Posted by Dan at 01th January 2013

What’s Best? Android or iPhone?

In the REAL world which is the better Smartphone: Android or iPhone’s iOS?

Every year I buy the latest handsets and tablets regardless of flavour to see who is doing what well and keep my fingers firmly in technology’s digital an*s.

December 2012 I bought an an HTC OneX + and an iPhone 5 to explore and rate the market leading handsets and operating systems side by side. (I’m ignoring Windows for now. It’s cute but too little too late so far…)

Head or Heart?

iPhone 5HTC One X+

It’s all such an emotive subject in tech circles and shouldn’t be really. It’s a freaking telephone! But as manufacturers can’t distinguish on features they have to shift marketing efforts from head to heart I guess (Apple has lived comfortably in this ‘heart’ space since 1984).

Since the incandescent iPhone 5 release last year, I’ve not been particularly impressed with any of the reviews for either platform. Ad hype and fanboys are still emotionally driving the rhetoric surrounding both platforms. Not their technical capability, usability or real world functionality. I’m all for an emotional purchase but come on chaps, come back to product, differentiate, focus on the technology and how it can improve our lives.

Right. Admission time. Since 2007 my handset of choice has been an iPhone and it’s remained in my Kung-Fu grip since then. But hopefully I’ve managed to remain impartial in this review.

Here are my findings. Let me know if you agree:

ios-logoAndroidBattery Life

Battery takes age to charge on my HTC but lasts only marginally longer. There really is nothing in it. With both handsets you will only just about get a full days use with moderate usage – Draw

Touchscreen/Keyboard

This is a difficult one to score as I’ve used iOS more, but I can’t help but find the Android Keyboard on my HTC a little fumblier. Is it just me? I really don’t think so. Copy and paste on Android is a behatch. ‘Select all’ not available! Lumpy scroll – iOS

Apps

My guiding light: How do the same Apps feel across both platforms? Any clangers? I use what I reckon are pretty standard Apps: Skype, Hootsuite, Google Maps, National Rail, Whatsapp, Spotify, ’email’, Dropbox, ‘sms’, Chrome, Instagram, Calendar. Apps crash more often on Android (once per week compared to once a month on iOS if that) and they need more management. Hootsuite feels very 90s and clunky. No week view in Cal and you have to guess the day on input, Gmail is horrible… You know what, I’ll stop there… iOS whips butts in this category – iOS

Signal StrengthAndroid

I reckon Android may just take this one. The signal ‘feels’ slightly better in any locale, but it’s just as unresponsive to location change (DO ignore the arbitrary aerial symbols on both systems. You can make crystal clear calls with 0 bars and enjoy a wobbly ‘a li e n’ conversation with 5) – Android

iOSAndroidScreen

Size, clarity and quality on the HTC is just sublime BUT the touch accuracy is not so great – Draw

AndroidVoice Control

Google speech recognition is SO much better than Siri. It just works – Android

ios-logoHardware Quality

The iPhone is pure quality although with its new lightweight frame feels almost as toy’ish as the HTC – iOS

ios-logoApp Stores

Google Play is awe of the full compared to the Apple App Store. Yes we can talk about value for money but really?! I’d rather pay a few pennies more for quality and I will ignore the whole closed vs. open argument Droiders throw around. If you want quality there needs to be control. It’s just a proven fact – iOS

ios-logoAndroid

Cameras

Ooh, difficult one this. In daytime the HTC is more responsive and delivers better quality images but the iPhone is a better all rounder – Draw

iOSThe Rest

  • Android’s ‘Optimise Battery Power’ option is a bit baffling. Shouldn’t this be automatic? I can’t tell difference in either setting.
  • Lack of refinement on Android. A dear friend calls it ‘bitty’.
  • My HTC randomly ran flat over night (80% charge at snooze)
  • Android often failed to send mails on any account.
  • Post OS updates, App shortcuts can disappear from Android home screen.
  • The social and ‘people’ integrations are great on Android.
  • In Android names in People search can’t be the business or associated words.
  • Oh and Apple shares have slid on poor 5 sales this week. Interesting.

Conclusion

So iPhone beats the Android HTC 8 to 5. 

Have I been fair?

Windows Mobile and BB10 next. Let’s see how they do.

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