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10/5/2011
05:38 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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iPhone Vs Android: It's The Sum, Not The Specs

Anyone who believes that specs make the smartphone hasn't been paying attention to what really matters.

You can count me among the many people who were disappointed with Tuesday's iPhone 4S reveal. Yes, I wanted the iPhone 4S--or iPhone 5--to have a larger screen and a refreshed design. I suppose 4G would have been great, too. But that didn't happen, and multitudes of iPhone fans felt let down.

Before the Apple press conference had ended, fanboyism began to run rampant across the Internet. You could hear the smug tone of superiority in the voices of those who prefer other platforms and devices, in Web forums, comment threads, and on Twitter.

What were most iPhone 4S bashers picking on? The specs and the "stolen" features (as if Android didn't "steal" plenty from the iPhone first).

[The underwhelming iPhone launch may be a good thing. Learn why: Got An iPhone Hangover?]

People picked on the iPhone 4S's small screen, same-old design, lack of WiMax and LTE, and gobs of other specs. Charts, graphs, and tablets sprang across the Web showing how all the specs line up between the iPhone 4S and the myriad other smartphones out there. The Galaxy S II has a bigger screen, the LG Optimus LTE has a bigger HD screen and LTE 4G, the Nokia N8's camera has a better f-stop rating than the iPhone 4S's, and on and on and on.

Gimme a break.

Comparing individual specs between smartphones is like opening up the hood of a Ford Mustang and the hood of a BMW M3 and pointing out why one is better than the other based on its innards. The Mustang's engine displacement alone doesn't make the Mustang better than the M3, any more than the M3's suspension alone doesn't make the M3 better than the Mustang. The point I am driving at is that smartphones are not just a collection of specs. They have to be judged as a whole, not by individual parts. A 1.5-GHz dual-core processor might be fast as hell, but if it is paired with a low-end camera chip, mid-range display, and clunky hardware, what exactly is better about it?

I've tested nearly every smartphone sold by the U.S. wireless network operators over the last 10 years. I can tell you definitively that even phones with the best specs in the world end up lacking something, somewhere.

The tens of millions of people who've bought iPhones didn't buy them for the specs, they bought them because the iPhone does what they need it to, or what they want it to. The same can be said for any platform or device. People buy BlackBerrys because they handle email the way they want it to; people buy Android phones because they like the flexibility and large hardware selection; people buy Windows Phone devices because they're risk-takers (wink, wink; nudge, nudge).

The bottom line here is that we can argue specs all day, but it isn't going to get us anywhere. Sure, plenty of phones have better specs than the iPhone 4S, just as the iPhone 4S outclasses the competition in other ways.

Don't buy a phone--any phone--just because it has decent specs. Buy a phone that does what you need it to, when you need it to, and does it well.

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MTHORN000
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MTHORN000,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/20/2011 | 5:38:23 PM
re: iPhone Vs Android: It's The Sum, Not The Specs
Nice analogy with the cars. Both great and was going to get the BMW but the dealer found out I was heterosexual so Mustang it is....
ANON1244594108572
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ANON1244594108572,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/12/2011 | 7:08:44 PM
re: iPhone Vs Android: It's The Sum, Not The Specs
here are some extremely enlightening links for those who think the marketing term "4G" means something... or the 1.2 ghz of competing Android phones... notice none of them are even slightly close to the speed of an iPhone4s...

http://venturebeat.com/2011/10...

and a quote from this link:

"The speech-recognition capabilities are vastly better than on any other mobile device. The camera is much improved, not just in specs but in ease of use. And though the phone runs over 3G, or third-generation, data networks, itGÇÖs faster than some phones that are being marketed as 4G."

http://www.businessweek.com/ne...

and another quote from this link below where you will find that every 4G phone experiences the same sort of thing, fast in a few areas, slow in many others.. yet the iPhone is 3G and beating some 4G phones, along with overall performance.. (50 random places) the iPhone4s will have download speeds the same or better than any Single Android phone, no matter the network in 50 random places in the US.

"Though the 4S isn't labeled as a 4G phone, and the Verizon and Sprint models can't use those carriers' 4G networks, the AT&T model, in my tests, achieved 4G speeds in areas where AT&T has deployed its 4G network.
In numerous tests at three different locations in the Washington suburbs, I averaged download speeds of nearly 7 megabits per secondGÇöbetter than in prior tests on Sprint and T-Mobile 4G phones. By contrast, a colleague's tests of the Verizon version of the iPhone 4S yielded average download speeds of less than 1 mbps."

http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com...
ArtyS
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ArtyS,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/9/2011 | 1:54:28 AM
re: iPhone Vs Android: It's The Sum, Not The Specs
I say they need to just put a radio in the iPad and discontinue the iPhone. But they need to up the screen size to at least 13 inches first.
deasys
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deasys,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/8/2011 | 5:42:08 PM
re: iPhone Vs Android: It's The Sum, Not The Specs
The iPhone 4S is as "4G" as any other phone claiming to be "4G".

By the way, why a 4" screen? Wouldn't a 4.25" screen be better? How about a 5" screen?
ArtyS
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ArtyS,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/8/2011 | 4:22:30 PM
re: iPhone Vs Android: It's The Sum, Not The Specs
Oh, and yeah... 4G is currently a bunch of malarkey. When I turn on "4G", even though it shows a super strong signal and everything (I live pretty close to the towers), the 4G ends up being SLOWER than 3G, yet it drains my battery at 4G speeds. Or it just crashes my phone altogether and I end up with nothing.
ArtyS
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ArtyS,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/8/2011 | 4:19:40 PM
re: iPhone Vs Android: It's The Sum, Not The Specs
This man, and the author of the article, hit the nail directly on the head. I've purchased Android phones over the years thinking "Yeah, this'll DEFINITELY be better than that stupid iPhone! Suck it, Apple!"

Boy, was I ever wrong. The specs were awesome on paper, but ended up disappointing me to a point of despair every single time. My Samsung Epic has all kinds of neat specs, but my friend's iPhone 3GS blows it out of the water in every single way. Even battery life. Even the screen looks better. It's faster, but most of all, beyond ANYTHING else-

IT DOESN'T CRASH. Holy CRAP did my Android phones ever crash! ALL THE TIME!!! Deleting random phone numbers (WTF?!), making ghost calls for fun, turning off for no good reason, etc. And this wasn't just one phone, all three phones did this. All three phones, each by a different company, each with different versions of Android (1.5- 2.3).

I truly believe that anyone who makes the argument of specs being more important than the total sum is someone that has already lost their argument.
lbowdish490
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lbowdish490,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/8/2011 | 4:11:31 PM
re: iPhone Vs Android: It's The Sum, Not The Specs
LTE, 4G,all sound good. I live in Kalamazoo. We just got 3G. I frequently travel to places where I am lucky to get EDGE. You folks with all those cute acronyms must not get out of SFO.
It is the sum of the experience, not just the specs.
I fully agree. Someday we'll all have LightSpeeds LTE. Of course, airplanes will crash because it interferes with the GPS.
ttlens
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ttlens,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/8/2011 | 4:00:17 PM
re: iPhone Vs Android: It's The Sum, Not The Specs
The car analogy is fine but most of you seem to have it backwards.

The M3 is a killer car from the get-go, the ultimate driving machine in one package. That description fits the iPhone very well.

The Mustang on the other hand is a very basic car that needs to be tweaked and tuned if it is going to have any hope at all at keeping up with an M3 (except in a straight-line). That's Android.

People who want the "ultimate driving machine" (and can afford it) buy an M3. Those who want to tinker (or who can't afford the M3) buy the Mustang.
chuck08
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chuck08,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/8/2011 | 3:49:50 PM
re: iPhone Vs Android: It's The Sum, Not The Specs
Talk about rationalizing!

The iPhone 4 (S or no S) has become quite dated. Their competitor are developing at 2-3 times the speed, and most people here that are rationalizing, are comparing with what they saw 2 years ago. Your argument is good ... in 2009.

I moved from iPhone to Evo 4G and recently to Sprint's version of Samsung Galaxy S2. Never will I go back to iPhone. Here are MY reasons:

Hardware:
- Screen size. After using 4.3" and now 4.5", I will never downgrade screen size again.
- 4G: This is a MUST for me. You can't beat speed! I think Apple's soft push of 14 Mbps as new speed of 4S is not beyong misleading. To try to use "theoretical" max speeds as some benchmark, and equating it to 4G speeds, borders on dishonesty. The Galaxy's "theoretical' 3G speed is 21 Mbps (we are not even talking the 4G radio), but who cares. What matter is average speeds, and you can't beat 4G.

On the plus side, 4S finally updated the camera. So, this is great.

Software:
- Customization: Once you gets used to change things to suit you, you just won't give it up. As a user, this is mostly related to having the different home screens the way I want them.
- Custom keyboard (maybe can be merged with customization bullet): After a coupel of trial, I was 2 times faster typing on a phone than with conventional "pecking" keyboards.
- Voice actions: a phone is used lot when on the run, and what i like in the Android OS is that i can do anything with voice, anywhere. So, when driving, no need to type anything.
On the plus side, iOS is trying to catch up in this area.
- Flash: Whatever any Apple fan keep saying, Flash is still all over the web, and will be for years to come (forget about movies, all other interactive flash items). I want to access them when I want to. I don't want to ARTIFICIALLY prevent from that.
TComments
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TComments,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/8/2011 | 3:53:01 AM
re: iPhone Vs Android: It's The Sum, Not The Specs
"...Don't buy a phone--any phone--just because it has decent specs. Buy a phone that does what you need it to, when you need it to, and does it well."

Based on that criteria there would be very few smart phones sold. These are consumer products and consumer products are rarely driven by 'need'. It is about preception of the 'whole product' (read the book "Crossing the Chasm")

iPods made music more portable than a walkman, but iTunes made it easy to buy music for consumers. iTunes also made it easy to buy applications for iPods, then iPhones. iTunes is what separates iPods, iPhones and iPads from the rest. iTunes does not distinguish Mac OS vs Windows OS, so Macs are still way behind Windows sales.
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