I've had the phone for two weeks now so I thought I'd share my thoughts so far:
I got a white 16GB, unlocked from Carphone Warehouse. I bought this one sim free as my 24 month contract wasn't quite up, but I'm going to cancel it in a couple of months and use Giffgaff instead. Even with the £500 handset price it works out cheaper for me that way over 18 months, and also gives me the freedom to change handsets when the inevitable S IV appears next summer
Firstly, this is my second S3. I was rather disappointed that six hours after picking up the first one, it froze on me while I was setting everything up. On the reboot I ended up with a screen that looked like this and would not boot any further no matter how many times I tried to reset it
So with that out of the way, I got a replacement the next day, which (touch wood!) has been fine Only issues encountered so far is I've had three instances where the phone has gone dead on me, not through low battery, but almost switched itself off. Holding down the power button for a quick reset solves this, but it's something you don't realise has happened. I'm hoping a firmware update in the future solves this if it's going to be a regular thing.
Having come from an original Galaxy S which ended up rooted and running a custom version of ICS I'm tempted to leave this one stock this time, which so far is proving good. I love the look and feel of the new Touchwiz UI, something that I disliked before. I do wish there was a landscape mode on the homescreens and that the page indicator took up less space. I know these can be solved by using an aftermarket launcher, but I don't want to have to for now. The weather widget is nice to look at though has a couple of minor issues, not updating location on GPS and not giving an option to lose the '1' for BST. I've not found any reason to need to root or tinker with the phone, other than adverts in apps which I previously had blocked. It's certainly got the power to deal with anything that can be thrown at it. I've installed the beach live wallpaper from the original S which it has no trouble with.
Design wise, I was a little disappointed that it wasn't going to be another black square, though having seen it and used it, I now love the design. It feels beautifully smooth in the hand and I find it easy enough to use one handed 99% of the time. Only when an app has a menu button in the top left, or if going for the wifi toggle in the notification bar do I seem to struggle with the size. I like the buttons at the bottom, feeling familiar to the S, though the home button feels a little flimsy in comparison and the back button can be pressed easily when stretching across the screen. Judging by the condition my S managed to stay in despite 18 months of hard use, I'm not going to ruin the phone's feel with any case or protector. The back cover is replaceable and the Gorilla Glass should last at least another scratch free 18 months.
Having had a play with the stock browser, it's good enough, although for familiarity's sake, I'm going to stick with Chrome. I'm just used to it now and it works a breeze on the S3. The camera is good, that's as much as I'll say. Having a flash is a long overdue luxury, though I've not had much chance to use it as it spoils photos of cars and dogs with reflections of eyes or number plates. With the flash off, I found there to be lots of noise, more so than the S I thought. Panorama and HDR (not too overdone) modes are a nice addition. Here's a few examples
Dog hiding The flash reflection is a bit of a pain.
The motion gestures really set the phone apart, something new that actually works really well. Samsung made a big deal about direct call, but I don't even think this is the best of the motion tools. Turning the phone 90 degrees to launch the camera from the lockscreen is cool, and handy. I also started using the motion unlock because it just feels cool The palm-over screenshot is nice and easy once you've done it a couple of times and it's a nice touch that you get a landscape screenshot when using the phone in landscape mode. Like so...
I'm not 100% convinced on S Voice. The app itself is poor, a cringeworthy copy of Siri that doesn't know how to do much. Voice actions are better but need improvement. Being able to call 'next' to skip a track in the music player is good, but you can only do this with the music app running on the screen, in which case you may as well press the button. Saying 'cheese' to take a photo is fun and I can see it helping when trying to hold the phone still with two hands to take a photo. It should also come in handy with my mount (more on that in a minute...). Calling out 'snooze' when the alarm goes off could be dangerous!
The standard keyboard is rubbish. Simple as. It has a built in Swype that works only for certain fields. This becomes annoying when you can't use the same type of input all the time. I installed the regular Swype instead. This is much better. It gives you the chance to double tap a word to highlight it and gives you a choice of alternative words. It feels very natural to me, though I had been using standard Swype for 18 months on the S.
I've ordered a generic tripod mount which I'm planning to use with a base mounted below the wind deflector on the S2000, giving a good angle for video inside the car. Obviously, I'm expecting some high quality footage on this, so I'll update back when I've got it and tried it all out
I've reinstalled the latest version of Kies (something which I hated with the S) which seems to be much improved. After some faffing with drivers, I got the firmware update to LF2 and it's all much more user friendly this time around. I'm disappointed that I had to plug in to Kies to be offered the update, rather than use the OTA option in the settings menu.
Overall, coming from a phone that was released two years ago to one that's brand new, I'm obviously impressed. The old S was a reliable phone that I loved, the S3 trounces all over it with it's newer technology and I love it. Seriously impressed so far and I think there's much more to come.