Christmas Came Early for Me
Get this. I opened my mail a few weeks ago and there was a package originally from Samsung Town, Korea. That’s right, it’s like the North Pole, but more near the equator and in the Far East and…okay, it’s nothing like the North Pole. And just about as much as I believe in Santa, I believe a mobile fairy sent me this crazy device that enables me to send my voice and words all over the airwaves.
For the first time in a long while, I am on the cutting edge. I’ve never been one to keep up with the Joneses and in my new life of travel and freelance work, I have to live more frugally and cut back on unnecessary stuff. This means using hand-me-down gadgets (like my former FIRST generation iPhone) and not running out to get the latest phone or laptop. Fortunately, this is pretty easy for me as, more than ever, I pride myself on not being prey to marketing and consumerism. I revel in the fact that I do NOT need these things. It makes me feel good to save money for things that I actually love – travel, food, and spending time with ones I love. As I wrote about recently, I have been very slow to progress on the mobile phone front and didn’t even have a smartphone until a reader gave me a used iPhone last year.
So you can imagine my delight and surprise when I was selected to be a part of the new ‘GalaxyTraveler’ campaign with Samsung and be given their top-of-the-line Galaxy SIII mobile phone, one of the world’s most popular. Plus it’s sleek and sexy and surprisingly makes my old iPhone look kind of stubby, out-dated, and klunky.
What’s to Love
The Big Ass Screen
My initial reaction was it would be too large…but that worry lasted probably an hour or too. It was easy to fall for this. Shortly after playing with my new toy, I picked up my old iPhone and it felt so small and sort of inferior. Yikes.
The screen is great and after using it for one month, I do not feel like the size of the phone is too big at all. It fits everywhere my old phone did and has seriously spoiled me from now on.
Despite it being a phone, I use this thing more to take pictures than to make calls. This camera way out does my previous phone’s dingy, little lens. For a photographer like myself this mobile phone camera could possibly take the place of an average point and shoot camera. But while it will never replace my big DSLR and lenses, it does take some pretty nice snapshots. And it’s great for letting myself off the hook sometimes and not bothering to lug around the big camera. Coupled with all the editing apps out there, it’s been fun…and time consuming!
And it’s great that it has both a front and rear-facing camera…just remember that there is a big dip in quality when you use the front facing which is only 1.9 megapixels as opposed to the rear camera, which is 8 megapixels.
I also love using the DropBox app with my camera and phone. Not only do they sync up so anytime you take a photo, it gets saved to your dropbox, but also with this camera you get 50 extra gigs of space. Sweetness!
The Galaxy SIII’s home-screen panels are completely customizable. I’m your average Virgo, organizational freak. I love to have all my ducks or icons in a row. The Galaxy SIII allows you to customize all your panels to your liking. Besides getting the thing on, this was my first priority. I really think it’s important to organize everything to make every single use of the phone a smooth, efficient process. I made folders labeled ‘travel’, ‘food’ (naturally), ‘news’, ‘utilities’ etc. for my apps. I experimented with what are my most used ones to have on the homepage. The Samsung also allows you to have larger widgets with more info. Right now, I’ve decided I don’t want to many cluttering up anything and I’ve settled on the weather one – giving me the forecast and time in my favorite places. Yay for organization!
Quick pull down
This may be the feature I use more than anything. Soon after I started using the phone I had to turn off all the notification sounds or I realized I’d be way less efficient than ever by checking all my stuff everytime I heard a beep or buzz. But now when I look at my phone, I can easily see ‘events’ I’ve missed by seeing the icons in the top bar and then pulling it down to easily navigate to the ‘new’ stuff (emails, facbook updates, etc) in one shot.
Power Save mode
I don’t think I’ve ever turned this off. Coming from an OLD iphone huffing away on T-Mobile’s Edge network, speed was not on my side as it was, so anything was much faster for me. So keeping on power saver, everything still seems faster to me and I get to save the battery some since this phone DOES like to drain the batt.
The Galaxy SIII has a valuable app switcher feature that lets you see all the recent applications you’ve used and quickly jump back and forth between them. To open the App Switcher, hold down the GSIII Home button for a couple of seconds. You can then scroll up and down to see recent apps and click to open them. Plus from here you can easily close them down, saving more battery life.
I didn’t even know what haptic meant when I got this phone. According to Wiki: Haptic technology, or haptics, is a tactile feedback technology which takes advantage of the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user. Well, I like it! I love the feel of my keyboard keys pressing down on my laptop and a slam away at power speed typing emails. So you can imagine how frustrating it is for me…a very infrequent texter…to type one key at a time on a mobile phone, I feel like a little old lady peering down at my phone. So at least with this haptic feedback, I feel like I’m doing something!
I hate when phones always dim or the screen goes black right when you are reading something. With this Smart Stay feature…the Samsung camera actually tracks my eyeballs (a bit bizarre!) to keep the display bright as long as you are gazing lovingly into it. Oh Galaxy!
Siri who? While the voice activation isn’t perfect…it’s fun! As I mentioned, I hate texting so I appreciate being able to dictate my texts. Sometimes when it gets it wrong…it’s actually just funnier to leave it that way – sort of like Mad Libs mobile. And, yes, I even found out that you can turn censoring on or off for those expressive expletives!
The only downside I’ve found to the phone is the battery life. The aforementioned screen is great for all except the battery life. This sucker sucks some serious battery juice. When I was doing a lot of photos and stuff, that battery drained faster than I’d hoped. But I have found some helpful apps like Juice Defender that help curtail this a bit and I always have the phone in energy saver mode, which also helps!
Disclosure: Thanks to Samsung for gifting me a Samsung Galaxy SIII. As always the views expressed here are my own and do not reflect the views of Samsung.