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A comparison of the iPhone 4 and the HTC ONE or iOS6 v Android4.2

Published on 18th September 2013

I’ve just upgraded my old iPhone 4 after 3 years to a HTC ONE Android phone. I felt I should try Android and the iPhone 5 looked a little under whelming so I have given it a go. So here are my first impressions after 3 weeks with the HTC ONE.
For perspective I’m a 50 something male business owner. My main requirements for a smart phone are calls, email (5 accounts), texts, calendar, music, and podcasts. I do a little social and surfing, as well as occasional photos and the use of maps. I have a fair few apps installed but rarely use them.

Things I like about the HTC ONE and Android:

HTC ONE black
  1. The back button in the bottom left, I love this!
  2. Speed (although it is an HTC ONE v iPhone4 so perhaps unfair as a comparison).
  3. Being able to open URLs in Chrome.
  4. Screen shortcut panel or icons to manage WIFi and Bluetooth.
  5. Car mode, this really is excellent. Although the only way to auto switch this feature on in your car is by purchasing the HTC car kit (expensive) which as a “special” connection on the power lead which has to be plugged into the phone. Come on HTC, make this available on a normal car power lead please! What if you have a case over your phone, the phone won’t go in the holder so you have to remove it every time you get in your car!
  6. Navigation app, far better than Apple Maps, but then what isn’t.
  7. Big hi res screen.
  8. Volume of ear piece and built in speakers.
  9. Design.
  10. Speed dial.
  11. The ability to set off peak hour notifications.
  12. The brightness sensor actually works unlike the iPhone.
  13. Pictures are sorted by folder name. iPhone put all pictures into the top folder so you can’t find what you want without resorting all your picture for the sake of Apple.
  14. Can upload to Dropbox and others, not limited to iCloud.
  15. 32GB storage.
  16. Double tap home button to see all the open Apps
  17. Pattern unlock
  18. Turn over to silence, although who has their phone on the table in a meeting? This is more for effect as turning the iPhone onto silent is a simple hardware switch.
  19. Great camera, front and rear.
  20. Quieten ring on pickup and pocket mode.
  21. Polaris Office with Dropbox integration.

UPDATE FOR iOS 7 
Number 4 ,11 and 16 have now been addressed.
Number 10 can be addressed with Favourites.
Still playing with the new system…

Things I don’t like about the HTC ONE and Android:

iPhone4
  1. Wake up / Power button on top with a very poor feel about it, particularly under a cover.
  2. Wake up and unlock requires 2 hands, just not easy to use, particularly as the phone is so big. No easy to get to home button.
  3. When I get an email or text it does not appear on the screen if the phone screen isn’t on. I managed to get this working for a short while but it still only showed me one email not a list, but for some reason it’s just stopped working. I’ve tinkered with the settings and it’s still not working. Basically you just get a sound then you have to power up the screen to see what has arrived. There may be an App for this but I’ve searched and can’t find one. The iPhone has always shown all the emails in a scrollable list and you can slide any email to go straight to it which I use every day. The Motorola have something similar on their new Motorola X and it’s called Active Display.
  4. My text auto fill seems to have switched to French, really odd. I can’t find how to switch it back which is very annoying.
  5. Vibrate is violent. Could do with a low setting.
  6. No silent mode hardware switch, I really miss this. You can’t turn the sound off in your pocket without getting it out.
  7. Syncing.
  8. I had to purchase a $30 piece of software to sync my contacts from Outlook. Really??? And when you close the sync window on your computer it opens a pointless app window on screen so you have to shut it twice. Really poor usability Mr Android-Sync, you know who you are.
  9. HTC Sync has never worked and I still can’t get it to do so. The FILES and MORE buttons are greyed out meaning I can’t do very much at all. It has for friends phones but not for me.
  10. I’ve had to purchase Podcast software and frankly it’s poor and clunky. There is free stuff but it’s full of adverts. Shouldn’t this be in the operating system? I want to subscribe and auto sync when on WiFi.
  11. I appreciate iTunes isn’t perfect but compared to using 4 different systems, including manually copying music over, it is perfect.
  12. To get decent battery life the phone turns off 3G when in idle. I can’t prove this but emails don’t seem to be collected on a 15 minute schedule and I wonder if this is part of the problem.
  13. Slide down notifications tells you everything. I only want to know what I am interested in, emails, texts, missed calls, voice mail. I don’t want to know it synced 30 minutes ago.
  14. It feels like the phone body will easily scratch so really needs a cover. Just a feeling but in 3 years I’ve never had a cover for the iPhone 4 and it’s in near perfect condition.
  15. The lowest volume setting is still fairly loud.
  16. I bought the HTC black cover with the red lining. It felt cheap and insecure and for £20 I expected better. Used it once and removed it.

CONCLUSION

I appreciate this is a very personal set of opinions and criteria, however it’s really hard to review a phone without using it for a week or so but of course you can’t do this, so some of these details might help you decide if either operating systems are right for you as excepting the home button and silent switch on the iPhone the rest is software.  I will be downloading iOS7 over the next few days and I’m hoping some of the good stuff listed about will show up in this release.

  • Ease of use and convenience are the most important things I require from my phone so I’m sad to say I’ve gone back to my iPhone4 and sold the HTC ONE, it was just too hard. I am now looking at the iPhone 5s which although extortionately priced looks really interesting. It’s over £130 more for the 32GB version than the HTC ONE which is crazy, but over 3 years of life it’s livable with. Also the residual value of my iPhone 4 is £130-£150 so I have to assume the 5s will keep a good percentage of residual value.
  • In day to day use for my personal requirements, and I appreciate we are all different, the HTC One is just too big. A big screen is great for viewing but in my hand it feels cumbersome and awkward. The surface felt scratchable so a cover was important making the phone even bigger. I just have a screen and back protector on the iPhone and after 3 years it’s still mint.
  • I hate the fact Android stops displaying emails as unread (a number sits beside the mail icon) once you’ve opened the inbox. Although the emails are still unread and marked as such in the inbox the mail icon stops showing a number, it only shows how many emails have arrived since you last opened the mailbox.
  • Blinkfeed. The jury I still out. For this to be effective as a tool I will have to cut down on my Facebook and Twitter follows to get less but better quality traffic.
  • PC synchronisation. This was really poor but I might have just missed something so I won’t be too harsh.
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