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Samsung's Galaxy S III is plastic, but powerful (photos)

Samsung shows up in London to announce the Galaxy S III, the newest model in its Galaxy family of Android smartphones. CNET takes a closer look.

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Aloysius Low

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Luke Westaway

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1 of 20 Luke Westaway/CNET UK

The Samsung Galaxy S III says hello

LONDON--At its "Unpacked" event, Samsung unveiled the latest model in its flagship Android line, the Samsung Galaxy S III. Compared with its predecessors, the Galaxy family gets a more rounded look that's almost similar to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. The 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED is sharp, crisp, and vibrant.
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Processing power

The quad-core processor should chew through graphically demanding apps.
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A plastic build

The S III will come in two colors, white or blue. While the blue version has a textured brushed-metal design on the rear cover, it's actually plastic. It feels solid, but it doesn't give a good grip like the Galaxy Nexus, and it doesn't feel as durable as the polycarbonate finish of the One X.
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Full control

Samsung chose to retain the physical home button for the S III instead of using soft keys like on the Galaxy Nexus.
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Ice cream, anyone?

The Galaxy S III runs Ice Cream Sandwich, Android OS 4.0.4.
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Some sweet apps

Apps in the drawer will feature a more Ice Cream Sandwich-like look.
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Make it snappy

The 8-megapixel camera of the S III features face detection and a burst mode of six images per second. I couldn't test the image quality at the prelaunch event, so I can't yet tell you if the S III's is better than the camera on the One X (or on the iPhone 4S).
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8 of 20 Luke Westaway/CNET UK

Camera options

The 8-megapixel camera is crammed with features and options.
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Your best shot

After burst mode finishes, you will get a menu where you can select the best picture. The S III is smart enough to pick the "best" image based on whether the eyes are looking at the camera or somewhere else.
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Showtime

A new button on the video app lets you play a video in the foreground while doing other things like surfing the Web.
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Drag and drop

The video window is portable, which means you can drag it anywhere on the screen.
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Tag, you're it

You can also tag faces to add a name. Photos will then be grouped based on contact info stored on the handset.
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Wireless transfer

The handset includes an upgrade to Android Beam called S Beam, which lets you transfer files using NFC or Wi-Fi Direct. Samsung claims the file transfer rate between both phones can go up to 300Mbps.
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Flipboard goes Android

Flipboard for Android makes its debut on the Galaxy S III. Dropbox is also preloaded on the handset, and will come with free 50GB storage for two years.
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15 of 20 Aloysius Low/CNET Asia

On your command

The Samsung Galaxy S III will come with a new look for the S Voice UI -- we last saw this app in the Galaxy Note -- but it looks more refined here.
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Face or voice unlock

Samsung has also added voice unlock to the handset that's meant to be used together with the face unlock app.
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Getting set

Here's what the setup process looks like. You'll need to repeat yourself four times for the phone to remember your voice.
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How it compares

The S III (right) is larger than the S II (center), and slightly larger than the Galaxy Nexus (left), with which it bears some resemblance.
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19 of 20 Aloysius Low/CNET Asia

Back by the battery

Underneath the rear cover, you'll find a removable 2,100mAh battery, the microSD card slot, and the SIM card slot.
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20 of 20 Luke Westaway/CNET UK

Thin and trim

At just .3-inch thin, this enormous phone is extremely slim. It weighs just 4.7 ounces, too.

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