The Galaxy S3 has been available in the market for a while now, but with the recent update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (the 4.1.1 platform), not only has the S3 been given a speed boost; there's also a host of other goodies thrown in as well.
It's mostly changes to the interface that have been brought with the new update, but there are a few other areas that have been updated with the new breed of TouchWiz, so we've spent a few weeks checking them all out.
Samsung has made a big deal about this phone, not only choosing to launch it at a big and glitzy standalone event in London but has managed to top 30 million sales in November 2012 - and given the amount of people we see rocking the handset on the trains these days, those number seem to bear a hallmark of truth.
The price is pretty palatable for a top-end phone – some sites are offering it for around £26 per month with a very low up front cost,
But let's get down to the main question – is this the phone you should be spending your hard-earned cash on?
The Samsung Galaxy S3 is, according to Samsung anyway, 'inspired by nature – it sees, listens, responds, and enables you to share the greatest moments'.
While this is all a little hyperbolic, the nature theme is certainly present when you handle the phone for the first time.
Brushed polycarbonate – you've got a choice of 'Marble White' and 'Pebble Blue' – adorns the large device, which runs in with dimensions of 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6mm, despite still having to pack in a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD screen.
We'll lay it out right now: the plastic feeling of the Galaxy S3 won't appeal to all. It feels very lightweight (despite tipping the scales at 133g) in the hand, and some people will read this as feeling a little cheap.
However, it's exactly the same sensation as we found on the Galaxy S2, and given the silly numbers of sales that had, we think there's more than a market for a phone that you'll barely notice in your pocket most of the time.
But we'll be very clear on this - the Galaxy S3 is not a cheap-feeling phone. It's got a really solid Gorilla Glass 2 front, a well-packaged interior and a more robust battery cover. It's polycarbonate rather than bog-standard plastic, although we're not sure some people will like the more rounded nature of the design.
However, despite being made of similar material, there's no doubt that the HTC One X feels more premium in the hand. Although the One X is actually 3g lighter than the Galaxy S3, it feels a touch weightier, which shows the way texture can affect the way a phone feels in the hand. And there's something about an object so large feeling so light that some will find disconcerting in the S3.
There's no doubt in our minds that the Pebble Blue offering is the much more attractive option, since the Marble White looks similar to a low-end Galaxy Mini or similar – the brushed effect is really necessary. And now we've got a host of extra colours to play with (Titanium Grey, Garnet Red, Amber Brown and Sapphire Black) so the sky really is the limit here... although actually, there's no Sky Blue option.
Compared to rest of the Galaxy line, the S3 has more in common with the original Galaxy S than the S2, with curved edges the theme in the design language. The home button has also been elongated, although the same menu and back buttons remain from the prequel.
Overall, the effect is much more like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus than anything else – rounded edges, HD screen but with a more minimal bezel to really accentuate the larger screen in the hand.
The button design around the phone has been well thought out in our opinion - for a phone this big it's very difficult to make all the keys accessible, so putting the lock button on the right-hand side rather than the top makes a large degree of sense.
The addition of the lozenge-shaped home button, and its softkey 'Back' and 'Menu' buttons are great additions in our eyes, as it means contextual menus can be found easily without needing to mess around looking for the on-screen icon.
The volume up and down button is parallel to the lock key on the left-hand side of the phone, and also within easy reach when holding the Galaxy S3 in the hand.
The microUSB slot is placed at the bottom of the phone - easy to find with a charger but it will be interesting to see how it's used when placed in docks and car cradles.
The battery cover is also made of the same polycarbonate material as the rest of the body. Yes, you read that right - the battery cover is removable. The future isn't all unibody, it seems.
This means that not only can you switch the battery in and out - a key consideration for many people - there's also a cheeky surprise in the shape of a microSD slot next to the microSIM port. Expandable memory? This just gets better and better.
This means that theoretically you'll be able to have a 128GB-capacity Samsung Galaxy S3 if you combine the top spec of internal memory (64GB) with the largest microSD card around at the moment (64GB)... making it a mouth-watering prospect for those who love a spot of media. However, we're still waiting to see the 64GB Samsung Galaxy S3 variant make an entrance, as it looks like retailers are going off the idea of such a high capacity model.
Sure, there are stats that say only 10% of users regularly go over 16GB of storage, but there's always the lower end version of the Galaxy S3 for that. With HD movie downloads becoming far more prevalent, plus the influx of HD apps, we think more space is an excellent idea.
Overall the Samsung Galaxy S3 feels superb in the hand. The design contours well against the palm, and while the screen size may be a little big for some (you'll need a bit of shuffling to reach the upper section of the screen) it's definitely more than useable day to day.
So in short: if you don't mind a slightly lighter-feeling polycarbonate shell and you like big HD screens in your pocket, this is a phone definitely worth checking out.