Deciding whether to keep iPhone 4S or switch to Galaxy Nexus, my 2c

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Neon01, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. Neon01 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2011
    #1
    Sorry, this is long.

    Background: I had (have, actually) a SERO plan for sprint ($50 unlim everything), and I've been using an Epic 4g for the last year and a half. I bought a Epic 4g Touch on launch day, but didn't like the poor res density, so I returned it. When I heard that Verizon would be the only one getting the Nexus for awhile, I considered switching carriers (or picking up an additional plan). Not just for the phone, but since sprint had been very crappy for data speeds in my area, and their call reception is definitely more limited than the other "big two". I tried Verizon thinking I would get improved 3g speeds (not much 4g or LTE in my area) and much better call coverage. Bzzz. Wrong. Data speeds in my area were actually _worse_ (.4-.5/.3-.4 Mbps u/d average with VZ as opposed to average .6-.7/.4-.6 with sprint). Further, my call coverage didn't really expand much in my area. The dead zones I had before just moved around a little. I'm in a pretty suburban area, too. Nothing against VZ, but they weren't for me. So then I thought about trying ATT. They have HSPA+ in my area, so data rates with lowly 3g would be quick, and since they use GSM I could always buy an unlocked Galaxy Nexus if I wanted.

    So the plan was to buy iphone 4s' for my wife and I, and sell mine if I wanted to switch to the nexus when it comes out (the iphone definitely has the most resale potential of any on-contract phone). We went to an apple store last Thursday and each got one. It was a perfect fit for my wife since she had never had a smartphone and didn't care about such functionality; her only real priority was for a good camera to capture photos of our young kids. I figured the iphone has that in spades, and with the new icloud it would work well with our ipads (I have a ipad 2 and she has my hand-me-down ipad 1). Before you start wondering if I'm an apple fanatic, rest assured that, though I do own a (recently bought) Macbook Air 13" and two ipads, I still don't care for a lot of their software "lock everything down" mentality. Honestly, if you hang around me, you probably hear more negative about Apple than positive. Yet, despite that, I love their hardware. I digress.

    After taking the phones home for awhile and playing with them, I am MUCH closer to keeping the iphone now than I was planning to be, though I'm still on the fence. To avoid my usual rambling, I'll try to summarize in a list of pros/cons (my opinions, of course) for each:

    iPhone 4S

    Pros:
    -"look and feel" is really top notch. I've never been a fan of cases, but this is a phone that begs to be used without one, IMO. I like the solid, heavy feel, and the use of glass and metal resonates with me
    -icloud. it really does make syncing photos and videos taken with the onboard camera and my ipad and MBA just brain dead simple (read: automatic). Very nice to have. Also love the backup to the cloud, and that other apps use it too. That I can transfer pdfs between my ipad and iphone with the goodreader app and the cloud is very slick. I use my ipad at least 70% as a e-reader.
    -Display. Of course, what else can be said? color reproduction is very good, though not as eye-grabbing as an OLED display, it just looks very solid. blacks are still "very good", though not excellent. Resolution is awesome
    -The "experience". As mentioned, things "just work". It sounds like marketing BS to non-apple users, but it's true. First and foremost here is the browsing experience on the iphone. They have simply _mastered_ the use of touch-scrolling through a webpage. Just the right amount of "inertia" and as smooth as glass.
    -It's the de facto standard for a smartphone. The fact that there are more iphones sold than any other single smartphone is compelling when you're a peripheral/accessory manufacturer. I do see this changing though with android's overtaking of iOS.
    -App store. There's an app for just about everything. Really.
    -Works exceedingly well with the apple ecosystem. With a MBA and ipad, it definitely complements these components well.
    -Size. Fits very nice in my small-average sized hands. Can hit any part of the screen with my thumb and use without too much trouble with a single hand.
    -Battery life. I have no clue what reviewers are complaining about with regard to battery life of iOS 5 and the iphone 4s. I can get a solid two days if I don't use it too much and I have a decent signal the entire time. I could _never_ get that with my Epic or Epic Touch (SG2), even rooted and with battery management.

    Cons:
    -Text entry. No swype is a big fail, IMO. After about 2 hours of use I did get much better at using iphones keypad, but it's still a far cry from android IMO.
    -Almost zero customization. Little things like "vibrate on key press" are conspicuously absent. Really apple? BB pioneered this very useful feature years ago and it's pretty much ubiquitous in the smartphone industry, why isn't it on the 4s? No widgets is also a big downer. Auto brightness sucks (way too dim in darkness), so when I want to change brightness at night, I have a rather complicated process for doing so, instead of just pulling down a bar from the top and changing there. Even the ipad gets this right, but the iphone, not so much. Just another example of how user customization would go a long way.
    -Screen size. This is a big one. 3.5" screen reminds me of my old HTC Diamond winmo phone. Doesn't seem to be as much of a problem as I originally thought since the resolution is just awesome, but it does force me to browse very close to my face to seem decent size.
    -Build quality. I know, this sounds completely wrong. But what I consider to be build quality is really how easily a product can fail. Granted, I think from an electronics perspective, this phone will be working for quite awhile, but the materials used are not conducive to long term use. Period. Drops can be catastrophic, screen scratches relatively easily, the back is glass and scratches easily. Antenna is in an inconvenient spot, meaning cases and other external interfaces can reduce signal strength.
    -Apps are expensive. Even on sale, apps that are released on both android and ios are almost invariably more expensive on iOS. The vast bulk of android apps _seem_ to be free, which I can't say for iOS.
    -Inflexible for data storage/transfer/app usage. I hate hate hate the fact that if I want to read a single PDF in three different PDF viewers, I have to have it on my device three separate times. Each app "stovepipes" it's own file system. This is completely stupid. Not to mention how (relatively) difficult it is to get files on and off of the thing. This is getting better with iOS 5 and cloud, but it's definitely not where it needs to be.
    -Poor integration with google apps (like navigation, goggles, shopping, etc)
    -Poor navigation app and most decent ones cost money
    -No free tether or wifi hotspot without jailbreak. This is also a big one. I have no clue why companies that cap your data usage care one whit about whether you tether or hotspot, but there it is. Jailbreaking (I tried it with my ipad and went back) is messy and buggy in my experience.

    Galaxy Nexus
    (or at least my interpretation of what it will be like based on a lot of Android experience). Naturally, take some of this with a grain of salt since the device isn't out yet.

    Pros:
    -Display, display, display. HD and OLED = one drool worthy display. PPI might not be quite as high as the iphone, but it's still better than print, so it's good enough for me.
    -Customizable. Yeah, you can do just about anything you want with this device, especially once it's rooted.
    -Google mentality. Granted, I don't like everything about Google, but their mentality when it comes to open source and free sharing of information is a damn sight better than apple IMO
    -Durability. The Galaxy line of devices are all very durable, and I'm sure this one is no exception. They say the screen is a "gorilla glass alternative".
    -NFC. Don't think I'll use this right away, but it's very nice to have.
    -More "command buttons". Having multiple buttons (menu, home, etc) just makes apps easier to work with. Instead of taking up screen real estate with "back" buttons and the like (a la apple), it's all available to the app. I recognize ICS will have actual touch screen buttons which, technically, take up screen real estate, but since the screen size and aspect ratio were designed with the intent for those buttons to be present all the time, it's not the same.
    -User replaceable battery. Yeah, this is definitely a low priority for me, but it's nice to have.
    -Google experience. Navigation, apps, places, goggles, etc. Android will always get all of them and get them first. Plays well with gmail, which is my go-to for email.
    -Ergos. Curved glass, soft touch no-slip back, thin. All very practical, if not beautiful
    -Hacking community. This may sound like a pretty flimsy "pro", but the hacking community always seems to be able to accomplish far more with android devices than with ios.

    Cons:
    -Plastic. You just can't beat the look and feel of Apple products. The curved shape may be ergonomic, but it certainly ain't a looker (IMO).
    -Not true "state of the art" hardware, with the exception of the display. This is a big one. CPU, GPU, Ram, etc are all at or even below industry standards established several months ago. Feels like a cop out for a true game-changer and flagship device. Why didn't they at least give it the Note internals?
    -No SD slot. I'm shocked about this one. Except cloud storage, you're limited like the iphone.
    -New OS version and display resolution means app support is probably going to be sub par for awhile. This is also a big one. I bought a ipad on launch day (didn't pre-order, I just incidentally walked into a store and had to have it) and remember how crappy support was for true ipad apps (as opposed to "2x" iphone apps). I'm afraid it'll be something like this.
    -Too large. Though I think this phone will fit better in hand than the Epic Touch 4g (even though that device actually has a smaller display) on account of the width, it's still not going to be a great device for one-handed use.

    I know I sort of ran out of "cons" toward the end there, but I was trying to stay away from naming the converse of the opposite device throughout. Overall, I'll probably end up using the iphone for another month or so to let the Nexus price settle and read reviews.

    I don't think this came off as biased, but let me know if you think so. Anyone else have any opinions or thinking about switching?
     
  2. yodayoda macrumors regular

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    Oct 6, 2011
    #2
    considering switching to the Nexus , which 4s do you have white or black?
     
  3. Neon01 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 7, 2011
    #3
    black, my wife got the white. i'm on the fence on that one. if I decide to "stay" I may go to a 32 GB white one.

    I just remembered another "concern" I have for the iphone over the Nexus - resale is probably going to be much better with the unlocked nexus after the iphone 5 comes out. Unlocked devices seem to command a pretty good premium no matter what, but I'm guessing the value of the 4S is going to plummet with the release of the iP5. Maybe not though?
     
  4. Rocko1 macrumors 68020

    Rocko1

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    Nov 3, 2011
    #4
    The Nexus GPU is at least 4 years old. Yes they upped the clock speed a bit, but it's old architecture and the 4S will wipes it's behind with the Nexus as far as graphics go.
     
  5. TM WAZZA macrumors 68000

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    Hamilton, New Zealand
  6. Neon01 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 7, 2011
    #6
    I certainly understand that (it's mentioned in the Nexus "cons"), but I just don't care that much. With a PS3, Xbox, Wii, PSP, DS, and a games backlog about a mile long, I'm not gonna be doing much gaming on mobile phones. All gaming on tablets and phones is pretty much still what I would call casual gaming anyway, so having a blazing fast 3d renderer for my phone doesn't matter much to me. As long as everything runs smooth as glass (and again, I give the nod to apple here), about the only reason I care about processing power is web browsing. Most other apps will run just fine and load times are only negligibly impacted.
     
  7. Rocko1 macrumors 68020

    Rocko1

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    Nov 3, 2011
    #7
    I have yet to see an Android phone dual core, etc. run as smooth as glass. Maybe the Nex will be different.
     
  8. Superbbrr macrumors member

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    Oct 15, 2011
    #8
    Android always touts having better hardware, better graphics, etc.

    Yet, simple tasks like swiping, zooming, pinching, all laggy and jittery.

    You'd think after 4 years, they'd get it right. FAIL.

    After reading Jobs' biography, I can understand his vision much better.
     
  9. Rocko1 macrumors 68020

    Rocko1

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    #9
    I agree 100%. You need a guy to pick up the Nexus scroll around a bit and throw it at the engineer and say 'This is complete *****!'. Otherwise it won't get done.

    Problem is there is no one who cares enough on the Android side.
     
  10. Neon01 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 7, 2011
    #10
    Anyone else here actually own both? While I do feel that apple has an edge in that it's smoother and works a little better overall (see the apple "pros"), the edge is very marginal IMO. Even my aging galaxy S is very very smooth, and after extensively using (owning) a SG2 for two weeks, the newer dual core models are even better.

    Though I definitely agree that Android tablets have a long way to go before they're what I'd consider truly smooth. Maybe this will change with the new Transformer Prime, who knows.
     
  11. Rocko1 macrumors 68020

    Rocko1

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    Nov 3, 2011
    #11
    I don't own a dual core Android-I have a Droid X. I rooted it, put custom roms, etc. I never got it anywhere near what the iPhone had in terms of just working and smoothness. I have played with many dual core android phones over the past 3 months and while better than single core, the OS is just rough. You don't have anyone demanding things be great. Updates for glaring issues take forever. The X has big issues that have not been fixed since last year. Samsung is notorious for slow updates as well. You have 14 days to try it. Give it a whirl.

    I just see Android as this. New OS comes out-Froyo. Bugs reported but never fixed or addressed. Gingerbread comes out. Carrys over bugs from Froyo plus has new ones. Never addressed. ICS is coming out, etc. etc.
     
  12. Neon01 thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 7, 2011
    #12
    "complete *****!"? If that's the way you see the current state of Android, then you and I probably don't share even a reasonable basis for comparison. Unfortunately, I think the public's opinion of Android has been severely tarnished by rooting and installation of custom ROMs. I've always found that stock android works 1000% better than any single ROM I've ever used, and I've used many.

    Does any part of the video in this link look less than buttery smooth or quick to respond? http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/18/samsung-galaxy-nexus-hands-on/ (aside from the fact that the guy doesn't know ICS - like where he tries to drag the icons in the dock vertically instead of horizontally, which is the new method)

    Seriously guys, the argument that Android is plagued with bugs and laggy as hell is played. If I actually believed that they had really caught iphone in the "usability" factor, I wouldn't even consider staying with the apple camp. The fact is that I do agree that they aren't yet on par, but it's not the huge gap that many people paint it to be.
     
  13. Rocko1, Nov 10, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011

    Rocko1 macrumors 68020

    Rocko1

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    Nov 3, 2011
    #13
    I was referring to how Jobs would talk to his engineers. Even if the product or code being written was good, if it wasn't great or perfect Jobs would say it's ****!. I don't think Android is crap. I owned the X for almost a year and enjoyed many aspects of it. I think it's a closer race than many make it out to be. I am saying I have tried almost every possible os for my X and while some were a tad better, none of them were as polished and smooth as the iPhone.

    The Nexus in the video looks to be as smooth as I have seen in an Android device. Again, why not purchase it, then if your not happy, return it before the 14days are up?
     
  14. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    Mar 29, 2011
    #14
    Most people who say "Android is buggy" or "Android is this and that" don't qualify which device they used Android on, and what possible skins were laid over the stock Android OS. More likely than not, ones who complain about Android OS being buggy or problematic, are using devices that never allow Android to be what it is.

    The Android world is about options. Many options are bad (Atrix, Bionic, etc), while some options are good. If you want to be the safest... Stock Android (meaning of the Nexus line) has come a long way. Are there still bugs? Sure, just as there are bugs with iOS. I used an iPhone 4 for a few weeks, and experienced a few (lagging folders, missed or delayed key presses, etc.). No OS is perfect. Some things iOS does better, some things Android does better. Most things today, however, both OS can do on par.
     
  15. Rocko1 macrumors 68020

    Rocko1

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    Nov 3, 2011
    #15
    Yes, pure Android with no manufacturer skins are less buggy but it just looks unpolished. Now ICS looks nice. Time will tell how it works out.
     
  16. yeah, Nov 10, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011

    yeah macrumors 6502a

    yeah

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    #16
    It;s funny how people think that "OHHHHH android is much better than iOS" Wrong. Android just wastes time. You have to ROOT (voids warranty) your phone just to make it work. Battery life is HORRIBLE. Apps in the "android market" are mostly junk and ripped off. So in my "2 cents" I think iOS is much better than blandroid.

    :apple: ROCKS!

    EDIT: Wow I get 3 dislikes for saying apple rocks, wow such people these days, especially in an Apple Forum!
     
  17. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    Mar 29, 2011
    #17
    Blandroid? I'm assuming this is some sort of statement about Android being bland, and specifically bland compared to iOS?

    The irony.
     
  18. yeah macrumors 6502a

    yeah

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    Jul 12, 2011
    #18
    Bland android :D
     
  19. Rocko1 macrumors 68020

    Rocko1

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    #19
    That's becuase you come off sounding like you are 11. Nothing personal, but don't expect a good response with how the above post was constructed.
     
  20. w00t951 macrumors 68000

    w00t951

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    #20
    As long as Google keeps the Android kernel in C and the UI in Java, it will be slow as hell and jerkier than iOS on comparable hardware.

    In comparison, iOS is written in Objective C throughout.
     
  21. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    #21

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