Phones My review of the SGS3 and Android after 3 years with iOS

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by Sensamic, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. Sensamic, Jul 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012

    Sensamic macrumors 68030

    Mar 26, 2010
    Im gonna do this review real quick and direct for easy reading.

    My first iOS device was an iPod Touch. I liked it so much that I bought the iphone 4 the year after and been with it 2 years until last month, after several months of having the home button broken and Apple not fixing it. I also own the ipad 1, so I have really enjoyed and appreciated ios over the years.

    Decided to buy the SGS3 after over a year wanting to try Android, but no device was good enough and Gingerbread was not that polished either. When ICS was announced I felt it was the correct time to try it.

    Being 3 weeks with the SGS3.


    - Screen. You just cant love a device with such a big HD screen. Negative point is that its not as bright as the iphone 4. I can notice this when I am in the street with direct sunlight. The screen looks awful in direct sunlight. Really bad. I forgot that amoled displays had this problem even before the iphone 4, when I had a Samsung Omnia HD. With the iphone 4 I never even remembered that and thought it was already fixed on all devices. So screen is great in resolution, color and size, but awful in direct sunlight and lower brightness (although not that much, but still is a shame).

    - Battery. Really good for an android phone. I can get 2 days with normal use. 1 day with heavy use. Its as good as the iphone 4, which lasted the same.

    - Smoothness and lag. The device is as faster as ios or even faster on many things. The only problem is homescreen redraw, but this is a problem made by samsung and not android. I expect a bug fix sometime, but its clearly samsungs fault for not giving the homecsreen ram priority so it never closes down. This kind of little stupid mistake makes you appreciate Apple and hate Samsung, but its obvious that they dont spend the same amount of time than Apple optimizing their software to each of their phones released in a year.

    - Sound. Its louder than iphone 4. Same clarity.

    - Design. I remember watching the sgs3 announcement and hating the design. It wasnt until I saw it in person that it changed my mind and now I think its really nice. I just love how thin and light it is. Much much more than the iphone. Maybe a device so small must be thicker by logic, as to include every component in less space. Two problems are that the back is slippery (I have the feeling that it can fall anytime) and the home button (I hate hardware buttons after the iphones 4 broke). Capacitive buttons are amazing and I cant understand why apple hasnt implemented them yet. No problems whatsoever with build quality. To me it feels the same as the glass of the iphone 4.

    - Software. With android you get the feeling that the software is not 100% optimized for any phone except the Nexus, and this is correct. Touchwiz is way better than its previous versions, and its sad to say that its better than iOS, since it allows much more options and customization. Well, touchwiz and android in general. Just a few hours after buying the phone I saw endless possibilities and since then I enjoy changing my homescreens and stuff whenever I feel like.

    Ios really feels like a simple os design for people who just want a simple phone that works and gives them zero problems. I wanted that 2 years ago after many awful phones like the Omnia HD, Nokia N95, etc. Those phones were terrible. That is why I changed to ios, but after two years I have outgrown the os and want more. Android works just fine and I have had no problems like freezes or things like that. No reboots or weird stuff.

    Software feels much more advanced in android, and that is logical. When I had ios I felt I didnt need widgets, and now they are completely useful: weather, my rss feeds, social updates, google search voice, music controls, radio controls, etc. And with this 4.8 HD screen widgets look awesome and you have no space problems.

    Camera has many nice options, like taking pictures while recording or changing the video to lower resolutions and other stuff. Much better than the simple camera app in ios.

    The settings toggles in the notification area are just essential now. I can enable and disable 3G in 2 seconds when in ios it took me longer (on stock obviously. I had my phone jailbreaked). There are many useful toggles like wifi, 3g, bluetooth (real BT thank god), power saving mode, synchronization, gps, etc. All are useful.

    I would say ios is nicer looking and android is easier to use. Many people say ios is easier to use but thats wrong when I can do most stuff on android faster or in different ways to adapt my style. For example: multitasking. On ios pressing the hardware button to exit and app and double tap for multitasking and long press for siri will make the button less responsive in a short time. I know because it happened to me only 1 year after buying the iphone 4, so wheres that high quality apple presumes of? On android you have the capacitive buttons for back, which is faster and smoother, and I just installed a multitask shortcut similar to the one on the nexus for even faster and nicer multitasking. There are many other ways to customize this and many more things, so I decide the way I want to access things. Way better than ios.

    The notification led is a great plus also. I wish iphone had it. This is the kind of stuff that made me switch to android. I feel apple wont include capacitive buttons or notification led in a very long time, if ever. This things are useful and not just cute introductions. They serve a purpose.

    I cannot express enough how advance many of the stock apps are in android compared to ios. People app (with social updates and several accounts to sync), youtube app, maps (after trying google maps in android im certain apple will take a few more years minimum to catch up, if they even can, which I seriously doubt), gmail, photos (organize it they way you want and not depending of iTunes, which cannot even sync different subfolders of your photo library from your computer), etc. Really, ios apps are very, very far behind. Its ridiculous. Google chrome is way better than safari also, and I feel it will get even better with future updates, making safari feel so outdated.

    There are incomprehensible limitations to ios that also made me jump ship. One example: uploading any type of file to my NAS, and not just pictures and videos like ios. The other day I downloaded on my SGS3 a subtitle from the web in rar, extracted the file with an app and uploaded to my NAS to watch a movie with it. Took me 2 minutes. Never could do this on iOS. This just shows you that ios is kind of a toy os. It needs to give users more power, but that is just a dream I guess. These phones are called smartphones for a reason, and should allow this kind of stuff. ios is like a cripple os. Even the system file manager is now essential to me. I use it every day to do several tasks, like move photos from one album to another, files from the internal memory to the SD card, deleting files, etc. Just like finder in Mac.

    There are many, many things you can do with android that ios does not allow. It feels like you can do anything you need, and all this stuff is important nowadays.

    The play store is even a better app than the app store. Im not talking about content, rather than the app itself, allowing swype gestures and multi-downloads and more stuff. You know whats awesome? Going to the play store on safari and downloading apps directly from there, which automatically sends them and installs them on the phone. This is a really cool feature.

    Voice search and voice dictation is awesome also. Cant believe it took apple so long to introduce them with siri last year, but now with the new google search they are already ahead again. On the other hand, s voice on the SGS3 is really bad, way behind siri, so its almost not worth it besides making calls and setting alarms. Im waiting for the update to JB.

    Another awesome feature is installing different keyboards. Swiftkey 3 and swype are miles ahead of the ios keyboard. Just another area where android is way better than ios.

    So my conclusion is that android feels more like a true smart os than iOS, which now seems even more limited than when I had it. To me, android is better and way ahead of ios, but iphone is also a much much better phone than any android phone out there, but it also has problems like the deathgrip in iphone 4 and battery issues in the 4s, so no phone is perfect.

    If you want a true powerful os android is the way to go. If you want a nice and simple os then ios is the better choice. Android is just growing at a much much faster pace than ios in hardware and software. The best choice in android is to go with the new nexus.
  2. SR45 macrumors 65832


    Aug 17, 2011
    Thank you for the good review Sensamic, and this will help others decide in what they want to do.

    For me, as you pointed out, Apple optimizing their software, and I want a simple, easy smartphone that will be used for only Calls, GPS, Photos from time to time and perhaps a little E-mail/Web searching, but nothing else and the iPhone fits that just fine. However, the one and only reason I would never go with the other phones is the fact that I want something that is comfortable in my one hand, and the wider Android phones just did not fit well for me, but others Perhaps, just a deciding factor for my tastes.

    Glad you like your new smartphone and good luck with it
  3. Zaft macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    good luck waiting for JB.. this is the only problem android has. I think you should of got the GNEX so you will get timely updates.
  4. JamesHP macrumors 6502

    Feb 6, 2010
    Manchester, UK
    I've just ordered a GS3, have owned iPhones for the past three years (3GS/4) and fancy a change. Had a play around on my friend's GS3 a few weeks ago and it blew me away. Looking forward to receiving it.
  5. Vegastouch, Jul 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012

    Vegastouch macrumors 603


    Jul 12, 2008
    Las Vegas, NV
    GS3 is getting JB in Q4. Already been announced.
  6. asr10 user macrumors regular

    Jul 4, 2010
    Thank you for the great review. I feel almost exactly the same way after loving my iphone 4 since launch, then playing with my ICS HP Touchpad.

    Android is simply pulling away and 4.1 sealed the deal. I agree with you on everything except I think Google Play stinks compared to the App Store. Although downloading later via web is a great feature, Windows phone also does this.

    I think its similar to when lots of people switched from Blackberry to iPhone. BB was becoming outdated and they hated the iPhone because it was just a prettier version of BB, and the early versions of iOS stunk. Now its almost the same thing, Android is a sexier version of iOS after being terrible its first few years.
  7. Roessnakhan macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    I was using the Galaxy Nexus last week, my opinions are a lot similar to yours. The display on the Galazy Nexus isn't that good either - I think both the SGS3 and GN share that, being both Pentile, I believe.

    JB is a revelation as a long-time iPhone user (and occasional Android dabbler). I occasionally try out Android handsets to see how they've improved, from the G1 to the N1, Droid to Droid X. None of these devices made me see the appeal of Android, but ICS and JB's improvements change that. With JB, Apple better announce something very innovative with the new iPhone (or iOS6).

    There are a lot of little things in Android that make the OS superior to use (not to mention offline dictation and a great keyboard). One example is taking a photo with the camera and sharing it to Tumblr, Instagram, etc. with just a single tap. With iOS you have to load the camera from a given app, which requires launching that app, or by "Selecting Photo/Video" from the Camera Roll. There is no way to do it directly from the camera, unless you're tweeting, e-mailing, or messaging it.

    The one thing the iPhone has had going for it since the iPhone 4 is the camera. It has replaced my point-and-shoot. So far I have not been able to find an Android handset that matches this camera.

    This fall, I'm going to see what Apple announces, and what Nexus devices (I hear they might use several manufacturers this year) Google releases before I make my decision.
  8. Zaft macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    yea but the GNEX already has it. you have to wait 6 months for an update.
  9. Sensamic thread starter macrumors 68030

    Mar 26, 2010
    Yeah, updates are a problem, thats why I said in my review go with the nexus (and because of optimization). Im no hurry right now since Im new to android and have many things to try and do first, but obviously my next phone will be the nexus from next year. The sgs3 will get JB so I didnt need to buy a nexus right now.
  10. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    Nice review! While my primary phone is the 4S I do own a Droid Razr and the few things I really like with Android is how well the voice commands and how it in integrated across any app with a keyboard. Currently it blows Siri away imo. Just last night I upgraded the Razr to 4.0? Gotta be honest it took a system update and I havent hand the chance to mess with it but even prior to that the "Offline Maps" feature Google just launched is freak'n awesome. I have used the Razr for my main GPS and there are several widgets I enjoy using aside from it being my LTE hotspot since I nabbed an unlimited data plan from someone looking to get rid of the line.

    Anyhow, while I use the iPhone, iPad and mostly Apple gear as much of my media is already shared ans setup in the Apple eco system. I do like Google in general for their software and use Chrome, Google docs, Gmail etc.. daily, the hardware manufacturers are the main reason I haven't fully switched. Glass and Alum are simply more appealing to me in a phone. The larger screen and crazy thin Razr however is the best non Apple handset I've used in terms of how it feels in my hand, screen size and battery life in such a thin phone. I love good tech in general, and for the most part Apple keeps me coming back for more iPhones because I'm honestly past the point in my life that i care to root, jailbreak and jack with a phone. I need my phone for the basics and having a custom wallpaper or few widgets doesn't impress me enough to leave all the smooth buttery UI goodness iOS brings to the table. What is lacks in customization is makes up for rock solid stability.

    10 to 20 years ago.. if I was headed to college and as I built PC's and tinkered with all sorts of electronics I can defiantly see the appeal of the android phones, but my time is now spent enjoying other aspects of life.
  11. fins831 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 7, 2011
    I have no problem with Android phones, my friends own some and they serve their purpose.

    The one reason currently I won't own an Android phone is loss of value. When I sell my iphone a year later or even 2 years later, I basically am signing a new contract and getting a phone for nothing. Prime example was Iphone 3gs, 2 years I sold it on Craigslist for 200, and got a 4s for free on

    iPhones hold their value incredibly, and I consider them an investment as well as a toy. I love my phone, but I know when it is time to upgrade, I will get a nice chunk of change for it. My friend recently sold his Droid Incredible for 40 bucks after buying it for 200, I just see that as incredibly inefficient.

    I bought 1 phone and its going to literally allow me to purchase each upgrade unless they drop in used value anytime soon.

    I have no problem with Android, competition breeds better software upgrades, but I do love not taking a shot to the wallet when I do decide to upgrade.
  12. Dunbar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I received my Verizon S3 yesterday which is my first Android device and I'm pretty impressed so far. The performance blows my iphone 4 out of the water. I'm struggling a little bit with the size. I think my ideal screen size for me would be 4.3-4.5" but IMO the iPhone screen is just too darned small in this day and age. The large screen is amazing for content consumption and I'm really digging the color pop on this AMOLED (you don't notice pentile at normal viewing distances.) Android isn't perfect but I think the gap that used to exist between it and iOS is now too slim to make a big deal about. I own a Macbook Air and iPad 3 so I'm not biased against either platform.
  13. Tarzanman macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    The die hard apple fans are going to troll this thread hard when they see it.

    I haven't used a Galaxy S III, but I do have a Galaxy Nexus and I did own a Vibrant and the original G1.

    I have long predicted that Apple would not be able to keep up, but I do not expect them to go quietly into the night. IOS 6 announcements so far haven't left a whole lot to look forward to... but I am intensely interested in what Apple has in store for the upcoming iPHone.

    I'm a fan of how Apple has pushed certain hardware advances (hi res displays), but think that it could be argued that they are taking the industry backwards with software.

    I am also sorta hoping that Microsoft and RIM can make a good go of it.
  14. Sensamic thread starter macrumors 68030

    Mar 26, 2010
    I think Apple is going on a specific direction with its iPhone line, and its intended for the average user who doesnt care about complex stuff and needs no power features. The average user only needs basic stuff. That is why I wanted to try android, which seems to be more of a power os.
  15. TennisandMusic

    Aug 26, 2008
    Well I just lost about 300 bucks on an iPhone 4S I sold this week. So your buddy lost 75% sure, but in terms of real dollars he only lost 160.

    Look at the resale market for the iPhone, it's dropped quite a bit... My 350 full price Galaxy Nexus could lose most of it's value and I would still lose less than I would on an iPhone. It seems to me like there could be a possible shift occurring...

    P.S. NO consumer product is an investment. Period. Anything that depreciates in value is an expenditure. Saying it's an investment is just lying to yourself to justify a purchase (usually).
  16. fins831 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 7, 2011
    How did you lose 300 bucks on your 4S? buy it out of contract and then sold it for 300 bucks? I am saying if you buy a subsidized iphone, it can be an investment because 200-300 bucks invested, and you can get that back easily...

    And a consumer product can be an investment if you take care of it and flip it properly, if you can't, then you just aren't savy enough, because in my world, everything is an investment, and everything is business...and its not lying to justify a purchase if its example was out of subsidized pricing, not spending 650-800 bucks out of contract and taking a huge hit.

    I don't need justification to buy what I want, but it helps when in 1.5-2 years I get a return on my purchase, some might call that a type of investment....but what do I know...
  17. kevinof macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2008
    Agreed. I've always felt that Apple deliberately "dumbed" down the iphone the lowest common denominator. that's not an insult to the phone or OS but its a deliberate decision by Apple to make the phone simple for the average user on the street to use. In most ways they've succeeded but you end up with a phone that's fairly basic in terms of the OS and features and for people wanting more out of their phones it doesn't cut it.

    I think Apple were correct 3 or 4 years ago when the phone was first launched but 3 or 4 years later the average Joe is a lot more comfortable with smartphones and and maybe this is where Apple have fallen behind. They still think the average Joe is the same as the average Joe was 3 or 4 years ago.

  18. chewietobbacca macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007
    I think what was stunning for me after receiving my SGS3 was how far Android has come.

    Not that iOS was perfect from the get go, but Android 1.0 through 3.0 just could not match up to iOS at the same time.

    Now though? Ice Cream Sandwich (to say nothing about Jelly Bean) has really blown out iOS imo. The smoothness, usability, features, customization etc. is simply stunning.

    Definitely agree that iOS seems to be tailored for the average user now - which is smart from a money making perspective. But like many others, I like to tinker and customize and after using Android 4.0+, it'll be very hard for me to go back to something more locked down.
  19. ReanimationN macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2011
    How do you find the screen compared to the iPhone 4/4S? I just demoed all the latest phones at a Vodafone store near my house and came away quite disappointed with the Galaxy S3's maximum brightness level. The One X, Galaxy Note, Galaxy S2, Xperia S and iPhone 4S all had much brighter screens at maximum brightness.

    Are there any software tweaks to turn the brightness higher? I turned off auto-adjust brightness, changed the colour mode to normal (dynamic seemed to make the screen look quite green) and turned brightness all the way up on both the OS and the browser, but it still looked dim compared to the other phones there.

    I was quite disappointed, as I don't remember the screen being dim when I first demoed the phone at a different store (I tried 2 different ones tonight to make sure it wasn't a dodgy store model). If it weren't for the dim screen, I'd probably already have the phone, as I love it otherwise. Now I'm not sure whether I should get the S3, or wait for Windows Phone 8 handsets or the next iPhone.
  20. Nightarchaon macrumors 65816


    Sep 1, 2010
    I have to say, having used Windows CE phones, the original iPhone was a quantum Leap in smartphone tech, i happily used the 1st gen iPhone for two years, upgrading to the 3GS, but, i was unhappy with the 3GS battery life, often having to plug in and charge "only" 8 hrs after unplugging in the morning, i would say my use was Moderate to high, having a 1hr 30 min commute to work, i would often watch a tv show, or movie or some podcasts, on the way to and from work, on top of the usual web browsing/email access/phone calls and texting.

    so, when my contract was up, i took the plunge, left apple, and got a Samsung Galaxy SII, my experience has been as follows.

    Hardware - , LOVE the SII hardware, the screen is MUCH nicer than the iPhone 4S screen IMO, the colors are crisper, and the extra size is much nicer in the Meat Plates i call hands, the iPhone 4S i found was just uncomfortable to hold, and side by side running the same streamed video the SII just looked SO much better.

    Software - Apps , the android marketplace , and i wont pull any punches here, SUCKS GREAT HAIRY DONKEY BALLS, its full of ad-ware/spam-ware and scams, its messy, and bug-ridden, and often you find an app and then it wont run because your device is not supported.

    Software - OS, again, the android OS feels like its in beta still, the menus, between different parts of the OS have no cohesive feel to them, as though each section was written by a different developer, unlike iOS where all the menus gel, even between native and 3rd party apps, i also dislike the fact that i had to spend money to get a usable mail app, usable KEYBOARD and usable text app, the built in ones should be as good as they can be, but it seems that Google just banged out the bare minimum functionality and hoped the community would fix the functionality holes.

    Bottom line,

    I would love to have Samsung hardware running iOS, but, it looks like if i want a phone that us usable, out the box, without having to tweak and install a million apps to make it usable, ill be going back to the "new iPhone/iPhone5" when my contract is up, probably with an extra battery case to get me through the day.

    Apples user experience is light years ahead of the competition, and its app store policy has meant that , although restrictive to the devs, you can count on a certain level of polish to the apps, and not just a million "fart button" apps that send out premium rate texts in the background.

    For Google to compete on the App front, they need to clean out, and police there market place, as it is now, its like running a bank with no doors on the vault.
  21. kevinof macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2008
    Don't agree with you on these two points. I've been 3 years on Android now (have ipad as well and iphones in the house) and in those 3 years I've never had a problem with any app in the android market. Yes there have been reports of some apps being pulled but it never affected me and I have over 100 apps on my phone. I've also been able to run any app I want since ICS came out (and maybe before but I can't remember).

    Also on the menus/layouts. What's inconsistent with it? It you're talking about the OS then the menus are all the same. Same font, same structure, same colours.

    Keyboards - Many, including me , think the keyboard on ICS is a lot better and maybe even as good as ios. The fact that you CAN download (and pay) for the keyboard of your choice should be seen as a plus. We're not all the same, we like to do things differently and therefore you have a choice of which keyboard suits your style best. Yes it may cost a couple of bucks/euros but if you end up with something that really works for YOU then is it not worth it?

  22. eron, Jul 12, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2012

    eron macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2008
    Yes, you highlighted the type of market the SGS3 is targeting.

    Yes, you are absolutely right, the Android does MANY things iOS can't, and some of it is by choice. Many times it's about the "Why", rather than the "What".

    Apple designed iOS to be part of life, and so make it as easy as possible for ANYONE to use it. Apple also tries to partner with corporations to achieve the above goal, and so makes it easy for people to purchase movies, and load them on the devices.

    You make your own choices:

  23. mproudfoot macrumors member


    Jul 10, 2008
    To the OP - quite an interesting review, thanks.

    I wonder, does anyone here who has managed to play around with the GS3, had a chance to test music playback? Specifically, I'm trying to find out if there's any way to get it to support gapless audio over USB - something, I believe, older android revisions/handsets were unable to do.

    Additionally, what version of the AVRCP BT profile is used by default? IOS5 uses 1.3 or 1.4 I believe which allows music track control from the BT device (e.g. the car steering wheel) and also allows the track/album data to be sent to the device.

    Finally, I use a pair of Klipsch X10i earphones and was wondering if anyone has tried a set of earphones with in-line controls on an S3? Does the controls still work?
  24. Wrathwitch macrumors 65816

    Dec 4, 2009
    This is one of the reasons I waited for the device to hit stores before I considered purchasing one. If I didn't like the way the device worked AS IS, I would have just waited for next iPhone release. I knew I would be waiting possibly as long as 6-8 months for Telus to release the next update so I wanted to make sure that I was content with the unit in its present working condition.
  25. iosuser, Jul 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012

    iosuser macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2012
    I've been using an iPhone since 3GS, then iPhone 4 and then 4S. I avoided Android all this time because I never thought I'd want to carry a bigger phone than a 3.5" iPhone, deal with the seemingly too many customization and menu options, or deal with the choppy performance of Android. All that changed when I received the Galaxy Nexus last week.

    That screen is so much more spacious which allows me to view much more contents at once, especially useful in the maps application. The surprising thing is that it really is not much bulkier in my jeans pocket than the iPhone. I can't go back to the small screen any more.

    Took me couple of days to get used to and make use of all the customizations and options, and now the iPhone seems downright boring. I'm a bit of a anti-clutter freak. All the different sizes widgets and stuff randomly spread all over the place in Android used to turn me off. My iPhone has two pages of folders containing 112 apps, neat but boring at the same time. With the ability to make folders in the newer Android versions, I can make it as boring as the iPhone or clutter it up much as I want. Good to have the choice and freedom.

    UI smoothness wise, the Nexus with 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich is leaps over all other Android devices I've seen still running 2.x and even tablets on 3.x. Smoothness in UI operations are really on par with iOS now. Trust me I cannot stand choppy UI scrolling. Videos shot at less than 60fps are choppy to me. I'm holding my breath for my turn for the OTA 4.1.1 Jelly Bean upgrade which is supposed to make it even smoother.

    This thread is about the GS3 and my Nexus is relevant how? Because I'm considering picking up the S3 today ;) I'd like to have more storage, and I'm eligible for an upgrade from AT&T. I might save the upgrade and wait for iPhone 5, but I don't see Apple putting a much larger screen on it, and I can't go back to having less than 1280x720 pixels any more.

    Another thing I wanted to add, I avoided Google as it already knows WAY too much about me, and having an Android phone it'll even know my location 24x7 LOL. I switched to Bing for searches a while back. If I had a choice I'd rather pay more to not have my information sold, but I don't, and Google will get my info anyway using 99% of websites so I might as well use their services. Google Voice is a great "free" service!

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