It’s that time of year again, folks, where we announce the top 5 Android devices that we thought really stood out and performed well. The phones are judged by Team Ausdroid with the following criteria: launched in Australia this year; specs given the time of launch; positive feedback we’ve been given by readers about the device. We thought we’d also throw in a few devices into a list of worst devices to launch this year, just for a few laughs. With all that out of the way, let’s get into it!

Samsung Nexus S (#5)


Available for $399 at MobiCity

The Samsung Nexus S was the second of the Nexii devices manufactured in collaboration with Google — the first being the Nexus One manufactured by HTC. It was released by Vodafone near the start of this year and I was lucky enough to review (and giveaway) one. I wasn’t blown away by the hardware of the device, but the fact it ran stock Android and constantly received updates from Google over the course of the year — it’s is now getting Ice Cream Sandwich OTA before any other device — is what got it into #5 in our list.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc (#4)


Available for $419 at MobiCity

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc was also released earlier on in the year and is still the best single-core Android device we’ve used. The software is not as over-the-top and intrusive as what Sony Ericsson were doing with the Xperia X10 — it was snappy and intuitive. Vodafone also released this device in the first half of this year. The Xperia Arc’s thin, sexy design makes it very appealing to a lot of people and it’s a device I’ve seen people use a fair bit around the streets of Melbourne. The Xperia Arc is pretty much where Sony Ericsson’s hot streak of great phones ended for 2011.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus (#3)


Available for $749 at MobiCity

Why the hell isn’t this phone number 1?! Well, let me explain. The Samsung Galaxy Nexus was only launched here in Australia just over a week ago and has yet to really make a mark on the Aussie Android scene — we have no doubts it will in time. So for now it sits at a respective #3 on our list and is still the device we’d recommend to hardcore Android users. Much like the Nexus S, the Galaxy Nexus will be receiving a steady stream of updates from Google over the course of 2012. The Galaxy Nexus was launched first Telstra, followed by Optus and Vodafone.

HTC Sensation (#2)


Available for $549 at MobiCity

The HTC Sensation was HTC’s flagship phone of 2011 and rightly so. HTC changed their vision from making devices that really pushed the limits to making devices that looked good and appealed to the average consumer — the HTC Sensation was really taking hints from both of those visions. It came with all the high-end specs such as a dual-core CPU, a qHD display and an instantaneous 8MP camera. It also came with the over-the-top UI that is Sense, and whilst it appealed to people who loved colourful graphics and floating through clouds, it didn’t appeal to people who just wanted raw horse power from their device. We’ve given the HTC Sensation #2 on our list for being a device that really pushed its way into the average consumer market.

Honorable mentions..

  • Motorola RAZR
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia Play
  • Huawei IDEOS X5

Most disappointing devices of 2011

  1. Motorola Atrix
  2. LG Optimus 2X
  3. HTC EVO 3D
  4. LG Optimus 3D
  • Ben Liu

    This really goes to show that Motorola did not market their Atrix properly – even though it is the best thing since sliced bread. Considering it was the first ever phone to convert to a laptop or desktop, about the only one that allows you to run Linux sub-layer of Android and that after a few short hacks can get you a full blown capabilities. AND you can still run the phone in a window!

    Just amazes me what this thing can do. And.. its apparently Number 1 disappointment for 2011?

  • Jason

    The Atrix is a brilliant idea but in practice hasn’t lived up to the hype. The Netbook aspect is simply the phone display blown up, atleast at the time I was considering one. I love the idea of the Atrix and would love to see it better implemented.

    The Galaxy S II is still fairly current, which says something about how far ahead it was at the time it came out (remember, this list takes into account the standard specs at the time it came out). Personally I find the battery life to be very good, perhaps people with problems is more an issue of apps running in the background? The reception could be a bit better but then I’m used to that living in a regional area. I also find the wifi reception to be poorer than my previous Nokia N900 at times. These are really my only grumbles about the phone, otherwise I love it.

  • Jordybertram

    To call the Atrix the most disappointing phone of the year shows terrible judgement.

  • Aa

    U r an ass hole

  • Buttz

    Who would have guess?!

  • Andrew Davies

    I have an Arc… funny thing is that it is a pretty ordinary phone when you look at the spec sheet. When I was testing it side-by-side with the SGSII, I felt that the graphics were actually a bit smoother in the main UI. Wasn’t the entire reason I went with it (I like the form factor, thought the SGSII was a bit dull), but I think this bought on an epiphany that spec sheets aren’t everything. 

    Definitely a good list though Ausdroid! All great phones.

    I think the only reason the Atrix, Evo 3D and Optimus 3D are on there is because they were either over-hyped. They’re not “bad” phones, just disappointing. I really liked the idea behind the Atrix, but it would have been better if the webtop wasn’t the size of a netbook. Would have been better if the 3D phones had it better implemented in the UI (I tried the Optimus 3D, I think, and they could have used the 3D a lot more).

    • LTG

      I’ve definitely liked using my Arc and would agree it’s the best single-core phone around (well, along with the HTC Incredible S, surprised it didn’t get a mention).

      There’s one issue that annoys me though and I believe it’s a memory issue: after installing / using a lot of apps, returning to the home screen is slow, the phone stutters as home is loaded. From what I can tell the SE home launcher is swapped out of memory when memory gets low and needs to be restarted when the user returns there. Not a good bit of programming there SE! Especially since there are quite a few background processes that are loaded by SE that can’t be killed, stuff you don’t need all the time such as their music and video services, DLNA, data monitor, setup guide(!) etc. In a sense they prioritised the running of those services over their home launcher!

  • DucatiGuy

    My wife has the S II, I have the Atrix.  The Atrix is faster and has better battery life and reception.  The only thing the SGS2 has over the Atrix is (some) eye candy. If you want bling, get the SGS2. If you want a phone, get the Atrix 

    • Nick

      I agree with this, I have compared all the Telstra android phones and for reception and battery life the Atrix wins hands down, the SGS2 and Sensation are rubbish for reception and battery life. It all comes down to whether you want a phone that you can use on a network where reception is not perfect. My wife had a sensation and was so annoyed with its reception that she changed to the Defy of all phones.. as she says at least she can now make phone calls. 

  • Anonymous

    Here’s to another great Android year ahead – Go on, Samsung, HTC, Sony, Moto and *cough* LG…Bring it on!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=543587656 Carsten Bauer

    SGS2 not the greatest ???

    • patogrande

      Did you click on “Show Ausdroid’s Number One Android Device For 2011″ ?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=543587656 Carsten Bauer

        Ahhh, thanks.. :) Yay…

  • Jbryant4

    Lol, last year I was a desire user, now I am galaxy s2 owner… I have good taste!

    • Aalin13

      Last year I had the SGS which was placed at the number 3 spot. This year I have the gnex, which is placed again at the number 3 spot…

  • Ben B

    SSGII  was easily the best phone this year! What a year of phones and technology! Thank you @android:twitter  ! :D

    • ben b

      opps and @Ausdroid:twitter !!

  • Alex Gerontzos

    See i would of thought the arc s would of been a better contender not the arc.. as i have read from time to time buzz you have said that the arc s was your favorite single core..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=598931445 Andrew Singh

    Good work Samsung, now for 2012 all you need to do is release the SGS III with as close to stock ICS as possible or a skin which isn’t that intrusive & diminish what Matias Duarte has done for Google. Do this & I am sure you will succeed again, put those HTC devices to shame.

    • Montalbert

      and a NEW design…. make it sans-buttons like the galaxy nexus and its a winner i reckon… i love the soft buttons

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=598931445 Andrew Singh

        Aren’t all newer phones going to come with on-screen keys now ? I thought they were, if not, they definitely should. Also I think 4.65″ is a good size, I would like to see the next phone be 4.5″

      • Ansh4598

         Get more information about this from here  http://www.futurehardware.com/android/474.htm

  • Anonymous

    Proud owner of #5 it was the best investment considering I got 4.0 the same week the gnex was released in Australia giving me the latest software without having to buy a new phone.

  • Geoff Fieldew

    I have read lots of reviews where people have raved about the performance of the Sensation XL but not so much the XE or original Sensation. On the brief hands-on I’ve done with each device I would agree. The dual core, smaller screened, random-resolutioned Sensations seem to underperform compared to their single core brother.

    • Montalbert

      how good are those HD you tube movie previews?  You must link me to more so i can show off more to friends  :D

      The Sensation absolutely flew with CM7 on it.. but even that was hampered a bit by HTC being buggers when it came to sources etc…

  • Grunger

    HTC Evo 3D is a disappointing device??

    I agree that the whole 3D thing is a gimmick but looking beyond that the Evo is a nice bit of work. Some (like me) would say better than the HTC Sensation.

    I agree about the LG Optimus 2X. It has a great bit of hardware but it’s resource hogging software is a major let down. Once you installed a custom roms, then you can put it into the better category.  

  • Guest

    I liked the spec on the SG S2 but didn’t like the phone itself.. very light and platicky.. so I got the HTC Sensation XE.. really happy with it.. worth all the wait!

  • Matt Booth

    Given the hardware problems plaguing the Sensation and the absolutely stellar performance of the Galaxy Nexus is would have swapped the two around, but I’m probably biased since I own the nexus. There is no denying this was a great year for Android, whatever your handset preference may be. PS I have no regrets owning the atrix for 9 months, just a shame it required an unlocked bootloader and a flash to cm7 to be such a good phone

    • Montalbert

      no i would agree with you on that first point- i had a sensation and while i personally had very few issues.. it was creaky, and was like a ticking time bomb (a friend had stuffed touch screen, dust under screen AND headphone jack issues).. i do not regret selling the sensation for the Galaxy nexus

      After my efforts today trying to use MTP on ending up corrupting/wiping the sdcard partition of my galaxy nexus i think Buzz has the #1 correct- i personally just hate the SGSII design.  If they had of released it in australia with the T-mobile design http://www.samsung.com/us/topic/our-galaxy-smartphones i have no doubt i would have bought one…

      Razr must have been close to making it- i haven’t heard too many complaints from people who have one… Motorola j ust need to unlock that sucker.

  • http://facebook.com/7magee7 Martin Magee

    Very cool, I agree, SGS2 is a little ripper! My contract on the SGS1 runs out mid next year, interesting to see what’s out then!

    • Grunger

      You’ll be spoiled for choice I reckon. The Sony Ericsson Nozomi will be the one to watch. I predict that it will be in Ausdroid top 5 for 2012. 

      • Montalbert

        definitely- Buzz loves his SE devices  :D

  • Cameron

    What was disappointing about the Optimus 2x and Atrix?

    • Geoff Fieldew

      Mostly software I suspect. Performance wise Motoblur & the LG skins have been renowned for holding back good hardware. Of course Samsung, HTC & Sony have been just as guilty with poor performing interfaces in 2009/10.

      The Galaxy Nexus is now the standard for how an interface should perform imo. If you’re sensing my disgust with OEM skins you’re reading me right.

    • http://profiles.google.com/imroykun Ian Tester

      I’m curious about the Atrix too. I don’t have one or have ever tried one, but I really like the idea of webtop. That just sounds like the future of mobile computing to me. And it’s got a dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM, and a big hi-res screen. So where is it disappointing?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=726636374 John Chung 哥

    Where is the SII , is that a shit device ?

    • http://ohdenny.com ohdenny

      You probably didn’t read what was number 1 if you’re asking this question

  • http://twitter.com/unfnknblvbl unfunk Freeman

    the Galaxy S II is let down by the decidedly last-gen display resolution. That’s the reason I went for the Sensation instead. Of course, the GN beats them both on that front :D

    • Montalbert

      thats a very good point- when everyone else was releasing QHD devices they released the 480×800 one… the only thing on that phone (apart from design) that let it down imho

  • http://www.twitter.com/andrewpalozzo Andrew Palozzo

    I think if you’re purchasing a phone now.. you gotta get the SGN.. but for the year that was, I think the S2 was easily the most stand out android of the year.. just because it was so ahead of it’s time…