It has been a few weeks now since I made the move from Android to iOS. Last week I wrote a piece about why I made the move, so be sure to check that out first if you have not read it. This week I’m going to do a little bit of a head-to-head on a few different things. First, two phones…the one I left behind, the HTC One, and the one I am currently using, the iPhone 5. Second, I am going to pit iOS and Android against each other. I am going to share my likes and dislikes of each platform. I will try and make this as easy as possible, but I am certain that there will be some overlap. So, let’s cut the chit chat and get down to what you came here to read.
Hardcore Android fans are very likely going to disagree with the statement I am about to make, and hardcore iOS fans are likely going to cheer. Without a doubt, the iPhone 5 is a superbly designed phone as is every other iPhone before it. It has a minimal and clean look with excellent lines and attention to detail. Everything about the iPhone 5 design screams quality and superiority. If the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a Corvette the iPhone 5 is a Ferrari. It is, with no question, one of the best hardware designs on any mobile phone on the market. This being said, let’s move on to the HTC One hardware design.
Without any hesitation I can comfortably say that the HTC One stands up head to head with the iPhone 5 and does not back down. The hardware design is easily the best Android handset ever made. HTC spared no expense on material and it shows. The lines are clean and simple and the chamfered edges are simply beautiful to look at. The unibody design goes toe-to-toe with the iPhone 5 and both phones excel in the hardware design department. Both Apple and HTC know what elegantly simple truly means.
Overall I would rate the hardware design of both phones at a solid 5 stars. That being said, my personal preference rating would have to go to the iPhone 5. And that’s just by a hair and I mean a thin hair. The only reason the iPhone 5 wins my vote is because its slim design allows it to be held much more easily than the HTC One. Even with my big hands I found the HTC One harder to operate. Of course, this has a lot to do with the smaller screen in the iPhone 5, but remember, this is my personal choice. Both phones get five star hardware ratings.
The screen, particularly the size of the screen, was something I was definitely very nervous about when I made the switch from Android and the HTC One. The HTC One comes in at 4.7” of screen real estate, while the iPhone 5 comes in with a thinner 4” display. The HTC One resolution is 1080×1920 with a PPI of 468 while the iPhone 5 is packing an 1136×640 resolution with 326 PPI.
The HTC One display is bright and beautiful and without question is one of the best displays on any smartphone out there. At full HD there is no doubt that the crispness is there, the blacks are deep and the colors pop nicely without too much saturation. Visibility in direct sunlight is great. Having used Samsung devices in the past, using the HTC One was a joy because Samsung AMOLED’s are just horrid in sunlight. You just cannot go wrong with the HTC One display.
The iPhone 5 display, while a lower resolution and PPI, is amazingly just as crisp as the HTC One. I was very pleased by the crispness and colors, the blacks were great and text was crisp and clear. Outdoor viewing was impeccable, even better than the HTC One. I had no issues seeing the display at all with the iPhone 5 outdoors and as good as the HTC One is outdoors it just wasn’t as good as the iPhone 5. I really thought I was going to have a hard time with the smaller size of the iPhone 5 but it has been nothing but a pleasure using this screen. I absolutely love the Retina display of the iPhone 5. My personal opinion is that it beats out the HTC One just by another hair. That all being said. Both screens are amazing, and there is no clear, defined winner here; it will have to be a user choice on this.
Like most everyone, I use my phone for music. It is a mixture of headphone listening and speaker listening. The earbuds included with the HTC One are adequate, nothing special nothing spectacular. On the other hand, the earpods that come with the iPhone 5 are simply awesome. I made fun of Apple at one point because of those earpods and I have to eat all my words because they are by far the best earbuds/earpods I have ever used.
Without a doubt and without hesitation, however, I can confidently say that the HTC One blows the iPhone 5 away in the sound department. While the earbuds that come with the One are not all that great, the Beats software make the iPhone earpods sound even better on the HTC One. And let’s not forget the speakers on each respective phone. The iPhone5 has its speaker on the bottom and it gets the job done. But the HTC One, with its dual front facing speakers with Boom Sound just tears the iPhone 5 in half. The HTC One wins hands down in this department. My personal preference here goes all in to the HTC One, and it is the true defined winner here.
User Experience and Software Experience
The way iPhone and Android work are both the same and very different. The basics are the same, screens of apps accessed by tapping on screen. But that’s where it stops. iPhone 5 has one home button which has taken me some time to get used to as most Android phones have a home, back and menu button. The HTC One only has a home and back button but the home button also serves as the multi-task feature (just double tap). The way things are handled just seems a bit more cumbersome on the iPhone 5. The HTC One and Android multi-tasking just seem more fluid and easier to use than iPhone and iOS.
Android has had a long held reputation of lag in its OS, but the HTC One changed that in my eyes. The HTC One is one of the smoothest Android experiences you will get. Even HTC’s Sense 5 overlay is optimized and is easily the best running skin on Android to date. With the HTC One I had the best Android experience in the four years I was on Android. Even the much touted Nexus (Pure Android) program never offered what the HTC One did. So, moving on to iOS 7 and the iPhone 5 was going to be interesting.
As much as I enjoyed Android on the HTC One, and as much as I believe and know that it is by far the best and smoothest Android experience out there to date, iOS7 and iPhone 5 is just a bit better. After using the iPhone 5 for a few days side by side with the HTC One, I noticed some lag in the One. Nothing earth shattering and likely not even noticeable to the average user. But it is there. iOS 7 is simply, smoother. Animations, scrolling anything to do with screen movement are just a bit better in iOS. This is not to say that Android 4.3 or the HTC One is incapable, hardly, it is still an awesome OS and great phone. But from my personal experience, iOS just worked better to my eyes. Both Android 4.3 and now 4.4 are fully capable in delivering a great experience, my giving the edge to iOS does not mean Android is a loser.
The final part of the UE and software comes down to what Android does best and has always done best. Customization. There is not much to say about this subject, it has been covered many times before. One of the experiences I knew I would be leaving behind is the ability to make my phone look unique to my taste. Android’s customization options are just insane and well worth the price of admission. The iPhone 5 and iOS just do not compete in this area and do not even pretend to. HTC One and Android are the clear winners in customization and personalization. While some things can be done with the iPhone if jailbroken, those are even miniscule against an unrooted Android phone.
So we finally get to the cameras. Over the past few days the talk on Google+ has centered around a few reviews done by The Verge on the Nexus 5 camera. Often times the best Android phones are compared against the best Apple phone. And often times it is the Apple camera that gets the praise and accolades. So here we have two really wonderful pieces of hardware in the iPhone 5 and the HTC One, and this is what I thought of their cameras.
The iPhone 5 takes some brilliant pictures outside in sunlight and well lit areas, the colors are true to life with no over saturation. The crispness is there and noise is very controlled. Focus is spot on. The iPhone 5 video capabilities are awesome; it’s a great video shooter, again in well-lit situations. I love the pictures I have been getting with the iPhone 5 and it is certainly a very capable shooter. I think people are going to be happy with it.
What I found amazing is that I actually preferred the HTC One’s camera over the iPhone 5’s. I felt the HTC One gave better low light pictures and took better shots all around. It took several shots to get a good focused one with the iPhone 5, but the HTC One’s shots were always consistently good. The one thing the iPhone does better is color representation. I think the iPhone has the edge there. But overall, the HTC One camera is just better. The One’s features are also impeccable, from Zoe to all the extra features; the One’s camera is hard to beat even though its Megapixel count is lower, HTC’s software and Ultrapixels just do a better job than the iPhone 5. Of course this determination is strictly personal preference; some people might find they prefer the iPhone 5 pictures better. This is not to say the iPhone 5 takes bad pictures, it most certainly doesn’t. The iPhone 5 pictures are among some of the best out there, but my personal pick is still the HTC One.
The battery life is an important part of any smartphone experience. And the HTC One got somewhat of a bad rap when it first came out. I found the battery life to be acceptable on the HTC One when I ran HTC’s battery saver alongside Qualcomm’s Battery Guru app. I could easily get 13-15 hours of life from my HTC One under moderate use. Those are perfectly acceptable numbers to me; others might not find that to be enough. That said, the iPhone 5 battery life is just a bit better, I am easily pulling 16-18 hours of life under moderate use. This is tested with all the same settings on both phones, Wi-Fi always on, GPS on, Screen at 66% brightness and sync in the background. In the battery department the iPhone 5 was a better experience for me and that’s pretty important to a lot of people. But I do stand by the HTC One, those who say it has poor battery life are probably among the heaviest of users, the normal user will do fine with the HTC One battery.
My time with Android was fun. Do I miss it? Yes, there are some things that I miss about Android. I miss the back key, I miss the customization to some extent and I miss the way Android handles multi-tasking. Do I miss the HTC One? Not so much. The iPhone 5 is just as capable and just as beautiful as the HTC One, and I absolutely love the hardware, I’ve always loved Apple design. And while I miss Android to some extent, I am finding myself acclimating to iOS again. There is a slight curve having to learn new ways of doing things. One thing I have found surprising is that I do not miss Chrome as much as I thought I would. I use Safari almost exclusively on the iPhone 5. One area I did not cover but is easily commented on here is Siri vs Google Now. Both are good services but I found Google Now to be more accurate and have the answers to what I needed more often. I know Apple is working to improve Siri and Google has the advantage with their specialty being in search.
The bottom line is both Android and iOS are very capable operating systems. Android has come a long way since I started with it. Gone are the days of absolutely needing to root and rom your device to get a good experience. The HTC One and Sense 5 are easily the best Android experiences you can currently get and I would recommend the combo to anyone looking for a large screen phone, customization needs and super features. Then there is the iPhone 5. iOS7 has taken its lumps over the past few months and there are even long time iPhone users who have had negative things to say about it. Personally I love iOS7 and I think Apple made great choices both in design and function. It was enough to bring me back to it. Of course the iPhone 5 hardware is top notch, and I think even Android users can agree the hardware is some of the best.
At the end of the day it all comes down to what you want and need your phone to do for you. Right now at this very moment I feel that iOS and the iPhone will serve my needs and wants perfectly. There may come a time in the near future that I may have a change in my needs and wants and Android may call me back. Or you never know, maybe Windows Phone’s app selection will finally mature and you may see me with a Nokia and Surface Pro 2. I’m a technophile, bottom line, and I just have a need to be into something new all the time.
Thanks to the following sites for the photos