Best cell phones – iPhone, Android or is it even worth it??

So today my friend posted CNET’s review of Best Cellphones on his Facebook wall and what followed perennial argument between him and one of our friends about iPhone versus Samsung Galaxy. The excerpts of their discussion are below:

  • A: Royal family of phones headed by SGS III :D . I never said iPhone is not a good phone, but SGS II and III have simply outclassed it in every aspect. Agreed that iPhone has a lot more sales, but a lot of it is due to iSheep and the Apple brand’s wow-factor, and not coz its the best phone. Every year, more Nanos are sold as compared to Maybachs, that doesn’t mean that Nano is better. I’m waiting for WWDC 2012 before buying my next phone. It’s gonna be either iPhone 5 or SGS III, and the decision is gonna be purely based on head-to-head comparison.  Also, take a look at the growth in numbers witnessed by Samsung, and the way Android has gobbled up iOS market share. I just hope iPhone 5 bumps up the screen size from that tiny 3.5 inches, else it won’t even figure in my consideration list.
  • My friend:  But the thing is there are lot better cars than RR but the elegance of RR is unsurpassed. Similarly the cheap plastic Samsung can never compete with the elite iPhone build quality. Don’t know what WWDC says but common public even in India craves for iPhone :P
  • A: Yup, i agree…dont quite like the back of SGS III, but can live with it, in the larger scheme of things
  • Another Friend: Samsung is giving u all the features at a low cost..But that doesn’t make it better/superior than the iPhone..! Users across the Globe look for the best features at the lowest price… thats why Samsung is zooming ahead..! Who knows the future..May be 10 yrs down the line Samsung will wipe out all the other brands…but at present iPhone redefines Class & is the best Brand in the Market..! “You realise the value of an iPhone only if you own one “…So “A” (Considering the Royal family you belong to ) its high time you own an iPhone now..:D Stop chasing the Galaxy series..!

Here are my two cents on this topic:

what we witnessed on this thread is something i deal with on a constant basis – at work & at home. My 2 cents (on both platform as well as phones):
1. Android has surpassed iOS in market share because the number of handsets that support Android are way greater than iOS. While iOS it completely tied to underlying hardware (as was Mac in its nacent years), Android is more like linux – freely available, easily customizable, runs on any hardware. Hence, the widespread adoption of a mobile OS like Android makes sense once you understand that firmware development is also a contributing factor to BOM for any handset. Hence the numbers really don’t mean anything to me.

2. When Suyash says “more nanos are sold than Maybachs”, does he refer to iPod Nano or Tata Nano? I apologize for being dumb here. In any case his argument is flawed because if nano = iPod then you are comparing apples with oranges, and if nano = Tata Nano, then read my statement 1 above.

3. Continuing on the discussion of the platform (coming to handsets in a minute), Android has some serious design limitations when it comes to performing certain UI tasks. The concept of 3-4 buttons on the bottom of touch panel is completely obscure, non-intuitive and confusing for any novice to average person since most users are used to working with either buttons or touch but not a combination of both at the same time to complete a task. Lack of mature SDK and APIs makes it harder for developers to develop applications (I develop for both platforms). Lack of a well curated application distribution environment is another issue I identify with Android resulting in mass distribution of below average and unsupported applications. Bear in mind, I am not advocating the tight-fisted ruling of Apple when it comes to distribution on App Store. The costs are often prohibitive and some terms just bizzare. However, the insistence on adhering to quality guidelines makes all the difference.

4. Coming to the handsets. I went through the link that Arjun posted. One thing that I really can’t understand is why do reviewers keep losing focus on what they really want to emphasize. Simply the presence of n-MP camera doesn’t make the handset really good, neither does the support of “Fast 4G-LTE”. One of the most annoying comparisons I have seen is on the T-Mobile website for instance (http://explore.t-mobile.com/verizon-att-sprint/). A clear case of “mis-comparisons” where different phones from different networks are being compared against each other in performance tests like download speeds and streaming. One must understand that we are again comparing “apples with oranges”. When you compare iPhone on ATT with some HTC on T-Mobile, the network conditions as well as the platform changes. A best comparison for handset performance can be achieved only if you compare two handsets (same or different platform) on the same network against each other by running same tests. To compare network performance, use same handset on two different networks and run same tests.

5. The combination of things that make up a good phone are IMHO:
a. Processing speed – High-end Android phones from Samsung and Motorola fare better here
b. RAM
c. Cache
d. Display – Apple’s patented Retina Display provides crispier and better images in any condition than even the lates OLED displays on Samsung phones
e. UI responsiveness – most Android phones continue to be sluggish
f. Usage and navigation ease for performing common tasks
g. Organization of content – Android does a poor job
h. Inutitive UI – Android does a poor job again
i. Peripherals – Any camera more than 5MP on a phone is a waste. We do NOT need those Megapixels. we need a larger sensor.

6. Accessibility features like TTS, STT, C2DM, Google checkout, etc. really dont mean anything while comparison – Apple is catching up with introduction of Siri but still has some way to go. But ask yourself, how often do you use Siri to schedule appointments and search, or how often do you browse the web on your Android phone using voice? The answer will be “almost never” (may be “regularly” or “often” by tech savvy GMs out there – but you are a small bunch :P ).

7. Finally going back to where this all started to choose between iPhone(4S/5) or SGS(II/III), I would still prefer iPhone because
a. Competitive processing speed, ram, cache
b. Superior display
c. Nurtured AppStore
d. Better UI responsiveness and more intuitive UI
e. I can still keep my data mine if I choose not to use any Google services on the phone and turn off location
f. Finally the “wow-factor” of owning Apple

Your thoughts, comments are welcome.

4 thoughts on “Best cell phones – iPhone, Android or is it even worth it??

  1. Priyanka

    In any case, Apple still wins the race.. A few of its drawbacks are also its strengths (For eg. The tied up architecture and the constrained AppStore).

    Samsung may have a good hardware to boast of but Android limits its own devices in many ways.

    And the key point in the iPhone vs Galaxy war is that people don’t mind paying a little more if they are getting an awesome AppStore. They are not just paying for the phone but also what is offered by the brilliant range apps on the Store.

    Reply
  2. alok

    Thanks Kalpesh for such a nice read. Here is my view about smartphone:-

    I own sony xperia arc, and I am satisfied with it till now. I use it for browsing mostly, listening music and sometimes for game. It has decent camera of 8MP, good enough for day to day photo, and if anyone want better than this he might need a SLR not mobile, for browsing built in app is good enough as others app has same feature and they just clutter the screen space again if some one need better browsing experience he needs iPad or Laptop. Sound hardware is same as of now it also depends on headphone or earphone you are going to use and again if you need better sound then lots of home theater options are available in the market. For all these function 1GHz scorpion processor is good enough.

    Reply
    1. kalpeshpadia Post author

      @Alok: I agree with you. For the same reason I haven’t upgraded to a smartphone for personal use yet. I develop for both platforms and use both daily but at the end of the day go back to my dumb phone… :)

      Reply
  3. Kartik Sankaran

    It’s a personal choice about which phone is better. I like Android because it ties with my gmail and google account so well, in spite of slower UI. Same thing with windows versus Linux. Neither is better than the other. For program measurement I use Linux. Windows for code writing, docs, and normal stuff.

    PS I hate both Samsung galaxy S range and iPhone for it’s flat screen design. Prefer my nexus S ;) that’s again a personal choice :)

    Reply

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