Android Central

A lot has changed since we published our last round-up of the best Android phones available, and awarded the top prize to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. At the time, the Gnex outshone the competition thanks to the blistering performance and innovative features delivered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

But that was five long months ago. Since then, screen sizes, resolutions and core counts have continued to rise. There’s a new Nexus, and Android OEMs have had the chance to get their own Jelly Bean-based devices out into the wild. And this time around, it makes more sense to split things up and cover the U.S market separately (look for our U.S. round-up in the days ahead). In this article we’re going to focus on the best international Android phones, and recommend one unlocked world phone for Europe, Asia and beyond.

Join us after the break to find out more about our top four devices, and learn which gets our recommendation for international buyers.

The Top Four (in no particular order)

Before we reveal the winner, here's a rundown of four of the very best international Android phones.
 

LG Nexus 4

Google and LG’s Nexus 4 is the Android phone of the moment -- a highly desirable handset that’s consistently sold out around the world thanks to its competitive Google Play Store pricing. LG’s also won us over with the Nexus 4’s impressive build quality, which has the guts of the phone sandwiched in Gorilla Glass 2, with a soft-touch plastic trim.

On the subject of of internals, the N4 packs one of the fastest smartphone chips available, a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro, coupled with 2GB of RAM. Combine that with vanilla Android 4.2, and you’ve got an incredibly fast device -- easily one of the speediest and most responsive we’ve used. Google's also polished up some of its own proprietary apps, including the camera, gallery and keyboard -- all important steps that bring the Nexus experience up to par with leading “skinned” phones.

There are many ways in which the Nexus 4 is unremarkable -- the camera’s pretty run of the mill, though by no means bad. 8GB of storage isn’t much, but fortunately there’s a more substantial 16GB version on offer too. It’s a plain old DC-HSDPA device without (official) LTE support, however this is less of an issue outside of the U.S., where LTE networks are fewer and further between.

But overall, it's the combination of performance, build quality, functionality and price that’s earned the Nexus 4 a place on our list. And being a Nexus device, it’s sure to be first in line for software updates, too.

Android Central


Samsung Galaxy S3

Samsung’s Galaxy S3 is the best-selling Android phone of the year by a very wide margin, and with good reason. Samsung’s made sure to tick just about every box in its 2012 flagship, delivering a large screen, a thin, light chassis, high-quality camera, feature-packed software, expandable storage and impressive performance. Throw in a massive marketing effort and widespread availability on just about every carrier on the planet, and it’s easy to see why Sammy’s shifted over 30 million S3s since launch.

But if the Galaxy S3 didn’t top our list back in July, then what’s changed this time around? Well, the main answer is Jelly Bean. Over the past couple of months, most Galaxy S3 models have been upgraded to Android 4.1, introducing the crucial “Project Butter” performance improvements to an already fast smartphone. This means in day-to-day use a Jelly Bean’d Galaxy S3 is every bit as fast as a Nexus 4, while having the advantage of improved camera performance.

The latter part of the year has also heralded the launch of the international Galaxy S3 LTE (GT-i9305) in Europe, making this device an easy first choice Android phone on fledgling European LTE networks.

Build quality and display fidelity stand out as areas of weakness for the S3. Its 720p SuperAMOLED panel isn’t bad, but put it side-by-side with the One X+’s SuperLCD2 or the Nexus 4’s IPS panel and the difference is clear. And the use of an AMOLED screen means daylight visibility is automatically poorer than the LCD-based competition. The decision to aim for a thin, light chassis means the S3 is constructed mostly of shiny plastic, which feels cheaper than competing devices like the Nexus 4.

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HTC One X+

A supercharged follow-up to HTC’s leading One series phone, the One X+ was released in Europe in October, with a U.S. launch on AT&T following in November. The One X+ addresses many of our gripes with the original One X, improving battery life and swapping the shiny polycarbonate of the original for a sleek soft-touch finish.

The One X+ inherits its predecessor’s gorgeous SuperLCD2 screen, which remains the best-looking display you’ll find outside of a Droid DNA. That’s one of the areas in which it compares favorably against the other phones on our list. The 64GB of built-in storage is also a huge plus, and it’s formatted as one big partition that can be filled with apps or media, allowing you to use it however you like. The 1.7GHz quad-core Tegra 3 CPU also has a slight edge in gaming performance, thanks to NVIDIA’s courtship of the Android game developer community.

Software-wise, you’ve got Jelly Bean and HTC Sense 4+, which is more than sufficient for a pretty speedy smartphone experience -- though not quite as responsive as the other phones on our list in certain cases.

HTC’s ImageSense tech shines through in stills taken with the 8MP rear camera, resulting in instant captures and excellent still shots given the right conditions. Video performance, though lagging behind the Samsung competition, is nonetheless decent.

A few minor qualms -- the One X+ is pricey, and the LTE version isn’t yet widespread outside of the U.S. What’s more, we found battery life to be a little less robust than we’d have liked, though still an improvement on that of the original One X.

Android Central


Samsung Galaxy Note 2

The original Galaxy Note was a quirky device that defied the odds to win worldwide consumer approval. In the past year, the Note and its successor have shifted tens of millions of units, and cemented the asinine term "phablet" in the popular smartphone consciousness.

The Note 2 proves Samsung is serious about this half-phone, half-tablet form factor. The Note 2 packs Sammy's fastest quad-core CPU, surpassing even the S3 in horsepower. The 5.5-inch screen, while "only" being a 720p panel, ups the ante in terms of subpixel density, thanks to its use of a non-PenTile matrix arrangement (translation: it's more detailed than the Galaxy S3.)

For a 5.5-inch smartphone, it's surprisingly hand and pocket-friendly. Samsung has reduced the Note 2's girth compared to the original by adopting a 16:9 aspect ratio and cutting down on horizontal bezel. And it's done so without making the Note 2 feel either bulky or flimsy. The overall impression is of a substantial, well-designed device that's comfortable with its extra heft. It's anything but half-assed. The Galaxy Note 2 is a whole-assed device.

Software-wise, the Galaxy Note 2 shares a lot in common with the Galaxy S3. Both run Jelly Bean -- the Note out of the box, the S3 with an over-the-air upgrade. Both include the TouchWiz Nature UX, and all the extra features and visual clutter that that brings. Like its little brother, it's exceedingly fast. But the Note 2's most impressive features are the ones that are unique to it. The bundled S Pen stylus is easier to use and well-implemented in software, improving tasks as simple as text entry, or as complex as writing an equation. And the "multi-window" feature offers a glimpse into the future of smartphones, with true multitasking allowing two apps on-screen at the same time.

In a nutshell, the Note 2 is a technological marvel. Samsung's crammed every last possible morsel of hardware and software goodness into this device, and that's why it's made our top four.

Android Central

The Android Central recommendation

Samsung​ Galaxy S3 - the best international Android phone you can buy

That's right, the Samsung Galaxy S3. Measured against all other international contenders, Samsung's flagship comes out on top, in our opinion. Competitors may have it bested in individual areas, but it's the S3's strong performance across the board that's won it our recommendation. Its speed and responsiveness on the latest Jelly Bean-based firmware is on par with that of the Nexus 4. And unlike the current Nexus, its got one of the best cameras on any phone, along with removable storage, and fixed storage options up to 64GB.

What's more, it's available on about every LTE carrier in the world, whereas the Nexus currently lacks official LTE support, and the international One X+ LTE is AWOL at the time of writing. And while on paper the One X+ may seem more appealing in other areas, it's also a lot more expensive, not quite as speedy, and lacks the proven battery life of the S3.

The S3 shines as an excellent all-rounder, but you might rightly ask why we chose it over its bigger, stronger, faster sibling, the Note 2. The fact is that the Note's gigantic size prevents it from stealing the S3's mainstream crown. Most consumers don't need a device of this size, and the Galaxy S3 delivers most of the features of the Note 2 in a more pocket-friendly (and wallet-friendly) package. For most, the S3 the best fit.

Android Central

Looking ahead ...

We're around a month out from CES, and just over two months away from Mobile World Congress. Both shows are significant for the mobile world, and we're sure to see devices in the coming months that blow away everything we've discussed here. That's just the way consumer electronics works -- there's always something just a little bit better on the horizon. 2013 looks to be the year of 5-inch, 1080p screens -- HTC already has the Droid DNA; Sony, LG and Samsung are rumored to be working on similar-sized devices.

Specs will get speccier, screens will get bigger, CPUs will get faster, and maybe we'll hit a bit of a plateau in the screen size and resolution wars. A 5-inch device pushes the limits of the human hand, while a 1080p screen tests the limits of human vision. Hopefully that's where it'll stop. Hopefully we won't be sitting here in 12 months contemplating 4K tablets and 2560x1600 smartphones.

We'd expect Android 4.2 and 4.1 to become dominant in the next few months, as ICS devices get their updates, and the next wave of Jelly Bean phones launches. As for Key Lime Pie, the next major version of Android, we'd be surprised to see that before the end of next year -- maybe Google I/O at the earliest, though that'd place early 2013 phones in the precarious position of being immediately in need of an update.

Whatever happens, we hope you'll stick with us for the ride. We're about to jump from one smartphone silly season right into another.

 

Reader comments

The best Android phone you can buy, as of December 2012 (International edition)

121 Comments

Too bad you forgot about Acer MobileCloud S500, a 200 euro phone (free of contract) with top specs: dual-core Krait, 1gb ram, Adreno 225, 4,3" IPS, ICS.

8 GB internal and only 1GB RAM? Not to mention I do not think it is sold in the US (which defeats the international part of the article) makes it a non contender

now is available in Europe, but there are too many orders and no stocks. Maybe it will be available later in the US.

I said for 200 euros free of contract those are really nice specs compared with other phones with same price tag.

top specs? hahahhah dual core is not top spec!!! neither is 1GB of ram.. goofy!! top specs include quad core 2GB ram LTE learn and u wont sound so stupid!!

doesn't the international version of the GalaxyS3 have 1gb ram? and the US version has a dual core Snapdragon?(better battery life on LTE, if i recall correctly)

International S3 do only have 1gb.

..And its battery life on LTE isnt any better (or worst) than the US/Canadian version because it just doesnt supports LTE at all;

That was the whole point of getting Snapdragons in here in the first place.

Yup, you're wrong. The new LTE version in Europe and Asia has 2 gb of ram and LTE.

If only North America had the new Snapdragon S4 Pro, it would be better.

But this new international verison is the ultimate GSIII, because it has the better cpu and gpu, but also the 2 gb of ram that will come in handy for future-proofing the device.

Rumors are Key Lime Pie is going to be a big upgrade from Jelly Bean.

The international LTE version (which has replaced the international version in many places) has 2GB of RAM and a Quad-Core Exynos processor with LTE. Its the ultimate GS3.

@ Jason Calhoun1
the only stupid here are you.where you learn that a dual-core is more top spec than a quad?it's like users who claim a camera is better because of major megapixel.begin to read and learn,stop rise other saying stupid words.what count more than the number of c pus it's the type of architecture of it..compare a a9 4x with a 2x a15 and you can learn something better and true.my exynos 2x (nexus10)downclocked at 1.2 eat at breakfast my tegra3 clocked at 1.5 ghz (and without speaking of the diff from 1 gb to 2 gb of ram.zero zero zero differences,not nedeed yet 2 gb of ram in devices other than catch new buyers)

Personally I'd still take the One X+, its a much nicer phone to use day to day in terms of design and Sense over Touchwiz.
Its also not much more expensive on contract at the moment in the UK and the battery lasts a full day so isn't any real problem.

Its a fine cut but the design ethics, build quality and software just edge it for me over the S3.

Sense can't compete with TouchWiz at all, it is the most feature-packed of them all, and wit the latest update it got even more awesome features like multi windows.

this is just incorrect

sense can definitely compete with touchwiz, and it looks about 100x better and more professional while doing so.

Varies by person, really.

A friend of mine loves Sense on her One X. I, on the other hand, have always felt that Sense was exactly the opposite of its name for me--it makes no sense! On the same string, that friend of mine, loves how good Sense looks, while for me, it's rather annoying looking and its looks get in my way too much for my taste. So, really, there's a perfect example of how it varies by person. My friend loves everything (nearly) about Sense, I despise most things about Sense.

TouchWiz is pretty much the same. Another friend of mine loves TouchWiz on his S3. I like TouchWiz more than Sense, but still not a fan.

Me, give me CyanogenMod and I'm in heaven with everything I could possibly want (especially since ICS and now JB). Both of my friends I mention above don't like CyanogenMod as much as Sense/TouchWiz, but I cannot for the life of me understand why, beyond the fact that such taste just varies by person.

On that note, you're right, in that Sense can definitely compete with TouchWiz. But everything after that, I think, is left to more opinion of the user. Such my anecdote of my two friends and I displays.

I used to own the One X but had some issues that forced me to switch to the Galaxy S3 (such as non-replaceable battery) and I will have to say that I preferred Sense to Touchwiz as far as style. The whole time I had the OneX i was happy enough using the Sense launcher. When I switched to the S3, the touchwiz launcher didn't last a day. Both the keyboard and the launcher had to be replaced (replaced keyboard with swype and launcher with nova). The launcher especially was very much reminiscent of gingerbread. The camera app was also superior.

That said, the functionality of the newer Samsung phones, which may or may not be referred to as touchwiz, are awesome, such as Smart Stay and Smart Rotation...

Stylistically, I prefer Cyanogenmod to Sense, and Sense to Touchwiz. However, functionality wise, i prefer it in the opposite order. In fact, I'm not even using a CM rom on my phone at this time because I really like some of the functions that Samsung has built into their stock rom.

Yea Im torn between sticking to cm10 or reverting to Jelly Bean on stock at&t touchwiz. I love the functionality of touchwiz but the looks of cm10 and the responsiveness of the os is amazing!

3 out of the 4 were my tough choices.

I'm trying for the Nexus 4 because of price. It equals the S3 in performance. As for durability and external memory....well we'll see.

If my order(s) through Google don't pan out then I will be going for the Note 2.

When was Canada a part of US? I'm sure Canada is its own country ... last check I have a Canadian passport... =P

He never stated Canada was part of the US. Otherwise he would be stating that Asia is part of Europe, which its clearly not.

He's British too, who don't make the same mistakes as Americans, we also have the same queen as you Canadians.

+1.

I'm still unsure how I feel about the Queen part. On one hand, if there is something purely symbolic that helps keep relationships closer with other states, then it's a good thing. However, I'm not sure I like the symbol that a Queen/King represents; furthermore, I'm mad at the Royal Wedding for interrupting my election coverage the weekend before the 2011 elections (especially on our partially publicly funded CBC).

I am however Really thankful of the British Parliamentary system, and glad we "chose" it over the American presidential system.

"Insert something about Android"
Nima

It would be incorrect to compare the British Parliamentary system to the American presidential system because those are two different aspects of one government. Parliament is responsible for making laws, as is the US Congress, so that comparison can be made. The Prime Minister of the UK could be compared to the President of the United States because those government officials both enforce the laws.

Essentially, comparing the British Parliamentary system to the American presidential system is like comparing apples to oranges.

Hey, least all our carriers here use LTE Band 4, so our Nexus4's can do LTE here. Can't say the same for the US.

Is this a joke? The S3 is ugly as hell, it looks like a stone, like a rock thats been under a waterfall, that and touchwiz is an atrocity and insult to android.

my opinion anyway. lol.

"...it looks like a stone, like a rock thats been under a waterfall"
You mean like a PEBBLE? Like the EXACT look that they were going for in the first place? Lol

Your entitled to you opinion, as am I - But numbers dont lie. And that 'insult to android' is helping android to outsell the competition and help keep its 70%+ marketshare.
Even if you hate the look, you gotta respect it in one way or another.

Piizzadude, I have lost all respect for you. Implying Apple and Nexus as similar is an insult. Maybe your wife is right in that you "don't know sh*t".

Having owned an EVO LTE, GS3, and Note II, I would go with the Nexus 4... because I haven't owned it yet :-).

Honestly if the Nexus 4's battery life and screen are even close to the One X, then that is what I would pick hands down... it is just the absolute best value out there.

The One X is has the best screen, and great battery life, but just cost too much more than the Nexus.

The GS3 is the worst of all mentioned IMO. The battery life is noticeably worse than the One X, and the screen is dull in comparison to even the Note II.

If your budget (and hands) can accommodate it, the Note II is second to none. It has all the other benefits the GS3 that he spoke of, but with a much better screen, and an absurd amount of battery life.

I generally agree with this, however, if Motorola could break free of their dependance from Verizon, I think the Droid RAZR MAXX HD would be on this list as well. Superb build quality, expandable storage, and most of all that enormous battery really is a great combination.

If there was a RAZR MAXX HD that you could actually buy outside of America, and it had Jelly Bean, it'd be on this list.

There actually is a UTMS/HSPA version of the Razr Maxx HD you can buy outside the US, its not available in places where the Razr i is on sale for some reason. Funnily enough, the Razr Maxx HD UTMS version can be bootloader unlocked whether brought on contract or not.

I believe that's the RAZR HD, not MAXX. Still a very good phone but as far as I know the MAXX variant adds minimal thickness but delivers a lot more battery capacity. As far as I know the RAZR HD can be bootloader unlocked.

I actually owned the S3, and the Note2 beats it in many ways. Battery life is not to be believed, for one.

I still think the Note II should get the top recommendation.Penalizing it only because of it's size seems wrong. A couple years ago I'm sure 4.7" screens seemed just as excessive but now they're considered the norm for a flagship device.

It's basically impossible to use the Note 2 one-handed. 4.7 inches (with a 720p resolution) is the sweet spot, IMO, as many people can use it with only one hand.

Only if you have tiny hands. I use my Note 2 with one hand all the time. I have also found, for those with smaller hands than mine, you can activate a "one hand" mode which shrinks the keyboard to a smaller form factor to make texting or writing with your thumb a lot more comfortable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfb5cuS3_qc

Amusingly enough, I have trouble using my S3 with one hand. Sure, most stuff can be done with one hand, but I have to do this weird sliding of the phone on my hand when I need to reach the upper left corner... :)

Of course, it's worth the few rare issues to have the bigger screen, but it's definitely not as easy to use as a 4.3" screen... I'm not going back though. :)

I tend to agree with the article I own a Samsung Galaxy S3 and they are amazing.
The Quad Core 1.4 Ghz CPU really steps up the performance and you still get a long battery life. The Note 2 would be my other choice. At this point its really preference because I felt a 5.5" screen is a bit too bulky for me. Although spec wise the Note 2 is a sweet phone. Plus if you like a stylus I found lots of cool things you can do with the Note 2 such as write notes for math directly to a professional format. I would also keep an eye on the Droid DNA, it's specs are very impressive.

Well some of its specs are impressive. The others (battery life, ROM) are just meh and other impressive specs (removable battery SD Card)just don't exist.

I agree with some users saying that the Note II is far better than the S3.. maybe in terms of size people would choose the S3 over the NoteII since they are pretty much the same device just minus the size of each other.. but the NoteIi is far faster in my eyes

No, S3 is not the best, that's what they think because they like it. My One X+ is a much better device with much better looks and build.

looks is purely superficial. Build really depends on what you're talking about. It is built really nice, but there are sacrifices, such as the battery and removable storage. The oneX has a better camera and display and if Battery and Storage aren't important, then I'd give the better build to the OneX. However, if battery and storage are critical (as it is in my case), then the better build is the S3. For the most part, these devices are so similar that it's not really worth debating which is better though.

Got the S3, got the Nexus 4. The best phone IS the Nexus 4. No contest. You get 50gb free Box storage with the Nexus, got 50gb dropbox storage with the S3. Storage really is not an issue ... At all. Getting 20mb HSPA+ speeds on the Nexus. It feels way nicer in the hand and the OS is way smoother. I've had and used a LOT of phones. The Nexus 4 is the best overall phone ... Ever!

You're so right... Having no more than 11 gb of space on a phone in 2012 is the best. Couple that with a poor camera, and no LTE and you have the best phone.

Get real. Sure the GSIII isn't as sturdy or well built as the Nexus 4, but you can get it in 16, 32, or 64 gb variations with expandable memory upto 64 gb as well.

Add in the superior camera, the LTE, and you have a more well-rounded phone.

You are getting 20 mb HSPA+ speeds, I routinely get 77 mbps plus speeds on LTE.

I am biased because I own it... the note 2 rules, plain and simple.

But I can easily see how the gs3 would win, and it probably should... its a phone literally for everyone.

NEXUS 4!!! NExUS4!!! neXus 4!!! the device everyone loves to hate. If price is in consideration, Nexus 4 hands down.. Call me fanboy if you want but really guys.. Nexus 4!

Although I'm a HTC fan, I'd vote for my future phone, the Note 2. It simply has everything in one device that anyone would ever need.

Wow, that would be sweet. 5" would be a fantastic size, and an aluminum unibody construction and snapdragon Q4? With HTC's build quality and display? Yes, please!

As someone who's owned three of these four (the SIII, HOX+, and now the Note 2):

1. GSIII screen paled next to the HOX (the first one), so I swapped it for the HOX

2. Swapped the HOX for the HOX+ the day it came out because I loved the HOX so much but wanted the 64gb storage and quad core processor

3. Loved the HOX+, BUT the bluetooth radio was crap, had terrible sound quality on every HOX+ in the store and multiple headsets tested, including brand new ones.

4. Took the plunge and swapped it for the Note 2 and haven't looked back. Loving everything about this Note 2. Literally haven't found one thing to complain about...yet.

All three of these are great, though. Other than the BT radio issue on the HOX+, you really can't go wrong with any of them. I may buy the Nexus 4 just to tinker with eventually.

Hi,
for me it's quite inacurate to list a phone that nobody can get without acting like an Apple fanboy.
For me it's like talking about Angie the girl from 6th grade that never looked at me... lol
Maybe the N4 is very good but, if I don't win one in the contest I won't be able to put my hand on...

Uh… what? The N4 is probably the easiest to get. It's half the price (unlocked) of all the others. And it isn't really out of stock in many places anymore (I don't know of anywhere where the 16GB version is out of stock).

I'm bored of Touchwiz with its old looking big icons. The good thing is there are lots of roms for Samsung phones. Not a fan of the button the middle, so that is part of the reason I got my Nexus 4 and one x+ very cool late model phones. The Nexus 4 experience has been a huge headache though so I'm not sure if it was worth it

I own both the Note 2 and the SGS3, love them both. Tried many phones before I bought these two. IMO Samsung is the only phone manufacturer who is listening to their customers. We have been asking for larger batteries, storage, (int and ext) the Jelly Bean updates came very fast and they continue to update. Samsung has stepped up their game big time. I refuse to buy a top of the line phone with shit for storage. To me that is just pathetic. I wish the pros who get paid to show these devices off would have some stones and tell these manufacturers that these phones just don't cut the mustard. The only company that has really stepped up their game is Samsung. That is why I bought both the SGS3 and the Note 2. I just don't see anything else out there that has the software innovation, storage +,removable battery power and the rest of the specs are not too shabby either. Thank You Samsung.

I've been sporting the Note 2 for about 3 weeks and I *love* it. I was a little concerned about the size, but after a couple of days it really doesn't feel all that massive to me anymore. And the screen is quite beautiful. I've been an HTC guy for years, but I have to admit that Samsung has stolen me away with the Note 2.

I like HTC also but I've been looking at the Note every chance I get (love the size) so I will definitely be making that switch this Xmas. No other phone has intrigued me this much... Its calling my name...sorry EVO LTE.

TenshiNo, I'm an HTC guy also and LOVE the HD screen over the SIII Super Amoled. Howe does the Note II screen look compared to the HTC HD?

"As for Key Lime Pie, the next major version of Android, we'd be surprised to see that before the end of next year -- maybe Google I/O at the earliest, though that'd place early 2013 phones in the precarious position of being immediately in need of an update."

Android has been on a fairly steady release cycle of every 6 months with exceptions to the Cupcake -> Donut and Gingerbread -> Honeycomb release (which came even quicker!). I think it's safe to say that unless Google plans to do another tablet/phone only upgrade we will be seeing the next version in the first half of 2013.

Best Android Phones I can buy in 2012? Nexus can't be the top because you can't even buy it lol. Sold out of 8GB's and will be out of 16GB's for preorders until january secnod week.

(I'm late reading this, but I just wanted to say...) Thank you, Alex and Android Central for the information you've provided here. It's summed up very well and I appreciate it! And as for the future of mobile devices, especially Android, it's always promising. I'm looking forward to it and all the possibilities! Thank you!

"The Galaxy Note 2 is a whole-assed device."

Dumbest. Comment. Ever.

I suppose one-handed operation could be useful when watching pr0n ;-)

You guys are totally forgetting about the RAZR HD. At least here in Mexico the One X+ and the Nexus 4 are no where to be found, plus I've held the SGS3 and the One X and the Motorola RAZR HD feels premium compared to them. No plasticy feeling.

You forgot about the phone with the unique display - AKA the HTC Droid DNA. Still, the only reason I dislike it is because its not available internationally, well, that's what I've read. It's only available in US holding(Verizon) only.. If it's gonna be stocked out in Asia, I'd definitely pick this phone. And for people who complain about its storage limit, you've got the next-gen storage, which is the Cloud storage. Battery is limited also indeed, and you can't change/replace it, but 2020 mAh is moderately enough for most people. But other than that, size is great, display is amazing, design is outstanding. I just wish it's gonna be available worldwide... :(

Sorry Alex, had it been the One X I could almost have 'bought' your review, but against the One X+ I'm left wondering how much Samsung paid you?

HTC One X+ is a complete different story Alex!
Sorry, I disagree with you!
I have HTC One X and now have HTC One X+,
And though I never get bothered by the One X, the One X+ is a must buy!
Best gadget in many ways!
The feels, the looks, the sturdiness, the build quality and the software! Everything!