Initial reviews say it’s the Android phone to beat.

Samsung Galaxy S III reviewed as

Samsung’s Galaxy S III is the Android smartphone to beat, the first reviewers of the phones concluded, as the phone arrived in Canada on June 27.

All major carriers (including Bell, Telus and Rogers) havesigned up to sell the S III and, this timearound, you won’t get any silly names or slightly changed designs–thephone is set to look exactly the same aside from carrier branding onthe back.

There are however two differences between the U.S. variant and theinternational sibling: The quad-core processor has been swapped for adual-core 1.5GHz chip, but the RAM has been bumped from 1GB to 2GB.

The other specs include a 4.8-inch screen with a resolution of 1280pixels by 720 pixels, an 8MP camera with 1080p video-capturecapability, and the Android 4.0 operating system onboard and toppedwith Samsung’s TouchWiz interface.

In PCWorld’s review of the Samsung Galaxy S III, Ginny Mies found thelarge display brighter and more vivid than on the Galaxy Nexus, whilefor performance, the S III was only topped by the LG Optimus 4X HD,which has a quad-core NVidia Tegra 3 processor.

Mies found the camera to be very good too, concluding the Galaxy S IIIlives up to the hype. “At its core, the Galaxy S III is an excellentphone, and Samsung did the right thing in making it uniform across themultiple carriers,” she wrote.

Walt Mossberg reviewing for AllThings D agrees: “The Galaxy S III is a solid, capable phone.But its most important feature may be ubiquity.” Mossberg brings up aninteresting point: “The Galaxy S III lacks any game-changingcapabilities and is instead packed with a dizzying array of minor newtricks that users will turn to frequently. There are so many of thesethat it can take hours to learn and configure them. I had the strongimpression Samsung’s designers failed to focus and just threw in asmany technical twists as they could, some of which didn’t work verywell.”

David Pogue at NewYork Times was also impressed with the Galaxy S III, butnoted “with great flexibility comes great complexity. The phonebombards you with warnings and disclaimers–sometimes upside-down. Youreally need a Learning Annex course to master this thing.”

Is it an iPhone killer?
Wired‘sNathan Olivarez-Giles was less impressed with the phone though, saying“simply doesn’t feel like a finished product. It could use more polish,more thought, and a more elegant user experience.” He also picks onSamsung’s TouchWiz software, which “includes a lot of half-bakedfeatures that aim for innovation but miss the mark–sharing apps inparticular. Styling is boring, and not exciting enough for a flagshipphone.”

Vlad Savov at TheVerge wrote the “Galaxy S III is a technological triumph. Notat first sight, perhaps, but Samsung has done the overwhelming majorityof things right. The camera is easily the best I’ve used on an Androiddevice, the processor claims the title of benchmarking champion, andthe customizations layered on top of Ice Cream Sandwich are mostlyunobtrusive and sometimes even helpful.”

He does, however. note “the extra-large size of this phone, even withits great ergonomics, may prove to be a stumbling block for those whocan’t comfortably fit a 4.8-inch handset into their daily routine.”

USAToday‘s Ed Baig couldn’t fault the S III besides the lackingS Voice feature, which doesn’t work as smooth as Siri on the iPhone.

“So is it an iPhone killer?” asks HayleyTsukayama at the WashingtonPost. “Let’s call it a worthy contender. It’s not worthbreaking your current contract over, but if you’re in the market for anew, top-of-the-line Android phone then [the S III] should be a topconsideration.”

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