It’s that time of the year again dear readers, where we collectively sit around a round table and decide just what products made it to our esteemed Gadget of the Year list. We’ve selected only those devices that we’ve had the opportunity to test and review during the course of this year. We’ve also based our decision on user feedback and prolonged usage of these handsets post the reviews. So, to kick things off before the year ends, here’s our Mobile of the Year for 2012. 

Mobile of the Year: Samsung Galaxy Note II

The Note 2 is the definitive Phablet exercising all the fundamental properties of a class A mobile handset and a mini tablet device. From its construction in a solid build to its scratch resistant 5-inch display, the Note 2 has that certain ‘drool’ element about it. Slimming down a little from the previous edition, the narrower design makes it easier to handle as well. But what truly makes this handset worthy of being our Mobile of the Year is the user interface and overall functionality of the device. The upgraded S Pen makes for a handy tool for both business related usage and otherwise. The device allows for a total of 80GB of storage to be carried around – 16GB onboard + support for microSD cards up to 64GB. With Android Jelly Bean running on its 1.6GHz Quad-Core processor coupled with NFC, Wi-Fi Direct, MHL and much more in the connectivity space, this Phablet pretty much has all you’ll need to get your work or play taken care of while on the go. 

One of the biggest but surely the best smartphone of 2012

One of the biggest, but surely the best smartphone of 2012

First Runner Up: HTC One X+

We just couldn’t decide between these two power house handsets. While the One X (previous edition) proved to be lagging a little behind the S III in a few features, the One X+ made up for some issues except the option to boost storage and remove the battery. However, with these improvements, it’s quite on par with the S III. In terms of looks, the One X + has a better structure and feels more durable than the rather delicate looking S III. Don’t get us wrong, the S III is a formidable handset on all counts, but we’re going with the One X + with its far more refined and user friendly Sense 4.0 UI and slightly better camera among other things. The NVIDIA Tegra 3 Chipset and 1.7GHz Quad Core processor easily makes it one of the fastest handsets available. 

It was a tough choice between this and the S III

It was a tough choice between this and the S III

Second Runner Up: LG Optimus 4X HD

The 4X HD comes off as a simple but elegant looking piece of mobile hardware. The rear panel with its striped design makes it easy to grip. The straight rectangular candy bar form with a minimised bezel around the display makes it seem like the real estate on this device is well utilised. LG’s native UI might not be the very best option to use, but there are plenty of free launcher apps available on Google’s App store that will give the handset a whole new look and feel where functionality is concerned. With a 1.5GHz quad Core CPU, you’re assured of speedy performance and a pretty good gaming experience as well. The 4X HD’s HD-IPS LCD display sporting a 720p resolution also makes it an easy to read option in almost all lighting conditions and is great for video playback. This is the best LG has developed in its Optimus Series so far.

A good handset which proved to be very versatile

A good handset that proved to be very versatile

Honourable Mentions

There are still a few handsets that didn’t quite make it into the top 3 of GOTY listing this year, but certainly deserve a mention. These handsets have or had (in case they’ve been discontinued) much to offer in terms of features and functionality and we believe that they also made quite an impact on the industry this past year. Take a look at the honourable mentions:

Apple iPhone 5

The iPhone has been on all kinds of lists since the time of its first iteration a few years ago. With the launch of the iPhone 5, Apple has further cemented its place in the mobile play field and upped the ante a little more as well. Sporting a similar but much lighter, slimmer and narrower frame than its recent predecessors, the iPhone 5 has plenty to drool over. Processing speeds have been boosted to offer full potential while gaming or dealing with other high end media. The 8MP iSight camera is just as brilliant as the ones that came before, but the addition of the auto stitch Panorama mode only makes things so much better. The iPhone 5 is one of the devices that many of us tend to harbour yearnings for, but the price tag, again for most of us, tends to be a deterrent to its purchase. Nevertheless, price be damned, the iPhone 5 has proven to be just as popular as the ones that came before. We’re looking forward to seeing what’s next.  

Slimmer, Sleeker, Sexier and just as expensive as its predecessors

Slimmer, sleeker, sexier and just as expensive as its predecessors

Motorola Atrix 2

This might seem like a strange device to include in this list, however, irrespective of how Motorola is faring at present, the Atrix 2 made quite an impact on us this year. Featuring a 1.2GHz Dual Core processor coupled with an 8MP camera, 8GB of internal storage and an HDMI port, the Atrix 2 functioned very well and was quite a value for money handset, even if it was on the bulky side. Motorola has incorporated quite a few very handy settings, apps and widgets into the system that proved to be useful on a day to day basis. There was also built in support for a long list of video codecs with the ability to playback full HD files with no issue. Even the battery on this handset managed to meet expectations. There have been quite a few handsets that were worth the price tag you’d pay for it, but amongst the lot, the Atrix 2 left its mark on us.

A true value for your money

A true value for your money

That’s our G.O.T.Y 2012 for high-end smartphones. Do let us know what handsets in this range made it to your list. We’d love to know just which of 2012’s big launches left their impression on you. 

Compliments of the seasons to all of you. We hope you’ve had a great year and wish you all the very best for 2013. 

Stay tuned for more of our Gadget of the Year listings.

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