After almost 4 years, iPhone competitors are a dime a dozen, but the Apple iPhone enjoys its status as the premier smartphone in the mobile market. However, with the design of the iPhone staying mostly the same, in fact the iPhone, the iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS all had very similar designs, with the 3G and the 3GS going as far as having the same design. The release of the iPhone 4, with its new design was a welcome change by the company, but as most users will agree, the change was yet again minor. Of course, one can argue that it was an entirely new design, but the overall shape of the phone hardly changed.
Luckily for Apple, while keeping the older body to some extent, the little changes that they made were more than enough to satiate the wants of people. With its new design, the phone looked cleaner and sleeker if possible, even though it was now more prone to breakage. After using 3 variants of the iPhone, using the iPhone 4 was a refreshing change, and besides the exterior, Apple managed to bump up the internals of the phone as well. The iPhone 4 was all set to retain its crown at the top of the smartphones list, but other phone manufactures were still trying to come up with something to topple Apple from the top spot.
Every major cell phone manufacturer released a phone to directly compete with the iPhone, such was its dominance in the smartphone market. In reply, Apple released the iPhone 4S, its latest model of the iPhone. Unfortunately, Apple followed the same script while releasing the 4S as they did while releasing the 3GS, and the resultant iPhone 4S was an exact replica of the iPhone 4, albeit with much, much better hardware. Though the vast majority of the people were disappointed with the release of the 4S, it sold like all the previous models of the iPhone and remains one of the top models in the smartphone market.
It seems strange that even after 4 years of a product being on the market, there is no other product that can surpass it. This fact definitely means that the iPhone designers got something right, but keeping a similar design for more than 3 years, and then releasing 2 phones with the same design might seem to be pushing it a little. Of course, now the talk of the iPhone getting a new design and features that all other smartphones have (read removable battery, Adobe Flash, and many other features) has shifted to the iPhone 5, but then again that might just end up to be wishful thinking. Though the current model is way ahead of the competition, a new look might have pushed the sales up even further.
Now in 2012, will we finally see the iPhone 5? If the iPhone 5 looks like any of the concept pictures released in various forums, then I don't see any manufacturer being able to topple the iPhone from the top spot. That being said, it would be foolish to ignore the competition in the market now, as there are more than a few worthy handsets just waiting to be stacked up against the Cupertino giant. Let's go ahead and take a look at the reasons why the iPhone is the best phone in the market. What is it that the iPhone has that other phones don't have.
Here is a look at the flagship devices of major mobile companies and see what Apple got right that others can't hope to match.
- HTC Vivid
- Google Galaxy Nexus
- Motorola Razr
- Nokia N9
- Blackberry Torch 9850
HTC Vivid vs iPhone 4S
Released in November 2011, after the fabled iPhone 4S, the HTC Vivid was HTC's latest bid to make a phone better than the iPhone. And the Vivid is a beast of a smartphone. It features a 4.5 S-LCD screen, with a pixel density of almost 250 ppi. While this is nowhere close to Apple's 330 ppi pixel density of the iPhone 4S, it is more than enough for the huge 4.5 inch screen and the display on this device is a beauty.
The extra real estate also makes this perfect to watch videos and movies, turning the device into a stellar PMP. With 1GB of RAM supporting it, and 16GB of inbuilt memory, and the option to add more, there is nothing really missing from this phone. It also features a dual core 1.2 GHz processor, making it one of the snappier phones in the market. Comes currently with Android Gingerbread, but Ice Cream Sandwich is not far off. So what happened to the Vivid in comparison to the 4S. Once can argue that the phone is better than the iPhone, but once again it comes down to the basics.
The 4.5 inch screen, while great for watching movies and surfing, makes this phone huge. That is a major factor when buying a phone, and not many people will want to carry such a big phone around. In the specifications, both phones seem evenly matched, but the OS of the iPhone is slicker and faster. Plus with the addition of Siri, using the iPhone is even easier now. And now, after 4 years, there are people who are most comfortable using iOS and will not make the move to any other OS. If size does not matter, then the Vivid is a great buy, and while the model may not see sales as high as the 4S, it is sure to be a popular phone in the market.
Galaxy Nexus vs iPhone 4S
The much talked about phone for a while now, the Galaxy Nexus was a first for many things. To start with, it was going to debut Google's latest operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich, a.k.a. Android 4.0. It was also the first phone that featured no buttons on the front. Menu buttons would be capacitive and would change depending on the application open. It was also the first phone to feature a 720 x 1280 pixel screen, with a pixel density of about 316 ppi, making it the closest to the iPhone. Also with a screen size of 4.65 inches, this was on the bigger side compared to the iPhone's 3.5 inch screen.
A dual-core 1.2 GHz processor with 1 GB RAM helped ICS run smoothly even in the most demanding conditions. Storage started at 16GB and went up to 32GB but there was no support for extra memory via SD cards. The phone was built by Samsung for Google, and as was, like most Samsung products, sleek and good-looking. That's for the good part. While there is no bad part as such, it all depends user to user, the main drawback of the Galaxy Nexus is its battery life. Most Android phones suffer from poor battery life, and the Galaxy Nexus is no exception.
On the 4G network, a modest 14-15 hours is what you can expect from this monster of a phone. Of course, the gorgeous display makes up for this, but no battery means the display just stays off. Another compliant is the build quality of the Nexus. This is something common with most Samsung phones, if not all, as they just don't feel like the premier smartphones they are. The iPhone, on the other hand, is designed superbly, and feels solid to hold. The Galaxy Nexus feels a bit plasticky, and this is not what someone expects from a high-end phone. Another common complaint is that ICS is not as user-friendly as iOS, but that is probably due to the fact that ICS is new and iOS is almost 4 years old.
Motorola Razr vs iPhone 4S
For those who have not been following Motorola's progress, and why should they, there have been no groundbreaking products from this company for a while now, will be surprised to see a comparison of the 4S with the Razr. The ages old Razr was the moniker for Motorola's clamshell phones, and though they were one of the best clamshells at the time, they are just not in the same book as the iPhone. So what is a Razr doing here.
Well, Motorola has decided that the Razr does not have to be a clamshell and the latest Razr is anything but that. Also known as the Droid HD, the Razr is a beast of a phone, coming it at 4.3 inches on the screen size meter. A super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen covers most of its front, reaching a pixel density of 256 ppi. This too features a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor with 1 GB RAM, but features the older Android Gingerbread operating system. 16GB of memory is included, and a card slot is present should you need more. With its good looks and above average tech specs, this is one of the better phones from the Motorola stables, and should do well.
Unfortunately, Motorola has not been consistent with launching stellar devices, and this might make people look to other companies like Samsung and HTC, who have a huge range of above average phones. In today's world brand image play a very important role and sadly, Motorola lacks this feature.
Nokia N9 vs iPhone 4S
Nokia's answer to the iPhone. Yet again. Certainly by far Nokia's best handset. Running on a whole new OS, Meego, the N9 is one of the best looking handsets in the market by far. A minimalist design, supported by some bold colors and a unique look and operating system make this a refreshing phone to use.
The N9, like the Galaxy Nexus features no buttons on the front, with most of the front being taken up by its gorgeous 3.9 inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen. This makes the 3.9 inch screen look bigger than it is, thanks to no space being wasted on a row of buttons at the bottom. This is also one of the reasons that it is included in this comparison, and not the Lumia, which is the same phone with a windows OS. The windows OS requires capacitive buttons, and this makes the screen smaller. Though the phone features only a 1GHz processor with 1 GB RAM, it is smooth and there is no lag or unresponsiveness felt while using the phone. The only phone that can match the 4S in storage capacity, with 64GB models available.
Unfortunately, as soon as Nokia released the phone, they made a transition to Windows Mobile as their choice of preferred platform or OS, and this left the N9 doomed. With barely any apps and games being developed for the phone, the N9 sits way being any other phone. With the right development and support, this could have been the perfect phone to test the mighty iPhone, but unfortunately Nokia decided to abandon its most promising phone, yet again. If you are looking for something different from the iPhones and Android devices out there, do give this a try.
Blackberry Torch 9850 vs iPhone 4S
Blackberry's reply to the iPhone 4S. While Blackberry was mostly known for business phones, they have catered to the rising demand for multimedia and entertainment phones, and have recently launched a plethora of phones in the entertainment-cum-business category. For Blackberry users, this is something that they were looking forward to from a while now, and with the launch of these phones, RIM has shown that they can compete with the best. The Torch 9850 is one of the many models they have released in the recent past, and this phone features a 3.7 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen, with an optical trackpad for navigation.
All Blackberry features remain present in the phone, with only the keypad being absent. Though Blackberry was known for its stellar keypad, the touch version of the phone is not bad at all, and though users might take a while to adapt to this change, it is for the better. A 1.2 GHz single-core processor powers this phone, and it has 786 MB RAM to support it. With its newest OS 7, the Torch 9850 is a worthy phone, but like all Blackberries it tens to lose out to the iPhone based on the fact that at the core it remains a business oriented phone. While it is a good device for business users, casual users would do good to give this a miss.
There surely must be a few phones that may have been missed out in this list. Samsung has been compared and thus its Note is missing, as is the Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S and Rhyme. The point is not to compare every phone with the 4S, but just to take a few good phones and see why they didn't sell as much as Apple did and why the iPhone is the best of them all. The basic point that we keep coming back to seems to stem from the ease of use, to something different from the other manufacturers.
Apple's OS is totally different and no other manufacturer has come close to emulating it at all. The rest of the phones all have common OSes that have either been borrowed or customized for the particular phone, which makes it lose a bit of appeal. This is a major factor that sets Apple apart from the crowd. Apple has also provided lots of applications and games for the iPhone, via its App Store, which is again much better than what others can provide.
The gaming capabilities, the multimedia capabilities, and the overall ease of use of the phone has made this the runaway success that it is today. And having used a plethora of touchscreen phones (all the above) I will have to say that the iPhone's capacitive screen remains a notch above the rest.
Another major factor that promotes the iPhone sales is that most games and apps are released first for the iPhone, and then for Android and other OSes. This means that iPhone users get to experience these apps first, which makes a huge difference to the end-user. Also, as developers design apps for iOS first, the resulting apps look way better on the iPhone than on any other phone. These little things make this phone the great phone that it seems to be today. So are we saying that the other phones compared here are not up to the task of matching up to the great iPhone? No, not by a long shot.
In fact, some of the phones today do surpass it. But the fact that Apple makes it easy for users to use their smartphone is a big part of the iPhone success story. With the introduction of Siri in the 4S, using the phone is even easier now. All in all, the fact remains that iOS is a better operating system (although now stale in its 5th year) and all the other OSes are simply trying to catch up. This in a nutshell is why the iPhone is the best phone even today.
In conclusion, it must be pointed out that with so many manufactures trying to get out new and better phones, it is only a matter of time till someone finds the right combination, and gets a phone out that will trump the iPhone in every aspect. The design for the new iPhone 5, if it is indeed being made, will have to be made keeping this in mind, else we may see a shift of iPhone users to other phones.
The above phones have been described keeping in mind the average user. Specific users who are looking for specific functions or features in their phones will have to read the entire reviews of the respective phone before purchasing.