One of the most anticipated smartphones ever has been available for a few weeks now, but how does the Samsung Galaxy S III actually stack up?

Pretty damn well, all things considered. Samsung has outdone themselves, taking all the best features of SGSII and Galaxy Nexus and combining them in a lightweight handset that performs amazingly well.

Samsung’s quad core processor is a lightning bolt, knocking over tasks effortlessly. Apps spring to life emphatically, and nothing we did seemed to slow the smartphone down. Just like HTC’s One X, the quad core processor makes even the most intensive activities seem like child’s play.

Given the Korean company’s legacy as an LCD TV maker, it’s no surprise hat the SGSIII’s super AMOLED screen is stunning to look at. Bright, vibrant with incredible colour reproduction, viewing everything from web pages to HD video on the 4.8-inch display is honestly joyful. That said, it still doesn’t feel quite as responsive as the iPhone when playing games like Fruit Ninja, with a tiny delay that can be the difference between sliced apples or sliced bombs.

Image quality from the camera is sharp, taking some of the best photos we’ve seen on a smartphone. Which is nice in itself, but made better by the fact that intelligent improvements like burst shooting and smile capture actually work pretty well. 1080p video recording looks great on the phones screen, but can get a little noisy on a big screen if shot in anything other than perfect lighting conditions. Of course, the same can be said of every smartphone camera on the market, so it’s not quite a strike against Samsung there.

If there was a strike against Samsung, it’s the build. The plastic back is shiny to look at, but slippery to hold, and feels a little, well, cheap. It doesn’t reflect the premium components inside, that’s for sure.

On top of that, the physical home button on the front is way to narrow to be convenient to use. Obviously Samsung were doing their best to avoid legal confrontations with Apple over design, but their implementation of a physical home button feels too narrow to be comfortable, especially with the extra space around it to fit in.

Samsung’s Siri competitor, S-Voice, is just as temperamental as the Apple version in use, except without the cheeky attitude. Which means that you’ll use it once and then forget it’s even there.

The inclusion of NFC, while awesome, still has a while to go before it becomes practical in any way either, which is sad. Although we did find that the eyesight checking Smart Stay feature actually works pretty well, keeping the screen activated while you’re looking at it.

Overall, this is an awesome little handset. In a battle between it and HTC’s One X, the final decision will ultimately come down to a preference over user interface, and either way you’re going to end up satisfied.

Price: $899
Web: Samsung