I had no issues with voice quality on the Galaxy S III; calls were loud and clear, and people on the other end of the line reported being able to hear me just fine. The Galaxy S III does have a series of in-call EQ settings, but I was unable to detect any difference with the optimizations on vs. off.
The Galaxy S III has full support for near-field communications (NFC), which enables you to use contact-free payment and phone-to-phone data-sharing services. Samsung has built in support for some interesting types of contact-free interactions; I'll explore them fully in a blog later this week.
Camera quality is becoming an area of distinction for high-end smartphones, and with its Galaxy S III, Samsung doesn't disappoint. The Galaxy S III's 8-megapixel main camera consistently captures sharp shots with vibrant, true-to-life colors and fantastic detail.
In some ways, the Galaxy's camera lags behind the lens used by HTC on its One series -- Samsung's camera lacks a dedicated image chip, for example, and has a more limited aperture range than HTC's -- but it took great-looking photos in almost any environment.
Samsung's Galaxy S III camera is capable of capturing images in HDR mode, which quickly snaps shots at different light exposures and then combines them into a single photo.
A sample photo taken with the Galaxy S III's camera.
The camera also has a "burst shot" mode that allows you to hold the shutter and capture 20 photos in rapid-fire paparazzi style. The interface for this mode is a bit of a letdown, though; whereas HTC made the function available on-demand on its One phones, Samsung requires you to scroll through a menu to find and activate the function before it'll work with every use.
The Galaxy S III has a face-detection tagging feature that's supposed to recognize faces automatically and make it easy for you to share photos with friends. In my tests, the feature was very hit and miss; it worked as promised some of the time but just as frequently failed to recognize faces that had been programmed in.
The Galaxy S III's camera is capable of recording 1080p HD-quality video. The phone also has a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera for vanity shots and video chat; its photos aren't studio-quality, by any means, but compared to the majority of front-facing mobile cameras, they're actually quite good.
The Galaxy S III runs a version of Android 4.0 heavily customized with Samsung's TouchWiz interface. The result is a mishmash of interesting features and inconsistent design; you could call it a Neapolitan version of Google's Ice Cream Sandwich.