The Galaxy S III has an LED notification light on its front that alerts you to missed calls and messages; if you want, you can use a third-party LED notification control app to make the light even more useful. The phone has a volume rocker on its left side, a headphone jack on the top, a power button on the right, and a charging port on the bottom. The charging port can be used to connect the phone to a TV or monitor via HDMI, though you'll need a special adapter to make it work. (Adapters from older Samsung phones won't do the trick).
It's worth mentioning that unlike past-generation models, the Galaxy S III will be relatively constant from carrier to carrier. The back-of-phone branding and app additions (a.k.a. bloatware -- more on that in a bit) are the only real differences in the various networks' phones.
Samsung Galaxy S III carriers and pricing
*After $100 mail-in rebate. **20 monthly payments of $20 ***After $50 mail-in rebate All prices require new two-year contracts.
The buttons -- oh, the buttons
With Android 4.0, a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich, Google is moving the platform toward a button-free environment: Instead of devices relying on physical navigation buttons, as they once did, Android 4.0 revolves around the concept of virtual on-screen buttons that rotate to match a device's orientation.
Some manufacturers are resisting this change -- perhaps in an attempt to achieve consistency with past designs or maybe just because their hardware was conceived before Android 4.0 came around. Samsung's Galaxy S III is among the 4.0-level devices whose design is clinging to Android's past instead of embracing its future, and that takes an unfortunate toll on the quality of the user experience.
In stock Ice Cream Sandwich (left), all options are accessible via on-screen icons. In Samsung's version (right), many options show up only if you press the phone's physical menu button.