Ten... Androids to outshine the iPhone 4S
The smart (phone) choice
Product Round-up Yes folks, it’s that time again when across the land otherwise rational and even sensible adults feel the need to whip themselves into a frenzy over the pending arrival of the latest iPhone.
To be honest, I find the whole charade rather entertaining and have taken to sauntering over to the Trafford Centre come launch day, grabbing a cup of coffee and a sticky bun, pulling up a chair and making fun of the twerps lined up outside the Apple Store opposite.
Yes, I know it’s wrong, but just like laughing at Daily Mail readers or at anyone who voted Liberal Democrat in the last general election, I simply can’t help it.
With Android devices now outselling iOS phones by two-to-one there are many, many alternatives if you want a good smartphone with access to a shed-load of apps but don’t want to take the Apple shilling.
So here are ten of the best Android-powered alternatives. In case you're wondering why I've avoided any of the recent 3D phones like HTC’s Evo 3D or LG’s Optimus 3D, that would be because it’s a stupid technology bereft of point or purpose.
Remember, if none of these handsets put their hands up your dress, the next few months we will see the arrival of Samsung’s phenomenal 5.3in Galaxy Note; Sony Ericsson’s 1.4GHz powerhouse the Xperia S; Google’s Android 4.0-packing Nexus Prime; and LG’s LU6200 with its 4.5in, 1280 x 720 IPS screen. Choice - by gum, it’s a wonderful thing.
Acer Iconia Smart
I was beginning to think that the massive Iconia Smart would never make it to UK but thanks to the grey import market it has, and at a pretty decent price too - £395 unlocked and Sim-free. The lack of an official UK release reflects the ever quickening pace of Android evolution - what looked cutting edge in February 2011 is merely OK eight months down the line.
The trade-off for the sheer enormity of the Iconia - at 142 x 65 x 14mm “big” doesn’t even start to describe it - is the screen, which, at 4.8in and 1024 x 480, is vast and impressive. Look at a web page or watch a widescreen video on the Iconia and you won’t want to go back to whatever it was you were using before.
But despite weighing a hefty 185g, the internals are frankly not that impressive: a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU with 512MB of Ram and the same of Rom. On the plus side, you get a mini HDMI port, 8GB of internal file storage, an 8Mp camera at the back and a 2Mp one at the front. But it’s really all about the screen, where size does matter.
Reg Rating 75%
More Info Expansys
HTC Sensation Beats XE
The epitome of the new Android super-phones, this latest turbo-charged version of HTC’s already impressive Sensation is inbound complete with trick sound processing courtesy of a tie-up with Dr. Dre’s Beats Audio outfit, plus a dual-core CPU running at 1.5GHz rather than the standard Sensation's 1.2 and an extra 210mAh of battery capacity.
Draped over Android is HTC’s ever improving and altogether excellent Sense 3.0 interface, which really does give Android the final degree of visual and tactile polish to make it more satisfying than anything Apple has cooked up to date. As a way of tying your contacts and social network together Sense is without equal.
The serious CPU is matched by a serious screen and though the 4.3in, 540 x 960 LCD panel isn’t quite as glorious to behold as the Samsung Galaxy S II’s OLED display, that’s a bit like saying you’d rather date Beyoncé than Rihanna because she has the slightly better singing voice. You really are going to be happy with either.
Reg Rating 90%
More Info HTC
Next page: LG Optimus 2X
"we need a word for the people who hate all things Apple"
Sane, rational, commonsensical, realist, pragmatist, intelligent... there are many more I reckon.
Let the downvotes commence...
"To be honest, I find the whole charade rather entertaining and have taken to sauntering over to the Trafford Centre come launch day, grabbing a cup of coffee and a sticky bun, pulling up a chair and making fun of the twerps lined up outside the Apple Store opposite."
Queuing is a bit sad but going out of your way to watch people queuing - that's a whole new level.
You can't actually see the Apple store from a coffee shop in the Trafford Center (the gf works there so I'm more familiar with that temple to consumerism than I really want to be) so I think that's a statement for effect rather than a literal truth.
Every time there is an Apple launch you will see local hacks or news crews taking pics etc and I guess the Reg's man goes along for the same reason.
It's still a fair comment though, I walked past that same store on the day of the iPad2 launch and the saw the queue and my only thought was "cretins". I mean seriously what kind of grown man stands in line to buy a gadget?
I stood in line at an HMV to buy the Joshua Tree LP many moons ago but I was only 14 at the time!
Interesting article - not sure they are all iPhone 4S beaters per se, but there are some very decent phones there. Moved away from 3 years of iPhone (3g and 3gs) use 3-4 months ago to android and the Galaxy S2, and couldn't be happier.
I moved after some spectacular fails on the part of Apple service (I got robbed on the iStore and they utterly failed to do anything about it - refused to reverse the transactions, refused to even say whether or not they'd help the police in a trivial prosecution, and avoided answering any question, instead using boilerplate text designed to get me to go away).
My first iPhone (3g) had suffered a hardware failure after 15 months forcing me into another iPhone (3gs) contract (particularly if I wanted to retrieve my contact data and not pay another £120 unwanted airtime), and when the glass screen of the new one cracked the apple shop wanted to replace it for a 'very generous' refurbished phone price of £249. The internet provided me with the solution to that for £13 and about 20 minutes of my time with a hair dryer.
I loved the iPhone and iOS a lot and recognised that (from the 3g onwards) it was a real game changer. My early adopter friends with android were singing it's praises and so I periodically got to play with their phones. In my own opinion the UI overtook iOS about 18 months ago, and when my contract expired I moved over to android.
It took me a weekend to de-iTunes my computer (re-encoding my music to normal formats - not entirely necessary - but cathartic), a couple of abortive efforts to buy a 32gb class 10 microsd card from eBay for small money proved annoying, but easily resolved by moving to class 4 (there's only music on there so it was irrelevant). After that it was plain sailing - I bought the Galaxy S2 outright, sold off the old 3gs, moved to giffgaff, and will have repaid the TCO difference within 10 months - so I'm no longer trapped to a contract after a phone has run out of warranty, and if giffgaff ever give me trouble I'll immediately move, at a loss of, at most, a tenner. It also has a 3 year accident and spills warranty purchased for £49 via Amazon - considerably cheaper, longer lasting and wider ranging than Apple's warranty offering. If you have the initial cost of the phone available it's something of a no-brainer to stay out of a contract.
Android isn't entirely perfect - the native music player's shoddy and pod-casting is handled poorly generally, but the market place solved those pretty cheaply. I've had no problems with the market place and, since android outsells iOS 3-1 (approx) at the moment, there are more than enough apps (usually free) to keep me happy, and I suspect that won't change. I also invested another tenner in a couple of spare (Samsung branded) batteries and a wall charger for them, meaning my phone never needs to be tethered to the wall for any length of time. I'd love the android phone community to place a sufficient capacitor in their next generation of phones to make the batteries hot-swappable.
I can't speak for the other phones but have to say the Samsung Galaxy S2 is far and away (for it's time) the best phone I've ever owned (including my old beloved SE T28). After a few months it's never felt flimsy (a complaint I often see bandied about it) and always felt light with plenty of screen space for not much bulk.
I also can't believe that Apple seems to be getting away with claiming it's twice as fast for internet because they finally support hsdpa. That's some brass neck.
Cheers for reading this far - I hope that was an honest depiction of how a former fanboi found happiness elsewhere... I still have lots of friends who rave about their iPhones and more power to them, but I reckon I've found the greener grass.
Boxster Syndrome? Oh bless.
You really think that spending an extra hundred quid on a phone is in any way comparable to spending an extra forty or fifty grand on a car? Really?
Apple products are quite often lovely, but to imagine that buying them marks you out as a big shot is hilarious. It's the technodweeb equivalent of bragging about how much you paid for your Adidas sneakers.