Sunday, July 22, 2012

singing the praises of my Samsung smartphone

Since my dad started working for Verizon a couple of years ago I've had a slew of phones.  Seriously, I think I've had like six or seven in a little over 2 years.  This is mostly because he wants us to try out the newest and greatest to give him feedback, but also because we've had upgrades available and we can sell our used ones for a good price.  Anyway, the one I got a couple of weeks ago is by far my favorite.  I will not be giving it back, nor will I be selling it or trading it anytime soon.  As much as it embarrasses me to admit it, I think I'm in love with a phone.

I got the Samsung Galaxy SIII.  It looks like this:

You may not care and feel free to skip this post if you're not interested, but I often hear discussions of iPhone vs. Android and I want to tell you why I love my new Android phone.

  • First, the camera is awesome.  It snaps pictures really quickly.  Much more quickly than the other phones I've had.  Faster even, than my Sony Digital camera.  I remember being frustrated at Julianna's gymnastics exhibition because I would snap one picture and if I missed the shot the first time then I'd have to wait until her next turn to try again because the camera just wasn't quite ready to take another picture yet.  This is nice.
  • The video camera even shoots decent quality videos.  With the Google+ app (comes preloaded) I'm able to use the instant upload feature to always have my pictures backed up in my Google account (for free!) and should I ever need to clear them off my phone I can do it easily without worrying about making sure I have a copy saved.  No need to remove a memory card or use a cable to transfer pictures which makes life especially easy.  
  • One of the first few days I had the new phone my mom started messaging me while I was in the camp carpool line.  I picked up the phone to text her back and accidentally touched the phone to my face and heard ringing immediately.  I realized it as calling her without me having to push any buttons and as soon as it dawned on me what a cool safety feature this was for texting and driving I was smitten.  My friend just got a ticket for texting and driving the other day so that's even more reason for me to love that my phone does this.
  • Along the same lines, I can use Google Talk to video call anyone which is pretty cool.  The forward facing camera makes it easy for my kids to talk to Nanna from the backseat (also noticed in the car pickup line) and that will be purely incredible to use with our kids and see their faces when we take our anniversary trip this fall.  
  • Perhaps my most favorite thing about this phone is the accuracy of the GPS. I regularly use RunKeeper and navigation on my phone so having an accurate GPS is vital to me.  I'll write more about RunKeeper later, but the point is that this phone is a powerful GPS device and I haven't had any problems with it whatsoever.  It's as accurate as my friend's Garmin.
  • It's thin and it's light.  This is the thinnest and lightest phone I've ever owned.  
  • I love the Accuweather widget on the home screen.  My other Android phones have had a Weather Bug app or some other weather app that worked pretty well but the Accuweather one is my favorite.  Those windshield wipers and sound effects were cool the first time you saw them but they got kinda old by the third thunderstorm.  Besides, I personally think that Accuweather is the most reliable weather source around the web these days anyway.

accuweather app
standard HTC weather app
  • The keyboard: this phone allows graffiti typing where you can drag your finger from letter to letter along the keyboard and it will type the word for you and then put a space afterward.  It's easier than tapping for each letter and once you get used to it you can type so much faster. Of course, you can do the old way of tapping each letter as well, but the drag across way is faster.  (Sorry if I'm not explaining this well.)  I'll be honest. At first, I hated this feature. I kept at it and within a few days I got the hang of it and won't go back. It's a lot easier.
  • It's a 4G phone which makes a slightly noticeable difference in your connection speed.  
  • Ice cream sandwich operating system which, after Jelly Bean, is the most recent OS for Android phones.
  • Also, with the FoxFi app I can use the phone as a mobile hotspot to have a wifi connection wherever I need it.  Awesome!
  • There's some pretty cool tricks I can do with voice commands.  I can start typing a message to someone and tap the microphone icon next to my keyboard and then just talk.  The phone will type whatever I say.  I can also use voice commands to have the phone call someone from my contact list Siri-style. So no, you don't have to have an iPhone to do that.
  • The Galaxy SIII has a great battery life.  I have plugged it in in the middle of the day a time or two but that was only when I'd been using the phone all morning long in doctor's offices or whatever.
  • There are a ton of sweet shortcuts that I didn't have on my other phones like being able to double-tap to go to the top of my contact list or being on a contact and having the ability to just swipe left to message them or right to call them.  Shortcuts like this are invaluable when you're in the car a lot of the day shuttling kids to and fro.
  • As usual with Android, 100% of the apps I use are free.


  • I've read that the screen gets too dim, but I haven't had a problem with this at all.  It does time out after a bit and go dim to conserve battery life but it's not irritating and definitely still usable.  Even if it wasn't, you can easily tap the screen to make it become brighter again.
  • The phone gets really hot.  After I've been using it for a while the back of the phone gets hot in my hand.  Nothing unsafe, but certainly something to be noted.

Do you love your phone?  Can you imagine what we ever did without smartphones?

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