Much-hyped Samsung Galaxy S III revs toward US stores

The Samsung Galaxy S III, which runs Android 4.0 software, could go head-to-head with the iPhone 4S. 

The Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone.

Plenty of Android phones hit the market every year, but few with the same amount of breathless hype as the Samsung Galaxy S III – a handset first unveiled in May, at a major press event in London. The Galaxy S III is the successor to the Galaxy S II, itself a popular phone, and like that device, it runs the Android operating system (in this case, Android 4.0) and a custom Samsung user interface. 

The Galaxy S III has sold well in England. This week, it comes to the US, with all the firepower intact: The 4.8-inch AMOLED screen, the 4G capability, the 8 megapixel camera and the svelte chassis. 

So how does the Galaxy S III compare to its competitors? 

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.

Well, over at Wired, Nathan Olivarez-Giles says the Galaxy S III "aims high but falls short." Among his complaints: The in-house Samsung UI, which is draped over the Android 4.0 OS, and Siri challenger S-Voice. Not among his complaints: The hardware. 

"Samsung is still offering top-of-the-line performance here, and the Galaxy S III is more capable than many of the other phones on the market, even if it's a bit clumsy," Olivarez-Giles writes. "But as a whole package, the S III simply doesn't feel like a finished product. It could use more polish, more thought, and a more elegant user experience."

Meanwhile, JR Raphael of Computerworld likes the Galaxy S III – it's a "fantastic" phone, he writes. Still, he warns against buying too much into the hype. 

"Here's the truth: The Galaxy S III is one of the best Android phones available right now. So is the HTC One X with its phenomenal screen and top-of-the-line camera. And the HTC One S, with its spectacular build and design," he writes. "And the Galaxy Nexus, with its unmatched (and untouched) pure Google Ice Cream Sandwich experience. Personally, I'd pick any of those over the new Galaxy S III." 

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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