I’m the son of a former Nokia employee, an ex cell phone salesman, and current connoisseur. So I guess you can say that I’ve played with my fair share of smartphones.

And in my several-year quest to find the perfect handset, I’ve tried everything from the Nokia 7650 to the latest Android and WP7 devices. But I’ve only found one phone capable of being my everyday driver.

As you’ve probably already guessed by now, that phone is the iPhone. No, I’m not an Apple “fanboy” that blindly buys whatever the company releases. I just want the best handset available. And for me, that’s the handset that requires me to make the least amount of sacrifices…

When I came up for upgrade this fall, I wasn’t necessarily (believe it or not) set on purchasing the iPhone 4S. Although I was a previous iPhone owner, I knew that Apple wasn’t the only game in town. And the competition was looking better than ever.

First, despite all of the things RIM has done wrong recently,  I looked at BlackBerry. When I was in sales, I actually preferred using BlackBerry handsets to the alternatives. They had great battery life, a terrific email client, and a physical keyboard that was second to none. But to go with one on my personal line would be a lot different. I’d have to sacrifice screen size (I’d never be interested in a touchscreen BlackBerry), and more importantly app selection. Compared to iOS and [certain] Android software, most BlackBerry World apps look like they were made by kindergartners. It’s awful. So BlackBerry was out.

Next up was Windows Phone 7. Although WP7 devices haven’t grabbed significant consumer attention, the Metro OS has received quite a bit of critical acclaim. It’s quick, it’s innovative, and it’s consistent. But I’m still not sold. Even after several encounters with WP7 handsets, I still find myself struggling to navigate the OS — it’s a bit manic. And just like with BlackBerry, I would have had to sacrifice app selection with Windows Phone, which I wasn’t prepared to do. So it was out.

Finally there was Android. Google’s mobile platform has had several flagship handsets launch over the last few months, including both the Motorola Atrix and Razr, and the Samsung Galaxy S2 (my search ended months before the Galaxy Nexus launched). Android devices have a lot going for them. Some come with blazing fast processors, some are LTE capable — which means super fast internet speeds — and its app selection, although a gamble at times, is quite abundant.

But in exchange for these perks, I would have had to make several sacrifices. First, there’s consistency. While some Android apps look great and run in full screen, others are letter-boxed and look like they were made back in the 80’s. This is part of an even bigger fragmentation problem that really cripples the Android user experience. Then there’s battery life. I have multiple Android device-toting friends that literally carry a wall charger around with them — it’s that bad. And it’s even worse with LTE running. What good is a Ferrari if it can only go 150MPH for 50 miles before it needs gas again? But the biggest sacrifice Android would have forced me to make was reliability. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had Android handsets crash on me. Not just apps force-closing, but a full blown, won’t do anything until I pull the battery kind of crash. It’s ridiculous.

Then I looked at the iPhone 4S. Its dual-core processor and an 8MP camera are easily on par with (if not better than) the competition. And its data speeds are comparable to those of AT&T’s version of the Samsung Galaxy S II, since both are HSPA+. But most importantly, it runs iOS. Apple’s mobile OS is by far the most reliable mobile platform I’ve ever used. I’ve never had to worry about it crashing, in fact I don’t think it ever has. And its app selection is head and shoulders above the competition in both quantity and quality.

What sacrifices did I have to make for the iPhone 4S? To be honest, I’m having a hard time coming up with any. I wouldn’t consider 4G one, because I’m on Wi-Fi most of the time and am also in an HSPA+ area. So I don’t ever see download speeds below 9 or 10Mbps. I wouldn’t mind if the screen was a little bigger. But that would mean that it wouldn’t be as portable, and I love how pocketable the iPhone is, so I think it’s a fair tradeoff. I also wish that my 4S had the battery life of my iPhone 4. But since it still lasts me all day, and about two hours longer than my girlfriend’s Atrix, I can’t really say that battery life was much of a sacrifice either. Yeah, I’m still drawing a blank.

Choosing the iPhone doesn’t make me a fanboy. I just wanted the best handset available — the one that forced me to make the least amount of sacrifices. If another company stepped up and made a more reliable smartphone, with better battery life and a more appealing app selection than the iPhone, you better believe I’d switch in a heartbeat.

  • Anonymous

    Fanboy.

    Baaah, just bustin your balls. 😉

  • Nice article :). Can only agree.

  • You forgot one sacrifice Sebastian, a Jailbreak! If only iOS came with SBSettings, that’s ALL I want!!! I wanted to give my wife the 4s so I could continue to use the 4 but she didn’t want to hear anything of the sort, she’s happy with my old phone and I’m unhappy with my new upgrade.

  • You sacrifice freedom ;-).
    I’m an iPhone 4S owner as well, but when I see those Android phones, I sometimes really wish I had that many choices and options regarding my settings, etc. However, we really do sacrifice freedom for quality, I’ve never seen a phone with graphics as wonderful and fast as those on the iPhone 4S. So yea, I really agree that it’s the best phone out there.

    • If you’re the kind of person who prefers ease of use (pixels) over customization, then the iPhone is definitely the best bet. But, if you don’t mind screwing with your phone every once in a blue moon and being able to make your phone work for you specifically, I would seriously choose Android. Currently, I’m happy with my Apple product–it’s really just what I need, and I LOVE the display. (Yeah I guess that was a long way of agreeing with you.) 😛

    • Yeah, iPhone’s display quality is perfect. Could be bigger compared to the size of the phone, but it’s still perfect.
      I’m used to the freedom of Symbian S60 5th Edition. It’s laggy like hell, but man, the Freedom it gave me… I actually modified my own custom firmware to suit my needs… I wish the iPhone could allow something like that, but I guess Apple like being in its area of isolation…

  • If android consider a better battery life and better screen quality handset, I will be considering what cellphone to buy…
    Nowadays I’m happy with a 4S
    Good article

  • Anonymous

    Strange…. No fandroids bashing.

    • Painman

      It’s so obviously an article written by a fanboy and aimed at fanboys, that there seems little point really 🙂

      • Anonymous

        But these are the exact situations they do go insane, as I’ve seen it.

  • Anonymous

    Honest. These are the same experiences I had before anchoring with Iphone

  • kailash tindwani

    Nice article
    But at the end of the day….
    Apple rocks!!

  • kailash tindwani

    Nice article
    But at the end of the day……
    Apple rocks!!

  • Completely agree with you. Its like you have written exactly what you, me & other many android users gone through. Heating issues, poor built quality, lags, blank screen, switching between apps, etc. are major problem every android user gone through & when it comes to iphone / ipod / ipad this problem not exist.

  • I love my 4S but no iDevice is worth having unless there is a jailbreak for it (or one being worked on and no doubt going to be released sometime.) The battery life is fine, i know several people that Bitch and moan about the battery life of their Android device, one guy says like 2-3 hours of constant usage and he has to charge…ya no thanks. The camera on the 4S is amazing, and so is the speed of the phone, and the snappy web browser. I am super happy with my upgrade to the 4S even tho its been without a jailbreak for so long. and SIRI is by far the best voice recognition software on any mobile phone platform. None of the others even compare.

    • Painman

      I have had every iPhone up to and including the iP4. I was disappointed at the upgrade that Apple made to the 4S so I went to Android and bought the SG2.

      I don’t need to Jailbreak any more, the phone is fully customisable from stock. However, if I want to root my phone I can add other features too.

      My phone is away from it’s charger for 16 hours for 5 days of the week and is on almost constant charge for the other 2 days. I have absolutely NO battery issues.

      The camera on my S2 is amazing and so is the speed of the phone. The web browser leaves Safari way behind the game.

      I have never used SIRI but I find Samsung’s’ Voice Command to be both quick and accurate. Have you ever tried to use Voice Command or are you making your comparison against Vlingo or Dragon?

      If I was purchasing an iPhone for the first time now, I may have been happy with the 4S, but as an upgrade from the iP4 it was a disappointment. I settled on the S2 because? Well to be honest, because I wasn’t prepared to sacrifice!!!

  • I just wish someone on here would address the WiFi problems that the iPhone 4S is having. Really starting to piss me off that my WiFi will work only 60% of the time.

    • Lol, that happens to everybody. I can’tuse my wi-fi upstairs and my router is directly below me, but I’ll get a signal across the street at my stop sign. It is crazy.

    • I have zero wi-fi issues. Are you sure it’s not just your home network that is flaky?

  • Anonymous

    When you write stuff like this, its best to actually list the benefits and negatives for all devices if you want anyone to believe your not a fanboy. This just shows us that you are indeed a fanboy, just not aware of it. All 3 OS’s and all smartphones have benefits and negatives. Each and every single one of them, not a SINGLE one is perfect.

    You managed to pinpoint the negatives for every choice, and selectively chose your words and danced around actually calling all of the iPhone, and iOS operating systems negatives flaws.

    You seriously did that, side stepped them, failed to acknowledge them, and spent an entire paragraph trying to explain those negatives away. Coming from someone who is actually neutral, and not merely “trying to be”. I have got some news for you Cody, you are about as far from unbiased as the majority of the rest of them.

    • Anonymous

      While I appreciate any and all feedback, I must respectfully disagree with you. It seems you didn’t catch my definition of “fanboy” toward the beginning of the post, so here it is again: “I’m not an Apple fanboy, who blindly buys whatever the company releases.”

      What does that mean? It means I didn’t buy the iPhone because it had an Apple logo on the back. I bought it because I had tried everything else, I did my research, and I felt like it was the best device for me.

      So I’m curious as to what your definition of “fanboy” is. Does it mean that I’m biased toward the iPhone? Because I thought that was blatantly obvious. I just spent the last 1000 words telling you why I picked the iPhone over the alternatives. I write for an iPhone-focused website. I’ve had an iPhone in my pocket since it was introduced in 2007, and until I come across a handset on par with its reliability, battery life, and app selection, I’ll continue to carry one.

      Hope that cleared some things up for you. Thanks for reading!

  • Anonymous

    I would say in 2 years android will have 65 % of the market and apple 30 the rest is Microsoft and rim. Why? Simply put cheap phones. Android is what windows is wor the pc. Still the iPhone beats android as it just gives you what’s needed and doesn’t give you extra headaches..LTE? Then battery sucks, install anything and changed anything you want, then malware…android is great for those that are savy enough to use but really I just got one for my mom for Xmas and she is now sending text, email. Making ideas, face timing…before was only getting calls now, I see ow she can share her life even while we are far away…that is what the iPhone brings…and she is 74.

  • As someone who has never replaced a battery in a cell phone, I often wondered why so many people glommed onto the fact that the iPhone battery wasn’t user replaceable. This line suddenly explains oh so much “…but a full blown, won’t do anything until I pull the battery kind of crash.”

    • Painman

      You are missing 2 very important points here.

      1) A replaceable battery would help all the 4S owners with shit battery life by allowing them to carry a spare charged battery in their pocket.

      2) A battery pull reset on Android is just the same as a Home/power button reset on an iPhone.

      It would appear that your beloved equipment has just the same foibles as some (Not All) Android devices.

      Have a nice day 🙂

      • Anonymous

        And despite all these, many people still want an iPhone. Style or UI? Perhaps both.

      • Painman

        This particular comment has nothing to do with whether people choose an iPhone or another brand altogether, it’s about the specific comment that Marilyn made with regards to the battery not being replaceable on an iPhone and why for her that told a story.

        Please don’t jump in on conversations just for the sake of it with inane comments, it makes you look silly.

      • Actually no, I have never had to force restart my iPhone, I’ve had 4 of them and I’m a heavy user. I have only ever run out of battery once and it was on a travel day to Macworld two years ago. I don’t think that would justify the need to keep and maintain a 2nd battery on me at all times. Also, I don’t just speak from my personal experience, I manage about 55 iPhones for clients as well. I do appreciate your reply 🙂

      • Painman

        Hi Marilyn. You are really lucky to have never had to do a hard reset on the iPhone, maybe you, along with your 55 clients, have never been part of the Jailbreak community. I can assure you, after 4 years of owning iPhones I have hard reset on numerous occasions.

        With regard to the battery issues, especially on the 4S, they are well documented on this blog and accepted within the user community as an issue. Apple even released iOS 5.0.1 to try (and fail) to rectify it. You and your 55 clients have been really really lucky if you have sidestepped that one.

        Have a good one 🙂

      • Not sure why I can’t reply to your last comment where you mentioned Jailbreaking….

        You kind of lost your argument there though. I don’t believe this article mentioned hacking or modding anything. I have JB’d a few times. The first time it made my iPhone crashy, I can’t go blaming Apple for that. It wasn’t a flaw in their hardware or software design that made my iPhone crash, it was the JB. There are many people that love to JB and with that it brings a certain instability. The last time I JB’d I went extremely light and only added notifications to the lock screen and Byte SMS. The stability was much improved but still a bit glitchy. I’ve only ever encountered one person that was JB’d and blamed Apple for the performance issues. The rest know what they are getting when they mod software. I don’t even think this belongs in our thread of conversation unless of course you are implying that all people mod their Android devices and that’s why you need to pull the battery to reset it. Android phones have a place, it’s just not in my life. If you love Android that’s great. If you like iPhones but prefer them JB’d that’s also great. You just can’t go pointing out flaws that are user created and use that as a blanket statement about a product.

      • Painman

        I think mentioning jailbreaking was relevant on our thread because of your original statement implying that battery pulls on Android devices were necessary because they were inferior products.

        I was pointing out that jailbreaking (making your iPhone glitchy) is no different to an Android user rooting their phone and adding glitchy apps.

        My comments weren’t blanket statements about user created flaws. One was for the reasons I have stated above, the other is a well documented, Apple accepted flaw with your phone.

  • I hate Apple because their view on the smartphone market – they see themselves the only good company around, and I just HATE arrogance!
    But I do love my iPhone 4, it’s reliable and stable compared to other devices around.
    Yet I’m so tech-sick that I would love to have a Android phone and a WP7 phone as well!

    • Anonymous

      And it is with these great arrogance that apple is the most valuable tech company in the world

  • Nicely written.
    I agree, Apple is most reliable. I’ve been a Blackberry, Symbian and Android user and in comparison to iOS, theyre far off in terms of software quality.