iPhone vs Android (iPhone 2G, ver 3 vs HT Magic Android 1.5)

android logoI’ve been using an iPhone 2G since last summer, when I bought it off my boyfriend and jailbroke it, enabling me to use my (*much* cheaper) Vodafone contract and have access to all the great apps via Cydia, as well as the official App Store.
Recently, it’s been feeling a little clunky, and now that second generation Android phones are starting to make some more stable waves, I thought I would check out an HTC Magic, which I could get for a very affordable £25 a month on Vodafone (600 mins, unlimited text and web, 24 month contract, free phone – if you’re interested!).
At first, I really wasn’t very taken by the Magic.  There are some glaring flaws which draw the mind immediately – the lack of a 35mm headphone jack being the most obvious, and then things like the shitty (software) keyboard it comes with being a royal pain to use.  By day two, I called Vodafone to send it back – these things were going to *really* piss me off if I had to keep the mobile for two years.  However, turns out they’ve had a lot of returns from their customers thanks to the unintuitive introduction to the mobile – and were happy to keep me on the same price plan for just 12 months (meaning I can re-negotiate in July, by which time the next gen of Android mobiles will be out, and I’ll be ready to know what I want from one to a decent degree).  So, I kept it.
What I discovered next made me glad I did.  Knowing that the phone and I were going to become very good buddies over the next few months, I started really looking in to what it could do – past the crappy keyboard (I got Better Keyboard thanks to Dan Griifths great post), and the appalling lack of 35mm headphone jack (bluetooth dongle, anyone?), and delving into the possibilities.
Firstly, the apps really good.  Not iPhone slick and fancy pants, but damn useful and creative.  One of the best I’ve come across so far is Locale, an app that allows you to set your mobile to act differently depending on where it is.  You program it once (or as often as you like) and it just runs in the background, working out where you are via GPS and then setting the correct conditions on your phone.  How frickkin’ clever is that?!  

The widgets are great too – I have three home screens (think side slidy ones, like on the iPhone) each set up for a different environment.  I have one with widgets on showing me latest headlines, the weather pictorally, a cute framed photo of my daughter and today’s page in my calendar, open with my appointments.  You can tap on any to get further information and drill down.  

On my second screen (which is my default) I have just five icons – Contacts, Twidroid (Twitter app), Camera, Camcorder & Music.  No need for any more, as the really useful thing about the Android OS is any event that happens on my phone appears in the top task bar which is on every screen, and I can just pull it down to access whatever’s new.  Email, calls, texts, any of my apps – such as Twidroid, all show up in there – and get this Apple you numpties – my hardware has a small constant flash to let me know something new is awaiting my attention!  I never did understand why Apple let me not know texts and missed call were waiting on my sleeping screen.  Seems such an obvious oversight, yet in three iterations they *still* haven’t fixed that.

Having all my apps stored in a pull up menu (it pulls up from the bottom) is great as well, I can chop and change my homescreens mood dependent, without cluttering up anywhere or getting loads of extra homescreens unlike the iPhone.  I also don’t have to uninstall them to shift them, just drag and drop into a bin icon that appears on holding the icon, and they vanish back into my apps storage menu.
The text on the Android phone is much clearer and easier to read than the iPhone, and the sound quality both from the speaker and mic are leagues ahead – although obviously, I am only comparing against my iPhone 2G, things have possibly changed on the iPhone since then.
Overall, there’s a sense of endless possibilities with the Android’s open nature, whereas with the iPhone OS I was always accutely aware of it’s boundaries, even after jailbreaking.
It’s not all bad for the iPhone though, there are some definite advantages to sticking on the iPhone track (if you can afford one!)
  • it’s slicker there’s no denying that, there’s a real polish to iPhones and iPhone apps that seems to be slightly lacking in the HTC Magic and the Android Marketplace
  • The iPhone 3G and up have 35mm headphone jacks (although, so do some of the other Android phones)
  • The iPhone touch screens feel more responsive, and all have multi-touch – something the Magic doesn’t have but the Hero and other next gen Android phones do.
  • The iPhone keyboard is *way* better
  • the fact that you can’t adapt it to your own tastes means it generally stays looking rather stylish, as opposed to our own ideas of style (hehe)
But with all its polish, and its fairly seemless integration, I’m afraid the iPhone is not for me anymore.  I’m going with the underdog team and siding with Android all the way.  There’s something really exciting about having a mobile that’s so open to be whatever I want it too.  I’ve even downloaded the SDK myself, and will attempt an app when I get chance in the next few months.  I think it’s the way it allows me to feel like a part of it – perhaps from the high levels of personal customisation – that I’m really digging.  I never did feel quite trendy enough to own an iPhone.  

Now I can be geeky and cutting edge tech without worrying if I’m on brand enough for the Apple Cult‘s liking 😉

PS – Anyone want to buy an iPhone 2G?  email me – thayer at thayerprime dot com

About Thayer Prime

Tall. Eats a lot. Talks too much. I tweet over @thayer
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