Sandy Berger: Choosing Between iPhone and Android
It may be time for me to purchase a new cell phone. I currently have no contract on my cell phone number, so I am free to buy whatever phone I like, from whatever carrier I choose.
Because I review cell phones, you might think that buying a new cell phone for my own use would be easy. In the past year, I have used and assessed at least 15 of the most popular phones. Surely there should be one phone that stands out. Surely I should have a favorite.
Yet that is not the case. Each phone and each operating system has many different pluses and minuses. Since I am not a big fan of the Windows Mobile cell phones, the choice for me comes down to choosing between the Apple iPhone and one of the many Android phones that are now available.
The Android operating system is upgraded several times a year and new Android phones are released all the time. Apple, however, only releases a new iPhone and a big update to its iOS operating system once a year. The new iPhone and iOS updates were just released last week.
So in comparing Apple and Android, I would now be comparing the most current phones and operating systems for each.
Since it is so new, I haven’t yet been able to review the new iPhone 4S. However, I have reviewed previous iPhones. I have also installed Apple’s new iOS 5 operating system on my iPad, so I have been able to take an in-depth look at most of the new features that will be on the new iPhone. Now I am ready to make my list of the benefits of each so I can make a decision.
There is no doubt that the camera on the new iPhone is superior to almost all the Android phone cameras. Also with iOS 5, you can take pictures from the lock screen, making it easier to snap a quick photo. The retinoid screen on the iPhone is superior to most Android phones. The exception is the Samsung line of phones with AMOLED screens that rival the clarity and crispness of the iPhone screen.
Apple’s new iCloud service will automatically back up your iPhone to Apple’s servers and let you sync your iPhone, iPad and Mac computer. While using iCloud is easier than some of the Android syncing and backup solutions, there were things that I didn’t like about iCloud. For instance, you can’t actually see your data in the Cloud as you can with solutions like Amazon’s or Google’s online storage.
One of Apple’s biggest features is iTunes and the iTunes store. iTunes makes getting music and video on your iPhone easier than any Android application I’ve seen. At this time, both the Android Marketplace and the iTunes App Store have hundreds of thousands of apps. The iTunes App Store, however, makes it easier to find the apps that you want.
Also because of Apple’s stricter app reviews, its apps are more secure. However, the Android Marketplace has a higher percentage of free apps.
Some of the new features on Apple’s new iPhone are already available on Android phones. The most prominent of these is the notification center that Apple just added. This is a feature of Android that has been around for a long time and that I love. Now in either operating system, you can just swipe your finger down from the top of the phone to see all of your alerts, notifications, incoming messages and incoming email.
The most unique feature of the new iPhone is Siri, a personal assistant that will answer verbal questions you ask. This could, no doubt, be very useful and entertaining. I have a feeling that I would really like Siri.
But Android phones already have voice capabilities. They use Google’s voice search. Most screens that pop up a keypad for text entry also have a small microphone. Just press the microphone and speak. It is amazingly accurate and you can use it for everything from entering email text to searching to navigating to a point on the map.
My biggest disappointment with the new iPhone is that it is 3G. It does not take advantage of the faster 4G network. Right now, the fastest phone for data will be the Android 4G phones that run on a 4G LTE network. Verizon currently has the only 4G LTE network in our area, but the iPhone 4S doesn’t take advantage of it.
Android phones also have some things I love that are not available on iPhones. The first of these is that you can get a larger screen size on an Android. All iPhones currently have a 3.5-inch screen. Several good Android phones have 4.3-inch screens. My aging eyes really like the larger screens.
I also like the four buttons on the bottom of the Android screen. These are very, very useful. There is a back key, a menu key, a home key and a search key. They are always available. They do not change when the screen changes.
The iPhone has just one button. Some will argue that this makes the phone easier to use. Yet, this is not always the case. In some applications, it is impossible to go back a screen. In others, there is an on-screen back button, but the location of this button varies with each application. With Android, you can always go back to the previous screen with just one press.
The Android operating system also is more customizable. With Apple, you are restricted to small square apps. With Android, you can use many different resizable widgets as well as the standard apps. Android phones also have user-replaceable batteries, while an iPhone battery must be replaced by Apple at a greater cost. While this might not be important to the average user, to me, as a heavy-duty user, it may make a difference.
Well, these are just a few of the pluses and minuses. Will it be an iPhone with a great screen, a wonderful camera, iTunes and Siri, or an Android phone with a larger screen, voice search and useful buttons? Or do I avoid the whole smart phone frenzy and wait for the next new model? Come back next week to find out.
Contact Sandy Berger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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