I’m in the process of developing a couple of apps for the Android platform. To anyone who knows me this is almost unthinkable as i’m the biggest Apple Nerd you will ever meet ….. well apart from my mate Andy Davies who I actually think wants to BE Apple!
As i’m releasing apps for Android it makes sense that I need to test them. I’ve looked into different ways of purchasing Android devices and finally settled on taking out a business contract which allows me to get two phones at a very reasonable price.
I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours in the O2 store in Chester this morning where a girl called Alex provided me with excellent customer service. I walked out of the store with a new Samsung Galaxy 3 and a new HTC one.
Now other than a fleeting glance at an Android phone i’ve never used the platform …… so I was quite excited to get back to the office to really see for myself which device I believe is the best.
So now in front of me on my desk I have two Android’s and an iPhone….. sounds like some weird movie title ….. I now decree that i will give you my opinion!
At this point you’re probably thinking this can go one of two ways …… he’s either going to slate Android and big up iOS because Apple has the superior product or alternatively he’s going to have a revelation and announce that iPhone is dead and that up until now he has clearly been going down the wrong path in life – time for a change?
In his biography of Steve Jobs, Isaacson discusses how Jobs was fascinated by the user experience. It is well documented that Jobs believed that the user experience begins the moment you open the box. I remember when I got my iPhone 4s, the product was a pleasure from the very moment I started to open the packaging.
I decided that the first test of my new Android devices would be how pleasurable it is to open the boxes.
Samsung Galaxy 3
I liked the box, it looks elegant and in honesty reminded me of the box my iPhone came in (No wonder the legal disputes continue). Once out of the box though I started to get frustrated – the battery wasn’t charged so I needed to plug it in, but before I could plug it in I had to assemble the charger ….. not just a case of plugging in the USB cord, I had to attach the plugs pins – sounds easy but it wasn’t very intuitive. Therefore I give the Samsung Galaxy 3 6 out of 10.
Unlike the Galaxy I don’t like the HTC packaging. It feels cheap almost as if its made out of Polystyrene. I also nearly dropped the phone because when I opened the box the upper layer got stuck in the lid as I removed it from the box. The phone did have a little charge on the battery which was a bonus and there was no issues building the charger ….. but then I noticed the smell …. most products have a nice new smell ….. the HTC one smells like wet cardboard. 3 out of 10 and I think that’s generous.
Look and Feel
This is a very basic test ….. what does the device look like and does it feel good to use.
Samsung Galaxy 3
There’s no denying it, the Galaxy 3 looks sexy. The phone I bought is in white and it’s gorgeous. That said to my mind its a bit thin and light – it’s got no weight to it at all which makes me a little scared i’m going to snap it. Also the on button is on the side which doesn’t feel intuitive – I guess if they’d put it on the top they would be facing another law suit from Apple … I give the galaxy a respectable 8 out 10.
The packaging feels like cheap cardboard, and being honest the phone does as well. It’s not shiny (I know that must sound very superficial) and as a result it feels cheap. The connector for the charger is in a bizarre place (left hand side toward the top) – and the phone has too many buttons (no risk of an Apple law suit for that). As is said to the uk each year in Eurovision “nil point”. That may sound very unfair but at least i’m being truthful.
Initial Set – Up
It’s important even though you only do it once ….
Samsung Galaxy 3
It was fairly simple – quite a straight forward process. The keyboard has some quirks that I don’t like, and I find myself hitting the wrong letters but I think that’s just because i’m used to the iPhone ….. I guess with time I can get good on the Galaxy keyboard? I also quite like the vibrate feedback when you press a button. My only difficulty was that the phone didn’t like connecting to my wireless network and as a result I had to create some the suggested accounts after i’d made a couple of tweaks in settings. Not a deal breaker through – 7 out of 10.
Finally, something to write home about! All I can say is that it worked! There was no setup requirement ….. I switched the phone on and immediately it was ready to make a phone call. I couldn’t fault the process – 10 out of 10 – the iPhone wouldn’t have achieved that …..
So, scores so far ….. Samsung Galaxy 3 21 out of 30, HTC One 13 out of 30 ….. and where do I believe Apple sits? I would be lying if at this stage I said that in my opinion Apple didn’t have a much superior product – aesthetically it beats both the Galaxy and HTC by a country mile …. although the aesthetic gap between Samsung and HTC is also in my opinion HUGE.
My gut instinct is that the Galaxy is working toward what Apple have ….. and that’s the problem ….. Apple already have what I view as best smart phone, therefore to get something that works as well as the iPhone Galaxy need to copy Apple or their product in my eyes will never be quite as good – another court case anyone?
The other option is for Samsung to take a risk and come out with something completely different – a game changer ….. you need a visionary like Steve Jobs to do that though and I don’t think Samsung have one …..
Now that I have my new phones i’m going to play with Android and decide if I do like it ….. my instinct at this stage is that it’s not as simple and streamlined as iOS ….. but I have an open mind – i’m going to use the phones and then make an informed decision which i’ll feed onto the blog in due course.
In terms of the devices themselves, as it currently stands …..
HTC = *Aldi
Samsung = *Tesco or *Morrisons
iPhone = *Waitrose or *Sainsbury
Anyone else got any views? The can of worms is unleashed 😉
*No offence intended to any supermarket chains mentioned in this article 😉