone. The phone will wake you with the mornings news and weather then play your alarm tune/tone/music/...
Where to start? Oh yeah this is EASY. The big bright brilliant colorful screen! What a pleasure to look at Pentile Matrix and all. I was initially worried having seen older version of the PM displays and thinking how awful it would be to live with that screen door effect. This is a polar opposite to the screens of the past! This is NOT your Grandads PM display
. The buttons all seem fine with nothing standing out. The Home button seems sturdy enough. The Back of the device seems flimsy (as everyone has stated) until it is securely back into place and then it feels fine again. The best way to describe the (Pebble Blue) color is to liken it to the old Mazda prism colors where the device looks completely Black, Blue, light Blue, Grey, and even Purple depending on the angle and light source given. So when people say their SGS3 is Blackish I believe them, when they say nope it is blue I believe them, and so on.
The SD-Card slot was easy to manipulate even with large hands. I initially used my car dock last night and unlike the Moto Docks that auto transition to Car mode (due to magnets in the dock) the Samsung stays in portrait mode and does not transition to car dock mode by itself (no biggie). I am using the Samsung Infuse 4G dock with the SGS3 and it has a 3.5mm line out in the rear of the dock. This am it did not output ANYTHING to the AUX of my system. I found an option in settings -> dock -> Audio Output Mode that will enable the line out feature. In that same settings area there is something called "Desk home screen display" that states "Show desk home screen when device is docked". This means that in some form or fashion it is able to recognize it is docked. I will have to figure this one out.
The Battery has been pretty good so far. I will not say much more than that since I have not had enough time with it yet. I will say that I was able to work/play with the device for several hours straight last night and this am from a not fully charged state and had to charge this am because I was at 15%.
GPS performance is WOW just WOW! I turned on Google Nav this am while in the garage and before I had the vehicle in "R" it was locked and had narrowed its result!
That is all for now.
Hope this helps someone.
If you have any suggestions about how I should set something up or an app I should try or ... or ... let me know.
I am pretty seasoned in this world called Android and have tinkered with Tasker and the likes of HUBs interfaces for my ASUS Transformer on ICS.
Some of my playing: