Our friends over at Verizon have sent us the Verizon Wireless Samsung Galaxy S III for us to review! This may very well be Verizon’s flagship device, it definitely is Samsung’s flagship smartphone. We have already reviewed the T-Mobile and  Sprint versions of the device. And we were very impressed with those versions as well, but does the Verizon variant live up to the hype. After being delayed, and the last one out of the gate is the Verizon version worth it? Well, for starters an advantage may be the 4G LTE speeds. But, should this be your next device? We will answer that in the full review which begins now.

 

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In The Box

Now, the reason we are including this section is that there are some differences, when comparing it to the other variants boxes. Usually Verizon’s 4G LTE device come in their signature black boxes, well the Galaxy S III boxes are all white. Verizon did add some more customization tot he box, than just the logo on the back by the specifications list. On the top of the sliding cover, it says “Verizon 4G LTE Certified”, this is customary for all of the 4G LTE devices from Verizon. Besides that you get the Galaxy S III in the box, your 2100mAh lithium-ion battery, USB cord, USB wall charge, Samsung headphones, Start Here guide, Product Safety guide, Warranty information, and some more guides. Several of the guides are branded for the Verizon Wireless network. However, those are the main differences between this and the other devices boxing.

 

Design

We are testing out the 16GB Marble White Verizon Galaxy S III, we have yet to see the Pebble Blue device. The white color still looks great and does not get old. If you had the marble white version of the T-Mobile, Sprint, and even AT&T versions all next to the Verizon devices facing forward, you would not be able to tell the difference between the devices. If you flip it over you will see the carrier markings, but even when you’re in the operating system it is hard to tell the differences. Above the screen you have the LED notification light, earpiece, proximity sensor, Samsung logo, and the 1.9 megapixel front facing camera. Like the other devices the Samsung logo tends to disappear when you look at it a certain way, it is a shiny silver color. Below the screen you can find 2 touch and 1 hard button. The 2 touch buttons would be your menu and back button, while the hear button will act as your home button. If you flip the device over you can find the 8 megapixel back camera with LED flash, speaker grill, Verizon 4G LTE logo, and a Galaxy S II logo. Both logs are in a dark gray color, although it appears the Verizon 4G LTE logo is in a slightly darker color. The back cover is still made of the flimsy plastic, and I still wish that Samsung and other device makers would give them a better build quality. Just be careful when taking it off. Under the back cover you will find the 2100mAh battery with NFC(Near Field Communications) built-in, SIM card slot, and micro SD card slot. You also have an inductive charging end, next to the SIM card slot. However, the case does not have any other end to the charging port. Samsung and Verizon may introduce a wireless charging kit for this device. There is also another inductive charging connector port to the left of the battery. The side of the device still has the great aluminum silver siding, and both power/sleep button and volume rocker are all slightly raised from the siding. Volume rocker is on the left hand side and the power/sleep button can be found on the right hand side. Below the screen you have a micro USB port and main microphone, while above the screen you will find the 3.5 millimeter headphone jack and 2nd microphone. The Galaxy S III was designed for humans, and the Galaxy S III feels really comfortable in the hand and to hold generally. They also really customized Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Samsung TouchWiz User Interface Nature to make the device easier for use. You can check out more information on the operating system in the Software section below. You would think the back of the device would be a little slippery, but it actually has a bit of a grip to it, even though it does not have any grip substance to the back. Samsung and Verizon did an amazing job with the design of the Galaxy S III.

 

Network

This Galaxy S III may have an advantage over the other devices, and that is because it is running on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. And for the mean time they are the fastest 4G LTE network that we haves tested out. Keep in mind that AT&T and Sprint are currently in the process of deploying their 4G LTE network, with many cities already launched. T-Mobile should be launching 4G LTE next year. During our test we have around 3-5 bars and were on 4G LTE for data. We use “SPEEDTEST.NET” for out speed tests. You can see our speed test with the Verizon Galaxy S III below:

Verizon Wireless Samsung Galaxy S III Speed Test

  • Ping-99ms, Download-9.31Mbps, Upload-1.16Mbps
  • Ping-92ms, Download-17.72Mbps, Upload-11.89Mbps
  • Ping-79ms, Download-21.36Mbps, Upload-11.23Mbps
  • Ping-78ms, Download-23.99Mbps, Upload-2.75Mbps
  • Ping-100ms, Download-23.70Mbps, Upload-2.54Mbps
  • Ping-92ms, Download-18.56Mbps, Upload-3.16Mbps
  • Ping-88ms, Download-26.68Mbps, Upload-4.85Mbps

While these are not the fastest speeds we have gotten on Verizon’s 4G LTE network, they are pretty good. The fastest download speeds we got were 26.68Mbps, and our slowest was 9.31Mbps. Keep in mind that depending on Verizon’s 4G LTE coverage in your area, your network performance may be better or worse than our Speed Test above. 11.89Mbps was our fastest upload speed and 1.16Mbps was our slowest, usually Upload speeds are slower than that of the download speeds. However, we got some really great speeds and are still very impressed with Verizon Wireless’s 4G LTE network.

 

Hardware

One of the great decisions that Samsung made with their Galaxy S III devices was that they would be and are the same devices all across the board for the US. The devices are identical for the most part, there may be sudden differences like a locked boot loader a CDMA device versus a SIM card device, but besides that they are identical. Which means accessories can come out much quicker and get into the hands of you the customer. Let’s begin with the display on they device. You get a absolutely gorgeous 4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED™ display with a resolution of 1280 X 720. So, this a full 720pHD display which makes streaming videos and doing almost anything on the phone so much better. The colors are super vibrant, viewing angles are great, and everything has depth to it which adds to making it look real. Samsung is known for their screens and they brought the best that they had to offer to the plate with the Galaxy S III. Unlike the Sprint and T-Mobile Galaxy S III’s you do not get 50GB of free Dropbox storage for the life of the 2-year contract. Both Verizon and AT&T will not be giving away the free Dropbox space. So, you are stuck with either 16GB of 32GB of internal space, and the micro SD card slot that can hold up to a 32GB micro SD card or a 64GB micro SD card class 6. Samsung has said that the 64GB version of the device is coming and will eventually drive, but no word on when that will be. When using any device speed both within the operating system and on the network is a key factor, we already told you about the insanely fast speeds from Verizon 4G LTE and know we can tell you about the supper fast processor inside the Galaxy S III. The oversea version’s of the device may have gotten a quad-core processor, but the 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Processor with 2GB of RAM can go head-to-head against and still come out looking strong. The Galaxy S III is blazingly fast, there is no lag in the operating system what so ever. Swiping through home screens, switching applications, scrolling through menus, and multitasking all happen without slowing down. As with many smartphones on the market you do get BlueTooth 4.0 and WiFi  802.11 connectivity. Now, as we mentioned before the 2100mAh battery does have Near Field Communications(NFC) built it. This makes S Beam, Android Beam, and many other applications work on the device. ISIS the mobile payment service, that Verizon and other carriers have been back does require NFC(Near Field Communications), so in the future this device would work. Samsung put top-notch hardware into the Verizon Galaxy S III!

 

Software

Samsung has decided that for the most part the software and operating system will stay the same across all of the different US variants of the Galaxy S III. Let’s dive into the software of the Verizon Wireless Galaxy S III. Of course it is running on Verizon 4G LTE so you have carrier specific 4GLTE logo in the operating system. In terms of pre-loaded applications from Verizon you get Verizon App Store, Color, Guided Tours, Mobile Hotspot, My Verizon Mobile, Setup Wizard, Voice Mail, VZ Navigator, VPN Client, and V Cast Tones. A Verizon customer would like these applications, you can learn the operating system from the device, share the 4G LTE speeds, see what’s going on in your Verizon account, share videos live with Color, and more. In terms of differences on the home screens, there is a home screen with links to the My Verizon Mobile, Verizon App store, VZ Navigator, and Voicemail applications. Of course the shortcuts can be removed if you don’t want them. Of course you are running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with a Samsung TouchWiz Nature User Interface. One recently launched application by Verizon Wireless and Exent is “GameTanium”. It is your one stop shop for the latest and greatest games. And it is exclusive to the Verizon App Store, and as you may have imagined that is exclusive to Verizon Wireless devices. For $5.99 a month, you get access to a wide-variety of games, and more are added weekly. These games are all advertisement free, and you have unlimited access to the games. You browse the different games through the GameTanium and application, then once you find the game your download the games you want. There are over 100 games for smartphones and around 50 for tablets. You get a 3-day free trial of GameTanium, and after that it will ask you if you want to pay for it. It costs $5.99 a month, and it is billed to your monthly bill from Verizon Wireless. You Can See Our Verizon Wireless GameTanium Hands-On, By Clicking Here. You Can See Our Interview With Zvi Levgoren The CEO Of Exent, By Clicking Here. Now, we move onto the features across all of the Samsung Galaxy S III’s. Let’s begin with a feature called Smart Stay, it is a pretty cool feature that will help you to save battery life and to not hurt your eyes. It makes sure the screen stays bring with you are looking at the phone. This works via the front facing camera, it will look to see if your eyes are looking at the phone. Another really handy feature is that while you are texting someone, if you lift the phone up to your ear it will start calling the person you were texting. Like we said before the battery has a built-in NFC or Near Field Communications chip. This is the same technology that makes Google Wallet work. S Beam lets you share contacts, photos, maps, videos, app download link,s websites, and more with a simple touch of 2(two) S Beam or Android Beam enabled devices. All you have to do is go into settings and make sure that NFC and S Beam are turned on. Let’s say you want to share a photo just have the photo you want to share open on one device and tap the 2 devices together. The hit touch to beam and separate the devices, and the file is going to the other phone. While S Beam is currently only available on Galaxy S III’s, Android Beam is available on all Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich devices. You also get Voice Controls on the Galaxy S III via S Voice. Now, keep in mind that while it can’t do everything, it can do quite a lot. For instance asking S Voice “What is the weather for today?”, and it will come up with weather for today in your area. Try asking it “Who is the president of the United States” and it will tell you the President is Barrack Obama. You can use it set an alarm, start a timer, find a restaurant, turn something on or off in settings, make a social media update, navigation, and much more. If you turn voice commands on in settings you can do something that I found very useful. When the alarm goes off in the morning you can say “Stop” or “Snooze” and it will do what you say. This came in super handy in the morning. You can also use this feature to answer calls or to even snap a photo. Keep in mind that for S Voice to work it does require a Network Connection, and at times it does come up with a “Network Error”. You also have Pop Up Player which will allow you to continue to watch you video while looking at maps or responding to a text message. Basically the video becomes a smaller image that you can move around a watch while, you are multitasking in another application. You can take a screenshot on the Galaxy S III by holding Power/Sleep and Home button down at the same time. It automatically gets added into your gallery. You no longer just have face unlock, but you know have voice unlock. Basically you set a voice command, and whenever you say that the phone will unlock. When you pull down notification center you can access the so-called “Quick Settings Bar”, from here you can easily turn on or off WiFi, BlueTooth, GPS, Sound, Screen Rotation, Mobile Data, Power Saving, Airplane Mode, and Sync. Another new feature is that you can monitor your Data Usage in its full or by each application in Settings. Remember that you have an LED Indicator above the screen? In settings you can choose what actions that make it light up. So, that is just divining into some of the awesome capabilities that Samsung has added into the Software across all of the US variants of the Galaxy S III. Overall, while it is not the complete pure and clean version of Android, this is one of the closest you will get and it works very well.

 

Camera

Samsung decided to make the cameras across all of the Galaxy S III’s the same, and this is exactly what they did. On the front of the device you have a 1.9 megapixel camera, and for as far as front facing camera’s go this is one of the best ones we have seen. This camera is perfect for video chatting on the go or for taking “selfies”. And your video chat will be in 720pHD video quality. On the back of the device you have an 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, and it records video in 1080pHD quality. It can definitely compete with the cameras on the HTC One series device’s. A new feature to the camera is that you  can now shot in HDR quality, which will get you the best images. You also have burst shots, effects, autofocus, shooting mode’s, scene mode, ISO, white balance, and a lot of more. Basically all of those options that are on your digital camera are now on your cellphone. Burst Mode allows you to take up to 20 photos right after each other, you can also select “Best Shot” and the device will pick the best image out of the 20 you just took. It also records video in 1080pHD, and the quality looks great both on and off of the phone. One thing that we did notice is that throughout the recording the autofocus may start searching for different things to focus on during the recording. This doesn’t always happen, but it does occur sometimes. However, I don’t think this will affect most people who get the Galaxy S III. In comparison both the photo quality and video quality of the Verizon Galaxy S III is the same as both the Sprint and T-Mobile Galaxy S III. Samsung did an amazing job with the cameras on the Galaxy S III!

 

Accessories

Samsung has made the design of all of the US Galaxy S III variants the same, which means that a huge amount of accessories will be hitting the market. And all of these will immediately work with all of the devices. We will be highlighting 2(two) accessories for the Galaxy S III, both here in the written portion and our video below. Samsung has come out with the “Samsung Galaxy S III Flip Cover”, now this comes in either Pebble Blue or Marble White. And to install this what you do is simple remove the back cover of your device and then snap this cover on. Now, there is no carrier markings on this case. The back simple says “Samsung” in silver and the front “flip” cover Samsung closer to the top and Galaxy S III is written towards the bottom. And there is an ear piece cut-out. And the difference between the Marble White and Pebble Blue cases, would be the color. The covers in either color retail for $39.99 . Next, we would like to highlight Samsung’s way of getting users to use and enjoy NFC(Near Field Communications). This where the battery with NFC comes in handy. Samsung has made these things called “TecTiles”, and they are Programmable NFC Tags. Basically Samsung has made these super easy to use. You download the “TecTile”application from the Google Play Store, and in case you can’t find it if you use the Samsung Hubs, they will suggest it too you. And then you open the application and you choose from either Settings/Apps, Phone/Text, Location/Web, and Social. From there you can have it go to a website, turn WiFi on or off, and much more. And the best part is that they are rewritable. Each pack contains 5 TecTiles and will cost you $14.99 . These are just a few of the accessories that are currently on the market, and they look great!

Samsung Galaxy S III Accessories Demo

 

Bottom Line

The Verizon Wireless Samsung Galaxy S III is an amazing phone and one of the best on the market today. You get an amazing design that is super comfortable to hold, and this is thanks to Samsung designing for humans with nature in mind. And what could be better than Verizon 4G LTE speed, you get access to some crazy fast speeds on this network. And then for speed in the operating system you get a great 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Processor with 2GB of RAM. If you’re a big fan of streaming videos you know that you need a good screen to watch them on, and you get a 4.8 inch HD Super AMOLED™ display with a resolution of 1280 X 720. And then you have Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Samsung TouchWiz Nature User Interface. The Samsung Galaxy S III is definitely the best smartphone currently in their lineup as of today. The Verizon Galaxy S III will cost you $199.99 for the 16GB version and $249.99 for the 32GB. For More Information On The Verizon Wireless Samsung Galaxy S III, Please Click Here. We would like to thank Verizon Wireless for providing us with a copy of the “Verizon Wireless Samsung Galaxy S III”.

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