The year is winding down, and like clockwork, TIME Magazine has released its annual collection of 55 lists showcasing the best and the worst of the past 12 months. And as you’ve probably already gleaned from the title, the publication has named the iPhone 5 its ‘Gadget of the Year.’

Apple’s handset beat out several rival products from Samsung and Microsoft, including the Note II and the Surface tablet, as well as Nintendo’s new Wii U gaming console. In fact, author Harry McCracken says that it’s is one of the most artfully polished gadgets anyone’s ever built…

Here’s an excerpt from McCracken’s post:

“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 archrival, 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.”

I don’t think anyone can argue with the first point. The iPhone 5 is easily one of the best-looking gadgets on the market — I still can’t bring myself to keep mine in a case. And as far as performance goes, the handset is as good or better than any other flagship model from the competition.

But is it good enough to take the crown as the best gadget of 2012? Well here, take a look at the other products in the top 10 list:

  1. Apple iPhone 5
  2. Nintendo Wii U
  3. Sony Cyber-shot RX100
  4. Raspberry Pi Model B
  5. Lytro camera
  6. Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
  7. Microsoft Surface with Windows RT
  8. Samsung Galaxy Note II
  9. Nest Learning thermostat
  10. Simple.TV

I would argue that the iPhone 5 is more than worthy of the number one spot. 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.

Back in September, Apple announced that it had sold more than 5 million iPhone 5s during its opening weekend. And it has since rolled out the handset to nearly 100 countries, including big launches in India and now China. Overall, it’s expected to sell 40+ million iPhones this quarter.

What do you think, should the iPhone 5 be 2012’s ‘Gadget of the Year?’