The year 2013 is already here and now’s the time to look back at last year’s smartphones that captured the attention of the tech world as well as the hearts and pockets of many consumers. Here is YugaTech’s Top 10 Smartphones of 2012:
When considering the top 10 handsets, we looked at popularity, performance, design, marketability, price and unique value proposition of each candidate.
1. Samsung Galaxy S3. The Galaxy S3 is Samsung’s flagship for 2012 and its first smartphone to be equipped with a quad-core chipset. The S3 immediately became a popular choice due to its impressive set of hardware, great software features and cheaper price tag compared to the iPhone. We don’t have the exact figures yet but last year Samsung projected the S3 sales to top 30 million by the end of 2012. Let’s see if Samsung can keep the trend when they release the Galaxy S4 this year.
2. Apple iPhone 5. Apple’s first post-Jobs smartphone is the iPhone 5. Before it was launched it was plagued with leaks and was criticized as “not different enough.” Apple equipped the iPhone 5 with improved internals as well as a 4-inch display which resulted to a better, thinner, lighter, and taller smartphone. Despite the criticism and high price tag, the iPhone 5 still proved to be a premium and popular handset.
3. Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Samsung lead the phablet market with the release of the Galaxy Note. Like the iPhone 5, the Note received a lot of criticism but still sold like hotcakes. Samsung took this advatage and launched the Galaxy Note 2. The Note 2 took inspiration from the S3′s design and equipped it with a 5.5″ display, twice the processing power, twice the RAM, and better battery capacity than the original Note. The Note 2 is a popular choice for those who believe that size does matter in smartphone.
4. HTC One X+. This spot was originally for the HTC One X – the first HTC smartphone to carry a quad-core processor which was launched in early 2012. Fast forward to October, HTC launched the One X+ which aims to address the shortcomings of the One X. It still has the same amazing Super LCD 2 display and 1GB of RAM as the One X but now sports a faster NVidia Tegra 3 processor, improved camera, higher internal storage, and a bigger battery capacity. The HTC One X+ can be considered a little late in the game but it’s still one of the best smartphones around and deserves the number 4 spot on our list.
5. Nokia 808 PureView. For starters, the 808 sports a 4-inch AMOLED nHD ClearBlack display, 1.3GHz single core processor, 512MB of RAM, 1400mAH battery, and Symbian Belle OS. On paper, that kind of spec is not enough to make you drool. But add a 41 megapixel camera on that list and that would surely raise some eyebrows. In addition, the camera utilizes Nokia’s PureView technology which helps the 808 produce some of the best images out there taken by a smartphone. Nokia obviously didn’t intend to sell a lot of 808s but that help debut the PureView tech which we hope to see in the upcoming Nokia Lumia lines.
6. Nokia Lumia 900. Launched in February, Nokia’s N9-looking, Windows Phone flagship for 2012 is the Lumia 900. At the time it was the best choice for someone who wants to be immersed in a Nokia-induced Windows Phone experience. It sports a 4.3-inch AMOLED ClearBlack display, a Snapdragon S2 Scorpion 1.4GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 8 megapixel camera and a 1830mAh battery. Despite the modest specs, the Lumia 900 has a good display, sleek design with color options, and runs WP7.5 very well. Expect this smartphone to be overshadowed by the better WP8-powered Lumia 920 this year.
7. Sony Xperia Ion. The Xperia Ion is Sony’s first handset to have LTE support. Hardware-wise it is almost similar to the Xperia S except for the a bit larger 4.6-inch display, metal construction and better battery. It’s supposed to be a better version of the Xperia S but on our review it fell a bit short on camera performance. It runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread but will soon be upgraded to Jellybean this 2013.
8. HTC 8X. Launched last November, the 8X is HTC’s latest and first flagship to carry Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 OS. HTC made sure that the 8X carries the design standards of its Android-powered One series. As a result, the 8X sports a glass panel reminiscent of the HTC One X and a 4.3-inch Super LCD 2 display at 341ppi. In addition, it has 1GB of RAM, an 8 megapixel rear, a 2.1 megapixel front, NFC, a matte body with tapered edges, and is offered in different colors like the Nokia Lumias.
9. LG Optimus 4X HD. LG’s Optimus 4X HD is one of the first few Tegra 3 quad-core-powered smartphones to be released in 2012. It is also the successor to the Optimus 2X and it certainly has the specs to go head-to-head with other flagships. It sports a 4.7-inch IPS LCD display at 312ppi, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage which can be expanded up to 32GB via microSD, an 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front, and big battery at 2150mAh. Our review of the device left us satisfied with its performance, long battery life and lower price tag compared to other quad-core handsets at the time. However, its UI and camera needs to be improved.
10. Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL. The Ascend D1 Quad XL was just launched locally last month. It sports a 4.5-inch IPS+ LCD display at 326ppi, Huawei’s K3V2 1.4GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage with microSD support of up to 32GB, an 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front, a big 2600mAh battery, and runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box. Although released late in last year’s quad-core games, the Ascend D1 Quad XL is priced under Php19K. One of the cheapest quad-core handset around.
Google Nexus 4. Google’s latest smartphone offering is the LG-made Nexus 4 which was announced in October. It sports a 4.7-inch True HD IPS+ display at 318ppi, a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset, 2GB of RAM, 8/16GB of internal storage, an 8 megapixel rear camera, 1.3 megapixel front, a 2100mAh battery, and runs Android 4.2 Jellybean. During our trip to San Diego we were able to get our hands on one and we found the Nexus 4 to be solidly built, Jellybean exprience is smooth, and the camera performance is impressive. Originally, we had the Nexus 4 included in the top list but decided to put it under special mention since it is yet to be available locally.
And there you have it, our list of the top 10 smartphones of 2012. Congratulations to Samsung for claiming two spots on this list, including the top spot, for the Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy Note 2. As for this year, expect a much heated battle as manufacturers go for the 1080p superphone status.