It’s been an exciting year for mobile technology, with long-anticipated devices vying against some surprise entries. Here are our top picks from 2012’s bumper crop!
#1. Samsung Galaxy S3
Samsung’s flagship smartphone takes the top spot. Upsides include superior hardware, 4.8 inch screen and high-quality camera. Downsides include an interface that, while full-featured and responsive, is also confusing.
#2. iPhone 5
The iPhone 5 has the cachet of the Apple name and the gloss of delayed gratification; it’s also thin and light, with an impressive screen. The iOS 6 operating system has been improved; the return of Google Maps makes earlier map issues moot. Downsides include the lack of Near Field Communications and the hefty price tag.
#3. HTC One X
Slick enough to pass for a Samsung, the One X’s upsides include the big, high-quality screen and appealing Sense 4 skin. The main downside is the lack of a removable battery.
#4. iPad Mini
Light and feature rich, the 7.85-inch iPad Mini was worth the wait. Upsides include the extra screen area; on the downside, this makes it awkward to hold.
#5. Kindle Fire HD 8.9
Amazon’s mini tablet now has a front-facing camera and beefed-up processing power. Easy access to all of Amazon’s media properties is the major upside here; downsides include a lack of support for native Google products. Amazon prefers that you use your own, which is sometimes inferior.
#6. Nexus 7
Google’s answer to the Kindle Fire is a good-quality tablet with a modest price tag. Upsides include the latest Android build; downsides are the poor battery life and low screen resolution.
#7. Samsung Galaxy Note II
Is it a tablet or a smartphone? Either way, the 5.55-inch Galaxy Note offers an excellent camera and a gallery feature for photos. On the downside, the size can be awkward and the built-in stylus, while a winner for many, is not to everyone’s taste.
#8. Motorola Droid Razr Maxx
If you can’t live without an LTE device, but can live with the power consumption, the voluminous Droid Razr Maxx may be your ideal device. Downsides include the weight and thickness; it sacrifices a slim profile to pack in extra battery muscle.
#9. Microsoft Surface
Light and slick, the Surface comes with Windows 8. An add-on attachable keyboard turns it into a kind of laptop/tablet hybrid.
#10. Nokia Lumia 920
Another Windows 8 device, the Lumia 920 offers superior near field communication, an outstanding camera and wireless charging. Downsides: it’s large and rather heavy.
- Samsung nudged Apple out of the top spot for some.
- Smaller 7- and 8-inch tablets cemented their market share; the iPad Mini impresses most.
- Tech shoppers on a budget should check out Google’s lower-cost offerings.