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Alternative Technology and Renewable Energy can be great fun and very rewarding, especially if done at home. On this blog I share my ideas and tips for mainly simple and inexpensive alternative technology projects.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nexus One vs iPhone 4 Comparison

I am a big fan of smartphones and currently own both of the above phones, to see for myself the advantages and disadvantages of them. I first bought the Nexus One and was always pretty happy with it, after owning a Samsung Galaxy Android, which was hopeless, as Samsung gave up supporting it withing 3 months of launch. This made me nervous of Android, but I trusted Google to support the Nexus properly and for the most part, was not disappointed. After about 9 months of using the Nexus, I finally succumbed to temptation and bought an iPhone 4 to see what all the fuss was about? My intention was to sell whichever phone I decided I didn't like.

The big advantage of the iPhone is that operation is really straightforward and intuitive. It just works and gets on with the job. The Nexus is much more of a geek's phone and often needs a bit of tweaking to get the settings just right. For instance, the iPhone does not allow you to change sound notifications for things like email, whereas the Nexus allows a different notification for each email account.

Another Nexus win is the ability to set different profiles for times of the day, so that you can reduce the ringing volume while at work, but leave email notifications to alert you. The iPhone only has a manual all or nothing silence switch.

The Nexus, with the Froyo update, now has Flash animation, allowing display of the many websites using Flash. The iPhone doesn't support Flash at all, but the BBC iPlayer website is displayed OK.

My Nexus sometimes freezes up with an incoming call, preventing the call from being answered! The iPhone does not suffer from this and simply works reliably as a phone should. I am hopeful that the new Gingerbread update from Google should address this intermittent shortcoming.

Both phones allowed me to play my music library, via Bluetooth, through my Toyota Auris sound system. A bit fiddly to set up, but worth the effort. Both phones support Spotify Mobile and this too can be played into the car's audio. Unfortunately the track titles are not displayed
on the car's video screen, but that may come if Toyota update the software/hardware in the car.

Text messaging and MMS is just great on either phone. An Android app called Handcent enables an iPhone like speech bubble display on the Nexus. For a service provider, I use giffgaff, which is an O2 based MVNO that is way cheaper than anyone else and free data as well! Both handsets require the settings for this network operator to be entered manually.

Call quality is excellent on either phone, with adequate volume over earpiece or speaker. The iPhone has the edge on speaker quality though and this is more apparent on music. The iPhone suffers from the signal strength issues, when held tightly in the left hand, but to be fair, the Nexus has similar issues, which don't seem to get the bad press that the iPhone suffers from. My own investigations found that most mobile phones suffer from impaired signal if held in a certain way. This is pretty well unavoidable with the built in antennas on modern phones.

The Nexus has many Widgets which allow continuously updated information to be presented on the home screen. I find the news and weather widget on my Nexus to be really useful. The iPhone can display news and weather, but you have to open an app to see it.

Battery life is a serious issue in both phones. If you use email, Facebook and Twitter on your phone, this does use up the battery much faster than on standby. I have just got used to this and carry a charge cable with me, if I am going to be away from home for more than a day. The workaround is to disable the power hungry apps if you are going to be away from power sources. Until battery technology improves further, or we accept much larger phones, we are stuck with this problem.

The screen display on the iPhone is definitely better than the Nexus, having better resolution, but the Nexus screen is slightly bigger. I prefer the feel of the Nexus. It is a smoother design than the iPhone, which looks a little boxy to me. The Nexus is more comfortable in the hand and the pocket. Operating speed is very fast on either phone. They both make a Nokia seem archaic!

The iPhone has a front facing camera which is great when using the video calling facility. A shame that it only works through wifi though. Camera performance is better on the iPhone, as it manages to focus on close ups with no problem. The Nexus is poor at this unless you can flood the subject with plenty of extra light.

Data storage on the Nexus is more user friendly, as you can fit a MicroSD card of the size you prefer. The iPhone is limited to the size of the internal memory that you specified when you bought it. The Nexus supports drag and drop file transfer, while the iPhone requires the rather clunky iTunes to be installed on your home PC. Many of the limitations of the iPhone can be overcome by jailbreaking it, but this has warranty issues and is not supported by Apple. The Nexus is much more configurable by the user, as the Android operating system is open source and allows much tinkering.

The GPS implementation on the iPhone seems much faster than the Nexus. A position fix takes no time at all. whereas the Nexus takes its time sometimes. The Nexus only uses the GPS as required. The iPhone appears to use it all the time you have an app open that requires it.

The iPhone has the Apple standard connector on the bottom and this must be used every time the phone is charged. The Nexus has a similar connector, but also a unique docking system that uses gold plated pins, so the connector doesn't get hammered too much. Both phones have aftermarket cables available, but the iPhone has more choice with all the cheap Chinese copies!

In conclusion, I think that either phone will suit the busy requirements of today's smartphone user very well, but if you like to tinker with the settings of a phone, with the freedom, flexibility and customisation that can give, then choose the Nexus One. If you just want to switch on and go, then it must be the iPhone, if you're prepared to bear the, not inconsiderable, cost.....

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At 4:55 pm, Anonymous Tony said...

Excellent, an actual users review as opposed to a magazine test !

Interesting how the results are almost identical to comparing a PC with a Mac. We have both in our house hold and as a PC user for many years I'm always very impressed with the reliability and the end result with apple products. My wife can edit video, create picture albums, e mail, surf, etc etc...whilst I'm still waiting for the pc to finish booting up and completing the virus scan. The mac is slowly winning the race here.

As for the i phone, I again impressive. The screen is amazing and Face time is brilliant, so I think we will have 2 iphones before long !

At 1:14 pm, Anonymous Solar Panels said...

I have just got one of those solar chargers for the smartphones. I have just used it on the way to london on the train and it has fully charge my IPhone :)

At 7:05 am, Blogger dndinfotainment p said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:53 am, Blogger mahasiswa teladan said...

hi..Im student from Informatics engineering, this article is very informative, thanks for sharing :)


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