The Most Important Phones Of 2012

The smartphone market of 2012 has seen some heated competition. The usual contenders all released solid hardware. But the dynamic between them changed, too—Windows Phone arrived as a serious third OS option, and 2012 ended with exciting new models of iPhone and Android devices. Here's a look at the best new products people put in their pockets this year.


The Most Important Phones Of 2012

9. LG Optimus G

Say this for the Optimus G: it doesn't skimp. LG went for broke to shake off its mid-range reputation, cramming its latest flagship Android phone full of goodies. It was a significant product for LG, but strong specs didn't always equal great performance—even on a phone this fast.[More]


The Most Important Phones Of 2012

8. HTC One X Plus

The HTC One X has already been one of the best Android Phones you can buy. The One X + upped its predecessor's already impressive specs with a 1.7 Ghz quad-core Tegra 3 processor. And its 2,100 mAh battery took care of most stamina complaints. Sure, the One X Plus was just a spec bump, but it was a spec bump that yielded one of the best phones of the year. [More]


The Most Important Phones Of 2012

7. HTC Droid DNA

The Droid DNA proved once and for all that big ol' Android phones could be great for folks with normal-sized hands. It's not the best at any one thing , but it was a godsend for Verizon customers who'd been left without a true flagship HTC Android device. [More]


The Most Important Phones Of 2012

6. Motorola Droid RAZR HD and RAZR MAXX HD

The Razr brand's legacy is long and (mostly) proud, and this matching set of Moto smartphones lived up to their name. The top-line feature is the only one that really matters here: It's possible to put a gigantic, two-day battery into a phone and still have it be nice and thin. That could be—and should be—the rule. So far Razr's the only phone following it. [More]


The Most Important Phones Of 2012

5. Galaxy Note II

The original Galaxy Note was popular but deeply, severely flawed. Its follow-up, though, managed to be a solid device. The Galaxy Note II offered a lot of screen for reading or gaming, and elevated phablets (ugh) past pure freakshow. Just don't blame us for your palm-cramps. [More]


The Most Important Phones Of 2012

4. Google Nexus 4

Take everything that was good about the LG Optimus G, make it better, and fix all the flaws. That's Google's Nexus 4, a fast, smooth, pure Android experience cemented Google's ability to choose rock-solid hardware partners for its flagship devices. The one knock? No LTE, but the HSPA+ network it runs on has surprising zip. [More]


The Most Important Phones Of 2012

3. iPhone 5

The iPhone is a mature brand, and historically already arguably the best phone you can buy. So while it's easy to take for granted the myriad ways Apple was able to improve an already spectacular phone, you shouldn't. It won't dazzle you with a breathtaking new design. Even if it isn't the harbinger of a tech revolution, the iPhone 5 was one of the very best gadgets of the year. [More]


The Most Important Phones Of 2012

2. Nokia Lumia 920

The Lumia 920 arrived with a much-hyped PureView camera and a big, luxurious screen. It runs incredible software—Windows Phone 8, the best version of a graceful, beautiful, and outright daring phone OS. It's also, incidentally, Nokia's best possible Windows Phone. While it had its issues—heft, chief among them—it proved that Nokia and Microsoft were ready to keep up with—and in some ways surpass—the big game they're hunting. [More]


The Most Important Phones Of 2012

1. Samsung Galaxy S III

The Galaxy S III was the most anticipated spec-beast of the year. And it certainly delivered. It improved on last year's Galaxy S II in every way, with a new processor, a whopping 2GB of RAM, an HD screen, LTE, NFC, and more software bells and whistles than you could ever possibly use. Samsung slapped a lot of tricks and tweaks on top of Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), and the resulting phone felt a bit overwhelming. But despite that, this was Android's first "it" phone—and at the end of 2012, it remains a worthy rival to the popularity of the iPhone. [More]