So I have an iPhone 5 and a GS4, comparison time!

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by GBR, May 5, 2013.

  1. GBR macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2012
    So I had an opportunity come my way. I have owned every model of iPhone and truly love apple products, see my sig for my current equip. However lately I have felt, as many have, that iOS is getting stale and that apple needs to make a larger iPhone. Well, my job at work has slightly changed and a decent part of my new territory I will cover has terrible Verizon and AT&T service. So my employer gave me approval to get a US Cellular phone to use when I'm in this new territory. As you all know US Cellular does not have the iPhone so I was faced with getting an android phone. Well, long story short, I walked out with a brand new Samsung GS4. Now I'm running a iPhone 5 (jailbroken) and a GS4, comparison time!

    It's been about a week, so I have had time to tweak android to meet my needs so I feel I have a good handle on it. First, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the 5" screen! Seriously, I have average sized hands and don't have too much trouble operating it with one hand (mostly thanks to the back button that's by the home button). Apple really really needs a larger screen, whenever I switch back to my iPhone 5 it feels tiny! Web surfing is 1000 time better than on the smaller iPhone screen and it still fits in my pocket so it's always with me. I had hoped my iPad mini would have accomplished this but it doesn't fit in any of my pockets so its still a chore to bring with me.

    However, the positives stop there with the GS4. It definitely feels cheap, lots of plastic. And android still isn't nearly as smooth or intuitive as iOS, though its slightly better than I thought it would be. I actually come away with more respect for iOS than I had before. Granted, my iPhone is jailbroken so I have some functionality that isn't stock, but iOS is still significantly more "buttery" smooth than android. Plus, everything on my iPhone just works and makes sense. I don't like having to hunt down apps to download to make my phone do what I want (visual voicemail, a good keyboard). Plus I HATE bloatware, and this phone has apps on it I have no idea what they do and I cannot delete them. It reminds me of a Windows computer...

    In the end this has reinforced my thought that apple NEEDS to build a iPhone with at minimum a 4.5" screen, but preferably a 5". iOS could use a makeover, and needs to add more functionality, especially a way to get more basic info without opening apps (widgets) but isn't in as much trouble as I may have thought software wise. Android is still definitely behind iOS but not too far behind, if Apple doesn't take Android seriously I could see that lead dwindle however Android will have a hard time getting close to the seamlessness of the Apple ecosystem.

    Hope this was informative!
  2. AppleDApp macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2011
    Root your phone and get rid of the bloatware or get a Nexus 4 instead.
  3. GBR thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2012
    I wanted a nexus 4 but US Cellular doesnt have it and they have the best service where I'm working. I may look into rooting
  4. AppleDApp macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2011
    The nexus is only available from the play store AFAIK.
  5. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    It is very common for users who have never used vanilla android to state that android is a laggy os. IME this is not actually Android, but all the other "stuff" that has been added. In the case of the SGS4, touch wiz.

    I second the notion of rooting the phone and throwing a vanilla rom (well, technically pure vanilla doesn't exist but it gets damn close) onto the phone. You will lose all of the additional (software) features that Samsung has added to the phone, but aside from that you will be set. Truth be told, I find vanilla android very comparable to iOS.

    I hear the "intuitive" word being thrown out a lot, but I think people are often a bit biased here. Really, the only way to tell how intuitive on os is versus another is to put both operating systems in the hands of someone who has used neither. It's easy for me to say that android is less intuitive than iOS (or vice versa) if all I have ever used is iOS and then I pick up android for the first time (again, vice versa).
  6. moldy lunchbox macrumors 6502a

    Sep 9, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    I have both as well, not the S4 but the S3 which is same build but 4.8" and "slower", even though they both can quickly run any apps out there. I agree for the most part with you, except for web surfing i don't think the touch response is as sharp on the Galaxy's as it is for iPhone. I can't explain it technically, but its not as good when I browse a message board like here, I keep opening the thread above or below the one i want to read even though my finger seems dead on the link. Never really had that issue for iPhone. But otherwise, yeah not as smooth which really shows the engineering of iOS because my S3 has 2gb of RAM and a 1.5 ghz dualcore chip compared the 5's 1gb ram and slightly slower chip.
  7. jimbo1mcm macrumors 68000

    Mar 21, 2010
    For OP: I was in the same boat when I had my IP4. Went to the Galaxy S3 and liked the screen and the form was fine, but I missed the ease of IOS. I came back to the IP5 and am very happy with it.( I was tempted by the HTC One for about 18 hours, but sent it back. If IOS was on the HTC One, I would still have it.)
  8. vikingjunior macrumors 65816


    Aug 17, 2011
    The nexus 4 is extremely close to iphone 5 when it comes to smooth.
  9. abz1981 macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2011
    I really do not think one can compare the GS4 with the IP5. IP5 is 2012's Iphone and GS4 is 2013's.
  10. bmac4 macrumors 601


    Feb 14, 2013
    Atlanta Ga
    I have a problem with people talking about making the switch then saying android is still not as smooth, but they are using a carrier based model with a skinned version of Android. Yes android on these phones will not be as smooth. I know they are easier to get, and cheaper than the nexus 4. But really you can say it is smoother because you tried a modified version of Android. Try vanilla android and see how smooth that is. I understand you can't cause you are using a CDMA network, but really you can't compare the two fairly.
  11. Prototypical macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2011
    While I don't disagree with you on the idea of unskinned Android = better, "vanilla" Android doesn't seem to be the norm when it comes to Android phones. Doesn't it seem odd/silly that you have to find a specific variety of the OS in order for it to function properly?

    The only other solution is root - which may be an option for some, but for me, my employer's security policies prevent me from doing so. As a result, I need my phone to work flawlessly right out of the box. I'm not going to switch carriers (I'm on CDMA) just to find one of the unicorn varieties of Android that doesn't lag or stutter.
  12. BlueGoldAce macrumors 68000

    Oct 11, 2011

    I have a galaxy note 2 and an i5. The note, stock, is ever bit as fast. The animations are just different. If I turn off the animations of the note 2, it will open the same app faster than when I use the i5. The difference is ever so slight, but when done next to each other at the same time... The note wins.

    Your dislike of looking for apps is a product of your preference and not the operating system. The i5 has a great keyboard... But it really pales in comparison to SwiftKey on android. SwiftKey has better accuracy, prediction and a built on swipe feature.
  13. bmac4 macrumors 601


    Feb 14, 2013
    Atlanta Ga
    Ok here is a way to look at it. Android is open sourced and anyone can use it. That is a good and bad thing. It means more android phones on the market, but over all worse quality. Apple on the other hand only has to worry about the iphone and the carriers that sell it.

    All that being said the nexus line is not a unicorn. It is the same thing as iphone. A stock version of the OS. You are comparing two different things. The nexus is just as easy to get as the iphone. Go to the play store and buy it. Now for you that is not an option, but for the longest time it was not an option for the iphone either. Google tried the whole carrier thing with Verizon, and they will never do that again.
  14. ugahairydawgs macrumors 68030


    Jun 10, 2010
    T-Mobile has it as well.
  15. Dontazemebro macrumors 68020


    Jul 23, 2010
    I dunno, somewhere in West Texas
    I think it might just be the GS4. With all the new feature additions, touchwiz seems to have gotten heavier and more blotted with each iteration. Kinda weird since this used to be their one saving grace over HTC sense.
  16. GBR thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2012
    I guess its seems strange that the only 'true' android phone is one single model, the Nexus 4. When it is such a small percentage of the android install base. The vast majority of people using android are using galaxy phones or the cheap ones they get free with a new contract. Right now the real android players are the GS4, Note 2, and HTC One, nobody is talking about the Nexus 4 or the new upcoming Nexus outside of forums.

    For my situation I had to get a phone with the best network where I'm at, and that led me to the GS4 which is the latest and greatest android phone (except for arguably the HTC One, but that wasn't an option for me). However as time progresses with mine I am feeling more and more like I used to with Windows computers before I switched to Macs. They all get altered and bloated by the device manufacturer and that just comes as a byproduct of the software companies open focus. I find myself still appreciating Apples closed focus, making the software and hardware work seamlessly together. Just my opinion, and we all have opinions, but my time with my GS4 has only made me appreciate my iPhone more (except for the screen size :D).

    If android really wants to make the best phone out there they really need to take a look at their marketing, they should be marketing the crap out of the Nexus 4 if it's truly the best out there. They should focus on letting the public know that their Nexus device is the best Android experience available as it hasn't been altered by the phone manufacturer at all. They should also be making it compatible with CDMA and offering 4g compatibility. I guess even if I could have gotten the Nexus 4 on US Cellular the lack of 4g would have been a deal breaker for me.
  17. walie macrumors 6502a

    Nov 15, 2010
    "Android" is as much a company as "iPhone"
  18. kiltedthrower macrumors regular

    Aug 24, 2012
    I guess my definition of intuitive is different. It takes me longer to navigate around on an iPhone than it does an Android based device. But out of the box for normal functions, both phones have a phone and messaging function that works the same. Once email accounts are setup, click on the icon and you go to your email. And then if you click and drag your icons into a folder, you have your short cuts set up.
  19. GBR thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2012
    Sorry, I'm an idiot. Google, not Android. I'm usually the one criticizing for those kinds of mixups...
  20. bmac4 macrumors 601


    Feb 14, 2013
    Atlanta Ga
    First of all GSM is much easier to use as a world phone. CDMA is really only used here in America. They do offer a nexus on Verizon, but again Verizon wanted to have a say in updates and such, so Google gave up. It was only about 1 1/2 ago that Apple offered a CDMA version. Again it really is only used in America, so they want to go after what will get the most people.

    I would agree that Google could do a better job of marketing the nexus 4. I just think you should know just a bit more before you start making broad statements about Android being not as smooth. The phone you are using is not, but that does not mean all android phones act the same. I have the Note 2 and I experience no lag all. And on the side of the S4 being one of the faces of android. That is only because Samsung has done that. They market the phone really hard. Google has nothing to do with the S4 being one of the phone people associate with android.
  21. chagla macrumors 6502a


    Mar 21, 2008
    I believe if you get a 'branded' S4, it should have the visual voicemail app pre-installed. not sure why you have to hunt for one. also regarding keyboard, the built-in stock keyboard is pretty good but again if you arent' happy with it, take few minutes to try out alternative keyboards - swype, swiftkey ranks very highly. you can keep writing using one finger without lifting.

    regarding bloatware, again only on branded devices. you should blame your telco company for that. good thing on newer version of android, you can "disable" them. go to settings > applications, tap on the app and choose the "disable" button.

    can you cite specific examples when you say android is definitely behind ios.
  22. GBR thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2012
    I probably have taken this discussion to broad at this point. My original intent was just to share my opinion of the GS4 vs iPhone 5 now that I am utilizing both. Everyone has their own opinions. I cannot speak for other versions of Android on different phones as I really only have experience with this GS4.

    My main complaint with the version of Android running on my GS4 is the software is not nearly as smooth as my iPhone. Especially when navigating web pages. My iPhone zooms and moves smoothly while my GS4 does tend to lag. I also don't like the bloatware (which I understand isn't really Google's fault). While I can appreciate the opportunity to customize I do wish Google would have maybe exercised a little more control over their software and not allow these phone manufacturers to mess with it too much, but I understand that would go against their open platform ideals.

    I guess in the end this has proven to me that for ME the iPhone 5 is still the best, that does not apply to everyone. I appreciate how it 'just works' and to me is more intuitive. There seems to be more parity in the UI throughout iOS and apps downloaded from the App Store. We can argue all day over 'open' vs 'closed' but I can definitely tell a difference between each now that I have them both.
  23. spinedoc77 macrumors G3


    Jun 11, 2009
    I'm in pretty much agreement with what you said, of course this is for MY needs. I used a Note 2 for about 3 months and I liked it a ton, but for several reasons I just recently went back to an iphone 5.

    Lag: Nothing earth shattering and nothing that kept me from any functionality, but just annoying in a $600+ phone. I know others keep saying vanilla android is better, my N7 had lag as well, but once again it's not a deal breaker, just something to be annoyed at and go on the boards and complain about even though it really didn't affect me at all.

    Functionality: Android in some areas has awesome functionality, in particular live widgets are just insanely useful. But in some very very basic areas it has very bad functionality IMO. Messaging is not great, in particular group messaging, that was a big deal breaker for me. Getting stuff done hands free was a deal breaker, in particular Google Now's penchant for doing an internet search for the commands you issue to it. When I say "call Mario" I don't want an internet search for super mario brothers. This is one thing the iphone gets pretty damn near perfect and I didn't realize how much I missed it until I went back. Stupid things, like having the navigation voice turn off when you are in a phone call, or having the bluetooth headset button turn on google now, etc. etc etc I could make a fairly long list.

    Hardware: Yeah I like aesthetics, sue me. I like how a metallic feeling phone feels in the hand. The note 2, and the galaxy S4 had that plastic feeling. Well built mind you, VERY well build and I'm not complaining, it's simply a matter of aesthetics. The HTC One does have those aesthetics though, but the OS has the same flaws as the others.

    I think if Apple releases a larger screen iphone with the same form factor, maybe a tiny bit thinner, with that nice premium watch feel and they successfully revamp iOS7 the floodgates are going to open up again for them. Android is awesome, but it just seems that Google and OEM's are piling on the "features" that no one really uses instead of ultra polishing the basic features like Apple does.
  24. Tsuchiya macrumors 68020


    Jun 7, 2008
    Apple does have a very focused approach to the smartphone which I appreciate more now that I've had a chance to use the S4 for a while.

    Also I miss the industrial solid feeling the iPhone has. I want to get a case just so I don't have to feel that slippery back :-/
  25. mib1800 macrumors 68030

    Sep 16, 2012
    What are these "polished" basic features of Iphone?
    My experience is that even basic features of iphone require workarounds for them to be effective. Basic features are way worse than most smartphones out there. Most glaring is the email attachment and limited support of file types. For phone, limited log, no contact picture in log/contact list, no 3G video call. Limited BT/wifi/usb - cannot transfer files easily in/out of phone. There are just so many things missing in iOS.

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