This is a test.
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 this smartphone 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.
That isn't to say that the Galaxy S III (henceforth also known as the GS3) 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 or HSPA+ 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 GS3 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 GS3'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 GS3'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 S3, it shows.
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Check out our slideshow of the long and vast history of open-pit barbecues in Texas.photo by Eric SausedaThe meat is turned by placing an empty metal basket on top of a loaded one and flipping both.photo by Eric SausedaThe Grawunder boys make the barbecue "gravy." (From right:) James Grawunder has been cooking here for 58 years, his nephew Tom and sons Ray and James Jr. help out.