Yes, Samsung Galaxy S3 is hands-down the best gadget of 2012, closely followed by Apple’s iPhone 5, that’s what editors found when preparing the list of their annual “100 biggest tech stories of the year.” CNET’s top seven editors locked themselves in a room for three days. In their brainstorming session to find the best new products, news stories, or even emerging trends, only one name emerged victorious: Samsung Galaxy S3.

Samsung Galaxy S III

Apple’s iPhones have dominated the list for years, but the steady growth of Android software and popularity of Samsung products finally brought the honor to Galaxy S3. It’s available almost everywhere in the world, on every carrier, GS3 is a really global phone. Most importantly, its affordable price makes Galaxy S3 a worldwide hero.

The iPhone 5 was a close second, perhaps it lost the top spot because of the Maps app debacle. The launch of every Apple product is full of hype, and this was the iPhone people have been craving, except the erroneous maps. It was followed by Google’s Nexus 7 that was launched with anticipation to differentiate Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in the crowd of tablets. Nexus 7’s Android 4.2 OS, a vivid 1280×800-pixel-resolution screen, and competitive price of $199, make it a superior small tablet.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPad Mini, though a latecomer, occupied the fourth spot in the list. The small tablet market was already dominated by Kindle Fire HD, Nexus 7, and Nook HD, but iPad Mini has performed impressively, thanks to an impeccable finish, light weight, and slightly wider screen.

A big surprise was the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, which occupied fifth spot in the list. CNET editors said they picked a smartphone from last January, because it sets a new benchmark for battery-life expectations. During the tests, Droid Razr Maxx’s battery life was 30 percent higher than the closest competitor.

It was about gadgets. Among the most influential tech products of the year, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8 leads the pack. Microsoft’s Surface tablet and MakerBot’s Replicator 3D also made it to the top ten. In the top ten, the first seven products were tablets and smartphones, demonstrating the growing importance of mobile devices.

What’s your choice – Galaxy S3 or iPhone 5? Do you think S3 is the worthy winner?