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It has been another banner year for Android, with a wide array of brilliant smartphones that propelled Google’s OS to new heights of popularity. After much deliberation, we have selected five handsets that most contributed to this phenomenal rise to stardom.

1. Samsung Galaxy S2

samsung galaxy s2

Voted smartphone of the year in the uSwitch Mobile Awards, Samsung’s flagship Android kit of 2011 has been a resounding success much like its predecessor, the Galaxy S, shifting more than 10 million units in just seven months of release. And it was hardly surprising why, with a record-setting slim design and spec sheet positively brimming with cutting edge features such as a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, a 1.2GHz dual core processor and an eight-megapixel camera to just name a few.

2. Samsung Galaxy Nexus

samsung galaxy nexus

The sequel to the Google Nexus S was doubtless one of the year’s most hotly awaited phones - certainly the most anticipated as far as Android fans were concerned. The fact it was the first ever handset to run the latest Ice Cream Sandwich iteration of Android made sure of that. And it did not disappoint in flesh either, bringing a whole host of improvements including a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED panel with a native HD resolution that once more set the gold standard for Android peers and rivals alike.

3. HTC Sensation XE

HTC Sensation XE

Despite intense competition from Samsung, HTC had plenty to shout about in 2011, including its superb Sensation range of smartphones and the acquisition of Beats audio from music mogul Dr Dre.

We especially liked the Sensation XE, for packing just the right amount of screen real estate compared to its gargantuan brother, the Sensation XL, but also for its smart black casing with a brushed metal effect that we have come to appreciate from HTC handsets. Throw in Beats audio tech and the latest Sense UI, and you have one of the best phones currently in market.

4. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S white press shot

2011 saw Sony Ericsson go through something of a transformation. It launched the Arc, which many would agree is the best handset it has produced in years, perhaps to date, and is one of our favourite Android phones of the year for its innovative design that bends slightly in the middle and solid performance that genuinely took us by a surprise. And with Sony acquiring the full business from Ericsson, we can’t wait to see what awaits us in the year ahead.

5. Samsung Galaxy Ace

samsung galaxy ace

It may not have packed all the bells and whistles of Sammy’s more high-end efforts, but it’s the keen price point and smart specs (think: 3.5-inch Gorilla glass panel, a five-megapixel camera and Android Gingerbread) that made the Galaxy Ace a consumers’ favourite and our pick of a deluge of mid-range handsets released in 2011.

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