Every year BWB likes to take a look back at which products impressed us the most, but as is the way with technology, some of these products do disappear in the background as time goes on. So here is a quick list of our favourite things we came across in 2012:
If there is one thing we learned in 2012, it is that one cannot simply say “œthis phone is the best on the market“. So this year we point out the best phones from each ecosystem ““ choose the OS you like, and we reckon you ought to be happy with any one of these phones.

Android: While the HTC One X needs to receive an honorable mention, our favorite Android device of the year, somewhat surprisingly, is the Samsung Galaxy Note II. The biggest reason is because it has a plethora of features that you just wont find on other smartphones. It just pipped the HTC and the Galaxy SIII because it also came with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box. Yes, the other devices has the upgraded OS now as well, but not when we reviewed them. We would have loved to give the HTC One X+ a try, hopefully early in the new year.

Windows Phone: Nokia Lumia 920: Windows Phone has had a difficult journey because of a few strange choices from Microsoft, but the hardware from its partners did not disappoint. Luckily Microsoft is a bit smarter with Windows Phone 8, and the Lumia 920 really impressed us. Despite a heavy build, the phone is an incredible device. The camera is the best we have ever seen from a phone, and Nokia has thrown in a bunch of small innovations like a glove friendly screen, and built in Qi wireless charging.

iOS: Apple iPhone 5: Even though we have only had a few days with it, the iPhone 5 really is worth the hype, and it really deserves to be in this list. From an amazing looking aluminium and glass design to in incredibly light weight despite those materials, the iPhone 5 really does continue Apple‘s tradition of being the best looking (and feeling) phone on the market. While the slightly taller screen does not compete with the supersized phones out there, it is at least easy to operate in one hand. While some might complain that iOS‘s evolutionary design starting to look staid, iPhone users will happily go for the 5. Expect our full review after we have spent some more time with it.
Overall ““ this is the difficult part, because it is such a subjective choice. We are two people who typically do the phone reviews at BWB, so here is our own personal choices:
Theunis: More manufacturers came to the fore this year with well built and good performing devices, which was great to see. Unfortunately, a couple of the top devices never made it to SA and we would only get our hands on it if it were imported. The LG Nexus 4, for example, is a device we think could have made this list. Overall, the biggest surprise of this year has to be the resurrection of Nokia. Despite it’s heft, the Nokia Lumia 920 is probably the best all rounder we saw this year, thanks to the well refined Windows Phone 8 and nifty features from Nokia like the brilliant camera and City Lens. In a close second would be the Galaxy Note II followed by the iPhone 5. Just like 2012 was Nokia’s year to get back in the game, we hope 2013 could be that year for the BlackBerry brand.
Minnaar: It is not an easy choice, but the Lumia 920 really was the biggest surprise this year. I loved the build quality and excellent camera and screen. Windows Phone 8 does not need some more applications, but we hope it will improve. It was the first phone in a long time that I was not happy to send back. The iPhone 5 is a very close second ““ but I reserve full judgement until I have spent more time with it. You will notice we do not have a BlackBerry in this list, but 2013 will be a big year for RIM, seeing as BB10 devices will launch.
Tell us what you think – what is your favourite smartphone of 2012?