How do you review a phone like the Galaxy S III? It’s already been subject to so much speculation, exposure, and early judgment — some of it coming from myself, admittedly — that it feels overwhelming to try and condense what it means to everyone into a single treatise. To Samsung, it’s the new flagship handset to keep the company ahead of every other Android OEM through 2012, for most people it’s a device that stretches the definition of the smartphone form factor, and to mobile gaming enthusiasts it’s potentially the most powerful platform yet.
Being a spec leader isn’t new to Samsung, but the Galaxy S III betrays an even loftier ambition: South Korea’s largest chaebol wants to also be known as a front runner in software. Android 4.0 is the basis upon which Samsung has built a formidable list of new and returning enhancements: S Beam, S Memo, S Planner, S Voice, Smart Stay, Direct Call, and even a limited-term exclusive of the Flipboard Android app. Throwing in 50GB of free Dropbox storage for two years makes Samsung’s offering seem comprehensive, but is it cohesive? That’ll be the primary question to answer for people wondering if the long wait for the Galaxy S III has been worth it.