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Best Android Smartphones of 2012

The year is almost over (in fact, we’re less than 24 hours a way if your calendar hasn’t been working as of late) and it’s time to take a look at what the best devices of 2012 have turned out to be. There were many heavy hitters from the camps of Samsung, Motorola, HTC and more, but only five — yes, five — make the cut for Phandroid’s year-in review. Let’s dive in!

Motorola DROID RAZR Maxx HD

When Google completed the purchase of Motorola in 2012 it promised the company would continue to run as a separate entity for quite some time afterward. Still, it was hard to believe Google wouldn’t have any influence on the future of Motorola’s smartphone line even if that influence didn’t come right away.

While we can’t say for sure Google had much to do with the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX HD in body (after all, the overall package is an incremental improvement over the 2011 relaunch of the RAZR family), it does appear the company got Motorola to ease up on MOTOBLUR (or whatever they are calling it these days).

With a 4.7 inch HD display, a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon Plus chipset, 1GB of RAM and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean this smartphone reads off like most high-end offerings from 2012, but some of its more unique bits give it the #7 spot on this list. Subtleties like the Kevlar backing, the device’s long-lasing 3,100mAh battery and its slim profile make it a device worthy of recognition this year.

LG Optimus G

LG had to deal with some costly plunders in 2011, but the Korean OEM looked to bounce back quite nicely in 2012. One of the results of LG’s desperation (the company was losing money hand-over-first) was the LG Optimus G, a fine device if I do say so myself. It’s a quad-core monster of a phone that has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro and 2GB of RAM.

Despite its good looks and powerful innards, though, it’s the software improvements that earns LG’s flagship a spot on this list. Optimus UI 3.0 was a big focus of LG’s, and the time and money spent to perfect it showed up in quality form. Things like Q-Slide, QuickMemo, voice-activated controls and LG’s motion controls made it quite the significant package.

The biggest improvement was the lack of experience-breaking bugs that plagued the Optimus 2X before it, and had LG not cracked down on the software letdowns of yesteryear it might not have gotten the nod for this list. Kudos.

HTC One X+

The original HTC One X was a great device in and of itself, but this revision completely overshadowed it. Courtesy of AT&T, it was the first Sense device here in the US that came with NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 processor as well as 4G LTE radios. It didn’t change much else over the original HTC One X, but that particular phone was already fine enough on its own merit.

This device also brought 64GB of internal storage goodness, something that’s quite unheard of in the land of Android these days. It’s something we were mightily grateful for as HTC and AT&T understood not everyone is willing to move over to the cloud, and that internal device storage is still something many of us value quite a bit.

It houses the same 8 megapixel f/2.0 BSI HD camera with an HD front-facing camera, a 4.7 inch 720p SuperLCD2 display and all the other great bells and whistles found on the original, and all of that still remains some of the best smartphone tech available today.

Samsung Galaxy S3

Ah, yes — Samsung’s mother load. The Samsung Galaxy S3 doesn’t command the top spot of this list, but perhaps that’s due to its untimely release. Samsung brought its wares out earlier in the year, and that allowed other devices (even some of their own) to outclass it in many different ways.

Still, this is one iconic device that has significantly changed the landscape of the mobile wars. It broke sales records on its way to helping Samsung become the second biggest smartphone OEM, and the biggest mobile phone OEM in all. It was the first device that really gave the iPhone a run for its money in terms of success, and we all know it was a force to be reckoned with when it came to features.

The Galaxy S3 in America housed more modest internals due to LTE-compatible Exynos chips not being ready for prime-time at the time of its launch, but the 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 still performed quite well. The beautiful 4.7 inch Super AMOLED HD display, 2GB of RAM, 8 megapixel HD camera and 2 megapixel front-facing camera all came together to create one of the most cohesive devices you’ll ever see. Oh, and TouchWiz finally stopped sucking with this release.

Sure, it was made out of plastic and it didn’t come to most markets as a quad-core behemoth, but the Samsung Galaxy S3 was the finest phone out for the money, and it still holds its own up against more compelling offerings as we head into 2013.

HTC DROID DNA

The significance of the HTC DROID DNA is not lost on me — any device that can boast a 1080p display with just 5 diagonal inches to pack all those pixels into deserves a badge of honor in my book. While this may not have been the smartphone that kept HTC’s device lineup from going stale — you can thank the original HTC One X for turning that tide — it definitely pushed the company further than we thought it would be at this point.

The device also featured Qualcomm’s 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset, a powerful solution that didn’t guzzle a ton of juice. 2GB of RAM, a very nice 8 megapixel camera and Verizon’s 4G LTE radios made this one of the hottest devices in the coldest of months. HTC Sense 4+ brings a very debloated suite of enhancements, and it’s one of the first times we can say that HTC Sense isn’t a total downer on top of pure Android.

Nexus 4

What, you thought a “best phones” list would go up without a Nexus device sitting somewhere? The Samsung had a nice run with the Nexus line of phones, concluding with the Galaxy Nexus for now, but it’s time to let someone else step up to the plate. That someone else happens to be our friends at LG who left their stamp on what is known as the Nexus 4.

This device obviously gets brownie points for its lack of a custom user interface on top of pure Android 4.2 goodness, as well as for that very attractive starting price of $300. Shipping snafus aside, this is a fine device that not many can contend with this year. It has all the makings of a superphone, including the 4.8 inch HD display, 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 8 megapixel camera, and more without the heinous costs usually associated with owning these beasts.

But even with all those juicy specs it’s worth taking time to acknowledge and admire the work that’s gone into the engineering work. LG has arguably crafted its best device ever with the Nexus 4 with the beautiful glass covering the chatoyance texture on the back, and the tapered edge-to-edge glass covering the display.

Other bits and pieces, like Qi Wireless charging, NFC, and more make it a no-brainer for our #2 spot. Even with some annoyances — like the limited storage space, lack of microSD card slot, and a non-replaceable battery — this phone was the cream of the crop for 2012.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2

I’ll admit it — the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is not for everyone. That 5.5 inch HD display makes this one weird device to hold, and depending on the size of your jeans it could be hard to stuff into your pockets. Still, Samsung has concocted one of the most compelling devices we’ve seen not only this year, but ever.

Samsung took a huge gamble with the size of this device, but what it allowed them to do is quite stunning. For starters, he Wacom-enabled digitzer embedded into the display comes together with an improved S Pen to make everything — from art to natural writing — way more feasible than it’s ever been on a smartphone. The S Pen also enabled some nice productivity features, like the ability to hover over your calendar entries and email headers to see more without having to jump into them.

The bigger chassis allowed Samsung to cram a 3,100 mAh battery inside which makes for all day battery life on moderate usage. The bigger screen allows you to use two apps at the same time. No, really. And what’s all that multi-tasking without a quad-core 1.6GHz Exynos processor and 2GB of RAM to keep up with it?

TouchWiz has never been anyone’s favorite skin — we all like pure Android around these parts — but if you had to be stuck with one OEM-made interface then you’d want it to be this. Coupled with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Samsung has created a very functional and useful suite of tools for your pleasure.

It’s hard to think that something within Samsung’s own ranks could completely outclass the Samsung Galaxy S3, but by gosh they’ve done it. Again, this is more of a circumstance of timing than anything else. This device released much later than the Galaxy S3, so Samsung was afforded access to the latest technology to stuff inside this beast.

And the most beautiful thing is that Samsung knows all the little details still matter. People still want removable batteries, microSD card slots, et. al and Samsung delivers on that quite nicely with this package. It’s needless to say, at this point, that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is our top smartphone of 2012, and we’d be surprised to see many of you folks disagree.

How about you?

This list is by no means definitive, of course. Be sure to chime in below and let us know what your best smartphones of the year were. Perhaps the contents of your list are the same but ordered differently? We totally want to hear about it. Leave a comment below, and let’s carry this healthy discussion into the glorious year of 2013!

Continue reading on the HTC DROID DNA forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.

Continue reading on the HTC One X forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.

Continue reading on the LG Optimus G forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.

Continue reading on the Motorola DROID RAZR Maxx HD forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.

Continue reading on the Nexus 4 forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.

Continue reading on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.

Continue reading on the Samsung Galaxy S3 forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.




  • http://www.facebook.com/aarontsuru Aaron Tsuru

    I need to disagree with you. The Galaxy S3 should be number one. Not only is it a great phone and still a great phone after half a year on the market. More importantly, as far as competition between other Android phones & the iPhone, the Galaxy S3 can be considered a “game-changer”. Because of this phone, a ride on the subway, poke into a mall, go to a show, you have just about an equal chance to see someone using this phone or an iPhone. Samsung, regardless of all the opinions and various fanboys on either side, did a great job of getting this phone in peoples hands.

    • Malik

      This is a best Android phones list, not most popular. The Samsung fans are beginning to use Apple fanboy arguments of popularity and the fact that you list being popular as being more important than it being a great phone is disheartening. The GS3 is undoubtedly a great phone, but I’d say despite its massive size the Note does everything the GS3 does and more, hence the reason behind it being “better”. Either way, every “best of” list is subjective. And as an edit, my device is the N4.

      • Kyle Cordiano

        I agree with Malik. The Galaxy S III was the most popular phone of 2012 selling over 20 million units and it was/still is a great phone, but the One X+, Droid DNA and the Optimus G beat that phone for raw specs and the LCD screens that they use, beat the Galaxy S III’s as far as clarity and brightness.

      • spicymeatball

        Yes, spec wise your right, but as for actually delivering a phone to consumers that they could buy for Christmas should count for something. The N4 should be on the list for 2013.

  • KyseJ

    GS3 in red
    NOTE 2
    Nexus 4
    Atrix HD
    Raze Maxx
    DNA
    One X+
    Galaxy Rugby
    Galaxy S3 in white
    Galaxy s3 mini
    Lol lol Go Samsung ^_^

    • jon Hutchinson

      Yup because a colour decideds weather a phone is cutting edge or not..

      • http://www.facebook.com/drake.landry.9 Drake Landry

        Dont you know that the red plastic gives it more ram….lmfao

        • jon Hutchinson

          haha Along with more battery life because the white drains more

  • bigcix

    Sales & UI – Galaxy S3
    Looks – HTC One X
    Battery – RAZR MAXX HD
    Power – Note 2
    Prompt updates – Nexus 4

    • dario sucic

      Well, actually the Nexus 4 has more power than the Note 2.

      • Mitchel White

        not really…

        • HellG

          Actually it does but Google has set the thermal limit so high that it limits the CPU in Benchmarking apps, same for the Nexus 10 XDA-Developers were looking for a fix the last time i checked….

          • bmw4l1f3

            You mean it “could” be more powerful. As of right now it isn’t

          • simpleas

            Note 2 has a better cpu, N4 has better gpu – but these are all negligible, both gives awesome performance.

          • HellG

            Fair enough but there’s a deference between it might and it can
            And this one diffently CAN get better with simple software mod

          • Anon

            Also, a real world usage scenario might not hit the same thermal limits and allow the N4 to be faster.

      • Don_SoLow

        Well Nexus 4 has more physical power (cpu, screen resolution, etc.) but The Note 2 out classes it in features (multi-view, s-pen, etc.)

    • bitch_please

      How can sales be a pro?

      • remnem

        future updates, more accessories from third parties ,etc

    • http://twitter.com/Patfactorx David Pat

      Keyboard and business= Droid 4

    • Butters619

      Now combine them. That’s what I want.

      edit: except I would say Moto wins in UI. TouchWiz added some awesomeness but really takes away from the cohesiveness of Android.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pauldsuaveone954 Paul L Davis

    I am a cell phone fanatic,an the number one phone is the right choice. No other phone on the market has the features the Note 2 has out of the box. Even with Samsung releasing updates for the galaxy s3. The note 2 still has more features then the s3,because of the wacom digitizer an what it can do on the note 2.Plus the battery size,sd card an removable battery door. This is the best phone for 2012.

    • Sean Royce

      I just wish they’d iron out the bugs in touchwiz. My S3 on stock 4.1.2 Samsung official rom constantly lagged, if it was a perfectly non laggy skin then I’d be a happy man.

  • kev2684

    my top 5 for smartphones
    Galaxy Note II
    Droid DNA
    Galaxy S III
    Droid RAZR Maxx HD
    One X+

    top 3 for tablets
    Galaxy Note 10.1
    Nexus 10
    Nexus 7

  • koolkat2

    Iphone 5
    Iphone 4s
    Lumia 800

    Hahaha, kidding

    • Don_SoLow

      I was so flabbergasted after reading that until I saw the kidding part, lmao

  • WilfreB

    You made 2 mistakes, first the GS3 has a 4.8 display instead of a 4.7 as you said, second, the Nexus 4 doesn’t have a 4.8 display, it is 4.7.

    Imo the GS3 is the undisputed champion for 2012,no other phone can compete in terms of feature-rich software and a superlative camera.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      Well the Note 2 has all of the features of the GS3 plus more. I know it didn’t sell as much and is ridiculously big (I love it, for the record) but yeah I don’t see most folks saying that the GS3 is better other than size preference.

    • Don_SoLow

      Isn’t the Galaxy Note 2 just a Galaxy S3 with a bigger screen and more features?

  • http://twitter.com/nrbovee n.r. bovee

    The Note 2 (which I have), and whatever of the others with SD card slots. Google has a bottom line price to meet with the phone. To come with a phone that only has 16 GB but can’t be expanded sounds way too much like Apple. I put a 64 gig card in my Note 2, and the N4 should be capable of that as well. Sell it with no card, and let those that need it add it. If you don’t need SD, you won’t be paying for it.

    • RavenFox

      SD cards limit performance. Obviously the Nexus 4 isn’t for you so buy the phone that fits your needs.

      • Brandon Seminario

        It doesnt “limit” performance..it jsut consumes more battery. Right?

  • wtsamatta

    I’m on my 5th phone since July. Had a Galaxy Nexus, micro usb port broke, got a replacement, same thing happened a week after i got it. Decided to get the S3, really is a marvelous phone, but the screen cracked way too easily. got a replacement for the first one, the screen on the second one cracked a week later. Both times is was my fault, but it still cracked way too easily. Now I have the DNA, not a perfect phone, micro sd slot would make it perfect but I still love it none the less

    • Patrick Pope

      until the DNA breaks pretty soon..lol…

      • wtsamatta

        I think that it was just a Samsung thing with me.

  • Ron_Swanson

    The Note 2 …..easily. Nothing else compares……and that includes all you fooling yourself saying the S3.

    • ScottColbert

      Some of us don’t need to compensate.

      • Ron_Swanson

        I like it. Nice.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jamille-Browne/1184321457 Jamille Browne

        Compensate for what?

        • Keith

          lack of self worth lol j/k. I think he was talking about your privates though!

    • OptimusL

      The Note 2 isn’t for everyone, so speaking in absolutes is pretty silly. All of the phones listed are great, and no one is wrong for stating which phone they think is the best.

      • KOLIO

        I agree with this 100%,but if one had to select a #1,I’d say it have to be the NOTE2,(w/all specs & features considered) due to availability on all carriers.

        #2 would be the SGS III,for the same reason.

        kinda surprised the staff didn’t rate the RAZR MAXX HD a bit higher though,but,as you stated,this is all subjective.

        Hope everyone is enjoying whichever phone they’re using ATM & wish all here a Happy & prosperous New Year!

      • No_Nickname90

        I know exactly what you’re talking about. I can’t see the Note 2 as a phone. I saw one up close, and I was lyk really? That’s a PDA that can make calls. LoL!! The device itself is just way to big for using it as a phone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/drake.landry.9 Drake Landry

    Id like to see google and samsung put out a nexus note!

    • wickets

      best idea/comment ive read in the past sevseral months……bravo!!

    • Aslan Bollin

      I’d like to see a Nexus Padfone. :)

    • Andrew Gordon

      Galaxy nexus?

      • Andrew Gordon

        oh you mean bigger.

  • Kris

    Note 2 beats s3

  • KyseJ

    Well of course the note 2 beats the galaxy look at its hardware.. International s3 beats note 2..

  • eric

    The note 2 beats all the phones. Even future iphones. Yeah I said it

    • Michael Thompson

      I only agree with you because I want one so badly.

  • Steve

    The Nexus 4 is 4.7 inches, not 4.8.

    • scoter man1

      I was gonna say that but you beat me to it.

  • chargerman165

    I had the RAZR Maxx along with many other Android devices and iPhones including now having the iPhone 5 which I am unimpressed with and thinking of selling. I bought the S3.the day it became available on Verizon and was at the store as soon as they opened. I absolutely love this phone and it is without a doubt the best smartphone I have ever had and used and also the first one I have not gotten bored with in a short time. It definitely should have been number 1.

  • DavidB23

    Razr Max HD is at the top of my list. Reliable, durable, and battery that just doesnt quit. Once you have a battery this large in such a slim package its hard to go back. Since Motorola has proven it can be done, no future phone should have less that 3000 Ma battery.

    • Ryan O’Neill

      The phone’s hardware is simply amazing. Not just the battery, but also the slimness of the phone. I love the LED notifier too. Such an elegant phone.

    • C-Law

      But the camera is so bad, that’s why I picked up an s3 on swappa instead when my gnex broke. As for signal, my mom has a razr maxx and we have identical signal everywhere I’ve compared them. Samsung got this one right

  • Charles Chambers

    I agree. I own the Galaxy Note 2 and it’s incredible. The multiwindow feature is so useful. This phone is so fast.

    However, I don’t see the point in 1080p smartphones. Can anybody tell the difference between 1080 & 720? I only see 1080 as slowing down a phone and sucking away battery life.

    • Charles Chambers

      And the battery life is amazing.

    • Magnus100

      1080P doesn’t seem to have slowed down the Droid DNA, and the battery life is also great. I like my Note II more than any other phone I’ve used but I’m hoping the note 3 comes with a 1080P screen, then I can sell or give away my note II

      • Dave kimps

        Watch a film on the Xperia T and you will see the difference. And I’m disappointed this phone isn’t on the list. Its a great phone even if it doesn’t read as well as some smartphones on spec. The build quality is great with the non slip rubber back, and if your main thing is multimedia and gaming then you can’t wish for a better phone.

    • Keith

      Yeah the 1080p was an issue with actual TV’s, but they said people don’t actually see a difference until the TV is bigger then 50″. Of course you hold your phone a lot closer to your face, but it all seems like some marketing hype and a reason for people to keep buying the newest phone out there.

  • Shinobi O

    ” Each of the listed devices above , have their shortcomings… as well as their strengths over each other. One therefore… has to pick out a BEST PHONE… by virtue of its ALL ROUND features and PERFORMANCE . In my opinion… the Galaxy Note 2 IS that phone, hands down. Anyone to disagree…. is just another fanboy zealot to the iphone or whatever phone of their preferrance, with a bias! ”

  • BulletTooth_Tony

    TouchWiz is my favorite skin… though I haven’t used Optimus UI outside of a store setting… it’s better than Sense, and still in a totally different plane of existence from stripped down Blur, which is still garbage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leo.john.14 Leo John III

    Uhmm hello EVO 4g LTE anyone?

    • KOLIO

      I hear ya!

      The HTC DINC 4G LTE didn’t get the attention it deserved either,an all around great phone for those not wanting anything over 4″ screen size.

  • bmw4l1f3

    The note two is amazing. it has changed the way I use my smartphone. Everyone that sees meusing is amazed by what it can do. Even iphone “fanboys” are in awe with the features and smooyhness that this phone delivers.

  • guitarist5122

    i think the s3 deserves the number one spot. to this day, i have friends considering dumping their iphones for an s3. i personally love my n2 and think it is the best, but coming out later in the year gave it an advantage and it didn’t make nearly the impression the s3 did.

    s3 for number one spot! n2 for number two spot! go Samsung! lol

  • Joey Mauro

    there is one error in this story. the part about Samsung being the second most popular smartphone manufacturer in the world. numbers aren’t out yet, but Samsung well outsell Apple by about 50-75 percent more smartphones this year. you watch.

  • tom

    I use a Galaxy Blaze from T Mo. Not a big phone so it’s easy and light to fit into a shirt pocket. 1.5 ghz processor nice screen running ICS. Certainly not in the top spot but should be in the top 10.

  • Magnus100

    While other phones may outdo the Note 2 in certain specs, the Note 2 is still by far the best phone in the world. None other even comes close.
    After using the Note II (and Galaxy Note 10.1), I can’t bare to use any other phone or tablet without an S pen (or stylus) and many other compelling enhancements Samsung has included.

  • Jan Van der Velde

    It’s all about personal preferences I think..

    I fell in love with the stylus when I tried it on the Note 1 a friend of mine had. When I was to buy a new phone for myself I went for the Note 2 and I have no regrets. It even replaces my 10.1 tablet, I haven’t used that since I had my note 2. So if you like a phone/tablet in one with great specs, the note 2 is absolutely the top.

  • deh2002

    My vote goes to the note 2, but if the dna had expandable storage it would be my #1 pick.
    To anyone questioning the 1080p screen, it does make a difference. I had a dna before going to the note 2.

  • Micha Ols

    My top three would be:

    ASUS Padfone 2
    SAMSUNG Galaxy Note II
    LG NEXUS 4

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      Oh I forgot about the Padfone, good choice.

  • simpleas

    NOTE 2 – No Competition
    GS3 – Best all around
    LG Optimus G – Great Hardware + SD Card
    Nexus 4 – Pure experience
    DNA – Awesome Screen

  • Scott

    I agree with your list, pretty much spot on. But when you look at the list vs. what was left, well, it basically came down to the flagship devices from each OEM. Not saying a flagship phone shouldn’t be on a best device list, quite the opposite actually, just that these picks come as no surprise.

    That being said, I want to chime in on the LG optimus g. I owned the phone for about a month and I have to say that it is absolutely fantastic device. In fact, many arguments could be made for it to be #1. But, what done it in with me, and I’m sure most others, is the absolute lack of attention the phone has received. No accessories (cases, docks, etc.) and no support in the dev community. Strip the phone of some of the crapware and optimus ui, and this thing would knock any other phones socks off.

    But as such, this does not exist and the optimus g will die like every LG device before it. Now, I’m back to the one x…this time with a +, and loving it.

  • http://twitter.com/tagont1 Joseph Lotorto

    My top pick would be the HTC DROID DNA if it had a large removable battery and micro sd storage but it doesn’t so I have chosen the Samsung Galaxy Note II because it does.

  • Kristoff119

    GSM galaxy nexus; can’t sacrifice the easily replaceable battery.

  • duffin

    Gs3 ftw n 2012. …had a hero(software probs /underpowered)…evo(bat life)…evo shift(repeated broken charger ports)….and the evo lte …and then when I had problems( software and battery life probs) I took it back got the s3 and was amazed. I will never buy another htc. The note 2 is also awesome .

    • guitarist5122

      second try:
      sounds like you’re had some bad experiences. I’ve had two HTC android phones and both were amazing. i would say don’t give up on HTC, but it sounds like you two weren’t made for each other, lol

  • http://profiles.google.com/fcasoli64 Francesco Casoli

    I’m using Galaxy S3 and Note 2,I think first and second place in this list.

    • guitarist5122

      sounds like you’re had some bad experiences. I’ve had two HTC android phones and both were amazing. i would say don’t give up on HTC, but it sounds like you two weren’t made for each other, lol

      • guitarist5122

        sorry results of drunk commenting X-D

  • NorthVandea

    Nexus 4, unsportsmanlike conduct, roughing the future of cell phones 4G LTE. Unit disqualified you can keep your crap 3G and this phone does not make the top phone list. Galaxy Nexus substitutes nicely on the list.

    • OptimusL

      Lol @ “unsportsmanlike conduct”.

  • spicymeatball

    Galaxy s3 should be on this list since it actually made it into the hands of many consumers unlike the N4 which barely sold because Google/LG couldn’t deliver.

    • setspeed

      Even when they did deliver, the N4 just isn’t that great – washed out screen, poor touch sensitivity, not exactly amazing battery life, camera just average, storage limited to 16 GB max (that’s a joke for some) and a glass back. I got it, but within half an hour I knew I was sending it back.Much preferred my (international) S3, the only thing the N4 had going for it was vanilla Android, and the 2gigs of ram (vs the 1gig I’m having to make do with).

  • phinn

    If it had CDMA/LTE I might have said Nexus 4. Although it does seem kinda thick and heavy for such mediocre battery life.

    I wasn’t impressed with any Android hardware this year, things just keep getting bigger. I’d say the RAZR M deserves an honorable mentioned for being able to hold in one hand and still 4.3″ screen.

    Hopefully 2013 brings a good Nexus that actually works on all US carriers, and Key Lime Pie brings great improvements.

  • Jordan Caviness

    Galaxy Note 2 is not a phone!!! it is a Phablet!!!LOL

  • wintercold74

    The droid DNA is my favorite just wish it had more internal memory but it is fast and excellent built quality plus that screen is totallyvawesome. I have mines rooted and removed all Verizon bloatware, I had the note 2 and the gs3 and both are also excellent phones.

  • cary

    Lol galaxy s2 skyrocket is best

    • No_Nickname90

      Hail yea!! My Epic 4G Touch is still fast!! Until I seen my Nexus 7 just out perform it. It backs up and restores apps insanely faster than my phone. Shows how outdated my phone is, but I don’t mind it. The phone performs fast enough for me to last this one more year.

  • Armado

    I know the galaxy nexus didn’t come out this year, but I still see this phone as a contender. I purchased the 32gb Verizon edition off of Craigslist, replacing an HTC rezound that I got on launch day. The rezound was a great phone, beautiful screen (best on the market at launch), a 1.5 ghz dual core, 1 gb of ram, replaceable battery, and card slot, and promises of quick upgrades and strong support. Developer support was outstanding and within a few weeks I was running vanilla ics, with negligible bugs. I liked the phone, but ics took forever to get an official update, the battery life was poor, and the general experience was a bit laggy.
    After using the galaxy nexus for about 4-5 months daily, I could not be happier. The screen is slightly bigger than the rezound, even with the software buttons. I notice the width more than anything, having always considered the rezound a touch too slim. I haven’t noticed any considerable performance decrease because of the slightly lower clock speed, the software experience is a blow out (gnex running 4.2), and there is an extended battery available that does not increase the thickness of the device.
    My roommate has a SGSIII, and the hardware is great. However I don’t really see the software improvements and features that I hear about all the time. Of course I’m probably not the average consumer – I do nothing with social media except check developers twitter feeds and Android news sites, never take pictures or edit photos, I don’t watch movies on my phone (and if I do its on Netflix), and I rarely use my phone to listen to music. I bet there is some kind of port for vanilla jb though.
    Either way, the incremental improvements do not merit purchasing a new phone. My Galaxy nexus performs all the tasks that I require admirably.
    I do not even consider the nexus 4 for the top 5 list because I am on Verizon. The lack of lte support is too much of a loss, and is not a reasonable exchange for a quad core and 2gb of ram. My nexus 7 obviously houses a quad core, and the only thing it out performs my phone in is playing games that are too complex to want to play on my phone anyway. Lte has become a standard feature for any phone I consider purchasing these days.

    Top 5 –
    1. Asus PadPhone 2
    2. Samsung Galaxy Note 2
    3. HTC Droid DNA
    4. Your personal choice between Gnex and N4
    5. Samsung GS3

    • guitarist5122

      i have to agree with you. the nexus 4 is a total loss with no lte option. lte, as you said, is a standard. i was pissed that the nexus 4 want compatible with Verizon.

  • feztheforeigner

    Hardware: DNA
    Software: Nexus 4
    Big phone: Note 2

  • Endoverend

    Droid 4/Photon Q – the benchmark of QWERTY sliders. Regrettably it has taken so long to arrive and it’s equipped with a low-end pentile display causing few people except we keyboard aficionados to care.

  • watson111505

    let’s not forget the GNEX…..

    • guitarist5122

      galaxy nexus didn’t come out in 2012 bud

  • patty

    Couldn’t be happier with my DNA

  • http://www.facebook.com/mathiuskitchens Matt Kitchens

    Would love to have a Nexus 4, but i’m on Verizon :-(

  • drzfr3shboialex

    I received my nexus yesterday and love it. Nexus 4 is the best for me.

  • Bob G

    Post says 5 phones. Post lists 7 phones.
    :Phandroid starting the new year off right.

    • guitarist5122

      lol, wouldn’t be phandroid without the inconsistencies, lol

  • NardVa

    Best phone off contract is the Nexus 4. Best phone on contract is the SGS III or HTC DNA.

  • Renecruz73

    hi i will like some help with finding the way to block some out going call to private. and i look in setting to do it. but was not able find. where it tell u show number or hide number my cell phone is galaxy S3

  • JWolf_PDX

    My Note 2 is the best smart phone I’ve ever owned. For the first time I feel like it’s one that I won’t be wanting to upgrade within the first year of owning it. And I’m saying that after picking up the S3 on release day. S3 is a great phone, probably the best in it’s spec range but the Note II takes it makes it even better; screen size, battery life, SPen. Hard not to fall in love with this phone.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ktwebb68 Kevin Webb

    The N2 is an all day phone with heavy use. I’ve never had an android device last consistently past 1 or 2 pm. I am definitely a power user and this is an all day phone. For anyone. It’s also not uncomfortable or awkward to handle. At least if you are a man at least 6 feet tall with average or better hands. Slips in to every pocket I have just fine. The rest of the write-up was pretty close to accurate though for me Multi-Window is a gimmick. IMO even on a 7″ screen MW is very questionable as useable. On the N2 I find it useless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

    EVO 4G LTE > HTC One X, although the One X is prettier. Just Sayin…

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.wiechert Matthew Wiechert

    Everyone saying the s3 over note 2 is because it’s to late for you to get one… Sux I know

  • godrilla

    note 2 best phone overall

  • http://twitter.com/drexappeal AC

    Note 2 is an absolute beast. Some might say it’s a “niche” phone, but I think Samsung did the 2nd generation of the Note (phone) series right! That said, all the talk about power comparison between the Note 2 vs. the Nexus 4 should be made solely on the “out of the box” specs and features. If anybody is going to compare the phones based on modifications that can be made via “root,” then many of the phones can be competitive with one another. Based on out-of-the-box specs, Note 2 is the #winner.

  • barondebxl

    As long as its portable, pockatable and makes and receives calls, well its a phone. With that being said, here is my list, in order

    1. Samsung galaxy note 2 ( this is not even debatable)
    2. Samsung galaxy S3
    3.Htc droid DNa
    4. HTC one X+
    5. LG nexus 4
    6. droid razr maxx hd

  • Davide Polez

    iPhone 5: the best in the Cupertino.

  • itrustme

    The note 2 easily the best phone out right now. The nexus 4 Is the runner up.