The microusb connector on my Galaxy Nexus cratered, so I had to revert to an iPhone 4 while it was away on service. I took this opportunity to compare and contrast the 2 platforms and a bit of the hardware that’s typical on either one.
- Better connector. Yeah, Lightning is proprietary and that means it sucks, but the physical connector is more robust, easier to use, and better. Micro USB is a miniaturization of a 16 year old design (USB). Lightning is a clean-sheet effort and it shows.
- Super easy and fast to get the iPhone 4 onto iOS6. Depending on the news outlet, iOS6 adoption was north of 30% total users a mere 1 week after release. Android hasn’t hit that level for 4.0+ despite that version being out for a YEAR. The whole updating system on Android is a mess of manufacturer delays and carrier delays. Maybe they’ll clean things up with the Nexus 4 since there’s absolutely no manufacturer or carrier customization at all.
- I was able to use my side of the his and hers iPhone docking station I have at home. There are lots of peripherals and devices that are built for the iPhone. Despite the Galaxy Nexus being out for a year, peripherals still aren’t available on Google Play. The phone has contact points on the outside that would be perfect for charging and would reduce the wear and tear on the microusb port, but they’re useless without the peripherals that support them. The situation at local phone shops is no better. No car docks, no home docks, no desk docks, nothing.
- Great battery life. I got through a day without any issues.
- Bigger screens. The iPhone screen is small by modern standards and terrible for browsing text content. The iPhone 5 screen is barely any better. The bigger screen is harder on the battery, but if I’m using it and I like using it, who cares? (Update: The Nexus 4 can take me through a work day and still have 75% battery left after moderate use, it rocks!)
- Static back buttons: Android got this one right. The back button in Apple is in different places depending on the app. Androids back button works in app AND out. Popping into a new notification, reading it, and then heading back to where you were before the interruption is ridiculously easy.
- No planned obsolescence. There’s no good reason why this iPhone 4 doesn’t support turn by turn navigation or Siri. It’s got the horsepower. My similar era Samsung Captivate is running CM10 and has all the new OS goodness. Unlike Apple’s OS updates, Android updates generally make older devices faster, not slower.
- Multitasking. On Android, apps auto-update, downloads happen, everything works great.
- Notifications. The pull down notification bar that Apple ripped off from Android just isn’t nearly as good. I will NEVER post to Facebook from my notification bar, so why the hell is it there? I also don’t care about stocks. Lockscreen notifications are also pretty weak in comparison.
- General usability in Android is just better. The app store on iOS6 is an abomination, making you scroll through searched apps one at a time. Apps in Android communicate with each other and make content share-able in ways that Apple locks down.
- Data portability is better. Total pain in the ass to get my contacts and info on the iPhone. Without that iTunes link, it’s really terrible and the locked down iCloud isn’t any better. Try putting an MP3 on the phone somewhere. On Android you can download it via the browser, or plug your phone in and drop it into a folder. How the heck do you do this on an iPhone without the iTunes abomination?
So there you have it, some pros and cons from someone who has used both platforms.