Samsung Galaxy S III
With the Samsung Galaxy S III (S3), Samsung has done it again. For the third consecutive year, its flagship Galaxy phone is a tidy package of top-flight specs, approachable design, steady performance, and compelling pricing. Starting its U.S. sales debut with five carriers -- Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular -- makes the Samsung Galaxy S3 nearly ubiquitous. Samsung's aggressive distribution strategy gives it a leg up against its chief Android rival, the HTC One X, but it fails to sweep HTC's finest, and Apple fans will scoff at Samsung's imitation Siri, S Voice.
That isn't to say that the Galaxy S III (henceforth called here the S3) does not impress. From the outside in, it has a large, vibrant HD display; Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich; a sharp 8-megapixel camera; 4G LTE support; a zippy dual-core processor; and tons of internal memory and 2GB RAM. The $199.99 price tag for the 16GB version is highly competitive, and that, along with its carrier spread, makes the S3 priced to sell.
Some have slammed Samsung for formulaic specs and design, and to some extent, the critics are correct. Samsung isn't setting hardware standards with new creations, and the S3's software additions, while interesting and useful, mostly build off existing Android capabilities. Regardless, Samsung has continued to produce stronger subsequent models than its first Galaxy S home run. There's a reason why the Galaxy S II sold over 50 million units worldwide, and why the S3's preorder sales smashed U.K. records. Samsung clearly has its formula worked out for making higher-end features familiar, expected, and easily within reach -- and in the all-around excellent Galaxy S III, it shows.