Who Makes the Best 10” Tablet on Earth?

Last update: February 3, 2013

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Tablet Shopping Guide – No Opinions, Just the Facts

There have been lots of new tablets released since my last article, so I’ve decided to do an update. I started by evaluating all of the popular tablets, and then narrowed the list down to only eight finalists. Although there are some truly amazing 7” to 8.9” tablets out there, this article is only evaluating tablets that are 9.7” and larger. You can learn more about the new iPad mini and other smaller tablets here.

This time I’m trying a new approach. Instead of giving my opinion, I’m going to provide the facts, and let you decide for yourself. If you think I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments section. This is a “living” article that will be updated as I come across new information. Make sure to check back to see what has changed.

Apple just recently released the iPad 4 with a Lightning connector

Let’s start with the king of the tablets: The iPad. Apple has sold more tablets than any other manufacturer – by a long shoot. Just last week, Apple refreshed the “new iPad” by adding a Lightning connector, bumping up the speed on the processor and upgraded the front-facing camera. Let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses of the newest iPad:

Apple iPad 4


  • Very good build-quality – All metal and glass construction
  • Fast performance – Beats the Nexus 10 on most benchmarks
  • Twice as fast as the iPad 3 in some benchmarks
  • More tablet-optimized apps than any other platform (275,000)
  • Very powerful battery (11,560 mAh) – Up to 10 hours battery life
  • Gets iOS updates on the first day they are available
  • Retina display (2nd highest resolution here 2048×1536)
  • One of the brightest displays
  • Boots in only 16 seconds
  • Excellent color accuracy
  • iOS apps are less likely to contain malware than Android apps
  • Dual-band 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • Optional 3G/4G support
  • Great selection of third-party accessories
  • 12W AC adapter for slightly faster charging
  • Lightning connector is reversible so it can’t be inserted wrong
  • Has AirPlay support for wireless media beaming
  • Touchscreen can register 11 points at a time
  • Powerful headphone amp
  • 1080p video with digital image-stabilization
  • Very good HTML5 performance
  • Best for portrait use
  • Smart cover automatically powers on the tablet when opened
  • Physical home button
  • Weaknesses

  • Heavier than all of the other tablets here except one (652g)
  • Thicker than all of the other tablets here except one (9.4mm)
  • Identical to the iPad 3 in most ways except processor, front cam and connector (case, display, etc.)
  • No memory expansion slot
  • Wi-Fi-only model doesn’t have an internal GPS
  • Use a proprietary connector so you can’t connect USB or HDMI cables directly
  • Lightning connector has no backward compatibility, so older accessories won’t work unless you buy an adapter
  • Much more difficult to repair than other tablets. Gets 2 out of 10 rating, which is horrible
  • Retina display has a big impact on battery life. One reviewer reports only 5.5 hrs video playback at full brightness
  • Gets badly beaten by the Nexus 10 on benchmarks like Geekbench (2480 vs. 1768)
  • Loads web pages slower than an iPad mini
  • 3G/4G support costs $130 more (plus data charges and other monthly fees)
  • Single mono speaker (no front-facing stereo speakers)
  • Has half the memory of other tablets (1GB vs. 2GB)
  • Some visible light leakage the LCD display
  • No quad-core CPU like other tablets have
  • Doesn’t have NFC support
  • Gets very warm on the left-hand side after you’ve been using it for a while
  • Very reflective display
  • The iSight camera is only 5MP. Other tablets have 8MP and 13MP cameras
  • The iPad 4’s iSight camera lacks panorama, Photo Sphere and camera features found in other Android tablets
  • No infrared transmitter
  • Parental controls only work with iOS and even then have serious limitations
  • No camera flash – Low light photos are very noisy
  • The front camera records noisy 720p videos at a only 24fps in low light
  • No mouse support
  • Only has a 1.2MP front camera
  • Screen has a 4:3 aspect ratio, so 16:9 movies cannot be displayed full screen a must be letter-boxed
  • Has a 4-core GPU while other tablets have 8 or 12-cores
  • Worse battery life than all previous iPads
  • Screen is smaller than other tablets
  • No back button or menu button
  • Acer makes several affordable 10.1″ quad-core tablets

    Acer has three different 10.1” quad-core powered Android tablets with very similar specs: The Acer Iconia Tab A700 (which came out back in June) and the newer A700-10s32u and A700-10k32u tablets. The A700-10k32u tablets seems like a good value at only $399.99

    Acer Iconia A Series


  • Full HD 1920×1200 display (224 ppi)
  • Quad-core processor
  • A good value – starting at $399 with 32GB
  • Good build-quality
  • 32GB storage (twice other tablets)
  • Includes a GPS
  • Stereo speakers
  • Has a microSD slot for memory expansion
  • Runs Android 4.1
  • HDMI connector for TV-out
  • Weaknesses

  • 1GB of memory (Some others have 2GB)
  • Camera lacks an LED flash
  • No 3G/4G cellular option
  • Acer doesn’t specify a resolution for the front cam (normally that means it’s 0.3MP)
  • No NFC support
  • No 5GHz dual-band Wi-Fi support
  • Not as thin or light as some other tablets
  • No internal microphone
  • The ASUS PadFone 2 and dock are extremely innovative

    The ASUS PadFone2 is one of the most innovative mobile devices available today. Its Android-powered smartphone has amazing specs and a 13MP camera. The phones slides into a dock to become a tablet.

    Asus PadFone 2 with Dock


  • Fast quad-core processor (1.5GHz)
  • Detachable phone works on its own, or docks in tablet
  • 13-megapixel Sony BSI sensor plus f/2.4 five-element optics
  • Almost zero shutter lag, can also shoot up to 100 continuous shots at 6 fps
  • 1080p at up to 30 fps
  • 720p at up to 60 fps
  • Twice as much memory as most other tablets (2GB)
  • 3G/4G support
  • NFC support
  • 9.5 hour battery life
  • Capable of beaming to media AirPlay or DLNA devices when free 3rd-party apps are installed
  • Dual-band 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • Phone and dock weight less than the iPad 3 or iPad 4 (649g)
  • 50GB of free ASUS web storage
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Weaknesses

  • No Android 4.1 support yet
  • No MicroSD slot
  • Not the highest resolution display (1280×800)
  • Single mono speaker
  • No physical home button
  • No infrared transmitter
  • No U.S. carriers are offering this phone yet
  • Limited stylus support (no pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, special features)
  • The Asus Transformer has one of the best keyboard docks available

    The original ASUS Transformer Prime was the world’s first quad-core tablet. This Android-powered tablet been upgraded to a 1920p HD display and has an excellent optional keyboard dock. Some reviewers believe this is the best tablet available today.

    Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700


  • Fastest quad-core processor available today (1.6GHz)
  • Thinner than any of the other tablets here (8.5mm)
  • Twice the storage of most other tablets for $499 (32GB vs. 16GB)
  • True 1920p HD display (224ppi)
  • Fast graphics (12-core GPU)
  • Beats the Nexus 10 on most benchmarks
  • Android 4.1.1 update available (ships with 4.0.4)
  • Excellent keyboard dock with full-sized USB connector which offers 13-14 hours of battery life
  • 8MP camera with f2.2 aperture
  • Can operate as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Very good build-quality
  • Full size SD card slot
  • Light skin that doesn’t get in the way as much as TouchWiz
  • Bright display
  • Better black levels than the iPad 4 or Nexus 10
  • Higher contrast ratio than the iPad 4 or Nexus 10
  • Capable of beaming to media AirPlay or DLNA devices when free 3rd-party apps are installed
  • LED flash for camera
  • You can connect a standard mouse or external HD drive directly to the keyboard
  • microHDMI connector
  • Two microphones for stereo sound recording
  • Good selection of pre-loaded apps
  • 1080p video capture
  • Gorilla glass 2 screen
  • Nexus devices do not come with locked or encrypted bootloaders. That means you are free to install customs ROMs and tailor your device however you like
  • Has an ASUS customized settings app
  • When docked, the battery life on the Transformer Prime is second to none


  • Price starts at $599 but includes 32GB
  • Half the memory of other tablets (1GB vs. 2GB)
  • Images taken with camera are not the best
  • No NFC support
  • Slower Wi-Fi download speeds than the Nexus 10 and some other tablets
  • Not great low-light performance on camera
  • Single rear-facing speaker
  • Keyboard dock is $150 when purchased separately, but includes powerful battery
  • No dual-band 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • No optional 3G/4G support
  • Other tablets have better I/O performance
  • No infrared transmitter
  • No physical home button
  • Limited stylus support (no pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, special features)
  • Barnes’s and Noble’s Nook HD+ is the first 9.0″ tablet

    Barnes’s and Noble’s Nook HD+ is the the world’s first 9.0″ tablet. It’s very light and costs less than any other tablet here (pricing starts at $269). This is a pure e-reader without extras like cameras, GPS and cellular capabilities.

    Barnes and Noble’s Nook HD+


  • The most affordable tablet here ($269 and up)
  • High-resolution HD display (1920×1280)
  • The lightest tablet here (only 515g)
  • Includes stereo speakers
  • High pixel densitiy screen (256ppi)
  • Expandable memory via Micro SD slot
  • Parental controls for a kid-safe experience
  • HDMI out via cable
  • A micro USB port rather than a proprietary connector
  • Weaknesses

  • Not yet shipping (pre-order available 11/8)
  • The thickest tablet here (11.4mm)
  • No front or rear cameras
  • Least powerful battery here (4000 mAh)
  • No 3G/4G data option
  • No NFC support
  • No Dual-band 5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • No GPS support
  • Lacks an ambient light sensor for automatic screen brightness adjustment
  • The Fujitsu Stylistic M532 is a durable business-ready tablet

    The Fujitsu Stylistic M532 is a business-ready Android tablet. It has a fast quad-core processor and is thin, light and durable.

    Fujitsu Stylistic M532


  • Fast quad-core processor
  • The 2nd thinnest tablet tablet here (8.6mm)
  • Above-average durability
  • Designed for Business – Includes Absolute Computrace security
  • Has 32GB storage
  • Highest megapixel front camera available today in a tablet (2MP)
  • Has stereo speakers
  • 8MP rear camera
  • Has 2.4GHz/5.0GHz dual-band Wi-Fi
  • micro USB port
  • GPS support
  • Stock Android – No bloatware
  • microSD card slot
  • Weaknesses

  • Display is good, but it’s 1280×800. The best tablets are 1920×1080 or higher
  • Only 149 pixels per inch on display (the best have 200-300ppi)
  • Inaccurate touch screen
  • No 3G/4G cellular data option
  • Expensive $549
  • 30-pin proprietary connector
  • Runs Android 4.0.3
  • Only 1GB RAM (some others have 2GB)
  • No NFC support
  • No HDMI port (docking cradle ($69 direct) which allows HDMI out and USB inputs)
  • 5 hour battery life – Lowest power battery here (3170 mAh)
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • The Huawei MediaPad 10 is a 10 inch Android tablet with a quad-core CPU

    The Huawei MediaPad 10 is a 10 inch Android tablet with a quad-core CPU and optional LTE support. Currently it’s only available in Europe.

    Huawei MediaPad 10


  • Quad-core CPU
  • 1,920 x 1,200 IPS display
  • Optional LTE support
  • Very thin (8.8mm)
  • Attractive design
  • 2GB memory
  • Good benchmark scores
  • Relatively light (580g)
  • Stereo speakers
  • Dolby 5.1 audio support
  • Strong audio output
  • microSD slot
  • Powerful amp for speakers
  • 8-megapixel rear camera
  • Gorilla Glass screen
  • HDMI connector for TV-out
  • 1080p video
  • Weaknesses

  • Pricing starts at 424 euros ($540 for 8GB Wi-Fi only)
  • Currently not available in the U.S.
  • Not great battery life (7+ hours)
  • Lacks microSD slot for storage expansion
  • Proprietary USB connector (no standard microUSB)
  • Heavy OS skin
  • No app drawer
  • No NFC support
  • Occasional delay when switching between open apps or launching apps
  • Sharp edges
  • Some issues with cameras
  • Rear-facing speakers
  • Highly-reflective screen
  • The Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 has a built-in FM radio

    The IdeaTab S2110 is a 10/1″ Android-powered tablet from Lenovo with 3G connectivity and a built-in FM radio.

    Lenovo IdeaTab S2110


  • Very nice keyboard dock
  • Only tablet with a built-in FM radio
  • A good value. Pricing starts at $429
  • Bright display with 178° wide viewing angle
  • Very thin (8.69mm)
  • Fast dual-core processor (1.5GHz)
  • Dual speakers and SRS TruMedia audio enhancement
  • Optional 3G connectivity
  • 10 hours battery life
  • Optional dock increases battery life to 16+ hours
  • Sturdy construction
  • Capable of beaming to media AirPlay or DLNA devices when free 3rd-party apps are installed
  • Micro-HDMI output
  • A micro USB port rather than a proprietary connector
  • 5.0MP rear camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • 1080p video recording
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Weaknesses

  • Lacks microSD slot for storage expansion
  • No optional 4G cellular
  • No NFC support
  • GPS is only available on 3G-enabled model
  • No 5GHz dual-band Wi-fi support
  • Matte finish attracts fingerprints
  • No infrared transmitter
  • No physical home button
  • Limited stylus support (no pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, special features)
  • The Microsoft Surface RT is the only tablet which runs Office today

    The Microsoft Surface RT is the most affordable Windows 8 tablet available today ($499). It runs Microsoft’s new Windows 8 Operating system and comes preloaded with a full-version of Microsoft Office.

    Microsoft Surface RT


  • Preloaded with Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013
  • Most affordable Windows 8 tablet ($499)
  • Best laptop replacement
  • Quad-core processor (1.3GHz)
  • Twice as much memory as iPad 4 and most other tablets (2GB)
  • Twice the storage as most other tablets (32GB vs. 16GB)
  • Split-screen multi-tasking feature
  • Multi-user support
  • Full-sized USB jack (instead of a proprietary connector)
  • More than twice as good as the iPad 3 in a JavaScript benchmark
  • Large screen 10.6”
  • Dual speakers
  • microSD memory slot
  • Has a sturdy built-in stand
  • 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • Better keyboard support than some other tablets
  • The membrane keyboard doubles as a cover
  • Good HTML5 performance
  • 16:9 screen
  • microHDMI jack
  • Gets OS updates on the first day they are available
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Weaknesses

  • Limited number of great third-party Windows 8 apps
  • Preloaded OS and apps consume 12 GB of space
  • Heaviest tablet here (676g)
  • Windows 8 requires some learning curve
  • Some reviewers say battery life is only 7-8 hours
  • No GPS support
  • Can’t run legacy Windows apps
  • Slower web page loading than other tablets
  • Outlook is not included with Office, so you have to use Mail and Calendar to sync up with Exchange
  • No NFC support
  • Only 1MP front and rear cameras with no auto-focus
  • No Dropbox (or other third-party Cloud-based storage apps) are available today
  • No optional 3G/4G support
  • Screen resolution is good, but not great (1,366×768)
  • Lower pixel density than other tablets here (148ppi)
  • Touchscreen can only register five points at a time
  • Magnetic cord is sometimes hard to attach
  • No camera flash
  • No infrared transmitter
  • Only 720p video support
  • Limited stylus support (no pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, special features)
  • Looking for a good collection of Microsoft Surface RT hardware reviews?.

    The Nexus 10 tablet is the first 10″ tablet which runs Android 4.2

    The Google Nexus 10 is an Android tablet which has a Samsung Exynos 5250 processor clocked at 1.7 GHz. It’s a dual-core Cortex-A15 chip that performs well in benchmark tests. Central to the speed of the Exynos 5 Dual is the ARM Mali-T604 graphics processor, which more than doubles the 3D performance of the already fast Samsung Galaxy S III’s chip. But the biggest standout in the Nexus 10 is its beautiful 2560×1600-pixel display.

    Nexus 10


  • World’s first tablet with a WQXGA 2560×1600-pixel display
  • Starts at only $399
  • First tablet with an Exynos 5 ARM Cortex-A15 processor that beats the Tegra 3 in benchmarks.
  • First and only tablet which runs Android 4.2. Will be the first to get Android 4.3
  • First tablet with multi-user support which allows you to set up a guest profile so someone can check their email but can’t update your Facebook status. Also allows different family members to have there own spaces and apps.
  • World’s highest resolution tablet display (300ppi) – Over 4 million pixels. Games like “Nova” look much sharper on the Nexus 10 than on the iPad 4
  • Pure Android OS (no skinning or bloatware)
  • Fastest processor speed available in a tablet today (1.7GHz). The Verge says: “apps launch a lot faster and multitasking is an absolute breeze — even with 20 apps open, nothing seemed to slow down.”
  • Fast quad-core Mali-T604 graphics processor – Engadget says it has the “smoothest graphics we’ve seen.”
  • Twice as much memory as most other tablets (2GB)
  • Comes with 5 books, 3 magazines, 10 songs, an HD movie and a TV show
  • Beats the iPad 4 on benchmarks like Geekbench (2480 vs. 1768)
  • Android 4.2’s voice input and speech-to-text entry are second to none
  • NFC support (Only mobile device with dual NFC sensors)
  • Gets all Android updates the first day they are available
  • The new Android 4.2 Gallery app has been improved so you can now tweak your photos like pro software.
  • Has Google Wallet preloaded. Allows you to purchase things with your tablet.
  • Boots in 19-24 seconds
  • Dual-band 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • Well-built and durable
  • Has MIMO WiFi and accelerated page-loading
  • Very good sounding stereo front-facing speakers
  • Rated “extremely repairable”
  • Capable of beaming media to AirPlay or DLNA devices when free 3rd-party apps are installed
  • Pleasant to hold. Doesn’t dig into your hand like the iPad 4
  • Has an RGB notification LED
  • Fast and smooth scrolling. The entire user interface runs at 60fps.
  • Android 4.2 has a new Swype-style keyboard that allows you to slide your finger around the keyboard to spell out words more quickly and accurately
  • Built-in barometer sensor improves GPS accuracy
  • Smart cover automatically powers on the tablet when opened
  • LED flash
  • No bloatware (pre-loaded apps which cannot be removed)
  • Quick settings can be accessed by pulling down on the top right portion of the screen
  • 16:9 display
  • Good parental controls (when multiple profiles used)
  • Photos taken with its rear camera have better color accuracy, definition and less noise than the iPad 4’s camera
  • 1080 video recording
  • A micro USB port rather than a proprietary connector
  • Gorilla Glass 2 screen
  • Built-in micro-HDMI port
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Weaknesses

  • 16GB model is only available from the online Google Play store. 32GB model is available from Walmart, Staples, and Google Play
  • Many reviewers feel the Android ecosystem is lacking when it comes to good tablet apps
  • No microSD memory slot
  • Android 4.2 contains more bugs than earlier versions. Some were addressed in a 3.2.1 update, but others remain
  • No docks and limited other accessories are available yet
  • The included charger charges slowly, Consider buying Google’s magnetic pogo charger instead
  • No quad-core processor – Gets beat by the iPad 4, Transformer Prime and Galaxy Note 10.1 on most benchmarks
  • Battery life is acceptable, not great. One reviewer reports only 5 hours of video playback at full brightness
  • No 3G/4G support option today (some say it’s planned for the future)
  • Not as thin as the Asus Transformer Infinity (8.9mm)
  • Camera is only 5MP. Other tablets have 8MP and 13MP cameras.
  • Has a slightly larger bezel than other tablets (0.9″ Nexus 10 vs. 0.8″ iPad 4)
  • Like the iPad, it has some light leakage around the lower corners and sides of the LCD display
  • Wi-Fi signal strength issues
  • Lacks support of 802.11a
  • No infrared transmitter
  • Miracast not currently enabled
  • Its “smart cover” doesn’t stay closed very well
  • Limited stylus support (no pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, special features)
  • No physical home button
  • More Nexus issues listed under my first impressions article and a second article.
  • Update: The Nexus 10 went on sale on November 13th and the 32GB model sold out within two hours. Since then, Google has gotten more in.

    What about the build-quality of the Nexus 10? Click here, and scroll down to the bottom of the article.

    You can see the Split Screen feature here on the Galaxy Note 10.1

    The Galaxy Note 10.1 is the only tablet here with full stylus support including pressure sensitivity. This Android-powered tablet also has the ability to split the screen in two and run two apps at once.

    Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1


  • Full stylus support (1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, special features)
  • Fast quad-core processor (1.4GHz)
  • Excellent performance – Fast GPU – Beats the Nexus 10 on several benchmarks
  • Multi-view split-screen multi-tasking feature
  • Twice as much memory as most other tablets (2GB)
  • Very thin (8.9 mm)
  • microSD memory slot
  • Built-in infrared transmitter
  • 9+ hours battery life (7000mAh)
  • Dual-band 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • Optional 3G/4G support
  • Good sounding stereo speakers
  • Capable of beaming media to AirPlay or DLNA devices when free 3rd-party apps are installed
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Includes quality stylus and storage space for it in the case
  • microHDMI jack
  • Weaknesses

  • Average-quality case
  • Average-quality 5MP camera
  • Not the highest resolution display (1280×800)
  • Uses TouchWiz skin
  • No NFC support
  • Preloaded with some Samsung apps which cannot be removed
  • No Android 4.1 support yet
  • Camera is only 5MP. Other tablets have 8MP and 13MP cameras.
  • No physical home button
  • Not scratch-resistant glass
  • Some have reported the default Clock, Media Hub, Game Hub and Music Hub widgets affect performance
  • The Sony Xperia Tablet S is one of the thinnest tablets available

    The Sony Experia is the lightest tablet here. This Android-powered tablet has a fast quad-core processor and built-in infrared transmitter.

    Sony Xperia Tablet S


  • Starts at only $399
  • Lightest tablet here (570g)
  • Quad-core processor (1.3GHz)
  • Built-in infrared transmitter with programmable macros
  • Very thin (8.6 mm)
  • NFC support
  • 8MP camera
  • Scratch-resistant screen
  • Splash-proof (water resistant)
  • Dual-band 2.4GHz/5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • Stereo speakers
  • Capable of beaming media to AirPlay or DLNA devices when free 3rd-party apps are installed
  • Full-sized SD card
  • Full-sized USB port (instead of a proprietary connector)
  • Full-sized HDMI jack (instead of a proprietary connector)
  • Aluminum body
  • Weaknesses

  • Only 1GB RAM
  • Not the highest resolution screen (1280×800)
  • No optional 3G/4G support
  • No Android 4.1 support yet
  • Back is not flat. Has a bump near the top
  • Limited stylus support (no pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, special features)
  • No physical home button
  • No camera flash
  • Areas of strength are shown in blue; Weakness is shown in red

    That’s it! Now it’s up to you to select the best tablet based on your needs. Let me know which one you decide to buy and why.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    – Rick

    P.S. Because I’m starting to get some stupid comments from Apple fan-boys, I’m going to give you a little background: Before anyone accuses me of being an Android fan-boy, you should know that almost all of this article was written on an iPad 3, which I like very much. I write very opinionated articles about all platforms. My previous post was about Windows 8 tablets. One of my most popular posts slams Samsung and Google about beaming. I was also an iPhone user for three years and think Apple TV is a great product. Some of the new Apple products look very appealing to me, but sadly the iPad 4 is not one of them. I’ve listed everything good and bad I can find about every tablet here and I’m continually updating this post as I find more stuff. Make sure to check back later to see how this article evolves. There are a few new tablets that have come out since I wrote this. Although I haven’t had time to add them yet, you can read about them in the Comments section of this article.

    Thanks for making this my most popular post ever!

    This post received more views on 10/30 than any other post I’ve even made. I never thought it was possible to get this many views in a single day. Thanks everyone!

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

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    Why You Shouldn’t Buy an iPad Mini

    Last updated: March 6, 2014

    This article has had over 110,000 views! Thanks for reading it.

    Why You Shouldn’t Buy an iPad Mini

    There are certainly some good qualities about the new iPad mini with Retina display. It’s thin, light and runs iOS 7. Unfortunately, it’s missing more than forty important things you’ll find in other tablets and costs much more.

    A 32GB Nexus 7 costs $230 less than a 32GB iPad mini with Retina display

    A 32GB Nexus 7 costs $230 less than a 32GB iPad mini with the same quality display

    1. It’s much more expensive than other tablets – You can now buy a 32GB Nexus 7 for only $269. To get the same amount of storage in a iPad mini, you’d have to spend $499. That over 46% more, for a product with worse performance. The 16GB Nexus 7 is only $229. Apple charges $399 for exactly the same amount of storage. That a 43% price premium. Apple charges $529 to $829 for a mini for cellular support. Amazon charges only $329 for a 16GB Kindle Fire HDX with LTE support. Google charges only $349 for a 32GB Nexus 7 with LTE support. That’s a savings of a $280. You can literally buy a second Nexus 7 with the money you save.

      Apple charges much more for a mini with LTE support

      Apple charges much more than other companies for tablets with LTE support

    2. Apple products almost never go on sale – Apple rarely allows discounts on their products. When products like the iPad do go on sale, the discounts are very small. I just purchased tablets for my family members for Christmas and was surprised to find most of the tablets in Best Buy were on sale at discounts between $50 and $100 off their already low prices. I picked up a great 8″ tablet for my dad for only $249. Even better discounts are available online from Amazon and other online merchants and you’ll almost always get free shipping as well. Even the brand-new Kindle Fire HDX was on sale for $50 off it’s already low price.
    3. The Kindle Fire HDX has a much higher-resolution display than the iPad mini

      The 8.9″ Kindle Fire HDX has a much higher-resolution display than the iPad mini with Retina display

    4. Other tablets have higher-resolution displays – Don’t be mislead by the Retina label. Tablets like the Nexus 7 have a display that’s every bit as good as the iPad mini. Tablets like the Kindle Fire HDX have a display that is even better than the new iPad mini. How much better? The 8.9″ Kindle Fire HDX has almost a million more pixels than the iPad mini (4,096,000 pixels vs. 3,145,728 pixels). It’s worth mentioning the iPad mini doesn’t even fit the definition of a true retina display.

      Screen resolution isn’t the only problem with the new iPad mini. It comes in last place in this small screen review where they said “the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is the best performing tablet display that we have ever tested.” Here’s why the Nexus 7 and Kindle HDX beat the iPad mini.

    5. It’s easily breakable – The Apple iPad mini has been declared to be the single most breakable mobile device in the world by SquareTrade, who performed a battery of tests on it and other devices. To make matters worse, it’s very difficult to repair when it’s broken.
    6. It’s not expandable – Tablets from Asus, Barnes & Noble, Samsung and others come with a microSD slot, so you can easily expand your storage. You can double your memory for only $12, to $19. To double the memory of an iPad mini, you have to spend at least $100 more.
    7. Because it doesn’t have a microSD slot, you can’t quickly copy media to an iPad mini without using a computer. Tablet owners with removable media slots can take the memory card out of their Go Pro or D-SLR camera and pop it directly into their tablet. No computer is required to copy video, or other media. This is a real time saver.

      The iPad mini runs out if power two hours faster than the Nexus 7

      The iPad mini runs out if power two hours faster than the Nexus 7

    8. Inferior battery life – Even though the iPad mini has a much more powerful battery than other tablets, this doesn’t translate into better battery life. The Nexus 7 has much better battery life when browsing the web. That means you’ll be surfing the Internet two hours longer on a Nexus 7 than an iPad mini.
    9. It doesn’t have a quad-core processor – Even though the Nexus 7 is only $229, it has a powerful quad-core processor. Having two extra cores allows the Nexus 7 to do more things at once without slowing down. The iPad mini only has a dual-core processor that runs at a much slower clock speed than the Kindle Fire HDX (1.29 GHz vs. 2.2 GHz). Before you make a comment about Apple’s benchmark performance, you need to read this article.
    10. When it comes to specs, the iPad mini lags in many areas

      When it comes to specs, the iPad mini lags in many areas

    11. It’s thicker and heavier than other tablets – Apple brags about the thinness of the iPad mini, but tablets from Samsung and Sony are thinner. Much much thinner? The Sony Xperia Z is only 6.9mm. That’s 9% thinner than the iPad mini. The Nexus 7 is 14% lighter than the new iPad mini (290g vs. 331g). The Kindle Fire HDX is lighter than the iPad mini as well.
    12. The Nexus 7 does much better than the new iPad mini on display tests like contrast and brightness

      The Nexus 7 does much better than the new iPad mini on display tests like contrast and brightness

    13. Much worse brightness and contrast ratings than other tablets – The iPad mini has a much lower maximum brightness than the Google Nexus 7 (370 vs. 583 higher is better). The iPad mini also gets a contrast rating of only 804, while Nexus 7 gets a contrast rating of 1273 (higher is better).

    14. It has less memory than other tablets and this causes problems – The best Android tablets have either 2GB of RAM or 3GB of RAM. The iPad mini only has 1GB of RAM. This translates to worse multitasking and slower app load times. How much slower? The game “Asphalt 7″ loads in only 18.5 seconds on a tablet with 3GB of memory. The same game loads in 45.0 seconds on the same tablet with 2GB of memory. iOS 7 has made matters even worse. Many iPad owners have reported memory-related problems like only having enough memory to open 6 tabs in Safari, or have 4 apps open at once without reloading tabs or restarting apps. By contrast, Android 4.4 has been optimized so it runs well on devices with as little as 512MB.
    15. Poorer color accuracy than other tablets – Color accuracy on the iPad mini is only 63%, while the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 is 100%. That means what you see on the Kindle is what the content creators intended you to see. This is also important if you use your tablet to edit photos. The Nexus 7 beats or ties the iPad mini in 7 out of 8 display tests. The Nexus 7 has more accurate color reproduction, better color saturation and as mentioned above, a much better contrast ratio and much better brightness than the iPad mini. The iPad mini also does not have sRGB coverage, while though the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 do. This means they display a wider range of colors
    16. You can use Google Wallet anywhere you see these images

    17. No NFC digital wallet support – NFC and Google Wallet lets Nexus 7 tablet users buy things at over 300,00 PayPass-enabled cash registers in places like Best Buy, CVS Pharmacy, Einstein Bros Bagels, Home Depot, Jack in the Box, McDonald’s, Peet’s Coffee, Pinkberry, Rite Aid, Sports Authority, Whole Foods and many more places. You can learn more about NFC here. The iPad mini has something called Passbook, but it only works at Starbucks (and the Apple Store).
    18. GPS support is only available cellular models – The iPad mini is small enough to take with you anywhere, so it certainly makes sense that you’d want it to have a GPS so you could use it for directions. Unfortunately, you have to spend $130 more for a cellular model to get GPS support. Tablets like the Nexus 7 have full GPS support on their Wi-Fi only models.
    19. It doesn’t appear on your desktop as a drive – It’s a major hassle to get anything (but photos) on or off of an iPad mini. Android devices don’t need iTunes or iCloud to copy media. Just connect a USB cable, and your device will appear on your desktop like a hard disk. You can then drag and drop any file (or folder) to it. This is really useful.
    20. It doesn’t work with standard cables – Many Android tablets use exactly the same micro-USB jack, so you can easily connect them to any charger or peripheral without purchasing an expensive cable. The iPad mini uses all proprietary connectors so Apple can sell you cables for $20 to $50. If you want an extra charging cable for an iPad mini, it will cost $19 and is hard to find. You can buy an Android power cord almost anywhere for as little as $2.
    21. Its AV adapter doesn’t support 1080p video – Another big downside to Apple’s 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 video today. It’s capable of supporting 1080p, but Apple has chosen to hold back 1080p support for now.
    22. The size of the letterbox displayed when movies are played on the iPad mini is much larger than other tablets [Photo: Gizmodo]

    23. No 16:9 screen, Reduced-quality movies – Tablets are great way to watch movies, but all movies are formatted to fit on a 16:9 display. Because the iPad Mini has a 4:3 aspect ratio, all 16:9 movies need to be letter-boxed with only 1024×576 resolution, which is getting pretty close to standard definition video rather than true high-definition 1280×720 video found on tablets like the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7. As Gizmodo points out, “when you watch a movie in landscape there’s almost more letterboxing than actual video. Seriously. It. Looks. Ridiculous.”
    24. It has ineffective 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” she bought earlier, because Apple’s Parental Controls do not hide explicit books that are already in a library. The iPad mini is a single-user device and this prevents a good solution to this problem. By contrast, Nook tablets allow multiple users to share a single tablet using separate accounts. Each users content is hidden from other family members automatically, and profiles can be password protected. Parents with a Kindle Fire HDX can also give access to appropriate content for each child. The Nexus 7 also supports user-profiles.
    25. You can share media by simply touching two NFC-enabled Android devices together

    26. No touch-to-share – Newer Android tablets like the Nexus 7 can easily share media by touching another device with NFC support. This allows you to share photos, videos, contacts, Web pages — as well as information between apps. You can see it in action here.
    27. No wireless charging – Tablets like the Nexus 7 include support for wireless charging, so you can just sit them on a charging pad and charge them without connecting a cable.
    28. Nano-SIM makes it harder to use with other carriers – When you buy an iPad from Apple’s site with the cellular option, you’ll find Apple forces you to pick a carrier. Other unlocked tablets from Google and others don’t force you to do that. To use your iPad mini with most international carriers you will also need a SIM cutter because the iPad mini uses a nano-SIM. Most Android tablets use standard or micro-SIMs.
    29. The Kindle Fire HDX is easier to use and has a media-centric interface

      The Kindle Fire HDX is easier to use and has a media-centric interface

    30. It’s harder to use and doesn’t have a media-centric user interface – If you compare the Kindle Fire HDX and an iPad mini side by side you’ll see the Kindle Fire is much easier to us. It only has 7 app icons on it’s home screen because that’s all that most people need. The remaining space is devoted to things that matter including your favorite books, magazines, music and movies. This makes sense and is also done on the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. The menu on the Kindle Fire also only has a few easy to understand options. The iPads settings are a mess. The Kindle Fire even has a “Mayday” button that allows an on-screen customer support person to temporarily take control of your tablet to assist you with problems.
    31. It doesn’t support Flash natively – Flash may be a dying format, but there are still millions of Flash videos around, and the stock browser in the iPad mini can’t play any of them. There are several free Android browsers including Firefox that play Flash videos. See my Nexus 10 tips and tricks article for more info on this topic. Update: There is now a $10 Flash Player that runs on the iPad.
    32. Android now beats iOS in many areas – This may come as a surprise to some of you, but Android 4.3 and 4.4 has many advantages over iOS 7. You can see them here.
    33. Readability issues with magazines – The screen on the iPad mini is just too small to read magazines or comics because of the tiny, non-adjustable typefaces used. Text looks pinched, because it’s optimized for the iPad’s larger display. The Kindle Fire HD gets around this issue with its text view mode.
    34. It’s not a great eReader – In the previous bullet I already pointed out the readibility issues with magazines. That’s not the only reason why the iPad mini is not a good eReader. It also has one of the most reflective displays you’ll find in a small tablet. Because of this, using the iPad Mini outside is often a problem because of glare. How bad is it? According to Dr. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies, “The Screen reflectance on the iPad mini is surprisingly high (9.0%). The Nexus 7 has a much lower 5.9 percent reflectance, while on the Kindle Fire HD has a reflectance of 6.4%. As a result, the iPad mini reflects 53 percent more ambient light than the Nexus 7 and 41 percent more than the Kindle Fire HD. That’s quite a large difference.
    35. Samsung tablets have much better stylus support than Apple

      Samsung tablets have much better stylus support than Apple

    36. Reliable data cables – Apple’s Lightning cables get a 1.5 star rating in the Apple Store due to breakage, fraying and corrosion.

    37. Limited stylus support – Although you can use a capacitive stylus on an iPad mini, you don’t get the same level of expression that you get on Android tablets. Samsung’s Galaxy Note tablets have a Wacom touchscreen with 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 Galaxy Note tablets even lets you preview emails, photos or videos by hovering slightly above the screen.
    38. No infrared transmitter – Tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus and Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 — along with Vizio and Sony Experia tablets all 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. The iPad mini does not have infrared support.
    39. No multi-user support – The iPad mini is a single-user device tied to a single iTunes account. Nexus tablets allow multiple users to log-in. Each user has their own home screen, background, apps and widgets. Things like game-progress and high-scores remain separate.
    40. Mediocre-sounding speakers – The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (and other tablets) have better sounding speakers than the iPad mini. Reviews say “O.K. is also how I’d describe the speaker system. The Kindle Fire HD, which sports Dolby stereo, pumped out noticeably more pleasing audio than the Mini’s speakers.”
    41. Very difficult to repair – The iPad mini is much more difficult to repair than other tablets. iFixit gives the iPad mini with Retina display a repairability score of ‘2 out of 10,’ where 10 is the easiest to repair. One of the main reasons why it gets such a poor score is because large amounts of cement hold the front glass, logic board, battery, front camera, back camera, ribbon cables in place. This cement makes repair extremely difficult. By comparison, the Kindle Fire HDX and Nexus 7 both get repairability scores of ‘7 out of 10’ (10 is easiest to repair).
    42. The iPad mini is not water-resistant like Sony tablets

      The iPad mini is not water-resistant like Sony tablets

    43. Not accident-resistant – Sony’s Xperia Z Tablet is water resistant. You can submerse it in up to three feet of water for 30 minutes at a time. Now you can read in the tub, use in the kitchen or browse by the pool, worry free.
    44. Can’t make phone calls – You can make phone calls on Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.7 and Nexus 7 if you’ve installed a SIM. You can also send or receive texts without using a special third-party app. The Galaxy Tab 7.7 calling function has been upgraded to let you make and receive voice calls privately by using Receiver Mode in public places.
    45. No replaceable battery – Tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Toshiba Thrive have batteries which are easily replaceable. This is important, because all rechargeable batteries have a limited life-span and need to be replaced.
    46. Inferior 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. Android supports true-multitasking without any of the above restrictions. This makes it possible to do things on Android tablets that can not be done on the iPad mini.
    47. Small keyboard makes it hard to type accurately – The keyboard on the iPad mini is small enough that you’ll have a hard time typing accurately on it. To some extent this issue is true with 7″ Android tablets, but you can install one of the many great third-party keyboards like SwiftKey3, which have much more accurate corrections and predictions than the iOS keyboard. You can see the dramatic difference here.

      Android keyboard apps provide different keyboard layouts like this one with number keys

    48. It has a much worse on-screen keyboard – Like the iPad mini, the Nexus 7 has standard keyboard features like a spell checker, auto-capitalization and auto-correction. However, the Nexus 7 has a much better on-screen keyboard. It has the ability to add words to a personal dictionary, show correction suggestions, perform gesture typing where you swipe from key to key, show next-word suggestions and the ability to change your keyboard to one that is more PC-like and includes all numbers and extra keys.
    49. Not able to easily load custom ROMs – Android devices like the Nexus 7 don’t come with locked or encrypted bootloaders. That means you are free to install customs ROMs and fully tailor your device however you wish.
    50. Undesired side-effects of the new display – One reviewer pointed out that “because the screen real estate is so much larger than an iPhone but icons are now roughly iPhone size, apps with lots of navigational elements can be a little less intuitive to navigate.
    51. Hard for small hands to hold securely – The iPad mini is wide enough that it is harder to carry securely than Nexus 7. The bezel is also so narrow that its hard to hold the screen in portrait-mode without touching the active part of the touchscreen.
    52. No LED alerts – Most Android phones have a small LED indicator that alerts you to missed calls, new messages and other system events. As with other Android phones, you can customize exactly how this works by installing a third-party LED control app like Light Flow. The iPhone has a setting buried under Accessibility that flashes an LED when a call or text is received. The iPad mini does not support LED alerts at all.
    53. No multi-window Support – Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note let you split the screen in two sections so you can interact with two different apps at once. Not only can you view any two windows at once, you can also drag things from one window to the other. This is a really useful feature the iPad mini does not have.
    54. No ability to set software defaults – 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 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.
    55. iCloud is inferior to other cloud services – Third-party cloud services are more reliable, provide more storage, and are much more flexible — because they don’t lock you into an Apple-only world. If you shop around, you’ll find up to 50GB of free cloud-based storage, much better photo sharing services that automatically upload every photo and improve their quality, and store an unlimited number of photos at full-resolution (e.g. Google+). Android office apps like Google Drive are also much better than Apple’s offerings. They support more formats, allow you to share more easily and even collaborate with others at the same time. They also automatically save every change you make to the cloud, so you can access everything from any device or computer — not just Apple products. Android calendar and contact apps also have advantages and are much more open. Sure, some of these products are available to iPhone users as well, but most iPad users stick with Apple’s inferior pre-installed cloud services.
    56. DLNA Support – Most Android tablets include DLNA support. That means they can stream media to over 10,000 devices. Chance are you have several DLNA-certified devices in your home and you don’t even know it. Most TVs, game consoles, media streamers and Blu-ray players are DLNA-certified.
    57. Better tablets are on the way – Every month exciting new Android tablets are released. Many of these will have better specs than the iPad mini with Retina display.
    58. The iPad mini is not a bad product, but it’s not the thinnest, or the lightest, or the fastest, or the highest-resolution tablet of its size. Other tablets are available that cost much less and do much more. You owe it to yourself to check them out. You can use some of the money you save to buy books, movies, music and some great premium apps, which will increase your enjoyment even more.

      Why You’ll Still Buy an iPad Mini

      If you’re an Apple fan, you don’t comparison shop. You don’t care that Apple products cost more and do less. You tell yourself that specs don’t matter and Apple’s ecosystem is superior — even though you’ve never actually used an Android 4.4-powered product. You’ll find a way to convince yourself that all of the above reasons somehow don’t apply to you and, you’ll buy an iPad mini anyway.

      – Rick

      If you like this article, you may like these as well:
      40+ Things you won’t get with the iPhone 5s
      Debunking the Retina Display Myth – Why the iPad mini isn’t a true retina display
      Who makes the best tablet on Earth?

      For the Apple Fanboys

      1. This is an opinion piece – I think the title makes that very clear. Don’t read this if you can’t handle an opposing view point.

      2. This article is focused on the advantages of other tablets – I’m aware there are some good reasons to buy a iPad. Since every other reviewer focuses on those, I see value in showing another point of view.

      3. I don’t just pick on Apple – I write highly-opinionated articles about other companies as well. Here are examples where I single out Samsung, AT&T, United, Google and Rhapsody.

      4. I don’t hate all Apple products – I think some of the new Apple products are fine — just not the iPad Air or iPad mini with Retina display. I’ve owned two iPhones, two iPads and an Apple TV. I buy Apple products when they outperform other products and are not insanely priced.

      5. I want this to be factually correct – Believe it or not, I really do try to keep my articles factually correct. If you find an error here, please let me know and I will fix the section containing the error. If you read the comments section, you’ll find many examples where I’ve done so.

      6. Save your flames – You’re not going to change my beliefs and I’m not going to changes yours.

      Copyright 2013-2014 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

      Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

      Note: This article was originally written about the first iPad mini. Since then, it has been updated to reflect new iPad mini with Retina display. Keep this in mind when you read the comments.

    What Samsung & Google Don’t Tell You About Beaming

    Last update: October 17, 2013

    This article has had almost 190,000 views! Thanks for reading it. Although this article refers to the Galaxy S III, S Beam also works with current Samsung mobile products.

    Beaming Is Not New

    By now you’ve probably seen the Samsung TV commercial where the wife sends a video to her husband by simply touching phones.

    Samsung promotes video sharing in their newest ads

    Samsung promotes video sharing in their newest ads

    Both Google and Samsung refer to this process as beaming. Beaming multimedia is very cool, but it’s not new. I helped create patent-pending software back in 2009 that sent music, photos or video from a web browser to a connected TV, stereo, game console or mobile phone. That was the first software that used the term “beam” to describe the wireless transmission of multimedia from a computer to a connected device, but readers have pointed out that Palm Pilots were beaming contacts, notes, to-do items and calendar entries more than a decade ago. Beaming of multimedia from one phone to another has been possible for over a year using this and other apps, but few knew this was possible before Samsung started running their commercials for the Galaxy S III. The technology which makes beaming possible is called NFC, which stands for Near Field Communication. NFC has been available on Android devices for almost two years. You can learn more about NFC and its many uses here. The technology used to beam the music playlist in Samsung’s TV commercial is called S Beam. It uses NFC and Wi-Fi Direct and has been available since May.

    Beaming Isn’t as Easy as It Looks

    The Samsung commercial makes beaming look easy. Google claims Android Beam lets users share with a single tap. Is it really this easy? No. Beaming only works after both mobile devices have been setup properly. Before I wrote this article, I couldn’t even get beaming to work between my Samsung Galaxy S III and a Nexus 7 tablet. But once I setup both devices properly and learned a few tricks, beaming now works almost 100% of the time. This article will teach you how to beam like a pro.

    You need to configure several settings before you can beam

    How to Beam Like a Pro

    The section will teach you how to setup your devices and use Android Beam.

    1. In order to beam items from one phone to another, you need two Android devices that have NFC support. Here’s a list of all of the phones with NFC support.
    • Before trying to beam you must go to Settings/More Settings and make sure NFC is checked and Android Beam is enabled on both devices.
    • Now you’re ready to beam, but before you can do so, you need to open the app you wish to beam from. A list of supported apps is displayed later in this article.
    • Next, you need to locate the item you want to beam. You can beam web pages, contacts, maps, YouTube videos and much more.
    • Finally, you need to hold the backs of your two mobile devices together until you hear a chiming sound. If this doesn’t happen in a few seconds, move your devices apart and then back together.

    Troubleshooting Tips: Beaming won’t work unless the screen on the destination device is unlocked. You do not need to tap the two devices together, but they do need to be very close. When beaming from a phone to a tablet, you may need to move your phone around on the back of the tablet to find the spot where the NFC module is located.

    1. After you hear the chime, you need to quickly touch the item you want to beam. If you do this correctly, you’ll see the screen shrink and hear a two-tone confirmation sound.
    • If you press too long, you’ll hear a fast four-part tone that goes from high to low and you’ll need to beam again.
    • If you wait to touch the screen until after the image grows back, you need to move the two devices apart and beam again.
    • If you touch outside of the shrunken item, it won’t beam.

    You may need to click OK to accept beamed media

    1. After performing all of the steps above, the beamed item should appear on the other devices’ screen. Although this may seem like a lot of steps to follow, once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy and you’ll want to beam all of the time.

    In order to accept a beamed You Tube video on devices like a Samsung Galaxy S III, you need to touch “OK” when you see this message:

    Good Luck Trying to Beam a Music Playlist

    Want to beam a music playlist like you see in the Samsung commercial? What about a photo or video that you took with the camera on your phone? You can’t do that with Android Beam (running on Android 4.0-powered devices). Fortunately, there are several solutions to these problems.

    1. Use S Beam on Two Galaxy S IIIs — NFC is great for transferring things like contacts or URLs that point to maps or YouTube videos, but it’s not ideal for large files like videos. That’s why S Beam uses NFC for device pairing and Wi-Fi Direct for high-speed data transfer. Wi-Fi Direct is capable of data speeds around 250 Mbps, but because the Galaxy S III supports Wi-Fi channel bonding, files can be transferred at speeds up to 300Mbps. Of course your mileage may vary, depending on the distance from your wireless access point and the amount of interference in your area.

    You can see S Beam in action here. Real world speeds are good, but not amazing. The actual transfer time for a photo is 1 to 2 seconds, but it takes an additional 4 to 6 seconds to establish a connection using S Beam.

    Another thing to be aware of: When you touch the back of a Galaxy S III to another S Beam-enabled device for the first time, it takes about 10 seconds to make the connection. For security, the connection times out after 10 minutes.

    1. Use Android Beam on Two Mobile Devices Running Jelly Bean — Android Beam now allows you to send photos and videos from one device running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) to another. Just select a photo or video in the Gallery app, and then hold any two NFC-enabled devices back to back. When prompted, tap the screen to send the file as described above. File are now send using Bluetooth, so transfer speeds are faster than earlier. However files transfers are not as fast as S Beam — because Bluetooth is only capable of data transfer speeds up to 24 Mbit/s. Performance isn’t too bad. It takes about 7 to 9 seconds to send a photo, and 15 seconds to send a short video.

    Beamed photos don’t automatically appear

    After you beam a photo from the Gallery app, you’ll see the photo downloading in the Notification bar. After the download is complete, you have to swipe down, and select the photo you wish to view. Beamed videos automatically appear after the download is complete however and are ready to play.

    Cool observation: Bluetooth does not need to be enabled before you beam a photo. Android Beam will automatically turn Bluetooth on and off as needed. This should reduce battery usage.

    Most people don’t know Android Beam can now send multiple files from one Android 4.1 device to another. To do this, long press on a photo or video in the Gallery, select the items you want to transfer, and then hold the devices back-to-back to start the beaming process. Because Bluetooth is being used, you should avoid trying to send too many files at once.

    Which Apps Work and Which Ones Don’t?

    Apps that work with Android Beam
    Here is a list of apps that work with Android Beam followed by any issues they may have.

    • aCalendar
    • Any.Do – This task management app lets you beam assignments to co-workers
    • Chrome
    • Clover Pay
    • Contacts (Android 4.0) – This app seems to be a little temperamental. Wait until the screen gets small before you tap it. This takes about four seconds. Then tap near the photo area.
    • Financial Times
    • Gmail
    • Gallery – only works when Android 4.1 is installed
    • Google Play – Android Beam pushes a link to the app’s details page in Google Play. On the other device, Google Play launches and loads the details page, for easy downloading of the app.
    • Google Earth
    • Google I/O 2012
    • Google Maps
    • Internet (stock Android 4.0 browser)
    • Just Player
    • Kingsoft Office
    • Local – Maps, but nothing else
    • MonTransit
    • Navigation
    • NFC Reader
    • Paper Camera
    • Pattrn
    • People (Android 4.1)
    • Shazam
    • Shazam Encore
    • Songkick Concerts
    • StumbleUpon
    • WiFiBeam – This app can pass WiFi setup info from one device to another
    • YouTube – Can’t beam ads, skip any ads before beaming.

    This is a partial list of the apps which work with Android Beam. As I find more apps that work, I’ll add them here.

    Apps that don’t work with Android Beam

    • Calculator
    • Currents – Loads app, but not selected article
    • Gallery
    • Google Now – Cards can’t be sent
    • Google+
    • Play Music (appears to work on Android 4.0, but music is not transferred immediately)
    • Samsung’s Calendar
    • Street View on Google Maps
    • Most other Android apps

    The Pros and Cons of Android Beam and Samsung’s S Beam

    Android Beam – Pros

    • Works with all NFC-enabled Android devices running Android 4.0 (or later)
    • Works on devices that do not have Wi-Fi Direct support
    • Requires less configuration than S Beam (because Wi-Fi Direct does not have to be enabled)
    • Very safe because NFC only works at distances of 4cm or less.
    • More power efficient than S Beam because it uses NFC and Bluetooth

    Android Beam – Cons

    • Only works with Android devices that have NFC support
    • Has data transfer rates up to 10x slower than S Beam
    • Can only send photos, videos and playlists if you’re running Android 4.1 (or later)
    • Beamed photos don’t automatically open
    • Doesn’t use Bluetooth for transfers unless you’re running Android 4.1 (or later)

    S Beam – Pros

    • Capable transfer speeds up to 10x faster than Android Beam
    • Supports music playlists, photos and videos on Android 4.0 devices
    • Once a transfer in started it’s capable of working at greater distances than NFC-only transfers
    • Safe when good Wi-Fi security practices are followed.
    • Can be used to transfer documents from one Galaxy Note 2 to another

    S Beam – Cons

    • Only works with a limited number of Samsung devices (like the Galaxy S III)
    • Only works on devices running Android 4.0 (and later)
    • Wi-Fi Direct draws so much power that it’s turned off after only a few minutes of inactivity
    • Only works on devices that have with NFC and Wi-Fi Direct support
    • S Beam works with fewer apps than Android Beam
    You can now beam files from Android to iOS devices

    You can now beam files from Android to iOS devices

    How to Beam Files to an iPhone or iPad

    S Beam isn’t the only game in town. I’ve been using an app called Bump for years. It started as a way to exchange contacts on iOS devices, but now can transfer any file you have on your device (videos, documents, spreadsheets, presentations, etc). First install the Bump app on both of your devices. Next, launch the app on both devices and select the type of file you want to exchange. Then touch your devices together lightly until you feel them vibrate. You need to press the blue Connect button on both devices, before your file can be transferred. Like Android Beam, Bump can be a little temperamental and often requires several tries before it works. Also be aware that all music metadata and album art is lost when you transfer music files.

    Cross-platform Beaming Issues

    In theory, you should be able to tap an NFC-enabled Windows Phone 8 to a Galaxy S III or Galaxy Nexus and share anything. However, I’m told that sharing of web pages and contacts work fine, but sharing of files and photos does not. Let’s hope Microsoft and Google get together to address this issue soon.

    The Final Word

    While it’s true that Samsung and Google may have oversold beaming, once you know how to use it, it’s a powerful feature. As more devices support these two features, I’d like to see both companies enable these by default so no setup is required. Also, Samsung should find a way to automatically toggle on and off Wi- Fi Direct (like Google does with Bluetooth beaming), so you don’t have to turn it on every time. I’m glad that Samsung has made this concept something that everyone now is aware of. We live in a wireless world, and you should never have to connect a cable to transfer files.

    Have fun beaming!

    – Rick

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

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    iOS 6’s Advantages Over Android 4.2

    Last updated: January 23, 2013

    [This article is still under construction. Please come back later to view the final version]

    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 a major new update since then, I’ve decided to update both articles. Android has come a long way since my first post, so far that some experts feel it’s reached parity, but iOS still has a few important advantages. Earlier this week I listed Android 4.2’s advantages over iOS 6. Here are the advantages that iOS 6 has over Android 4.2.

    The Top Ten Most Important iOS Advantages

    The App Store still leads based on quality and quantity of apps (App Store: Left; Google Play: Right)

    1. Better Overall App Quality – Google Play has almost caught up to Apple in the total number of apps, but there is no doubt that Apple still has the edge when it comes to the number of quality apps available — especially in categories such as games, media creation and children’s apps.

    Both of these phones run the same version of Android, but their graphic interfaces are quite different

    1. More Consistent User ExperienceSome reviewers have complained that Apple hasn’t made any major changes to iOS since the first version. That may be true, but it’s not entirely a bad thing. The user interface on every iOS device is very similar. By contrast, the Android user experience varies greatly from one manufacturer’s device to another due to skinning.

      Fragmentation is also a problem on the Android platform. Sixty percent of all iPhone users are running the newest version of iOS, while less than 5% of all Android users are running the newest version of Android. Because carriers and handset manufacturers don’t make all Android updates available on every phone, over half of all Android users are still running version 2.3, which was released back in 2010. Apple doesn’t allow skinning, and most of the time allows users with older devices to upgrade to the newest OS (although they may not always get access to all of the new features). This results is a more consistent user experience.

    Tablet-optimized apps look better on larger screens

    1. Tablet-optimized App Listings – The App Store displays iPhone and iPad apps in separate areas. iPad-optimized apps normally look better on tablets — because they have been modified to take advantage of the larger screen which tablets have. I wish Google Play had a filter for tablet-optimized apps.
    1. No Carrier Bloatware – Carriers preload their Android phones with loads of apps. Some promote paid services (e.g. VZ Navigator), while others are carrier-branded or third-party apps. Many preinstalled apps are things you don’t need and will never use. They clutter the screens of Android phones and often cannot be deleted. Apple doesn’t allow carriers to install bloatware on their products. While you could argue this isn’t an operating system-related advantage, it is an advantage that iOS users have over non-Nexus Android users.

    Siri has improved and has some advantages over Google Now and S-Voice

    1. A Better Personal Assistant – Although Google Now is pretty good, the version of Siri which is included with iOS 6 has some advantages — including more human-like and actionable responses. Here’s a good comparison between the two.
    1. More iOS-only or iOS-first Apps – By now you’d think all popular apps would be available on both platforms, but that’s not the case. Android is still missing some popular iOS apps. To make things worse, even when developers support both platforms, they often release their iOS apps first.
    1. Better HTML5 Support – Although Flash is still a popular way of handling multimedia on the Web, many people believe HTML5 will one day replace it. Instead of supporting Flash, Apple put its efforts into supporting HTML5 and it shows.
    1. Dynamic App Icons – iOS may not have widget support yet, but I love how the icon for the Calendar app displays the current day and date. Folders and apps like Spotify also are capable of showing notifications.
    1. Global Search – Swiping to the right displays a screen where you can search for Apps, Calendar, Mail, Music, Notes, Web and Wikipedia. This is a pretty big deal and Apple has shown they will litigate if anyone attempts to support this.

    Other Areas Where iOS is Ahead

    1. Better Voice Mail App – I think it’s ridiculous that I have to dial *86 to get voice-mail on my Galaxy Nexus. You’d think its 1998, not 2012. Apple’s phone app has dedicated voice mail button and its interface is excellent.
    1. Better Power Management – iOS devices seem to have power management than Android devices. Some of this may be a result of the fact that iOS doesn’t allow third-party apps to run in the background. Others might have to do with the fact that iPhone 4S has an under-clocked processor and no LTE support. Whatever the reason, it’s an Apple advantage.
    1. One-button Operation – Apple uses a single button to return to the Home screen, display the search box, and show recently opened apps. Is it intuitive? No, but once you learn it, it works well.
    1. Better Calendar app – Another thing I miss is the iOS calendar. I found it much easier to add appointments to the Apple Calendar than the Android Calendar.
    1. Better Cut & Paste – Although Android devices had cut and paste first, Apple has done a much better job implementing the feature. iOS devices have more region selection options and it’s much easier to quickly select text by dragging the region select handles around. Although this seems like a minor issue, it’s important to some users.
    1. iOS has better support for USB audio devices – iOS devices can play and record audio with standard USB audio devices using the camera connection kit. Android is saddled with a USB port that cannot host audio devices. Android 4.1 supports audio output only (no input) with accessory devices, but audio accessories have to be the USB host. [Source: Paul N.]
    1. You can enter phonetic pronunciations for Siri – iOS allows you to add phonetic pronunciations to your contacts which will tell Siri how to pronounce certain names.

    These are just some of the main advantages iOS 6 has over Android 4.2. Let me know if I left any major advantages out, and I’ll add them here.

    – Rick

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

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    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.

      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.

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

    The Dirty Little Secret About Mobile Benchmarks


    This article has had almost 30,000 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.

    2/1/17 Update: XDA just accused Chinese phone manufacturers of cheating on benchmarks. You can read the full article here.

    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?

    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.


    • 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.


    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

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

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

    • 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.
    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

    • 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).

    • 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).
    • Some benchmarks are not yet 64-bit — Android 5.0 supports 64-bit apps, but most benchmarks do not run in 64-bit mode yet. There are a few exceptions to this rule. A few Java-based benchmarks (Linpack, Quadrant) run in 64-bit mode and do see performance benefits on systems with 64-bit OS and processors. AnTuTu also supports 64-bit.
    • 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.
    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

    • 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.
    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

    • 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

        If you are wondering which benchmarks are the best, and which should not be used,

    this article

      should be of use.

    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%.

    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


    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


    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.


    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 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.


    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


    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

    Getting the Most Out of Your Samsung Galaxy S III – Part Two

    Last update: January 26, 2012

    30 Great Tips & Tricks for the Samsung Galaxy S III

    In part one of this article, we talked about what you need to get started with your new phone. This week were going to go much deeper and discuss more than twenty more tips that every Samsung Galaxy S III user should know.

      1. Learn how to access Google Now – There is some confusion how to access Google Now on a Samsung Galaxy S III. You don’t swipe up like you do on other Android smartphones. To access Google Now, long press the Home button and touch ‘Google.’ Now you’ll need to set things up by clicking ‘Next’ until you see ‘Yes, I’m in.’ Then choose which email account you want to use. Now you should start receiving cards with useful information on them. Say ‘Google’ to ask you phone questions without touching the screen.

      2. Try the new live camera filters – Android 4.1 has some cool new Instagram-style live filters that work on photos or video. To enable these, go to the Camera app and touch the magic wand icon. You’ll be able to choose from presets including warm vintage, cold vintage, black and white, sepia, solarize and many more.

      3. Edit video on-the-fly without editing software – Android 4.1 also lets you make your own movie by simply pressing the pause button in the Camera app and then starting to record again. When you’re finished press the stop button and you can watch your edited shots in sequence. This is simple, but really useful addition.

      4. See how widgets automatically resize – As you drop widgets onto the Android 4.1 home screens, everything else automatically moves to make room. When a widget is too big it, it resizes itself.

      5. Quickly speed up bogged down apps – I love the Zite app, but after you use it for a while it gets slower and slower until you can hardly scroll the page. This problem is easy to fix however. First, long press the Home button and touch ‘Remove all.’ Then, touch ‘Task manager’ and ‘Clear memory.’ Finally, hit the Back button and go back to the problem app. You’ll find the problem is gone.

      6. Capturing a screen – To capture anything on the screen press the home button and the power button together for 2 seconds OR use your palm to swipe from right to left. If you’ve done it correctly, you should hear a copy machine sound and see the screen flash white. Video instructions.

      7. Turn off 4G to increase your battery life – If you’re in an area without 4G LTE reception there is no reason to have your phone continually scanning for a 4G signal. This can take a toll of your battery life. Unfortunately carriers like Verizon do not let you disable 4G from the Settings pages. Fortunately there is a solution to this problem although it’s not as easy as it should be.

      1. Download the ‘Phone info‘ app from Google Play.
      2. Click on ‘Device info’
      3. Scroll down till you see ‘LTE/CDMA/EvDo’
      4. Touch ‘LTE/CDMA/EvDo’ and choose ‘GSM/CDMA auto (PRL)’

      You should be now be connected to Verizon's 3G network. Because the phone is no longer constantly searching for a 4G signal, this will conserve battery life.

      Here are some more great tips to preserve battery life on the Samsung Galaxy S III.

      8. Mute your phone by turning it over – Go to Motion and ‘Turn over to mute/pause’ to on. Now turning your phone over so it’s screen is down automatically mutes incoming call ringtones and alerts sounds. This feature also works with music and videos when you use the stock Samsung players.

      9. Make your graphics smoother – Normally your CPU handles rendering of 2D graphics. By going to Settings > Developer options and making sure ‘Force GPU rendering’ is checked, you can free up CPU clock cycles so your graphics are rendered faster and smoother. In the unlikely event that you encounter an app which doesn’t support this, you’ll want to disable this setting before running that app.

      10. Pick your favorite contacts – To do this launch the Phone app and touch ‘Contacts,’ then mark your best friends and family members with a star to identify them as Favorites. You’ll find the star in the upper right-hand corner of the screen after you select a contact. Favorites are displayed first in the Phone app so you can quickly call or message them.

      11. Toggle screen rotation – By now you’ve probably figured out you can enable and disable screen rotation from the Notification bar which is displayed when you swipe down from the top of the screen. I recommend that you disable this when you’re not viewing photos or video.

      12. Enable Driving mode – Another useful Notifications bar option is Driving mode. When this is enabled, all incoming caller ID and text messages will be read to you.

      Driving mode and Sync disable are useful settings

      13. Disable sync when you’re not working – You can save battery life by disabling account synchronization when you don’t need it. This is done by scrolling to the right and touching ‘Sync’ in the Notification bar.

      14. Display a world clock for notifications – Touch the time in the Notification area to display a world clock. Touch ‘Add city’ to display different zones around the world.

      15. Access your phone, mail, texts or camera from the lock screen – You can simply quickly swipe up from any of the four icons on the Lock screen to immediately launch the associated app. This is a real time saver.

      Notice Instagram has been added to the Lock screen

      16. Access any app from the Lock screen – You can replace any of the four icons on the lock screen. To do this, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Security’ > ‘Lock screen options’ and make sure Shortcuts is on. Then touch the word ‘Shortcuts’ and four icons will appear. Touch the icon you wish to replace and choose a new app. The access the new app when your phone is locked, quickly swipe up to launch it.

      17. Quickly switch between all running apps – Press and hold the Home button to see all of the running apps. Touch the screenshot for any app to switch to it.

      It’s easy to free up lots of memory

      18. Free up memory to improve performance – To free up memory and make your phone run faster, press and hold the Home button and touch ‘Task manager.’ Then touch ‘RAM’ near the top of the screen and ‘Clear memory.’

      19. Close all running apps – To close all apps that are running in the background, press and hold the Home button and touch ‘Remove all.’

      20. Zoom in or out using hardware buttons– You can use the volume and volume down buttons on the left to zoom in or out which in the Camera app.

      21. Connect to your corporate mail – To access your work email click on the ‘Email’ app on the home screen shown to the right. Then click on the ‘Corporate’ icon and enter your name and password. If it doesn’t connect with you exchange server the first time, check your user name and try again. To save battery life, change from ‘Push’ to a time interval like 30 minutes or Manual for Off-Peak.

      22. Access all of your email from a single app– To add all of your different e-mail accounts (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo mail, Outlook mail, etc.) touch the icon for the red Email app and go to Settings. Then touch the ‘+’ sign and choose which account to setup.

      You can use any song as your ringtone

      23. Getting the pan image trick to work – The trick to getting the pan to browse feature to work (after you’ve enabled it under Motion settings) is to hold one of your fingers on the screen when you are zoomed in on an image. Then when you move the phone in wide sweeping motions from left to right and back you should see different parts of the photo.

      24. Use your favorite song as a ringtone – You can use any song as a ringtone for all calls, calls from an individual person, or as an alarm. Launch the stock ‘Music Player’ app and touch and hold on the song you wish to use. Then touch ‘Set as’ and choose from the available options.

      25. Upgrade your browser – The stock Browser is fine, but you should download and install Chrome and use it instead. It’s much faster and links with your computer and tablet.

      26. Buy a wireless charging doc – Most people don’t know it, but the Galaxy S III supports wireless charging. To take advantage of this feature, you’ll need to purchase a special doc from Samsung. These docs should go on sale any day now.

      27. Prevent your phone from switching to Wi-Fi – You may want to consider turning off Wi-Fi when you’re in an area with great 4G data speeds, because it will make your phone faster. The reason for this is because your phone will always use Wi-Fi when it’s available — even if it’s much slower than 4G. Since the Galaxy S III automatically turns Wi-Fi back on when you do certain things, you’ll have to go to Settings/Wi-Fi and uncheck the first option which says “Notify Me – When launching high data usage applications…” Important: You should only do this is you have a 4GB data plan, or are sure you’re under your monthly allowance.

      28. Download some great new apps – If this is your first Android phone, you should download some of the best Android apps. Here is a good list of the fifty best.

      29. Fix your auto-brightness – Your phone has an auto-brightness setting, but it doesn’t work that well. You should download Lux Auto Brightness to fix this problem. Lux automatically adjusts the brightness of your display based on your environment. When you go into a dark room and unlock your screen, Lux will automatically lower the brightness of your display to make reading more enjoyable.

      To setup Lux you need to go through their setup wizard. I suggest you leave the factory default settings as is. After you do that, you’ll need to go back and launch the app again and touch ‘Press to enable Lux.’ Lux will adjust every time you unlock your screen. If you sometimes use your tablet in a totally dark room, I suggest you go to the settings page and set ‘Night Mode’ alpha to 10.

      30. Share your screen with other devices – It’s possible to share the screen on your Samsung Galaxy S III with Samsung phones, tablets or TVs. Learn how to do this here.

      Connect your phone to any Apple speaker dock

      Connect your phone to any Apple speaker dock

      31. Connect your phone to a speaker dock – Now you can buy a cable which connects your Samsung Galaxy S III to any Apple-compatible speaker dock.

      In addition to the above tips, here are five little-known features for Your Samsung Galaxy S III that you’ll be able to appreciate after you upgrade to Android 4.1. If you’re wondering why I left out S Beam, I’ve devoted a whole post to that feature alone. Check it out.

    More Android 4.1 tips from Samsung.
    – Rick

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

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1


    Getting the Most Out of Your Samsung Galaxy S III – Part One

    Last update: December 15, 2012

    This article has had over 10,000 views. Thanks for reading it.

    Things To Do First

    You’ll need to increase the brightness to make the S III’s screen look its best

    This is the first in a three part series which will help you to get the most out of your new Samsung Galaxy S III. Let’s start with some simple things to make an already good phone — even better:

    1. Increase the screen’s brightness – Some reviewers have complained that the Galaxy S III is not as bright as other top smartphones. This is easy to fix. Go to Settings > Display > Brightness and turn ‘Automatic brightness’ off. Then, move the brightness slider to the right and press OK. The screen should now be much easier to read. I run my brightness at about 70% and battery life is still fine.
    2. Change the screen timeout – Another easy to fix annoyance is the time before the screen goes to sleep. Go to Settings > Display and change the ‘Screen timeout’ to 2 minutes. This will keep your screen awake much longer, without having much of an affect on battery life.
    3. Here is an example of a customized home screen

    4. Clean up your home screens – Every one uses their phone differently, that’s why important that you customize your home screens to meet your needs. Here are some suggestions for new Samsung users:

      a. Make shortcuts on your home screens for all of your favorite apps. To do this touch ‘Apps’ and then touch and hold an app and then drag it until it appears on the desired home screen.

      b. Create folders for different categories of apps (e.g. Games, Utilities, etc.) and move all of the related apps into those folders. If you’re not sure how to create folders, there are details below in the section called ‘Cleaning Up Your Homescreens.’

      c. Uninstall any unnecessary apps and widgets. To do this, simply touch and drag them into the trash can in the lower right-hand corner of the screen.

      d. Remove any extra home screen panels after you’ve created shortcut for all of your most-used apps. The SIII comes with seven home screen panels, but you can speed up the time it takes to get to your apps if you delete all blank home screen panels. To do this pinch the home screen with two of your fingers. Then drag any blank panels into the trash can. You can add them back later if you want to.

    5. Clean up your app locker
      a. Start by hiding all of the carrier-installed apps you don’t plan to use. To do this touch Apps and press the Settings button. Then touch ‘Hide applications.’ Touch the black box next to any app you want to hide. When you’re finished, press ‘Done’ in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
      b. Next, uninstall all of the apps you don’t plan to use. Details below.
    6. Improve your on-screen typing – If you have any problems typing on the Samsung keyboard you may need to do one of these three things:

      a. Go to ‘Language and input’ and enter words into your ‘Personal dictionary.’
      b. Customize your predictive text settings (details at the bottom on this post)
      c. If you’re still not satisfied after the above two steps, download SwiftKey 3 keyboard and use it instead of the stock Samsung keyboard.

    7. Download the drivers for your phone – If your phone doesn’t mount after you plug it into the USB port on your computer, you may need to download drivers. You can find the USB drivers for the Verizon version of the Galaxy S III here. Check the Samsung website to find the drivers for other carrier’s phones.
    8. Expand your memory – If you don’t have an extra 16 or 32GB microSD card laying around, you should purchase one, and copy all of your media to it. You can double the storage in your Galaxy S III for less than $10. This will free up valuable space on your internal memory.
    9. Replace some of your Samsung apps with stock ones – Samsung replaces many of the stock Android apps. In some cases, the replacements are better than the originals. In other cases, they are not. Here are 20 stock apps which you may want to consider.
    10. Read the manual – There is some valuable information in the Samsung Galaxy S III User’s Guide. You can view it here.
    11. Learn how to use the special features which are exclusive to this phone – The “Guided Tours” app has videos which will teach you how to use special features like one touch sharing, pop up play and more. Most of these appear in the “Additional videos” section. Even more videos can be found by searching for “Galaxy SIII” on YouTube. These tips and tricks videos are also worth watching.

    Where to Find More Great Tips?

    You can find 30 more great tips and tricks for the Samsung Galaxy S III here. If case you’re wondering why I left out S Beam, I’ve devoted a whole post to that feature.

    Cleaning Up Your Home Screens

    How to create folders

    You can no longer drag and drop and app on another to create a folder.

    1. To create a folder, click on the Menu button in the lower-left hand corner.
    2. Then touch ‘Create Folder’
    3. You should see a white folder appear on your homescreen.

    Note: Make sure you only try to do this on a homescreen that has room for the folder to appear. Otherwise it won’t work.

    How to uninstall unused apps like ‘Media Hub’

    1. Touch the Apps icon.
    2. Press the Menu button in the lower-left hand corner and touch ‘Uninstall’.
    3. Click on the red minus sign to delete an app.
    4. Confirm and press the Back button when you’re done uninstalling apps.

    Note: You can only delete certain apps. If there is no minus sign, you cannot delete them.

    This list view allows you to quickly find apps alphabetically

    How to fill in the spaces after hiding apps

    After you hide a lot of apps you’re going to see spaces where the old apps used to be. The easiest way to fix this is to follow these instructions:

    1. Touch the Settings button in the lower-left hand corner and touch ‘View Type’.
    2. Touch ‘Alphabetical grid’ or ‘Alphabetical list’ shown to the right.

    How to customize predictive text
    If you’re having problems with the keyboard inserting wrong words, you may want to disable or customize predictive text. To do this, follow these instructions:

    1. Go to Settings > Language and input > and click on the gears to the right of Samsung keyboard.
    2. Then touch the words ‘Predictive text’. next, scroll down and touch ‘My word list’ and press “+” to add non-standard words that you type often.
    3. Next, touch the trash can icon and delete any words from the list that appear to be gibberish.
    4. I found that changing the ‘Word completion point’ from 2 to 3 letters seemed to help as well.
    5. If you find ‘Word completion’ to be distracting, turn it off. If you leave it on, don’t fight it. Keep on typing even though it has picked a wrong word. Most of the time it will correct itself later.

    Tips for those upgrading from a Samsung Galaxy Nexus

    If you’re moving from an Android 4.0 phone like the Galaxy Nexus, there are some things you need to know to get the most out of your incredible new phone. Although the Galaxy SIII runs Android 4.0, there are some differences between Touchwiz and the stock Android 4.0 GUI. This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list. I’m focusing on the features that I find to be the most useful.

    Dedicated Buttons are Back

    The first thing you’ll probably notice is that there are now three buttons below the massive 4.8” screen on the Galaxy S III.

    1. The left button is a menu button which lights up when you touch anywhere below the bottom of the screen. Instead of clicking on the three dots like you can see on the galaxy Nexus screenshot below, you’ll click on the S III’s dedicated menu button.
    2. The center button is a real physical home key which does three different things: Pressing it normally takes you to your Home screen. Pressing and holding it, displays a list of recent apps. Quickly pressing it twice launches Samsung’s S Voice, which is similar to Apple’s SIRI.
    3. The right button is the back button. This works the same as it did on stock Android 4.0 phones.

    Where to Find MyApps

    Instead of viewing your apps by touching the menu button in the upper right hand corner of the Google Play app, you’ll now touch the menu in the lower left-hand corner.

    There are other differences between the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Checkout my next article to learn how to turn off 4G or capture your screen. You’ll find answers to those questions, along with twenty five more tips. If case you’re wondering why I left out S Beam, I’ve devoted an entire article to that alone. You won’t want to miss that one.

    – Rick

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

    Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1