10 Best Smartphones of 2012

In 2012 the smartphone wars became less about bragging about who had the most cores and more about screen size and innovative features. Samsung made the biggest overall impact with two hit phones: The Galaxy S III introduced the world to breakthrough sharing features, while the category-busting 5.5-inch Galaxy Note II took phablets to new heights.

Meanwhile, Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 5 pushed the design envelope with a jaw-droppingly thin and light sequel with a bigger (but not too big) display. But Apple and Samsung were far from the only winners. In fact, two devices on our top 10 list run Windows Phone 8 — one from Nokia and one from HTC — which says there’s plenty of competition for your smartphone dollar. Here are our top picks of the year.

Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptopmag.com, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
Mark Spoonauer on
Twitter Google+
Email* (will not be published)
*Indicates required field
Submit Comments

  1. TONY LILICH Says:

    I have just been reading your article,on the smart phones.I was hoping to get a better overall review.It turns ot your magazine,went with the group.When I picked up your magazine.I felt it didn’t make a better story.To bad the rest of the phones didn’t receive the same respect.The IPhone5 is smaller and just received 4LTE.I aslo noticed.You offered hands-on.And.more special treatment,with the ios6 tips.Nothing like this for any of the other new phones.Come on guys and gals.And,is.really gone backwards.With no YouTube and GoogleMaps.Plus, a 4in. Screen.It does have Siri and a better screen.And,yet it gets more respect.Being a new phone,we get accessories to boot.What about the other new one???Any Androids or anything???.I am looking forward to a few more copies of your magazine.With hope of yours setting the bar,higher.You’ve have a very good magazine!!

  2. Himanshu Says:

    Well, i think Samsung Galaxy S3 deserves to be at the Top

  3. Mike Says:

    Excuse me…. one of the best phones of what year?

  4. Jay-R Flores Says:

    Samsung Galaxy Note 2 deserves to be on top.

  5. Rev. Bobby Jones Says:

    The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is the best phone in the world ! it’s the World Champion ! i had a Blackberry 9700 and a iphone 4s 32gb and i enjoyed both of them very much, but the Galaxy note 2 is in a class all by itself. The Samsung Galaxy s3 is the 2nd best phone in the World ! it is a dynamite phone.

  6. daddymne Says:

    10 smart phones.. and no htc one x… Weird.
    by this list I vote for droid DNA.
    full hd display, 2gb ram. 5″display. He will eat others
    for breakfast. Cya

  7. Tembani lengalenga Says:

    I think the list should be like this (1) nexus 4 (2) lumia 920 (3) galaxy s3 (4) iphone 5 (5) note 2 (6) htc one x

  8. Mark Says:

    Galaxy Note 2 should be number 1.
    Best phone by along way.

  9. jack Says:

    The Samsung S3 was all ready voted the best smart phone for 2012. End of discussion. That being said the I5 doesn’t have a chance against the S4 which will be released in a few months.

  10. Fred Says:

    asus padfone 2 is the best,…

  11. Shaun Says:

    I phone is the world’s best phone. No doubt it is…!

  12. rajat Says:

    excuse me….plzz
    samsung s3 is the best smartphone till now
    iphone is a f***

  13. Raghav Says:

    i5 is the best!!!!!!!!

  14. Beast27 Says:

    This is a joke should not have even been alowed to be published Iphone 5 the best lmao. This bull artical is the best joke of the year. We all no what is the best phone…….. Who ever wrote this is a Isheep so is who ever published.

  15. Wowww123 Says:

    S3 deserves to be the best
    IPhone is BUllShi**

  16. Leo Says:

    Nokia Lumia 920 deserves to be on the top of the list

  17. ZilchNada Says:

    HTC 8X. Design + Functionality = Number 1

  18. Alaokik Says:

    You guys admit it iPhone 5 is the best phone in the world and hello samsung galaxy s3 copied the iPhone 5. :P

  19. Aatif Says:

    Almost any android phone would blow the iphone 5 out the water.

  20. Sanyam Says:

    s3 can be the best because it has so many exciting features. It also performs well and is even value for money.

  21. Chad Says:

    The GALAXY Note 2 must be on the top because of it’s super HD amoled 5.5″ display and the 2GB of RAM ,the expendable memory , the airview , Sbeam ….. It’s not because it’s an apple Sh*t that it must be on the top of the list and the iphone 5 has no cool features like other smartphones on this list this is why it must be at the end , yes , the iPhone was the best and most innovative smartphone but before the death of Steve Jobs , now all what they are doing is adding stupid features and enlarging the display , it wasn’t even a good step because if they wanted to enlarge it , the must have mad it at least a little wider so it won’t look a stretched phone .

  22. Krista Neuner Says:

    Really appreciate this article. I use these lists and reviews to keep The Hard Reset filled with relevant troubleshooting tutorials. Thanks!

All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options