New Town, New Phone: Exploring Knysna with the Samsung Galaxy SIII

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This past summer, I had a big shock while changing trains at Downtown Crossing station in Boston.  It was my first time taking the T during rush hour in quite a while, and I was stunned at the sea of people before me.

EVERY SINGLE PERSON on the platform, young and old, was on their smartphone.

I couldn’t believe it.  Two years ago, when I left Boston, I would be one of few people glued to my phone while on the T.  It’s amazing how much change can happen in such a short time.

Trying Out the Galaxy SIII

I recently received an opportunity to work with Samsung and try out the Galaxy SIII in South Africa, and I was eager to jump in.

Why?  Because it’s a cool phone — and because I’ve missed the smartphone revolution.

I’ve had an iPhone since 2008, and what I didn’t realize is that during those four years, there have been INCREDIBLE smartphone innovations.  I’ve missed them all because I’ve stuck to the same device.

So it’s time to get a taste of what I’ve been missing — and see just how far technology has come.  The Galaxy SIII is one of the most impressive smartphones on the market right now, and I’m already very impressed.

Cool Galaxy SIII Features

The Galaxy SIII has a lot of cool features that I haven’t seen on any other phone yet.  Some of them:

Pop-up Play — My favorite feature.  You can watch video and simultaneously run applications, like email or texting.  Having such a huge screen makes this easy.  I never realized how often I wanted to email my friends to watch a video before I had even finished watching it!

Smart Stay — If you’re reading something lengthy or watching a video, the screen won’t dim — because the phone is TRACKING YOUR EYES. My nervous tic of touching the screen to keep it active is now wholly unnecessary.

S-Voice — Not just talking to your phone.  You can come up with commands for it — like yelling “Snooze!” to snooze your alarm (though I’m thinking of something slightly more profane) or “Shoot!” when you want it to take a picture.

Social Tag and Buddy Photo Share — Tag your friends in your photos in the gallery and the Galaxy SIII will recognize them.  With a touch of a button, you can text, email or Facebook those exact friends (complete with tag!) immediately.

Intelligent Camera — Being an avid mobile photographer, I’m most interested in the photography features.  With the Intelligent Camera, you can take still photos while recording video, shoot bursts to get the single best shot of a rapid-fire move, and there’s also the option of having the Galaxy SIII automatically select the best shot from your bursts.

My Trip: Knysna and the Garden Route

My trip with Visit South Africa took me to Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Kruger National Park, but that only scraped the surface in terms of places I wanted to visit in South Africa.  The place where I wanted to go most of all?  The Garden Route, a string of beautiful towns along the Western Cape.

The perfect solution?  Extending my South Africa trip to try out the Galaxy SIII!  Samsung is sponsoring my trip to Knysna (pronounced NY-znah), a beautiful town in the heart of the Garden Route.  This trip includes a stay at Phantom Forest Ecolodge, which has been crowned Africa’s Leading Green Hotel by the World Travel Awards for the past three years in a row.

If you’re looking to do sustainable travel in Africa, look no further than the Forest.  It’s an extraordinary place, and I’ve been sharing plenty of photos of it on Instagram — all of them taken with the Galaxy SIII.  Just wait until you see the upcoming posts about it!

Stay in Touch

I’ve been posting lots of pictures with my Galaxy SIII throughout South Africa — and several more of my travel blogger colleagues working with Samsung are posting photos from Hawaii, Big Sur, Wisconsin, Italy, Costa Rica and more during the month of November.  Follow #galaxytraveler on Twitter and Instagram to see these sweet shots.

I hope you enjoy reading about my Knysna trip and my Galaxy SIII experience!

Many thanks to Samsung for gifting me a Galaxy SIII and sponsoring my trip to Knysna.  All opinions, as always, are my own.


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27 thoughts on “New Town, New Phone: Exploring Knysna with the Samsung Galaxy SIII”

  1. It’s good to get out of your “tech bubble” every so often and see what else is out there. S-Voice? (especially for snooze?!) Sounds awesome! But until they are giving them away, count me out.

    Andorid>Apple any day though.

  2. Went from dumbphone to smartphone in January 2012 with the Samsung Galaxy NEXUS. Mostly because of new Amloid screen size and camera options and the Ice Cream Sandwich OS. Too bad they didn’t correct problems but launched the S3 instead! Can’t upgrade until Oct 2013. Despite problems I had with software glitches like automatically generated “instant upgrade” thru Picasa which duplicated each photo and it can not be deleted. Plus there is NO card that photos can be saved to. These problems seemed to have been fixed with the new operating system, Jelly Bean. And the launch of the S3. Jealous and can’t wait until Oct 2013 when I can upgrade! Enjoy your S3!!!

  3. I just bought Samsung S3 because of your post!!! I totally got hooked up with the gadget and the pictures! Which of course after your post, I had to make some research comparing I Phone 4s and Samsung S3. Amazingly Samsung S3 is wayyyy better! Samsung S3 all the wayyyyyy!

      1. Just got mine! It was splendid! Totally in love & totally hooked up. I got myself a marble white! Still learning how to use it though. Especially the function of the photos. I’m travelling to Cambodia this coming January! So I’m all excited to use this phone there! Thanks for the idea!

  4. I gave up my smartphone 3 years ago but just recently bought an ipod so I could instagram and facetime. Since I can’t afford to pay for a plan this alternative worked great. I love everything Samsung – look at those features! – but I don’t know if I could warrant the cost of an international data plan just yet.

    1. Chrystal, you don’t need to get an international data plan! Just buy a new SIM card in each country you visit (or you could get one that works for all of Europe). That’s what most long-term travelers I know do. Though I’ve only done it in Thailand, Indonesia and the UK. (Hahaha, I remember my friend Backpacking Matt was so addicted that he got a SIM card and data plan for his TWO DAY visit to Australia…)

  5. This post has convinced me that I need to get this as my next phone!! I got an iPhone 4S when it came out, but mostly only because I had an iPhone 3GS…not really for any other reason. My mom just got the Galaxy SIII, and she is one of the most technology-impaired people I know. She is loving it!! I didn’t even know about the features you mentioned here… but I am sold!

  6. I’m eligible for my next phone upgrade in a few months, so I’m definitely intrigued by what you and others have been writing about the Galaxy S3. Some of those features, including the camera-related ones, sound really awesome. However, I’ve been a loyal Motorola Droid user for my last two phones, because for me it’s hard to give up the physical keyboard for all the texting, tweeting, and status updating that I do while on the go (and a swype keyboard just isn’t the same for me) . . . .

  7. I hate switching technology and operating systems – but sometimes its the best thing in the long run! I was pretty happy to get rid of my old Iphone 3Gs…yes…old and I’m slowly learning a whole new way to work on the road with my Galaxy SIII! Enjoy your trip!

  8. Its so nice to hear someone talk about a phone other than an iphone! Its iphone overload out there. I dont have the galaxy but Ive had my samsung phone for the past four years and its still going strong. Great brand.

  9. I had the Samsung Galaxy S2 before I came travelling but had to sell it to afford to travel! I think the Samsung Galaxy phones are great and love the android platform. I will definitely re purchase one when I get back to the UK!

  10. Hi Kate,

    Thanks for a very great travel blog. Since you are talking about S3, I’d like to seek your opinion: While travelling, what camera do you use most? Mind telling the model that you’ll recommend (with reasons)? Or would you rather use a smart phone (iPhone or S3) as your travel camera? Thanks…

  11. The Galaxy II is a great phone for about 1 year then starts falling apart..My daughters grand daughter’s and mine all lasted about 1 year. My son’s IPhone is about 3 year old and still goes strong and he gets all the up-dates.I finilly got the IPhine 4S and it’s great it works great Suri works.everything works.My daughter’s have the IPhone 5 and like she say’s it nice to have a phone that works no droped calls just works.I use all the google products and wasn’t sure how they would work on the IPhone but they work good so no problem.. The only thing I miss about the Galaxy is the size and its clearer screen. Thanks Ken

  12. Now that our iPhone has begun it’s retirement, we need to find a replacement, so seeing & reading about what else is on the market really helps, especially as we’ll probably be using it in just the very same way.

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