T3 Awards Phone of the Year - the candidates
23rd Jul 2012 | 13:28
TechRadar takes an in-depth look at the nominees
T3 Awards 2012 - Phone of the Year nominees
TechRadar is sponsoring the Phone of the Year category in this year's glittering T3 Awards, so we thought we'd take an in-depth look at each of the nominees to help you cast your vote.
The shortlist is certainly fascinating, with three different operating systems going head to head and six different handsets from five different manufacturers.
With the iPhone 5 yet to be officially announced, the iPhone 4S heads up Apple's charge and it will be challenged by the flagship Android phone from Samsung – the Galaxy S3.
HTC's One X has won plaudits this year and is also listed, along with Sony's first post-Ericsson headliner the Xperia S.
Samsung's Galaxy Nexus has managed a place and Nokia will be buoyed to have picked up a placement for the Windows Phone 7-toting Nokia Lumia 900.
You can vote for your favourites at http://www.t3.com/awards.
Apple iPhone 4S
Apple's iPhone 4S has become such a familiar sight in the fast-moving and ever-changing world of mobile phones that it's easy to forget that it only made an appearance in October 2011.
Some have never forgiven the iPhone 4S for not being the iPhone 5, with the lack of a new design and a performance bump rather than complete overhaul bringing rare criticism for an Apple product.
But despite Siri being considerably less impressive than people hoped and the screen being smaller than those being offered by the likes of Samsung, this quickly became Apple's best selling phone to date.
The Retina display that arrived with its predecessor - the iPhone 4 - remains an impressive selling point, and the massive back catalogue of apps and games run smoothly and impressively on the iPhone 4S' dual-core processor.
TechRadar's iPhone 4S review awarded the handset four-and-a-half stars, with phones and tablets editor Gareth Beavis commenting: "Some people might be disappointed not to have seen the fabled iPhone 5, with the larger screen and new design, but the iPhone 4S is more than enough to keep Apple fans happy.
"Simply put: if you've got an iPhone 4, you don't need to upgrade but for anyone else on an older device, or hankering after finally making the jump to an iPhone, you should run down to the shops and pick one up now - you won't regret it."
Samsung Galaxy S3
Samsung's Galaxy S3 represents the pinnacle of current phone hardware from a manufacturer that is producing perhaps the most exciting tech on the planet right now.
It's got every kind of feature we could ask for and more, and raises the bar once again in terms of what consumers should be expecting in terms of battery life, processor speed and media management.
Packing a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, huge 4.8-inch HD display, 8MP camera and up to 64GB of internal storage, the Galaxy S3 is a mouth-watering prospect for anyone who loves phones.
John McCann, TechRadar's Mobile Devices writer said: "If you want the best (Android) phone on the market then look no further, as the Samsung Galaxy S3 has it all, as long as you've got the cash to afford it."
Nokia Lumia 900
Betting the farm on Windows Phone is certainly a massively brave move from Nokia, but some would argue that the Finnish giant needed to do something to arrest its slide away from smartphone relevance - and the Lumia 900 represents its best effort yet.
With a large screen that brings the excellent Live Tiles system to the fore, coupled with a burgeoning apps market and stand-out polycarbonate shell, our TechRadar's Nokia Lumia 900 review shows this is definitely the best handset on the Windows Phone platform.
It's also got a decent Carl Zeiss lens and dual LED flash to improve picture taking, to continue Nokia's heritage in the camera phone space.
Beavis says: "While the Lumia 900 is a well-built and good-looking phone, it doesn't have the raw grunt of others on show. A single core processor is kinder on the battery, but doesn't allow really cutting edge applications to be made.
"With Windows Phone 8 on the horizon consumers may be a little worried about picking up a phone that's not set to be upgraded, but it will be getting a boost with an overhauled home screen in the near future."
HTC One X
The HTC One X is one of the most stunning phones on the market right now, and a worthy competitor in the phone of the year category.
With the One X, HTC has taken things back to what it knows best: making beautiful hardware fused with a top end skin, which comes in the form of Sense 4.0.
The polycarbonate shell is smooth and premium-feeling in the hand, and the large 4.7-inch HD screen might not be OLED but it's certainly crisp and clear - and then there's the quad core processor beating at the heart of the One X.
Racking up an impressive four-and-a-half stars out of five in our in-depth HTC One X review, the handset could well be the one to get the Taiwanese firm's fortunes back on track.
McCann noted: "Although playing second fiddle to the Samsung Galaxy S3, some will prefer the stylings of the equally capable One X, which while unable to match the S3 in features, its sleeker design is certainly something to behold."
Sony Xperia S
Since splitting from Ericsson, Sony has finally produced some amazing handsets, with the Xperia S a firm favourite in the current crop from the Japanese tech giant.
There are plenty of positives to pull from the Xperia S, with the new HD screen featuring Sony's Bravia TV technology, 12MP camera and dual-core processor all combining to make one of the finest smartphones of 2012.
Also claiming a four-and-a-half star rating in our Sony Xperia S review, the handset comes in a little cheaper than its more powerful rivals, making it a top option in the band below the quad-core pack.
McCann said: "The Xperia S can't match the Galaxy S3 or One X in terms of features or specs, but for those on slightly tighter budgets it provides an excellent smartphone experience."
Samsung Galaxy Nexus
The Nexus range has always been fascinating to gadget fans, representing Google's vision of what an Android device should look like and how it should behave - but does the Nexus measure up to its Samsung brother - the Galaxy S3?
One of the biggest reasons to pick up the Galaxy Nexus is the fact it's going to get all the Android updates sooner than the competition, with Android Jelly Bean beaming down to the device soon.
Add in NFC capabilities, a large screen with pin-sharp resolution and a super-fast camera mode and you can see why this could be considered one of the phones of the year.
Beavis says: "While it's a gorgeous phone it may struggle in this category against the might of the Galaxy S3 and One X. As we noted in our Samsung Galaxy Nexus review it's going to be one of the most up to date phones, but in terms of raw power and functionality it doesn't have the clout of the competition."