Smartphones – Which One Should I Get ?
This is a common question today among both smartphone owners, and consumers looking to get their first smartphone.
If this is your first phone, you might actually be in an easier situation. All of the smartphones are fairly similar to use, and they all do more or less the same basic things. It almost won’t matter which one you get, and you might not develop any preferences until you buy your 2nd or 3rd smartphone. So worry not !
If you are a returning smartphone customer, you will already have some features that you have gotten attached to, or disliked from your first phone(s).
For my personal background, I have my original Motorola Droid. One of my brothers also has an Android phone (HTC Thunderbolt), while my Dad, Aunt and another brother have iPhones (iPhone 4 and 4S). I think I am the only one to have rooted my phone, but I’m the IT guy in the family, so this is probably why 🙂 An IT co-worker of mine just switched from a Windows phone to an Android phone. He seems to be happy with it so far. But we are tinkerers, not the typical user.
So back on topic 😉
Each type of phone will allow you to access your Gmail, take photos, upload them to the internet, store music and take video. Each type of phone will have high end models available with fast processors, lots of storage space and slick tough-screens.
Windows phones will vaguely resemble Windows that runs on a computer. It will have some features that may make it easier to interact with a Windows 7 computer (like transferring photos, videos and music). iPhones will not completely look reminiscent of a Mac when you use it’s apps and other features, but it will likely interact more easily with a Mac and with iTunes if you are a Mac user. Android phones are really not based on either Macintosh or Windows. They are instead based off of the Linux operating system. For anyone who is not familiar with Linux. Many years ago, a gentleman named Linus Torvalds started a new generation of operating systems (besides Mac and Windows) that was destined to be free. It is referred to as Open-Source. I will forego the definition so as not to get off-topic just yet.
So let me back up for a moment… When you buy a Windows or Macintosh computer, a sizeable chunk of the price is for the software that runs the computer. In the case of Macintosh, this is OSX Snow Leopard, or Lion (or earlier versions). In the case of Windows, this would be Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. Linux however, does not cost anything. You could buy a laptop without Windows or Mac OSX on it, and it would be considerably cheaper, and you could install Linux on it (like Ubuntu for example). Linux can look and feel very similar to Windows or Mac OSX, it’s just that nobody is really in the business of promoting or marketing it. And it’s more popular among the techie community, so you won’t see as many (if any) of these offered at Best Buy or Costco. Linux also will not typically run Microsoft Office, or Adobe Photoshop. So if you need to use one of those programs, and can’t use an Open-Source counterpart (like GIMP or Open Office), you will likely be required to use Windows or Mac OSX.
So, Android is basically Linux. Sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. Android phones are just as easy to use as iPhones and Windows phones. It really depends what you get used to and how adaptable you are (again, not that they are that much different).
If you are a first time buyer, you will likely be equally happy with any of the three.
If pictures are important, try out and choose a specific phone that seems to take the best pictures. As a warning, most phones take poor pictures in a dark room, even with the flash. My Droid takes great pictures in good lighting. The iPhone gets rave reviews for it’s photos (although I have seen poor pictures taken in dim light with an iPhone 4S as well). Windows phones likely have some models with excellent cameras as well.
If battery life is important to you…you may be equally disappointed with most smartphones. The iPhone does not have a user-removable battery, so cannot buy a 2nd battery and toss it in your pocket. You will need to use a charger when it runs out, or use a portable battery pack (usually 2 AA batteries in a holder that plugs into your phone’s charging port with a cable). Many other phones will have a battery compartment on the back that you can open yourself and change the battery if you like. I purchased a 2nd battery for my phone from a vendor on Amazon.com for around $9. But Verizon will happily sell you one for probably $29 or $39. My $9 battery had the same 1390mAh rating and lasted just as long as the OEM battery.
If you need a physical keyboard (instead of a screen-based keyboard), the iPhone is not for you.
If you have a car radio or home audio equipment with a special iPhone or iPod dock or control feature, you might want to consider the iPhone. These radios and systems usually offer features like changing songs using the radio’s remote control. For a car radio, you can sometimes connect your iPhone to your radio with a special cable, put the iPhone in the glove-box, and control all of your songs from your radio’s controls, instead of (illegally) operating your phone while driving.
Otherwise, check out several phones, try them out and choose the one that looks best. None of them are perfect, and they all have little quirks. So your experience will likely be similar. The great news is that they are always getting better, and you can do far more with phones all the time.
I forgot to mention Blackberry. Blackberry phones seem to have the largest market share among businesses and companies that require all of their users to have one. Often times they interact with their company’s email service using a special Blackberry email server. For the typical user, I think that an Android, iPhone or Windows phone will likely be a more enjoyable experience. But try them out to find out for yourself.