Android vs iPhone

When choosing your next smartphone, it’s not just the spec sheet that you should look into. Aside from hardware, you also need to consider the software included and there’s no denying that the two most prominent mobile operating systems right now are Android vs iPhone. Google’s latest darling is Android 4.0, also called Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). For Apple, it’s iOS 5,

Android vs iPhone

Both are leaders in mobile so it’s quite inevitable that they’ll be pitted against each other. Let’s look at a rundown of some of the key features of each platform. You might note that there are some distinct similarities in the feature being compared but each side offers a bit of a twist to its own take on it, so choose the one that fits your needs better.

Voice Commands

Apple’s Siri is, hands down, one of the best features that iPhone 4S has to offer. It’s exclusive to the iPhone 4S for now, so that narrows down your phone choices drastically if you want this feature. Of course, voice commands are nothing new but Apple’s implementation of this kind of service made it appealing to more people, especially since it’s front and center as well as highly advertised. Siri handles your calendar appointments, calls and texts your friends and even does some web researching for you if you like. It’s just in beta though and its language and country support is very limited at the moment.

For Android, there’s Voice Actions, which has been available since Froyo (Android 2.2) and was given some much needed polish in ICS. In terms of usage, Voice Actions and Siri do lots of things similarly but whereas Siri comes out on top in terms of implementation, Voice Actions has the better feature set as it can do turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation. In the US, Voice Actions is integrated into the Google Maps app which means that it can replace your car’s GPS if you trust Google’s directions enough.

iPhone Siri

Overall, Siri is more conversational and intuitive, which helps it produce results that better match what you want from it. Voice Actions, though, does very well in search as well as when it comes to navigation. Voice Actions can also be activated using your voice while Siri needs a specific action to activate such as holding the home button or placing the phone by your ear.


Similar to Voice Commands, it’s again clear that ICS offers more shooting options and tweaks than those found on iOS 5. One of the added features in ICS is a new panoramic mode where you can take multiple shots that are stitched together for an easy panoramic landscape. Android’s latest also allows the user to set image levels and filters, so there’s more things to tinker with when improving your photos.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Apple has also come up with some enhancements to its camera such as the ability to crop and rotate images, red-eye reduction, auto enhancement, and grid lines while taking a shot, but you’ll have to admit that these are rather basic. That’s not to say that the iPhone 4S camera is not up to par because as image quality goes, many reviewers have given it a thumbs up, with some claiming that it could even be a replacement for your average point and shoot camera. Comparing picture quality with ICS, however, is not a valid point as this will depend on the device running the latest Android version.


If you’ve already used an Android device, you already know that Apple’s version of notifications on iOS 5–while executed very well–has very striking resemblance to the same feature found on ICS and previous Android versions. In ICS, there were only minor tweaks done on notifications such as showing the thumbnails of apps currently running and allowing a full drop down even while on your lock screen.

iPhone 4S

For iOS 5 users, the presence of a notifications center has been a very welcome development. Apple previously resorted to badges and notification alerts scattered all over your springboard. But with its latest iOS version, it added a notifications center that even pops up on the lock screen. Apple also added banner-style alerts that notify you of events in a non-intrusive way. Badges and notification alerts are still present so those who prefer using those are still welcome to use it.

Internet Browsing

One of the key functions of your smartphone is accessing the web so it makes sense for both platforms to add new features to an already very capable built-in browser. For ICS, Google added Chrome bookmarks sync and also allows you to save full web pages for later browsing. It’s a very useful feature for those who do not have an unlimited data plan. ICS also added an incognito mode to its browser for those in need of privacy and security.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Apple also got busy upgrading its mobile Safari by adding tabbed browsing for the iPad and iPad 2, private browsing, Safari Reader and Reading List–although the latter is quite limited in features compared to ICS’ offline viewer. Side by side though, each stock browser does pretty well in terms of speed and navigation.

Cloud Storage

Just like with their notifications center, Apple seems to be a step behind on cloud storage as it only introduced iCloud recently on iOS 5 while Android users have been enjoying that feature for some time already. Android’s cloud storage, however, was limited to apps and Google only updated it recently to include music and photos.

iCloud may be late but it certainly arrived with a heap of features, including iTunes Match and Photo Stream, to name a few. The counterpart for iTunes Match is Google Music, with the latter offering its service for free and Apple charging around $25 for a one-year usage.

iPhone 4S iCloud

If you’re already using many of Google’s other services like Gmail and Google Docs, then you might be leaning more towards ICS but if you rely heavily on iWork, iLife or use a Mac, then iCloud makes a strong case for going  with iOS 5.

Extra Features

While the two platforms have a lot of similarities (though with different implementations), there are also a few nifty features that Google and Apple added to their respective mobile operating systems. For ICS there’s Face Unlock, which, as the name suggests needs you to put the phone in front of your face to access it. There’s also a new People app, which is actually the Contacts app that now has a new magazine look. Here your contacts are all integrated together, including those from your social media accounts, so it’s easier to contact your family and friends. There’s also no need to tweak your device to allow you to get a screenshot as it is now natively supported (admittedly though iOS already has this feature for quite some time).

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Apple also threw in some neat features for iOS 5 including Newsstand, which is similar to iBooks but is geared towards magazines and publications instead of books. iOS 5 also has Twitter built right into it so frequent users of the social messaging service can share their photos, videos, links, and contacts much more easily and quickly. There’s also a native Reminders app for todos, Find My iPhone for locating missing devices. Apple also introduces a number of wireless connectivity features such as AirPlay which lets you wirelessly share your screen to an Apple TV, AirPrint which enables wireless printing and wireless sync which lets forego the cord when doing backups, syncing data and doing remote app installation.

Hardware Comparison

Android offers more options for those who want to get a taste of ICS, with the latter to be rolled out to older models before the Nexus. Among those expected to get ICS are Motorola’s Droid RAZR and Droid Bionic, LG Optimus 2X, HTC’s Vivid, Sensation, Amaze 4G, Rezound, EVO 3D and EVO Design 4G. For iOS 5, Apple released the update to the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 (and to the iPhone 4S as well) and the original iPad and iPad 2.

A direct comparison of features and specs will always fall on current flagship models Galaxy Nexus by Samsung and Apple’s iPhone 4S as they both arrived with the latest operating system in tow so it’s worth noting how they stack up against each other.

iPhone 4S

Some of the advantages of the Galaxy Nexus is that it has more RAM (1 GB compared to 512MB on iPhone 4S); Faster downloads at 21.0MBits/s compared to 14.4MBits/s by the iPhone; and better screen size with a higher screen resolution. The Nexus has a 4.65-inch display at a resolution of 720×1280 pixels while the iPhone 4S has retained the same 3.5-inch screen size with a resolution of 640×960 pixels. The Galaxy Nexus also has an HDMI output built-in while you need an adapter for the iPhone 4S.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

The iPhone 4S also has some parts that are better compared to the Nexus, and this includes the camera, with the latest iPhone packing in an 8MP shooter while the Nexus only has 5MP. The 4S also offers more internal storage with up to 64GB while the Nexus can only offer up to half of that.


It’s not always black and white in determining which is the better mobile operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich or iOS 5, or the better phone overall, Galaxy Nexus or iPhone 4S. As the rundown of the features of each OS shows, there are similarities and unique features as well so it’s up to you to really find out which features are a match to your needs. Each platform offers several hundred thousand apps to its users, so that’s one way to level the field with third-party developers filling in the gaps of each system.

One thing that might help you decide is how much you use the halo of services and products surrounding each platform. If you’re an avid Google user and want to have seamless experience between their browser-based services onto your mobile, buying an ICS tablet or phone should suit you well. On the flip side, if you own a Mac and use it as your main computer, getting an iPhone or iPad might be a wiser decision.


Filed Under: Android News, Apple, Apple iPhone
  • Killawatts

    Galaxy Nexus requires the mhl adapter (sold separately)for HDMI out. You also left out flash support in the android browser advantages.

  • Gisbert

    i Will you iphone background :(

  • Lyndell

    Barley a mention of AirPlay or GameCenter, and all your bookmarks stay synced across safari browsers aswell, no mention of HDR on the camera (witch makes photos the amazing thing they are on iPhones) iTunes Match is way more then he put it. I love now that my top 100 played is updated no matter what device I’m using. Poor article need to look more into iPhone.

  • Buaioeae

    iPhone is limited to its mini 3.5″ screen. It also feels and looks like piece of a brick. That would be it. At least for me.

  • Buaioeae

    What are you going to do with your Game Center on iPhone 3.5″ screen?

  • Lyndell

    .5″ – 1″ of screen makes little too no difference, I work with Andriods and sell them everyday, the screen on the Skyrocket and LG Nitro make no difference in gaming, if anything the large screen makes it horrible to hold. And the games have to all compensate for the lack of unity, so there are less games, then no AirPlay option for those, I mean just look at iCade support. But basically the 1″ of screen makes no difference, now when I’m on my iPad there is a difference lucky with iCloud a lot of my games stay synced whether or not I’m on my iPhone or iPad again another thing lacking in “Googles Cloud”.

  • Patrick Gallagher

    You definitely haven’t worked with the Epic 4G Touch. The screen on that is just the right size I found. When I looked at my friend’s iPhone after using an Epic 4G Touch, the screen on it looked so dinky. Don’t forget: they use the hypotenuse of the screen, so that means if it’s wider, the overall number will be bigger. And ratio is key, too. So is the quality (Super AMOLED+ beats Retina Display anyday) and resolution. As for browsers, Google Chrome can and does sync bookmarks with other Chrome running computers. And, though you didn’t bring it up, but all of the Apple fanboys I deal with every day talk all about how the App Store dominates the Android Market. For now, they’re correct. But Android is growing, and fast. The Market is at 450k now, a 300k increase from the last year. App Store now has 578,716 apps, which is good, and a huge increase from last year. Let’s zoom in. January of 2012, the Market had 400k apps, and the App Store had 500k. Now, look at the 50k increase of the Market compared to the App Stores of barley any, maybe a couple thousands. And “Google’s Cloud” works well. It worked before iCloud. Apps are synced, music is synced, contacts, mails, calendars, pictures and some videos (depends how you set it), and other third party items are synced. And, yes, there is no Game Center on the Market (Heyzap comes close) and no Siri (Speaktoit has more functionality at the unfortunate price of less beauty). Motorola is also working on a sort of AirPlay, and Google TV runs Android, too, so we may see some functionality with devices coming soon. So the facts I just provided are valid. You could find references all over the place. But, Apple fanboys will be Apple fanboys. And I’m not saying the iPhone is a bad device. I son’t, however, agree that it shows superiority to Android both in hardware and software.

  • Lyndell

    I would agree you have valid points, but no one Android phone can run everything you just said, and on the software front a Galaxy Nexus with the newest OS with a 1.5GHZ processor gets beat in graphic speed benchmarks by and iPhone 4S running a .8GHZ processor (thats almost double the power) witch is why apple deffintly has the software front, with reader in the browser, “Add to Home Screen” bookmarks that look like the rest of your apps, and GameCenter and more apps and more consumer friendly I can logout of my app store account and sign into my friends download all his stuff for free then log back in, if your google account on your phone gets messed you have too wipe your phone, and so much more. On hardware aside from super AMOLED + no one can touch the Retina, and then the super AMOLED next to an iPhone 4 and 4S look pixelated. Then the devices feel like cheap Koren toys. Android is an OS and you an use it but if you live in America and spent more then $100 on a phone you shouldn’t have an Android.

  • Patrick Gallagher

    You’d have to show me how 800 MHz is better than 1.5 GHz. And you can easily have a bookmark widget on Android, a feature not used by the iPhone. And as for the AMOLED screen: there is a difference of AMOLED  and Super AMOLED +, which really does beat Retina anyday. And for the Google account, I have come across no circumstance in which it got “messed”. And there is a phone that can run all I said earlier: a rooted Samsung Galaxy S II (or Epic 4G Touch). It has a good sized screen, twice the processor and RAM of an iPhone, and it runs all I said and much more, since its rooted. You said you worked with Android devices, so I’m sure you know what rooting is. And “cheap Korean toys” is no way to describe the current smartphone market dominator, and sure, there are some crappy Androids, but there are at least handful that beat the iPhone 4S head on. And I can do the same by logging in and out of a friend’s phone to download the apps free. Its hard to adjust to it, but Android is slowly taking the spotlight, if it hasn’t already done so.

  • Lyndell

    Precisely you have to root it I pick up my iPhone and all the stuff I said is there and, most people don’t know how to root a phone, And most phones lock in your google account, so you have to stick with it and can’t log in and out, and I’ve seen simply losing connection having the Google account disconnect an need logged in again and half the people don’t know there password so they have to reset the phone and start a new. Also it’s a benchmark it lays in the code, Android takes more power to get things done, now the Nexus beat the iPhone slightly in bowser but with the graphics bench mark the iPhone and iPad won cause they are programmed better. And Samsung at the moment are made out of plastic that feel horrible read any review. all because it has more power doesn’t mean the system as a hole is faster then another. Back to benchmarks if your running 2.3 iPhone basically destroys your phone in everyway. Even with less power, witch allows them to gain more battery life the iPad lasts 10:26hr because it doesnt need to compete with gimmicks with five other companies running the same thing they can focus on having a good product, Android if anything is falling behind, and manufacture because of that are going to do what Amazon did and make there own OS in a way and Update just themselves it’s sad a phone that came out 4 mounths ago can’t run 4.0 but an iPhone 3GS witch is about 3 years old can run 5.0. Its googles fault if they were fully “open” and let manufactures in on the new OS the develope and what they need to run it they could prevent it, but they don’t cause they are open in the lazy ways, they don’t want to make there hardware so they give it away and they don’t want to monitor there system themselves so anything can go on the MarketPlace and it only has like 20,000 more free apps it’s like 170,000 for droid and 150,000 for iOS and none of iOS’ have viruses Google is just trying to get in on the market to make money and you got scammed

  • Patrick Gallagher

    Rooting is a hassle, true, but worth the wait. And I just looked it up and I don’t know what on earth you mean by the plastic being horrible. Some iPhones do, in fact, beat 2.3 android devices, again, based on hardware and the manufacturer’s UI, but it doesn’t come close to destroying. And it’s true, and as an Android user I know, its a pain to not be updated yet. But remember that Apple has much less criteria for phones. The 3GS will be lucky to get iOS 5 (or whatever’s next) They keep an approximate 3 phone margin, where as more than 3 devices for sure are getting Android 4.0 (which after using it on my phone and using an iPhone with iOS 5, ICS feels cleaner and better. And remember, Androids are free from the constraint of the Android market, able to download any .apk s they want without rooting at all (whereas you would have to jailbreak an iPhone.) And you aren’t forced into a tool like iTunes to put music, videos, and apps (ect.) on an Android. Drag n’ drop is the way to go. As for viruses, nobody I know has one, and it’s really easy to get antivirus.

  • Adam

    maybe mention that the Iphone’s “Siri” speech recognition is FAR from perfect and more times then not, cannot understand you. A recent study prooved that most iphone users turned off Siri because they had to repeat themselves multiple times. This is NOT a feature…

  • Neograven

    I find the Android more intuitive as well. iPhone and Android look similar on the surface, but the more you dig in to the phone’s apps and features, the differences become painfully apparent; iPhone just seems to lack a “natural” flow IMHO

  • carlos robles

    Android is horrible. It will never beat iOS in terms of speed, polish and functionality. My 4s runs 173 mflops on linpack, I guarantee NO android can beat 85. And that’s being generous.

  • XdrummerXboy

    RIGHT after apple released Siri, there was an app on the Android market called Iris, which is Siri spelled backwards. Google will ALWAYS out-do apple, apple is far too limiting. Once people do their research on the capabilities of Android and the limitations of Apple, they’ll finally realize Android is superior.

  • Rick Moree

    My DROID Bionic is a great phone. It replaced my original DROID 1, which was a great phone too.  My biggest gripe, however, is after you shell out $300 to get the best DROID phone available a better model replaces it in a matter of weeks.  The DROID RAZR came out 2 weeks after I got my Bionic and the price of the Bionic dropped to $200.00.  Now, a mere 6-months later, a Bionic can be purchased new for $70 at Costco and it includes the windshield mount, a case, and a charger. Also, when I tried to sell my original DROID the resale value was a whopping $11.00!  My next smartphone will be an Iphone simply because it holds its value and I know I will have the most up-to-date model for at least 12 months.

  • webadmin

    I also deal with Android phones a lot. as I’m an app devloper for Android. I do think that Android has Apple out paced in just about everything. what doesn’t come as part of the os there are plenty off apps out there to plug the holes. espicaly in the Siri lookalike department I’ve found a bunch of free apps that will do all the same things I’ve seen Apple says Siri does.  Also the on screen keyboard drives me nuts with how easy it is to hit the wrong key.  but I don’t gotta worry about that on my Samsung Sidekick that has a built in slide out keyboard. it’s also right about the same size. has the 4g has the wi-fi sharing. and I’ve had great luck with the included navigation app. when I gave it a addres to go to. also from a devloper side I also think Android is much nicer. The Full Sdk is free and runs on all three of the major os’s.  where as Apples’s IOS only has a partial SDK for free and it only runs on a mac (and only a fairly recent one too); With Apple you gotta pay their yearly subscription fee to try your creations out on a real phone (even your own)  with Google you don’t even need a Dev account to upload your creations to your phone. also I think Java wich is what Android uses is much eaiser to learn and use then Coca Touch that Apple does.  at least for me it is.  I would also say the itunes match seems like a rip off with how much they are chargeing and you still only get access to the songs you bought. where on the Android side you can get a program like spottify and get all the music you want for much less even the songs you haven’t bought sepretly.

  • Avkozlov21

    My husband ran over his iPhone with his semi truck, on gravel road, face down. Picked it up and called me to tell me he ran over his iPhone with his semi… Not a scratch…!!
    That saved me $300

  • pghahaha

    That’s wonderful. And hilarious you’d think that. My friend, you are just a pawn in this game.

  • rdbradleyjr

    wow…reading all the comments makes my head hurt. I was going to buy a new cell phone today. I had it narrowed down to the new iphone and Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I keep going back and forth. I didn’t understand half of the stuff you guys were talking about. So which phone should I get??

  • rdbradleyjr

    So go with the Samsung Galaxy? Why doesn’t the Galaxy have VZ Navigator? I use the navigation app a good bit on road trips. Does the Galaxy have an alternative to the VZ Navigator or should I just go with the iphone?

  • Bfuller4

    hello all! I am going to live in a remote part of Ethiopia for the next six months, and was considering buying either an iphone or an android. i have never had or used a smartphone.  I will not have cell service there, but I will be able to connect to private wi-fi for emails home etc once a week. Which one do you guys think will be better? here is what I need
    I need a reliable amharic and Oromo dictionary app that does not require internet connection
    I need several apps that deal with welder settings and other farm related apps
    ease of connecting to wi fi to send emails and internet
    have availiable a great case that will enable it to survive in the harsh enviorment (dust, water, heat, impact)
     Great battary life, or extra battary availiability, I will be able to charge it about once a week. skype would be a great bonus as well

  • Marisan

    Patrick and Lyndell, certainly enjoyed reading both of your views – a good, friendly debate. I am deciding what my next phone will be. I do have the iPad 2. I think it will be the iPone only because I have the iPad and am really enjoying that device. If you had the iPad and used it often, would you get an android?