Making a logical choice, between Android vs. iOS smartphones requires knowing what features and specs are most important to you. Here’s what you need to know to make a smart decision.
If you want to make a logical choice between an iPhone and an Android phone — based on the technical specs — I have to start by saying there is no one right answer.
The simple truth — tribe allegiance and marketing genius aside — is that iPhones running iOS and smartphones running the Android OS both have good and bad points. And to make matters more complicated, comparing operating systems alone doesn’t tell you much.
With iPhones, the operating system and hardware are tied at the hip. With Android phones, it’s a different story. There is such an enormous difference between Android smartphone models that comparing the iPhone 14 with, say, an excellent budget Android smartphone, such as 2020’s Moto G Power, is like comparing apples (ahem) and oranges. A better current comparison would be the brand-new Samsung Galaxy S22 or the Google Pixel 7 line-up.
So, when I weigh this choice, I consider the operating system while accounting for the differences between phone models. You can’t compare these two phone systems without recognizing the hardware differences. So, Android vs. iOS, which one is better?
Here’s how Apple and Android phones match up on some key aspects of the smartphone experience.
1. Ease of use
- Sure, ages ago, when the iPhone first appeared and Windows Mobile and Nokia Symbian phones were the competition, the iPhone blew them away. That was then.
- Today, all phone interfaces are better than they were then and easier to use. The key difference, to me, is control. Android smartphones give you much more control over your phone and its applications than Apple phones do. I like control. If you’re happy with what Apple gives you — this is your home screen; add a photo if you want to be an individual — good for you, but I like being allowed to set up my phone just the way I want it. Android phones let me do that.
2. Fit, finish, and price
- iPhones are beautiful but, Android phones? Well, they vary. Wildly.
- Some — such as the top-of-the-line Samsung S22+ and the Google Pixel 7 Pro — are every bit as attractive as the iPhone 14. By controlling every step of the manufacturing process, Apple makes sure iPhones have a great fit and finish. But so do the top Android phone manufacturers. That said, some Android phones out there are just plain ugly.
- Part of the reason for this is that Apple makes nothing but luxury phones. There will never be a cheap iPhone. If you don’t want to pay top dollar for an iPhone, your only choice is to get a used one.
- Decent Android phones can go for less than $300/₹24,999. They may not be the most handsome phones, but they look the same inside a case and do the job at a fraction of the price of an iPhone.
3. Closed vs. open systems
- The iPhone remains as proprietary as ever. If you don’t want anything in your pocket that you can’t buy from Apple, fine. But keep in mind that you will always and forever be locked into the Apple software ecosystem as long as you own an iPhone. So, when Apple fights with Epic, makers of the popular Fortnite game, over how to pay for the game, your ability to buy or play that game is sharply limited.
- Also, Apple doesn’t port its applications to Android and likely never will. The biggest, and most annoying of these iPhone-specific apps is iMessage. My friends that use it, swear by it. But it has one big, annoying problem. It is incompatible with other messaging systems. Yes, you can send SMS messages to Android texting apps, but you lose a lot of features that people love in the translation.
- Android is open-source software. It’s also far more accepting of alternative applications.
4. AI and voice assistants
- When it comes to Google Assistant vs. Siri, there’s no question of the winner: Google Assistant by a country mile.
- Google Assistant is more than an excellent voice interface for Google searches. If you use Google applications, such as Google Calendar and Google Maps, Google Assistant can make life simpler. Say you’re meeting someone for lunch downtown and traffic is awful. Google Assistant will work out that you need to leave early to make your appointment, and it will notify you beforehand. That is cool, right?…
- Compared to that, Siri may have been first to market, but it’s still pretty basic. It’s fine for answering questions, but it’s not that much of an artificially intelligent assistant.
5. Timely updates
- When it comes to software updates, on the other hand, Apple beats Android. When Apple releases a new update or patch, all phones — those that are still supported, anyway — get it. With Android phones…, it’s a matter of praying and hoping for the best.
- Unlike with the iPhones, where every detail is under Apple’s control, Google supplies the base operating system and some bundled programs, and it’s up to the phone manufacturer to deliver the upgrades and patches. With high-end phones, chances are good that you’ll get the patches in a timely fashion. But, with many of the other Android smartphones, odds are you’ll never even see a security patch.
- Some Android vendors, notably Samsung and Google, do an excellent job of keeping their Android distros and software up to date. Everyone else? Not so much.
- On the other hand, iOS updates can be flaky. Apple needs to do a better job with quality assurance. I can’t remember a single time that a major iOS update didn’t result in a Wi-Fi problem, starting with iOS 6 and going up to the latest and greatest, which had more than its fair share of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 4G/5G problems.
- Apple controls every last bit and piece of its hardware. Why is it so hard for the company to get something as fundamental to a smartphone as wireless connectivity right?
- When it comes to security, it’s not so much that Android has problems, it’s that Google is laxer than Apple about what applications it allows in its app store. The best way to keep malware off your Android gadget is to only get apps from the Google Play store. Even so, Google reports that 0.16% of all apps contain malware.
- If you’re an iPhone user, don’t get too cocky, though. There is iPhone malware out there just waiting for an overconfident user to download it. Generally speaking, iPhones are inherently more secure. If that is, you think you can trust Apple with your privacy. While Google gets a lot of grief for not being trustworthy with personal data, not everyone finds Apple trustworthy either.
- Here, Android has the advantage. All Android devices use standard USB ports, so there are many gadgets you can connect to your phone. With iPhones, you need something that will connect with its proprietary Lightning port.
- Another Android advantage is that USB cables and devices are cheaper than their Lightning-port cousins. It may be old-fashioned of me, but I also like phones that come with a headphone jack.
8. Battery life and charging
- Battery life is hard to judge because Android phone models are so different from one another. Largely with Samsung, Google, and Motorola phones, Android phones don’t need to be recharged as often as iPhones. Your charging may vary, so let’s call this a draw, depending on the phone in hand and how you use it.
- After the iPhone 13 and 14 line-ups, the battery king crown gets shifted into the territory of the iPhones as these devices give a screen on time of more than 8 hours, which is great.
9. Cloud integration
- Apple’s iCloud continues to be an enormous pain for me, no matter whether we’re trying to use it on an iPhone or a Mac. It always fouls up. And we’re not the only one who has trouble with iCloud.
- Android, however, is tightly integrated with Google’s applications and services. I use Google apps all the time for work and fun. When it comes to cloud integration, there’s no question about it: Android is the one to beat in this sector.
- Google can’t seem to make up its mind about its voice, video, and IM applications. Currently, its main communications programs are Google Hangouts and Google Meet.
- With iPhones, it’s Facetime, period. Facetime is a great videoconferencing program. I wish it ran on more than just Apple platforms. But if your whole family or workgroup is using Apple, you’re good to go.
- But, still in this battle of conferencing, Hangouts and Google Meet takes over Facetime.
- The Galaxy S22 Ultra Camera beat both the Pixel 7 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max. You simply can’t beat Samsung’s 10x optical zoom. Talking about the pixel series, the color science and calibration have improved very well which gives a beneficial point in the department of the android. Addon to it is the features like unblur photos which work great in android phones.
- On the contrary, side, if we consider video recording, there still has to be a legend to be born in the Android sector to beat the iPhone. The most highlighted feature in these pro models of the iPhones is the Cinematic-Mode, which gives you the output in 4k resolution, still unbeatable by the android phones.
12. Software choice
- Once upon a time, you could argue that there were better apps in one app store than the other. Besides, with almost 3.5 million apps on the Google Play store and 2.87 million on the Apple App Store, it’s not like you’re ever going to run out of apps to play with. But the consensus still gives Apple the upper hand. iOS has more consistent updates for all devices, a closed ecosystem that is harder to penetrate, and a stricter app store. All of these factors combined make it harder for attackers to target iOS users.
- Considering the software side, and taking a glance at the compatibility, Apple’s iOS is a closed ecosystem, which means that Apple manufactures both Operating systems and hardware, and no other company uses either of them to integrate with their services. It gives Apple an edge over Android to provide better synchronization between hardware and software.
13. 5G and beyond
- For all the hype, there wasn’t enough 5G around to make it worth getting a 5G-compatible phone. Today, there’s finally enough 5G available to make buying a 5G phone worth your money.
- Frankly speaking, it’s whatever will work with your phone company’s 5G. 5G is a contradiction.
- There are four different kinds of 5G and they’re not at all compatible. Just get the phone, be it an iPhone or Android, that your carrier will guarantee works with the specific 5G varieties they support. So, stay tuned for upcoming updates about these comparisons.
- This is an easy one: iPhones are expensive. The bottom line, the third-generation iPhone SE starts at $429. The most expensive iPhone- is the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which tops out with all the trimmings (including a 1TB drive) at $1,499/ ₹189,900. That’s a way… bit much even without a ruby stuck on it.
- On the other hand, the best of the best Google Pixel line, the Pixel 7 Pro goes for $1,099/ Rs 90,469. The highest-end Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra will go for $1,299/ Rs ₹1,06,933. But you can pay far less for a perfectly serviceable Android phone.
- So, which one is right for you? I recommend that you pick the smartphone that best fits your budget and needs. There isn’t a simple, one-size-fits-all answer that applies to everyone. As I said at the outset, both phone ecosystems have their advantages and disadvantages. If you’re using an Android device and think you’d prefer to move to iPhone.
The ever-lasting war of Android vs. iOS may never come to an end. However, it’s important to take these factors into account when considering a new device. If you’re still interested in learning more about handsets and how Apple and Android devices can differ. If you want to know about the best upcoming smartphones in coming November 2022.
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