Search for My Next Phone Begins. Contenders: Galaxy Note II, Nexus 4, Nokia Lumia 920/HTC 8X, iPhone 5 and More!

So much has been said on the topic of the different mobile platforms out there, that “iOS vs Android” has become the new “Coke vs Pepsi.” Everyone is talking about it and when you find yourself in an awkward moment of silence, you know you can always pull out the “So are you an iPhone or Android?” ice breaker and have hours of casual conversation to look forward to.

Having said that, this is not intended to be yet another overview of the advantages and disadvantages of the different OSes, but I am literally trying to decide on my next phone.

As I write these words, I have on my desk in front of me the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy Note 2. Why do I take both of these to work? Well because the Note II, which is a phenomenal device from pretty much all perspectives, does not have iMessage. iMessage has become my primary form of text messaging almost all of my contacts. Facetime is also a crucial tool for me throughout the day.

Clearly, taking both the Note 2 and the iPhone with me wherever I go is not ideal and so I need to make some choices.

Luckily, I have some phones coming my way that will enable me to make a more educated decision.

The following are the mobile devices I will be testing in the coming month and which will help me make the decision of which phone to use for the foreseeable future:

  • iPhone 5 (iOS 6)
  • Nokia Lumia 920 (Windows Phone 8)
  • HTC 8X (Windows Phone 8)
  • Galaxy Note II (Android 4.1)
  • Nexus 4 (Android 4.2)
  • BlackBerry 10 device (I have not given up just yet)

So, as you see, I have the leading representatives from each of the various ecosystems making their way to my hands in the coming weeks.

I intend to share my decision process with you, but let’s start with what I need in a phone and what my current setup is missing.

Hardware

 I have to be honest, I am not a big believer in specs. Dual core, quad-core, 1.5 GHz, 1.6 GHZ, in my opinion, once we are talking about specs at this level, the actual processor matters less than the way the OS uses the resources at its disposal.

I am not going to get into this debate but if you have tried the iPad Mini for example, you surely noticed that you experienced close to no lag whatsoever. Does the iPad Mini have as fast a processor as some of its competitors? No. Does it matter? No.

So is hardware irrelevant to me when choosing a phone? Absolutely not. Taking the phones that I am considering, the exact specs of the processing power are quite irrelevant but the build quality of the phone itself matters to me more than almost anything.

The Note II, which I am using now, is a beast of a phone. Is it too big like many would want you to believe? No. Is it as comfortable in my hand as say, the iPhone 5? Nope. At the end of the day, not being able to access the entire interface on the Note II with one hand is a problem. It is not a deal breaker just yet, but it is becoming an annoyance.

Out of the phones I listed above, and based on my first hands on impressions only, the two phones that will win this round of best build quality are the iPhone 5 and the HTC 8X. The Lumia 920 is a close second but it is one big phone and I don’t mean just tall like the Note 2, I mean all around big.

Ecosystem

 Many of you saw the word “ecosystem” above and automatically translated it in you head to the word “Apps”. That is inaccurate. When I say I need my phone to be more than a phone and an actual ecosystem, the number of apps it supports is definitely on the list but it is not at the top.

When I say ecosystem, I am referring to integration with services such as Cloud Storage (Dropbox, Box, Skydrive, and others), social integration (Twitter, Facebook, and yes, Google+), and apps, but most importantly, how those apps interact with the OS.

So for example, notifications, as you might remember, are a big deal for me. How does the operating system running on my phone notify me of activity, not only in its own apps but in other 3rd party apps? This is a huge deciding factor for me.

If I had to guess right now who will take this round, again based on my experience with iOS 6, Android Jellybean, and Windows Phone 7 and 8, I would say the iPhone will lose big time and it will be a close tie between the 8X/Lumia (same OS), and the Note 2. The Nexus 4 might also make an appearance in the winners of this round.

There are obviously many other things that will affect my decision such as battery life, but if that is the discussion, the Note II has absolutely no competition. With its 3100 mAh battery, my Note II, even with all my extremely heavy usage makes it through the day, and then some.

Other factors that will of course come into play here are the look and feel of the device, and on that front, the 8X is a far winner. Lastly, I will definitely be paying attention to the “little” things like the volume of the phone and its speaker, the quality of the camera, the speed and responsiveness, and much more. I have a feeling the Nokia Lumia 920 will impress me on this front.

Stay tuned, it’s going to be a fun ride.

Author: Hillel Fuld

"Hillel is a tech blogger who manages multiple sites such as Technmarketing, Appboy, and inneractive. In addition, Hillel has written on many leading online publications such as Mashable, Gigaom, and others. In addition to his blogger hat, Hillel is an active Twitter personality who defines himself as a "Social media addict". When Hillel is not blogging or tweeting, he is the Head of Marketing for inneractive, a mobile startup that deals with app monetization across all mobile platforms."

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  • http://www.facebook.com/bharathesh.acharya Bharathesh U Acharya

    Lumia 920: One phone to rule them all :)

  • vasra

    Anybody who is not a believer in specs, does not surf heavily on their phone.

    I can choke almost everything except Nexus4, iPhone5 or S3 in an instant just by going to my normal web sites.

    And this is *AFTER* the page has loaded.

    The same stands for tablets.

  • sami_up

    Build quality easily goes to 8x.

  • Boaz Thomassie

    idevices=toys, so glad I got rid of my ipad and iphone to get gs3 and nexus 7. I’ll never go back to apple.

  • sivle

    I’d say Lumia 920. See the drop and hammer tests at phonebuff.

  • sami_up

    im pretty sure the hammer wont scratch the 920, but if roles were reversed, the hammer would be destroyed ;)

    i see what your saying, maybe the Nokia is very sturdy, but build quality is not only sturdiness, it is also size, overall shape (not design), feel in hand etc… and in this category, i believe the 8X is better, its svelte and has a uni body…

  • Taylor

    These are the exact phones I was choosing between. I chose the Galaxy Note II. I love the battery life!

  • f3nr15

    One phone to rule all 3% of its market share :-). No doubt a very nice phone, but the horse has bolted, and WinPhone is left for the folks who get excited at the thought of Windows. Which is probably 3% of the population.

  • fuzzylumpkins

    the Nexus 4 isn’t even an option until next year.

  • Michael W

    Loved your article Hillel. First one in a while that I didn’t finish reading feeling physically angered at the bias or factual inaccuracies. You explained everything in a great way.

    So, the Note II is really that great huh? I use a Galaxy Nexus, 4.65″ screen, and I feel like the size is perfect. I’m afraid to go bigger. Will I get used to the Note?

  • http://www.facebook.com/clearly.crystals.man Aaron Crosby

    3%? That sounds optimistic… do you work for microsoft? :)

  • http://twitter.com/HilzFuld Hillel Fuld

    Thanks, Michael.

  • http://twitter.com/HilzFuld Hillel Fuld

    Me too, battery life is INSANE.

  • http://www.facebook.com/captaincosmofudgepantsesquirethesixth Yehuda Lauer

    lumia 920, easily the best phone of the bunch

  • http://www.iphoneil.net/?author=2583 Ronen Mendezitsky

    Only had the pleasure to really test out the iPhone 5 (reviewed on gadgety.co.il) and I’m debating myself between the iPhone and the Nexus 4. The issue here only concerns the price, and if that was not a factor I’d get the iPhone in a heartbeat. As for the Lumia – too early for windows phones to be a thing. Give them a year or two to improve their developer arsenal and I foresee amazing looking apps.

  • Z1george

    Battery issue seems exaggerated. You can replace with spare or buy an external pack. If you buy the best/fastest/most expensive phone anyway, spend a little extra on more juice
    My choice would be Nex4 or iPhone , wouldn’t buy a WP8 now. Price will drop fast. also full Office integration is unusable on a small screen. Viewer is enough. Nobody edits on tiny screen. Tablet maybe, phone not.

  • enyibinakata

    A breath of fresh air given biased articles that has been posted earlier.

  • Drew Chesler

    I agree with sami. As nice as the Lumia 920 is, I have opted for the HTC 8X in blue or yellow looks great. Its a unibody, it has Gorilla Glass 2, its lighter and more thin and its camera works great. The new windows 8 in my opinion makes the iPhone and Android GUIs appear old school. Also, MS is behind a movement with its smart glass, Xbox, Surface, and now desktops, this is a winning combo.