Engadget's holiday gift guide 2012: smartphones

Welcome to the Engadget holiday gift guide! Picking presents for friends and loved ones is never a simple task, and with thousands of options for each category, buying technology can be an especially frustrating experience. We're here to help. Below you'll find today's bevy of curated picks, and you can head back to our hub to see the rest of the product guides as they're added throughout the holiday season. And don't forget to enter our giveaway -- leave a comment for a chance to nab AT&T's LG Optimus G.

DNP Engadget's holiday gift guide 2012 smartphones

If you have any gadget junkies in your life, there's a good chance they're craving a new smartphone. Whether you're on a tight budget or have a fat wallet, simply look to our surefire list of the best and most unique mobile devices to place under the tree. But enough with the chatter... let's start shopping!

On the cheap


DNP Engadget's holiday gift guide 2012 smartphones

As luck would have it, one of our favorite smartphones of the year is currently an outright steal. The HTC One X for AT&T combines excellent performance, a fantastic camera and one of the best displays on the market into one stunning handset. We've little doubt that any gadget fan in your life will love the One X, which is set to get even better with an upgrade to Android 4.1. The same is true for its alter ego on Sprint, the EVO 4G LTE, which features much of what we love from the One X and adds to it a dedicated camera button, a larger battery, removable storage and a handy kickstand.

Key specs: 4.7-inch HD (1,280 x 720) S-LCD 2 display, 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4, 8-MP rear / 1.3-MP front cameras, 16GB built-in storage, Android 4.0.

Price: $0.01 (AT&T) or $20 (Sprint) at Amazon Wireless

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Motorola Droid RAZR M

The Droid RAZR M is an outright budget superstar. The phone boasts a speedy dual-core processor, dependable battery life and a fantastic still camera. Yes, it sports a sub-premium qHD display and the video camera is lackluster, but for the price this is an incredibly well-rounded smartphone.

Price: $0.01 (Verizon) at Amazon Wireless


Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G

Don't expect it to go toe to toe with our other budget contenders, but the Galaxy S Blaze 4G is an excellent value for T-Mobile customers. The phone offers robust performance, long battery life and excellent call quality. It also features a truly respectable camera.

Price: $20 (T-Mobile) from Wirefly


Galaxy S III

DNP Engadget's holiday gift guide 2012 smartphones

While most of us prefer HTC's high-end offerings at AT&T and Sprint, the Galaxy S III is an excellent smartphone in its own right. It also has the distinct advantage of being available for all of the major national carriers. The Galaxy S III boasts a spacious and beautiful display, an excellent camera, fantastic performance and solid battery life. Needless to say, it's certain to make any gadget lover giddy. Better yet, like the One X, the Galaxy S III is set to receive an upgrade to Jelly Bean in the near future.

Key specs: 4.8-inch HD (1,280 x 720) Super AMOLED display, 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4, 8-MP rear / 2-MP front cameras, 16GB or 32GB built-in storage, Android 4.0.

Price: $40 (Sprint), $100 (AT&T) or $60 (Verizon) at Amazon Wireless; $200 (T-Mobile) from Wirefly

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Motorola Droid RAZR HD

One of the most anticipated smartphones to debut this season is the Droid RAZR HD for Verizon Wireless. The device is a huge improvement over the original Droid RAZR, with excellent performance, a higher-res display and gobs of battery life.

Price: $150 at Amazon Wireless


Nokia Lumia 920

The Lumia 920 deserves special consideration for the shutterbug in your life, with a floating lens and sensor that bring unparalleled image stabilization and low-light performance. If the carrier is a deal-breaker, we're also big fans of the HTC 8X (on AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon).

Price: $70 at Amazon Wireless

Money's no object

iPhone 5

DNP Engadget's holiday gift guide 2012 smartphones

If you're looking to make this holiday season truly memorable for someone, the iPhone 5 is your go-to device. Available for AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and a number of regional carriers, Cupertino's latest ranks among the most sought-after smartphones of the year. It boasts snappy performance, a top-notch display, commendable battery life and an excellent camera -- all wrapped in a truly beautiful enclosure. If you're really willing to splurge, be sure to grab either the 32GB or 64GB model, which will allow your loved ones to fill their phones to the brim with their favorite movies, music and photos.

Key specs: 4-inch Retina (1,136 x 640) IPS display, 1.3GHz dual-core A6 processor, 8-MP rear / 1.2-MP front cameras, 16GB / 32GB / 64GB built-in storage, iOS 6.

Price: $199 (16GB), $299 (32GB) or $399 (64GB) from Apple

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Samsung Galaxy Note II

With its wicked-fast quad-core processor, the Note II is among the leaders of the pack in terms of sheer performance. It also boasts a beautiful and spacious HD display and an amazing camera. And then there's the S Pen, which lets you quickly jot down notes and annotate photos.

Price: $230 (Sprint), $250 (AT&T) at Amazon Wireless; $280 (Verizon), $300 (T-Mobile) at Wirefly


Nexus 4

For a pure Android experience, the Nexus 4 is tops. The unlocked phone's display and camera are miles ahead of the Galaxy Nexus. It costs a bit more than what you'd typically find on contract, but carriers like T-Mobile or Simple Mobile offer pricing incentives for bringing your own handset.

Price: $299 (8GB) or $349 (16GB) from Google


Engadget's holiday gift guide 2012 digital cameras
LG Optimus G

Ready to take home one of AT&T's hottest smartphones? Today's offering is the LG Optimus G, which packs a beautiful 4.7-inch True HD display and remains one of our top picks on the US carrier's LTE network. To enter for your chance to win, be sure to review our full guidelines, then leave a comment below.

The rules:

  • Leave a comment below. Any comment will do. Duplicate entries will be filtered out and discarded, so adding additional comments won't increase your likelihood of winning.

  • Contest is open to all residents of the 50 States and the District of Columbia, 18 or older! Sorry, we don't make this rule (we hate excluding anyone).

  • Winners will be chosen randomly. One winner will receive one (1) LG Optimus G.

  • If you are chosen, you will be notified by email. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen. Make sure that the account you use to enter the contest includes a contact email. Social media contact details are not carried over into our system.

  • This unit is purely for promotional giveaway. AT&T, LG and Engadget/AOL are not held liable to honor warranties, exchanges or customer service.

  • The full list of rules, in all its legalese glory, can be found here.

  • Entries can be submitted until December 31st, 2012 at 11:59PM ET. Good luck!