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Monday, December 28, 2015

Enough Talk: How to Decide Between iPhone and Android

These days, buying a smartphone is a lot like buying a car. They’ll get you from point A to B, often with a similar price, performance, mileage and so on. They’re likely to have similar perks at a comparable price, like Bluetooth or GPS.

That’s true of smartphones, too. Every modern smartphone does the basics: They’ve got high-speed Internet, they run apps and play movies, they take pretty good pictures and videos, and for the most part, every major feature on an Apple device has an equivalent feature on an Android phone. For example, mobile payments: There’s Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Wallet.

So which is better, iPhone or Android? Should you buy Google’s newest Nexus over an Apple iPhone 6S? In the iPhone vs Android match it really just comes down to one simple difference: preference. Which feels best in your hands, iPhone or Android? The right phone depends more on you than it does on the phone. (Android fans do, however, often have the luxury of getting new stuff first).

How do you figure out which cell is right for you? Start with your top preference—say, a great camera—and whittle your way down the specs list. Let’s take a general look at their features.

Login:
iPhone’s TouchID fingerprint sensor makes bypassing the lock screen a breeze. Some Android phones have a similar feature, while other Androids have a “Smart Lock” tool that uses face recognition or location to sidestep the lock screen, though it’s a less secure option than the iPhone TouchID.

Contacts and Making a Call:
Android’s contacts are much easier to navigate, and with its large photos it’s much easier to find who you’re looking for. The iPhone automatically connects with Facebook and other social networks to populate your contacts’ photos, while most Android phones require a separate app for that. Favorite contacts are organized much better in Android—they are smartly laid out according to the people you contact most. Though iPhone’s FaceTime is an awesome feature.

Taking a Photo or Video:
There are terrific Android cameras, and there are terrible Android cameras, while the iPhone’s camera is consistently great. However, managing photos is a much better experience in Android. Google Photos gives you free storage, while Apple’s iCloud is a work in progress.

Notifications:
iPhone’s active notifications let you respond from within the notification without opening the app—something Android lacks. With Android, you can set which notifications have “priority,” automatically sending them to the top of the list, and minimizing less important messages. Android notifications can also be cleared with a single swipe.

Music:
Android offers an excellent music-play app with Goggle Play Music, which gives a large list of free, ad-supported music. While Apple Music isn’t free, it integrates seamlessly with your iTunes downloads.

Talk to Phone:
Android’s voice “assistant” works offline, and types as you talk. However, Siri understands natural language a bit better than Android, and has a fun personality.

Typing and Sending Texts and Messages:
Apple recently began displaying lowercase letters on its iPhone keyboard when you’re not using capital letters. Android’s stock keyboard offers more options, including swipe gestures and punctuation on the same screen as the letters.

Android’s default Messenger app is well designed and perfectly serviceable. The iMessage lets you send free texts and voice messaged to other Apple customers—even from your Mac. Google Hangouts lets you combine texts and Hangouts messages in a single app, and send them from your computer if you have a Google Voice account.

So when you’re looking for your next phone, let the “Rule of Feel” guide your decision.