IPhone4S Vs. Android Phones

By Mark Spoonauer & Laptop Magazine
Published October 26, 2011

Iphone versus Android

You know your smartphone is doing well when 4 million people buy it in the first weekend and it temporarily sells out on all three of your carrier partners.

The overwhelming demand for the iPhone 4S is understandable, given the much-talked-about Siri voice-controlled assistant, as well as the device’s faster dual-core processor and fantastic 8-megapixel camera. But today’s top Android phones—such as the Samsung Galaxy S II—offer plenty of features you won’t find on Apple’s blockbuster sequel. How do you know which side to choose?

Interface
I would never call the row-of-icons interface on the iPhone 4S fresh, but its ease of use means a lot, especially to first-time smartphone owners. And iOS 5 catches up to Android with its Notifications area, which is cleanly designed and dynamic (thanks to the addition of weather and stock info).

However, some Android phones let you do more from the notification area. On the Samsung Galaxy S II, for example, you can toggle the wireless radios on and off. And on HTC Sense phones, you can switch between apps from this menu as well as tweak several settings. The other edge Android has in the interface department is widgets, which let you access all sorts of info at a glance. Indeed, Google’s OS is so customizable that the user experience can vary drastically from one phone to the next.

Winner: iPhone 4S. While Android is more flexible, it can also be more confusing. Simplicity wins this round.

Multitasking
Just as with the iPhone 4, it’s easy to switch between apps on the iPhone 4S. You just double-press the home button and swipe to either side. To shut down apps, you press and hold the screen and then tap the X next to an app’s icon. Because most apps are suspended when they’re not open, you don’t really need to worry about them zapping battery life.

Today on Android, you must long-press the home button, but you might only see a subset of all of your running apps—and you can’t close programs from this view. Android Ice Cream Sandwich will offer a better user experience, with a Recent Apps button that displays live thumbnails of your running apps. And you’ll be able to dismiss apps with a swipe.

Winner: iPhone 4S. But it looks like Android 4.0 will put Google’s phones ahead.

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