Out of the four person family in our home we have the latest and greatest in each flavor of the ‘power’ smartphone items. The oldest has the Android Galaxy S3, a Droid Stratosphere for the missus since it’s an easier OS and includes a keyboard, and finally the Motorola Droid 4 also with keyboard for the man of the house. (me)
The youngest (19) got the iPhone 5 today. When comparing it to the Androids it’s important to note that the iPhone line has always had its own unique qualities however I’d like to first point a few of the downsides.
Firstly, when it comes to durability, it’s been tested like this youtube video here:
Which proves you can drop kick any of the Droids and the screen and phone will not break nearly as easily as the iPhone. That said, there was also a problem with the 4g network on certain carriers of the iPhone that will not allow you to send data over the line while you are on a call.
This is a known issue on multiple service providers and ultimately will not be a deal breaker for most. It’s not too often you want to send a text or email document to someone at the same time you are talking to them. Note that this function does still work on the iPhone 4 S.
On the forefront for positive technical details on the iPhone 5 and another news shocker is that you can switch your iPhone 5 from Verizon to AT&T by changing out the sim chip. It’s not locked to one carrier which is an unusual oddity not found on any Droid or previous iPhone.
When it comes to choosing a hi-tech gadget and comparing against a close second, it can be difficult if not impossible and it generally is best to do the hands on kind of research your decision making fingers feel most comfortable with. The iPhone 5 is actually a slight bit bigger than most had expected as well so from an ergonomic standpoint this might or might not be what you were hoping for. (Same is a deal breaker for me when it came to the Galaxy S3 versus my Motorola 4).
Gottabemobile’s blog states: “There are quite a few differences between the two devices as you can see. First and foremost, the Droid 4′s display is a tad bigger than the screen found on the iPhone 4S. While the Droid 4′s display measures 4-inches in size, Apple’s iPhone possesses the usual 3.5-inch display. The difference is noticeable but both screen sizes fall into the sweet spot for most smartphone buyers.”
They also mention the already well known fact that Droid’s camera basically is never going to come nearly as close to quality photos (yes) that the iPhone series has had since the beginning.
The iPhone 4S and the Motorola Droid 4 run two different operating systems. Apple’s smartphone is powered by the companies iOS 5 operating system which was released along with the phone back in October of 2011.
Motorola’s Droid 4 uses Google’s Android Gingerbread 2.3.6 operating system, an OS that is actually older than the current version of Android which is Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
The differences and similarities of the two could be debated until the end of time so instead, we’ll focus on some of the unique features found on each.
Starting with the Motorola Droid 4, there are a few applications that Motorola has packed on here that many will enjoy. They include:
- QuickOffice: Can be used to open up most Office documents so that you can edit your content on-the-go. Great for those who commute to work every day or for the college student whose laptop dies in class.
- MotoCast: MotoCast allows you to access files stored on your home computer, even when you’re not at home.
- Smart Actions: This unique feature allows you to change settings and take action based on your location. (I use it to mute sounds if i’m at home after 10pm or in the office at any time for example.)
The iPhone 4S employs Apple’s latest mobile software, iOS 5. The software introduced quite a bit of change when it arrived last year and probably the biggest change was the introduction of Siri, a personal assistant unique to the iPhone 4S. Siri has been one of the biggest selling points for the iPhone 4S and deservedly so. Expect Apple to update Siri with even more capabilities as time goes on.
In addition, both the iPhone 4S and the Droid 4 take advantage of app marketplaces.
When it comes to pricing: Prior to the release of the Motorola Droid 4, Verizon had been charging a $299.99 premium for its 4G LTE smartphones. Its top of line smartphones.
However, with the arrival of both the LG Spectrum and now the Droid 4, that policy is no longer the norm.
The Motorola Droid 4 comes in one size, 16GB, for one carrier, Verizon. It’s going to cost you $199.99 with the signing of a new two year contract.
Of course, unless you shell out $650 for the phone off-contract, you’ll have to sign a contract which will require you to fork over monthly fees.
If you’re currently grandfathered into a Verizon unlimited data plan, you’ll be able to keep that and keep paying what you normally do. However, if you’re new to Verizon, you’ll have to sign up for a tiered data plan.
The carrier currently has three options:
- 2GB for $30
- 5GB for $50
- 10GB for $80
If you act fast, Verizon currently has a deal for 4G LTE smartphones wherein if you sign up for a new contract, you’ll get double the data. So:
- Current: 2GB/mo for $30 After Promo: 4GB/mo for $30
- Current: 5GB/mo for $50 After Promo: 10GB/mo for $50
- Current: 10GB/mo for $80 After Promo: 20GB/mo for $80
That offer won’t last forever so you’ll want to check it out sooner rather than later.
As for the iPhone 4S, it comes in three different flavors: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. All three cost the same at the carriers that offer the iPhone 4S here in the United States. Pricing is as follows:
- $199 for 16GB
- $299 for 32GB
- $399 for 64GB
Or, if you want to snag it off contract, Apple sells an unlocked version of the iPhone 4S. The prices are more expensive, obviously, and look like this:
- $649 for 16GB
- $749 for 32GB
- $849 for 64GB
Bottom line is, if you want more storage, you’re going to have to pay for it. And if you don’t want to sign a contract, well, you’re going to have to pay a lot.
Now, let’s move on to the data plans that each carrier offers for the iPhone 4S.
Each offers something a little different.
- Lowest price: $54.99/month ($1319.76 over 2 years) – $39.99 for 450 minutes + $15 for 200MB of Data and pay as you go texting.
- Highest price: $134.99/month ($3239.76 over 2 years) – $69.99 unlimited minutes + $20 unlimited text + $45 for 4GB Data
- Lowest price: $79.99/month ($1919.76 over 2 years) – 450 minutes, unlimited messaging, unlimited data.
- Highest price: $109.99/month ($2639.76 over 2 years) – Unlimited everything.
- Lowest Price: $69.99/month ($1679.76 over 2 years) – $39.99 Talk + $30 2GB Data and pay as you go texting.
- Highest Price: $169.99/month ($4079.76 over 2 years) – $69.99 Talk + $20 Text + $80 10GB Data
- Lowest Price: $50/month ($1200 over 2 years) – Infinite Data + Messaging, 500 Minutes
- Highest Price: $100/month ($2400 over 2 years) – Infinite Streaming, Data & Messaging
C-Spire offers the cheapest pricing here but it’s a regional carrier. Out of the major three, AT&T offers the cheapest pricing but, like Verizon, requires you to sign up for tiered data with a new data plan.
Sprint is the only major U.S. carrier that allows you to pair an iPhone 4S with unlimited data on a new contract.
Instead of saying one is actually better than the other, as the comparisons could go on for quite awhile the decision is going to come down to whichever phone you feel most comfortable using on a daily basis.
However, there are some specific things that we can pull from each phone that might make a decision an easier one to make.
The Droid 4 might be for you if:
- You want a physical keyboard
- You need 4G data speeds
- You want to be able to easily customize your device
And, the iPhone 5 might be for you if:
- You want a phone that’s easy to use
- You want extremely stable battery life
- You love using the camera on your phone