Last updated: February 16. 2013 4:09PM - 526 Views

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SAMSUNG'S "Galaxy" series of Android tablets and smartphones have, almost without exception, been best-in-class when released.

The Galaxy S3 is no exception.

Available in white or light blue, the Galaxy S3 is packed to the brim with next-generation technology. For starters, the Galaxy S3 can recognize both your voice and facial features, and you can use this technology to unlock the phone without pressing a button.

Also practical is the S-Voice feature, which, like Apple's Siri, can answer questions that are put to it using normal sentences.

The Galaxy S3 has a beautiful SuperAMOLED 4.8 inch display, with spectacular 720x1280 resolution, and 306PPI pixel density.

It also features a dual-core 1.5Ghz processor, backed up by a solid 2 gigabytes of RAM. This phone flies.

European versions have a quad-core 1.4 GHz processor, but I'd be hard-pressed to say the U.S. model is handicapped. Despite having fewer cores, the processor itself is faster and likely consumes less power than the European version.

An interesting feature of the Galaxy S3 is that you can watch videos in a small window while browsing the Web or reading e-mail. Initially, I was unsure how useful this would be, but as I used the device, it became clear that on long trips or for reference, it was actually quite handy.

The camera is the standard 8-megapixel, but unlike many devices, there's virtually zero shutter lag. There's also a forward-facing camera for facial recognition, as well as video and conference calling via Skype and other platforms.

The Galaxy S3 comes with two levels of internal storage, 16GB and 32GB. There is an external microSD card slot that can accept cards up to 64GB in size. Keeping that in mind, for most people, the 16GB version will be sufficient because you can just plug in a memory card if you're low on space.

The S3 also features S-Beam, an app that combines both NFC (near-field communications) and WiFi technologies to transfer files, photos or videos from one device to another with NFC capabilities at speeds of up to 300Mbps.

The S3 features 4G data technology, so surfing the Web on Verizon's 4G LTE network is blazingly fast, and the screen has enough real-estate that full-scale websites are actually usable.

While other phones have similar specs, none has the snap or personality of the Galaxy S3.

The 16GB Samsung Galaxy S3 costs $199.99 with a 2-year contract and $599.99 without (regardless of color), while 32GB versions are $249.99 with a contract and $649.99 without.

Nick DeLorenzo is director of interactive and new media for The Times Leader. E-mail him at ndelorenzo@timesleader.com.

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