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It’s that time of year again. The mobile world’s biggest players have released all their best handsets and are now just watching to see how many fly off the shelves ahead of Christmas.

So, what better time to look at the best blowers of 2012, starting with those toting Google’s ever-improving Android OS. Here’s our five favourites.

5 HTC One X

htc one x official

HTC has had a pretty torrid year, with sales down and a deal with Apple over patents reportedly leaving it having to pay around $8 to Cupertino per Android device sold.

But the One X phone shows it can still make amazing hardware. Not only does it have a beautiful overall design, its 4.7-inch screen is a thing of beauty and its eight-megapixel camera is a more than ample compact snapper replacement. With a Jelly Bean update on its way out as we speak, this is still a phone worth buying.

4 Samsung Galaxy Note 2

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 flat slanted

Sammy’s monster follow-up to its first ‘phone-tablet’ may be a touch too big for smaller palms, but still makes a great compromise between the two forms.

This is currently Samsung’s leading Android mobile, its vast 5.5-inch panel and quad-core CPU taking it well beyond most rivals. A phone that has garnered much love from press and public alike, it paved the way for bigger blowers to make a real leap in 2013.

3 Sony Xperia S

Sony Xperia S Silver

The first phone from the Big S after it bought out Ericsson and went it alone after years of so-so devices, the Xperia S marks a true return to form. The design is superb and acts as a timely reminder as to why Sony has been a big player in tech for decades and the Bravia Engine ensures things tick along at lightning pace.

The only issue is its lack of Android Jelly Bean, slow upgrades seemingly a habit Sony hasn’t ditched from its days of working with Ericsson.

2 Google Nexus 4

lg nexus 4 large

It might be a latecomer, but boy has the Nexus 4 shaken things up. A truly high-end device that starts at a piffling £239 for an 8GB model and £279 for a 16GB version, it’s half the iPhone 5’s price and every bit as good.

Forget the occasionally average design and marvel at that vast 4.7-inch display, the latest Jelly Bean 4.2 software including all of Google’s newest OS features, a camera that knocks spots off of every competitor and maps that batter Apple’s woeful effort.

1 Samsung Galaxy S3

samsung galaxy s3 red

The undoubted top pick. Since its May release, the Galaxy S3 has become the go-to phone for anyone not feeling the allure of the iPhone.

Its eyeball-stroking super AMOLED panel, bleeding edge Android updates and slim profile make, not to mention expandable storage up to 64GB (a huge boon compared to top-end smartphone rivals) put it in a league of its own until Apple and Google/LG waited until the year’s end to roll out decent competitors.

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