Android 4.4′s Advantages Over iOS 7.1

Last update: October 30, 2013

This article has had almost 20,000 views. Thanks for reading it.

Last year I wrote two articles that compared Android to iOS. One stressed Apple’s advantages, and the other stressed Google’s advantages. Both turned out to be extremely popular. Since each operating system has had at least one major update since then, I’ve decided to update both articles — starting with the one about Android. Can Android 4.4 hold its own against iOS 7.1?

Google Now learns about you and delivers information without you needing to ask.

The Top Ten Most Important Android Advantages

Although iOS is a great operating system, Android has many advantages over it. Let’s start with the most important ones:

  1. Google Answers Your Questions Before You Ask ThemGoogle Now goes beyond Siri because it learns about you through your searches, and automatically provides useful info to you. For example, Google Now knows when you need to leave for work and from which gate your flight is departing. It also automatically displays things like sports scores, traffic and weather. It will even alert you if there’s a traffic jam and automatically recommends places around you like restaurants. Google Now can now can give you movie start times, help you track packages and help you find great spots to take photos based on your current location.

    boardingpass
    Google Now goes far beyond Passbook by looking for flight confirmations in your email so it can automatically notify you of upcoming flights and changes to your itinerary. Unlike Passbook, you’ll don’t need to install a separate mobile app for each airline you travel with. When you get to the airport Google Now pulls up a digital boarding pass for you which includes a QR code to scan at the gate along with information on the terminal, gate number, seat number and boarding group. Google Now looks at where you’re going, and tells you how the weather will be when you get there. The service can also remind you of hotel, event and restaurant reservations.

    Update (4/29): While it’s true that Google Now can finally be run on iOS there are significant limitations: It cannot be run on the iOS lock screen like it can on the Galaxy S4 and other Android 4.2 phones. It also can’t run in the background as a widget. Google Now is also missing quite a few options on iOS and doesn’t run automatically upon startup. Some of the best Google Now cards are not currently available on Google Now for iOS. This includes Airline boarding pass, Activity summary, Events, Zillow, Fandango, Concerts, Research topic and Nearby events. Another important difference is the fact that Google Now can only be activated from within the Search app, and it must be turned on by a user, who will be prompted on launch of the updated app and must sign in to a Google account. Once you’ve given permission to turn it on, it can be accessed inside the Search app only.

  2. A Digital Wallet That Can Buy Things Today – Apple’s Passbook shows promise, but it’s the only digital wallet which can’t buy things anywhere except Starbucks (or the Apple Store). Android supports near field communication (NFC) and Google Wallet which lets you buy things at over 300,000+ PayPass cash registers. After setting up Google Wallet on an NFC equipped phone like a Samsung Galaxy S III, you simply place your phone on the terminal for a second, enter your PIN and your Google Wallet will be debited by the amount of the purchase. Google Wallet is currently accepted at more than twenty retail chains including 7 Eleven, Best Buy, CVS Pharmacy, Duane Reade, Einstein Bros Bagels, Footlocker, Home Depot, Jack in the Box, McDonald’s, Peet’s Coffee, Pinkberry, Rite Aid, Sports Authority, Whole Foods and more. You can learn more about Google Wallet here.
  3. Better Sharing Between Apps – It’s easiest to explain system intents by contrasting the sharing options between an iOS app and an Android app. When you share on my iOS Notes app you’re given four different sharing choices: Mail, Message, Print and Copy. When you share from the Android Notes app, you’re allowed to share via Bluetooth, Google Drive, Dropbox, Email, Facebook, Gmail, Google+, Read It Later, SkyDrive, Text Message, Twitter, Wi-Fi Direct, WordPress Blog and 17 other apps. The actual list varies, depending on which apps you have installed. Google realizes Android cannot be best at everything, and allows you to choose which apps you want to interact with.
  4. Android lets NFC-enabled phones touch to share

  5. Touch-to-Share Anything – Android Beam allows any two NFC-equipped devices to exchange data wirelessly by simply by tapping them together. This allows Android users to share web pages, maps, You Tube videos, contacts, links to apps and more. Starting with Android 4.1, Android Beam made it possible to share photos and video bover Bluetooth for the data transfer. Samsung’s S Beam combines NFC with Wi-Fi Direct. This makes it possible to transfer almost anything including music playlists, documents, photos and longer videos between two Samsung devices. Here is a video of S Beam in action. It’s even possible for Android devices to share data with Windows mobile phones.
  6. Multi-user Support on a Single Device- Multiuser support was a new feature in Android 4.2. For now, it’s restricted to tablet use. When enabled on the quick settings menu, you’re taken to a lock screen similar to a log-in screen you’d see on a PC. Choose the user, swipe to unlock, and you’re in. Each user has their own home screen, background, apps, and widgets. Even when multiple users share an app, you’re still able to keep your app settings, game-progress and high-scores separate. You can even set up a guest profile so a friend can check their email, but can’t update your Facebook status. All iOS devices are tied to a single iTunes account and changes made by one user will affect all other users of that device. Multiuser support is a very difficult feature to add, so it’s very unlikely we’ll see this in iOS soon.
  7. Associate Multiple Gmail Accounts with a Single User - iOS only allows you to associate a single iTunes account with a single device. Android lets you add extra Google Accounts to a device running Android 4.0 (or later). Each account has its own email, contacts, calendar, apps and Google Play media. This allows you to use one email for work and another for your personal use, or one email for you, and another other for your significant other. By adding both accounts to your tablet, you’ll be able to view the merged data.
  8. More Advanced Multitasking – Apple places restrictions on third-party apps which run in the background. In most cases, they are suspended and not allowed to communicate with other apps. This improved with iOS 7, but it still very different than what Android is capable of. Android supports true-multitasking without any of the above restrictions. This makes it possible to do things which cannot be done on iOS.
  9. For example, Samsung’s “Pop up Play” feature, allows videos to hover, so you can text and watch a video at the same time. It’s also possible to have two apps visible at one time on devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

    Widgets update in real-time w/o needing to launch an app

  10. Smart Widgets – Widgets provide you with real-time weather updates, stock quotes, recent e-mails and more. Widgets are always visible and updated in the background — without needing to launch an app. Widgets provide easy access to system and application settings. Want to disable Wi-Fi or GPS services? Use a widget. When using Android widgets are “smart” and automatically resize themselves based on the amount of room available on the screen. You can get widget-like iOS apps, but they can only run on your lock screen, and some require a jail-broken phone, or third-party software to run.
  11. An Open Source Foundation – The underlying architecture of the Android is open-source. This makes it much more customizable than iOS. Not only is the Android OS customizable, handset manufacturers like Samsung open source their software for individual phones like the Galaxy Series. This makes it relatively easy for developers to improve on what Google and Samsung have done. A wide range of different custom ROMs can be easily loaded onto rooted phones or tablets. These ROMs often have significant benefits when it comes to performance and battery life, and also provide additional features. iOS 7.1 is a totally closed operating system. Although it can be jail-broken, it’s much harder to do. At the time of this writing, the iPhone 5 had not yet been jail broken. Expert say iOS jailbreaks are going to be harder in the future.

    The Android Market has several advantages. In this example, I’m using an iPad to install an Android app which will be remotely downloaded to my Android phone.

  12. A Better and More Open App Store – Although this may not sound like a platform benefit, it’s very important. Google Play has far less restrictions than the App store. There is a long list of apps Apple won’t allow, including apps which compete with iTunes, free Wi-Fi tethering apps, VoIP apps which use technologies like Google Talk, and great utilizes like Farproc’s Wi-Fi Analyzer. Apple also practices their own form of censorship by removing apps like “500px” from the App store, while leaving other apps that feature hard-core porn like Twitter’s “Vine” app. Update 2/3: 500pix is back with an NC+17 rating, while Vine remains.

    Another Android advantage is the number of quality alternative app stores including AppBrain, GetJar, Handango, Handmark, and the Amazon App Store, which offers one paid app a day for free. The only apps which can be installed outside the Apple app store are Cydia apps, which are only available for jailbroken devices. Another Google Play advantage is the fact that it lets developers upload videos as well as screenshots for their apps. This gives you a much better idea what the app does without having to download it first.

Other Areas Where Android Is Still Ahead of iOS

  1. Apps Crash Less – I use iOS and Android 4.4 many hours each day. Apps occasionally crash on both, but I experience more crashes on iOS — especially while using the Safari app with multiple tabs open. Studies have confirmed that iOS apps crash more than Android apps.
  2. Fewer Security Vulnerabilities than iOS – This is going to surprise many of you because companies spend millions trying to convince you that malware is a serious problem on the Android platform, but security expert Symantec released a study in April 2013 that says Apple’s iOS had more security vulnerabilities than Android in 2012. Symantec’s report revealed that there are 387 documented vulnerabilities on Apple’s iOS software, compared to a mere 13 on Android.

  3. Much better account security – Like Apple, Google requires an e-mail address and password to setup any device. However this is easy to hack, so Google offers optional two-step authentication. This is done by downloading a Authenticator app on your mobile device. This app generates unique verification codes that are entered along with your password. Apple’s iCloud was cracked because of the lack of two-factor authentication.
  4. Notifictions are now actionable

  5. More Advanced Notifications – Although notifications have improved in iOS, Android still has advantages in this area. You can tell at a glance what types of notifications have occurred, and clear all notifications with a single click. Devices running Android 4.1 (or later) have rich push notifications, which can be expanded and collapsed with a pinch. These notifications offer even more contextual information and are now actionable. That means if you’re notified about a meeting, you can dismiss it from the Android notification bar, or email others about the meeting. You can also call (or text) someone right from the pull-down notification menu.
  6. Flash Video Support – Flash may be a dying format, but there are still millions of Flash videos around and iOS can’t play any of them. All Android devices running 4.0 (and earlier) can play Flash videos out of the box. If you have an Android device running Android 4.1 (or later) and you didn’t previously install Flash, you’ll need to side-load it by following these easy instructions.
  7. Extensive Customization Options – There are so many ways you can customize Android devices it would be impossible to list them all here. Almost anything can be changed in the Android ecosystem.
  8. More Effective Parental Controls – Apple finally added Parental Controls to iOS 6, but they are buried is Settings and disabled by default. Even if mom is smart enough to find and enable them, her kids will still be able to read the copy of “50 Shades of Grey” that she bought six months ago. This is because Apple’s Parental Controls do not hide explicit books which are already in your library. iOS is a single-user OS and this prevents effective parental controls. Android 4.2 allowed each family member to have their own password-protected account. All of the media is only visible when logged in to their own account. This prevents children from accessing inappropriate content.
  9. Restricted User Profiles – In addition to parental controls, Android 4.3 allows you to control access to apps and content at a user level. This allows you to control which apps each user can see and which are hidden. It also allows an app to behave differently when it’s running in a restricted profile. For example, an app can hide unpurchased levels and not allow in-app purchasing. Restricted profiles are also ideal for retail kiosks or POS systems.
  10. Easy File Transfers – It’s a hassle to get anything but photos off of an iOS device. With Android devices there’s no need to use iTunes or iCloud to copy media. Just connect a USB cable and your mobile device appears on your desktop like a hard disk. You can then drag and drop any number of file onto your mobile device to copy them. This is a really big advantage.
  11. Virtual surround sound audio – There are several iOS apps with surround-sound capabilities, the Android 4.3 OS has advanced surround-sound technology from German audio pioneer Fraunhofer built-in. Android 4.3 supports surround sound three different ways: Over HDMI, over any headphones and using the stereo speakers on supported devices including the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10.

    Instagram on iPad

  12. No Need to Use 2x Zoom on Some Apps – Android automatically stretches apps so they look good on screens of all sizes. Many iOS apps like Instagram still appear small when they are run on a tablet, or have to be blown up to twice their regular size in order to occupy the entire screen. When you do this, the graphics look distorted and funny.
  13. Ability to Set Default Software – One of the most powerful Android features is the ability to change the default software the OS uses for different tasks. For example, if you want to the Dolphin browser to open any URL (instead of the stock Android browser), just pick the app you want to use. Want to use a different app for turn-by-turn directions or media playback? Pick one, and it will use that app every time. This is an incredibly powerful feature. You can even replace the stock keyboard with a 3rd party keyboard like SwiftKey. Apple doesn’t allow this.
  14. Fewer Image Scaling Issues - The way Android is structured, apps automatically support all new resolutions without needing to be modified like iOS apps do. Every time Apple releases a product with a different sized screen like the iPhone 5, developers have to scramble to make their apps look great. If they don’t, text will be less crisp and there may be screen layout issues. Android seems to have fewer issues in this area. It seems Google has a better method of scaling up low-resolution images which makes them less ugly than they appear on Apple devices.
  15. 3rd-party Keyboards Improve Your Typing Speed

    3rd-party Keyboards Improve Your Typing Speed

  16. Third-party Alternate Keyboards – There are some outstanding third-party keyboard apps that run on all Android phones and have many advantages over the stock iOS 6 keyboard. Some of the best keyboards include Swype, which lets you create words by tracing between the letters on the keyboard. Swype can even sync your personal dictionary across all of your Android devices. SwiftKey 3 goes even further by predicting the next word in your sentence based on past behavior. To save time you can personalize it using your Gmail, Facebook, Twitter or blog posts. This can save you a massive number of keystrokes, as you can see from the screenshot on the right. SwiftKey and other 3rd-party keyboards also have extensive customization options unlike iOS. You can see the dramatic difference here. There are other good keyboards as well. Here’s a good review of some of the best ones.
  17. Smoother Scrolling & Transitions – Starting with Android 4.1, the CPU and graphics run in parallel and the entire interface runs at 60 frames per second. The processor jumps into action the moment you touch the screen to keep input lag at a minimum and graphics are now also triple-buffered to keep scrolling and transitions smooth. It’s true that iOS had less of a problem with this, but its interface doesn’t currently run at 60fps.
  18. Smart App Updates – Google Play now delivers only the parts of an updated app which have changed to devices, rather than the entire app. This makes the app updates much faster to download, and conserve both battery and data usage.
  19. You can zoom-in on offline maps with no signal

  20. Better Speech-to-Text Entry – Android’s speech-to-text entry is second to none. Unlike iOS, Android is capable of doing the speech-to-text conversion without a network connection. It’s also more accurate. Siri does not work well on voices with certain types of accents and certain dialects. It’s normal for voice recognition systems to require some training, but Siri doesn’t seem to improve over time. By contrast, Google’s voice recognition technology requires no training on voices with strong accents as long as they speak close to the microphone and talk a little slower than usual.
  21. Intelligent Switching between Wi-Fi and Cellular – iOS sometimes has problems switching between cellular and Wi-Fi connections. If a Wi-Fi signal is present it will select it — even though its signal strength is low, and its data is slower than the current 3G or 4G connection. Devices running Android 4.1 (or later) don’t have this problem when the “Wi-Fi Only Connects to Strong Signal” option is enabled. This forces your mobile device to only connect to strong Wi-Fi signals.
  22. Offline Maps – Although Google Maps was mentioned above, offline maps are important enough to have their own section, because the time you need a map the most is when you don’t have Internet access and are lost. Android allows you to download any number of maps to your device and access them without an Internet connection.
  23. A Media-centric Home Screen – Android tablets like the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 displays your media library on the first screen you see. You’ll see the last book, magazine and CD you played (or read) larger than the others. This is a feature which has really grown on me. Of course you can move or delete this, if you don’t want it on your home screen.
  24. Predictive text is one advantage the Android keyboard has over iOS

  25. A More Advanced Default Keyboard – Android’s in-line spell checker and suggestion modes work better than Apple’s today. The Android keyboard (4.1 and later) guesses what the next word will be before you’ve started typing it. You don’t even need an Internet connection to see the suggestions. The Android keyboard also lets you add dictionaries, gives you control over auto-correct and has advanced settings. Android 4.2 also included a new feature called Gesture Typing, which lets you glide your finger over the letters you want to type on the keyboard.
  26. Attach Any File to An Email – Android allows you to attach any file to an e-mail — not only images or video like iOS 7 does. This is important, because it’s common to attach Word docs or Powerpoint presentations to work-related emails.
  27. Photo Sphere goes beyond Apple’s Panorama and lets you capture 360 degree photos

  28. 360-degree Photos – Android 4.2 introduced a new camera feature called Photo Sphere, which lets you capture Google Street View-style images that are larger than life. While you take photos in every direction Android stitches them together to create 360-degree experiences that you can share on Google+ with friends and family, or add to Google Maps.You can see Photo Sphere in action here.
  29. Superior Music Scan & Match feature – The new Google Play Music service has a free “Scan and Match” option that goes through your entire music library and saves it to the cloud, so it’s accessible from any Internet-connected device. Like iTunes Match, you don’t have to upload most songs because they are already there. Unlike iTunes Match, Google lets you store 20,000 songs on its servers for free. Apple charges $24.99 a year for the iTunes Match feature and transcodes all of your high-bit rate songs down to 256kbps prior to uploading to iCloud. Google allows songs up to 320Kbps.
  30. Advanced photo editing comes standard

  31. More Advanced Photo Editing Features – The stock iOS camera and photo viewer apps are very limited on features. The Android Gallery app let you tweak your photos in a similar manner as you would with Photoshop. This goes far beyond the four options Apple has (rotate, enhance, red-eye and crop). Starting with Android 4.1 Google let you apply Instagram-style filters to still or video footage including warm vintage, posterize, black and white, and sepia. You can also edit different video clips together by simply pausing and resuming video recording.
  32. A True Full-screen Mode – Android 4.4 supports a new ‘Immersive mode’ that allows apps to take over the entire screen when needed. That means you won’t see any controls on the top of the bottom of the screen. To get the controls back just swipe from the top or bottom of the screen. On the iPhone, this type of full screen mode isn’t possible.

  33. File Management on Your Device – iOS apps like iExplorer claim to be file explorers, but they don’t allow you to browse, copy, paste, rename and delete any visible file or folder on your device. This is because Apple doesn’t allow you to access the iOS file system. Android file explorers like ES File Explorer do all of this and much more. The 10 best Android File Explorers.
  34. Individual App Volumes – Android lets you adjust the volume for individual apps and functions. To do this, press the volume keys along the side of your device and wait for the on-screen volume slider to pop up. Touch the Settings button on the right and you’ll see sliders for music, video, notifications, ringtones and alarms.
  35. A Persistent Back Button – Android’s Back button is available at all times. Some iOS apps display a Back button, but it’s not always available and some apps don’t include it at all. This is one of the features I miss the most when moving back and forth between Android and iOS.
  36. A Live Wallpaper

  37. Miracast Wireless Video Streaming- Android 4.2 added support for a wireless video streaming standard called Miracast, which is an open alternative to Apple’s AirPlay. One advantage that Miracast has over AirPlay and DLNA is that it streams over Wi-Fi Direct and does not require a Wi-Fi hotspot. Miracast allows you to stream anything that’s on your phone (or tablet) to a Miracast-ready HDTV. Although there aren’t many TVs that support Miracast yet (LG will be among the first), experts are expecting many to be released next year, along with low-cost dongles that plug into the HDMI port of older TVs. Most of the newest smartphones and tablets already support Miracast — including the Samsung Galaxy Series, LG Optimus G, Nexus 4 and more. You can see Miracast in action here.
  38. Moving Screen Backgrounds – iOS 7 has dynamic backrounds that give the illusion of moving, like Android apps, but this is very different than the live wallpapers that run on Android devices. They allow you to run cool animations or videos on your home screens. Most live wallpapers like Ocean HD span across all five of your home screens and pan when you move from screen to screen. You can interact with some live wallpapers by touching the screen. For example, touching the screen on Ocean HD causes the swimming fish to change direction. You can even have a 360 degree panoramic photo as your live wallpaper (e.g. PanoPlanet Live Wallpaper).
  39. High-definition Magazines – Traditional magazines are printed at 300 dpi. Since Android tablets like the Nexus 10 have a screen that supports 300 ppi, it makes sense to offer magazines at their native 300 dpi resolution. Look for HD magazines in Google Play that only be viewed on Android devices.
  40. Full Stylus Support – Although you can use a capacitive stylus on an iOS device, the OS has very limited support for it. You won’t get the same level of expression you get on a Samsung Galaxy Note II, which has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity. iOS also won’t let you toggle between a brush, pencil or eraser by simply holding the stylus above the screen and clicking a button. The stylus on Note II even lets you preview emails, photos or videos by hovering slightly above the screen. Here are some more things you can do with a stylus.

    Android has better resource monitoring than iOS

  41. Data & Resource Monitoring – Android shows you exactly how much data you have used so far each month and warns you when you’re getting close to your data cap. You can even disable mobile data entirely if you’d like, once a certain threshold has been reached. Android also lets you see how much battery and memory and data each app is using.
  42. Haptic Feedback Support – The Android OS and most Android devices support haptic feedback natively. This gives you a tactile vibration when you type, long press, or touch any of the navigation buttons. This is done to make it clear your touch was acknowledged, so you don’t have to tap twice. Haptic feedback also makes games much more enjoyable to play.

  43. More Screen Unlock Options – Android now has five different ways to unlock your screen: A slider (which lets you access the home screen or camera), pattern unlock, PIN unlock, password unlock and Face unlock.
  44. No Bluetooth Transfer Restrictions – Most iOS Bluetooth apps have limitations which Android apps don’t have. They cannot send data over Bluetooth to an Android device (unless the iOS device has been jailbroken). Most apps available in the App store can only send photos, and cannot send audio, video and other documents.
  45. Speed Dials – Android allows you to add icons for contacts directly to your home screen(s), so you can quickly call or text them. iOS users must first open the Phone or Messaging apps before communicating with contacts.
  46. Multicolored LED alerts – Most Android devices have a small LED that alerts you to missed calls, new messages and other system events like low-battery. As with other Android phones, you can customize exactly how and when the LED works by installing a third-party LED control app like Light Flow. The iPhone does have a setting buried under Accessibility, which flashes an LED when a calls or text message is received, but it’s not nearly as flexible as this feature. Light Flow lets you assign different colors to voice mail, missed calls, calendar reminders, Gmail, Facebook notifications, SMS messages and many more things.

The Tide is Turning

Although iOS still has some very important advantages over Android, it seems that every time I update this article, the list of Android advantages gets longer, and the list of iOS advantages gets shorter. Even the most die hard Apple fans admit that iOS is showing its age and Apple still hasn’t figured out Sharing or the Cloud. Apple’s between a rock and a hard place, because they have to add some of the above features at some point, but when they do they will be accused of copying Android. Sure Apple still has a few tricks up their sleeve, and an amazing patent pool, but they are clearly playing catch up at the moment.

“Real Men Use Android”

After many years of promoting Apple’s products Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki recently switched to Android. Really. He recently did a interview where he said, “People are kind of amazed, but I don’t use any iOS products, none at all. I fell in love with Android on the smartphone, and then I got a Nexus 7 and started using Android on the tablet as well. To me the great irony is that Apple’s slogan was `Think Different,’ but today if you think different you’re looking at Android.” Guy uses a Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Now that Apple has finally caught up to Android hardware in areas like 4G , Guy says it’s Android’s “superior software that keeps him from moving astray.”

Guy Kawasaki’s Five Favorite Android Features

  1. Multiple apps running in multiple windows
  2. Widgets
  3. Ability to launch files and choose default apps
  4. Ability to see all your apps in an alphabetical listing no matter what folder they are in
  5. Ability to pick your own keyboard (he uses SmartKey)

– Rick

Copyright 2013 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.


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The Dirty Little Secret About Mobile Benchmarks

Last updated: June 18, 2014

This article has had over 13,000 views. Thanks for reading it.

When I wrote this article over a year ago, most people believed mobile benchmarks were a strong indicator of device performance. Since then a lot has happened: Both Samsung and Intel were caught cheating and some of the most popular benchmarks are no longer used by leading bloggers because they are too easy to game. By now almost every mobile OEM has figured out how to “game” popular benchmarks including 3DMark, AnTuTu, Vellamo 2 and others. Details. The iPhone hasn’t been called out yet, but Apple has been caught cheating on benchmarks before, so there is a high probability they are employing one or more of the techniques described below like driver tricks. Although Samsung and the Galaxy Note 3 have received a bad rap over this, the actual impact on their benchmark results was fairly small, because none of the GPU frequency optimizations that helped the Exynos 5410 scores exist on Snapdragon processors. Even when it comes to the Samsung CPU cheats, this time around the performance deltas were only 0-5%.

11/26/13 Update: 3DMark just delisted mobile devices with suspicious benchmark scores. More info.

The old saying about 'Lies, damned lies, and statistics' couldn't be more true when it comes to benchmarks.

The old saying about ‘Lies, damned lies, and statistics’ couldn’t be more true when it comes to benchmarks.


Mobile benchmarks are supposed to make it easier to compare smartphones and tablets. In theory, the higher the score, the better the performance. You might have heard the iPhone 5 beats the Samsung Galaxy S III in some benchmarks. That’s true. It’s also true the Galaxy S III beats the iPhone 5 in other benchmarks, but what does this really mean? And more importantly, can benchmarks really tell us which phone is better than another?

In this benchmark the Galaxy Note 3 easily beats the iPhone 5s

In this benchmark the Galaxy Note 3 easily beats the iPhone 5s

Why Mobile Benchmarks Are Almost Meaningless

  1. Benchmarks can easily be gamed – Manufacturers want the highest possible benchmark scores and are willing to cheat to get them. Sometimes this is done by optimizing code so it favors a certain benchmark. In this case, the optimization results in a higher benchmark score, but has no impact on real-world performance. Other times, manufacturers cheat by tweaking drivers to ignore certain things, lower the quality to improve performance or offload processing to other areas. The bottom line is that almost all benchmarks can be gamed. Computer graphics card makers found this out a long time ago and there are many well-documented accounts of Nvidia, AMD and Intel cheating to improve their scores.

    Here’s an example of this type of cheating: Samsung created a white list for Exynos 5-based Galaxy S4 phones which allow some of the most popular benchmarking apps to shift into a high-performance mode not available to most applications. These apps run the GPU at 532MHz, while other apps cannot exceed 480MHz. This cheat was confirmed by AnandTech, who is the most respected name in both PC and mobile benchmarking. Samsung claims “the maximum GPU frequency is lowered to 480MHz for certain gaming apps that may cause an overload, when they are used for a prolonged period of time in full-screen mode,” but it doesn’t make sense that S Browser, Gallery, Camera and the Video Player apps can all run with the GPU wide open, but that all games are forced to run at a much lower speed.

    Samsung isn’t the only manufacturer accused of cheating. Back in June Intel shouted at the top of their lungs about the results of an ABI Research report that claimed their Atom processor outperformed ARM chips by Nvidia, Qualcomm and Samsung. This raised quite a few eyebrows and further research showed the Intel processor was not completely executing all of the instructions. After released an updated version of the benchmark, Intel’s scores dropped overnight by 20% to 50%. Was this really cheating? You can decide for yourself — but it’s hard to believe Intel didn’t know their chip was bypassing large portions of the tests AnTuTu was running. It’s also possible to fake benchmark scores as in this example.

    Intel has even gone so far as to create their own suite of benchmarks that they admit favor Intel processors. You won’t find the word “Intel” anywhere on the BenchmarkXPRT website, but if you check the small print on some Intel websites you’ll find they admit “Intel is a sponsor and member of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, and was the major developer of the XPRT family of benchmarks.” Intel also says “Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors.” Bottom line: Intel made these benchmarks to make Intel processors look good and others look bad.

  2. Benchmarks measure performance without considering power consumption – Benchmarks were first created for desktop PCs. These PC were always plugged into the wall, had multiple fans and large heat-sinks to dissipate the massive amounts of power they consumed. The mobile world couldn’t be more different. Your phone is rarely plugged into the wall — even when you are gaming. Your mobile device is also very limited on the amount of heat it can dissipate and battery life drops as heat increases. It doesn’t matter if your mobile device is capable of incredible benchmark scores if your battery dies in only an hour or two. Mobile benchmarks don’t factor in the power needed to achieve a certain level of performance. That’s a huge oversight, because the best chip manufacturers spend incredible amounts of time optimizing power usage. Even though one processor might slightly underperform another in a benchmark, it could be far superior, because it consumed half the power of the other chip. You’d have no way to know this without expensive hardware capable of performing this type of measurements.
  3. Benchmarks rarely predict real-world performance — Many benchmarks favor graphics performance and have little bearing on the things real consumers do with their phones. For example, no one watches hundreds of polygons draw on their screens, but that’s exactly the types of things benchmarks do. Even mobile gamers are unlikely to see increased performance on devices which score higher, because most popular games don’t stress the CPU and GPU the same way benchmarks do. Benchmarks like GLBenchmark 2.5 focus on things like high-level 3D animations. One reviewer recently said, “Apple’s A6 has an edge in polygon performance and that may be important for ultra-high resolution games, but I have yet to see many of those. Most games that I’ve tried on both platforms run in lower resolution with an up-scaling.” For more on this topic, scroll down to the section titled: “Case Study 2: Is the iPhone 5 Really Twice as Fast?”

    This video proves shows that the iPhone 5s is only slightly faster than the iPhone 5 when it comes to real-world tests. For example, The iPhone 5s only starts up only 1 second faster than the iPhone 5 (23 seconds vs. 24 seconds). The iPhone 5s only loads the Reddit.com site 0.1 seconds faster than the iPhone 5. These differences are so small it’s unlikely anyone would even notice them. Would you believe the iPhone 4 shuts down five times faster than the iPhone 5s? It’s true (4 seconds vs. 21.6 seconds).

    Another video shows that even though the iPhone 5s does better on most graphics benchmarks, when it comes to real world things like scrolling a webpage in the Chrome browser, Android devices scroll significantly faster than a iPhone 5s running iOS 7. See for yourself in this video.

  4. The iPhone 5s appears to do well on graphics benchmarks until you realize that Android phones have almost 3x the pixels

    The iPhone 5s appears to do well on graphics benchmarks until you realize that Android phones have almost 3x the pixels

  5. Some benchmarks penalize devices with more pixels — Most graphic benchmarks measure performance in terms of frames per second. GFXBench (formerly GLBenchmark) is the most popular graphics benchmark. Apple has dominated in the scores of this benchmark for one simple reason. Apple’s iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and 5s displays all have a fraction of the pixels flagship Android devices have. For example, in the chart above, the iPhone 5s gets a score of 53 fps, while the LG G2 gets a score of 47 fps. Most people would be impressed by the fact that the iPhone 5s got a score that was 12.7% higher than the LG G2, but when you consider the fact the LG G2 is pushing almost 3x the pixels (2073600 pixels vs. 727040 pixels), it’s clear the Adreno 330 GPU in the LG G2 is actually killing the GPU in the iPhone 5s. The GFXBench scores on the 720p Moto X (shown above) are further proof that what I am saying is true. This bias against devices with more pixels isn’t just true with GFXBench, you can see the same behavior with graphics benchmarks like Basemark X shown below (where the Moto X beats the Nexus 4).
  6. More proof that graphics benchmarks favor devices with lower-res displays

    More proof that graphics benchmarks favor devices with lower-res displays

  7. Some popular benchmarks are no longer relevantSunSpider is a popular JavaScript benchmark that was designed to compare different browsers. However, according to at least one expert, the data that SunSpider uses is a small enough benchmark that it’s become more of a cache test. That’s one reason why Google came out with their V8 and Octane benchmark suites, both are better JavaScript tests than SunSpider.” According to Google, Octane is based upon a set of well-known web applications and libraries. This means, “a high score in the new benchmark directly translates to better and smoother performance in similar web applications.” Even though it may no longer be relevant as an indicator of Java-script browsing performance, SunSpider is still quoted by many bloggers. SunSpider isn’t the only popular benchmark with issues, this blogger says BrowserMark also has problems.
  8. SunSpider is a good example of a benchmark which may no longer be relevant

    SunSpider is a good example of a benchmark which may no longer be relevant — yet people continue to use it

  9. Benchmark scores are not always repeatable – In theory, you should be able to run the same benchmark on the same phone and get the same results over and over, but this doesn’t always occur. If you run a benchmark immediately after a reboot and then run the same benchmark during heavy use, you’ll get different results. Even if you reboot every time before you benchmark, you’ll still get different scores due to memory allocation, caching, memory fragmentation, OS house-keeping and other factors like throttling.

    Another reason you’ll get different scores on devices running exactly the same mobile processors and operating system is because different devices have different apps running in the background. For example, Nexus devices have far less apps running in the background than a non-Nexus carrier-issued devices. Even after you close all running apps, there are still apps running in the background that you can’t see — yet these apps are consuming system resources and can have an affect on benchmark scores. Some apps run automatically to perform housekeeping for a short period and then close. The number and types of apps vary greatly from phone to phone and platform to platform, so this makes objective testing of one phone against another difficult.

    Benchmark scores sometimes change after you upgrade a device to a new operating system. This makes it difficult to compare two devices running different versions of the same OS. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S III running Android 4.0 gets a Geekbench score of 1560, which the same exact phone running Android 4.1 gets Geekbench score of 1781. That’s a 14% increase. The Android 4.4 OS causes many benchmark scores to increase, but not in all cases. For example, after moving to Android 4.4, Vellamo 2 scores drop significantly on some devices because it can’t make use of some aspects of hardware acceleration due to Google’s changes.

    Perhaps the biggest reason benchmark scores change over time is because they stress the processor increasing its temperature. When the processor temperature reaches a certain level, the device starts to throttle or reduce power. This is one of the reasons scores on benchmarks like AnTuTu change when they are run consecutive times. Other benchmarks have the same problem. In this video, the person testing several phones gets a Quadrant Standard score on the Nexus 4 that is 4569 on the first run and 4826 on a second run (skip to 14:25 to view).

  10. Not all mobile benchmarks are cross-platform — Many mobile benchmarks are Android-only and can’t help you to compare an Android phone to the iPhone 5. Here are just a few popular mobile benchmarks which are not available for iOS and other mobile platforms (e.g. AnTuTu Benchmark, Octane, Neocore, NenaMark, Quadrant Standard and Vellamo).
  11. Mobile benchmarks are not time-tested — Most mobile benchmarks are relatively new and not as mature as the benchmarks which are used to test Macs and PCs. The best computer benchmarks are real world, relevant and produce repeatable scores. There is some encouraging news in this area however — now that 3DMark is available for mobile devices. It would be nice if someone ported other time-tested benchmarks like SPECint to iOS as well.
  12. Existing benchmarks don't accurate measure the impact of memory speed or throughput

    Existing benchmarks don’t accurately measure storage performance on things like video playback

  13. Inaccurate measurement of memory and storage performance — There is evidence that existing mobile benchmarks do not accurate measure the impact of faster memory speeds or storage performance. Examples above and below. MobileBench is supposed to address this issue, but it would be better if there was a reliable benchmark that was not partially created memory suppliers like Samsung.
  14. Existing benchmarks don't accurately measure storage performance on things like video playback

    Existing benchmarks don’t accurate measure the impact of memory speed or throughput

  15. Inaccurate measurement of the heterogenous nature of mobile devices — Only 15% of a mobile processor is the CPU. Modern mobile processors also have DSPs, image processing cores, sensor cores, audio and video decoding cores, and more, but not one of today’s mobile benchmarks can measure any of this. This is a big problem.

Case Study 1: Is the New iPad Air Really 2-5x as Fast As Other iPads?

There have been a lot of articles lately about the benchmark performance of the new iPad Air. The writers of these article truly believe that the iPad Air is dramatically faster than any other iPad, but most real world tests don’t show this to be true. This video compares 5 generations of iPads.

Benchmark tests suggest the iPad Air should be much faster than previous iPads

Benchmark tests suggest the iPad Air should be much faster than previous iPads

Results of side-by-side video comparisons between the iPad Air and other iPads:

  • Test 1 – Start Up – iPad Air started up 5.73 seconds faster than the iPad 1. That’s 23% faster, yet the Geekbench 3 benchmark suggests the iPad Air should be over 500% faster than an iPad 2. I would expect the iPad Air would be more than 23% faster than a product that came out 3 years and 6 months ago. Wouldn’t you?
  • Test 2 – Page load times – The narrator claims the iPad Air’s new MIMO antennas are part of the reason the new iPad Air loads webpages so much faster. First off, MIMO antennas are not new in mobile devices; They were in the Kindle HD two generations ago. Second, apparently Apple’s MIMO implementation isn’t effective, because if you freeze frame the video just before 1:00, you’ll see the iPad 4 clearly loads all of the text on the page before the iPad Air. All of the images on the webpage load on the iPad 4 and the iPad Air at exactly the same time – even though browser-based benchmarks suggest the iPad Air should load web pages much faster.
  • Test 3 – Video Playback – On the video playback test, the iPad Air was no more than 15.3% faster than the iPad 4 (3.65s vs. 4.31s)

Reality: Although most benchmarks suggest the iPad Air should be 2-5x faster than older iPads, at best, the iPad Air is only 15-25% faster than the iPad 4 in real world usage, and is some cases it is no faster.

Final Thoughts

You should never make a purchasing decision based on benchmarks alone. Most popular benchmarks are flawed because they don’t predict real world performance and they don’t take into consideration power consumption. They measure your mobile device in a way that you never use it: running all-out while it’s plugged into the wall. It doesn’t matter how fast your mobile device can operate if your battery only lasts an hour. For the reason top benchmarking bloggers like AnandTech have stopped using the AnTuTu, BenchmarkPi, Linpack and Quadrant benchmarks, but they still continue to propagate the myth that benchmarks are an indicator of real world performance. They claim they use them because they aren’t subjective, but then them mislead their readers about their often meaningless nature.

Some benchmarks do have their place however. Even though they are far from perfect they can be useful if you understand their limitations. However you shouldn’t read too much into them. They are just one indicator, along with product specs and side-by-side real world comparisons between different mobile devices.

Bloggers should spend more time measuring things that actually matter like start-up and shutdown times, Wi-Fi and mobile network speeds in controlled reproducible environments, game responsiveness, app launch times, browser page load times, task switching times, actual power consumption on standardized tasks, touch-panel response times, camera response times, audio playback quality (S/N, distortion, etc.), video frame rates and other things that are related to the ways you use your device.

Although most of today’s mobile benchmarks are flawed, there is some hope for the future. Broadcom, Huawei, OPPO, Samsung Electronics and Spreadtrum recently announced the formation of MobileBench, a new industry consortium formed to provide more effective hardware and system-level performance assessment of mobile devices. They have a proposal for a new benchmark that is supposed to address some of the issues I’ve highlighted above. You can read more about this here.

A Mobile Benchmark Primer

  • 3DMark is one of the most popular computer benchmarks for graphics. It’s also one of the better mobile benchmarks for iOS and Android. Although it calls itself a graphics benchmark, experts like AnandTech say it stresses the CPU more than graphic benchmarks like GFBench. 3DMark is also heavily-threaded, so its Unlimited Physics tests tends to reward quad-core CPUs. ***
  • AndEBench-Pro is a new suite of tests measuring CPU, GPU, memory and storage subsystem performance. It also gauges XML parsing, GUI rendering, image manipulation, data compression, and cryptography tasks embedded in actual workloads. This benchmark is a product of an EEMBC workgroup led by Intel with members from Imagination Technologies and NVIDIA. One of the first benchmarks to be available in Mandarin. This apps is based on AndEBench, which also appears to be rough around the edges and gets only 3 stars in Google Play.
  • Androbench is a good way to measure the storage performance of your Android Devices
  • AnTuTu is a popular benchmark which tests the CPU, memory, graphics and I/O performance. Although AnandTech and Engadget are no longer using AnTuTu, it’s still one of the most popular Android benchmarks.
  • Basemark ES 3.0 measures the graphics performance of OpenGL ES 3.0 enabled devices. ***
  • Basemark X is a good cross-platform graphics benchmark based on the latest Unity 4.0 engine. One of the more demanding graphic benchmarks. ***
  • Basemark OS II is a system-level CPU benchmark designed to measure the overall performance of Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices. ***
  • BenchmarkXPRT – You won’t find the word “Intel” on the BenchmarkXPRT website, but if you check the small print on some Intel websites you’ll find they admit “Intel is a sponsor and member of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, and was the major developer of the XPRT family of benchmarks.” Intel also says “Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors.” Bottom line: Intel made these benchmarks to make Intel processors look good and others look bad. These benchmarks should not be used.
  • BenchmarkPi is one of several benchmarks that measures performance by calculating Pi. This benchmark isn’t recommended because it only tests the CPU and is no longer used by AnandTech.
  • BrowserMark is a cross-platform browser benchmark, but it has some issues that make cross-platform comparisons questionable.
  • CaffeineMark is a series of online tests that measure the speed of Java programs.
  • Certimo is a new rating system for mobile devices that is supposed to accurately reflect consumer experiences. Categories include battery life, browsing, display quality, infotainment, messaging, multimedia, overall and performance. It’s too early to say how good the system is.
  • CFBench is a newer benchmark that specializes in multi-core tests
  • CompuBench is benchmark that tests general-purpose computing on the graphics processing unit (GPGPU). It’s creator says it’s the first professional RenderScript benchmark testing the compute performance of heterogeneous multi-core systems of mobile devices supporting the RenderScript API. ***
  • Dhrystone is an older synthetic computing benchmark program which provides an indication of CPU “integer” performance.
  • The original Geekbench was designed to test the CPU and memory, so it was all about raw performance. Geekbench 3 is crossplatform. It runs on Android, iOS, Max OS, Linux and Windows. It measures both single-core and multi-core performance using tests that are supposed to simulate real-world scenarios. ***
  • GFXBench (formerly GLBenchmark) is one of the most popular GPU benchmarks. The GLBenchmark Egypt HD tests are close to the workload you get on most retail games today. The GLBenchmark T-Rex HD test is more stressful and that’s why you’ll see much lower frame rates. ***
  • Google Octane is another browser benchmark that focuses on JavaScript performance. It effectively replaces V8 because it adds another five tests to the ones already in V8
  • Google V8 is another browser benchmark that includes eight tests focused on JavaScript performance
  • Kraken is a benchmark created by Mozilla that runs in your browser and measures JavaScript performance. According to AnandTech, Kraken is designed to stress more forward-looking algorithms. AnandTech recently introduced Kraken into their browser test suite, because they were worried SunSpider is becoming too much of a browser optimization target.
  • Linpack measures floating point performance of the CPU. Although LinPack is no longer used by AnandTech, it’s still used by Engadget and others. ***
  • MobileBench is a new benchmark that will be released in 2014 that claims to provide more effective hardware and system-level performance assessment
  • MobileXPRT – You won’t find the word “Intel” on the BenchmarkXPRT website, but if you check the small print on some Intel websites you’ll find they admit “Intel is a sponsor and member of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, and was the major developer of the XPRT family of benchmarks.” Intel also says “Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors.” Bottom line: Intel made these benchmarks to make Intel processors look good and others look bad. MobileXPRT should not be used.
  • Pi calculates how long it takes to calculate Pi up to 10 million digits, but it’s not a very useful mobile benchmark because it only measures one thing.
  • Quadrant Standard claims to test CPU, memory, I/O and graphics — but it’s mostly a CPU benchmark.
  • Quadrant Pro claims to test CPU, memory, I/O and graphics — but it’s mostly a CPU benchmark. It’s unclear what you get for $24.99 other than it publishes your results. ***
  • SunSpider is a JavaScript benchmark, which is showing signs of its age
  • WebXPRT – You won’t find the word “Intel” on the BenchmarkXPRT website, but if you check the small print on some Intel websites you’ll find they admit “Intel is a sponsor and member of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, and was the major developer of the XPRT family of benchmarks.” Intel also says “Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors.” Bottom line: Intel made these benchmarks to make Intel processors look good and others look bad. WebXPRT should not be used.
  • Vellamo is the second most popular Android benchmark. It’s known as an HTML5 browser performance test, but the Vellamo 3 also tests determine the efficiency and performance of your CPU. It also has one of the best collections of multi-core benchmarks. It’s worth mentioning that the Vellamo 3 Browser tests include SunSpider, Google’s Octane and 14 more tests. ***
  • *** Indicates benchmarks which are used by top OEMs and chip manufacturers

    This is just a partial list of mobile benchmarks, you can download other Android benchmarks here.

    Benchmarks like this one suggest the iPhone 5 is twice as fast as the iPhone 4S.

    Case Study 2: Is the iPhone 5 Really Twice as Fast?

    Note: Although this section was written about the iPhone 5, this section applies equally to the iPhone 5s. Like the iPhone 5, experts say the iPhone 5s is twice as fast in some areas — yet most users will notice little if any differences that are related to hardware alone. The biggest differences are related to changes in iOS 7 and the new registers in the A7.

    Apple and most tech writers believe the iPhone 5’s A6 processor is twice as fast as the chip in the iPhone 4S. Benchmarks like the one in the above chart support these claims. This video tests these claims.

    In tests like this one, the iPhone 4S beats the iPhone 5 when benchmarks suggest it should be twice as slow.

    Results of side-by-side comparisons between the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 4S:

    • Opening the Facebook app is faster on the iPhone 4S (skip to 7:49 to see this).
    • The iPhone 4S also recognizes speech much faster, although the iPhone 5 returns the results to a query faster (skip to 8:43 to see this). In a second test, the iPhone 4S once again beats the iPhone 5 in speech recognition and almost ties it in returning the answer to a math problem (skip to 9:01 to see this).
    • App launches times vary, in some cases iPhone 5 wins, in others the iPhone 4S wins.
    • The iPhone 4S beats the iPhone 5 easily when SpeedTest is run (skip to 10:32 to see this).
    • The iPhone 5 does load web pages and games faster than the iPhone 4S, but it’s no where near twice as fast (skip to 12:56 on the video to see this).

    I found a few other comparison videos like this one, which show similar results. As the video says, “Even with games like “Wild Blood” (shown in the video at 5:01) which are optimized for the iPhone 5s screen size, looking closely doesn’t really reveal anything significant in terms of improved detail, highlighting, aliasing or smoother frame-rates.” He goes to say, “the real gains seem to be in the system RAM which does contribute to improved day to day performance of the OS and apps.”

    So the bottom line is: Although benchmarks predict the iPhone 5 should be twice as fast as the iPhone 4S, in the real-world tests, the difference between the two is not that large and partially due to the fact that the iPhone 5 has twice as much memory. In some cases, the iPhone 4S is actually faster, because it has less pixels to display on the screen. The same is true for tests of the iPad 4 which reviewers say “performs at least twice as fast as the iPad 3.” However when it comes to actual game play, the same reviewer says, “I couldn’t detect any difference at all. Slices, parries and stabs against the monstrous rivals in Infinity Blade II were fast and responsive on both iPads. Blasting pirates in Galaxy on Fire HD 2 was a pixel-perfect exercise on the two tablets, even at maximum resolution. And zombie brains from The Walking Dead spattered just as well on the iPad 3 as the iPad 4.”

    – Rick

    Copyright 2012-2014 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. This article includes the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of his employer. Linking to this article is encouraged.

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    What Will Be The Best Smartphone of 2012? (Q3 Update)


    Since this article was first written, an updated version has been posted here. Check it out. A lot has changed.

    These were some of the top five smartphones back in July. Only one makes the cut this time.


    A lot has changed since I last looked at the best smartphones back in July. Back then the top five smartphones were the HTC Evo 4G, HTC One X, LG Nitro HD, Motorola Atrix HD and the Samsung Galaxy S III. Only one of these phones makes the cut this time. What changed? A number of new phones were announced at the IFA show in Berlin and Apple announced the iPhone 5. Is there a clear winner this time? Read on to find out.

    The Runners-up

    To create the list of the five candidates for the smartphone of the year, I went through all of the best smartphones on all platforms. There are some good phones which didn’t make the cut because they had several flaws. You can see all of the runners-up below.

    Click on the chart below to make it readable

    Blue text indicates the winner in each area. Red text indicates areas of weakness

    I want to stress that all of the above phones are good phones. Some like the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX HD, Nokia Lumia 920, Sony Xperia T, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Galaxy Note are great phones, but they are not the best phones of 2012.

    The Six Finalists

    The six phones which appear below have significant advantages over the phones in the above chart. Not all of these phones are available for purchase at this time, but all have been officially announced and will ship before the end of the year. The five finalists are Apple’s iPhone 5, LG’s Intuition, Samsung’s Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S III and the Sony Xperia T.

    Here are the top six phones announced so far this year

    You can see all of the key specs for the top five finalists below. Items which appear as blue-faced text show the winner in each area. Items which appear in red-faced text indicate an area of weakness compared to the other phones in this chart.

    Blue text indicates the winner in each area. Red text indicates areas of weakness

    I wanted to include the Sony Xperia T in the above chart, but so far they haven’t announced LTE support for it, although there is a rumor that AT&T could have be getting an Xperia T with LTE support at some point. If that’s confirmed, it would replace the Sony Xperia V in the above chart.

    Before we try to pick a winner, let’s go through each component of the phone, starting with the processor.

    The Processor

    The processor is the engine behind your mobile device and determines its speed. Today, most of the best smartphones have dual-core processors which are 1.5GHz. The Samsung Galaxy Note II wins this spec because it has a quad-core processor which runs at 1.6 GHz. The LG Optimus G also has a quad-core processor, but it runs at 1.5GHz. Having four different cores allows your phone to do more things at once without slowing down. Quad-core processors are also more efficient and have better battery life than some dual-core CPUs. Although the iPhone 5 has a processor clock speed that is 50% slower than the others finalists here, it outperforms the Galaxy S III on some benchmarks. Of course the Galaxy S III outperforms the iPhone 5 on some benchmarks as well. You shouldn’t read too much into mobile benchmarks however, because they rarely translate into real-world performance.

    Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note II

    The Samsung Galaxy Note II has a 1.6GHz quad-core processor

    Memory and Storage

    The Samsung Galaxy phones and LG Optimus G easily win when it comes to RAM. All three have an unheard of 2GB of RAM. Having more RAM can speed things up when multiple apps are running at the same time. This is more important for Android phones because they support true multitasking. Apple lets you switch between apps, but does so by suspending all except the app in the foreground.

    Both LG phones lead in the storage area because it comes standard with 32GB of memory. Both the Samsung phones and the iPhone 5 are available in 16, 32 or 64GB sizes. The Sony Xperia only has 8GB, but can easily and cheaply be expanded to 32GB or more because it has a microSD card slot. Both of the Samsung finalists also have a microSD card slots. The iPhone 5 and LG phones cannot have their memory expanded because they do not have a memory card slot. This is a significant limitation.

    If forced to pick a winner in this category, the Samsung phones would win because they have twice the RAM, a wide range of storage options and they can easily have their memory expanded.

    Winners: Samsung Galaxy Note II & Galaxy S III

    There are now higher resolution displays available on Android phones than the iPhone 5

    The Screen

    When it comes to screen size, the 5.5 inch Samsung Galaxy Note II is second to none. This phone is so big, it’s only 1.5 inches smaller than some tablets, and almost 30% larger than the screen on the iPhone 5. Although some people feel its screen is too large to easily hold in one hand, the 5.0 inch Samsung Galaxy Note is still very popular and over 20 million of these phones are expected to be sold.

    When it comes to screen resolution, the iPhone 5 does better (326 PPI), but doesn’t come close to the 4.3” Sony Xperia V which has 342 pixels per inch. The 5.0” screen on the LG Intuition is impressive, but only has a resolution of 256 PPI. Higher resolution Android phones are just around the corner; A future phone by HTC is rumored to have a 1080p display with a mind-boggling pixel density of 418 PPI. This phone will be added here, as soon as it’s officially announced.

    Range of color is another measure of screen quality. According to a study from IHS, the display found on the Samsung Galaxy S III is superior to the display found on the iPhone 5. IHS used display thickness, where the SIII beat out the iPhone 5 by 0.4mm and color gamut. Color gamut is the range of color a display can reproduce. IHS says the iPhone 5′s display only reaches 72% of the NTSC color gamut, while the SIII sits at 100%.

    Winner:
    Size: Samsung Galaxy Note II
    Resolution: Sony Xperia V
    Color range: Samsung Galaxy S III

    The new Sony Xperia V is one of several phones with a 13MP camera

    The Camera

    When it comes to megapixels the current leader is the HTC Titan which has 16MP, however that phone has some limitations which make it no longer competitive. The Sony Xperia V and LG Optimus G both have 13-megapixel cameras which look very promising. The Xperia V also has a decent camera with a pulsed LED flash and 16x digital zoom. Runners-up in the best still camera area include the Nokia Lumia 920, iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III — although all three only have 8MP cameras. The camera in the iPhone 5 is better than the one in the iPhone 4, but has several serious issues: Photos taken in low-light are much noisier than images taken with the Galaxy S III in low-light mode. The iPhone 5′s camera also tends to over-sharpen some photos, which adds distortion.

    When it comes to the video camera, the Nokia Lumia 920 kills the iPhone 5 and other phones in image stabilization, color saturation and detail. See for yourself.

    Still Camera Winner: Sony Xperia V
    Video Camera Winner: Nokia Lumia 920 V

    You can beam almost anything from phone to phone using NFC

    Connectivity

    The iPhone 5 and both Samsung Galaxy phones have LTE, 2.5GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The other phones are lacking 5.0GHz Wi-Fi support. The 5GHz band is not near as susceptible to interference from cordless telephones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, Bluetooth devices and wireless keyboards. Its also much less crowded band and should be used whenever possible.

    What pushes Samsung and the LG Optimus G over the top in this area is its support for Near Field Communications or NFC. NFC allows two devices to communicate when they’re moved close together. This allows you to buy things at over 300,000 MasterCard PayPass-enabled terminals as well as beam, music, photos, web pages, contacts, maps, YouTube videos and more, from one phone to another. NFC is a very important feature which will one-day change the way we shop and transfer data from phone to phone.

    Winners: Samsung Galaxy Note II & Galaxy S III
    Runner-up: LG Optimus G (missing 5GHz Wi-Fi support)
    Note: one reason the iPhone 5 was not a winner in this category is due to the many reports of different Wi-Fi and other connectivity issues.

    The new iPhone 5 is incredibly thin and light

    The Case

    When it comes to the case, the iPhone 5 does well. It’s thinner and lighter than all of the other finalists here and constructed entirely out of aluminum and glass.

    Winner: iPhone 5

    The Battery

    When it comes to the battery, the Samsung Galaxy Note II easily wins. It’s battery has over twice as much power as the battery in the iPhone 5 and is sure to have much longer talk times and standby times.

    Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note II

    And the Winner is…

    Back in July, the Samsung Galaxy S III was the clear winner based on specs, but this time around it’s not so easy to pick a winner. Best is a subjective term. What I’m really talking about here is the smartphone with the best overall hardware specs. Based on that definition, neither the iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S III can be considered “phone of the year.” Both are great phones, and both are extremely popular, but there is only one spot at the top of the podium. So who is the gold medal winner? Right now I would probably go with Samsung Galaxy Note II, because it wins on more specs than any of the other phones covered here. But phones this large aren’t for everyone. The Galaxy Note II also isn’t yet available, but should arrive at all five major US carriers mid November. The runner-up is currently the LG Optimus G because of its quad-core, CPU, 2GB RAM, 32GB standard memory and 13MP camera. The new Sony Xperia phones are second to none when it comes to screen resolution and the rear camera. Although the iPhone 5’s CPU doesn’t look that good on paper, it does extremely well in some benchmarks and is the lightest and thinnest of all of the phones here. The Galaxy S III is still a great phone which is an overall great performer.

    Three to Watch

    Before you rush out to buy one of the above phones you should know there is a good chance, the best three smartphones of 2012 don’t even appear in this chart, because they haven’t been announced yet. It’s likely the 2012 phone of the year will have a 2nd-gen quad-core CPU and a display which no phone can match today — a true 1920x1080p display with a resolution in pixels per inch that is much higher than any phones here have. Only time will tell if the rumors about the LG Optimus G, HTC Droid Incredible X and Oppo Find 5 are true. If so, it’s likely that the best smartphone of 2012, will be one of these three. One thing is sure, mobile phone technology is changing quickly and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

    – Rick

    Copyright 2012 Rick E. Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    Will the iPhone 5 Put Apple Back on Top?

    Last update: September 6, 2013

    The iPhone 5 is a longer, thinner 4G iPhone 4S with twice the memory


    Until recently the iPhone dominated worldwide smartphone sales, but now Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III are outselling both the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 combined. Does the iPhone 5 have what it takes to hold back the Android onslaught and return the iPhone to its place of former glory?

    Let’s start by going over the major changes in the iPhone 5 and compare each of them to the best Android phones. We’ll look at the areas each platform is leading in. It’s important that Apple leads in many areas, because new Android phones are released every month, but the next iPhone won’t be released for another 8-10 months.

    Although I wrote this article four days before Apple’s official launch, all of my predictions about the iPhone 5 except one turned out to be true. Read on to find out what I got right, and what I got wrong.

    The HTC One X was one of the first smartphones avaiable with a quad-core CPU

    CPU

    The iPhone 5 was rumored to have a quad-core processor. That would have been impressive, but it didn’t pan out. The new iPhone only has a dual-core CPU with a clock speed which is 50% slower than the best Android smartphones. Although it does well in some benchmarks, in side-by-side tests, it’s not much faster than an iPhone 4S. To make matters worse for Apple, quad-core smartphones from HTC and others became available back in February. This means Apple is more than seven months behind in processor technology. We won’t know exactly how far behind they are until an iPhone with a quad-core CPU ships. That probably won’t happen for a least another year.

    Advantage: Android
    Lead: Android is 17-19 months ahead, if Apple stays on their current release schedule.

    Memory & Storage

    The iPhone 5 has 1GB of RAM and is available with 16, 32 or 64GB of storage. Android phones like the Galaxy S II have been available with 1GB of RAM for 18 months. Newer Android phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S III, have 2GB of RAM which is twice as much memory as the new iPhone has. You can never have too much memory because it speeds up the phone and improves multitasking performance.

    Android phone owners can increase their storage to 64GB for less than $20


    Although Android phones are available with the same amount of storage as the iPhone 5, many Android phones also include a microSD slot which let users convert a 32GB phone to a 64GB phone for less than $20. A 64GB Android phone can be expanded to 128GB — although it’s not cheap to do so. That’s twice as much storage as the iPhone 5 has.

    Advantage: Android
    Lead: Android phones had 1GB of memory at least 18 months before the iPhone 5 was announced.

    Network

    Perhaps the biggest change in the new iPhone is 4G LTE support. LTE phones are capable of much higher data speeds than 3G phones. Unfortunately, Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy Indulge had 4G way back in February of 2011. Nineteen long months later, Apple finally got around to adding 4G support to the iPhone 5. Apple has also confirmed the iPhone 5 can’t do simultaneous voice and LTE data on Verizon’s CDMA network like Android phones can do. This is a big limitation.

    Advantage: Neither – Both platforms now support LTE
    Lead: Android is 19 months ahead in this area

    Wi-Fi Connectivity

    Mobile devices with dual-band Wi-Fi support can communicate over either 2.4GHz or 5GHz Wi-Fi. This is important because the 5GHz band is capable of faster speeds and is not as susceptible to interference from cordless telephones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, Bluetooth devices and wireless keyboards as the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi band. Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S II have had dual-band Wi-Fi support for 19 months. The iPhone 5 is the first Apple smartphone to get 5GHz Wi-Fi support.

    Advantage: Neither – Both platforms now support Dual-band Wi-Fi
    Lead: Android is 19 months ahead in this area

    The Droid RAZR MAXX has over twice the power of the new iPhone’s battery

    Battery

    Battery life is the single biggest complaint about the iPhone 4S. In fact, a recent survey showed that 93% of those interested in the iPhone 5 want longer battery life. The addition of 4G in the iPhone 5 will consume larger amounts of power than before, so it’s important the new iPhone has a more powerful battery. Does it? Although Apple hasn’t given specifics, there are reports the iPhone 5 has a battery which is only slightly more powerful than the battery in the iPhone 4S. If this is true, battery life will continue to be a problem. The Droid RAZR MAXX has the most powerful battery in a smartphone today. At 3300mAh, this phone has a talk time of 21.5 hours, while the iPhone 5 only has a talk time of 8 hours. The iPhone 5 has a battery with less than half as much power and can’t come close to the talk time of the eight month old RAZR MAXX. The Samsung Galaxy S III also easily beats the new iPhone 5 in both talk time and standby time — even though it is only 1mm thicker.

    Many Android phones have easily removable batteries which can be cheaply upgraded. This isn’t possible with the new iPhone because the battery is not removable.

    Advantage: Android
    Lead: Android batteries with twice the power of the new iPhone have been available for eight months.

    Camera

    The iPhone 5 has a camera with an 8-megapixel sensor and specs which are almost identical to the iPhone 4S, but it’s thinner and has a few enhancements. Apple says it has a dynamic low light mode which evaluates nearby pixels to give up to 2 f-stops greater low-light performance. A new image processor in the A6 is also supposed to reduce noise and includes a so-called “smart filter” to do better color-matching. However Apple’s claims appear to be over-stated. Some side-by-side comparisons between the cameras in the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S have show little difference between the two, while others show improvement. The iPhone 5 gets killed by other top cameras when it comes to low-light performance. As you can see in photo below, which was taken by a Samsung Galaxy S III, the image is sharper and less noisy than photo taken by the iPhone 5. The S III’s photo also has more accurate colors — capturing the true purple of the flower, while the iPhone’s photo looks pink and yellow. The 41MP Nokia PureView camera does even better in low-light situations. Another problem the iPhone 5’s camera is its tendency to over-sharpen photos, which adds distortion.

    The Galaxy S III performs better in low-light than the iPhone 5


    How does the camera in the iPhone 5 compare to other smartphones? Nokia’s PureView cameras are miles ahead the camera in the new iPhone. The PureView camera has a 41MP sensor, while the iPhone 5 still uses an 8MP sensor. Other smartphones come with 13-16MP sensors. The Nokia Lumia 920 which includes PureView technology, also includes a sensor which is larger than the one on the iPhone. Generally larger sensors result in better image quality.

    Apple made a big deal about the new panorama mode and ability to take quick photos with the new iPhone 5s camera, but both of those features appeared in the Samsung Galaxy Nexus camera nine months ago and are included with Android 4.0. Other new iPhone 5 features like ‘Shared Photo Streams’ have been available to Galaxy S III users since May of 2012.

    The screen on the new Samsung Galaxy Note II dwarfs the one on the new iPhone 5

    Screen Size

    Some people say Anroid phone have screens that are too big, but a recent survey found that 90 percent of people want their next phone to have a large screen. The new iPhone’s 4.0″ screen is impressive when compared to the iPhone 4S, but it is 16% smaller than the screen on the Samsung Galaxy S III, and 27% smaller than the upcoming Galaxy Note II.

    Advantage: Android
    Lead: >18 months. Android phones with screens larger than the new iPhone have been available for at least 18 months.

    Screen Resolution

    The 1136×640 pixel screen on the new iPhone is impressive, but has 29% less pixels than the Samsung Galaxy Note which was announced back in September of 2011. Although the new Retina display has better color saturation with full sRGB rendering, it has only has a resolution of 326 pixels per inch (PPI); That’s considerably less than the 342 PPI display on the HTC Rezound. That phone came out way back in November of 2011. To make matters worse, better Android phones are just around the corner. In fact there are a total of seven different smartphones with higher resolution (PPI) screens than the iPhone 5. For example, the Sony Xperia V has a PPI of 342; But the best is yet to come, the HTC Droid Incredible X is rumored to have a 1920×1080 display with a mind-boggling pixel density of 480 PPI. The display on the iPhone 5 doesn’t even come close to the display on this phone.

    Advantage: Android
    Lead: 19 months. Android phones with higher pixel densities than the new iPhone 5 have been available for over 19 months.

    Screen Shape

    Since the new iPhone doesn’t have a 1280×720 screen, it can’t play HD video content without scaling it. Often, devices that don’t have a 16:9 ratio display black bars when playing HD video. A device like that the Samsung Galaxy S III which sports this ratio will have smaller black bars (or no black bars).

    There is some controversy over the new iPhone’s strange shape. iPhone user Henry Blodget says “Who cares about having a taller screen? I certainly don’t want to have to turn the phone to landscape view every time I want to look at something. But the screen thing is really annoying. I’m not a watch-movies-or-play-video-games-on-my-phone guy. I’m a do-email-and-tweet-and-read-the-Internet-on-my-phone guy. So the idea of having to turn the phone to landscape to take advantage of the screen being slightly taller sounds more annoying than anything.”

    But the biggest problem with the strange shape of the iPhone 5 is that none of the current apps will occupy the entire screen of the new iPhone until after they are updated. In the meantime, Apple will place two black strips along the top and bottom in portrait mode, or the left and right in landscape mode, just like a letterboxed film.

    Advantage: Android
    Lead: Android phones with true 1280×720 HD screens like the HTC Rezound have been available for at least 10 months.

    Screen Accuracy

    When it comes to display accuracy, the iPhone 5 is second to none in most areas. The iPhone 5 has excellent brightness, contrast rating, readability in bright light, reflectiveness, color gamut and color shift. The Samsung Galaxy S III gets a B+ rating vs. Apples A, and beats the iPhone 5 in black level and contrast ratio.

    Advantage: iOS
    Lead: The iPhone had had better screen accuracy since the beginning.

    Case Thickness & Overall Weight

    The iPhone 5 is 7.6mm thin and said to be “the world’s thinnest smartphone.” unfortunately like so much Apple hyperbole, it’s not even close to being true. At least five other smartphones are thinner than the iPhone 5. You’d think that Apple would have Google’d this claim before making such a big deal about it.

    Phones which are thinner than the iPhone 5
    1. Oppo Finder is only 6.65 milimeters thick
    2. Huawei Ascend P1 6.8 millimeters
    3. Motorola RAZR XT909 7.1 millimeters
    4. Motorola RAZR XT910 7.1 millimeters
    5. Motorola DROID RAZR 7.1 millimeters

    Advantage: Android

    The fact that the iPhone 5’s screen is much smaller than some Android phones helps it when it comes to weight. The iPhone 5 is lighter than most other popular Android phones! It weighs only 112 grams, while the HTC One S weighs 119 grams and the Samsung Galaxy S III weighs 133 grams.

    Advantage: Apple

    Extras

    The new iPhone comes with a digital wallet called ‘Passport’ which can hold digital boarding passes and coupons, but it doesn’t support NFC which is required to buy things at any of the 300,000+ PayPass cash registers. A digital wallet which can’t buy things? Only from Apple.

    Wireless charging is another feature expected on the iPhone 5. Even if this rumor was correct (it wasn’t) the iPhone 5 would have still been four months behind the Samsung Galaxy S III which first launched back on May and includes support for wireless charging. Other smartphones that include wireless charging support today include the HTC Droid DNA, HTC Windows Phone 8X, LG Nexus 4, LG Spectrum 2, Nokia Lumia 822, Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Lumia 925 and the Samsung Galaxy S 4.

    Advantage: Android
    Lead: NFC support has been available for 21 months on Android devices like the Samsung Nexus S. Wireless charging has been available on the Android platform for at least 4 months. That feature won’t appear for at least another 14 more months on the iPhone.

    I expected the new iPhone to have an edge-to-edge display like new Motorola Droid RAZR M

    What is the New iPhone Missing?

    Nokia’s Lumia phones are available in seven different colors


    No Digital Payments (NFC) – Early on there was talk about the iPhone having NFC support or using Bluetooth 4.0 for near-field communications. Somehow this was cut from the list of supported features. This is a really big deal because NFC support is required to purchase things at one of 300,000+ NFC-enabled PayPass cash registers. The new iPhone comes with ‘Passport’ which is a multi-function “wallet” that can hold digital boarding pass and coupons but it doesn’t allow you to buy things

    No State of the Art Camera (e.g. 13-16MP) – Nokia’s Pureview cameras are miles ahead the iPhone 5’s camera. They include a 41MP sensor while the iPhone 5 still uses an 8MP sensor. Other smartphones come with 13-16MP sensors. Side-by-side comparisons between the cameras in the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S have show very little difference between the two.

    No True HD Screen – Since all high-definition video content is either 720p or 1080p, it’s surprising that Apple didn’t choose one of those resolutions. 720P HD displays became the standard for high-end smartphones starting back in 2011. The new iPhone only has a 640p screen.

    No HDR video capture – Phones like the new HTC One have video cameras that have the same real-time HDR processing that is found in most phones today. This makes it possible to have images with bright light sources and dim backgrounds.

    No 60fps Video Recording – Phones like the new HTC One and Asus Padfone 2 have video cameras are capable of recording 720p video at 60fps. This is essential for smooth motion with action sports. Here’s a good simulation of the differences between various frame rates.

    No Touch-to-Share – Most newer Android phones, like the Galaxy S III, can share media by touching one phone to another with NFC support. This allows you to share photos, videos, contacts and Web pages, as well as information between apps.

    No International LTE Roaming – In the past one of the best things about having an iPhone on a carrier like AT&T was that you could take it to Europe and still enjoy fast data speeds. None of the U.S. carriers is offering LTE roaming outside the United States.

    Very Limited Carrier Interoperability – Apple is doing away with the dual-mode GSM/CDMA support that the iPhone 4S had. Instead, it’s selling three different types of iPhone 5s: one CDMA-based model and two GSM-based models with different LTE bands. Having separate versions will make carrier interoperability difficult.

    No Simultaneous Voice and Data on Some Carriers – The iPhone 5 doesn’t support simultaneous voice and LTE data on carriers like Verizon and Sprint. More info. Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III do support simultaneous voice and LTE data on carriers like Verizon. Apple could have easily supported this, but decided to not add a third antenna — which would have allowed its CDMA iPhones to support simultaneous voice and data.

    No microSD Card Slot – Most Android phones let you easily and cheaply expand your memory by adding a microSD card. Sadly Apple still refuses to add this important feature. The new iPhone also has a proprietary USB connector so you have to buy a special Apple cable instead of a standard and much cheaper microUSB cable. Thanks Apple!

    Limited Color Choices – Black and white are not really color choices. The new Nokia lumia phones are available in seven eye-popping color choices including purple, turquoise and yellow. Samsung’s popular Galaxy S III phones are now available in six great-looking — although more subdued colors. It blows my mind that Apple still offers only two colors.

    No Affordable Unlocked Price Option – The official unsubsidized price for a iPhone 5 is $649. You can buy an unlocked Nexus 4 for less than a third that price, and it has better specs than the iPhone in most areas. Sure you could sell your soul to a carrier and get an iPhone for less, but two years is a long time to use a phone with specs like that.

    No Fingerprint Reader – Fingerprint readers have been available on Android devices starting with the Motorola Atrix 4G, which was released back in February of 2011. Newer Android phones like the HTC One Max have fingerprint readers as well.

    No Wireless Charging – In the future you will no longer have to plug in your phone to charge it. The Samsung Galaxy S III, Nokia Lumia 920, HTC Droid DNA, LG Nexus 4, Nokia Lumia 822, HTC Windows Phone 8X and the LG Spectrum 2 all include wireless charging support today.

    Wireless changing is another feature missing from the new iPhone


    No Edge-to-edge Display – The Motorola Droid RAZR M was one of the first phones with an edge-to-edge screen with almost no bezel. The new Samsung Galaxy Note III has even a smaller side bezel. I expected the iPhone 5 to have an edge to edge screen, but it does not.

    Screen doesn’t work with gloves – If you live in a region where winters are cold and long, you’ll appreciate phones like the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and Huawei Ascend Mate that work well even when you are wearing gloves. This requires special touchscreen technology that Apple doesn’t use in any of its products.

    Limited Stylus Support – Although you can use a stylus on an iPhone 5 you don’t get the same level of expression that you get on Android Phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note II which has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity. A stylus gives you much more expression and exposes some very interesting new features.

    No 16:9 Display – Apple says the iPhone 5 is closer to 16:9 but the movies still need to be letterboxed and all apps will need to be resized or they will also appear letterboxed.

    No OpenGL 3.0 ES support – Android smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note III included support for OpenGL 3.0 ES which makes possible much better looking graphics.

    No Voice-over-LTE Support – Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III support VoLTE today. Once the carriers roll-this out next year voice will be sent over the fast 4G network and voice-quality will dramatically improve. VoLTE has twice the frequency-range of 3G and HD-level audio. More info.

    No Fast-charging Chip – Many of the best Android phones now include a fast-charging technology from Qualcomm that helps them charge up to 40% faster than older phones. Supported phones include the following and many more: HTC Droid DNA, HTC One S, HTC One SV, HTC 8X, Google Nexus 4, LG Optimus G, Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx HD/RAZR HD, Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Lumia 820 and the Samsung Galaxy S III. The Samsung Galaxy Note III supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 feature that charges up to 75% faster than conventional USB charging technology.

    No Front-facing Stereo Speakers – Android phones like the new HTC One have two front-facing speakers. The iPhone 5 only has one mono speaker that points down so it’s sometimes covered by your hand.

    Its AV adapter doesn’t support 1080p – Another big downside to the iPhone 5s use of a proprietary “Lightning” cable is that its Digital AV adapter (which connects to the HDMI jack on your TV) doesn’t support 1080p today. It’s capable of supporting 1080p, but Apple has chosen to hold back support for this feature.

    No Face Unlock – All Android phones running the 4.0 or 4.1 OS use facial recognition to allow user to access to their phone by looking at it. Other cool options like swipe are also available. iPhone users are still swiping their screens with their fingers to unlock their phones.

    No Replaceable Battery – Many Android phones have batteries which are removable and easily replaceable. This is important because all rechargeable batteries have a limited life span and need to be replaced.

    No Dual MIMO Smart Antennas – Smartphones like the Moto X have 2 antennas dedicated to 4G LTE, which should deliver faster data speeds and better reception. Other phones use the same antenna for 2G/3G and 4G. The iPhone 5 only has a 1×1 MIMO antenna.

    Not Water-resistant – Android phones like the Motorola Defy, Defy+, Defy XT, Defy Pro, Sony Xperia Z, Sony Xperia Acro S, Samsung Galaxy Xcover, Samsung Rugby Smart, Sony Ericsson Xperia Active, Casio G’zOne Commando and others are all highly water-resistant. The iPhone is not water resistant. I have several friends that have ruined their iPhones by dropping them in water. Android phones like the Cat B15 go further by surviving 6 foot drops, submersion over 3 feet in water, and the ability to run in temperatures as low as -4F to as high as 122F. The enclosure on the new Sony Experia Z1 has an IP code rating of 58, which is even better.

    No USB 3.0 support – Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note III include USB 3.0 support. This allows you to transfer files between your phone and PC up to 10 times faster than a traditional USB port.

    No high-resoution audio support – High-resolution audio is going to be pushed heavily at the 2014 CES show. CEA research suggests nearly 40% of consumers are willing to pay more for high quality audio electronics devices. That’s why it’s important Android phones like the LG G2 and Samsung Galaxy Note III support 24bit/192kHz music.

    Doesn’t use the most scratch-resistant screen – The Samsung Galaxy S4 is the first smartphone with a Gorilla Glass 3 screen. This screen is much more durable than the Corning screen used on the iPhone 5 and almost impossible to scratch. Watch this video to see just how durable it is.

    No Infrared Transmitter – Phones like new HTC One and LG Optimus VU II have built-in IR-transmitters so you can use your tablet to control devices in your home like your TV without using Wi-Fi and special apps. This is a very useful feature.

    No LTE Advanced Support – Phones like new Samsung Galaxy Note III have Category 4 LTE support which will allow your device to download data at much faster speeds in the future.

    Why Consumer Reports recently said the iPhone 5 is the worst of the top smartphones

    Even if the iPhone wasn’t missing all of the above features which are found in other phones, it still wouldn’t be a contender, because it just can’t compete with phones like the Droid DNA, or even the Samsung Galaxy S III, which is much older. I’m not the only one who feels this way. Consumer Reports recently said the iPhone 5 is the worst of the top smartphones. They ranked it below the LG Optimus G and Samsung Galaxy Note II, as well as older phones like the Droid RAZR MAXX, Droid RAZR HD, Samsung Galaxy S III and HTC One S. You can read more about this when their February issue hits the newstands and Internet.

    Will People Still Buy It?

    Of course they will buy it! Most iPhone fans upgrade every time Apple releases a new iPhone. If Apple fans were to compare the new iPhone to other smartphones, they would see that it’s not competitive in all areas except weight, but Apple fans don’t question Apple. The iPhone 5 is sure to be the best selling smartphone in history. Analysts are projecting sales of 10 million in the first month. Over time it is sure to outsell the iPhone 4S, which was very similar to the iPhone 4, yet it sold an amazing 50 million units.

    Post Launch Update:
    – Apple missed some analysts sales estimates for the opening weekend.
    – Samsung’s Galaxy S III had four of its five best-selling weeks in the U.S. after the iPhone 5 was unveiled. That’s very surprising, given the fact that the GS3 has been on the market since July.
    – Samsung shipped 57M smartphones in Q3 after the iPhone 5 was released. That’s twice as many phones as many as Apple shipped.
    – Apple is continuing to see sales decline in both Europe and Asia-Pacific.
    – In Q3, Android manufacturers shipped over 5 times more smartphones than Apple did.

    In just three years, Android has crushed the smartphone competition

    How Google Reversed Apple’s World Domination

    In the first four years after the iPhone was released, Apple not only outsold individual smartphone from companies like Samsung and Motorola, it sold more phones than entire platforms did. Unfortunately for Apple, those days are gone.

    1. First Android started outselling the iPhone worldwide. Then, back in May of 2010 IDC reported Android began outselling Apple in the U.S.
    2. Next, Samsung over took Apple on worldwide sales of smartphones.
    3. Then, individual Android phones started outselling the iPhone worldwide.
    4. And now, for the first time ever the Samsung Galaxy S III is outselling the iPhone 4S in the United States. Four easy steps to Samsung’s worldwide mobile domination. More about Samsung’s rise to number one.

    In the past quarter, the Samsung Galaxy S III outsold the iPhone in the U.S. and abroad


    Now Google is widening it’s lead. In the second quarter of 2012, IDC reported that 68% of all smartphones shipped were Android. That’s four times the 17% market share currently held by Apple. When the iPhone 5 was launched, there were over half a billion devices running Android in the world. Most of those are smartphones. That’s over 100 million more devices than Apple has running iOS today. More than 1.3 million new Android devices are activated every day now, but next year over 1 billion Android smartphones are forecasted to ship. To make make matters worse, consumers are now more excited about the iPad than the iPhone, so Apple’s marketing people have their work cut out for them — especially now that Samsung is now generating more buzz than Apple with both “early tech adopters” and the broader group of consumers aged 18 to 34.

    Update (11/15) – Even after the launch of the iPhone 5, Android now has 72% of the market, while Apple only has 16%.

    Android is Raising the Bar High

    Consumers used to be able to buy the newest iPhone and know they were getting the best phone on the planet. Those days are over. Apple is playing catch-up with Android when it comes to both specs and features. If the iPhone 5 were announced as an Android phone, it would probably be classified as a upper mid-range device. Apple is now two years behind Android in some areas and this gap is likely to increase because new Android phones are coming out every month. Apple fans have to wait an entire year to get higher performing hardware. This is a big problem that Apple is going to have to change if they are going to remain competitive. It’s not just hardware that is a problem. As others have pointed out, Apple hasn’t touched a single significant element of their UI since they added multitasking back in iOS4. The look and design of the iPhone hasn’t fundamentally changed since the first iPhone five years ago.

    Is it Fair to Compare a Single Phone to an Entire Platform?

    Some of you are probably thinking: Hey wait! You can’t compare the iPhone 5 with an entire platform of phones. That’s fair, but here I compare the iPhone 5 directly with other top Android and Windows phones and it’s very clear the iPhone 5 is still behind the competition in most areas. My point is that Apple doesn’t build any of their own phones (or computers for that matter) they use Foxconn, who has access to every technology listed on this page. Apple choose to ignore great technologies like NFC. Apple has a long history of holding back technologies, because it forces their users to buy their next product. It’s amazing to me that Apple fans never catch on to this game. That’s one reason Apple has over $120 billion dollars in cash.

    Will the Apple Empire Strike Back?

    The new iPhone will help Apple to stage a comeback


    Yes! The new iPhone will initially outsell every other smartphone in the U.S. and abroad. One analyst says over 10 million new iPhones will be sold in the first week. Another analyst expects Apple to sell 50 million new iPhones in the U.S. alone. Will this explosion of sales be enough to turn the Android tide? Experts say Android will continue to widen it’s lead in the second half of 2012 – even after the new iPhone ships. A year from now, it’s highly likely that another Samsung phone will overtake the new iPhone again in sales. Experts say even Windows Phone is on pace to pass up Apple’s iOS in 2015. But you never know what Apple has up their sleeve. That’s what makes it so much fun to watch this battle of two great tech titans.

    – Rick

    Copyright 2013 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.


    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1
     

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