Three smartphones at the top of their game

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Samsung - the world's top mobile and smartphone maker - was ordered by a US jury in August to pay Apple $1.05 billion in damages for illegally copying iPhone and iPad features for its flagship Galaxy S smartphones.

Reviewers have praised the Samsung Galaxy S3 as the best phone on the market, outclassing its competitors – and even beating the iPhone at its own game.

TechRadar said “if you’re picking up an iPhone 4S: forget it” and Trusted Reviews concluded “the S3 is light years ahead of Apple’s profitable darling”.

And Stuff Magazine said the S3 had succeeded in “toppling Apple’s ageing starlet”.

In fairness to Apple, its latest phone is now nearly nine months old – a lifetime in the fast-moving smartphone world. If Apple follows previous form, the next iPhone will arrive in October at the earliest.

Reviewers also gave the nod to the Samsung phone over its nearest Android competitor, the highly-rated HTC One X.

In its review, Stuff magazine threw down the gauntlet to Apple, saying: “The most hyped phone since the iPhone 4S has lived up to the hoopla, toppling not only Apple’s ageing starlet but all of its Android rivals.

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HTC One X

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“The Galaxy S3 offers the slickest Android Ice Cream Sandwich experience we’ve seen thanks to a 1.4Ghz quad-core Exynos processor, which eats 1080p movies for breakfast and can even play them in a pop-up window while you browse the web.

“Extras like the microSD slot and larger battery give it the edge over HTC’s One X, and the 4.8in Super AMOLED screen is sharp and vibrant.

“We can’t wait to see how the iPhone responds.”

Trusted Reviews concluded: “We like the look of the Galaxy S3 from the front, with its simple design, curved corners and metal trim.

“However, the glossy plastic back really puts a damper on things – it just doesn’t exude class or luxury.

“Otherwise this phone is either class-leading or at least on par. The processor is stunningly fast, the screen stunningly dazzling and the microSD slot stunningly practical.

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Apple iPhone 4S

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“It may lack a certain wow factor but for features alone this phone has been worth the wait. Just.

“So, all in all and in my opinion, the Samsung Galaxy S3 stands above the iPhone 4S and laughs at it. It is far thinner, lighter and delivers more for your money.

“In terms of the user experience, the fluidity of operation, the feature set, and in virtually every area that counts ,the Samsung Galaxy S3 is light years ahead of Apple’s profitable darling.”

The respected website TechRadar, despite some criticisms, said: “Make no mistake: the Samsung Galaxy S3 is the best smarpthone on the market.

“And if you’re thinking about picking up an iPhone 4S: forget it. You’ll need to wait to see what response Apple is cooking up with the iPhone 5, as a 3.5inch screen and the same high price tag it launched with are no longer acceptable.”

The website also gave the phone the nod over the S3’s nearest competitor, the HTC One X – although it said any camera-buff would prefer HTC’s offering, as would those who preferred the metallic shell over the S3’s plastic, although durable, finish.

And reviewer Gareth Beavis knocked half a star off for some niggles such as the “not quite up to the task” S Voice – Samsung’s competitor to Apple’s voice-control software called Siri – and the perfectly fine but not best-in-market camera.

However, he recommended the phone, saying: “It’s got every kind of feature we could ask for and more, and raises the bar once again in terms of what consumers should be expecting in terms of battery life, processor speed and media management.”

PocketLint praised the removable battery and memory card – features which are sorely missed on many other models. iPhones and WP7 have always stopped their users from having upgradeable memory cards, and this trend is beginning to happen on Android too.

Reviewer Chris Hall said: “There is a lot to love about the Samsung Galaxy S3. As a premium flagship smartphone, it has plenty going for it. The huge display, the power, the smooth and fast operation are all to its credit. Add to this the ability to change battery and expand storage, and you’ve a very good package indeed.”

Referring to the removable battery, Hall said: “You can always carry a spare and you can’t do that with the HTC One X. Or the iPhone. Or the Sony Xperia S. Or…”

In conclusion, he said: “The Samsung Galaxy S3 will undoubtedly do well and it deserves to: it’s a fantastic phone. Android users should be smug: you have choices and whichever way your personal preference leads you, you’ll get an excellent handset at the end of it.”

The S3, released in SA this month, comes with built-in face-tracking and voice control – allowing, Samsung claims, for a more “natural” control system.

It comes with the largest screen on the market, a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED screen which is great for movies and photos, and the phone has a “more intelligent” lock system, which watches your eyes to determine when to stay awake, and when to sleep and save battery life. – Daily Mail

l The Samsung Galaxy S3 has a recommended retail price of about R7 999 in SA

Specs:

Samsung Galaxy S3

Screen size: 4.8 inch

Processor: 1.4 Ghz quad-core

Memory size: Up to 62GB (plus 64GB with card)

Operating system: Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Camera: Eight megapixel

Weight: 133 grams

Dimensions:

Height – 136mm

Width – 70mm

Depth – 8.5mm

Battery: 2100mAhHTC One X

Screen size: 4.7 inch

Processor: 1.5Ghz quad-core

Memory size: 32GB (non-expandable)

Operating system: Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Camera: Eight megapixel

Weight: 130 grams

Dimensions:

Height – 134mm

Width – 69mm

Depth – 8.9mm

Battery: 1800mAhiPhone 4s

Screen size: 3.5 inch

Processor: 800 MHz dual-core

Memory size: Up to 64GB (non-expandable)

Operating system: iOS

Camera: Eight megapixel

Weight: 140 grams

Dimensions:

Height – 115mm

Width – 58mm

Depth – 9mm

Battery: 1432mAh

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