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December 5th, 2010
December 5th, 2010

iPhone vs Android

A first hand totally subjective comparison

Because PawPrint develops mobile apps we have several phones on hand for testing. Considering all the jousting fanboys extolling the virtues of one platform over another we thought it may be appropriate to add our review from using both phones on a daily basis.

Our development models are, by design, slightly older then bleeding edge so, if anything, this may be a good review for the average user.

Motorola Droid (nee Milestone) vs iPhone 3GS
One on Telus one on Fido (but we´re not comparing mobile providers here)

As an actual Phone: Android
Many reviews seem to focus on apps and cameras etc etc, for us, after all these are phones we are looking at so the phone part of it should really be the key feature... From our experience on the Droid it is. never had a dropped call and the clarity was fantastic both hand-held, pared with a bluetooth headset and on speaker. The Droid also provided more settings for managing our account settings like call forwarding from it´s settings app then the iPhone. The iPhone was not as clear in general and quite poor on bluetooth.


Display Quality: Tie
Both phones have a great display, easy to read and we had no issue with either.

Touchscreen: iPhone
The iPhone has touch "down". Touching, swiping, all very accurate and intuitive. The Droid just feels week in this department. Frequently when swiping it accidentally mistakes the swipe for a touch and the keyboard seems to generate far more typos then the iPhone. Although we love the built-in keyboard on the Droid!

Camera: Android
Including a LED flash and higher resolution camera with quite a bit faster start-up - make the droid the clear winner here. Also because the droid isn´t encumbered with the (let´s face it, horrific) iTunes application, getting images off the phone is MUCH easier. We eventually just took to emailing photos off the iPhone because iTunes was so pathetic; whereas on the Droid, you just plug into USB and can treat the photo folder like any external drive.

Video Playback Tie
Although we wish Apple would support something other then h.264 their limited video support seems to have given them a nice smooth playback. The Droid is basically the same and we couldn´t really pick a winner here.

App Selection: Tie
Surprised? With all the press about the app store having so much more then Marketplace this may come as one - but truly, both iPhone and Android app selection for "Real" and "Useful" things are about even. Both have a load of junk. Apple just has more junk because it´s been around longer to accumulate it.

Game Selection: iPhone
If you want a phone that doubles as a toy - the iPhone wins hands down. Far more games and smoother playing ones - as with any closed platform games can be better tweaked to the platform and just work better.

Ease of Customization: Android
Totally customizable unlike the locked down iPhone - the direct trade off here is ease of use - iPhone: Easy to learn initially, far more limited down the road. Android: harder to learn initially, much more flexible down the road.

Ease of Use: iPhone
See above.

Web Browser: Tie
The shipping browser on the iPhone just feels faster although both phones use webkit somehow the iPhone is just a smoother experience. However, you´re somewhat stuck there. The Droid lets you try other browsers and this allows for more flexibility in speed and customization pulling the two phones into a tie.

Development: Android (by a mile)
We had our first Android app up and running in 7 days (7 DAYS!) and that included getting the development tools and learning the language. The iPhone... took about 7 MONTHS and it was a very painful road. The droid all tools were free and we used our existing platform. The iPhone: had to buy a $99 membership AND an iMac for over $1300 to be able to start learning the obscure Objective C language. Android - can just send an app to a friend for testing or private use. iPhone: spent 1 month and consulted with several more experienced developers who describe the process as "voodoo" to get a special signing certificate and then after several tries the "ad-hoc" app MIGHT install on a certified device that has been manually added to a special list for ad-hoc distribution. (OMG!)

Conclusion
In the end which is better totally depends on what you use it for. If you want to play games, listen to music, and watch videos and perhaps make some phone calls then the iPhone is probably going to be more your cup of tea. If you want a more utilitarian phone that is more of a phone and less of a multi-media gadget, use utilities and perhaps even hack around a bit then the Android is the winner. Is one "better" then the other - NO! Each is better at certain things and worse at others, like so much in this world.

With Christmas around the corner we thought it might help some of you gadget shoppers decide which device platform to jump on - if our experience means anything we hope it does. What would we get if we had to choose just one... Tough question (really is) we like both for different reasons but would probably marginally lean toward the Android just because we are developers and like to customize things and want that flexibility.

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