No, I Won’t Be Buying an iPhone

June 6, 2012

I got a new phone a couple of weeks ago and posted a note about it on my Facebook page. Within a few minutes I was asked why I didn’t buy an iPhone. My glib answer was because I didn’t want an inferior phone. Now that I’ve had the chance to spend more time with the new phone, I’m going to explain in more detail why I feel my HTC Evo 4G LTE is far superior to the iPhone 4s.

I’m sure there are those who will claim I hate Apple. Actually, I have great respect for the company. They have created an ecosystem that is pure genius because it makes it quite difficult to move to another ecosystem. Apple’s marketing and design skills are second to none in the market today. Having smart leaders who have created an extremely profitable product is not a reason for me to choose an iPhone.

The most visible difference between the two is the size of the screen with the Evo 4G LTE having a 4.7 inch screen and the iPhone 4s having a 3.5 inch screen. GottaBe Mobile did a review of the two phones that includes a photo comparison showing the drastic difference between the two phones. Rumors of the next iPhone are rampant and there is suggestion the screen may grow to 4 inches in size. Supposedly Apple feels anything larger is too big for some hands. My hands aren’t very large and I have no problem holding the Evo 4G LTE in my hands. One of the biggest limitations Apple imposes is in designing a single device to meet the needs of everyone.

Just because a screen is bigger, does not necessarily make it better. Apple has heavily promoted the concept of a Retina Display. To put things into numbers, the screen resolution of the iPhone is 328 pixels per inch and the dimensions are 960 x 640 pixels. The larger display of the Evo 4G LTE weighs in at only 312 pixels per inch so the pixels are not as tightly packed as on the iPhone though the difference is very small. While it isn’t as high of a resolution, it does have more pixels with dimensions of 1080 x 720 (720p HD). I’ve certainly done no side-by-side comparisons, but I find the quality of the images on screen to be really good. For me, the larger screen played a large part in my decision.

Clearly the size of screen is much larger on the Evo 4G LTE, but we haven’t discussed the thickness of the two devices. They are very close with the Evo 4G LTE being .35 inches thick and the iPhone 4s being .37 inches thick. For me, they are both really thin and the difference is too small for my hands to notice. To me it is pretty amazing that the Evo 4G LTE weighs less than the iPhone 4s (4.7 ounces to 4.9) given the size difference of the screens. I’m not sure I’d notice the difference there either.

Each of the phones comes with 16 GB of storage space in the default configuration sold for the $199 subsidized price. The difference appears when you want to increase the storage space. A 32 GB microSD card can be added to the Evo 4G LTE for around $40 from various online outlets. Going to only a total of 32 GB on the iPhone 4s would add $100 to the cost. Given that I already had a 32 GB microSD card from my previous phone (the HTC Evo 4G), there was no extra cost for me.

A big differentiator at some point may be the speed of the network, but it makes no difference today. I’m a Sprint customer and have no desire to switch carriers. Therefore both phones are running off of Sprint’s 3G network today. When Sprint launches their LTE network, the Evo 4G LTE will take advantage of it where the iPhone 4s will not. Sure, future iPhones may also support LTE. They don’t exist now and would only make the phones equal again. Yes, I would love more speed. The reality is that I rarely do things where it would make a huge difference like streaming audio or video. While in my office, the wireless router is only a few feet away so I get great speed the vast majority of the time.

There is no way for me to compare the battery life of the two devices. I can only compare my current Evo 4G LTE to my previous Evo 4G. On most days with the older Evo my battery was fairly well drained by the end of a day. Since getting the Evo 4G LTE, there are rarely days where the battery indicator shows less than 80% full when I plug it in at night. Do I use my phone as heavily as others? No, I don’t. I just know the battery life is far superior in the new Evo and the old one was good enough for me. Even better is the fact that the battery can be replaced by end users. With an iPhone 4s, you have to take the phone to a service center for battery replacement which also increases the cost of a new battery.

There are huge debates over how many hundreds of thousands of apps are available on iOS and Android. I will certainly concede that Apple leads in sheer numbers. Yet I’ve never felt like I was missing out on an app. With the apps supplied on the Evo and those I’ve downloaded, I can do much more than I need.
I’m sure there is also debate of the quality of the camera included for stills and videos. I love to take photos and certainly take my fair share with the Evo 4G LTE. I find it does a great job. If the images are truly important to me, I bring either my point and shoot or my DSLR with me. If you look through the GottaBe Mobile review mentioned earlier, they find each device is better than the other in different photo functions. For me, this isn’t a big differentiator.

I got an iPod a few years ago. For me, the iPod’s only purpose is playing music even though it can run most apps. That also means I use iTunes to manage my music and have a bunch of playlists created. That certainly seems to give the iPhone a huge advantage and admittedly I felt that way before buying the Evo 4G LTE. It was a pleasant surprise that the HTC Sync software automatically moved my iTunes playlists to the Evo. Now when I work out, I use my Evo instead of the iPod to rock out.

My contacts and calendar all sit on my computer in Microsoft Outlook. Being a graphics guy, I have attached photos to many of people I interact with on a regular basis. Again I use HTC Sync to push this data to my phone. Within a few minutes of unpacking the new Evo, all of my data was on the phone and ready to use. As I haven’t tried to push my data to an iPhone, I can’t make a fair comparison. I know it couldn’t be much easier than what I already have.

One of the coolest features of the Evo is the inclusion of a kickstand to prop it up for viewing. That is something you won’t find on an iPhone so the Evo certainly has the advantage here.

For all of the reasons given, I find the Evo 4G LTE to be a far superior choice for me than the iPhone 4s. Your needs in a phone may be different and hopefully the information I’ve provided will allow you to choose the phone that best meets your needs.

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2 Comments

  1. Foster D. Coburn III

    The following comment was e-mailed to me via Brian Davies:

    I read your article entitled “No, I won’t be buying an iPhone”. I’d express why I didn’t buy a new iPhone in a more convincing manner. I went from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy S2 awhile back and my argument would be more along the lines of:

    Far better screen (Organic LED which is way more readable in sunlight and vastly superior contrast ratio). Although lesser in pixel density OLED technology gives a better image than an LCD and so the pixel count has little to no importance here. The SGS2 actually has a Super AMOLED screen (AMOLED = active matrix organic LED).

    OLED screens are made of a flexible material and so they don’t shatter on impact. iPhones are renowned for their shattering screens, when dropped

    Android OS is way more configurable than iOS. Tons and tons more settings and options. As an example, I have 3 pages of options for predictive text alone!! I have auto-substitution. If you text a lot, as I do, you can set up abbreviations for whole sentences or phrases. As an example I set up cpt to give Corel Photo-PAINT, ILYD for I love you darling xxxxxx, dyhand for Did you have a nice day?, etc. You can edit (add to, delete, alter) the user dictionary. iPhones often latch onto a word you have manually forced and then they annoyingly type that every time you want a different word. For example a friend of mine always gets lok instead of lol now and can’t seem to do anything about it. The SGS2 does the same thing occasionally, but all I do is edit the user dictionary and remove the word lok and then lol is accepted without a fight, once again. I can add new words to the dictionary, so the phone accepts them when I type them without trying to change them to something else all the time

    The phone is noticeably faster than an iPhone 4s

    The interface of the OS is so much more appealing. You can make it look however you want it to look rather than just a bland matrix of boring app icons

    The speech-to-text recognition is vastly superior! iPhones are virtually useless in this regard if you don’t have an American accent, and guess what – most of the world doesn’t! Every one of my UK friends with an iPhone 4s says he/she cannot use speech-to-text for texting because the phone keeps getting everything wrong and typing nonsense. On the SGS2 you choose your country and in my case, Australia…it works brilliantly. I can talk at quite a fast pace and it gets things right 90% of the time. If I slow down a little it gets it right about 95% of the time and often 100%; my Indian and Filipino friends have no problem being understood either, but admittedly they have to speak more slowly. Their iPhones can’t understand them at all on the whole

    I don’t need nonsense iTunes every time I want something on my phone! I can’t stand iTunes. I plug my SGS2 into my laptop, drag and drop files/folders; it’s just like using a USB stick. I have Samsung Kies if I want to use synchronisation software to synchronise Outlook and media folders, backup the phone, etc. wired or wireless, like iTunes;

    The phone automatically updates most of my apps without announcing it first and waiting for me to manually tell it to go ahead. Of course I want the latest updates/bug fixes/features etc., so why wait for it to tell me and manually say go ahead? The option is there if I want it to work that way though. It can also be told to only update when connected to Wi-Fi

    Reply
  2. Foster D. Coburn III

    Brian Davies comment continued…

    The phone is lighter and slimmer than the iPhone 4s

    It plays a lot more video/audio formats than the iPhone

    Way bigger screen for movies or anything really! The text is massive compared to that on an iPhone, so it is far more legible

    The phone is smarter in the way it deals with downloads. I use a lot of apps and when I download images, for example, they are automatically placed in a folder of the name of that app. E.g. Flickr photos go to a folder names Flickr; Whatsapp downloads (friends send images to me) go to a folder named Whatsapp, screen captures go to a Screenshots folder and so on. The Gallery finds and holds all images, video and audio files, but stores them in their named sub-folders

    The Android OS has a proper file management system where we can rename, copy/move files from one folder to another etc. from the handset

    There is a task manager to quickly kill unwanted running programmes, clear cache, etc. We can set which programmes automatically run when the phone starts, etc..

    Call rejection! In Australia you cannot block a number using an iPhone (unless you are willing to void your warranty and jailbreak the phone). The SGS2 has call blocking and can even be set to auto-reject a call and send an automatic text message to the rejected caller. If you’re in a meeting you may wish to set it to reject all calls and send a response message saying “Thank you for your call. I am currently in a meeting and I will return your call as soon as I can”

    We have widgets, similar to Windows 7 gadgets, where we have real-time information displayed on the screen and we can see information without opening an app.

    Those were just the things which immediately came to mind. I know there are many other things!

    In fairness to the iPhone, there is definitely a wider range of apps and many of them are more up-to-date or superior. Android generally seems to be the poor relation in this regard. As soon as a new app comes out from a major company it seems to be an iPhone app. Android users generally have to wait months for the same app to become available to them. I have similar apps on my iPhone and Android phone and to be honest, the iPhone apps are often better and have more features. What I have noticed is that those additional features are later added to the Android app, it’s just a matter of playing catch up. The interesting thing is that Photoshop Touch came out on the Android Market months before it was available for iOS. I guess as more and more of the population wake up to how good these Android phones are the more chance there will be of app developers giving Android a fairer go! The question is…are people open enough to step back from Apple’s brainwashing (e.g. it simply works … which it doesn’t always!) and see what alternatives (and superior ones at that!!) are out there.

    Really, there are so many things better about ‘some of’ the Android phones I could never consider an iPhone again unless they offer a MUCH larger screen, proper drag and drop to a PC without needing iTunes, a screen which doesn’t gain a thousand cracks when dropped onto a hard surface. Better speech recognition (typing is almost a thing of the past for me on my phone)…more customisation so I can have my home screens looking the way I want them, not how Apple tells me I must have them, and a proper file management system, just for starters.

    Reply

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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