With the year coming to a close, and the looming Mayan Apocalypse, the Two Tech Geeks thought it would be a good idea to take a look back and highlight some of our favorite things from that wacky, wonderful year that was. Without further ado, we bring you our Best of Tech 2012:
Best Small Tablet (8″ screen or smaller):
The Nexus 7 has it all; a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, a 1280 x 800 IPS LCD display, 1GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB of internal memory. Better yet, the 16GB version will only set you back $199.99 while the 32GB version goes for $249.99. Sure the iPad mini may be thinner and constructed of nicer materials, but it has an inferior screen and the 16GB iPad Mini costs 65% more than a 16GB Nexus 7. In the smaller tablet market, the Nexus 7 reigns supreme.
The iPad 4 is the best large tablet on the market. It has a beautiful 2048 x 1536 (264ppi) screen, a blisteringly fast A6X CPU and a quad-core PowerVR SGX544 GPU that can handle anything you can throw at it. It also has access to the best tablet ecosystem in existence. No other large tablet matches the total package that is the iPad 4.
Shawn: Apple iPad 3/4
Sean: Apple iPhone 5
The iPhone 5 has it all. It’s powerful, well designed, has a beautiful screen, a great camera and is among the thinnest and lightest smart phones in existence. The addition of a larger screen and LTE were much needed updates that addressed the shortcomings of the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 is the best smart phone in the 4.3″ or smaller category by a wide margin.
Sean: Samsung Galaxy Note II
The Note II is my favorite smart phone of the year (mine arrives next week as a matter of fact). It’s what I expected the Galaxy S3 to be. It has a quad-core Exynos 4412 CPU, an overclocked Mali-400 GPU, 2GB of RAM, a 5.5″ RGB Super AMOLED screen, a giant removable battery, an SD card slot, S-Pen and a host of specific software features. The Galaxy S3 announcement was disappointing because of the pentile matrix screen and the U.S. specific dual-core S4 processor. It felt like we were getting a compromised version of what Samsung had intended. The Note II on the other hand feels like the complete vision.
Sean: HTC One-X
The One-X is the best designed smart phone of the year. HTC is known for quality hardware but with the One-X they outdid themselves. From the sleek one piece polycarbonate body to the beautiful inlaid 4.7″ Super LCD-2 screen, it’s really a piece of art. The white version is particularly gorgeous. From a design standpoint the iPhone 5 is a close second, but nothing beat the One-X this year.
Shawn: Apple iPhone 5
Fast, stable, infinitely tweakable, and its mascot is an angry pink unicorn. What more could you possibly want?
Take it from someone who is a self confessed “crack-flasher” of custom ROMs – I’ve tried quite a few out on my Galaxy Nexus, including AOKP, FnV, Bugless Beast, and CM 10. Paradigm gets my vote for the best of the lot. The Jelly Bean version of Paradigm is smooth, stable, and chock full of useful tweaks but isn’t weighed down by extra bloat or mods just for the sake of having mods. It feels like a final finished product each and every time I flash an update. The devs are helpful and their public forum is moderated well and is easy to get answers from. Its the ROM I use as my daily driver…you should too.
Coolest New Software Feature/App:
Sean: Multi-Window from Samsung
Multi-Window is just so damn cool. The first time I watched it on video, I was blown away. Larger screens and more powerful processors have made true multi-tasking a reality. This is a feature that Google should start incorporating into future versions of Android starting with Key Lime Pie.
|Image courtesy theverge.com|
Sean: Droid DNA 1080p screen
The new 5″ 1080p Super-LCD 3 screen in the Droid DNA is the future. Next year a flood of 5″ 1080p phones are going to hit the market including the LG Optimus G2 and the Samsung Galaxy S IV. Whether a 1080p screen in such a small size is worth it versus a 720p screen is debatable, but what isn’t debatable is that packing over 2 million pixels into such a small area is simply incredible.
Shawn: Nexus 10 Exynos 5 CPU w/Mali T604 GPU
There are a few things in life we just take for granted; the sun will rise in the east, there’s always drama on any show that has the words “Real Housewives” in it, and he who has the fastest processor usually wins. With all the speculation around the Nexus 10, and the hype from the crazy 300 dpi display, don’t overlook the monster that’s driving the whole show – the Exynos 5 CPU. A dual core 1.7GHz beast with A15 architecture will crush anything you throw at it, and then ask for more. The Cortex A15 at a 32nm process makes it twice as fast as the previous generation A9 architecture, while being 30% more power efficient than the A9. This is the same processor chosen by Google to power their new Chromebook laptop…and they put it in a 10 inch tablet. Simply remarkable.
Sean: Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX HD
I wrote not one, but two pieces expressing my disappointment with Motorola’s new flagship offering. As it turned out, I owed them an apology. Sure the RAZR MAXX HD has a pentile matrix screen, yes it only has half as much RAM as the Samsung Galaxy S III, and Verizon absolutely charges too much for them. But despite all that I find myself recommending the RAZR MAXX HD constantly. It has fantastic build quality, the radios are second to none, and the battery life is INSANE. Amazon wireless only charges $174.99 for a MAXX HD with an upgrade and at that price it’s hard to go wrong.
Shawn: Nexus 4 pricing
Sean: HTC’s continued struggles