The Samsung Galaxy SIII is coming to Vodafone. Watch this space for more info shortly...

The Samsung Galaxy SIII is coming to Vodafone the only place you will be able to choose from the 16GB and 32GB variants on launch.

And what a launch it’s been. With many of the world’s most renowned consumer technology experts in attendance, the queues have been long but the wait has certainly been worthwhile, as the Galaxy SIII is shaping up to be one of the best smartphones of the year.

“It’s nice to see the phone actually exceed expectations.”

And as soon as the presentations were over, the experts were straight off to get a hands-on look at the Samsung Galaxy SIII in the flesh. So we caught up with a few key journalists, to see what they think of this gorgeous new handset so far.

First impressions of the Samsung Galaxy SIII

TechRadar's Gareth Beavis has seen more phones than most and was suitably impressed.

Gareth Beavis from TechRadar has seen every phone released in the past few years and he had no qualms about sharing his opinion of the Galaxy SIII. “We had an idea of what to expect and it’s nice to see the phone actually exceed expectations. I can’t fault the handset”, he told us. “If the Galaxy SII was brilliant, I can’t see why the Galaxy SIII isn’t even better.”

“Samsung has really raised the bar, all round.”

Kat Hannaford from Gizmodo was one of the first to check out the new Samsung Galaxy and she told us, “Samsung seems to have realised with the Galaxy SIII that shameless headline-grabs of double-digit camera sensors and superfluous display adjectives isn’t what’s in vogue for 2012.

“Instead, we’re seeing a trend from subtle Android software tweaks to major features overhaul, as evidenced in the SIII’s camera settings, emerging”, she continued. “The SIII will undoubtedly continue to smash sales records as the SII did before it.”

Media tests Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphone

Another satisfied journalist is impressed by the Samsung Galaxy SIII's new features

And Recombu’s Basil Kronfli was just as taken with the new Samsung Galaxy SIII. “The amount of stuff they’ve managed to cram in is amazing”, he told us. “Right now it’s all about differentiation – going beyond just hardware – and that seems to be exactly what Samsung has done.

“The screen is stunning. Nice, bright, punchy colours and really responsive to the touch. What more could you ask for? Samsung has really raised the bar, all round.”

When we asked Rhiain Morgan from T3 whether she liked the phone and if she would recommend it to her friends , she said, “I would. The Galaxy SII was such a great phone and this is a big step up from it. I’d certainly recommend the Galaxy SII, so there’s no reason why I wouldn’t recommend the Galaxy SIII.”

Meanwhile the team at Mobile Choice was just as impressed. “We were really overwhelmed by all the great new features. Samsung has packed a lot of stuff in there”, devices editor Chris Barraclough told us.

“The new design looks great and even though it’s got such a big screen, it’s still very slim and light”, he enthused, adding, “It’ll certainly give its rivals a run for their money – even against the most impressive new smartphones we’ve seen this year so far.”

“The SIII will undoubtedly continue to smash sales records as the SII did before it.”

Has all of this talk of the Samsung Galaxy SIII left you drooling in anticipation? Why not get ahead of the crowd and register your interest for Vodafone updates for what looks set to be one of the biggest smartphones of 2012.

What are your first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy SIII and do you think it will be your next Android smartphone? Drop us a line in the comments below.