Buying a smartphone these days usually comes down to a list of compromises. It is up to you to choose which set of compromises is more acceptable to your daily life. The decision can be difficult. Smartphone owners have to consider several factors including carrier, contract, and price just to name a few. Then, there are the phones themselves, their operating systems, and their ecosystems.
Here are lists of some of the top compromises I found when using two of the best smartphones on the market today: the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Apple iPhone 5.
Samsung Galaxy S III
- OS updates take way too long to get. As of this post, only the Sprint version has received Jelly Bean 4.1 and there is no talk of 4.2. (I am a Verizon customer)
- Screen is terrible in daylight. Worse in sunlight.
- It can be difficult to use with one hand — even a big hand.
- Serious lack of apps and games when compared to iOS. It is improving, but definitely noticeable.
- Android apps do not seem to get the same priority as their iOS counterparts.
- In my use, the Wi-Fi antenna did not get a signal in spots where the iPhone 5 did.
- No universal tap to scroll to top (it exists, but only works in select apps that support it).
- No universal audio app controls on lockscreen. Some apps have it, and some do not. The ones that do all offer a different look and functionality.
Apple iPhone 5
- The screen size is starting to feel cramped for bigger hands and older eyes.
- Lack of accessories, namely ones that are compatible with the Lightning port.
- Apple Maps still being worked on.
- Voice and data integrated on one chip means no simultaneous surfing and calling, even though LTE supports it (Verizon/Sprint).
- No quick settings toggles (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, mobile data, etc.) in the lock screen/notification dropdown.
- Lack of OS openness when compared to Android (ability to change entire keyboards with a third party like SwiftKey, choose default “open with” apps at the OS level, completely customize themes, etc.).
- No widgets.
- No removable battery.
Depending on your use and opinions, your lists of compromises may differ completely. Some things that I listed might not even be a negative to you but ultimately, I chose the iPhone 5 citing the Galaxy S III’s lack of OS updates as my main gripe. This seems to be a huge problem for any Android device that is not a Nexus. It should be addressed because it is, and will be, a major factor in holding back the Android platform.
Over all, the iPhone 5 list was the lesser of two evils for me. There really is no perfect smartphone out there. What would a perfect smartphone look like to me? Probably something called an iPhone XL that sports a 4.5″ display with a slightly more open OS and a removable battery.
What are the compromises you have made in choosing your smartphone?
My name is Vincent Guerrero. One of my main passions in life is technology. My other passions require and revolve around it. My career has been based on it. Being able to break into information technology without a formal degree was made possible and fueled by my innate curiosity in the subject and the ability to fix, test, and tinker with computers at an early age.
All of the positions I have held allowed me to and required me to maintain knowledge of the bleeding edge of technology. I feed off of this and it is a big part of what drives me every day. Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@vcg7) and say hello!