It's been one hell of a year for the smartphone industry, and 2012 produced some of the biggest and most unique innovations to date. More important than the increase in pixel density or the additional processing cores, though, is the progress we've seen in the quality of non-flagship devices. Prior to 2012, shopping for a smartphone on a budget meant you were going to have to make some serious sacrifices in terms of both hardware and software, and if you were a customer of a small or regional carrier, you may as well just buy a Tracfone. All that has changed, though, and today we're seeing increasingly impressive internals and designs hitting the entry and mid-level market.
Motorola deserves a lot of recognition for this, as it single-handedly changed the way I thought of non-flagship devices with its recent Droid RAZR M. The RAZR M blew me away in terms of how well it performed and how stunning it looked for the price-- this was as a mid-level device with specs that could have easily landed it in top-shelf territory on any other carrier. Thankfully, Motorola thought the same, and brought a nearly identical and equally impressive package, the Electrify M, to US Cellular's increasingly impressive lineup.