Samsung lifted the lid on the Galaxy S3 smartphone last night, after a patience-testing 15-month wait and weeks of increasingly fantastical speculation over its feature set.
Unveiled amid Apple-style fanfare and swooping strings from a live orchestra at Earls Court, the Android Ice Cream Sandwich-powered S3 features many of the fixtures and fittings that leaks suggested would be on board.
Heading the spec sheet is a quad-core processor to bring it in line with the HTC One X and LG Optimus 4X and a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD screen that’s 22 per cent larger than the 20 million-selling S2 and is more energy efficient to boost battery longevity.
An eight megapixel camera, with LED flash and a tap-activated Face Zoom function, is also present and correct. A front-facing 1.9 megapixel snapper handles video calls and boasts so-called intelligent camera features activated by how the phone is being used.
Less expected is the introduction of a Siri-style voice control function dubbed S Voice. Like its Apple equivalent, this responds to users’ spoken commands to turn on the handset and allows alarms to be set and deactivated and answers questions via web searches.
Touted as a phone that’s ‘inspired by nature and designed for humans”, the S3 comes in at 8.6mm thick and features rounded edges and a flat feel intended to mimic a skipping stone. In keeping with that theme, it’s available in a choice of ‘pebble blue’ and ‘marble white’.
Contrary to expectations that Samsung would opt for a simultaneous global release, the S3 will debut initially in the UK and mainland Europe on May 29th. The 4G version, set for the US and select territories in Asia, won’t land until the summer.
We took the Galaxy S3 for a whirl at last night’s launch. Head to our Facebook page for a full video hands-on.