When the Samsung Galaxy S III goes on sale in the U.S. in June, it will face some heavy competition. HTC and Nokia have delivered some excellent handsets to AT&T's network in the last month, and there's always the iPhone 4S, which is about halfway through its yearly update cycle. Did Samsung do enough with this device? Let's take a look at what Samsung got right and what it didn't.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 offers users a plethora of state of the art features, including fast download speeds, a sleek design, and a fairly intuitive navigational system. Users with autism will appreciate the fact that both the telephone keypad and the touch screen “buttons” for apps and other features are large, which reduces frustration for those with small motor skill issues. The camera is also very simple to figure out and use.
The wonderful combination of labeling that utilizes both written descriptors and easy to recognize logos and pictures is also very helpful. It makes it incredibly simple to find what you are looking for. Descriptions are simple and straightforward, with no interpretation necessary.
Another positive feature is that overall, the phone is quite sturdy. It can withstand some pretty serious bumps, bangs, and drops without breaking. This is a huge benefit to all users, but may be especially important for those users who have special needs relating to motor skills or repetitive behaviors such as banging objects.
There are a few drawbacks that come with all of the positives that the Samsung Galaxy S3 has to offer. While most of the buttons are large and easy to navigate, the volume button and on/off button are not. They also have some odd quirks. Volume adjustment is not across the board. It controls ringer volume when you are on the home screen, phone calls while you are using the phone and internet videos while you are on the internet. This may be confusing for some users with autism. The on/off but is touch-sensitive. A quick press of the button will only turn the screen on or off. If you want to actually power the phone up or down, you have to press longer. The menu button and back button are located on the white bar below the screen and only light up when you tap them. For users who are visually prompted, this can be another source of confusion and frustration.
While the phone withstands dropping and being bumped quite well, there is one problematic component that is not so well made. As with most phones, you have to remove the back to access the battery. This is tricky in and of itself, as the space in which you can fit your finger to pop it off is quite small. Even more importantly, the back is made of a very thin plastic that feels like it will snap with even the slightest bit of force. This fragility may prove quite difficult for some users with autism.