I have been in a very unique position the past few weeks to be able to run consistent comparisons of these 4 phones together and I have tweeted about it and while I love Twitter and Facebook, questions about my feelings on the 4 phones can’t be explained in 140 characters or less.
Sorry for all the pictures, but they kindof tell the story. I will break this down into a few categories:
- Time wasting apps
- Social Media Apps
- Productivity Apps (searching, maps, etc.)
- Web surfing
- Multi tasking
- Business usage
- Call quality
- Network Speeds
Now, that’s a lot of categories, but I think across them it can tell the story of which phone is best for you. That’s what this is really about. Not one phone is the best phone period, because like all things, the value is in the eye of the beholder and ultimately the consumer will decide.
I encourage you all to read all of the categories though as they will help you all get the best perspective.
I will knock out time wasting apps first, now these account for 99% of all apps on the Apple App Store, the Blackberry App Store and the Android Market. Each phone has good to adequate apps for weight management, media streaming (Pandora, Slacker Radio, etc.) however the iPhone just has more of them. Will you use them outside of the major ones, probably not, but they are there and choice is a good thing.
This is where I see the iPhone truly outshining every other device and to be honest, I don’t know if any Android device will ever be able to compete. Blackberry, well, let’s just move on because the games on the storm are simply embarrassing. The iPhone is always a specific OS on a specific screen with specific hardware, so you can have great games even if the hardware is better on an Android device. It’s akin to games on PCs vs. games on Consoles. Console games are generally just better because they don’t have to code for different hardware and components, etc. I see the Android games improving, will they ever match iPhone games, I am doubtful. The coming of Flash to both platforms will make this more interesting, but for the foreseeable future, this category is squarely with the iPhone.
Both Android devices have basically the same games available to them and while vastly superior to the Blackberry, they don’t have all the titles that iPhone boasts.
Social Media Apps:
This category seemed to cause a big stir for me with several DMs on Twitter and even a couple of calls, but here goes. I have to give the edge here to the Droid Eris. The Motorola Droid comes in second with the iPhone third and the Blackberry in a distant 4th. Each platform has apps for all of the major Social Media apps and most of the peripheral apps. The biggest miss I see is no Gowalla app on Android although they say one will be out shortly. I personally use Foursquare, but that is a different topic for a different day.
The Droid Eris comes integrated with Twitter and Facebook out of the gate and from there, each new Social network integrates throughout the platform so that I can share pictures or videos right from my photo library along with being able to email or MMS them. The iPhone requires you to open each app and then browse your libraries. I always have found this painful and annoying. The Droid can be easily configured to do the things the Eris does, but the Sense UI adds some pieces onto Android to make this just a tad smoother. The only knock I have on the Droid is the Facebook app is weaker than it’s iPhone counterpart. It is going through regular revisions that have improved it drastically over the past couple months, but it’s still not as “snazzy” as the iPhone version. Twitdroid has a 4.75* rating with 21,000+ ratings as a twitter app and it’s easily as good as any of the best Twitter apps for the iPhone. The Blackberry, well, it’s apps are just bad in comparison.
A big issue I have with the iPhone is the way that notifications are generally done. They did a great job with email and how you can control if you get a push, audio and/or vibrate. Now imagine having that same control for each and every social media outlet you have. Yeah, that’s what Android does. I am sorry, it’s just better. I carry both phones all the time and I find myself using my Eris the most for most of what I do.
I didn’t know how else to name this category, but things like Google Latitude, Voice, Maps, Searching, etc. These are some of the apps I use the most and being a google phone, obviously, the Droids do these things better, but for the life of me, I don’t know why the iPhone has denied these services. The way that you can easily just speak something like “Chipotle” or “Buckeye Nissan” and it pops it right into Google maps with the ability to make the call or get Google results. The iPhone has some of these services, but they can’t be backgrounded and that really hurts their productivity. For instance, if I need to know if my wife is getting the kids or if I am by just looking at Latitude. This makes a big difference in a busy family where we both have to be flexible. The Droid edges out the Eris here because the Eris is still on 1.5 vs. 2.0 of Android, so Google Goggles, which I think will revolutionize searching, is only available on 1.6 and up for Android. This will be moot in mid January as the Eris is being upgraded.
Overall, this category is a matter of preference, however, having a truly tabbed browser on Android that loads consistently is nice. Mobile Safari on the iPhone is an absolutely outstanding browser that renders amazingly. My only complaint is that when you switch “tabs”, it nearly always forces a reload. I use my browser to read the news a lot and this always bugs me. There are lots of “browser wars” posts showing speeds of page loads, but I think this is difficult to show because there are so many factors at play. In general, I have done numerous speed tests and AT&T is generally faster downloading and Verizon is faster uploading and is more consistent.
Multi Tasking can mean a number of things to a number of people, but I think the AT&T commercial nails it. I have found that being able to look something up while on a call is nice and it’s a limitation of the Verizon CDMA network. I give the nod to the iPhone here.
Are we talking about Blackberry? Yeah, this is probably the only category I will give to the Blackberry. Enterprise activation is a nice thing for IT administrators and not requiring a Gmail account or an iTunes account is a good thing for business. The mail and calendar aps on Android and iPhone have improved significantly, but they are not as strong as Blackberry. Good technology has mentioned that they will be releasing an iPhone app and an Android app which could make this comparison moot, but that won’t get around the need for a gmail account or an iTunes account.
I have to give the iPhone a 0 here. Stopping sales in New York and I have mapped out the 3 spots where I drop calls daily on my way home have me saying this is AT&T’s biggest issue. It’s not data because they seem superior (to me) there. It looks like the new software update on Blackberry to 5.0 has them MUCH better, but I am still having shivers from 4.7. I have never lost a call on Android and call quality is crystal clear.
Service for iPhones is an ongoing issue. Verizon will ship you a phone immediately if there is a problem and not require you to give a credit card, etc. You can be without a phone for days if you have a problem whereas with Verizon, you will have a new phone the next day. Combine this with all your data being on the cloud and the Android solution makes for seamless transitions from phone to phone whereas with iPhone you have to restore from a backup with iTunes and this process is a bit scary for most consumers. The Mobile me service (at $99/yr) makes this much better, but should you really have to pay for this when Google and Blackberry make this free? I have to give the joint nod overall to the Droids here due to the fact that if you aren’t in an enterprise situation, the Blackberry is a bit of a black hole from a restore process.
I have a post on this, but that was just with the Storm. I have been running on-going tests and I have a basic summary of avg speeds:
iPhone: 2000 KBs Down/190 KBs Up
Droid(s): 1500 KBs Down/900 KBs Up
Blackberry: 300 KBs Down/300 KBs Up
Overall, I give the nod to the iPhone here, but at those speeds, it doesn’t much matter unless you are watching video. Unless you jailbreak though, most of this is locked down whereas tv.com’s Android app allows you to watch any CBS TV show live over the network.
The iPhone is just beautiful, but I have to say that I find myself liking the Droid Eris better. It’s a little smaller and the nice backing is rubbery and doesn’t slide around so much when it’s in the car. I think the iPhone is just a little too wide for easy 1 hand texting. I am a little faster on the droid eris with 1 hand texting. The Droid is definitely not a 1 hand texting device, it’s more of a mini computer with the keyboard. If you are just using the phone like a netbook, the Droid is superior. The Blackberry’s push in screen is just annoying to me. It makes fast typing nearly impossible.
So, there you have it. Overall, I find the Droid Eris to be the overall most friendly and useful device if I had to choose just one. However, I am not a big gamer on my phone and I am a big Social Media user. The tight Android integration is the “killer app” for me and all of the other drawbacks or advantages cancel eachother out. If I had to choose just one device, I would likely select the Eris. I would put the Droid a close second, mainly because the nice Sense UI and smaller profile of the Eris is more to my liking, but the Droid is a fantastic phone. Third, I have the iPhone which is mainly in third as a result of no backgrounding and hence weak Social Media integration vs. Android and the AT&T handcuffs of call quality. I have the Blackberry a distant last and I think RIM is in serious trouble. I see both Palm and RIM becoming hanger-ons with Enterprise users and the mainstream will be a 2 horse race with iPhone and Android.
This blog post goes against all my rules of length, but there is a lot to talk about. Please let me know your thoughts :)
Cheers! 3 years ago