2012’s Top 8 Smartphones with Best Overall Performance

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By Vittorio Hernandez | December 13, 2012 3:10 PM EST

Following global IT trends, smartphones that run on Google's Android OS has toppled Apple's iOS for the first time in Australia. Citing data from analyst firm Telsyte, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that 44 per cent of over 10 million smartphone users in Australia now use handheld units running on Android versus 43 per cent of iOS.

Just two years ago, Apple had a stranglehold on the market with a share of 39 per cent compared to Android's 6 per cent.

This development indicates the rapid changes in the smartphone market. As 2012 ends, here is a list of the 8 most powerful smartphones in terms of speed, capacity, resolution and graphics.

1.     Google Nexus 4

The latest smartphone unit from the Nexus line-up of Google which was released in November and co-created with LG, this Nexus smartphone has the latest technology from both companies.

Screen Size

4.7 inches

Display Type

True HD IPS Plus

Display Resolution

768x1280

Operating System

Android 4.2.1 JellyBean

CPU

1.5GHz quad-core, Qualcomm chipset

RAM

2 GB

Graphics

Adreno 320

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The powerful combination of processor and RAM deliver speed with almost 5 inches of screen, decent graphics unit and running on the latest Android version make this phone stand out when it comes to overall performance.

2.     Samsung Galaxy S3

It was released in May 2012 and is the latest flagship of the Samsung Galaxy S line up for 2012. Even if the technology was way back in Q2 of the year, this smartphone has outlasted many other smartphones even the models released in Q4.

Screen Size

4.8 inches

Display Type

Super AMOLED

Display Resolution

720x1280

Operating System

Android JellyBean 4.1.2

CPU

1.4 GHz quad-core, Exynos chipset

RAM

1GB

GPU

Mali-400MP

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It is still number 2 because of its balanced combination of hardware and software, quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, Adobe Flash support, large screen, and constant Android update.

3.     HTC One X

Released in October, this is the latest model for the HTC One line-up of smartphones. It is made from premium materials and has the latest UI version of HTC Sense.

Screen Size

4.7 inches

Display Type

Super LCD 2

Display Resolution

720x1280

Operating System

Android 4.1.1 JellyBean

CPU

1.7 GHz quad-core, Nvidia chipset

RAM

1GB

Graphics

ULP GeForce

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This unit easily could have been in second place but there certain aspects which put this in number 3. There is the arguable CPU and GPU chipsets, RAM vs processor ratio, Android version, and display type. Nevertheless, the difference between S3 and One X is very little.

4.     LG Optimus G

Released in November and one of the flagship smartphone device of LG. Optimus G offers great speed and performance compare with its ancestor models.

Screen Size

4.7 inches

Display Type

True HD-IPS

Display Resolution

768x1280

Operating System

Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich

CPU

1.5GHz quad-core, Qualcomm chipset

RAM

2GB

Graphics

Adreno 320

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Adobe Flash

This model features great screen size, better display resolution, good RAM, and latest quad-core processor, but the downside is the version of Android. JellyBean update is still on its way to be obtained by users and the difference from ICS is very significant in most Android smartphones.

5.     Apple iPhone 5

This model was released in September and the latest model unit of iPhone today. This version runs the latest generation of iOS 6 and has dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM.

Screen Size

4.0 inches

Display Type

Retina, LED-backlit IPS TFT

Display Resolution

640x1136

Operating System

iOS 6

CPU

1.2GHz dual-core, Apple A6

RAM

1GB

Graphics

PowerVR SGX

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Although the graphics itself makes games run impressively and the Retina display resolves pixelation issues, its processor, RAM, and screen size matter to those users who want to view movies and play games in a larger scale without the TV. Since it is iOS, only games from Apple App Store are allowed to be played in iPhones unless its Jailbroken.

6.     Nokia Lumia 920

This was released as well in September and can be called a breakthrough smartphone model from Nokia which runs Windows 8. Many reviewers see the Lumia 920 as the most innovative smartphone.

Screen Size

4.5 inches

Display Type

IPS TFT

Display Resolution

768x1280

Operating System

Windows Phone 8

CPU

1.5GHz dual-core, Qualcomm

RAM

1GB

Graphics

Adreno 225

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The combination of processor, RAM, graphics, and screen display are very well balanced, avoiding lags and hang ups in most cases. Maybe its difference from other smartphones is not having a quad-core or a better GPU, and Windows Phone 8 is still new in smartphone devices. However, certain things like synching it to desktop, having Microsoft application exclusivity are upside for the Lumia 920.

7.     Motorola RAZR MAXX HD

This is the latest model of the RAZR family from Motorola which defines thin, lightweight, and powerful smartphone units.

Screen Size

4.7 inches

Display Type

Super AMOLED

Display Resolution

720x1280

Operating System

Android 4.1.1 JellyBean

CPU

1.5GHz dual-core

RAM

1GB

Graphics

 

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Adobe Flash

Since overall performance is measured in speed and graphics is tackled here, RAZR MAXX HD is in the 7th position.. It can perform engaging games, tasky applications, and display HD movies, but the RAZR MAXX HD's design provides balance between durability and stability inside and out.

8.     Sony Xperia TX

This model was released in August and is an improvement of Xperia T smartphone from Sony. The Xperia TX has better touch support of up to 10 fingers and features BRAVIA engine as well.

Screen Size

4.55 inches

Display Type

TFT with BRAVIA engine

Display Resolution

720x1280

Operating System

Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich

CPU

1.5GHz dual-core, Qualcomm chipset

RAM

1GB

Graphics

Adreno 225

Browser Related

HTML5

Although BRAVIA is engineered for display, the engine focuses on movies and videos. The screen response is more of the hardware directly reacting from the user's touch. One minus point for this model is the Android version which basically is Ice Cream Sandwich. It is not the low specification, just the right mix between the latest hardware and software. Xperia units are known for great video playback and display power saving capability.

The list could have been expanded to more than eight smartphones models recently released in the market. The top 8 list was based on flagship models and its respective OS platform. The overall performance was based on numbers from their specifications, with the idea that no matter how powerful a device is, if the user isn't careful or responsible, the smartphone would look like a junk in the end.

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