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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  1. sYncRo


    Where is the HTC in this line up. Using the HTC DESIRE HD, its astonishing how good this phone is. 110%

  2. thecakeis(not)alie

    HTC Desire

    I can't speak to the Desire HD...but I do have the original Desire. I have used it, an iPhone 4 and an iPhone 3GS extensively. I was not a huge fan of the iPhone 4...but I did rather like the 3GS. The original HTC Desire on the other hand, I have very little to complain about.

    If I were to break the phones down, this is how:

    iPhone 3GS:

    Reliable. Well thought out and mature product that doesn’t have any obvious flaws. The newer iOS versions are a little laggy on this older hardware. It is the standard against which I judge all smart phones: to date it still may be the best overall smartphone in existence.

    iPhone 4:

    Mostly reliable. I have had reception issues in areas where the Desire or the 3GS work just fine. On the other hand it’s screamingly fast with fantastic battery life for the performance level. I have seen a few with broken back glass: take care of it! The huge con is the locked-down nature of iOS. It became infinitely more useful once jailbroken – and no, I didn’t jailbreak in order to pirate apps.

    HTC Desire:

    A tank. Whilst the screen is slightly more vulnerable to scratches than an iPhone 4, it is otherwise capable taking an unbelievable amount of abuse. It is rock solid: it gets a signal where no other phone seems capable. The downside is that Android is not well optimised for this CPU: while the Desire is screamingly fast, simple things such as menu transitions can end up with 4-5 FPS. Great with optimised applications, however HTC Sense is not optimised.

    In all, I think the HTC Desire (non HD) is a perfectly credible contender for the iPhone 4. It is certainly a more worthy opponent to the iPhone 4 than the HTC Hero was to the 3GS. In some ways, I honestly believe the iPhone 4 was a step backwards from the 3GS…in others (such as the front-facing camera) it’s a leap into the future. I fully expect that the next generation iPhone will solve all the little niggles.

    In the meantime, HTC keeps going from strength to strength. I have my issues with Samsung (mostly over poor support for the original Samsung Galaxy) and Motorola (mostly over poor support for, well...everything.) HTC, meanwhile, is showing the world what Android phones truly can do.

    iPhone versus Android really comes down to a philosophical choice. Android is more open: generally, it’s YOUR phone. You have a lot of freedom under Android that you just don’t under iOS. The flip side to that is Android fragmentation: like it or not, the lack of device fragmentation on the Apple side of the house leads to an operating system that is far more tightly optimised for the hardware it is running on.

    With the HTC Desire and the iPhone 4 being so close to each other in terms of capability, speed and app loadout, choosing between them is a simple question:

    What matters more; the (non-jailbroken) openness of your handheld, or the smoothness of the “experience?”

  3. WonkoTheSane

    Not Motorola, thanks

    I got bitten when they refused to update Android 1.5 on the Dext.

    So until I'm due to upgrade, it's been rooted & 2.1 installed.

  4. Simon Buttress

    No Desire HD?

    Please explain El Reg....

  5. pan2008


    I think the reviews are not partial, although not an apple fanboi have to admit that the iphone 4 is definitely up there, giving higher scrores to Dell streak and ilk is a travesty! I am a windows Phone 7 user and love the new OS. In my opinion right now it's between iphone and windows phone 7 for the most usable, reliable and fun to use mobile. Blackberry is a workhorse, not a fun mobile but can appreciate it. I think iphone is slightly better than WP7 but WP7 is catching up. Android doesn't even start the race because of battery problems task manager issues (at least from my experience).

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wot no htc desire

    Considering you gave it 90% I'd have thought the desire should be on the list

  7. Josco

    I'm not a fanboi but....

    I've had both the iPhone and a HTC Desire and enjoyed them both, but I'm afraid for everyday 'out of the box' usability the iPhone wins. Most users (even some Reg readers) just want it to work without any pratting about. When I wanted to use a different and superior SMS messaging system on the Android I struggled to stop them both working together. I wanted to install a push email app too but couldn't find a way to remove the default one.

    Finally got an iPad..... Just the most wonderful device ever, so I've junked the Android phone and got a nice simple Nokia 6700 with simple interface and gorgeous chromed exterior.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Re: "just want it to work without any pratting about"

    There is one massive flaw in your argument: iTunes.

  9. Danny 14 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    not really

    some of us dont even have an itunes account. Not all of us want to be part of the apple rage.

  10. ThomH Silver badge

    iTunes does just work out of the box

    It fulfils the purposes of syncing your phone, allowing you to purchase music, apps, etc and - if you have one - slowing your Windows PC to a grinding halt. It just works and it just works slowly.

    OS X 10.6 includes a faster, neater rewrite of QuickTime (operating in parallel for now, until codec support improves), the Windows version of Safari eventually became a proper Windows application and iTunes appears to use the outdated Carbon framework even on OS X so there is hope for a dramatic fix in the near future. Not that it's much comfort.

  11. tomjol
    Thumb Down


    So, you're complaining because you actually had the opportunity to replace the SMS or Email apps on the Android device, as opposed to the iPhone where any app which replicates the functionality of an official Apple one is banned?

  12. John Loy

    No longer

    You do not need an iTunes account unless you want to purchase from the app store..

  13. Spikehead

    Doesn't just work out of the box.

    Well, maybe it does if you run Windows or OSX. Seems they haven't heard of Linux.

  14. petur
    Dead Vulture

    Article written as seen through the eyes of an Apple fan

    Since when has the iPhone been ' the standard' and has nobody been able to catch up? Open your eyes, Apple monkey...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As opposed to what?

    If the iPhone isn't the standard, what is? Lemme guess - you think it should be, there's a hypocritical surprise...

    If volumes dictate 'the standard' it should neither - it'll be nokia.

  16. Frank Bough

    If the iPhone is the benchmark

    ...then why does everyone else copy it so slavishly? the Samsung Galay could hardly LOOK more like an iPhone. Shame it has that stupid blue-vision screen and crap OS.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HTC Desire?

    That's a vastly better handset than Samsung's horrible plastic Galaxy S, which is apparently riddled with bugs.

    I'm also not convinced that there's anything special about the iPhone's grid of icons, and it's hardly fair to say Android copied this when one of the selling points of Android is that it's so customisable that no two phones will look the same. Android's flexibility and widgets knock the iPhone interface into a cocked hat.

  18. JaitcH Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    iVersion 4 is inimitable

    Lemon 4 is like no other phone as was duff when it hit the streets and Jobs swept the problem under the carpet and lied saying all was well.

    The respected U.S. Consumer Reports condemned the thing, too>

    Still, Versions 1-3 are even good enough to make calls.

    (iPhans click the red button below)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Broken record...

    Man, you are D-U-L-L.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Le sigh

    Bla bla bla "iPhan", bla bla "Lemon 4". Give up, already.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Yay, it's JaitcH!

    "Wherever Apple needs putting down! Wherever there is debate on the pro's and con's of Apple vs the rest! He'll be there! The man! The myth! The Apple-hater's, Apple-hater!".

    I see you're 'Keepin' it real!' today JaitcH!

  22. DZ-Jay


    That's exactly why it bombed so hard and didn't sell. Oh wait!


  23. tony


    If Apple manages to get somebody so worked up it must be doing something right.

  24. Tempest

    Hook, line and sinker ... every time!

    Can't you iPhans figure out when you're getting wound up?

    But you guys are just as bad. As much as you hate Apple being knocked and make accusations against JaitcH - you appear to accept Apple products whatever their attributes - good or bad.

    That makes you no different from him!

  25. Anonymous Coward


    Why is the iPhone marked so low? There's no better display, no bigger app store and why would you need a cover? Mine is still pristine after 4 months whereas my friends' HTCs are looking scuffed. As for price, £99 and £30 a month on 3 ain't bad at all. Not saying it's the best in every area, but come on - it's a damn good product. 90%+ easily.

  26. bex


    Like the article says unless you put it in a protective gase tje iphone 4 is an accident waiting to happen. One thing that put me off about the iphone is the contracts are expensive at least £10 a month more than one with other phones

  27. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: iphone

    Actually, based on recent experience, I'd revise my opinion of the iPhone 4 upward.

    Thrown in anger literally across the room and then whacked with serious vigour against a hard table corner, it walked away unscathed.

    Yes, it's made of glass, but yes, it's effing tough.

  28. DrXym Silver badge

    I wonder about that myself

    iPhone owners enthuse about how thin their phone is, how it looks beautiful sandwiched between two layers of glass. Then what do they do? Shove it in an ugly leather case or similar. Explain that one.

  29. Jerome 0


    I have to agree with you there, what's the point of a beautiful phone if you hide it in an ugly case?

    I'm as anti-Apple as they come, but I have to admit that the styling on the iPhone 4 is lovely, in a market sector where most phones look like plastic kiddies' toys. If I had one I'd be keeping it out of the case, and showing it off. If it gains a few scratches in the process, who cares? Admit it, you'll be buying an iPhone 5 next year anyway.

    I'm certainly not hiding my HTC Desire in a case, and it's still pristine 6 months down the line.

  30. Spikehead
    Thumb Up


    OK, so it's looking a bit battered - stone chips out of the ally case where I've dropped it, and a noticeable bend where I walked into a bollard when it was in my thigh pocket, but the screen is still pristine and the slider works flawlessly.

    Just wish their update policy was a bit more speedy.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Curous though..

    What, exactly, is the point of having a beautiful phone? It's not like it's a car that everyone can see all the time or your home because it spends most of its life in a pocket.

    I'd much rather have a massively functional phone, something with decent battery life that needs charging every couple of days instead of halfway through a day and can hold a signal even in the depths of nowhere (or a datacentre) when I need tech advice or am asked to give it.

    No, there are lots of reasons why the iPhone doesn't suit me. It is a delightful piece of engineering tech (as is the iPad I won in a raffle*, damnit, I wanted the holiday) and it looks gorgeous but I buy my tech for function, not to show off with and there are other 'phones that suit my needs better.

    * The iPad is hopefully going to make someone very happy this Christmas as a gift.

  32. rj7855

    Grid of icons

    "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"

    My 2002 Nokia used a grid of icons (like all S60 devices) as well my wife´s LG Viewty (which is pre iPhone era ) So I would not say that BB and Android copied it from Apple

  33. stuhacking

    Grid of Icons

    My 2000 Palm IIIe used a grid of icons. I'm sure the paradigm extends back further, even, than that.

  34. Jerome 0

    Grid of icons

    My Windows 95 used a grid of icons. So did my Atari ST, now that I think about it. I'm sure the paradigm extends back even further than that (Xeroc PARC?)

  35. Frank Bough

    You're right!

    that 'grid of icons' thing extends all the way bag to the APPLE LISA.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    How else would you place the icons.

    You people are talking as if a grid of icons was a smart idea.

    How else would you arrange them on a rectangular screen?

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Xerox Parc invented it, Apple Lisa copied it

    Xerox Parc was the first desktop with grid of icons. Apple Lisa was the first of many copies. Sorry Frank, you can't claim Apple invented everything just by quoted something super old.

  38. DZ-Jay

    Re: How else would you place the icons?

    By loosely placing them freely on the screen, even on top of each other, of course.


  39. John Bailey


    They are talking about the seemingly inexhaustible supply of twits who will swear blind that because something is used on an Apple product, it must be the first and best, and that everybody else is copying them.

    I've not only seen posts to the effect on various forums, but I've seen people trying to maintain that Apple using rounded corners was a new magical idea, and that others are copying them..

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @John Bailey

    "They are talking about the seemingly inexhaustible supply of twits who will swear blind that because something is used on an Apple product, it must be the first and best, and that everybody else is copying them." Which is countered by an equally inexhaustible supply of twits who will swear blind that Apple have never done anything innovative or contributed anything to computing. Your veiled troll does nothing to help the situation.

  41. Anonymous Coward


    Not a bad article, but what's with the ratings. iPhone 4 and blackberry torch get the same score? Seriously?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No brainer - Android/HTC is where it's at.

    I had a iPhone3GS and it was OK, I had a iPhone4, it was slightly better, but when it went wrong after a couple of weeks, I got a refund.

    I picked up a HTC Legend, and it's substantially better than even the iPhone4. It feels solid (VERY solid, with a single unibody ally body), and it does everything my iPhone did, but better, and usually cheaper too. The apps seem better priced on Android, and there are always free alternatives.

    I wouldn't bother with an iPhone now. It may have been in early, but in 2011, there are too many better phones for much less money. Unless you are buying it for the status symbol aspect of it (is a iPhone a status symbol when every chav capable of shoplifting goods owns one?)

  43. Anonymous Coward

    Phone calls

    Mine's the one which can make an actual phone call on...oh yes, that means the Jesus phones a utter failure in this doesn't it.

  44. Jason Hall


    Sorry to spoil your closed minded opinion.

    I have had mine since they were released, and have yet to have even one call dropped.

    It keeps a better signal than any other phone I have owned too.

    Data connections can go a bit squiffy, but otherwise no issues here at all.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Bollox

    Never had one dropped call since iphone 1 was released?!

    You either live with a cell antenna up your behind and never move, or the Job's distortion field can bend radio waves as well as reality!

    Or maybe you have no friends to call.

  46. Frank Bough

    You know what?

    My iPhone 3GS is the best mobile I've ever had in the core function of simply making and receiving phone calls. Before I got the iPhone, I expected it to be poor in this regard, but it's proved me completely wrong n practice.

    Sounds to me like you might want to actually try an iPhone before writing it off.

  47. Ivan Headache

    re: Re: Bollox

    So people who get good phone usage on no dropped calls are talking bollox? You're sad.

    I suppose you are one of those who downvoted Tony Smith's comment that his iPhone 4 was very tough. When someone makes a positive comment based on their own experience, it's sad bozos like you (who probably don't get out much either, and their only friend is JaitcH!) who have to call them liars.

    FYI. I've had my iPhone 4 for just coming up to 3 months. In that time I've had 3 dropped calls. far fewer than I'v had with my horrible Nokia. And who is to say that the dropped calli s the fault of the iPhone? It could well be the phone at the other end.

    My iPhone 4 is the best PHONE I have ever had since my STC Trimphone. In conjunction wih my mac I run my business on it.

  48. Michael C

    it depends on where u live

    I'm on AT&T, have been since i was forced to leave both Verizon and Sprint (one work phone, one personal phone) since only one worked at home and only one worked at work, and both dropped calls like rain. Since my switch in mid 2008, I've dropped a grand total of 9 calls, and the wife has dropped 1. We've since moved, and there's a bit better Verizon access at our home, but a roommate moved in with Verizon, and by the time he moved out he switched to Sprint, citing DROPPED CALLS, even when he had 4 and 5 bars. I have batter call clarity with 1 or 2 bars than he has with 4.

    For our office, there are 3 Verizon towers closer to the building than the one AT&T tower in range. We can actually SEE the Verizon tower, less than 1.5 miles away. Unless you're near a window, its useless. Even in the subfloor (basement) I get calls fine on AT&T, as well as in the elevators and in every part of the complex. Sprint put a microcell on the roof, but in the cafe 11 floors below, good luck getting a signal on that. AT&T works in all parts of the building, Verizon does not, and they have more towers and closer towers. More than 80% of the staffers have switched to AT&T, and most of them claim better signal at home after switching.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    It made me laugh...

    When I moved to the US from the UK and found that most mobile operators would make a big point about "less dropped calls than X". In Europe the advertising had moved away from dropped calls about 10 years ago because they are no longer a big problem in Europe. The US networks drop calls because they aren't as good as European ones, not just because of the phones. Individual experiences with dropped calls are often much more to do with the network than with the phone. Yes, the iPhone 4 external antenna which could have it's impedance (and therefore tuning) changing just by holding it was downright stupid, but most dropped call problems in the US are definitely network. I work on Times Square, and recently switched from AT&T to Verizon just because AT&T is virtually unusable in Manhattan. On Times Square I had not had a call last longer than 5 minutes without getting dropped for almost a year, regardless of the Phone. The iPhone users generally have problems with the incredibly slow AT&T network in the Big Apple. On the other hand, I get annoyed not being able to use my Motorola Droid on any network other than Verizon, so when I go overseas it is an expensive brick. It is all a bunch of compromises, and it is very dependent on where you live.

  50. Gerry Doyle 1

    Expected the iPhone 'to be poor'

    at the core function of making and receiving calls - but bought one anyway?


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