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In a galaxy far, far away

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After much deliberation, thought, and input from the readers, I went down to Rogers on Tuesday to buy a Samsung Galaxy S3. If you haven't been following my smartphone odyssey from the beginning, for the past few weeks, I have been exploring the pros and cons of three leading smartphones with the goal of purchasing the best one.

I grew very tired of the iPhone and the iOS operating system. Nothing new was happening and the operating system felt very redundant to me after being a user for four years. The model options I was looking at were the BlackBerry Bold 9900, iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3.

Why did I pick the Galaxy? It was something new; that's the best way I can describe it. I like the device for several reasons, and dislike it for only one. The screen size is quite generous, and viewing email, Twitter and Instagram is a pleasure. I really like the way the operating system interacts. I have to admit, it isn't as fluid as iOS6, but the speed on the Galaxy makes up for the fluidity. The battery life on the Galaxy is also quite remarkable. After a full day of usage, I come home around 6:30 p.m., and I still have 35 per cent of charge. Then only time I eat away the battery and need a mid-day charge is when I've been using my smartphone as a mobile hot spot.

The keyboard is much like the iPhone. If you've used an iPhone, you will have no problem adjusting to the Galaxy S3's keyboard. I am a big fan of the way the texting works as well. Unlike iOS, when you're in the text message app, it shows the face of the person you're texting. The data for the faces are pulled from Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You can also take your own picture and set it as the face.

If you buy a Galaxy, I must warn you if you aren't a big Google products user, you might not enjoy the phone to the fullest extent. My company, iBXMediaGroup, revolves around Google products. My personal email is also on Gmail. When you are first setting up the Galaxy, you are prompted to login via your Google account. It will then sync your contacts, calendar, Google+ information, as well as your Gmail right to your phone -- instantaneously. It was awesome, I didn't have to go through any manual contact syncing; it was all through the cloud.

The speed on the Galaxy S3 is fantastic. Searching the web, running everyday applications and especially playing games is such a joy.

I am also a big fan of the way the Galaxy looks. It's very elegant. I bought the white version. In Canada, it only comes in two colours: blue and white. In the United States, it's available in red, white, blue and black. If I lived in the U.S., I would've definitely purchased the black version. I just think it looks very professional. A small feature I really appreciate on the Android is the way you can choose multiple different options for a lock screen. You can either set a PIN, password, or a pattern. I chose pattern just because it's very easy to do, and I'm not constantly typing in a PIN or password. It also looks pretty cool as well.

My biggest peeve with the Galaxy is it's a little tricky syncing your music to it if you're using a Mac. Apparently, if you are setting up your Android with a Windows PC, you can simply drag and drop music, movies, and television shows. With a Mac, for some reason, it's very difficult to get music onto the device. I had to download a third-party application called Easy Phone Tunes. This allowed me to view all of my iTunes music, then pick and choose playlists I wanted to sync. It was quite easy. However, it took me 45 minutes to find an application that worked -- there were several apps that were incredibly glitchy.

Overall, I am incredibly pleased with my Samsung Galaxy SIII thus far. It cost me $144 to buy out my Rogers contract and it was worth every penny. The phone itself, when upgrading, costs $175. However, for some fluke of a reason, the night I went they were offering it for $0.01 -- bonus! So if you are looking for an upgrade and getting tired of your old BlackBerry or iPhone, I'd recommend going with the S3. It's fast, sleek, and has an operating system that's emerging and being innovated daily. I'll see you in the Galaxy far, far away.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 7, 2012 A15

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