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.
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.
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.