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back to article Apple iPhone 4 vs... the rest

2010: it's a wrap The iPhone has been the smartphone to beat since, well, since it was first launched in 2007 - doesn’t that seem a very long time ago now? In the intervening years, it’s gained what some would consider smartphone essentials - 3G network access, cut'n'paste, third-party apps - and it’s changed its look a …

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FAIL

iTunes

The writer needs to emphasize the iPhones main problem - its constant desire to make love to iTunes.

A 'smart' phone isnt that clever when it needs a PC/Mac to operate every 5mins.

Going from an iPhone to an android it was great plugging my phone into ANY computer to copy files over. Updates done over the air and no stupid stupid locked to a single iTunes install. At least the app store for iPhone works over the air. Oh and bluetooth file transfer - very poor to omit. But as you know its Steves way or the highway.

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why

I sync to my desktop maybe once every 4-6 weeks. My contacts are synced in the cloud, as is my e-mail, I buy all my music and apps from the phone itself, and I play video over WiFi and over the web via VLC or Orb. The only reason to sync periodically is to move what I've bought into the PC (which could be downloaded again free anyway if i lost/broke the device), and to load new firmware.

iTunes manages my play-lists through dynamic controls, so all I have to do is either rate it, or set the genre of the artist/song, and its put into an appropriate play-list (or not). I hardly touch it at all.

Sure, on PCs iTunes is a bit slow, especially on cheap hard drives, but it it NOT the code, its NTFS itself that is the issue. They could fix the performance easily, but that would require what everyone objects to: a dedicated and proprietary database, and album art loaded only on demand. If you mount an NTFS volume to a Mac, migrate your iTunes folder contents and music to that volume, and try to run it, you'll see very similar drops in performance.

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FAIL

iTunes - why?

iTunes is one major bugbear of mine. Why should I need to have a separate app to put music onto my device. It is, at the end of the day, a USB storage device. I should be able to just drag and drop the music into a folder on the device from an OS built-in file manager. I don't want to have an app to manage my music, I'm more than capable of doing it myself. Plus 99% of my work is in an OS other than winblows or OSX, for which there is no iTunes available.

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WTF?

Thank goodness for apple!!?

"The iPhone’s menu grid of icons has the double advantage of being both attractive and practical. It’s been largely copied by Rim's BlackBerry OS and Google's Android"

Thank goodness apple came along and told us to arrange our icons in a grid, before then we were struggling away trying to arrange them in spiral's & allsorts of shapes, where would we be without apples innovative genius eh....

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Bronze badge
Pint

Think you missed the point

It's not Apple you need to vent at, it's the fawning Fanboys, they're the ones banging on about how great Apple are. If simply watch you will see Apple says very little, it's the blessed holy choir of the Church of Jobs, that come up with most of the daft statements.

Me, I have a knackered 2 year old Samsung. iPhone is just too much, I want a phone to make calls and the send the odd SMS, don't even need a camera or play games.

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iPhone status symbol

A few toilet cleaners in my office have iPhones. The ordinary people couldn't careless how technically advanced other phones are, they only ever hear from their mates about iPhones.

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FAIL

Same old, same old ....

... apart from the glaring omission of a score for the HTC Desire.

And may I say that IMO there can be no comparison in quality of materials and manufacture between a Galaxy S and a Desire.

My Desire, which I've had since the Spring and lives a hard life, doesn't have a mark on it - unlike my iPod Touch, my partner's 3GS and the Galaxy I saw in the Orange shop at the weekend.

I admit it, I'm an HTC junkie. If the keyboard was as good as the IPhone it would just about be perfect (for me).

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Silver badge

I like my HTC Desire but it's not perfect

I love Android to bits and I find Sense a tolerable addition but the phone still has quite a few annoyances.

Biggest physical issue is the screen which is virtually illegible in daylight. The application memory is also way too tight and if you install a few large apps you run out of space. That's even with Android 2.2 and an SD card.

Biggest annoyance in software is the Phone screen which "helpfully" fills up with your last dialed numbers and contacts. I've made accidental calls countless times because of this. It needs to be configurable so contacts are put on another screen or initially hidden to avoid accidents.

Other annoyances are not being able to organise / rename wifi hotspots, occasional times where the phone rings just as you touch the screen and doesn't protect you from inadvertently hanging up (it should glasspane buttons for .5s to stop rogue touches), inability to toggle the phone into a handsfree mode (I mean for multiple calls), godawful voice recognition (Google's fault), occasional times where system goes a bit wonky and needs a reboot, and an overzealousness to rebrand Android apps with functionally identical Sense apps for no good reason.

Despite the faults the HTC Desire is still an excellent phone and there are numerous reasons to favour the OS too. I just hope that Android starts offering skinnable themes and UIs so Samsung, HTC et al don't feel so compelled to gut the default apps for no good reason.

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iPhone is the benchmark?

How come in the scores at the bottom it gets 75%, joint bottom of the pile of those reviewed...

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Unhappy

Title

To repeat the above; why has Reg not reviewed the HTC Desire HD yet?

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WTF?

Darn close?

Sorry, but my N95 did what the iPhone does now...don't you mean that other manufacturers are downgrading their devices to match the iPhone. As far as I can see the only advantage Apple has is serious consumer lock-in and lack of openness. To be honest, I find the iPhone's UI awkward to work with as well...and I don't need "farting" apps either...

Could someone tell me what the iPhone *can do* that is different to Nokia, Samsung, Ericsson, Motorolla etc?

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This post has been deleted by its author

Not again...

> Could someone tell me what the iPhone *can do* that is different to Nokia, Samsung, Ericsson, Motorolla etc?

It is not what it does, it is how is does it. As an N95 enthusiast then I think your 'awkwardness' with iOS might have a lot to do with what you have got used to rather than anything Apple is doing wrong with regards to usability.

If you have convinced yourself Apple's ONLY advantages are lock-in and lack of openness then you are never going to be convinced by any argument I or anyone else makes. There are so many ingredients which have gone into making iPhone a critical and commercial success.

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Flamebait

Wow, I hope the moderatrix has cleared her diary for today, this article is the best example of trolling flamebait I have read in a while - no HTC mentioned, begins with the line "In the meantime, its rivals have been playing catch-up, and some of them are getting pretty darn close" but yet scores the android phones higher than the iPhone - surely that means they are better than "pretty darn close"?

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Desire

I got the desire when it first came out to replace my beloved N95. My honest opinion of the phone is that as a pocket computer it is lovely. I read books, watch films, play games and browse the internet on it hapily. As a phone it totally and utterly sucks ass. The volume, at maximum is a joke. the speaker quality is awful. It locks after every call, so i have to unlock it to carry on using it. The screen goes dark so I can't disconnect a call when i want to. the bluetooth swings between tempramental to useless. the default on screen keyboards are all rubbish. the sms don't send half the time even though i have full signal. the predictive text choices are ridiculous. I could go on much more. I would never and will never buy an apple product, but how i wish Nokia had got their act together sooner so i wasn't saddled with this thing for the next year.

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Silver badge

Re: Desire

Re the Nokia comments, I really couldn't agree more. They weren't beaten, they threw the game.

I made the mistake of moving from my reliable N95 to the N97, and after over 10 years of loyal Nokia ownership I feel about as valued as a Catholic priest in a children's home. Customer service just isn't in their dictionary. They fail to admit faults even when they have dozens of threads in their forums screaming "The camera lens cover scratches the camera", "The GPS won't lock" etc etc. The give away free turn by turn navigation, which is nice, but useless for anything other than walking as it's always 30 seconds behind where you are! Try navigating motorway exits and residential turnings with that kind of lag and you'll quickly get very annoyed at the voice saying "recalculating route".

The N8 may be a great phone, but I'm sorry I have no confidence in Nokia's after-market service (I suspect it's single, empty, cubical in Finland), so I'll be off looking at a possible HTC devil I don't know in preference to the one I do.

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iPhone 75%? Did I see right?

Mmmm ... I am not an iPhone fan, and even I would have given it more ... but then again, I guess it is more a case of *losing points* with antennagate and the stupid slippery 'bar-of-soap' glass design etc.

The bottom line is there are hang of a lot of good smartphones around catering for different tastes, the Suit (Blackberry), the Playboy Exec (iPhone), the Trendite (iPhone), the Mobile Junkie (Androids), the Techie (Androids) ... the Teen Texter (Blackberry?) ...

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Something we can agree on

To be honest I htink it is a bit of a joke iPhone 4 scored equal points to the Torch and the N8.

In terms of platform and software there is a night and day difference.

I know saying that about the N8 will upset Symbian people, I have a Symbian phone. The platform is might look stronger on a specs sheet, but in terms of real world usability and developer support it is lacking. Sorry.

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Do me a favour...

Even my crappy Symbian phone had 3g and cut'n'paste[sic] with third party apps in 2007. I always thought of the iPhone to be the one that was lacking and lagging behind.

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The shame

Good article, though you barely touched the X10 and never even mentioned the massive processing power with the snapdragon.

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No Windows Phone?

And Windows Phone simply doesn't exist? It may not have sold huge amounts, but to ignore it completely in a year-end roundup is perverse...

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Anonymous Coward

c r a p

"....its rivals have been playing catch-up, and some of them are getting pretty darn close."

Yet again reg hacks talk boloolx. "darn close" to what exactely?

Apart from being a show off bit of kit for those feeble of mind, its a phone! Thats it. The weak are suckered in by the millions of "apps", 98% of which are a load of crap. When will people learn not to give any value to advertising?

Lets also remember that the android platform is selling faster than iphone, perhaps because your not going to a "tagged" as a bit thick or gullible if seen using one.

Lets stop the crap, were all not stupid enough to believe the hype.

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2% of 200,000 is...

"The weak are suckered in by the millions of "apps", 98% of which are a load of crap."

Did you mean to say that 2% of iPhone apps are great? With 200k apps, that would be... 4,000 great apps. Sounds about right!

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just a phone?

NO, it's a SMARTPHONE. Anyone looking for "just a phone" buys "just a phone" and skips the $200 up front cost and $30 dataplan. People buy smartphones because they can do with one device what otherwise required both a phone and PDA (which even with blu- tooth never really talked on the same page) and often a laptop too.

As far as number of minutes of use, My smartphone is used 10:1 for apps vs calls. Maybe I'm a bit odd, only using 400-500 minutes per month average on it, but I'm on it several hours a day either browsing, reading, emailing, playing games, or communicating in some other way, and I'm not even counting playing music 6-8 hours a day, or using it as a GPS.

Android WAS selling faster, for 1 quarter. iPhone took the lead again, and it's still sold in only 60 worldwide markets to Androids 92, and there are free android phones available, BOGO offers, and more. A large number of these sales are carriers pushing the device, not customers asking for it. (go on, ask a Verizon rep for a "smartphone" and see if they recommend blackberry...). This is changing however, as they'll be pushing Windows Mobile 7 instead, since Microsoft is bending over and offering what the carriers want (locked devices, closed ecosystem, and they don't have to support the phone directly). In a year, no carrier who offers one or both of iOS and WP7 will push android, and there will be no special deals on that platform.

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As of October...

...that was actually 300,000 apps. so about 6,000 great apps. I can't name 600 for the Windows platform.

Also note, The Apple app store launched in July 2008, Android only 3 months and 2 weeks later in October 2008. Apple has 300,000 apps, Google 100,000. Apple did not have a massive head start here, less than 15 weeks. Still, 3 times the number of apps, and the lions share (80+%) of money exchanged for apps by users. Devs like it there; very low platform fragmentation, easy to use interface, low startup costs, limited hardware versions to test against, nice emulator, good pricing policies, and more viable users.

Even if android had twice the devices in the field (which it does not), the number of people who can buy a specific app in the android store would still be more limited, smaller and smaller for the higher quality of the app. Many games run exclusively on the most cutting edge devices, which is a very small pool. More over, those games may sell great now, but in 6-9 months, those devices likely won;t be running the newer version of Android that new games are being developed on, and may never be upgraded to support them. Its both a small and short lived client pool, expensive to code for (3-5 times the man hours costs if you ask most companies), and has far lower profit potential on top.

GREAT apps and very modern games are coming to iOS in droves, and every one of those dev teams keeps saying "Android is on the back burner, maybe we'll suppoty it one day but it;s not ready for us yet."

Carriers are pushing the devices because of a lack of alternatives, but WP7 is going to get a lot of marketing money, and Apple keeps adding carriers and expiring exclusivity deals. If you want to play games and have the best cutting edge apps, iOS is where the money is, and that's were the devs will be. The larger this disparity gets, the harder the Android commitment becomes. The more people disgruntled by manufacturers failing to upgrade their devices making the latest android aps available to them, the more people that will never buy another device from that company. This is a cycle either Google needs to step in and stop, cold, or the platform will die.

...and I like Android, and am considering a tablet as soon as 3.0 comes out.

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Thumb Up

HTC Touch HD2

Over a year old, but with Android on it, and it's perfect! And cheap!

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Streak - Hahaha. Funny.

As an iPhone user I'd really like a nice comparison with the competition but your score of 80% for the Dell STREAK of all things, vs 75% for the iPhone 4 tells me that surely, you're joking.

Dell has sold what, 5 streaks since it was introduced? Even from the most positive reviews, it was obvious a huge FAIL from the onset. There really isn't an Android phone that's as obviously a turd as is the Streak.

So please come again with the review. Why the iPhone 4 gets only 75% is a mystery to me. I love it, and so do 95% of all owners. The camera in particular is so good that people are often surprised that all my pictures are taken with it - not to mention the plethora of amazing Lomo camera add-ons. Hipstamatic and the even better-yet-free Pudding Camera for example.

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Paris Hilton

Objective Testing Please

What happened to the "which phone makes you most attractive to the opposite sex" test?

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Happy

Re: Objective Testing Please

Not all of us want to be attractive to the **opposite** sex!

How about "which phone makes you most sexually attractive" ?

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Pint

This should be fun...

...can someone pass the natchos?

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IT Angle

All phones should be judged on the 6310i scale

Still the best.

<IT? icon as Apple products are fashion items>

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One thing missing from the review: GAMES!

Personally the iPhone is the only device for me at the moment because I'm a gamer. There's so much gaming variety these days and while the touch screen is a poor substitute for a joypad, any game not designed by an idiot will come with a perfectly workable substitute interface- just check out Mirror's Edge to see the simple beauty of having four directional swipes to do everything you need.

With Plants vs Zombies, Infinity Blade, Street Fighter IV, Phoenix Wright, DoDonPachi Resurrection, Espgaluda 2, Tetris, Rock Band, Doom, C&C Red Alert, Resident Evil 4, Dead Rising, Ridge Racer, etc there's a vast range of very well made titles that are all great fun to play. The damn thing never leaves my side these days, I love it so much.

Note to Apple-haters, I'm not a fanboy, I just go where the games are. I wouldn't want an OSX desktop/laptop machine- all the games are on Windows! If Google can start to attract the same level of game support to Android it will become a much more attractive platform, especially now it has Flash. The only problem I see with games on Android is the level of software and hardware fragmentation, which could make it hard to design games that work on all devices.

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IT Angle

N95

I also had an N95. The point is not that the N95 could do all that an iPhone can, nor all that a HTC Desire or Galaxy S can, the point is that the N95 was an ergonomic nightmare to use. yes, it could do loads of things, but it was such a palaver to do any of them that I was pleased to upgrade it to a phone which was actually pleasant to use (HTC Hero) .

IMO this is where a lot of the phone manufacturers are going wrong. They are all about tick lists of features and not about make the phone a delight to use. Apple has a very good handle on this. HTC has a very good handle on this. I am due an upgrade so I'm looking at the market and so many of the phones out there still have ugly, confused, unintuitive UIs and there is absolutely no excuse fort that these days.

I want my phone to USE not to bark on about its got this app or that feature or this CPU or some nebulous reason its "the best". The best phone for me is the one which makes it easiest and quickest and "funnest" to achieve what I want to do, which is basically send texts, check emails, check web, listen to music, make a phone call, etc.

I don't care about the brand and I'm not even committed to an OS. I like HTC because I've had great backup and great customer service from them as a consumer and also we use their phones at work. Pro/Anti Apple/Microsoft is just plain sad. Who cares? What does it do for me, thats what matters.

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Anonymous Coward

You know a 'phone's got chav appeal

When Argos launch an app to allow you to check stock and reserve Elizabeth Duke jewellery, now, farkin nice chunky gold chain n sovs anyone?

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Heart

<3 WebOS

Good to see the mention of the Pre 2, I thought little WebOS was all but forgotten. The interface is brilliant --- my two cents.

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It's a pity that....

Vodafone's customer call centre is advising its customers that you shouldn't keep iPhones in your pocket as the perspiration from you body can cause water damage to the phone. And yes they actually said that. I wonder if Apple knows this is going on?

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Boffin

Icons vs Widgets

Odd thing about iOS screens is that the icons are capable of being stateful widgets; the calendar icon also changes date to show the day, the mail icon shows the number of unread messages etc.

They could easily do a release at any stage to allow other icons to change (i.e. for the weather icon to show current weather), but I suspect this is one of those strict Apple UI issues; they want the home screen to be consistent with icons that are always recognisable and the same rather than showing more information.

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They're half way there

Note that the way the mail icon shows the unread message count ("badges" in iOS speak) is available to all apps, and many use it for showing unchecked/unread notifications, eg Facebook updates, IM messages etc. CalToDo uses it to show the number of uncompleted tasks.

I agree it's a shame that the built-in Weather app doesn't change its icon like the Calendar app icon does, and that this method doesn't seem to be available to third-party apps.

Any developers out there who can confirm whether or not this is the case?

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Anonymous Coward

HTC

Think im going to stick to my HTC HD2, it runs Windows Mobile 6.5, latest cutting edge android and faster than original devices, Windows Phone 7 is in the pipe line. Depending my mood i can use either (soon all) i tend to use WM6.5 for work and driving/climbing and Android socially and with kids

Win win really, why choose one platform when you can have most of them!

xda-developers, bringing hope to HTC devices!

ok ok, i dont work for them but seriously, if you have a HTC device check them out, some good deeds have been done there keeping phones uptodate

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FAIL

Objective?

This is not the first time the Reg cannot keep its usual standard. Dell is better than iPhone? No HTC?

In term of progress, I must admit that Apple still goes forward (just horribly slow). Google doesn't make a phone, but their choice of partner would suggest they went backward on hardware selection (compare Nexus S to Nexus One). Nokia has moved forward a little with its latest N8.

MS has to decide what they want to do first. They wanted to copy Apple which will ultimately fail if they go down this road. No one can beat Apple in its target market. Apple is not a company, or brand, it is a religion. However, there is no reason why MS cannot beat Google.

The clear weakness of Android platform is Google didn't set a standard. The result is too many broken implementation of Android, which ultimately will bite Google back. I really hope Google can fix the problem in future by introduce some kind of certification. eg. To qualify as Android certified device, no 3rd party modification may limit users' ability to upgrade core Android OS software directly from Google.

MS should:

1. really support developers, seriously.

2. stopping act like Apple, sorry, control freak

3. keep a good standard on hardware requirement

4. and allow freedom on user app/UI level, but keeps the OS level control (3rd party cannot stop user from download/receive update from MS directly)

5. last, but not least, throw out iTune, sorry what the crapware name again?

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Droid vs iOS

Personally I think on terms of useability the two OS' are on pretty level pegging. I don't believe that iOS gives you anything particularly special these days and on terms of the hardware there are devices out there with better kit than you get inside the iphone 4.

If it's a toss-up between the iphone 4 and a technically superior device with android on it for about the same price (which quite frankly it is in a lot of cases now), I'd side with the droid phone.

Of course, some people will vote this post down because I prefer something other than their beloved apple device, but this is based on personal experience and preference. What works for me doesn't necessarily work for another person.

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Thumb Down

No...

"Of course, some people will vote this post down because I prefer something other than their beloved apple device, but this is based on personal experience and preference. What works for me doesn't necessarily work for another person." Although that is actually quite balanced I need to point out that many Fandroids can be just as bad. Take JaitcH for instance...

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@AnotherNetNarcissist

Yes, but then I'd have had to also say "and some people will vote this post up because I DON'T prefer the apple device" - and I was too lazy to type that in addition :)

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Bronze badge
WTF?

No social network updates on iPhone??

Really? Have you never actually used one? I get facebook and sms content straight to the screen when they arrive, and would get twitter updates if I hadn't turned them off - they are all individually configurable.

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re : AC

Galaxy S is not riddled with bugs - I've not come across any that are specific to the phone. However Samsung's 'orrible Kies software is another matter for some people.

The plasticness isn't an issue. I'm quite happy with a thin plastic back on it (it's actually quite sturdy) because it means I could put an extra 32GB of memory in, and keep a couple of spare batteries when I'm flying to the states.

The Super AMOLED screen is better than the retina screen in some cases, it's far better outdoors.

There's no flash on the camera, but in moderate lighting (e.g. a pub at night) my phone takes better pictures without a flash than someone elses iPhone 4 with a flash, if I get the settings right.

I just wish my Galaxy S had cost more. I'm stuck with it for another 12 months, and I would not have minded it coming with far more GB of storage, a bigger capacity battery etc. An extra couple of hundred quid wouldn't have made much difference over 18 months. iPhones are far more expensive than Android phones, I don't understand why some manufacturer doesn't spec up a powerful bit of kit that's the same price as the iPhone. Instead they seem to just try to copy the iPhone but cheaper.

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HTC Desire missing with good reason

OK, it's at least a 'generation' behind, but I reckon the Desire isn't here because it really can't compete. When it came out was probably the best, or only, real competitor to the iPhone, but after using it against the 3GS for more than a week, I realised it genuinely doesn't stand a chance. I'm glad I've tried something other than the iPhone, but I can't wait til my contract finishes so I can traipse back to Herr Jobs and beg forgiveness.

Yes, the Desire's features are in the same ballpark, yes it has comparable build and style quality, and yes I'd even accept HTC might topple Apple in the future because they seem to have the creative momentum. But the Desire is simply nowhere near as useable as the iPhone. The keyboard and touchscreen commands are a total nightmare, so that internet browsing usually takes 2 or 3 attempts just to get the right link and using Google is a real hassle, the memory storage setup is baffling and annoying (actually deterring me from buying new apps - good job guys - althought the app store is a joke compared to Apple's anyway), and although the idea of multiple screens is aesthetically appealing, it's harder to find things in reality, unless you just revert to the same setup as the iPhone. Although the idea of themes and styles seemed attractive at first, really, who can be bothered to change their 'theme' every time they leave work or go on holiday?

When I moved to HTC I was fed up with Apple for the update craziness, the suspicious response to the antenna problems, and their ludicrous tendency to present moderate development as some sort of major revolution. Basically, I wanted to be convinced that there were better products available. However, the Desire could barely compete with the iPhone 3G, and although there are some good ideas at HTC, they haven't managed to blend the creative and the functional as well as Apple have.

I wish it wasn't the case, but the iPhone is still well in front.

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