We had a chance to play around with a bunch of new phones this year, the HTC One X, Galaxy S III and iPhone 5 to name a few, but picking the best one proved a bit tricky. We found the S III a tad too flimsy for a high end device, the One X features rock solid build quality, but it lacks microSD and it’s not quite as quick as the S III. The iPhone 5 doesn’t bring anything revolutionary to the table, the Nexus 4 is nowhere to be seen and Windows Phone 8 devices are few and far between.
Long story short, we believe none of them deserves the top spot. We are not nitpicking here, most high-end phones are evenly matched and few phones truly stand out. This doesn’t mean they are not good, to the contrary - they are simply getting too damn good to pick a clear winner. Smartphones are now mature, mainstream pieces of kit.
Alas, we think the HTC One X and Galaxy S III both deserve the second spot. A few other Android-based phones come to mind, some even feature impressive specs, like the LG Optimus X4, but that’s not enough. LG and Sony don’t come even close because they don’t seem to care about updates at all. Some consumers might not mind, but enthusiasts do.
Apple’s iPhone 5 ranks third, but overall we are not impressed. It does have a great processor. Also, the new form factor and added screen real estate are a welcome change. Still, there’s nothing groundbreaking to write home about. It is nowhere near as innovative as previous iPhones and let’s not forget the maps debacle, either. Apple willingly chose to compromise user experience by ditching Google Maps and this is a source of concern. Who knows what they’ll do next?
Windows Phone 8 arrived late in the year, but it is already making its presence felt, thanks to top notch phones like the Lumia 920 and a few interesting handsets from HTC and Samsung. We have a soft spot for Windows Phone and we believe this snappy OS is underappreciated, so we’re really hoping to see more WP8 phones in 2013. This time around though, they don’t make it in the top three.
And the worst phone of 2012? Of course, there’s a lot of awful phones to choose from, especially in the Android space, but most of them are built by small companies who just can’t do any better. No, for the worst phone we have turn to a manufacturer that should know better, someone like Samsung. The S III mini is horrid and overpriced, and we could think of a bunch of Galaxy branded phones that don’t fare much better. For some reason Samsung believes it should suck the Galaxy brand dry and it’s launching a new Galaxy phone every couple of weeks. Most of them are terrible and dilute the Galaxy brand, which should have remained a premium brand.
LG and Google should also know better and the Nexus 4 is our pick for the biggest botch or flop of the year. Seriously, two months into the launch the phone is practically not available anywhere. Yes, it’s a great phone, with a great spec and unbeatable price tag. In fact, I wouldn’t mind getting one myself, but what’s the point of having a competitive product if you can’t get it to market? Sorry, but it’s high time for Google to learn how to launch phones. They can ask Samsung for pointers.