in Reviews, X-Geek

Dueling phones: iPhone vs. Android

As luck would have it, I have been issued a company cellphone, an iPhone. Company policy is that all mobile phones accessing corporate resources have to have a self-destruct app installed. Thus, if I don’t want to expose my personal smartphone to potential destruction (does it say “this message will self destruct…” before smoke pours out?) I must carry two. While this is inconvenient, having both an iPhone and an Android has given me insight on the two that I wouldn’t ordinarily have.

My thoughts? What, did you expect to come to MT.Net and not get my thoughts? Here’s what I think about the two platforms:

Speed – advantage iPhone. My new 5s runs rings around my Samsung Galaxy Epic 4G Touch. That’s not surprising since my Samsung is positively ancient.

Battery life – advantage iPhone. I can’t go through one work day without killing the battery in my Samsung. My iPhone, on the other hand, seems able to go multiple days without a charge. No contest here. I don’t know if it’s because the iPhone doesn’t have true multitasking or if it’s the better screen. Whatever it is it’s pure magic.

User Interface – advantage Android. iOS buttons look cartoonish after using Androids for so long. I also hate not having a settings button on the iPhone – I’ve gotten used to that on my Android. Also, I can’t understand why Apple makes you reach all the way up to the top of the screen to click menu buttons. This is clumsy. The spartan interface sometimes makes it confusing to figure out how to work apps. If I were just starting out with smartphones I would feel lost with an iPhone.

App stores – advantage Android. Google Play has more free apps than iPhone, it seems. One app in Apple’s App Store was $10. I don’t think I’ve ever paid that much for an Android app, but then again I’m a cheapskate. Also I love the number of open source apps at Google Play.

Music playback – advantage Android. While others may love it, I chafe at Apple’s walled garden approach to its products. I have a number of MP3s I want to play on my new phone but to do that requires me to install the bloated, confusing iTunes app. Really, Apple?

Screen – advantage iPhone. This one surprised me. I have gotten used to my Samsung Galaxy IIs big screen and thought my smaller iPhone screen would disappoint. Instead, my iPhone’s screen is bright, clear, and very readable. It’s screen glass (Gorilla Glass) seems tougher than the screen glass on my Samsung. Not to mention, a smaller screen helps with battery life. In this case I don’t mind downsizing screens.

Coverage – advantage iPhone. Not really a platform-specific thing but worth mentioning. My Samsung uses Ting’s network, with uses Sprint’s network. Many people hate AT&T (and I have my own checkered history with AT&T) but as sucky as AT&T is it still has a better network than Sprint’s. I love Ting, too – it’s an awesome mobile phone company – but Ting’s reliance on Sprint is its Achille’s Heel.

Reliability – advantage iPhone. My Samsung was bought second-hand and either crashes regularly or runs incredibly hot for no apparent reason (some more paranoid tech geeks consider these phone hot flashes to be due to tracking software but I won’t go there). On the other hand, my iPhone keeps its cool annd hasn’t wigged out on me. Yet, anyway.

Text entry – advantage Android. This might better fit under the user interface category but I feel it’s so important it deserves its own. I hate, hate, hate typing on my iPhone! Hate it. It seems so backwards now that I’ve gotten used to Swype on Android. Swype is like cursive for texting. Your finger glides across the keyboard and the software predicts the word you’re forming. And it’s fast, too. I can actually compose messages using Swype on my Android phone nearly as fast as I could type them on a real keyboard. Seriously. Hunting and pecking on the iPhone is like going back to the Stone Age. I consider this a serious Apple fail, a rare stumble for a company that prides itself on its user interface design. It would be one thing if Apple offered an alternative, too, but Swype is not available for the iPhone and the next best thing, path text apps, are just editor apps and do not actually replace the iPhone’s keyboard input method. Not being able to efficiently enter data into a smartphone severely weakens its value and this alone will surely annoy me as long as Apple neglects it. It’s a pity, actually.

These are my thoughts after three weeks of dueling phones. I’ll share more as I go.

  1. I just switched from iPhone to Android – the LG G2 on T-Mobile. You may find several of the hardware related advantages are nullified by having newer hardware. My G2 has better battery life and an a screen that is almost equal to the iPhone.

    Heat is an issue for any phone using GPS, and the g2 on kitkat seems to get warm about as often as my iPhone 5 on iOS 7 did.

    I’m still getting used to the idea of swype, let alone using it, but it is pretty nifty. I expect once I get it into my workflow, I’ll never want to type again. 🙂

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