Smartphones are now the most action-packed consumer tech sector, and the shortlisted manufacturers have delivered on innovative hardware and sophisticated software this year.Our winner created an unstoppable brand that continually exceeds itself launch after launch.
For the second year running, Samsung has taken this category, thanks to a relentless series of launches targeting every niche – from its superstar Galaxy S III (page 16), to its sleeper hit Galaxy Note (page 12), its Galaxy Tabs and the swift deployment of solid mid-rangers, such as the Galaxy S Advance and Galaxy Ace 2. In its flagship products, Samsung packs in the high-end hardware and sophisticated software tweaks that, for the first time in a long while, truly bring something new to the table – from any manufacturer.
When Sony ditched its Ericsson half, the Xperia range went supernova with its superbly sleek Android phones. The Xperia S is beautifully designed and built for visual brilliance, sitting alongside the great value Xperia U (page 10), rugged Xperia Go and, of course, a slew of exciting launches (page 28) that we suspect will propel its 2013 into turbo-charge.
Every Android tablet that Asus puts out is gold, so it’s no wonder that Google chose it to create the first Android Jelly Bean slate. The Nexus 7 is our first ever five-star tab, while the Asus Transformer Prime was gorgeously built, and both made it into our Tablet of the Year shortlist.Nokia
Nokia’s comeback story is based on its Windows Phones, and its deliciously designed Lumia 800 has flown the flag masterfully. Value options have come in the form of the Lumia 710 and 610, but, as Windows Phone 8 looms sans support for older phones, we’re hanging on for next year, when we expect to see Nokia really making its mark with consumers.
This year, HTC largely streamlined its portfolio down to the One series: three magnificent handsets with a refined build quality, and advanced camera and sound tech. With powerful Windows Phone 8 handsets and its next big effort at a tablet on the horizon, we’re keen to see what HTC brings in 2013.