Best smart phone of the year, as voted for by CNET UK readers

We list the year's top mobiles, as elected by you -- the voting masses.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
3 min read

We recently asked our loyal podcast listeners and Facebook fans to vote for their favourite phone of the year. We were looking for a smart phone that had snarled, snapped, hunted and mated its way to pack domination -- a true alpha leader among gadgets.

But which devices dominated, and which didn't quite tickle your fancy enough to win the top spot? Read on to find out.

The nominees

In chosing a shortlist we first selected smart phones that had impressed during our exhaustive review process, either by winning a healthy number of stars or nabbing a coveted Editors' Choice award. Thus the following seven smart phones were plucked from the heaving mass to be voted on by you, the public.

Google Nexus 4
A late entry, but this powerful smart phone blew us away with its sky-high performance and low, low price tag. Supply issues have marred its launch, but this is still one of the year's most exciting mobiles, and my personal choice for the year's best tech product of 2012.

Apple iPhone 5
It may look like an iPhone 4S that's had a run-in with a rolling pin, but Apple's sixth smart phone impresses with a gorgeous display, eerily thin frame and a lethal app selection. Shame about the maps app though, eh?

Nokia Lumia 920
Carrying the torch for Windows Phone 8, there's no doubt Nokia's crafted a gorgeous slice of hardware in the Lumia 920. A screen we called "stunning" and treats like wireless charging make this our favourite Windows Phone device.

Samsung Galaxy S3
The much-anticipated follow-up to the Galaxy S2, the S3 proved to be everything we'd hoped for and more. A quad-core chip, a brilliant camera and more app treats than you could waggle a stick at are just some of the reasons to prefer this majestic effort. (Its 4G version was pretty tasty too.)

Huawei Ascend G300
Pricey, high-end mobiles steal the headlines, but Huawei's preppy little G300 was the best cheap phone we'd seen in absolutely ages. A 4-inch screen and decent battery life on an Android smart phone that cost just £100 on pay as you go (plus £10 top-up, natch) made the G300 our go-to recommendation for those shopping on a budget.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2
When Samsung revealed the first 5.3-inch Galaxy Note it seemed like a bizarre practical joke, but both the Note and its sequel have proved massively popular. The 5.5-inch Note 2 isn't easy to wrap your mitts around, but if your fingers can manage this is a fully featured smart phone with screen to spare.

HTC hasn't had a brilliant year, producing only a few mobiles worthy of consideration. The One S is the best of the bunch, however, and won itself four and a half stars in our review. Understatement is the name of the game here -- neither too big nor too small with a fast processor and just the right amount of HTC's own software, we preferred this modest little number to the battery-sucking One X.


You voted in your hundreds, but in the end there was only one smart phone that truly captured the hearts and minds of the gadget-guzzling masses.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S3

Stealing a phenomenal 45 per cent of the popular vote, our results show that the Samsung Galaxy S3 has garnered not just critical acclaim, but the adoration of the people. The wait was long, but it was oh so worth it, and we're proud to crown the Galaxy S3 phone of the year, as voted by our fans.

Runner up: Google Nexus 4

Hardly anyone has been able to buy this phone and it still outpaced the iPhone 5 and Galaxy Note 2 with 20 per cent of the vote. That's proof it's captured the hearts of the public, offering a glimpse into a shining new world where smart phones don't cost £500, but can be had for less than half that amount. Sort out your shopping system Google, and next year you could be pinching Samsung's crown.

Here are the rest of the nominees in the order in which they placed, though no single mobile here managed to get above 15 per cent of the vote. Bad luck Apple and HTC, better luck next year.

  • Apple iPhone 5
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 2
  • Nokia Lumia 920
  • HTC One S
  • Huawei Ascend G300

Is there a quality mobile we missed off the list? Or does the Galaxy S3 deserve the top spot? Have another say in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.