PhoneArena Awards 2012: Best Phone

PhoneArena Awards 2012: Best Phone
Cue the drum roll, pop the champagne, and throw the confetti up in the air! Get ready for the grand finale in our PhoneArena Awards of 2012 series because today we are announcing the year's best phone.

And as you might expect, the winner in today's category is a smartphone - a smartphone that is great in many ways, which is why it truly deserves to be honored. It is a smartphone running one of the most versatile mobile operating systems around, powered by one of the beefiest pieces of silicon available to date. Are you excited as much as we are?

All right then! Let's cut straight to the chase. Ladies and gents, the best phone of 2012 is...

Google Nexus 4

So there you have it! Manufactured by LG and powered by Android in its purest form, the best phone of 2012 is the Google Nexus 4. And seriously, why wouldn't it be numero uno? Simply put, the Nexus 4 has it all, from the presentable appearance and beautiful display, to the powerful, future-proof processor humming under its hood. But what's no less important is that all this bang can be yours for as little as $300 off contract - an outstanding price-to-performance ratio that you won't get from any other smartphone. Sure, the Google Nexus 4 isn't perfect, but then again, no phone is! Rather, it is the all-around best smartphone that money can buy today.

Apple iPhone 5

Do we really have to introduce you to the iPhone 5? It isn't just a phone, it is a status symbol - a device of iconic status that everyone aged 5 to 105 knows about. But it isn't just popular. The iPhone 5 is a good smartphone too - thinner, lighter, and faster than its predecessor, with a beautiful 4-inch display and very potent 8-megapixel camera. But what truly completes the package is that the iPhone 5 is tightly connected to the Apple ecosystem and has access to the vast array of apps, games, and content available in Apple's Appstore.


The HTC Droid DNA for Verizon, also known as the HTC J Butterfly in Japan, or simply as the HTC Butterfly in other parts of the world, has one very significant asset in its arsenal - an asset that slams it straight into the high-end category. It is the first U.S. smartphone blessed with a 1080p display - a trend that we'll be keeping a close eye on throughout 2013. That's 1920 by 1080 pixels, which is as many of them as your HDTV has, tightly packed across 5 inches of display real estate! Yeah, some say it is overkill, but we look at it as the next step in smartphone screen evolution, not to mention that a 1080p display is a feature that can easily make smartphone geeks drool, thus gaining you bragging rights for quite some time.

Samsung Galaxy S III

Without a doubt, this list would be incomplete if we don't mention the Samsung Galaxy S III. And as a matter of fact, we were debating over whether including the Galaxy Note II instead would have been more appropriate since it just as awesome, but you know, the S III is actually more of a phone. And boy what a phone it is! The Samsung Galaxy S III is still one of the hottest Android handsets around, and among of the best-selling ones as well since over 30 million people throughout the world are now holding one in their hands.

Nokia Lumia 920

Yup! The Nokia Lumia 920 is also on the list, albeit in last place. It may be a bit on the heavy side and the Windows Phone app selection still leaves some room for improvement, but when you weigh in its pros and cons, the Nokia Lumia 920 is still one great, well-built smartphone. You get a pretty nice PureView camera that excels when it comes to video capturing, and a very crisp looking high resolution display. On the software side, we must definitely mention that the device comes loaded with a bunch of handy apps, such as Nokia Drive, Maps, City Lens, and Music. Last but not least, the smartphone comes in a wide variety of flashy colors, unlike the devices we listed above.

Story timeline



1. Captain_Doug

Posts: 1037; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

huh, DNA beat out S3? I like the DNA more but it seems like the S3 would've gotten the nod.

5. dsDoan

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

I have a GS3 myself, but I don't see anything about it that is better than the DNA. Whereas, the DNA has a few impressive hardware advantages over the GS3.

8. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Released 6 months after the Galaxy S3, it SHOULD have better specs.

42. dsDoan

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

Which device was released first doesn't matter. This list covers all devices released in 2012. What matters is which device has the best specs today.

105. Sailingmaster

Posts: 24; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

By that logic, no one should release a phone before November if they want a shot at winning a Phone of the Year award (and the trendy sales that come with it)...

222. TeritorialDemon

Posts: 20; Member since: Oct 20, 2012

I agree with you. They should take this statement into consideration. Other than that, love the article!

198. Abbath

Posts: 99; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

if that is the case then where is the Note 2?!? It has many impressive features and is faster than the SGS 3...Huge *removable* Battery, Expandable storage, very useful features along with the stylus,

138. Nadr1212

Posts: 741; Member since: Sep 22, 2012

2 comments: 1.Y is the Google Nexus 4 & IPhone 5. I question this cuz they seem sucky to me 2.And where the fudge is the GN ll?!?

181. iDroid8

Posts: 155; Member since: Oct 16, 2012

PA puts that in category of phablets, hence GS3 takes its place

199. Bilpocalypse

Posts: 301; Member since: Oct 13, 2012

Agreed. Where is the Note II? Or, as I like to call it, the GS3 on roids.

10. abdane

Posts: 507; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

GS3 better battery, GS3 removable battery, GS3 sd card slot, GS3 have andorid true multitasking ( HTC removed it because sense lags ) Samsung > HTC

21. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

You're talking about the One X... Altho I'm not sure if it's the same with DNA.

32. dsDoan

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

Are you really calling 2100 mAh a victory over a 2020 mAh battery? You won't notice a difference in battery life based on that minuscule battery size difference. Removable battery and SD card are not features that the masses care about. Every Android device has the same multitasking capabilities. Any launcher could add the same Samsung feature that you are referring to.

43. doubler86

Posts: 320; Member since: Jan 26, 2011

I go to Verizon stores every day and they say that customers always don't buy the DNA because of the fact that it doesn't have removable battery and sd card slot. That is expected with Android. As far as battery life goes, without rooting and keeping them stock, Samsung does a much better job with power management compared to HTC. I've tested out both phones and the S3 gets about 2 to 3 more hours on the same settings, but if you put samsung's power saving mode which slows down the processor when you're not using it, it out last the DNA by closer to 4 hours

47. dsDoan

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

I call bollocks on that first statement. Your mainstream consumer is not going to buy a phone based on whether it has an SD card or not. Your or me? Sure, we might. But we're not the average consumer. I wasn't referring to battery life. The GS3 may well get better battery life. I was referring the to the mundane difference in battery size.

106. Sailingmaster

Posts: 24; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

"Removable battery and SD card are not features that the masses care about." You really need to support that with some documentation. My agents gets calls for phone recommendations and the vast majority of them drop interest in the DNA as soon as my agents go over the lack of MicroSD card support or non-removable battery while discussing features.

114. Lboogey6

Posts: 281; Member since: Jan 31, 2012

I shouldn't have to add a launcher but this is crazy feature wise what does the dna do a big bright screen big deal tv's have gotten bigger and brighter guess what sales declined they made smart tv's more functionality

156. darac

Posts: 2156; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

You obviously have no idea on what you talk about. Oh and if you ever get the chance, try putting this on the DNA: -1GB of music -1GB of photos -1GB of videos - One full HD movie ..and you'll be left with only about 4GB for apps! Not even enough for two high end games! PATHETIC!!

195. gelo0291

Posts: 16; Member since: Nov 06, 2012

then buy an HTC J Butterfly instead

164. AamirSIII

Posts: 187; Member since: Oct 04, 2012

u really out of masses man cause most of the people use android because of very easy file sharing unlike iOS and thats the reason u can download Full HD movies and vids of even higher resolution(like for Nexus 10) and then easily transfer them to either their device via computer or transfer them to their microSD cards and then put em in the device... i myself have 2 64GB cards for my data use... i no longer use USB cause i can take any of my office or personal data on to my tablet or mobile and take that anywhere i want! THATS the use of microSD cards for masses u dumb ass....

191. metalpoet unregistered

My main selling point for most Android phones that my company offers is that they have expandable memory and removable battery compared to a locked down device like the iPhone.

37. true1984

Posts: 869; Member since: May 23, 2012

only the verizon version doesnt have an sd card slot

41. gwuhua1984

Posts: 1237; Member since: Mar 06, 2012

The DNA is the Verizon version. If they're talking about the international version, then they should be calling it HTC Butterfly.

53. amiroo

Posts: 269; Member since: Sep 03, 2012

ooo!! my friend htc butterfly have a sd card..its also water resistance..its better if there was butterfly till dna.. butterfly is powerfull in all the way..its not important if s3 s battary is better than dna with only 1 hour higher scores.. instead of full hd display, more power & better performance ,better design & build quality & beat audio & better ui are advanteges dna against s3..

169. htc_prep

Posts: 303; Member since: Oct 09, 2009

Better is all in the eyes of the beholder I have both the s3 and evo 4g lte. Both sprint. Both rooted. Both stock ROM with respective skins removed ( as in the Rosie and twlaunch apk files removed through root explorer). Apex launcher. same apps on each phone. I track the battery with juice plotter and I can honestly say they have pretty equal battery life with my evo lte lasting longer In stand by and standard cellular use. And both die in 4-5 hours under heavy use. I don't pull my battery that often so remove able doesn't matter. And my ego has 16 gigs internal with a hot swap capable SD slot. Each phone and oems devices have pros and cons But to say Samsung > HTC is a matter of opinion and jot facts.

64. AamirSIII

Posts: 187; Member since: Oct 04, 2012

what about the better camera? what about the brighter screen? what about the Super AMOLED? what about the nature UI? what about the expandable memory??? what about lighter weight?what about its slimness?what about USB ON_THE_GO?? what about MHL port connectivity?what about the better Video recording?how about being future proof? how about quadcore processor?how about FM radio with recording? how about choices of colors? how about better browsing cause of better Java engine? how about future updates? how about Resale value? how about S-Voice? how about better and more diversified video and audio Codecs? how about document viewer and editor? how about 50Gb of Free Dropbox space? how about Active-Noise Cancellation with dedicated mic? how ABOUT BIGGER BATTERY??? HOW ABOUT S3 BEING THE "BENCHMARK THRESHOLD" when ANY new phone comes out??? HOW ABOUT DOUBLE OFFICIAL TALK TIME DUDE? HOW ABOUT LOWER PRICE POINT??!!! I can go on and on DNA is a good phone but as a matter of fact DNA is NOT AT ALL BETTER THAN S3! no matter u take me as a fanboy or something or what PA or you or any one else say, S3 is the best phone! EVER!

81. dsDoan

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

When I saw you using things like MHL, USB On-the-Go, and noise-cancelling mic as your supporting arguments, I decided not to give a full reply. These, and other features you mentioned, are implemented on both the Galaxy S3 and the Droid DNA. If you're going to attempt a condescendingly ranting argument, be sure to do your research first. Both are great devices, but neither one dominates the other as you seem to think.

120. AamirSIII

Posts: 187; Member since: Oct 04, 2012

lol dude i just mentioned all the features that are in REALITY the true difference between S3 and DNA! as i have already said, no matter what u say S3 is better! and btw, just check the comparison done by phonearena itself and u would come to know. i didnt say DNA is bad, i just said S3 is better and it will remain better for some time... and its not ONLY about implementation of the features, its about their sound execution with the software which, DNA just could not being HTC device. its camera is worst, smaller battery, HTC Sense Hiccups, non removable battery and most of all, No expandable memory! these features are NOT available in DNA! not gonna reply u any more cause just found how dumb u are...! dude, u REALLY NEED TO OPEN UR EYES...

196. gelo0291

Posts: 16; Member since: Nov 06, 2012

F*ck you bitch.

67. tedkord

Posts: 17417; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Personal preference. Where the SGS3 wins for me is in the replaceable battery and microsd slot. Those are must haves for me. (Though I'd forego the battery if it had a 3500 or more built in)

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