By Erin Caine
Elm Staff Writer
As new tools and technologies gain momentum in public use, and as new accessories and gadgets eclipse the old, inevitable rivalries will begin to polarize the market. Such rivalries can be traced all the way back to the late 19th century, a time when the nation witnessed the electrifying competition (pun intended) between the proponent of direct-current power, Thomas Edison, and his adversary, Nikolai Tesla, with his alternating-current system. In this modern era, we have debates concerning the merits of the Xbox versus those of the PlayStation, the Mac versus the PC, and, as discussed in further detail here, the Android phone versus the iPhone.
To start things off, let’s talk about access, convenience, and security of each. Android phones offer many of the same lock screen options that iPhone does. However, recently iPhone has introduced a new kind of user-identification that features a fingerprint scanner built into the home button. Not only is this option very secure, but it makes unlocking your phone less of a hassle. When it comes to the most fundamental and basic feature of a cell phone, that is actually calling people with it, Android arranges your favorite contacts based off of those you call most frequently. Also, its contact layout is much easier to navigate and more visually pleasing. It has larger pictures beside the names to make it a simpler task when scrolling through your list of friends, family, coworkers, and peers.
When comparing each phone’s voice-activated “assistants,” known affectionately as Siri on the iPhone, it should be noted that Android assistants type as you talk and function even when your phone is offline, which are two really useful advantages it holds over the iPhone.
Still, Siri is more adept at understanding conversational speech and converting it into text. Moreover, Siri is the more entertaining of the two, offering up the occasional cheeky remark to certain questions. When it comes to typing, Android phone keyboards have neat-and-handy swipe gestures, and punctuation on the same screen as the letters. As you type a particularly long message, flipping back and forth between screens becomes a nuisance. Though Google, the established champion of online search engines, may be in league with Team Android, the iPhone’s Spotlight option searches through email, notes, reminders, texts, and calendar events when you type in a phrase in the search bar. When it comes to texting, the Android’s layout looks nice, but Apple’s iMessage system allows you to text other Apple customers for free, even from a Mac computer. Just as we demand ease and convenience for navigating our electronic gadgets, we likewise demand the same when navigating roads. David Goldman of CNN said that Android’s GPS feature, Google Maps, “is the best mobile app ever designed.” He goes on to point out that although this app is available on both the iPhone and Android phone, since it’s a Google-manufactured technology, Siri can’t access it.
Of course, gadgets and gizmos aside, the most pressing concern of most consumers is cost. If you’re looking to spend less money up front for the phone, Android is the better option. In fact, there are phones Android provides that are free when paired with a two-year contract. Still, it’s important to note that cheap phones are considerably less capable in a number of different faculties than their costlier counterparts. For example, an Android phone that is a little over $100 may seem like the superior option to the $700 iPhone (unless you have a two year contract), but that phone may be missing some of the necessities or conveniences that Apple provides.
At the end of the day, the features and applications mentioned and compared above still only graze the surface of possible advantages and disadvantages of each option. As Sam Costello of “About Tech” said, “The decision of whether to buy an iPhone or Android phone isn’t as simple as tallying up the winners…and choosing the phone that triumphed in more categories. That’s because all of the categories won’t count for the same amount to all people.” To make the best possible decision, you need to figure out what aspects of each are particularly significant to you, write out your list of priorities, and choose the phone that most meets your needs and preferences.