Samsung Galaxy S III 4.1.2 Review

imageRegular readers will know I have a high opinion of the Samsung Galaxy S III based on the international quad-core version. My carrier has recently released Android 4.1.2 for the i9300, which includes the Premium Pack and unlocks some interesting new features, including something I've been waiting for: the split screen multi-view. I've used the S III on and off since the launch week, so how does the new software work on the S III? First, a few words on the main improvements between 4.1.2 and 4.1.1. Key changes for me include Multi-View, new Gallery application, customizable Notification Panel, Smart Rotation and a couple of new applications; Paper Artist and Group Cast. Let's take a look at some of the new features, starting with the most exciting: Multi-View. Multi-View is the means of showing and using two applications at the same time, taking advantage of large, high resolution screens and powerful processors. Not all applications support Multi-View, but the list includes Gtalk, Messaging, Google Maps and Chrome. I've been looking forward to experiencing Samsung's Multi-View since it was announced because it should make it easier to work with multiple conversations in Messaging and Gtalk at once, or if I am working with Gmail and Gtalk. At the moment, only a relatively small number of applications support Multi-View but the list is sure to grow. Here's how Google Maps co-operates with the new Samsung Gallery. I've used Multi-View on both the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II and my overriding impression is that it'll be useful when it's finished. It works well enough to make me wish that everything supported the technology. Google are reported to be working on something similar, too. Writing of the new Gallery application, this contains many new features including the ability to order your pictures in date, location, person or group order. It also looks superb, a real showcase for the S III's beautiful screen. Beware that if you import pictures into the S III from a MicroSD card, the new gallery can become confused and creates a large number of different galleries. It works very well with pictures taken on the camera. It's perhaps one of the simplest features, but I love the ability to customize the Notification Panel shortcuts because there are some shortcuts that I never touch and some that I use. 4.1.2 includes new shortcuts such as NFC. You can find the Notification Panel shortcuts in Settings, Display. The final new feature is the enhancements to the built-in keyboard, where Samsung appear to have used SwiftKey technology. The keyboard can learn about how you write based on your Facebook, Gmail and Twitter account, plus of course how you type using the device. The keyboard supports the Continuous Input mode, which is similar to Swype. This gives you a great way to type on the device, with a choice between tapping and sliding. Wrapping it all up, Android 4.1.2 and Samsung's Premium Pack adds some great new features to the Galaxy S III. They're not game changing but they're certainly useful. I'm especially encouraged to see Samsung adding new software features to an existing handset. It gives me greater confidence in the handset.

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