Review: Samsung Galaxy S III (T-Mobile) – The Best Phone I’ve Ever Owned (Pt. 3 – Pre-installed Apps and Final Thoughts)
As is the case with any non-Nexus device, Samsung has taken the liberty of pre-installing a handful of its own applications on the Galaxy S III. I’ll take the liberty of giving you a quick rundown of each app, but don’t expect a full-fledged review of them all, because I don’t use any of them enough to go into any real detail. In fact, I can’t wait to flash a custom ROM and get rid of them all. At any rate, here they are:
AllShare Play is a service that enables users to play content saved on various devices over the Internet. Although the various content items are saved on different devices, you can view, play and send any item to another device, website or storage service via AllShare Play. Of all of the pre-installed apps on the Galaxy S III, this is probably one of the few I’ll ever use.
This is Sammy’s take on instant messaging — and I’m simply not interested. Have a look at the screenies below and let’s keep on trucking.
Flipboard puts an interesting spin (or in this case, flip) on the way you read your news. The app also integrates with Google+, Facebook and Twitter, so sharing those hot news stories to any of your social networks is simple as can be. I personally prefer Google Reader or Currents, but I don’t mind keeping Flipboard on my phone for occasional use when I’m bored. Initially, this app was exclusive to the Galaxy S III, but it is now readily available for any Android 2.2+ device, and it’s even free on the Google Play Store.
Game Hub is a premium game service that lets you play, connect and share games on Samsung Android devices. The service comes pre-packed
popularannoying social games, like “We Rule”, “We Farm” and “We Farm Safari” — I’m sure you’re all dying to try these mind-blowing games out, but I’ll kindly pass.
Kies Air is a mobile application which enables WiFi device-to-device connections and browser-based management. You can use Kies air without PC software or a USB connection. Okay, this one could come in handy too, unless you’re like me and decide to flash away from a stock ROM, in which case you won’t be able to download and apply official updates anyways, without first reverting back to a stock recovery.
Those of you who own (or have owned) a previous Galaxy S phone or tablet may already be familiar with Media Hub. The Samsung Media Hub takes advantage of the stunning viewing quality on both phones and tablets. Media Hub offers TV shows the day after they air as well as past seasons. In addition, select movies will be available the day they are released on DVD.
Why anyone would use this when they could use the Google Play Store is beyond me.
This is another one of the pre-installed apps that I’m not going to complain about. I actually like the Samsung Music Player app for a few different reasons. I’ll highlight them below for you:
- Interface – As you can see in the screens below, the Music Player interface is sleek, easy to navigate and just looks sexy on the Galaxy S III’s HD Super AMOLED screen.
- SoundAlive – This is the Music Player’s equalizer control settings. There are 13 different EQ presets, as well as the ability to customize your sound output. This is becoming a standard on music player applications these days, so it’s nice to see Samsung put out one that actually sounds awesome.
- Music Squared – Samsung REALLY wants to stress how “smart” this phone is. There are 4 sides to the grid of squares: Passionate, Exciting, Joyful, and Calm. Upon touching a square on the grid, the Music Player builds a playlist, based upon your current mood. Obviously, you’ll want to have a good amount of songs on your phone to get the most out of this. Throw a few different genres of music on there and see how accurate it is for you. It seems to work well on my end.
This application gives you access to more applications and services for your Galaxy S III. Here’s what you will find:
- Photo Editor
- Video Maker
- Application Monitor
- My Story
- Kies Air
- Readers Hub 2.0
- Family Story
- S Health
- Polaris Office 4.0
Really, Samsung? Did you have to put in a another “Hub” for me to download music from? I don’t think so.At the time of writing this review, I couldn’t even manage to access the Music Hub to take a screenshot for you. I kept getting a pop-up message that said, “The service will be available soon”. Meh.
The S Memo Application lets you record all forms of ideas instantly and freely. A quick memo can be taken from any screen to capture your ideas before they float away. Those ideas along with pictures, voice recordings, typed text, handwritten notes or drawings can be captured into S Memo, to be edited, annotated and shared as desired.
S Suggest is a suggestion app that suggest apps and games for you from Google’s Play Store. The suggestions are divided in different categories such as games, business, students, and even guys and ladies categories. It even lets you connect to your Facebook account and share apps and suggestions with your friends. Not really my cup of tea, but some of you may like it.
Say hello to Samsung’s hit-or-miss answer to Apple’s voice assistant application, Siri. S Voice is easily accessible from anywhere on your phone by double tapping the home button. Once activated, there are a number of different voice commands you can use, like “What’s the weather?”, “Set an alarm”, or “Send myself a memo”. While I admit, S Voice is an interesting feature, it’s more of a novelty that I don’t see myself using in everyday situations.
The performance of S Voice is good, but far from perfect. The app seems to work well in areas that have no background noise to contend with, but fails miserably for me when trying to use it in my car with the windows slightly cracked or with the air conditioner on. Unfortunately, there isn’t much time during the course of a year where I live that one can comfortably drive around with the windows up and no AC or heater on. Seeing as the car is the main place I would use S Voice, it would be nice to see an update roll out to address this issue and possible improve sound recognition just a bit.
Anyhoo, I know S Voice is a big taboo for some of you, so check out the video below and decide for yourself if Sammy has what it takes to slay the almighty Siri.
More of Samsung’s curated application suggestions can be found here. Another app I couldn’t care less about. (Sorry, Sammy, but you’ve really got to learn to stop bloating your phones with this garb.)
This is your standard video player application, but with a few nice features that you can definitely impress you friends with. The most notable features here are the preview window, which shows animated previews of your videos in a grid of squares — I hadn’t noticed this until just now, but it definitely looks awesome.
The other really cool feature is the ability to “pop out” your videos while you’re watching them, and have them hover on top of your screen wherever you navigate on your phone. This is handy for watching videos while checking emails, posting a Twitter update, or just about anything else you could possibly want to do on your phone while watching a video.
Of course, T-Mobile had to get in on all the bloatware too, but I’m not going to focus on those apps in this review, as they are not exclusive to the S3, nor are they of any interest to me (and most of you too, I’m willing to bet). Here’s what’s installed (hogging up more space):
- T-Mobile Hotspot
- T-Mobile My Account
- T-Mobile Name ID
- T-Mobile TV
- Visual Voicemail
The Galaxy S III is definitely the best phone I have ever owned. Of course, everything can’t be perfect, so here’s a quick rundown of my likes and dislikes:
- Features, features and more features
- Awesome motion controls
- Amazing camera and video recorder
- Excellent call quality
- The phone is just BLAZING fast, all around
- MOST IMPORTANTLY — A HUGE development community (The S3 already has a Jelly Bean ROM in the works, and the 2GB of RAM should make the phone future-proof for at least a few more versions of Android.)
- Too many pre-installed apps that I’ll never use
- S Voice is hit-or-miss
- Battery cover feels cheap and flimsy, to the point I was afraid I would break it when removing it from the phone for the first time
Should You Buy?
Absolutely. The Galaxy S III has more than enough reasons to be your next smartphone
4.5/5 — Root this phone, strip it of all the bloatware and throw on a nice AOSP ROM and we’re looking at a 5/5
Hope you enjoyed this review. If there’s anything I forgot to cover, let me know. I think I summed the device up quite well.