That was 2012, huh? The entire year went by in a whirlwind of events and the mobile market somehow seemed to enhance that feeling. But now it’s time to sit back and look at the year in review. What was good, what was bad, and what was flat-out ugly. So without further ado, let’s get cracking on my top five Android phones of 2012.
5. HTC One X
When it first came out, the HTC One X was thought of as the start of a new dawn for HTC. While that hasn’t totally come to fruition in my eyes, there’s no doubt in my mind that the One X was one of the greatest phones of this year. Boasting a 4.7″ 720p Super LCD 2 display, it set the standard for high-end displays in 2012 and the only phone that managed to make a better display was the HTC DROID DNA with it’s insane 1080p display. The phone sped along well with a 1.5GHz dual-core processor (AT&T model) paired with 1GB RAM and generally ran as any superphone should, fast. Speedy 4G LTE (again, the AT&T model) made it all the better and those things along with incredibly build quality and a top-notch camera made it shine.
Unfortunately, the heavy Sense 4 UI held it back from going any higher on my list. While it looks nice, Sense has become overburdened with all too many animations and frills. Slowdowns that shouldn’t exist do exist and battery life can suffer because of it. Nonetheless, the HTC One X was a great phone that was able to snag the number five spot on my list.
4. Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD
Successor to the popular DROID RAZR MAXX from early 2012, the RAZR MAXX HD builds on an already great phone. It gets its name from the large 3,300mAh battery powering the internals such as a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 1GB RAM to keep it humming along smoothly. That oversized battery also powers the 4.7″ 720p Super AMOLED display that allows you to see Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with Motorola’s UI running the software side of things.
The RAZR MAXX HD also features solid build quality that has a modern industrial look and is practical with splash-proofing as well. But not all was perfect, the camera is merely decent and while it still has a large battery, it was sad to see that it wasn’t expanded from the original RAZR MAXX. All in all, a powerful contender from Motorola with just a few minor issues.
3. LG Nexus 4
While some may criticize the fact that I placed Google’s flagship phone of 2012 at the number three spot, I went with my gut feeling on it. The Nexus 4 has great internals, beautiful software, and a low price tag to accompany it but I was left feeling somewhat unimpressed by it and yet I’m not sure why. It flies through the software without a hitch thanks to a 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and 2GB RAM on a brilliant 4.7″ 720p IPS display. And if you’re feeling like you want to try a different approach to your pictures then you can try out the Photosphere effect in Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
So what didn’t I love? That’s a tough question as I’m not entirely sure what I really didn’t like but a significant reason was the build quality. LG really should have taken a leaf out of Apple’s book and abandoned glass backs on phones. But they chose to do that and while it does look interesting, it’s entirely impractical due to the fact that you now have two sheets of fragile glass on your phone. Another major downside was that the Nexus was made only as an unlocked GSM phone so it has no support for CDMA carriers and doesn’t work on almost any LTE network. So while I do like the Nexus 4, I wasn’t impressed enough to put it higher than the number three spot.
2. Samsung Galaxy Note II
After the original Galaxy Note and it’s massive screen took the world by surprise by selling over ten million units, Samsung came back swinging with an extremely worthy successor dubbed simply, the Galaxy Note II. Building on the already successful idea of a phone-tablet hybrid, the Note II bumped its screen coverage to 5.5″ and brought a new S Pen that had been improved and refined for even the most artistic of people hoping to sketch on their smartphone. A 1.6GHz quad-core Exynos processor paired with 2GB RAM and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean keep the device going through any task you can throw at it.
Overall, the Galaxy Note II was the perfect addition to the growing Note family and both fixes problems of the original Note and creates new features for an all-around awesome device. In fact, the only problem that I really can find with the Galaxy Note II is that the screen is too big for many people. But my number one device fixes that problem and it is…
1. Samsung Galaxy S III
The Samsung Galaxy S III, the best device to come out of 2012 and quite possibly one of the greatest devices ever developed. Samsung created a masterpiece with this device that doesn’t allow any compromise. A beautiful 4.8″ HD Super AMOLED 720p display greets you when you power the device on and it’s kept running smoothly by a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and 2GB RAM with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on the software side of things. It also has an incredible 8-megapixel camera on the back that can take both stellar shots and excellent video.
But the best things about the S III aren’t even the major things, they’re the small things, the attention to detail. Such as the smooth curves of the glass display, the natural fit in your hand, and software features such as Smart Rotate. Those are what really help to make the S III shine and that’s why it hit number one on my list. Sure, the screen might be PenTile but you won’t notice that unless you purposely look for it and yeah, it’s made out of plastic but plastic is pretty durable and it has a removable back because of that. In comparison to every other device released this year, the S III is head and shoulders above them all with the possible exception of the Note II which is nearly as good. All there’s left to say about the Galaxy S III is good work, Samsung, you made one of the best devices ever created.
That completes my list but what about yours? I’d love to know what your top five Android devices of 2012 were. Leave them down in the comments below if you’re feeling like sharing!