The Best Smartphones for Canadians (2012 Edition)


  • Nexus4

    Nexus 4 is regarded as high end? made by LG on top of that. The price indicate it’s not high end, the quality proves that even more so

    • Lexcyn

      Do you own one? Because if you did, you would understand that even though the price is really good, it’s a well made device that has a high end build quality. It feels much more solid than the plastic Samsung keeps making.

    • Tony

      You should actually try it out before you knock it. Finally received mine and it just screams high end. The phone is beautiful, buttery smooth and dirt cheap (relatively).

  • David

    Galaxy S3 and Note 2 should definitely rank higher than iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 has absolutely no innovation whatsoever.

    • carl ertz

      Your obviously too broke to afford a Mac computer. If you weren’t so broke and weren’t running XP or Windows 7 on your peice of s*** lenovo laptop you would see why it is innovative, with such a pleasant eco system. Check the benchmarks samsheep tell me who has the better specs.

      Ps: if you think shoving a large screen with touchwiz on a device with a plastic enclosure you need to get with it…. just saying.

    • HO

      @carl…funny, last time I checked, that “magical” pos cracks really easy while the Samsungs can really take punishment, maybe plastic but is designed to last, at least the maps work.

    • nathan

      yep go ahead and use that shitsung of yours. what innovation is in the s3 and note 2 thats so great? hovering? splitscreen? android cant even keep more than 3 processes alive so why bother? Samesung copies.

    • some guy

      Wow Carl, butt hurt much?
      I understand that because my PC that dances circles around your Mac cost me half as much, and I have the pick of the litter when it comes to software, that you would be upset. It’s only understandable, that the pain you feel in your back pocket after your wallet was raped by Apple, would cause you to reach the first 2 stages of denial quite rapidly.

      So unless you are a sound engineer, I highly doubt you needed to spend that much on a laptop to post on Facebook and Mobile Syrup about how awesome your Mac is and how elite you are because you can’t get half the software out there without running boot camp. lulz, oh Carl, you silly boy. ^_^

    • some guy

      Isn’t the whole concept of innovation to try and make new things? You know, even if they aren’t very useful? At least they’re trying to implement something new and possibly add more intuitive functionality.

      Last time I checked, Apple added non functioning maps, a poor attempt at a messaging service that confuses half of the users because apparently you guys are too dumb to figure out blue means iMessage and green is text, and a completely revolutionary and obviously non-copied *gasp* drop-down notification bar!

      Seriously man, you can pull your head out now. Apple could turn this around and make a fantastic new product to shut me up and I would be ecstatic, because they would actually be pushing innovation again. However until that day, I will continue to counter point every simple minded sheep who can’t think for themselves.

      Hugs and kisses,
      A lover of technology.

    • Peter

      You have to laugh at i.Ta.rds like carl ertz who for years screamed that it was about the overall experience and NOT the specs. Now they’ve all turned into the same spec w.ho.res that they claimed android fans are. There’s a word for that in the english language and it’s Hypo.crite.

      I also wonder what thier excuse is that the iPhone 5 has gone on sale for $79 to bolster sales. Guess glass & aluminum comes cheap these days. :-p

  • PurntBixels

    Only three low-end devices?

  • EvanK

    The Nexus 4 definitely deserves number 1, considering that every Canadian carrier (well, except Public Mobile) is GSM, and we have an awesome selection of low cost off contract AWS carriers like WIND, it really is a no-brainier.

    The iPhone 5 in second place though? Seriously? It should at least be an S3 or Note 2. Just about everything else I agree with though, the 8s as the number 1 entry level device is definitely appropriate, kudos to Virgin and HTC for pricing it at $300.

  • dv

    Too bad the number 1 high end smartphone of the year isn’t currently available for purchase.

  • Chris S

    I would personally rank the S3 on par or better than the Nexus 4, but the Nexus 4 is definitely a very good device (and of course being a Nexus product, it will get the fastest firmware updates).

    I am extremely biased, but I just couldn’t put the iPhone 5 ahead of any of the S3/Note 2/Nexus 4. Hell, it wouldn’t make for a fun review, but I’d almost just give them a 4 way tie and leave it up to personal preference as each are very fine phones in their own right. lol

    • COBwiggy

      Exactly, it is all personal preference, the ranks are mere numbers but every phone they listed is certainly the best.

      Including the iPhone. I personally have a Nexus 4, but the iPhone 5 is a great phone, a ton of people are Apple bashers but that is just where the personal preference comes in.

  • Francis

    How much did you get paid to put the Iphone 5 before the Galaxy SIII ??!

    • George K

      You don’t need to be bribed to appreciate a well built product.

  • Jerrik Nordlee

    I completely disagree with the iPhone 5 being above the Galaxy S III and/or the Galaxy Note II. I smell an Apple fanboy here.

    • Hank

      Calm down fangirls. I have a S3 so obviously I think its the “best” but i5 deserves its spot too. High build quality, ecosystem and realiabilty. I love my S3 like it’s my baby but I’m not impressed that I had to send it in for cracks in the plastic due to no physical trauma whatsoever.

  • jellmoo

    The Nexus 4 is a great device to be sure, and almost certainly the best value for the dollar, but I’m not sure about best overall device. With very limited storage issues, less than amazing battery (which apparently is made worse if the LTE is turned on) and an average at best camera, I have a little trouble looking at it as the true number one.

    Now granted, a lot of this is going to be subjective, but the Nexus 4 really has two things going for it: pure Android and price. Two great things to be sure, but when compared to some of the other innovations present?

    And all things considered, I’m having some trouble with the Lumia 920 ranking so low. For a device with so much innovation built into the hardware itself, it’s rank seems far too affected by the software which has a slew of pluses that aren’t mentioned.

    The final oddity to me is the GS3. I’m not even a fan of the device, but recognition should be made for how insanely popular it is, and how much it really put into becoming the go to device and benchmark for all Android devices. Having it in 3rd (and lumped in with the Note 2 as well) doesn’t seem right.

    Like I said, a list like this is going to be incredibly subjective. My list would look like this:

    -High End-

    1. Samsung Galaxy S3
    2. Nokia Lumia 920
    3. Apple iPhone 5
    4. LG Optimus G
    5. Samsung Galaxy Note 2
    6. HTC One X+
    7. Sony Xperia T


    1. LG Nexus 4
    2. HTC 8S
    3. HTC One V

    • plums

      Just picked up the Nexus 4 yesterday, but I gotta admit, I’m partial to my Lumia 920. Maybe I just need some more time with the N4

  • peter

    Why isn’t there Optimus G?

  • 2c

    RIP RIM!!! 😀 😀

    • Legendary

      RIM didn’t launch anything major this year.

      They launched some stuff in 2011, and have a major launch date in Q1 2013. What did you expect?

  • ericzxvc

    Yes Touchwiz is probably the ugliest skin, but it is by far the most functional/least laggy.

  • Darth Paton

    I am so tired of Daniel Badar and his bias against windows phone. Sure it doesn’t have every app its competitors have, but for me at least, it has more than enough. To dock it for not having proper Google support is moronic; do you dock android for not having integrated microsoft support? The notification system I can sort of understand, but multitasking? It literally has the exact same (if not better) system as iOS, and you don’t give a crap about that. I think I’ll stick with *competent reviewers from now on.

  • iPOS

    iphone5 @ #2 is just a gutless move to not infuriate the sheep so they will at least keep coming back to this site. It’a a POS! Simple as that. I mean look at the shares and the sales of OTHER phones after its release. Gutless.

  • gtp20

    This list seem pretty good. The Nexus 4 is definately a high end #1 device. The Galaxy S3 is also an amazing device but I found once I went to the Galaxy Nexus 9then the Nexus 4) I was hooked on Nexus devices and not wanting anything else.

    I personally am someone with zero interest in the Iphone. If you guys think it deserves number 2 I will have to take your word for it as I have never even had my hands on one. I will comment though that I have numerous friends and coworkers who are Iphone people but don’t know ANYONE with an Iphone 5. Everone I have asked said they are not interested in it because of the new cable that is not compatible with their car hookups or numerous docks without a very expensive adapter….. So after all this time I have never even seen an Iphone 5

  • Me

    @ Darth Paton – save your breath man! There’s no point trying to argue logic with someone who ranks iphone as the second best despite lack of any innovation in both hardware and software departments.

  • david

    My best highend is Optimus G. I didn’t believe LG before but Optimus G broken my thought. It ranks top than Samsung Galaxy S3 in US and South Korea. Because of Nexus 4, I strongly recommend it.

  • JP

    The One V is a piece of junk. I work at a Koodo and frankly so many of them don’t work out of the box and a bunch of others come back with problems.

    • Brian J

      hey JP, my 2 koodo HTC V’s work great, and i’m getting a third unit next month as soon as my fido contract is up.

  • Keith

    The Lumia 920 is hands down the best phone there is right now.

    It’s funny I don’t remember anyone characterizing iOS and Android app selection as lacklustre when they only had 130,000 apps.

    It does need a better notification system but in other ways its Live Tile functionality is better than anything on iOS and Android.

    So Google is running scared and just pulled the plug on ActiveSync–simple solution switch to an Outlook email it is superior anyway and respects your privacy more. But it doesn’t affect a terrible amount of people anyway.

    The way Windows Phone and iOS multitask is the better way to do it on mobile devices.

    What is this murky future for Window Phone? That would have been a valid concern last year but it is safe to say that Windows Phone is here to stay now.

    The only valid criticism is the exclusivity and the wretched lack of choice on Rogers but one doesn’t have to buy their phone in Canada.

    • Legendary

      “The Lumia 920 is hands down the best phone there is right now.

      It’s funny I don’t remember anyone characterizing iOS and Android app selection as lacklustre when they only had 130,000 apps.”

      1. When iOS had only 130,000 app, nothing had more.

      2. People talked about Android only having 130,000 apps as a negative thing back when it only had 130,000 apps. Hell, people still talk about android’s “lack of apps” with 700,000 apps.

      “It does need a better notification system but in other ways its Live Tile functionality is better than anything on iOS and Android.”

      Cough cough widgets cough cough

      “So Google is running scared and just pulled the plug on ActiveSync–simple solution switch to an Outlook email it is superior anyway and respects your privacy more. But it doesn’t affect a terrible amount of people anyway.”

      Google had to pay Microsoft money to keep Microsoft’s Exchange service running with Gmail (licensing fees). Hopefully, Microsoft will now follow standards instead of trying to force people to use proprietary software.

      “The way Windows Phone and iOS multitask is the better way to do it on mobile devices.”

      Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll take full multitasking any day. The way the SGS3 and Note 2 do it is the way to go.

      “What is this murky future for Window Phone? That would have been a valid concern last year but it is safe to say that Windows Phone is here to stay now.”

      According to who? It still doesn’t have a decent market share, major companies are pulling the plug on their WP8 apps, it hasn’t found its niche, and the niche that it was trying to move into is about to be taken back over by RIM and their standards compliant phones that will be able to run almost all 700,000 Android apps because it is standards compliant (hmm… there seems to be a theme here which Microsoft could learn from).

      “The only valid criticism is the exclusivity and the wretched lack of choice on Rogers but one doesn’t have to buy their phone in Canada.”

      If you’re buying a phone outright anyway, most people would want to save the ~$300 and get a Nexus 4.

    • David

      You go man, Lumia is definitely the best phone I’ve ever owned and in many ways top every other phone I’ve tested and used this year. The camera is a no brainer but other hardware features and technologies are also amazing. Simply an outstanding smartphone

  • GlassBackBadIdea

    biased bull **** review. Nexus 4 is number 1? solid 90% ehh! I bet the 10% was for the broken glass plate on the back side.

  • Ron Mexico

    Really who decided the rankings here? The results from the awards that were voted on will paint a very different picture I believe.

  • gnote

    High End
    1 – S3
    2 – GNote2
    3 – One X+
    4 – IPhone5
    5 – Lumia 920

    Low End
    1 – Nexus 4
    2 – One S

  • screamer

    What has the iphone to do there? There is nothing special about it anymore. Nothing is wow.panorama foto? Or foto share? It brings nothing to the table. For me the note 2 is the phone of the year. Motorola did also a good job this year. There software and build quality getting better than apple. Can we not vote and than we do this thingbover again?

  • Jane laperiy

    Where is BB 9800??

  • Dave

    What’s happened to the Chinese spy phone company (Huawei)?
    It’s should be #1 for innovation. LOL

  • RyanOver

    HTC One X+ is the best

  • k

    1.Samsung Galaxy Note

  • Steven Hurdle

    I can mostly understand the rankings (though I understand the comments from those who say the iPhone 5 is way too high), and I’ll even buy the merging of the S3 and the Note2 in this list.

    But Nokia 920 at only 5th? This is supposed to be a smartphone round-up, not a smartphone OS roundup. The reasons given for the 920’s placement simply do not belong in this article, IMO. And as others have pointed out, other OS options (such as iOS) aren’t docked points for the same reasons, even in cases where they work the same way.

    If you are comparing smartphone elements (ergonomics, cameras, unique app ecosystem provided by the smartphone maker, ability to use regular gloves with the 920 which is a *huge* feature for Canadians, etc.), the 920 is easily the smartphone that advanced the most over the course of 2012. I mean, a year ago we had the Lumia 710 and 800 to compare against (the 900 wasn’t until early 2012)!

    To go from the Lumia 800 to the Lumia 920 in one year is easily one of the greatest year-over-year advances in smartphone history.

  • Cyrus

    For anyone thinking about WP8, ask your friends who have bought Ford with MS Sync, Telus with MS Optik, or a plain old WP7 device what their experience was like 1 year after purchase. It only goes downhill to the point where it’s unusable, they define huge bugs as undocumented features, and then expect you to buy an upgrade to go through all the stress again.

    Don’t consider a Microsoft anything until they’ve got a 3 year track record of support, incremental improvements, and swift fixes to problems

  • Cyrus

    Steven Hurdle — WP8 is like a feature for crying out loud. The browser is unusable — doesn’t support any HTML or Javascript standards, has the most exploits since Internet Explorer 6. You can’t install a proper web browser, this is a feature phone that’s locked down with no new software ever.

    A $100 feature phone is not only cheaper, but it offers a better user experience (no minefield of bugs like wifi disconnects, blurry pictures, etc… plus 10x the battery life, damage resistant, no $3000 3 year contract)

    • Steven Hurdle

      @Cyrus As opposed to what Apple delivered? iOS 1.0 didn’t even have the App Store yet. iOS 2.0 didn’t have cut and paste and MMS. iOS 3.0 didn’t yet have multitasking. Android, for its part, has had its own teething pains (fragmentation, anyone?).

      Microsoft’s teething pains are no big deal compared with some of the things their competitors went through, if you ask me.

      As for having to buy something new, Android is the absolute worst for that. If your handset maker, *or* your carrier, won’t roll out an update to you, then you’re screwed without doing it manually (if the hacking community provides you what you need to do it manually), which kind of takes away the user friendliness for the majority of smartphone owners these days who just want to use it and just want to work.

      BTW, with regard to your troll about blurry photos, if you’d been keeping up on mobilesyrup news, you’d know that Nokia rolled out an update that corrects that mere weeks after launch; I installed it (OTA) today. Not that it was that blurry to begin with.

    • Cyrano

      “If your handset maker, *or* your carrier, won’t roll out an update to you, then you’re screwed without doing it manually”

      cough 2 months after lumia 900 release … cough cough

  • Poll

    Thumbs up if you think “Nexus 4” should be #1

    • monsterduc1000

      Nexus 4: Another near-great Nexus product with great specs and very poor execution, which has unfortunately become the staple of the Nexus line. Other than updates, SOOOO many phones offer more of what people want and with the easy rootability/custom rom-ability of Androids now, the N4 is an “almost great” phone looking in. If Google does not learn to put in OVERSIZED NON-REMOVABLE BATTERIES and INCREASED NON-EXPANDABLE STORAGE, I’m afraid my Nexus S is the one and only Nexus phone I will ever own.

      From ALL the reviews I have read on the N4, the battery life is ATROCIOUS, 4.2 has some bugs to work out, and coupled with the RIDICULOUSLY under stocked launch, the N4 is NOT the phone of the year.

  • Poll

    Thumbs up if you think “Iphone 5″ should be #1

  • Poll

    Thumbs up if you think “Galaxy Note 2″ should be #1

  • Poll

    Thumbs up if you think “Galaxy S3″ should be #1

  • Poll

    Thumbs up if you think “Optimus G″ should be #1

  • Poll

    Thumbs up if you think “Nokia 920″ should be #1

  • Poll

    Thumbs up if you think “HTC One X+″ should be #1

    • monsterduc1000

      Pros: Proper non-removable storage (64gb!!!), proven quad core processor, incredible screen.

      Cons: Non-removable battery

      This would be my number 3 behind the S3 and Note 2.

  • Poll

    Thumbs up if you think “Motorola Razr HD″ should be #1

  • Poll

    Please vote and thumbs up if you think my poll is useful.

  • ckizzle

    Glad you didn’t forget about the razr HD. Its a solid phone, better than the Galaxy S3 and its cheap build quality.

  • Manish

    I don’t agree with this ranking. SG S III should be on top. Google doesn’t endorse Nexus 4 as LTE enabled device. Iphone 5 doesn’t have big screen size as compared to majority of smartphones that are listed.

  • blackprince

    Ugh Live Tiles are the notification center, get over it.

    • Steven Hurdle

      I’m not even sure what a notification centre is. I went from using iOS 3 to Windows Phone 7 (NoDo revision). My Android experience is limited to Gingerbread (Kobo Vox tablet). What I do know is that Live Tiles are worlds better than my experience with notifications on older versions of iOS and Android.

  • mike

    I totally disagree with this post on the best phones
    The samsung galaxy S3 and galaxy note 2 is the top number 1. The iphone 5 should be last on the list its a piece of junk.

  • mukrenol

    This is way more reasonable than what I see on PA…
    Thank you for the good work all year long =]

  • Falco

    When I get a new phone, I check sound/reception quality and camera. Sony always wins. However, with reviews like Techradar’s of the Xperia U, I woudn’t bother even consider the U if I believed their “awful” rating of the video camera. However, I still got the U and found the still and video functios to be fantastic as with any Sony camera,, especially in macro and 16X zoom modes.The Techradar reviewer must have been on something or he meant “awesome”.Just goes to show you should always check for the phone that suits you. Reviews can be misleading if not useless. And as far as any LG is concerned, I’ve always found them to be disappointing at best.

    • jason brown

      sony has not had best camera in 5 years.

  • rl

    Loving my Lumina 920. Quite the upgrade from the s2X and working great on Koodo.

  • Trel araH

    “The iPhone 5 is also the first significant redesign in Apple’s lineup since the iPhone 4 in 2010” – Clearly the writer of this and the rest of the world have a very different opinion of ‘significant redesign’…

  • GGG

    Where is Optimus G? You know the one that’s no 1 phone in consumer’s report?

  • zul

    Iphone 5 better than galaxy s3 and note? Are you kidding me or what? Iphone 5 is a crippled phone which cant come eveen near to those two phones.i was iphone user for last 4 years but now i cant go back to it specially iphone 5 sucks

  • landragon

    I don’t know why the 920 is listed at #5 considering it’s the most innovate phone in the entire list

    * Pentaband LTE support
    * Super sensitive touch. I can use this thing with gloves on
    * Optical image stabilization
    * 60 FPS HD display refresh rate
    * wireless charging.

  • TP

    Thanks, great to read this article on my Nexus 4.

  • Nate

    If you think the Nexus 4 is a low-end device, you’ve never held one in your hand.

  • m00rb

    Galaxy Note 2 is the best smartphone and there really isn’t much debate. What are those other ones? Phones for ants?

  • David

    920 should definitely be on the top of the list. Best phone I’ve ever laid hands on

  • glonq

    The HTC 8S is a poor choice for best entry-level phone. At just shy of $300 (Virgin), why not spend a couple bucks more and get a real phone like the Nexus 4 @ $319?

    Actually the Samsung Galaxy S II X (Koodo) is a bigger, better phone than the 8S and is half the price!.

  • Deli

    Thumbs up for GN2 should have been #1. It has revolutionized what we think a smartphone can be – size, pen, special features. The ONLY issue anyone can possibly have with GN2 is the size, but that is the marketed FEATURE of the GN2. Everything else on it is superb.

    N4 should not have been #1. The issues with it are easily documented with monsterduc1000’s post.

  • Farhan

    I phone5 is the best. And it is so popular now a days.

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