Sunday, November 18, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S III, Motorola Photon Q near perfection

I have been in smartphone wonderland for the past few weeks. C Spire Wireless took me there with the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Motorola Photon Q. Both of these devices are on C Spire's 4G LTE network.

I could stop right here and say these smartphones are what dreams are made of, but you need to know the details. With one in each pocket , I found myself reaching for either the Galaxy S III or the Photon Q, depending on what I was doing.

Galaxy S III close to perfect

To keep it simple, the Galaxy S III is just plain nice. The spacious 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display makes other devices seem small, including my iPhone 5, which did grow in height from the previous iPhone models.

This fine example of a smartphone runs Android 4.0.4, also know as Ice Cream Sandwich. It has been working out and shaping up since the Galaxy S II appeared about a year ago.

The Galaxy S III can be packed with 32 gigabytes of memory, compared with 16GB for the S II, and has beefed up to a dual-core 1.5 gigahertz processor, compared with a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor in the earlier version. If you need more storage space, the Galaxy S III can accept a 64GB SD Card, where the Galaxy S II was maxed out at 32GB.

The rear camera remains at 8 megapixels, just like its earlier sibling, but the front camera specifications is down slightly from 2.9 to 1.9 MP. But that shouldn't affect the Galaxy S III Burst Shot feature, which allows 20 continuous shots in a few seconds.

The Galaxy S III is full of cool technology, such as the S Beam feature for transferring photos, video and other documents just by placing it against the back of another Galaxy phone. Even cooler than that is the Smart Stay technology, with keeps the screen from dimming as long as you are staring at the display.

One of my most-watched area of emerging technology is Near Field Communication, or NFC, and the Galaxy S III has it on board, unlike the iPhone 5. By using Samsung's programmable NFC TecTiles stickers and the free TecTile app, this phone can perform all sorts of actions when it comes close to a sticker.

It's as simple as programming a sticker to change a setting, set an alarm or open your social media page. Just place the sticker in a convenient place and a tap will perform the action. You can have some hi-tech moments with the Galaxy S III by getting a package of five TecTile NFC stickers for $14.99.

The Galaxy S III also supports motion gestures to make a call by bringing the phone to your ear or scrolling quickly to the top of a list by tapping twice on the top menu bar.

This device is about as close to perfect as you can get in a smartphone.

The Motorola Photon Q means business

Some smartphones just feels good in your hands and you expect to have a good experience. That's the feeling the Motorola Photon Q gives the user.

This was C Spire's first 4G LTE device when it arrived on the shelves in September featuring a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, a 4.3-inch touchscreen and 8GB of memory. I'll bet customers were not disappointed.

The first thing you'll notice is the extra ounces in weight that comes from the slide-out QWERTY keyboard. If you do a lot of text messages and accuracy is of utmost importance, the QWERTY keyboard is spacious with five rows of keys that includes a dedicated numbers row.

The keys are outlined with LED lights in low-light situations, which makes them easy to see and gives a nice glow to the keypad. My typing accuracy increased on the Photon Q's keyboard when compared with similar efforts on digital keyboards.

Because the Photon Q seems geared toward the enterprise user, it has business-ready security and encryption for protecting emails, contacts and appointments.

Just like the Galaxy S III, the Photon Q also joins a growing list of smartphones with NFC support to share links, apps using the Android Beam feature.

Android devices gaining market dominance

The Galaxy S III and Photon Q for $199.99 under contracts are good examples of why recent research reports show that the Android platform now owns 72.4% of the smartphone market. While Apple's iOS holds second place, the iPhone is simply being outnumbered by compelling Android devices. It's yet to be seen if the recent Windows Phone 8 platform and the new BlackBerry 10 debut in January will slow down the Android march to dominance. Samsung, Motorola and HTC are strong contenders as Android gathers market share.

Both of these devices run on C Spire's 4G LTE network, which is available in 31 Mississippi markets, with plans to add another 6 by year end. The high-speed 4G network is now the standard and almost a must-have for downloading apps, music, books and other data-intensive functions and services.

If you're looking for smartphones near perfection, look no further than the Galaxy S III and Photon Q. I also like the iPhone 5, minus a few software glitches. I can vouch for these and we'll see how Windows Phone 8 devices are received and keep our fingers crossed for the BlackBerry 10 platform.

These devices should hold you for a while, or at least until the Samsung Galaxy S4 comes along.

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