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Monday, January 17 2011

Android Vs. The iPhone 4

I Switched from an iPhone 4 to an Android.  In my last blog post, I spoke about how I drank the Kook-Aid and upgraded my iPhone 3g to an iPhone 4.  I must say, that I don't regret that decision--  the iPhone is very cool, and works very well--  however, it violates a very basic principle, core to my character--  I'm cheap. 

So when MetroPCS launched their new program, which now covers 90% of the United States for $50/month, I had to pause.  The MetroPCS service includes:  unlimited calls, unlimited texting, and unlimited internet on a CDMA network (the same technology Verizon uses--  At&t is a GSM network along with T-Mobile). For the record, I was paying between $160 and $175 a month on my iPhone, which included internet (up to 2gb), internet tethering, and up to 200 text messages per month (which I pretty routinely exceeded). 

So just before Christmas, I took the plunge, once one of my new co-workers, Ben McDaniel, did it first.  I bought the LG Optimus phone, one of two Androids that MetroPCS offers, and it is running Android V. 2.2.  So I had a bit of time to play with the thing, and then purchased one.  Here's my conclusion:

The Android is 99% as good as an iPhone...
And better than the iPhone in some areas.

There are a few features that the iPhone comes with that the particular Android phone I have does:

  • Visual voicemail:  Visual voicemail is not a standard feature on the Android, however there is an app that creates it for free.
  • Facetime:  While I can say that the one time I used it in the past 6 months on my iPhone, it was cool--  it's not all that practical, more because it is only available in a wifi setting.  Most of my calling is done in a car--  which makes Facetime impossible, so I have to say, that losing this feature was not a big deal to me.
  • Battery Life:  As stated in an earlier blog post, the iPhone 4's battery life is unsurpassed, and although my Android battery is good, it still does not rival my iPhone 4's.
  • Keyboard:  The keyboard is easier to type on then my Android, however type correction BLOWS on the iPhone (see below).

There are also some things that the Android does BETTER than my iPhone:

  • Voice Searching, voice navigation, and Voice to Text:  The voice to text features are completely integrated on my Android, and the ability to translate voice to text is more accurate on my Android. 
  • On my Android, with no other apps installed I can: 
    • Voice the address I want to go to in maps and auto navigate to a location I dictate to the maps app.
    • Voice any text message I want to and have it immediately translate that into a text message.  Huge bonus considering the new "no texting while driving" laws.
    • Search for anything by voice on the 'net and also on my Androind phone.
    • These things may sound insignificant, but I gotta tell you, they're immensely practical, and voice recognition accuracy on the Android far supersedes that on the iPhone 4.  If I had a dime for every time my fingers whiffed typing in an address on my iPhone I'd be rich.
  • Controlling my desktop and customizations.  Are all far better on my Android. 
  • Playing Media is way easier, and downloading it to my phone is easier.  Amazon.mp3 integrates as well with the Android as iTunes does with the iPhone, and better yet, there is no DRM (Digital Rights Management) on any of the songs I download from them--  meaning that I can play those songs on ANY DEVICE, without Big Brother Apple telling me when and where I can use them, and without the necessity of iTunes.  BTW... for the record...  iTunes sucks.  What a terrible program.  If I had a dime for every time it erased my playlists when I upgraded to the newer version (which comes out every other week), or every time it automatically duplicated songs/entries (or deleted songs/entries), I'd be a rich man.  Again, iTunes stinks.
  • Spell Correction:  While the keyboard is not necessarily easier to type on in my Droid, I will see it's not a whole lot more difficult than the iPhone either.  My guess is on Androids with bigger screens than mine, typing is better.  The real win though, is in the spell correct on the Android.  It's awesome, and it works real well.  It gives you options on which words to choose, and I love it.
  • And the real biggy--  *I've Only Dropped ONE CALL on my Android with MetroPCS in the last 4 weeks*.  That has NEVER HAPPENED with my iPhone.  I moved from a Verizon phone to At&t when I first purchased my iPhone 3g, and started dropping calls immediately.  The difference between At&t's service and Verizon's was night and day.  I would literally drop at least 2 calls per day on my iPhone with At&t service. I had forgotten what good cell phone service was like. With the launching of the Verizon iPhone, I guess we'll finally find out if it's the phone or the service with At&t.  As an almost 3 year iPhone user my hunch is this:  I suspect both are a problem, and do not expect the iPhone's call dropping issues to just vanish with the migration to Verizon.  Certainly my Android does not have these issues.  I will say, in complete honesty that the 3g internet surfing is faster on my iPhone than it is on my Android.  This, I'm sure is a function of the network.
  • Cost:  Now in defense of At&t's nationwide network, there is no roaming at all in the U.S.  While Metro covers most major cities with no roaming, and a sizeable portion of the U.S., particularly east of the Mississippi, you can occasionally find yourself in a roaming area at a flat rate of .19 cents per minute.  So far, this hasn't been an issue, and I'd have to do a heck of a lot of out-of-area calling monthly to make up the $125 per month difference between the two services.  THAT'S A CAR PAYMENT. 

As for apps, I'll say this.  There are NO business apps on my iPhone that I couldn't find for my Android.  The ONLY apps that were missing were, quite frankly, games--  and I rarely game with my phone.  So the lack of gaming apps for my Android is not an issue for me either.  With Android holding 23% of the smarphone market, and iPhone holding 24% of the smartphone market, I expect Android gaming to catch up quickly.  The few games I did have that were not available for my Android, when I checked for them, most of the companies said that an Android version was currently under development.  So... I'd consider this inconsequential. 

So, All in all I'll say this:  I Don't Miss My iPhone.

BTW.... I have an iPhone 4 in immaculate condition for sale.  It has no scratches, and has never been used outside of it's screen protector or its case.  Contact me if you're interested!


John Lehmberg

Posted by: John Lehmberg AT 12:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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