If you’re a longtime iPhone user who’s been agonizing over whether to jump ship and get an Android phone, this month could bring the tipping point.
Not one but two highly-anticipated — and maybe even the best ever — Android phones are hitting the market this month: The Samsung Galaxy S 4, which is coming out the end of April; and the HTC One, which was released today for AT&T, and Sprint. Both will start at around $200 with a two-year contract.
After six years with the iPhone, I’ve already decided that I’m going to drop it and get one of those two, likely the HTC One.
I’ve been playing with the HTC One for more than a week for a review (coming out next week), but the phone has already convinced me that either it or the Galaxy S 4 are going to be superior than anything Apple will introduce for the next iteration of the iPhone this fall.
For one, the latest and best rumors are that the iPhone 5S or 6 or whatever it will be called will likely have the same screen and form factor as the current iPhone 5. Only the software will change with new features.
But for the last few years, the one feature I’ve clamored for most in an iPhone was a larger screen. It finally came with the iPhone 5, but it grew from 3.5 inches diagonally to a measly 4 inches. Meanwhile, Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy series and the Motorola Droids have grown to 4.5 inches and more.
My full review will explain all the pros and cons of the new HTC One in depth, but here’s a brief list of why I’m finally hopping the fence to Team Android:
Screen • Why is a bigger screen important? Jokes about my aging eyesight aside, it’s much better for watching video, playing games and other multimedia features because everything looks brighter, more colorful and with more detail.
The HTC One boasts a 4.7-inch screen (the Galaxy S 4’s will be 5 inches) which is about perfect for a mobile phone. It’s not too big, like the Samsung Note II’s hilariously large 5.5-inch screen, but big enough that you can see photos and text much more clearly than on the iPhone. It’s also not so big that you can’t navigate through the interface with one hand.
But the best thing about both the HTC One and the Galaxy S 4 is their higher resolution, packing more pixels per inch than any other phone out there. The result is pictures and text that look more like a glossy magazine page, more so than the iPhone’s Retina Display.
Sound • The HTC One has an incredible set of speakers. It’s the only phone I know of with twin stereo speakers. And it uses Dr. Dre’s "Beats" technology found in his line of headphones to help boost the sound with additional powered amplifiers. The Galaxy S 4 lacks that feature.
Features • In the last year, Google and Android handset manufacturers like Samsung, HTC have come up with nifty software features you can’t find in an iPhone.
For example, I like the facial recognition technology built into the Android operating system that allows you to unlock your phone by just looking into the camera. The HTC One has a nice "highlight reel" feature with its camera that takes a day’s worth of video and pictures and automatically edits them into a 30-second highlight video that you can email to friends.
The Galaxy S 4 also has new features coming, including the ability to pause a video when you look away from the screen or record an audio clip to go with a photo. If you have more than one Galaxy S 4 in one place, you also can sync them together wirelessly and use them to play back music in stereo surround.
Camera • The one category that Apple’s iPhone has always led has been the quality of its camera. It may not have the most megapixels — a standard that is more a marketing ploy than something with actual value — but the iPhone has always delivered the best pictures. Until now.
I haven’t had a chance to test the Galaxy S 4’s camera yet, but the HTC One’s camera is at least as good, and in some cases, better than the iPhone’s, especially in lower light.
I haven’t used the Samsung Galaxy S 4 yet, but I hope to review it for you later this month. But I’ve already decided that I’m going to dump the iPhone. It’s now just a question of which of these two Android powerhouses I’m going to get.
If you’ve been straddling the fence too, this is the time to make a choice.
If you have a tech question for Vince, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he’ll try to answer it for his column in The Salt Lake Tribune or on its website. For an archive of past columns, go to www.sltrib.com/topics/ohmytech.
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