iPhone vs Android A few months ago, I got my first iPhone. Before that, I was using the Android Incredible (a phone very similar to the iPhone in that it is a sleek touch screen smart phone). Moving from an Android to an iPhone was not as easy a transition as you might think. When I got the Incredible in the spring of 2009, the iPhone 3S was scheduled to be released for AT&T, but Apple had yet to partner with Verizon, my carrier of choice. I wasn’t willing to leave Verizon, and after reading some articles on Engadget and PCWorld (didn’t know I was that much of a geek, did ya?) I decided that while the iPhone might be the crème de la crème of smartphones, Android was doing a fair job of providing some stiff competition. So I eagerly ordered my Incredible and entered the world of smartphone users (I was switching after using a Blackberry for a couple of years and a Palm Pre Plus for a few months.) I was delighted with my new Android smartphone. My techie husband pointed out some of the features that I might have otherwise missed, and I learned how to get the most out of my new gadget. Learning to type on a touch screen was a bit of a challenge, but I soon had the hang of it, and I loved the web browsing and the ease of use. The thing I loved the most about my Android device was the free voice-led navigation by Google Maps and the Siri-like voice activation feature that was way ahead of its time (or at least Apple’s time, heh.) I also loved how well it integrated with my multiple Gmail accounts and Google apps — which I use often. Soon the iPhone came to Verizon, but I looked at them with indifference. I knew that I had a great phone, and while it wasn’t quite as pretty or as trendy as the iPhone, I relied too heavily on the navigation app to really consider switching. So, what changed? The the iPhone 4 was released in the summer of 2010, and it quickly started showing up in the hands of my tech-savvy friends. Is it okay to think an electronic device is beautiful? I loved the 4th generation redesign, and I started looking at the iPhone in a new light. In social media circles, the iPhone is simply the smartphone to have. And I’ll be honest, it’s hard to eschew that culture forever. And honestly, it IS a pretty phone. white iphone 4s When the 4S debuted, the contract on my Incredible was almost up for renewal, and I was ready for a new toy. (Hey you know me, I like to call a spade a spade.) For about two weeks, I found a reason to stop into every Verizon store I passed. (It didn’t help that I was shopping for a phone for my son’s birthday present.) I would stroke the pretty iPhones and gaze at them longingly. Then with great sorrow I would put them back down and walk away . . . Until finally I was in a store where the salesguy made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse. He offered me $72 for my Incredible on a trade-in, and that sealed the deal. I ordered my pretty white iPhone 4S and waited anxiously for it to arrive. When I made the switch, I got all the anticipated remarks . . . YOU WILL LOVE IT! IT’S ABOUT TIME! YOU’LL NEVER GO BACK! Which just made me want to poke my eyes out with a dull object. People are so brainwashed by the Apple culture. And hear me, y’all. THIS is from the girl with two Apple computers and two iPods (and that doesn’t include my husband’s two MacBooks, his iPad and my son’s iPod Shuffle.) I am a fan of Apple. I AM. But the iPhone is NOT the only good smartphone out there. In fact, it’s not even the best. BUT IT IS DEFINITELY THE PRETTIEST. Even Steve Wozniak agrees. Here’s my take on the issue. iPhone 4S vs Android Incredible | A Comparison Navigation Android has, hands down, the best free built-in navigation. You get Google Maps with voice- activated directions (basically it’s a built in GPS) and it’s fantastic. There is no app, built-in, or for purchase, that comes anywhere NEAR the quality of the one that comes on Android phones. END. OF. STORY. If you’ve never had an Android phone, don’t EVEN try to tell me that you can find a comparable app. YOU CAN’T. And also? You could speak to it, and it would take you where you want to go — SO much quicker and safer than trying to type it in when you’re driving. (Don’t even try and tell me you haven’t tried to do that. For the record. I do pull over. But my point is, with the Incredible, I didn’t have to.) I stand corrected. You can speak to it. WOOHOO!!! In all fairness, I knew what I was giving up when I made the switch. And I have to believe that the iPhone will catch up sometime. Meanwhile, I have tried several apps and the one I prefer is WAZE. It is FREE. And it talks to you like a regular GPS (the built-in MapQuest app does not, as far as I know.) It does a pretty good job avoiding traffic and choosing the correct route. And it is actually a community, not just a GPS app, which is kind of nifty. Touch Screen When it comes to the touch screen, Apple wins. Even articles that I read in techie publications that love Android phones will admit that for some reason, the iPhone screen is more accurate, even though it’s considerably smaller than the newest Android offerings. And the quality of the graphics are gorgeous too. (I personally prefer a smaller phone, and while the Incredible was a nice size, most new Androids are HUGE. They seem much more suited for a man’s hands than mine.) Voice Recognition All the hoopla about Siri is just that — hoopla. This is another example of how Android was and still is WAY ahead of Apple (with all due respect to the brilliance of Steve Jobs). The voice recognition works MUCH better on the Android phones I’ve used (my Incredible and my husband’s Droid X.) Siri has been nothing but a disappointment to me. The only area in which I do find her to be somewhat accurate is in sending reminders. I love the reminders feature on my iPhone. Notifications Suck on iPhone and are fabulous on Android. I just finally turned off my notifications on my iPhone, it was so annoying after I was accustomed to Android’s. Android allowed so much more customization, and you could do it within each app, without having to go back to the Settings for everything. Android is simply a much smarter phone when it comes to notifications. Gmail & Google Docs I realize that not everyone relies on Gmail like I do, but I have multiple accounts that I use regularly. I also live by my Google Docs. Because Android is a Google device, it is no great surprise that it integrates much better with Google Docs than the iPhone. The iPhone has as Gmail app that is decent. I was already familiar with it from my iPod Touch, and I’m glad that I was because the adjustment period was fairly short. My biggest complaint about Gmail on iPhone is that it does not allow you to be logged into more than one Gmail account (you can when using the iPhone email app, but then you don’t get the features of Gmail that you are used to — and you can’t set different notifications for each account. See the section on Notifications above.) My solution was to use the Gmail app for one Gmail account and the iPhone email app for the other Gmail account. It’s a lame workaround, but it does the trick. (NOTE: the all powerful iPhone should not require lame workarounds.) Usability If you are new to the world of smartphones, and especially if you aren’t particularly tech-savvy, you are going to love the iPhone. It’s intuitive and easy to use. BUT. If you have had an Android, which is so much smarter in many ways than the iPhone, then you will probably be frustrated by the iPhone. That said, after using it for almost three months, I have adjusted. Camera Every phone is different, so I can only speak to my iPhone 4S and the Android Incredible that I formerly carried, but I believe the iPhone has the better camera. In fact, everything I read declares the iPhone camera the winner by a mile. And that reversible camera feature is just too. cool. for. school. In fact, THAT ALONE is worth dealing with any frustration that came from switching from Android to iPhone. PLUS. It has Instagr.am. And you KNOW how I love my Instagr.am. (Of course NOW I hear that Instagr.am is coming to Android. So. phhbbblt.) Social Networking I’ll call this a draw. I had to get used to the new apps on the iPhone, but I’m happy with them. I use Twitter and Facebook a lot, and at first I would get frustrated, and finally I figured out how to do everything I wanted to. I will add that I don’t think the iPhone is as intuitive as you might expect when it comes to their Twitter app, but that may only be because I was used to the app I was using on the Incredible. Speed Um. Android has 4G. iPhone doesn’t yet. Nuff said. Although, if you live in East Jabip like I do, you probably can’t get 4G service anyway. Music I forgot about this until I got some comments about it. I’ve been using iTunes for years so now I can finally have my music on my phone. (I know there were workarounds for other phones but I never bothered to figure it out.) That was actually one reason why I wanted to switch to the iPhone. I don’t have an iPad and have no plans to get one, so when I travel I often brought my iPod Touch along with me for the music. Now I have it all in one place. I was also running with my iPod Shuffle, but now I bring my iPhone with me, and I have my music AND my phone for safety AS WELL AS the running apps that I have discovered. Love that. (I realize that I could have removed the DRM from my music and synced it with my Incredible, and I’m sure they have running apps, so I know this isn’t REALLY a huge plus for the iPhone, but it is in my book, simply because I’m lazy and this was a simple solution. In Summary To put it in terms we can all relate to . . . The iPhone is the pretty one, and the Android is the smart one. There is some cross-over, for sure. I love the camera on the iPhone. It is plenty fast for my needs, it does what I need it to do, and I enjoy the aesthetics. I miss the navigation on my Incredible, and I had to adjust to not having the notifications as I found them too cumbersome to bother with on the iPhone. (I can’t say I miss them.) All in all, I’m happy with my trade. I think I’ll keep it. Update: I did not address battery life, as I don’t think it is fair to compare battery life between an old phone and a new one. However, my iPhone DOES have an impressive battery life. Of course, you cannot carry an extra battery and change it out, as I could with my Incredible. But I do have the Mophie Juice Pack Plus Case and Rechargable Battery that I will use when I’m at conferences and other events where I use it hard and may need to recharge before the end of the day.