The HTC One is made out of aluminum, like a MacBook. The iPhone 4S (yes, I have that iPhone) is made out of glass on the front and back. I use both phones in cases and I hardly ever take them off unless I’m swapping a SIM card. But whenever I do take the case off, I love the feel of the metal HTC One. It always feels cool to the touch, except for gaming and GPS apps. The aluminum just feels nicer to hold over the glass and gives me less fears about causing more damage to the phone.
The screen on the HTC One is a 4.7″ 1080P display at 468 pixels per inch, while the 4S has a 3.5″ 1136 by 960 display at 326 ppi. The One’s sheer size and pixel amount easily trumps the 4S’ display tech. I just feel like I can do and see more with the bigger screen, as seen in the photos attached. I can see more tweets, more YouTube videos in my subscriptions and searches, more details in Maps, Solar looks more beautiful, and so on.
This is where there’s a major differentiation factor between these two phones. The One runs stock Android (yep, no Sense), while my 4S runs iOS 7. I can legitimately run it because I have a developer account. iOS 7 added some things that were needed, such as a new UI and toggles (also seen above).
Google’s got better cloud services with products like Gmail, Google+, YouTube, and so on. Apple’s got iCloud with Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and so forth. Google’s got the edge though, since Gmail can literally run on any device you throw at it, while iCloud was designed for Apple’s devices. That’s not to say it doesn’t work, but it’s very difficult to find an iCloud email client on Android (I use Maildroid ).
Apps are another story as well. There’s really good apps for Android such as Evernote for Notes, the YouTube app, and Robin (for ADN). I use chompSMS for texting. The built-in Messages app is good, but chompSMS has quick reply, which is great for a user who jailbreaks their iOS device and installs something like biteSMS. That feature needs to be in the default apps, no matter what the platform.
Widgets. Seriously, Apple, you need to Sherlock that feature. It’s so useful to have a shortcut directly to the shooting mode on Vine or to the battery percentage information without opening the apps and tapping buttons. If I have any requests for iOS 8, it’s quick reply and widgets.
However, there’s also a lot more terrible apps to be found. When searching for an item, you either get great results or extremely poor ones. That’s not to say it isn’t great on iOS either, but both platforms need to work out the kinks.
It took me awhile to find a decent email program (thanks iCloud), but I found one and it’s MailDroid. It’s nice, but I don’t like the UI or delete modes. When you delete an item, it’s either only gone from your device or permanently gone and not in the trash.
There’s some other great apps out there, but honestly I can name more apps that are really good on iOS off the top of my head (Letterpress, Felix for ADN, Twitterific, 1Password, and so on) than on Android. Yes, I know some of those are exclusives, but 1Password is not. The current version is just awful and technically years behind iOS and the Mac, but thankfully it’s being improved soon as well. But that’s another example of why iOS apps are better than Android.
It’s not just developers, though. Thanks to fragmentation of things such as screen size, different chips, and OS, it’s hard to build a good app for every single device. For example, building a good app for the HTC One is easier than building something for the One S, for example. The One S is permanently stuck at 4.1 (good job, HTC), while the One will probably be supported until 5.0 and 4.3 is already promised for Sense users. Google needs to do something about this.
This is another difference between iOS and Android. iOS is built to interact with other devices such as the Apple TV, iPads, MacBooks, and so on. Android is built to run with Chromecasts, Nexus 7s (and other tablets), and Google Chrome. That makes it hard to make it interact with my Mac and Apple TV. Thankfully, all my music was uploaded to Google Music, and I use BeyondPod for podcasts.
But my iTunes movies don’t work on the One, thanks to the lack of iTunes. That means the copy of Star Trek Into Darkness I just bought won’t work on my One. That’s sad. While it’s only sad for me, I can’t imagine the frustration if someone like my mom decided to get an HTC One or Moto X and found out all the music and TV shows she’s purchased don’t work on her phone. That’s what scares me for general consumers who have no idea what they may get into when they switch platforms, to say nothing of paying for apps again.
Ok, this is the easiest one. My HTC One is over a year newer than my 4S, so of course it’s got LTE. The 4S has support for HSPA+, but AT&T doesn’t have that in my area, so I get what’s technically 3G. Both phones are unlocked, but only the One has support for LTE. That makes it incredibly difficult to go back to a device without LTE. Once you go LTE, you can’t go back. Maybe if Apple makes the 32/64 GB 5C (or 5S) cheap, I may move back as I miss iMessage and lots of the apps.
So that’s my thoughts on iOS and Android after nearly two months with Android. There’s lots of things to like about platforms, but there’s also a lot bad with both platforms. Someday, both sides will probably sort out their respective issues (and the 5 and iOS 7 help a lot), but that may be awhile off. I’d like to try out Windows Phone for a third opinion, but that’s not in my budget. Maybe someday, but for now, I have only spent time with two platforms.
The moral of the story is no matter what platform or ecosystem you’re using right now, you should try to appreciate other platforms for what they are worth. If you want to experience a new platform for yourself, and if you don’t want a Nexus or aren’t on a GSM carrier in the states, get a device from your carrier store and return it in the allotted time they have for returns. Now go out and enjoy technology!