• What colour is the grass? Android through the eyes of an Apple User: Part II

    Since our resident Apple Affectionado Ray finished his write up about Android from the eyes of an Apple user, he got an iPhone 4s. Since he was going from a 4 to a 4s I thought it was a good time for him to compare it with a Samsung Galaxy S III. An iPhone 5 comparo will come at a later date when my nano SIM card adapters show up.

    In case you didn't read the first article Ray is a huge Apple fan, Apple stickers, all Apple products, at home, that sort of thing. It's not that Ray doesn't like non-Apple products, it's just that he's always used Apple products and been happy with them. That said, Ray is not a non-Apple hater. Let's see what he thinks about the Galaxy S III

    I heard from a co-worker that there was a promotion at my workplace for an Employee Purchase Plans from Telus: 16GB iPhone 4S or 16GB Galaxy S3 for $0 on a 3-yr contract. Both can use the same voice/data plan at $50/mth. The co-worker opted for the iPhone and commented that Samsung isn't in the same league as Apple. And of course, the conversation drifted into that lawsuit and then about how crappy Rogers reception is in the office. But, after a week with Samsung, I understand why Apple needed to do something about the competition.
    I'm a Mac, You're a PC

    My first computer was an 8088 with dual 5.25" floppy drives. When I turned it on, the monochrome screen displayed "a:>" with a flashing cursor. It did nothing until you threw in a disk and typed in commands. After reading the manual for MS-DOS, I figured out how to play "Leisure Suit Larry" and print an essay. I discovered that the command "format" had other parameters and this "paradigm" served me well into the future of Windows and even Unix. In my view, the PC world is about options and flexibility but the learning curve is steep. But once you're comfortable with that computing environment, you can tap into more of the horsepower available to you.

    The Galaxy S3 was my second experience with Android and I found the Samsung version had a better process-flow than HTC. Accessing common functions was simple but what is surprising is the more straight-forward approach to customization. The best example is Widgets. My PC side was excited to see this, and my Mac side started to shed tears. Why? Because I find the iPhone to "task-switch" more so than "multi-task"… and I'd think that iOS is stable enough to do more than listen to music and read emails. What impressed people the most was showing them an HD movie playing in the foreground while pulling up webpages in the background. Because my origins are PC, I felt comfortable with Android. I already had a foundation that reached for more and more options and customization. I liked the "cool" factor and was driven to push the hardware to the limits with mkv bluray files.


    It is not easy to get media onto the S3 from a Mac. Once I figured out how to use a free program, it was full steam ahead. It was liberating to throw almost every video file type on to the S3. Even dragging music directly from iTunes was a blast. Ironically, the easiest method to get content onto the phone was through Dropbox from my desktop and letting the cloud do its thing despite it taking longer.

    Most iPhone users will find this "workaround" annoying and ask, "Why can't I just use iTunes since everything is there already?" Let's face it, if you can simply connect the phone and iTunes pops up to do its thing, that's just too easy. But the counter argument here is the MicroSD card slot on the S3 -- Apple simply doesn't have a response to that flexibility.


    To quote Lightning McQueen, "I am speed." My first experience with the LTE network was one that astonished and disappointed me. I'm certain everybody that's done a SpeedTest on LTE has loved seeing the dial max out while simultaneously questioned why their home ISP is "so slow". Remember the situation I explained above where both the 4S and S3 were $0? LTE capability on the S3 would sell me without question. And its important now because of how much content we push and pull from the cloud.

    This difference is very noticeable on the iPhone especially if you're using iCloud as much as I am. Will LTE eventually bog down as more and more phones use that network? My guess is "yes" but I'm confident carriers will have solutions to keep the throttle going.


    On the HTC, I noted that the absence of a physical button on the face of the phone was frustrating. Samsung has a nice "home" button but I have to complain about the volume and sleep buttons on either side. For my little Asian hands, I found that the positioning had me sleeping the phone when I was trying to adjust the volume. I could complain about the volume "button(s)" all day. I'd suggest to Samsung to mimic the iPhone's separate buttons for + and -.

    What I did observe a number of times was a lag after hitting the home button. When I didn't get the instant response I expected, I would hit the button again and this inadvertently brings up the voice command feature. I'm sure others would have an explanation for this and I wouldn't be surprised if it came down to the user.


    Everybody that I showed the phone to were astonished at the size and clarity of the display. Showing a scene from Police Academy not only drew laughs but questions about how long the battery would last showing movies at the highest brightness setting. But I did not find the display favorable outdoors in sunlight: side by side, I give the edge to the iPhone. For example, the default colour scheme for email was terrible and should be higher contrast like on iOS.

    Ironically, I had a better experience at night with the adaptive backlighting on the Samsung compared to the iPhone. And I'm going to include a commendation for the S3's camera. The larger display was greatly appreciated when taking clips and made me feel like Canon was ripping me off with the tiny screen on my digital Elph. And once again, the theme of multiple settings available to the user is fantastic. However, low light performance on this camera suffered considerably. I was expecting high amounts of noise but focusing was horrible compared to the iPhone… and most already know how poor the latter is in low light.

    Paper or Plastic?

    I'm referring to the hardware here and hands down, the iPhone feels more solid. Sort of like that feeling when you close the door of a Lexus compared to any Saturn. I did check out that youtube video where both phones were dropped at different altitudes but I think a protective case is more the norm nowadays. I didn't find that the "solid" feel was a substantial factor in choosing the phone but I have a feeling that over time, the Samsung's plastic will wear off and look more worn than the iPhone.

    Bells & Whistles

    My week with the Samsung uncovered a list of cool features that caused me to ask Siri, "Why don't you have some of these?" Unfortunately, Apple's got money in marketing and advertising on TV shows like "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" that place Samsung in the shadows. To add insult to injury, three trips to retail outlets proved that sales associates don't have the product knowledge to let the Samsung shine. What I think is missing from this common comparison is how the OS utilizes the hardware. From my perspective, Apple is not taking advantage of the hardware in the iPhone. The clearest (no pun intended) example is how the Samsung uses the front camera.

    At the end of the day…

    There is enough of a case to migrate iPhone users to the S3. Unless you are really integrating iCloud into your smartphone life, you should make the move to Samsung. I am convinced that you will see the two phones in different arenas with the iPhone playing catch up. Will I still say the same with an iPhone 5 review? Stay tuned...

    Sent from my iPhone
    This article was originally published in forum thread: What colour is the grass? Android through the eyes of an Apple User: Part II started by howard View original post
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. GoreD's Avatar
      GoreD -
      I think someone should just make an iPhone S3 for the best of both worlds because this is tearing me in two.
    1. nzoka's Avatar
      nzoka -
      GoreD interesting thought. But no reputable manufacturer would want to be sued from the US and South Korea, so it is left to manufacturers in the countries that copy designs without any problems and get away with it (you know which country).
    1. xtachx's Avatar
      xtachx -
      What I did observe a number of times was a lag after hitting the home button. When I didn't get the instant response I expected,
      This is because the phone waits to see if there is a double tap for S-Voice. Just disable S-Voice activation with home key and it should not lag at all.