As with many new Android phones, Android Jelly Bean is embedded out of the box, meaning you've got a plethora of options when it comes to notification management. You can easily get rid of anything that you don't care about by simply swiping the alert left or right – it's a really neat system that means you can leave the bits you really care about.
With Android Jelly Bean, you're now getting Google's Project Butter, which makes everything that much smoother under the finger. On top of that, the notifications bar will be one of the key areas where most notice a big change.
Like on the Galaxy Note 2, the information when dragging your finger down from the top of the screen is far richer than before. You've still got the same brightness alteration bar, but the settings icon is more prevalent, the clock is larger and the network connectivity status is now at the bottom of the sliding bar.
This last element might not sound like much, but now you can tap the top of the screen in any app and see the date, time and the network you're connected to – not just the signal strength.
The neatness is reproduced in the application management pane: when holding down the Home button at the bottom of the phone you're presented with a long list of all the applications you've recently opened – another flick of the finger and they're shut down.
One of the problems with the Galaxy S3 when it first arrivedwas this feature; it was so slow. Ridiculously so. We weren't alone in our criticism of how long it takes to activate once you've long-pressed the home button when the S3 first launched - we were disgusted that a key action was so poorly implemented.
However Samsung has finally pulled its finger out here and given us an instantly-acting pop-up, and it's also got some new friends at the bottom. The Google Now option is flanked by an icon to shut down all the open applications, as well as being able to jump into your RAM usage and cut that down as well.
It's a useful trick, but it would be even better if we could customise those icons so you've always got the apps you want at your fingertips... it's not really an effort to jump into settings from the notifications bar once in a while to clean our RAM usage, and many people will never even bother.
However, this is different to the task manager Samsung has installed in the Galaxy S3, where you can look at running applications and the amount of power (and therefore battery) they're sucking down at any one time, which is very handy for when you're wondering why your phone is overheating so much – not that we noticed that very much during our review.
In terms of management options, there are more than ever before – the battery usage meter is joined by the data management tool that enables you to see which apps are sucking down the most bytes, and also (and quite neatly, using sliding bars) enables you to set warnings for when you're getting close to your data limit and when you've reached it.
You can even tell the phone to stop connecting to the internet over 3G if you're worried about your data charges after a certain period – this is certainly going to satisfy those who don't ever know how much data they're using, because you're in total control.
The menu system is very easy to use as before – sort your apps chronologically or alphabetically – and if you're not a fan of the standard grid system you can chuck them all into one long list.
There's a tab for apps (which you can filter to just those you've downloaded) and also widgets too – with the seven enabled home screens on the top to chuck them into. There are loads to choose from (with more to come as you download applications) which can get a bit chaotic when you're scrolling through.
And if you want to uninstall apps, simply open up the option from the menu in the App drawer - much easier than messing about through the innards of the phone or heading through Play Store.
We noticed one issue with the interface speed: namely when pushing the graphics chip harder (perhaps loads of internet tabs or a pretty game) and the interface will have to redraw when pressing the home key.
This happens a whole lot less with the Android 4.1 update, to the point where it's really negligible... however, if you do notice it happening you should think about shutting down some background apps using the long-press on the home button.
The other big feature for the S3 is the addition of motion control – not necessarily a new idea, but one that's been pushed to a whole new level in the phone.
This means that not only does turning over the phone or placing your hand over it mute a call, but also performs the same trick when playing music. It can even do it when turning the phone over in mid-air… which is quite impressive when you think the handset can tell the difference between the pocket and a desk.
Other features, such as tapping the top of the phone to move to the top of a list, are pretty cool, but ultimately pale in comparison to Apple's (likely patented) tapping at the top of the screen – and the S3's effort is nowhere near universal, so you can find yourself tapping the phone to no avail on more than one occasion.
There's another new feature with the software update: you can press the power key and change the sound settings.
It feels a little redundant as the same thing can be done with a drag down of the notification bar, but it harks back nicely to the Nokia days when this was the only way to change sound settings.
But overall the good news is the large screen looks great, the slick operation under the finger is exactly what we wanted and the little touches like the rippling lock screen do actually feel quite natural.