Samsung Galaxy S III is an iPhone contender: review
Samsung's newly released Galaxy S III phone, complete with ultra-fast 4G capability and a 4.8-inch screen, has a few advantages over Apple's iPhone 4S.
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The Galaxy's screen measures 4.8 inches diagonally, compared with 3.5 inches for the iPhone. That translates to a display area that's nearly twice the size. Yet the Galaxy is thinner and lighter.
Apart from that, the Galaxy shares the iPhone's curvy and shiny design, along with a center button that wakes up the device from power-saving mode or takes you from whatever you're doing to a home screen.
Unlike the iPhone, the Galaxy runs on faster 4G cellular networks (AT&T markets its iPhones as 4G, but the network is based on older technology). The Galaxy also comes with a new wireless technology called near-field communications, which can be used to share files and make purchases.
Pictures taken with the Galaxy were sharper and had better light balance than those with the iPhone, based on a handful of test shots I took. The Galaxy's tool for measuring data usage — for those of us no longer on unlimited plans — surpasses what comes with the iPhone.
All that makes the Galaxy a strong contender to Apple's popular device.
I understand the comparison isn't entirely fair. The iPhone 4S is about eight months old, and there's a new model expected this fall. Last week, Apple previewed changes to the phone's operating system, promising improvements to its Siri virtual assistant, a mapping service with voice navigation and more.
But the reality is the new Galaxy is available this week — not in September or October.
The basic model with 16 gigabytes of memory will cost $200 with a two-year contract through AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and U.S. Cellular. That's comparable to the iPhone's $199. A 32 GB model will cost $250, which is cheaper than a comparable iPhone at $299. T-Mobile will charge at least $30 more than others, though it may still be cheaper overall with lower monthly data fees over two years.
The Galaxy phones will be available in white or blue. AT&T will also have a red version this summer, but it won't carry the 32 GB model.
Now back to Galaxy's screen.