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

    HTC?

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

    1. 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?”

  2. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
    FAIL

    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.

  3. Simon Buttress
    WTF?

    No Desire HD?

    Please explain El Reg....

    1. pan2008
      FAIL

      what?

      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).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wot no htc desire

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

  5. 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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

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

      There is one massive flaw in your argument: iTunes.

      1. 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.

        1. John Loy

          No longer

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

      2. 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.

        1. 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.

    2. tomjol
      Thumb Down

      Er...

      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?

  6. 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...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As opposed to what?

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

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

    2. Frank Bough
      WTF?

      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.

  7. 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.

  8. JaitcH
    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)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Broken record...

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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Le sigh

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

      1. Tempest
        FAIL

        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!

    3. 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!

    4. DZ-Jay

      Right.

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

      -dZ.

    5. tony
      Happy

      lol,

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

  9. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Eh?

    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.

  10. bex

    iphone

    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

    1. 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.

      1. Spikehead
        Thumb Up

        Milestone

        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.

    2. 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.

      1. Jerome 0

        Cases

        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.

        1. 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.

  11. 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

    1. stuhacking

      Grid of Icons

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

      1. 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?)

        1. Frank Bough
          Happy

          You're right!

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

          1. Anonymous Coward
            WTF?

            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?

            1. 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.

              -dZ.

            2. John Bailey

              No..

              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..

              1. 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.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Grenade

            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.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Ratings?!

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

  13. 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?)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    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.

    1. Jason Hall

      bollox

      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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

      2. 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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          FAIL

          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.

    2. Frank Bough
      FAIL

      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.

      1. Gerry Doyle 1

        Expected the iPhone 'to be poor'

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

  15. paul 97
    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.

    1. Michael C

      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.

      1. Spikehead
        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.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    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....

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      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.

  17. Wang N Staines

    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.

  18. tonyoung
    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).

    1. DrXym 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.

  19. Mike Hanna

    iPhone is the benchmark?

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

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Title

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

  21. Anonymous Coward
    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?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. aThingOrTwo

      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.

  22. Him over there

    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"?

  23. bob 46

    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.

    1. Steve Evans

      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.

  24. RegisterThis

    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?) ...

    1. aThingOrTwo

      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.

  25. mmm mmm

    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.

  26. Tigra 07 Silver badge

    The shame

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

  27. nphsmith

    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...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Nikolaus Heger

      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!

      1. Michael C

        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.

    2. Michael C

      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.

  29. smeddy
    Thumb Up

    HTC Touch HD2

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

  30. Nikolaus Heger

    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.

  31. AlgernonFlowers4
    Paris Hilton

    Objective Testing Please

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

    1. Gareth Gouldstone
      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" ?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    This should be fun...

    ...can someone pass the natchos?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    All phones should be judged on the 6310i scale

    Still the best.

    <IT? icon as Apple products are fashion items>

  34. Si 1

    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.

  35. Ku...
    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.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  37. WizardRobeAndHat
    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.

  38. Jo Jette

    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?

  39. GrantB
    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.

    1. bygjohn

      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?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    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

  41. D. M
    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?

  42. Erroneous Howard

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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...

      1. Erroneous Howard

        @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 :)

  43. Mark Serlin
    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.

  44. David Barr

    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.

  45. Kubi

    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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