Looking back at Dialaphone favourite phone lists from 2010 and 2011, the rise of the smartphone is clear to see, yet this year is the first to not include a feature phone at all. Instead, the lower-end of the market is represented by a cheap smartphone – running Google Android, unsurprisingly. As for the rest of the top ten, we’ve been treated to so many amazing top-of-the-range devices this year, it was difficult to find room for them all. Here then, in no particular order, is Dialaphone’s top ten mobile devices of 2012.
What year would be complete without a new iPhone and all the hype, attention and massive sales figures which accompany its release? This year’s phone brought a significant spec change too, as the screen went from 3.5-inches to 4-inches. It’s also beautifully designed and built, and almost unbelievably thin and light. Following its release, Apple struggled to keep up with demand, even more so than usual. iOS 6, thanks primarily to Apple Maps, was less successful.
Samsung Galaxy S III
The year 2012 should be remembered as the year Samsung came of age, as with the Galaxy S III, it produced an Android phone that finally attracted a similarly rabid following to Apple’s iPhone. Thirty million have been sold since its late May release, and its success has helped Samsung become the world’s number one Android manufacturer. The phone itself is rightly described as the best Android smartphone currently on sale.
Samsung Galaxy Note II
Not content with destroying its rivals with the Galaxy S III, Samsung is also running away with smartphone/tablet hybrid sales too, thanks to its Galaxy Note II going largely unchallenged. The Note 2 is an impressive technical achievement, managing to fit an even bigger 5.5-inch screen into the same size chassis as the original Note, along with a quad-core processor and if you buy one through EE, 4G connectivity too.
Nokia Lumia 920
Microsoft’s 2012 has been a busy one, with a complete overhaul of its desktop and mobile software, plus the introduction of its first own-brand tablet, the Surface. The Nokia Lumia 920 is the first of two Windows Phone 8 devices to make our list, and at 185g, it’s quite a beast. It’s hard not to be impressed with the glorious 4.5-inch, PureMotion HD screen featuring Nokia’s ClearBlack technology, or the results from the 8 megapixel PureView camera.
Google Asus Nexus 7
Growing in popularity almost as much as smartphones, tablets have been huge this year, and none more so than Google’s Nexus 7. Introduced during Google I/O in the summer, it was released in the UK before its arch rival the Amazon Kindle Fire. It may have a quad-core processor and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean – making it more versatile than the Kindle Fire – but it was the price that made the Nexus 7 so popular, and helped revolutionise the tablet market. There’s a chance its success may have prompted Apple to react and produce the iPad Mini, a highly unusual move for the normally confident company.
Motorola RAZR i
Intel announced its Medfield Atom processor at the end of 2011, but it wasn’t until September 2012 that a major manufacturer embraced the platform. The Motorola RAZR i was the result, boasting a powerful 2GHz chip, an 8 megapixel camera and a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 960 x 540 pixel resolution. What made it impressive was its size, as despite the big screen, the RAZR i’s footprint was barely larger than phones with a 3.5-inch display. None of this has helped the phone – and Intel’s chip – find much success though.
HTC J Butterfly/Butterfly/Droid DNA
While we’re still eagerly awaiting its release in the UK, the impact of the HTC J Butterfly – or Droid DNA as its US-only Verizon exclusive is known – will be felt throughout the coming year, when we can expect most other major manufacturers to release a device with a 5-inch, 1080p resolution screen. It’s equally impressive in other areas too, as it’s equipped with a quad-core processor and an 8 megapixel camera.
Google LG Nexus 4
LG adapted its Optimus G smartphone for Google’s Nexus range this year, coming up with the Nexus 4, a quad-core powerhouse with a massive 4.7-inch, 720p TrueHD display. The Optimus G’s 13 megapixel camera was replaced by an 8 megapixel snapper though, and its fixed 8GB or 16GB of internal storage let it down too. So why is it on our list? Simple: It’s £260 SIM-free from Google, making it as much as £150 less than the equivalent Galaxy S III, yet it has a comparable specification. Google’s cheap pricing model has caused waves through the industry, which are sure to be felt throughout the coming year too.
Sony Xperia E
Sony is still finding its feet in the smartphone world, releasing solid, attractive but not all that exciting smartphones during the past year. Even its tie-in with James Bond failed to raise more than a murmur. It redeemed itself slightly with the Xperia E, however, and it’s our favourite budget Android phone of the year thanks to Sony releasing it with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean onboard – a rarity at this level.
If you didn’t buy the Nokia Lumia 920, then you probably purchased the 8X, HTC’s range-topping Windows Phone 8 handset. It’s a great choice too, as it also has an HD resolution screen, this time measuring 4.3-inches, plus an 8 megapixel camera and a dual-core, 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor. The design is equally attractive, but the 8X tips the scales at a far more reasonable 130g. It’s still a tough decision between the two though.
So who is missing? The most obvious is BlackBerry, which has failed to do so for the third year running, but it could make a comeback next year with the release of BlackBerry 10. Huawei and ZTE, despite coming up with some good phones, still haven’t come up with a real winner either. Perhaps next year will be a good one for the two Chinese companies too? We’ll see you in twelve months time to find out.