Fall is upon us and the Thanksgiving holiday season (and all the numerous sales and discounts that arrive around that time of year) is getting ever closer. As was the case every single year, smartphone manufacturers are gearing up right about this time to provide the “best and latest” of the Android ecosystem, in an attempt to gain a place in the smartphone consumer’s heart, mind and wallet.
Some manufacturers have already laid out their cards, while some are preparing to do so in the next couple of weeks. At this point, one can paint a rough image of the best Android smartphones for the fall 2012 season. So without further ado, let’s take the time to review the flagship Android smartphones of fall 2012!
The Galaxy S3 is the best selling Android smartphone ever, so what better way to start our list than with this blockbuster? The hype surrounding the Galaxy S3 has surely faded in the past couple of months, but rest assured that the S3 is still a flagship Android smartphone in the true meaning of the word.
Although the Galaxy S3 was launched back in May this year, the third incarnation of Samsung’s Galaxy S line is still the best Android smartphone currently around. The 1.4 GHz quad-core A9 Exynos 4 processor is the fastest processor currently available on the market, while its 4.8 inch SAMOLED display features a 1280 by 720 resolution (306PPI, but PenTile). While the supremacy of the Exynos 4 Quad SoC is likely to end once OEMs start implementing Qualcomm’s S4 Pro (quad-core Krait) SoC, the Galaxy S3 is still very well prepared to face competitors in the fall 2012 season, and perhaps well beyond. In addition, the Galaxy S3 will only get better once Samsung releases the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update for it, an event that Samsung has scheduled for October.
Note: As our tech-savvy readers have undoubtedly noticed, I have only talked about the international version of the Galaxy S3. The US version of the Galaxy S3, one that uses a Qualcomm S4 (dual-core) SoC is still a good smartphone, but it’s really little match for many of the flagships listed in this article.
When HTC announced their One X flagship smartphone back at MWC 2012, many considered it to be one of the slickest looking device to ever reach consumer’s hands. The HTC One X + is basically an upgraded version of the One X, one that keeps the same sexy design and amazing display, but with a little more processing power.
While the One X + doesn’t really bring a whole lot more to the table when compared to the international version of the One X, the best thing about the One X+ is that its US AT&T-bound version will retain the upgraded Tegra 3 processor, instead of using a Snapdragon S4 processor as its older brother did. The display is as amazing as it was on the One X (many experts still call it the best display to ever grace a smartphone), the internal storage space was bumped to 64GB, while the quad-core Tegra 3 processor has been overclocked to 1.7 GHz per core.
Another great thing about the HTC One X+ is that it will come with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean pre-installed. I’m just dying to feast my eyes on benchmark results for the HTC One X+, which will be available on AT&T carrying the same specs as the international version. Tegra 3 + LTE: it’s an interesting combination.
Motorola has been less present in the news for the past six to eight months than other smartphone manufacturers, say Samsung or HTC. The US Android manufacturer (now owned by Google) is still one of the few manufacturers to add that touch of “unique” to their smartphones, which is something many feel is missing from today’s flagships. The Motorola Droid RAZR HD is basically an upgraded Motorola Droid RAZR, but this doesn’t mean that the latest flagship from Motorola is a poor smartphone (not by a long stretch).
Starting off with the good things, the Motorola RAZR MAXX HD has a great display, unique design, and probably the sturdiest case around (the back is actually covered by Kevlar, although I wouldn’t suggest using it to protect yourself against a drive-by). Another good thing is the fact that Motorola has mostly done away with Android UI customization, meaning that the RAZR MAXX HD offers a pretty close experience to that of stock Android.
On the downside, the dual-core Snapdragon S4 onboard the RAZR MAXX HD is slower than the S4 Pro or the Exynos 4 Quad, not to mention that the reason why Motorola (remember: a Google-owned company) would use 4.0 ICS instead of 4.1 Jelly Bean eludes me. All in all, a great smartphone, although there’s the feeling that Motorola couldhave done a bit better.
Given that LG is a company that many Android fans don’t keep close to their hearts, you’re probably becoming a bit skeptical right about at this point. But if you can go beyond your LG-suspicion (assuming you have such feelings for the second-best Android manufacturer based in South Korea), you’ll find that the LG Optimus G is likely to be the best Android smartphone of the fall 2012 season, period.
At a time when other smartphone manufacturers release their first Snapdragon S4 (dual-core) smartphones, LG is really pushing it by announcing a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro flagship. Judging from leaked benchmarks, the S4 Pro really blows everything right out of the water. Add 2 GB of RAM memory and it becomes clear that the LG Optimus G is a beast, albeit a good looking one if you ask me.
The display is up there with the best of them, there’s a 13 MP camera on the back (although in the digital photography world it’s really not all about pixel counts). The way I look at things, the only reasonable downside to the Optimus G will be the LG Optimus UI v3.0, which is regarded as one of the worst custom Android interfaces around.
On to the phablet territory, the Galaxy Note line has recently accommodated its second member, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. The improvements over the original Galaxy Note are evident and make up for a phabulous device.
The Galaxy Note 2 is definitely not for those of you on the lookout for an easily pocketable phone, but if you can handle the large footprint, Samsung awards you with 5.5 inches of SAMOLED goodness (the display isn’t running PenTile, so this is probably the best SAMOLED display currently around). The 1.6 GHz quad-core processor is a beast, the 2 GB of RAM make sure multitasking isn’t a pain in a sensitive place, while the S-Pen (along with the S-Pen optimized apps, of course) makes drawing on the Galaxy Note 2 as smooth as silk. An incredible smartphone overall!
I admit it, when I first read about the specs Oppo is planning to fit inside the Find 5, I stood up, took a couple of deep breaths and read it again. I just couldn’t believe that such a powerful device could come from a basically unknown company such as Oppo. Fortunately, my eyes did not deceive me.
The specs above mean that Oppo will probably be the first company to release a smartphone with a full HD display. At this resolution and size, the PPI spikes like crazy, meaning videos and images will be crisper than ever before. Pack that together with a quad-core Krait processor and 2 GB of RAM, and the Oppo Find 5 is definitely one the most exciting smartphones that I wrote about in the past couple of years.
And like this still wasn’t enough, the Chinese manufacturer claims that the Oppo Find will also be just 6.65 mm thick. If the specs turn out to be real (and judging by the fact that they come via an official press release and not some sort of leak / rumor, I’m betting that they will), this is my next smartphone, and the best smartphone of the fall 2012 season (currently, we have no official release date, but rumors place the Oppo Find 5 release date at some point during this fall).
So there you have it, these are the best Android smartphones of the fall 2012 season. Which one grabs your attention the most? Let us know which way you swing by dropping us a comment in the section below and answering our poll!