Although Samsung's Galaxy S3 smartphone outsold Apple's iPhone 5 in 2012, that was not enough of a feat to land Samsung's flagship consumer electronics device on Time magazine's annual list of the year’s best gadgets. Instead, Time named the iPhone 5 the best gadget of 2012 on a list that surprisingly excluded Galaxy S3.

Time’s Harry McCracken praised the iPhone 5 as a piece of art and credited the device’s superiority to the way in which Apple melds its hardware, software, design and services altogether. According to McCracken: 

“The iPhone 5, which starts at $199 with a two-year contract, is one of the most artfully polished gadgets anyone’s ever built, with a taller screen than previous iPhones built into a thinner, lighter case … There are lots of nifty smartphones out there, including the iPhone’s impressive arch rival, Samsung’s Galaxy S III. But when it comes to melding hardware, software and services so tightly that the seams fade away, Apple still has no peer.”

While some tech enthusiasts may not agree with everything on McCracken’s list, naming the iPhone 5 as the gadget of the year probably sounds reasonable to the many.

“I would argue that the iPhone 5 is more than worthy of the number one spot,” Cody Lee of iDownloadBlog said. “Remember, the list isn’t just based on innovation or capabilities. It’s more-so based on the public perception of the product and its impact on the market. And on those fronts, the phone is doing exceptionally well.”

John Koetsier of Venture Beat pointed out that although the iPhone 5’s strong sales figures helped Apple's iOS regain the lead position among mobile operating systems in November, the iPhone 5 still won’t outsell the Samsung Galaxy S3, “at least, in 2012 sales numbers.” Samsung launched the Galaxy S3 in the summer and by early November it had sold more than 18 million of them.

However, Koetsier argued that the list of top 10 gadgets in question “is a prestigious indicator that Apple is still in the smartphone market leader position in terms of overall device and operating system quality.”

The list interestingly didn’t include any of the Apple tablets, despite consumers' and critics' warm reception to the iPad mini in October and the third generation iPad with Retina display in March.

The iPhone 5 was followed by the Nintendo Wii U, which placed second on Time's list, and the Sony CyberShot RX100, which came in third. The small computer-on-a-USB-stick Raspberry Pi Model B and the Lytro camera, the very first consumer camera based on light-field technology, completed the top five positions.

McCracken placed Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display in the sixth spot, praising the device as a “joy to use.” The next on the list was Microsoft Surface with Windows RT, which, according to him, “is so slick that it leaves you rooting for RT to take off.”

Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 2 “phablet” placed 8th, followed by Nest and Simple.TV.

Here’s the full list of the top 10 gadgets of 2012, selected by Time:

1. iPhone 5

2. Nintendo Wii U

3. Sony Cyber-shot RX100

4. Raspberry Pi Model B

5. Lytro

6. Apple 15″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display

7. Microsoft Surface with Windows RT

8. Samsung Galaxy Note 2

9. Nest

10. Simple.TV

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