Nick D’s DogGone Best Android Phones of 2012

This year has been truly exciting for the mobile market. Tons of new devices have been released, some awesome and some truly bizarre. But variety is what we love about Android and what it offers. Android has a true advantage in that it can take whatever form it wants on whatever device the companies decide to slap it on to.

2012 has been a great year for revolutionary devices. So now it’s time to break down my top 5 devices of the year.

5. LG Optimus G

At the moment, LG is a company that people love to hate. Although it wasn’t completely unwarranted, LG has shown they plan to turn themselves around. Their first step towards a new reputation comes in the form of the Optimus G.

Not only is this a beautiful device with the 4.7″ IPS display, but the crystal reflection back on the device gives it a look of its own. Looking at the pattern on the back of the device just makes you want to touch it. Yet there is still a satisfaction when feeling the smooth back of the device. Maybe it’s a clever mind trick by LG, but it’s still a beautiful design.

Software side, it’s no slouch either. LG packed a 1.7 GHz Quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor that powers through anything you can throw at it. Even when using features like Q-slide, which allows one screen for video and whatever else you can throw at it, the device shows little to no lag whatsoever.

LG hit one out of the park with this device. The only thing that could make it better would be availability on all carriers, which is why this device is No. 5.

 

4. Google Nexus 4

Another testament to LG’s revival, the Nexus 4′s is a masterpiece. Google wouldn’t have picked LG if they knew they didn’t have potential.

Essentially, it is an Optimus G. Therefore, I covered most of it in No. 5. But the true difference-maker between this and the G is stock Android 4.2. Google’s most robust OS is a true example of how far Android has come. Add LG’s killer specs and we have ourselves a winner.

In fact, the only downfall I can think of with the device is the lack of LTE. But it has been Google’s vision from the start to sell cheap, unlocked and powerful devices that run the little green robot. With the Nexus 4, the vision is becoming a bright reality.

 

3. Samsung Galaxy Note II

I struggled with putting this one at No. 3. With the incredible specs of this device and all of Samsung’s killer features like Popup Play, Page Buddy, Smart Rotation and the S Pen, this device has everything it needs to claim the top spot. The device can handle almost anything like a pro and with nearly nonexistent lag. Plus, all the features thrown on a gigantic 5.5″ SuperAMOLED HD display easily make this the greatest viewing experience one can find on a mobile device.

Ironically, this is also the reason it isn’t No. 1. The display will be far too big for many. Especially those who carry their phones in their pockets rather than a holster or bag/purse. Regardless, the flagship “Phablet” is easily one of the best phones money can buy right now. If the size isn’t a problem, there almost isn’t a question.

If you’re a power-user and a professional or creative type. Here is your phone.

 

2. Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX HD

Strangely enough, this one caught me off guard. Given Moto’s history with devices and releasing a better device about a month after the original, I was wary of picking one up. However, after working with one, it’s hard to imagine what else they can really do to make it any better. With 32 GB of storage, a 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 processor (which has become THE processor of 2012), a whopping 3,300 mAh battery and a near-stock Android 4.1.1 experience, this device is killing it in all departments.

This leads me to my next point. Despite this device having lesser specs than that of the Galaxy Note II, the RAZR MAXX HD addresses a problem that many of us have with our smartphones today: battery life. When I can go a whole day with 5 hours of screen on time and still end the night at 35%, I know there isn’t a whole lot more I can ask out of a battery. Having awesome battery life gives it a reliability that many phones just don’t have. I know that I can do whatever I want as much as I  want and it will still be alive by the end of the day. Not to mention it handles everything with fluidity and speed not found on many devices.

What more can I ask for?

 

1. Samsung Galaxy S III

This device has become my “Old Faithful.” Samsung has sold over 30 million of these, which is a sign of its quality and performance. But, even in day-to-day use, the device holds its own. The 4.8″ SuperAMOLED HD display looks awesome and it uses every pixel of the display for content as it has hardware buttons. The U.S. version also has 2 GB of RAM which make it a multitasking powerhouse. There are many times I flip through a minimum of 5 or 6 apps at once and I never see a lag. Not to mention Samsung’s HUGE improvement when it comes to update times. Given that nearly every S3 in the world is now running Jelly Bean, Samsung has obliterated it’s old reputation of slow updates (while instead passing it on to the U.S. carriers).

Samsung’s “Designed for Humans” slogan originally seemed like just hype. However, after using on for months now I truly find it difficult to use anything else. Features like Smart Stay and Smart Rotation make my life much easier by allowing me to not touch the device when reading an article or a magazine on my phone. Also, being a production student, having a great camera is a necessity. Not only does the device take an incredible picture, but the features Sammy has thrown in make it one of the most functional cameras money can buy. In fact, having it helped me snap a High-Def video of the game-winning touchdown in one of my university’s biggest games of the season. With many other devices I wouldn’t have been able to get such a video and relive the moment again and again.

All in all, it’s been an incredible year in mobile. From lawsuits to live events, it’s been one heck of a ride. There have been so many awesome devices, it’s honestly hard to go wrong with whatever you choose. In fact, narrowing this list down to five devices was one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to write. Moving forward, I have no doubt 2013 will be even better. As exciting as 2012 was, I personally can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2013.

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