Steven Blum has written more than 2,000 blog posts as a founding member of AndroidPIT's English editorial team. A graduate of the University of Washington, Steven Blum also studied Journalism at George Washington University in Washington D.C. for two years. Since then, his writing has appeared in The Stranger, The Seattle P-I, Blackbook Magazine and Venture Villlage. He loves the HTC One and hopes the company behind it still exists in a few years.
This past April, we wondered aloud whether it was worth it to upgrade from a Galaxy S3 to a Galaxy S4. Opinions still run the gamut. One thing is clear, though: with the Android 4.2.2 update for the Galaxy S3, the technological gap between these two models has shrunk.
Android 4.2.2 for the Galaxy S3 is still in beta mode but runs absolutely perfectly. As previously rumored, the update allows you to enjoy many Galaxy S4 features on your Galaxy S3 (you can download the update here). Here we'll go over some of the new features packed into this update.
New Lockscreen and Widgets
With the Android 4.2.2 update for the Galaxy S3, the phone now has the same lockscreen as the Galaxy S4. That is, you can place multiple widgets on the lockscreen, unlock by swiping left to right, change the size of the clock and even enter a personal text. There is also a nice light effect you can enable.
Quick Settings and a New Settings Menu
Swiping the screen from top to bottom using two fingers unlocks a "quick toggle" function, or access to your most important settings.
The settings menu now looks exactly the same as the Galaxy S4, including the dreadful tabs. I find the classification system somewhat cumbersome because you have to memorize which sub item is under which tab in order to find anything.
Intelligent Rotation, Updated S-Voice and Adapt Display
Adapt Display has come to the Galaxy S3, which automatically adjusts brightness, contrast and colors to fit ambient conditions. In particular, the Galaxy S3 adjusts to decrease the blueish whites commonly associated with AMOLED displays and decreases color saturation.
Voice control, or "S-Voice" as Samsung likes to call it, has also been updated. The new system answers questions about the weather and fastest transportation methods to a popular area of town quite quickly and reliably. Additionally, certain phone features can now be controlled via voice command, including toggling the camera, music and / or a new alarm. The only pet peeve I have is that the voice sounds robotic and not at all friendly.
There's still a bunch of gesture controls that haven't been ported, as well as the Galaxy S4's new camera features, including Dual Shot, Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, HDR and many more.
After taking a quick tour of all the new functions packed into the Andorid 4.2.2 update for the Galaxy S3, I'm impressed by the number of new features, but aware that certain ones – like "Air View," "Smart Scroll" and other gesture controls – are still missing. Perhaps they won't ever come to the Galaxy S3, since they require different hardware. Advanced options for the lockscreen, updated voice control, the newly-organized settings menu and "quick toggle" for most-used settings are nice, though. Nevertheless, the software update does not turn the Galaxy S3 into the Galaxy S4 (which is probably a good thing, or no one would buy the new version!)