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Samsung Galaxy S III: Summer blockbuster defined by superstar software (image gallery)

I awarded the Galaxy S III my top spot for hot smartphones of the summer and after using it for the last two weeks I can confirm that it is definitely the phone to beat in the heat. You can enjoy some hands-on photos of the Galaxy S III and several screenshots of the software that sets it apart. Make sure to check out my full ZDNet Smartphones & Cell Phones review for plenty more details.
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1 of 62 Matthew Miller/ZDNet

T-Mobile Galaxy S III retail box

As you can see T-Mobile sells the Galaxy S III in an attractive navy blue box.

Please make sure to check out my full ZDNet Smartphones & Cell Phones blog post that contains all of my thoughts and experiences with using the device.

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Back of the Galaxy S III box

Some of the major specifications and features are highlighted on the back of the retail box.

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Here's the Galaxy S III

After sliding off the sleeve and opening the box lid you will find the Galaxy S III with its protective and descriptive plastic protector.

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Box contents

You will find a USB cable, USB charger, and a decent wired stereo headset in the retail package. A Quick Start Guide is also included, along with other legal brochures.

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Hardware button is useful

Unlike the changes made to the US version of the Galaxy Note, the Galaxy S III maintains the single center hardware button seen on the international model. The button is used to get back to the home screen, access the task switcher, and access S Voice.

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Above the display

The headset speaker, sensors, LED indicator light, and front facing camera are found above the gorgeous 4.8 inch display.

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Back of the Galaxy S III

The LED flash, 8 megapixel camera, and speaker are found along the upper back of the device.

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microUSB is used for multiple things

You can use the microUSB port to charge the phone, connect to a PC, and connect to an external display with a MHL adaptor.

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T-Mobile and Galaxy S III logos

There are a couple of logos on the back for the carrier and branding of the smartphone.

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Left side of the Galaxy S III

Minimal buttons and ports are found on the Galaxy S III. The left side simply has a volume button. The right side just has the Samsung on/off button. The top is where the 3.5mm headset jack is found.

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Front of Galaxy S III and Galaxy Nexus

Here you can see that both of these Ice Cream Sandwich devices are very similar in size and design. The hardware button on the Galaxy S III is a distinguishing factor.

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Back of Galaxy S III and Galaxy Nexus

The Galaxy S III has a fully removable back while some of the Galaxy Nexus is not removable and has texture.

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Behind the back cover

The removable battery, microSIM card, and microSD card slots are found under the back cover.

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Sleek design of the front glass with curves

There are lots of curves on the Galaxy S III. I like the way the glass front curves to the edges on the front.

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Galaxy S III lock screen

You can customize the four application shortcuts on the lock screen and also include things like the weather if you desire.

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Typical Galaxy S III home screen

Here you can see what a typical home screen looks like. Note the use of more traditional Gingerbread folders rather than the newer ICS folder structure found on the HTC One X and others.

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Another home screen with widgets

There are up to seven available home screens on the Galaxy S III and I prefer to use them all for apps and widgets.

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Apps launcher

Tapping the Apps icon on the lower right brings you to this launcher view where you can then launch apps you do not already have shortcuts setup for on your home screen.

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Widget selector

You can select from a number of widgets to use on your home screens. To select you simply tap and hold and then drag the widget to the location where you want it display.

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Functional calculator

Too often the basic calculator is not enough so it is nice to see Samsung put a bit of effort into this one.

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Flipboard on the Galaxy S III

Flipboard was revealed at the Galaxy S III announcement and was supposed to be an exclusive launch app. It soon was made available as a beta to all Android owners.

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Motion tips

Samsung implements lots of motions on the Galaxy S III and when you get into a situation where a motion would be useful a tips screen pops up to help you out.  You can tap the checkbox to turn off these tips in the future too.

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View of the Games Hub

Samsung includes a couple of different content hubs, including this Games Hub. It is designed to feature games and help you find apps.

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Another helpful motion tip

Here is a another cool tip to help remind you about missed alerts if you were away from your phone.

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Samsung Media Hub

I enjoy renting movies and watching them when I travel so it is nice to see the Media Hub loaded on this device.

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Interactive zoom options

Fingers and parts of your hand are used for motion control.

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S Memo is a useful utility

S Memo was brought over from the Galaxy Note and integrates well with Google Docs and Evernote.

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Menu options in S Memo

There are plenty of options in S Memo.

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S Voice is like Siri for Android

Samsung includes a very functional utility for voice control called S Voice.

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It's not always perfect with S Voice

S Voice works well most of the time, but it is not perfect and does have limitations.

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S Voice list of options 1

Here is a screenshot of the first page of S Voice options.

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S Voice list of options 2

And more S Voice options for you to enjoy.

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S Voice and weather

The weather requests in S Voice tend to work very well.

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S Suggest screenshot

Samsung's S Suggest area is where you will find recommended apps and have the ability to rate apps to share with friends too.

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Video player on Galaxy S III

When you launch the video player you will see each video playing in the thumbnail size view.

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Galaxy S III settings, screen 1

There are a ton of settings on the Galaxy S III that let you customize the device to your particular preferences.

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Display settings

This screenshot shows you an example of some display settings.

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LED indicator settings

It is great to see an LED light on the Galaxy S III and in these settings you can customize some options.

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Motion settings

Samsung includes a ton of different motion options on the Galaxy S III.

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More motion settings

Here are even more motion settings for the Galaxy S III.

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Storage status

There are two integrated memory options and support for a microSD card.

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Samsung Galaxy S III dialer

Here is the dialer of the Galaxy S III.

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Create custom vibration patterns

I have never seen this option before, but Samsung lets you create custom vibration patterns.

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Shooting mode options

There are several different shooting modes available on the Galaxy S III.

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Camera settings

In addition to the shooting mode, you will find flash control, scenes, and more.

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Plenty of camera settings

There are a LOT of settings in the camera software.

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Video recording interface

Note the camera shutter button in the upper right of this image. You can capture still images while recording video.

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More scene modes

Lots of fun scene modes in the camera.

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Custom camera interface

It is fantastic to see that you can customize the four shortcuts in the camera software so your most used are readily accessible.

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Gallery options

There are also plenty of options in the Gallery application.

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Face tag is helpful

Here is a sample of a Face tag.

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Face tag facilitates sharing

Samsung provides different ways to help you easily share content.

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Email a picture from within the Gallery

You don't even have to leave the Gallery to share your photos.

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Gallery view

Here you can see top menu bar options, the thumbnail slider, and more.

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Exchange search function

Exchange support is actually quite good on the Galaxy S III.

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Folders in Exchange

Unlike earlier Samsung models that limited your access, you get full access to your account on the Galaxy S III.

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Kies air works great on a MacBook Pro

The Kies air app can be quite useful, especially if you don't have a Windows PC.

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Galaxy S III gallery thumbnail 1

Galaxy S III gallery thumbnail 1

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Galaxy S III gallery thumbnail 2

Galaxy S III gallery thumbnail 2

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Galaxy S III photo: cruise ship in Mexico

I captured this during one of our port calls.

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Galaxy S III photo: Me and Captain America

Here is a shot of one of my favorite superheroes of all time.

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