four months ago

Which mobile OS do you prefer and why?

I've been testing phones at Consumer Reports for a number of years. People often ask me which system is best, but the truth is that each OS has its merits. Personally, I use Android, but I've recommended the iPhone to family members, Windows phones to friends, and Blackberries to some business users. Smart phones are one of the most personal devices that a person owns. The choice in OS is not a trivial one, and one size certainly doesn't fit all. Which OS do you use? Do you like it? How does it suit your needs?

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four months ago
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Great question and I am sure you will get a variety of responses - my background is I have used most types - Palm Treo, early Samsung Windows Mobile, Blackberries, iPhones, and for short periods of time Galaxy S3 and S4….

keyboard - really loved the blackberry keyboard….to me, it was so much better for text input than anything before or after it. often times, i would be sitting at my desk, with my laptop and blackberry within reach, and would use the blackberry because it was faster

apps defeat keyboard - now, i love iphones. for me, the value of great apps on iphones vs blackberry trumped my love of the physical keyboard on the blackberry.

fastest touch response wins for me - so now that apps are not terribly different between iphone and android…i prefer my iphone over the S3 or S4 because iphone's touch response just seems so much better.

  • Sam_Wells one month ago

    I have a Windows 8 phone (Nokia 728), and like it a lot.It is straightforward, does all the basic things well and integrates well with gmail. I have more flexibility to use services outside the Microsoft world, unlike on an Apple phone/ipad. The OS is less buggy that on an Android. On the other hand, the OS has fewer features, eg, can't use a bluetooth keyboard, and there are many clever apps on iPhone/Androids that haven't yet made it to the Windows Phone IS. If the Windows Phone IS continues to improve and the apps follow, I'll stick with this phone.

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four months ago
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I have an Android phone (Samsung Galaxy Nexus) and several Android tablets, as well as an iPad and iPod (though my iPod has gone away to collect dust), so I do use both OS' and do like them almost equally. I only have one phone, so for that, I use Android exclusively. As for tablets, I seem to use my iPad and Nexus 7 (Android) fairly equally. I use the iPad more at home, but tend to use my Nexus 7 when I am out and about. I also love it for use in my car as a GPS and car infotainment system. It's the perfect size and weight for car use as well as for lugging around.

The original reason that I bought an Android phone was for the larger screen size. I personally like larger phones and phablets, especially for web browsing and shopping, since I do a lot of this on my phone. It's just easier to read and see on a larger screen.

After using Android, I prefer it slightly over iOS for it's widgets and customization abilities, such as with launchers, custom lockscreens, and custom notification shades. I also enjoy it's NFC features, however, I do wish NFC would catch on with more people. (I do think if Apple included NFC in their devices, it would suddenly become popular).

iOS, on the other hand, is slightly more fluid, and is often the first OS to receive new apps. The battery life is usually much longer on iOS devices. The battery life of my Nexus 7, though, is also very good. In my opinion, it's speed, fluidity, and responsiveness is very close to the iPad.

So, I like features of both operating systems, but like them for different reasons and uses.

  • Consumer-Reports-David four months ago

    Wow, it sounds like you have a lot of devices to choose from! We've seen a pretty wide range of talk times from Android phones. I think that the size of the display and battery are more critical than the OS in this case.

  • 1Baybreeze four months ago

    LOL, I sure do, I'm a gadget addict! I do agree regarding talk times/battery life. My Galaxy Nexus has a terrible battery life, even when conserving it's resources. I think with any smartphone, it's also wise to have an external charger or power bank handy.

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four months ago
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I've had BB(older versions), android and iPhone.
Currently I'm on an iPhone 4S and I've totally loved it right up until I updated to the IOS7. My phone slowed down a bit. That's not to say I'm not happy with my phone, just slightly frustrated at times.
I'd still recommend iPhone as I've found it to be the most user friendly out of the box. My wife has an iPhone 3s and no disrespect intended but smart phones make her dumb. She had one of my old androids and hated it. I got the new iPhone an gave her my old one and not only does she love it, she can easily use it.
The other day I saw a windows phone at tmobile for dirt cheap. I think I'm gonna go ahead and get it for my daughter for Christmas. Yes, I've now become "that parent". You know? The one that gets his 10 year old a smart phone. I'll likely be asking advice on that smurt decision later…
Honestly though, I am of the firm opinion that whichever phone/OS you go with now a days you'll be happy with. Over the past 3 years OS across the board has moved leaps and bounds from where it began. Almost all have talk to text and other cool features like that. One may have a bell or a whistle that the other doesn't but there are usually apps that can fill in those gaps. I think it really just comes down to processor speeds and other than my 4s slowing down slightly it's been solid. My phones 2 years old and according to all of the tv commercials it's almost obsolete. (Hint hint Santa)
Sorry there's a lot of words that don't go anywhere but I hope that helps…

  • 1Baybreeze four months ago

    My iPad 3 also seems to have slowed down a bit after the iOS 7 update, but it's not too bad.

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four months ago
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I have had several android and iphone models. From my experience it varies based on brand. The iphone is number 1 for quality and reliability. Android os in my opinion is better than ios because of the vast customization ability. That being said, most android handsets are cheap and break. Motorola is far the worst handset manufacture i've ever dealt with. They have the android phones with the coolest features and options but are worst for reliability. The refurb models the carrier sends supposedly are "reconditioned" and that's a lie. I think someone just turns it on and if that happens it passes inspection. Apple is the only reconditioned phone that actually is like brand new. For being locked into a 2 year contract and the price that you pay for one of these devices, what good is it if it doesn't work? Iphone is highest for quality and only other maker I would trust is high end samsung or maybe a Nokia or HTC.

  • cr-guest-8193 one month ago

    I have an IPhone, an I am NOT a fan. Apple is VERY proud of their product and, quite frankly, it is inferior and getting worse. Every update makes it worse. Only Apple is allowed to make any adjustments or repairs. Too propriatary, and too limiting. When my contract is up, it will go in the trash. The rest of my family has Samsung galaxy products. They love them.

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four months ago
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I have had iPhone 1, 3GS, 4S, 5, now 5S. Androids I had a Samsung Galaxy S3, now an HTC One Max. I had Windows devices starting with the first Windows CE (Casio E-10 given out at the launch of WinCE 2.0). Never had a BB, but RIM is not a company I'd count on at this point.

When I had the iPhone 5 or 5S and the Galaxy S3, I would reach for the iPhone 99% of the time. It's just so obvious, requires much less direct attention, so there's less of a context switch from whatever I was doing. My brain can keep on whatever I was doing with less distraction into how to quickly accomplish a fast task when using the iPhone. The S3 felt like I had to put full brain focus on to get to the point where I could accomplish a task. Nice screen though.

Now that I have the ginormous HTC One Max, I find it's less obvious that I reach for the iPhone as often. The HTC for me is hugely superior to the Samsung Galaxy. I have quite large hands so the size of it isn't a problem, I could see someone with smaller hands would find the One Max too big. I'm probably reaching for the iPhone about 80% of the time, the One Max 20%.

The problems others mentioned about the smoothness of iOS is very true for me as well. But the implementation of HTC's Android (4.3, Jelly Bean) is superb, as is the hardware. I tried several different builds of Android on the S3, LiquidSmooth JB and Cyanogen JB. None came close to the experience on the One Max. I will likely wait for HTC to get KitKat (Android 4.4) out officially rather than put a custom install on.

Feel free to ping me for more if you'd like further info

  • Consumer-Reports-David four months ago

    Wow, great comments. I would love to hear more about your preference for the HTC One Max over the Samsung Galaxy S3. Do you think the size is a big factor? Do you like BlinkFeed? I know that I had a lot of fun making videos using HTC Video Highlights, do you use it to shoot a lot of pics or video?

  • tedb four months ago

    Size is a minor factor, I was going to try the Note 3 but when I saw the One Max and used it, that was a turning point for me. The Note 3 would just be the S3 writ large, and that's not all that significant.

    BlinkFeed feels nearly identical to Flip for my iPad, and I do use it sometimes, but I had FlipBoard on the S3 so the change is the home screen default being Blink.

    I haven't really done many pix on the Max, haven't had it long enough to use it, and I have experience with the 5S so I tend to grab it for pix. I'll have to try more on the Max though to decide which I prefer.

    As to why the Max over the S3: part is the tactile feel of the device, the S3 feels like cheap plastic, the Max feels more solid. That's minor but real. Then there's the screen, the Max for some reason is easier to look at. I haven't checked pixel density, perhaps that's a factor. But the major point to me is it just feels more fluid to work with; perhaps that's CPU speed or screen responsiveness.

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four months ago
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I currently have an iPhone. iOS is simple and just works. It's only a phone to me and does what I need to do. Call, text, and Facebook. I love android tho. It is in my opinion more powerful than iOS, most current generation android phones are always more powerful than any iPhone. Rooted android with CyanogenMod 11(Kitkat) is my favorite! More open option and plenty of development available. It is tailored to more advance user tho.

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four months ago
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I prefer Android. Early on in its life it lacked polish compared to iOS however I think it has reached the same level now and because it has the customization factor there are tons of new interesting apps such as swype and useful lock screens.

  • PDX four months ago

    I believe it has surpassed iOS. People don't realize that iOS 7 introduced many features that Android already implemented. The stock ROM is already user friendly, it's a shame the average user only use 10% of the features of the OS/smartphone.

  • 1Baybreeze four months ago

    @PDX, I was very surprised to see all those Android features on my iPad after I updated to iOS7. I am not biased either way, though.

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four months ago
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iOS because it's clean, apps are expansive beyond compare. Wanted to try a windows phone the other day but my two favorite apps weren't among the offering. iOS is fairly easy to jailbreak if you need more functionality too. Would still prefer a windows phone because of Windows OS and XBOX One integration.

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three months ago
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This will sound like an iPhone commercial and I apologize for that. It's just that, after building systems, writing software, teaching hardware and software at the post secondary level and managing major computer systems and other companies/systems for over 20 years, the iPhone is the best system for my wife and myself because it more than meets our needs. Your needs may differ. After owning and using two different BB, several Android and other phones, I bought two 3GS iPhones, one for my wife and the other for myself. The latest BB (work phone) was used only for work. The Androids, at that time, were clunky, awkward and did not always work well. I found the 3GS to work flawlessly and the apps were what won the day for that time. My wife uses mostly basic features with major exceptions and "there is an app for that" is her motto because she has found an app for everything she needs. We moved to the iPhone 5 and will stay with that until the iPhone 7 (skipping the 5S and the 6) comes out before changing again. Face Time is a personal favorite because it works perfectly, whether across the city or calling home from Jamaica. Everything is simple to use and even my enormous size 12 plus work-damaged hands have no problems operating the keyboard. I use all the talk features and rarely the keyboard for text input. Both iPhones and iPads are updated to the newest software at the earliest time it is available as is all other software in use. All Apple devices are locked to the same online cloud and that makes downloading apps, books, music, etc. a dream.
But there is more to it than the apps. I have integrated our systems within my home with a personal cloud, hard wired (cat 5) through a wireless router and a signal enhancer because there are three full floors. Everything communicates wirelessly and flawlessly. That includes two iPhone 5's, two laptops (Win7), Ultrabook (Win 8.1 customized with a 1TB SSD and much more), three desktops (Win 7), two iPads, two smart TVs, two PS IIIs, three printers, one DSLR and many other diverse devices. I bought a phone in the US running Jellybean on ATT and it was a pain to use because nothing was intuitive. Integration into my systems was impossible so it sits in a drawer. When my grandchildren come over (4 of them between 7 and 12) they bring an array of iPhones, iPads, and other gear for schoolwork and play. They can move from one device to another without even blinking. Most everything is done on their iPhones and iPads but some of the complex photo printing and other creative work often involves starting on the iPhone, moving to a graphics desktop for the final Photoshop set up for the Epson R3000 photo printer or using one of the Canon printers for print work. They had other phones and devices (notably BB phones, Playbook, Android phones and tablets, etc.) and just stopped using them.
For me, that says it all. When very tech savvy children, a reasonably tech savvy wife and I all prefer the iPhone (and all that entails) to Android phones and devices, I will stay with the Apple products I own. My children have now done the same as well and we have drawers full of abandoned Android phones and other devices. Enough said.

  • dan_crumpler three months ago

    Well said. It is more a personal preference than anything else. If you don't mind paying a premium price for Apple products they make wonderful devices. As time goes by there won't be any any significant difference between any of the better devices. Have a fine Christmas while I wait for Santa to bring my new Galaxy phone.

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four months ago
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I have an Android phone, and an iPad. Husband has iPhone 4S. I've had other Android phones in the past, an Android ASUS tablet, and a variety of old OS phones (Treo, symbian) that don't really warrant a mention anymore these days. Other than some of the basic symbian dual SIM phones are great for traveling overseas.

I used to be fairly pro-Android, but can't say that I really am anymore after using the iPad for awhile and getting used to iOS. Apps is the main reason. I kind of hate my Android phone, and I hate the lack of updating and inconsistency of the OS in general. I've bricked a fairly decent phone trying to root it (I took the risk, didn't pay off, first attempt). The only reason I don't have an iPhone is my low phone usage doesn't warrant the cost of switching, as I'd need to buy one almost outright due to being on and firmly believing in prepaid (contract is a huge waste of money on me). And, for me, apps on the tablet are much more important that on the phone (heavy tablet/desktop user, light phone user… at home worker!) The only thing I like about Android over iOS is the back button, and Swype.

My ASUS tablet gathers dust.

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four months ago
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I haven't used the Microsoft OS as of yet but have used the Blackberry, Apple and the Android. I really am very partial to android mostly because of the Apps. I hate the keyboards on all of them and I refuse to fall into the trap of Apple and their proprietary lifestyle. If you like Apple great my son has an Iphone but he is always asking me, How can I do that on my phone and I reply simply "You Can't" Until Apple decides to release some type of App or Software to do it..

On Android whatever I want is at my fingertips, from Microsoft products to 3rd party products it is as easy as 1,2,3. So hands down I would have to say Android is the complete package.

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four months ago
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Android 4.4 works like a dream, it is by far my choice for doing serious work. I have tablets from Google, Windows, and Apple and the Nexus 7 is by far the one first picked up and the last put down. I never found the Apple mystique to be that compelling and Windows has a way to go to catch up, but Google has earned my respect and my cash with a superior product.

In a year or so I doubt there will be any measurable difference but for today Google will give you far more bang for the buck in phones and tablets. If you need something to prove how "cool" you are buy an Apple device; but if you need a tool to actually work with Android is far ahead of the pack.

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four months ago
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As a developer, I am fond of Android due to it's openness and the fact that it's much easier to develop for.

As a user I simply can't beat iOS. It's a perfect combination of an elegant, consistent experience and the rich application ecosystem (the latter being the most important point).

I love the idea behind yabb.ly/SoBuva – but I haven't seen any relevant devices to consider, and at this point I'm pretty entrenched with Apple (migration to a new phone is so painless on an iOS device).

Firefox OS — The Adaptive Phone — Great Smartphone Features, Apps and More http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/os/

Firefox OS smartphones give you great adaptive features and apps that let you live every moment to its fullest and build a brighter future for the Web.

  • Consumer-Reports-David four months ago

    Interesting that you like a different OS depending on whether you're developing or using. I think you hit the nail on the head as far as "consistent experience" on iOS. Firefox OS is very exciting, hopefully more manufacturers will sign on.

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four months ago
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I just got an S4 on Verizon because I read CR and they rate Verizon the best and the S4 as the best Verizon smartphone. Before that I had a Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, the original Motorola Droid, a Samsung Windows phone, and a Palm Treo. I excluded Windows and Blackberry because of limited availability of apps. The keyboard is not essential now because of voice transcription and swype. I also have both a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7" and an Ipad Mini and 7th gen. Nano and older Ipod Touch. To me Android vs. IOS is a toss-up decided in Android's favor by price. I mainly use CR for battery life and voice quality ratings and use other websites like CNET for in-depth reviews but find that nothing beats actually using the phones for an extended time. There are always factors I didn't think about that come up later: for example how Motorola's Smart Actions app could save battery life. I really wish CR rated some major apps like GPS Navigation, calendar/planners, etc.

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four months ago
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I agree that different people prefer different OS and the major ones are all high quality. I have always been a non technical Windows person and uses Outlook. I switched from an iPhone 4 to a Nokia 1020 and it changed completely what I feel about cell phones. My life revolve around texts, internet, emails, Excel and lastly but not the least, photography. I used to carry a SLR (D70 and then a D5100) to trips. Then I switched to a point and shoot (Canon S90). Now I only carry my phone. I have been so delighted by the larger screen, 4G LTE, Windows OS, built in Excel, one note, Outlook, automatic Skydrive integration and the photo quality that I ranked this upgrade comparable to the day when I switched to a big screen HD TV! There is no turning back.
Btw, I gave Xbox music pass a try and loved it. I am sure other music app is just as good but Xbox music integrates so well with my phone, it just became natural.

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four months ago
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I've had both HTC and iPhone. The HTC I felt had more things I could control and worked just like a iPhone. It seems like HTC had less agreements and ads but its also been 1 yr or so since I've had them. iPhone doesn't really give you a lot of options other than downloading apps but the ease of use is better for people who aren't very tech savy.

When I was going through school I loved my HTC cuz I could use Microsoft on it and transfer documents was pretty easy. I don't think the iPhone has that option.

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four months ago
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I like Firefox OS because it supports the web

I like Ubuntu Phone OS because it's based on open source tech and the OS itself is open source

Android, Blackberry, and iOS are great but if your willing to try something new try the ones mentioned above

Ubuntu Phone:
yabb.ly/jaZVgq

Firefox OS:
yabb.ly/SoBuva
yabb.ly/4cNxuQ

Ubuntu on phones | Ubuntu http://www.ubuntu.com/phone

Ubuntu now runs on phones. With a beautifully designed, easy-to-use interface that enables users to find content and switch between apps faster than ever, it represents the alternative open source OS the mobile industry has been waiting for. ...

Firefox OS — The Adaptive Phone — Great Smartphone Features, Apps and More http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/os/

Firefox OS smartphones give you great adaptive features and apps that let you live every moment to its fullest and build a brighter future for the Web.

  • Consumer-Reports-David three months ago

    Very interesting. At Consumer Reports, we focus on the pre-installed OS, but I would love to explore Ubuntu and Firefox further. I think you just gave me an idea for my next project, although I can't guarantee that CR will do an article on it.

  • leisure-zen three months ago

    That would be amazing if you could! A lot of people don't realize the benefits of supporting open source software so if you do do the article please mention that supporting these open source alternatives (and other open source software) pays off in the long run for both the user and developer. And some of these are actually really good (and free)!

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four months ago
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I use Apple and Android devices but prefer Apple products by far. Not only are the devices and apps superior and more intuitive, but the integration of everything into one cohesive unit is incomparable to anything on the other side of the aisle. Just knowing that my phone and tablet will update the moment a new IOS is available is a winning feature. This is not to say that I do not like Android devices. They are good products and I have a Samsung 4S phone that I use for work. Using both IOS and Android devices every day puts me in a good position to compare, and both are very good. Apple is more expensive, but clearly a superior option if you can afford it.

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four months ago
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I have used iOS for a few years and being a Senior Citizen I choose not to learn another phone. My daughter was in Canada this past summer and we could communicate via text message (She had an iPhone at the time) but she couldn't connect with her kids who have Droids (we all have Verizon). I am waiting and hoping that Apple will come out with a bigger screen!

  • jtandet four months ago

    Verizon, I think, have sporadic connection issues between iMessages and non iPhones. They can fix it.

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four months ago
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I just thought of a couple more points:

For those who use a lot of social networks and like to share to those networks, Android has much more options available for sharing than iOS. For example, I'm an active Pinterest user, so I like to pin a lot. I was just reading about a product on my iPad, and wanted to pin it. However, Safari and Chrome browsers for iPad don't provide an option to share directly to Pinterest. ( I was able to find a way to install a "pin it" button into Safari on my iPad, but it was a pain to install and doesn't always work). On my Android phone, it gives me the option to share to any social network that I have installed & use on my phone. It looks like iOS only shares to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (also email & messaging), though I only have Google+ as a share option in my iPad's Chrome browser.

I also like that Android gives you the option to choose which app you want to use to open something. iOS seems to open web pages in Safari by default, even though I have several browsers installed. I am not sure, though, if there are any settings in iOS that allow you to change that. On my Android phone, when I open a link, for example, it shows me a list of all apps I have that could open that link, and lets me choose which to use. It also gives the option to use one particular app all the time.

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two months ago
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I prefer Windows Phone because of the simplicity, app design, and integration into my Microsoft ecosystem. All of the new apps and games added really make the phone a viable alternative to iOS and Android. Plus Nokia phones have the best build quality.

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two months ago
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I have always used Android phones and have been reasonably happy with them although there was always "something" I didn't like about each one. I was recently given an older Windows phone by a friend as I had lost my Android. After one week using the Windows phone I had to go out and buy one of my own. I love the ease of use; the way it incorporates into my work and home Microsoft life; the quality and battery life; the apps…EVERYTHING! I will never switch back.

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two months ago
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I have both an Android phone running 4.0 and an Apple iPhone 5. Because I do interface design, I'm often comparing the two operating systems and how they handle various tasks.

But there are 3 big reasons I prefer iOS over Android.
(1) Operating System Upgrade Path
This hasn't been mentioned so far, but one very big reason I prefer Apple's iOS over Andriod is the operating system upgrades are so easy and seamless on Apple devices. For Android, the operating system upgrade is up to the discretion of the manufacturer which means for most users of most phones, is the operating system version that shipped with your phone is the one you have for the life of the phone. I had an iPhone 3G that I ran until I got the iPhone 5 and by that time, no one was doing app upgrades to run on 3G. I also have an Android phone for work, for testing mobile apps.

(2) Contextual keyboards
Typing on a mobile phone is just a pain, no matter which device or operating system you're using. But iOS allows developers to set a kind of keyboard to show the user. For example, if the app requires you to enter your email address, the developer can set the email keyboard which will automatically show the @ symbol so you don't have switch keyboard layouts to get it. There is no such option for Android.

(3) Security
All apps submitted to the Apple App Store have to be reviewed by Apple. Apps submitted to the Google Play Store are self-managed which means no one at Google reviews it before it goes live, basically it operates on an honor system. So it's much more likely for a bad app, an app that can steal personal info or access parts of your phone it shouldn't, to get posted in the Google Play store than the Apple app store.

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two months ago
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I prefer Apple iOS and it is easy to use for friends and family who aren't very tech savy. Learning iPhone iOS is not like the learning curve for learning Mac computer system. Although Android user say there is more customization, unless you're developing apps or doing more in-depth tech work, Apple iOS is easy to use. Try both systems in the store to see what works for you.

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four months ago
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@Damaged, if you mean SkyDrive for MSFT document transfer, that works fine on the iPhone. So does SugarSync, and DropBox.

  • Damaged four months ago

    If I remember correctly the HTC I had actually had a Microsoft document you could type in and transfer it via the USB connection but I think it might have been one of the first models when smart phones first came out. The phone was literally like a mini PC it was nice unless I cracked the screen and I had to upgrade =\

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three months ago
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Have apple, and probably switching to android as I discovered it is not that complicated

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one month ago
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Besides my iPod touch, I've only used Windows, so I don't know anything much about Android and iOS, but I find that Windows works really well for me.
It hasn't crashed or anything (like my iPod does sometimes when I'm using an app), so that's good. The built in apps that I've used (Email, internet, music, here drive+, etc) all function well and are easy to use.
I'm not really a person who uses a ton of apps, so I can't say much about that. However, when I do look for the occasional app, I find it annoying that many major developers don't seem to be making windows apps. The apps are typically made by some other group. For example, the Facebook app is made by Microsoft. There are a lot of apps that you can find on iOS that aren't present on windows, which is kind of annoying.
Overall though, I'm happy with my Nokia Lumia 822. It's simple to use, works well, and the new update added a few things that I actually wanted (locking the screen rotation).

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one month ago
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Here is the simplified answer to this very old question—if you use your phone more for work applications then the android is for you. If you are a more social-type user, than the iphone is for you. I used android always! Disliked iphone always! Kids used ipod. Mom tried and BAM! Mom now loves her 5s. Yes, there is still some issues, but overall, the iphone works always! No more weird things because one of the apps updated and now doesn't work with something??? I do not have time to figure out why my Andoid is now slow or whatever. Android is cool. Widgets are very cool, but tech problems are not and I just don't have the time or energy for those types of issues. I am busy and like when things just work together. What type of person are you?

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