Something Ausdroid likes to do around Christmas time is reflect on the year behind us, and throw our thoughts into the ring for the best devices we’ve seen all year. I know I’ve personally seen a good share of handsets this year, and between myself and the team, we’ve probably used 90% of the Android handsets that have been obtainable in Australia from carriers, gray importers, or those we’ve imported ourselves.

Every member of the team has voted, and the results are now in. With no further delay, I’d like to announce the Best Devices of 2012, as judged by Ausdroid.

Best Phone of 2012 – money is no object

First place: Samsung Galaxy S III
Runner up: Samsung Galaxy Note II (includes both 3G and LTE variants)

Really, there’s no surprises here — I think everyone on the Ausdroid team has either owned or used a Galaxy S III and Geoff’s review clearly sums up why it was such a favourite. Good battery life, good speed, (relatively) prompt software updates — what’s not to like?

That said, the Note II is quickly becoming a new favourite. Anyone who hasn’t seen what the Note II is capable of should be going to their local stockist now and checking it out.

Best Phone of 2012 – budget conscious (i.e. $600 or less)

First place: LG Nexus 4, at $349 – $359 (almost unanimous)
Runner up: Motorola RAZR M, at $600.

Even fewer surprises here. The Nexus 4 was always going to win this category. It’s sub $400, and will remain at the cutting edge of Android updates and development for the next year or two at least. The only downside is that they’re like hens teeth in Australia at the moment, and there’s no sign of this changing soon.

Best Tablet of 2012

First place: Asus Nexus 7 (either WiFi only or 3G)
Runner up: Samsung Nexus 10

Just about everyone on the team either has, or had, a Nexus 7. The perfect form factor, mixed with powerful hardware and a battery that lasts for days. The only downside from my personal perspective was the lack of built-in 3G, but the newly released 3G variant will fix that, and will probably see strong sales like the WiFi only model before it.

Best App of 2012

First place: Shifty Jelly’s PocketWeather Australia, available for $1.99 on the Play Store
Runner up: A tie between Rovio’s Angry Birds Star Wars, free on the Play Store, and Google Now, available on all Jelly Bean devices.

We’ve been fond of Shifty Jelly’s apps for some time, starting with PocketCasts, but when Pocket Weather was ported from iOS to Android, we were all thrilled (clearly). Of course, for those moments when we’re gaming on the throne, Angry Birds Star Wars is a worthy runner up.

Best non-phone/tablet Android device of 2012

First place: Samsung Galaxy Camera. Tia Porter has bought one of these and will hopefully be sharing her thoughts soon.
Runner up: None.

An odd category, because besides phones and tablets, Android isn’t in too many things. However, this is bound to change in the years ahead.

Conclusion

So there we have it folks. Has the team nailed it for 2012? Do you agree with our choices for the best devices of the year? Let us know in the comments if you think there’s a better option!

    13 Comments
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    Conan Thorogood
    7 years ago

    mad props for the pocketweather australia love. superb app.

    one x user
    one x user
    7 years ago

    the slightly better battery life of the s3 does not make up for an interface that cant compare to htc one x

    DoHi
    DoHi
    7 years ago

    I’d like to see some sub $300 phones recommended. I seem to know enough people that either have ancient dumb phones or early iPhones that I would like to see move to android but cannot justify spending 300+ on something they might not like.
    Handing over the old wildfire backup piece might not do the OS justice either.

    Sean Royce
    Sean Royce
    Reply to  DoHi
    7 years ago

    Yeah just chucked a rom on my old as wildfire and it actually runs at very usable speeds. As soon as I looked back at my S3, I was once again mesmerised by my beautiful display. The wildfire display is horrible.

    KungFu Tiger
    7 years ago

    Pocket Weather Australia is, I think, the best and only weather app Australians need.

    I can hear thunder rolling across the sky at the moment in Brisbane, Pocket Weather’s quick shortcut to the BoM Radar is fantastic. I can see the storms a’brewin’.

    CGradeCyclist
    CGradeCyclist
    7 years ago

    “Budget conscious” = $600 or less?! Wow… Would have liked to see that split a bit more realistically as “High end” = $600 and above; “Mid-range” = $300 – $600; “Budget” = $300 or less… Might be a more useful/meaningful category then…

    Chris (Deputy Editor)
    Reply to  CGradeCyclist
    7 years ago

    You’re probably right.

    Kenny
    Kenny
    7 years ago

    What about those “Android-on-a-stick” thingies with a HDMI connector for the “other” category?

    Sean Royce
    Sean Royce
    Reply to  Kenny
    7 years ago

    If they had better specs, I’d definitely invest in those. They look amazing.

    Greg
    Greg
    7 years ago

    Ouch if the nexus Q or sony google TV couldn’t get even runner up in the ‘other’ category

    Daniel Tyson
    Daniel Tyson
    Reply to  Greg
    7 years ago

    I have the Nexus Q and wouldn’t recommend it for anybody, even in the US, it is majorly over-priced for what it does. Hmm, I really need to finish that review.

    Sean Royce
    Sean Royce
    Reply to  Daniel Tyson
    7 years ago

    They took it off the shelves to improve upon it, it could have potential one day in the future, does yours ever receive updates?

    Graham Bae
    Graham Bae
    7 years ago

    I’m pleasantly surprised that Google Now was runner-up in the apps category. I thought I was being edgy and defiant with my Google fanboy vote.