Saturday, 23 June 2012

Galaxy S III and iPhone 4S comparison (Australia)

The two hottest selling phones on the market at the moment are the Galaxy S and the iPhone. Both Samsung and Apple are battling it out for customers and market share, along with a more behind the scenes legal battle with respect to patents.

Three weeks ago the Galaxy S III hit the shelves in the Australian market, and as my contract expired I was up for a new phone. I had bought outright the 4S on the day of it's release in Aus replace my damaged phone I had prior, and since a lot of similarities between both phones are found, people are wanting to know - whats better? There are numerous videos on the YouTube and many other sites compare the phone, so this is an Australian perspective.

Galaxy S III Home Screen
In short, both phones have lots of strong points that they both share. The battery life is great, photos and videos are excellent, and being both smart phones they have a whole host of apps available to them. I used my iPhone quite a fair bit and took it overseas, and used it as my digital camera. Saved me having to carry around two devices. Photo's I've taken with my Galaxy in the few short weeks I've had it have also been excellent.

The range of apps on the Apple app store is second to none. And it's proabably the biggest selling point for an iOS device for me. The sheer range of apps and amazing list of things they can all do is quite simply huge. I have yet to find an app that can't do what I'm wanting it to do. Android has a bit of catching up to do in this area, and may never catch up due to the strong developer and ease of use focus that Apple has for their system. That said, many of the popular apps are available on both phones and my personal ones, such as my banks app, flipboard, facebook, etc can be found on both, and usually there is an app which will do similar things on Android that Apple has, and vice versa.

The most obvious difference between the two phones/platforms is the way the "home" interface is used. In iOS, the home screen contains your apps, and app folders. In Android you have a home screen which has widgets and apps on it. Widgets include things like weather, clocks, play/pause buttons etc. Things you'd normally have to open an app for in iOS but can see in a dashboard style look on the one screen. Live wallpapers, such as one that interacts with the weather, and changes the backdrop accordingly are part of Android compared to Apple's picture only wallpaper.

iPhone 4S Home Screen
In terms of functionality, there are things that one phone can do that the other can't. Some of the stand out comparisons for me include the sync'ing of your iTunes playlists to your phone. Because the iPhone doubles as an iPod, you can put your music from your iTunes playlist, via a sync to your phone. Android doesn't have an iPod, rather it has a music player, which does the same thing, but doesn't have the sync functionality. But the voice feature (Siri) on the iPhone doesn't know anything about local restaurants, or driving directions in Australia, where as S Voice recognises you asked for directions, and will open up Google maps presenting you with a choice, which then loads the driving directions through GPS. S Voice is more or less a carbon copy of Siri, and I don't really use either that often. Both can send messages and schedule appointments for you, but after a while the novelty wears off, and I pretty much stopped using it a few weeks after getting my iPhone.

If you're looking for features like cloud sync - i.e. keeping your photos, calendars, contacts, bookmarks, tasks, email etc all together, in one place and accessible from pretty much anywhere, the good thing is that both phones do just that. Android has GMail, Google calendar, tasks etc, and Apple has iCloud. You simply sign in when you first use the phone and both are freely available. On Android, it's all set up for you as soon as you sign in, you just accept the conditions, and iPhone will take you through the step-by-step.

Both phones are pretty similar in terms of functionality, and ability. The main differences are the cosmetics of the phone, the screen size, the interface, and what the phone can do without needing to download any additional apps for the same level of functionality. i.e. the Galaxy S comes pre built with a video player that supports a huge range of codecs that allow all sorts of videos to be played, whereas you need an app (possibly one at additional cost) for that on iOS. The built in task app wasn't to my taste on the Galaxy S, so I downloaded another.

If you're in the market for a new phone, my suggestion is to look at the phones, go to your carrier's shop and ask for the demo models. Hold them, and have a look in the flesh and see what you think, then compare the prices and plans. Both phones are really excellent and offer plenty of functionality. I have been very impressed with both.

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