You missed loads of features out that WP7 has that the others don't... but that's to be expected I guess.
If you want a smartphone - and, let’s face it, most people do these days - you have four choices, all of which have recently been updated. Apple’s rightly admired iOS has now hit the big 5-point-oh, Google’s rather more blue-collar Android is about to turn 4, while Microsoft’s Windows Phone is now a precocious seven-and-a-half …
Friday 4th November 2011 13:28 GMT Ian Ferguson
Friday 4th November 2011 14:46 GMT Steve Evans
Saturday 5th November 2011 10:06 GMT Mark 65
Monday 7th November 2011 09:59 GMT big_D
Given that only around 10% of the users I know ever sync their smartphones with a computer, I don't think that was too big a miss.
Heck, half the iPhone users I know are still on iOS 4, some still on iOS 3.x, because they got the phone pre-activated and, while their old Nokia dumbphone couldn't be easily connected, they never bother connecting their smartphones either, they get their e-mails and contacts synced via Exchange, so they "don't need" anything else...
Saturday 5th November 2011 19:32 GMT Matt Bryant
RE: Ian Ferguson
".....If one platform has a killer feature for you, then you don't need a comparison."
OK, here's my alternate review from the viewpoint of a business user.
Apple - potentially insecure, with restricted business app availability and no way as an admin to tailor the phone build - I get what Apple gives me and that's it. The end user has more control than the admin. If I want to try using business apps via a web interface I have the problem of no Flash support. And the phone is guaranteed to be a major distraction for any user, with iTunes chewing up bandwidth and allowing movies and music to be introduced onto the corporate storage when the users insist on backing up their iTunes on work desktops. Major fail, nil points.
Android - more secure, can be tailored, but I have to build the new phone stack by hand. Work apps, how do I view or edit MS Office attachments? I suppose I can at least relie on web interfaces, Android does have better web support than Apple iOS. But how do I get it to work with Exchange/Outlook (yeah, get your head out of the sand, Exchange/Outlook is still the dominant email combo in business)? A lot of fiddling will be required to get there. I also don't have a centralised management server, so if I have a clever user they can reverse any controls I put on the handset, and even install their own stack. Not quite a fail, but not the best option.
MS Win Phone 7 - questions over security simply due to heritage. No problems linking to other MS products like Exchange/Outlook, MS Office Phone 2010 looks good, when it gets here. So, a work in progress, but not quite there yet.
BB - only proven, secure email system. Recent BIS issues were the first for years, ublike the many issues with Apple phones (are you holding it right?). Office docs not an issue, I have real centralised control through BES, and I can even remotely brick a stolen phone at my leisure. BB is still the clear winner.
Sunday 6th November 2011 15:35 GMT Hillman_Hunter
I think you are a little hash on Apple they have had remote wipe/lock, VPNs, encryption, policy enforcement for some time. and i believe the "closed system" is more of a positive rather than negative in this market
I still prefer my BB for work but not for the reasons cited, the keyboard, battery life, operational focus on messaging, make it a better tool for the job, and i do have some of my music loaded on it .
But i notice an increasing number of business people on the early morning Frakfurt 737 and Paris flights wielding iPhones, a few months ago it was all BB's
Monday 7th November 2011 10:01 GMT big_D
Sorry, but that is just rubbish...
Android and iOS work a dream with Exchange Server, WP7 is the only one I've had problems with (mainly due to us having a horribly badly configured self-signed certificate, which WP7 says is a security risk and refuses to talk to the server, whilst iOS and Android both say the certificate is invalid, but let you carry on, ignoring the warning).
Apple provide an Admin tool for corporate iPhones, which allows them to be locked down and only load certain certificates. Installing iTunes on PCs at work should be impossible for users anyway, by policy (both IT and AD).
Personally I find BB and iOS "long in the tooth" and prefer Android and WP7.
Monday 7th November 2011 10:43 GMT N13L5
I think he gave WP7 a false victory in the messaging department.
Its sorta cool if I can see chats from different services combined in the same tile or widget. But he only mentioned hotmail and facebook, I use neither... does this work for gmail? Either way, this maybe neat, but it isn't even nearly as important as:
Being able to talk across the Globe with my family and friends for free through Skype whenever I like... Thats the real killer feature on my SGSII. (less so on iOS, Skype was kind of gimped there, which is why I switched)
You can keep all that online crap in comparison to that.
Besides, on Android there are apps that allow you to do the same chat integration, I think iOS had some app for that too, can't remember now.
Friday 4th November 2011 13:15 GMT Red Bren
Friday 4th November 2011 15:39 GMT Ian Michael Gumby
Uhm... which of the phones tested/reviewed was a Nokia Phone?
HTC, RIM, Apple. That's it.
I'm waiting to see their new phones, but they aren't available here in the US.
The Nokia hardware is pretty good and the last phone I saw was the N9.
One thing that wasn't mentioned was battery life. That can be a killer. Trust me, I hate my Palm Pre because I can't run it for a full day without charging it ...
Friday 4th November 2011 23:28 GMT Red Bren
@Ian Michael Gumby
"Uhm... which of the phones tested/reviewed was a Nokia Phone?"
None of them. The article was quite explicit about it - "Should this be a five-way test? No, because though the latest version of Symbian has turned out to be rather good, Nokia has still decided to shoot it in the back of the head and bury the body in the woods."
I paraphrased it, because that's how I misread it first time round. Then I thought a dead Nokia burying itself would be a zombie process. Then I had to explain the joke. Then I gave up and had another beer
Sunday 6th November 2011 02:10 GMT Ian Michael Gumby
Your comment was about Nokia.
Nokia has just released their Windows phone.
That would have been an interesting review. The phone appears to have the sleek styling of the N9.
I think that's what I would have expected. Or the N9 which is their Linux phone. (maemo? meemo?)
Never thought about Symbian.
While the article focuses on the OS, there's more to the phone than the OS. Antenna Gate... etc...
They could have reviewed the Nokia Windows phone instead of the HTC.
Friday 4th November 2011 13:21 GMT Dan Melluish
Friday 4th November 2011 13:36 GMT Malcolm 1
There seems to be a degree of confusion on the part of the Author about which features are HTC and which are Android. I have an Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc which does the browser text reflowing (credited as an HTC feature) but not smart dialling.
The camera UI is significantly different on this handset too but I guess there's always going be differences between Android device manufacturers. You're never going to be able to select a single representative handset - even choosing a Google Nexus device is a bit pointless as it's probably a relatively niche handset compared to the more popular HTC/Samsung/Sony Ericsson/etc models.
Friday 4th November 2011 14:11 GMT dotdavid
Friday 4th November 2011 14:42 GMT Rob Beard
Also does it on the Samsung Galaxy S with the Touchwiz interface (and I presume other Galaxy range phones, Ace, S2, W, etc etc which have Touchwiz).
I wouldn't say this is a bad article as such but as mentioned, it's comparing HTC Sense to IOS, Blackberry and Windows Phone. I'd have said it would be maybe more fair if it was comparing stock Android 2.3 to IOS, WP7.5, Blackberry etc.
When I was looking for a new phone to replace my Nokia e63 (Symbian S60) I looked at various devices that friends had (iPhone 3GS & iPhone 4 with IOS 4.something), BlackBerry, other Nokias, various Android phones and settled on the Galaxy S. I recently rooted my phone and tried Cyanogenmod and although it wasn't bad it was a bit too much of a jump for me to get things how I liked it. Might be because I'm used to Touchwiz now.
Still, it's interesting to see what the other phones offer. Yes I'd be the first to admit I'm an FLOSS-tard and a bit of an Android Fanboi but I'm actually interested in the Windows Phone offering, some of the interface looks quite nice. I probably wouldn't go out and buy one but it looks like a refreshing change.
Oh and there was one point of the article which I thought was missed, Android can have widgets for things like Facebook/Twitter. Okay might not be standard in the stock Android OS but then it wasn't a stock Android OS review.
Friday 4th November 2011 14:44 GMT damac
Friday 4th November 2011 23:28 GMT Paul Shirley
no one ships the Android stock dialer
While there is a stock dialer in base level Android I can't remember ever seeing a shipping device or replacement ROM that actually uses it, every one was customised one way or another.
More seriously he's wrong to mark down WP7 for routing you through contacts instead of straight to the dialer, since the majority of calls will be for numbers the phone already knows. In 2 years I've used a smartphone I've used dialpad perhaps 10 times, mostly to kickstart the number into contacts! Wasn't much different with the dumbphone before it.
Tuesday 8th November 2011 10:11 GMT Chz
Cyanogen, the most popular Android ROM, ships the stock dialer. Some excuse about how notifications from the stock dialler can't be supressed. Which is fair - I noticed some oddness with call notifications on my Desire before I rooted it - but I feel the advantages outweigh the cons. And as you say, most things ship with a smart dialler.
Friday 4th November 2011 13:21 GMT A 3
Friday 4th November 2011 14:11 GMT Philip Lewis
Where is the N8??
Personally, I always liked Symbian and the latest N8 version is not that bad and as the flagship phone for an OS that still outsells WinPho by a massive margin, it should have been included.
I like the N9, could have been included as well.
Meego(ne), MeToo maybe. Actually it looks like a great device and the OS/UI worthy of a look in. Apparently it will have Alien Dalvik(c) and Robbie the Robot(tm) so Apps (tm) should be plentiful as well.
Friday 4th November 2011 16:47 GMT Dave 15
Agreed, indeed in terms of numbers of shipped phones it is still important
Even though Nokia can't seem to learn the basic skills of keeping your mouth shut before you shoot, marketting the good points of your devices, or doing an apple (telling everyone your phone is the only phone that can do what everyone else was doing 2 years back).
Sunday 6th November 2011 13:51 GMT Kristian Walsh
@"Where is the N8?"
Agreed. I believe there are actually more Nokia N8 owners out there than owners of Windows Phone 7 handsets from all manufacturers put together. That's before you add the other modern Symbian handsets into the pile.
El Reg really should have picked up a new Symbian "Belle" handset such as Nokia 701 and compared it in this test. It's pretty competitive, has some very good enterprise features, and has manufacturer software support for another four years, which is a lot more than can be said for some devices..
On that support: everyone knew Symbian wouldn't go on forever - all Nokia have done is give the definitive end-of-support date, and it's pretty far into the future at a little over four years from now. That's a long time in this market -- can you remember what the phone market was like a little over four years *ago*? Windows Phone7 and Android phones didn't even exist, and iOS was still basically a featurephone OS (it didn't get native, downloadable apps until mid-2008).
Friday 4th November 2011 13:28 GMT Peter Gordon
Monday 7th November 2011 14:35 GMT MikeyWilko
I'd love to do that..
...and I had 2 glorious years with it. My Palm Pre (original) is locked to O2 and I've moved to Vodafone because of no signal at home and am using a custom Android 2.2 ROM on a ZTE Blade. Would love a Pre 3. For me, WebOS is wonderful to use and would have done very well in this test.
Friday 4th November 2011 13:29 GMT Ian Ferguson
'reflow' and iOS. And other musings.
Browsing: Safari doesn't have quite the same intelligent 'reflow', but with iOS5 it does have the intelligent 'Reader' option (wait for an article page to completely load then the Reader icon appears in the address bar) that does an equivalent job and very nicely. I would rate Safari as the best browser, but that's just me (and Flash is subjective).
Making calls: I don't understand why 'smart dialling' is a benefit, to be honest. I'm used to the full QWERTY keyboard, so why suddenly switch to a three-characters-per-key keypad for a specific task? And I don't understand how the Blackberry look up by contact is different to the iOS version?
Dialling by number is a novelty nowadays - I'd be much more likely to call a contact or tap a number in a web page. The keypad can be hidden away for all I care, I think WP7 has it right.
Personal info: My frustration with iOS is that it hides the filing system from the end user. Dunno about other platforms but anything that lets me do what I like with my files would get a thumbs up!
Real-time information: Not sure what the benefit of WP7's tiles are - most of them don't give you any actual information, just numbers of missed calls, emails etc. - which is no better than iOS's old limitation of numbered blobs next to icons.
Pictures and videos: Until any smart phone has an SLR-like instant-on camera, they should all be scored low. The delay is just inexcusable.
Messaging: Likewise, all should get low scores for their walled gardens. Just talk to each other, damnit! I tend to use Skype as it's cross platform, but it's still a bloody walled garden. I don't CARE how I talk to people, I just want to talk. (or type, or wave)
Friday 4th November 2011 14:10 GMT Anonymous Coward
The benefits of tiles is that you can write any application that can use it. I have the weather as a tile, so it periodically updates with the current weather which I can see on the screen. I also agree with you that I don’t mind the WP7 way that presents you with a list of previous calls. Thinking of my parents this is what they prefer cause they can’t fiddle with the buttons and they don’t really know how to lookup a number in their 2005 nokia.
However, this is personal taste and some people may not like it but is not really justified to give such a low score just for this. The rest of the review is sort of correct with the obvious pro-android bias.
Friday 4th November 2011 15:34 GMT Rob Beard
"I have the weather as a tile, so it periodically updates with the current weather which I can see on the screen."
Of you could look out the window, here it's raining. Didn't even have to touch my phone to work that one out.
(Okay okay, I know what you're getting at, I guess it might be handy to know what the weather is like at home if you're at work so you have an idea of what sort of commute you're going to have home, where I work, little bit of rain everyone panics!).
I kinda like the idea of the tiles, does this come up on the lock screen too (assuming it has one)?
Friday 4th November 2011 18:28 GMT jonathanb
Friday 4th November 2011 16:48 GMT Dave 15
waiting for web pages to load before allowing something is a BAD thing
It really shouldn't be necessary either. I note that internet exploder does the same. Mobile Explorer on the Sony Z5 10 years back would draw the page as it arrived allowing you to select links and other things as soon as it had them. It wasn't difficult. And as for fitting a webpage to screen (smart wrap or whatever you want to call it) MME did that because it did not support left to right panning (the Z5's jog dial really suggested we shouldn't so we never did). This made the browser better. I note that my Blackberry browser opens with a view that I defy ANYONE to be able to read, which means I then need to go and find a zoom capability to see anything - pointless
Friday 4th November 2011 18:28 GMT Anonymous Coward
Smart dialing is good
Smart dialing is fast and very convenient. You don't need to go to some other tab to search contacts and then dial. Saves tap numbers (and frustration in the long run), and though it does the angry birds and the web, it's primarily a phone.
Real time info is a nice-to-have thing. I only keep the weather and my calendar as info-widgets, but some people love to have their a.d.d. inducing social stream on one full screen. It is always nice to have the option though.
The instant messaging thing is a mess everywhere. I use IM+ and the built in googletalk.
With the raw horsepower the newer handsets have, there is no real excuse not to include Flash. Keeping it "on demand" is the best of both worlds : don't load them by default, keeping it fast and light on the quota, tap on them to see the video (or the website navigation).
Friday 4th November 2011 23:29 GMT TheOtherJola
"Dialling by number is a novelty nowadays"
There are too many points in your post to make me think that you don't know what you're talking about. I'm going to list some of the things that I think you're horrendously wrong about:
- I'm used to the full QWERTY keyboard, so why suddenly switch to a three-characters-per-key keypad for a specific task?
Because it's faster if you're walking/driving/finger-poking/performing another one-handed activity. You can just T9 the first few letters of the contact's name and voila, it's almost as if you've dialled a four-digit number to get to your friend.
- Dialling by number is a novelty nowadays
Tremendously wrong here. Dialling by number can be faster than looking the person up in the address book if (like the article author) you have 300+ contacts in your address book.
Also, since you go on to say you "just want to talk", hiding the dialler is also a very bad idea.
- I don't understand how the Blackberry look up by contact is different to the iOS version?
With a Blackberry, if you are at the home screen, you just start typing the person's name or start dialling the number you want to dial. E.g. if you type in "andr" it will show you Andrew Smith and James Andrews, and you just finger-poke the contact to then perform an operation (dial, text, bbm, etc).
- Until any smart phone has an SLR-like instant-on camera, they should all be scored low. The delay is just inexcusable.
It's almost as if you are comparing a CAMERA to a PHONE. Weird. And I'm sure the purpose of this article is to compare a PHONE with a PHONE.
- Likewise, all should get low scores for their walled gardens.
You mean as in SMS? The world we live in has many, many different messaging protocols. The article is, again, comparing the out-of-the-box experience of handsets. All of which at a very basic level support SMS, MMS and Email - none of which (AFAIK) are "walled-garden" protocols.
- Flash is subjective
Ah! You're an iPhone user. Suddenly your obsession with impossibly high standards, not seeing the point of otherwise useful features, and irritation with walled gardens all becomes clear...
Friday 4th November 2011 13:29 GMT Andy 3
Great article; nice to see some simple comparisons focusing on the core setup of the phone.
As an iPhone user I'd add a couple of things which relate to some of the iOS functions mentioned in the article:
I agree that Safari doesn't have the reflow technology although it does now offer the "reader" button which renders all of the text and any accompanying photographs into nice large auto-flowed text whislt dropping out all of the adverts etc. Check out the non-mobile version of The Register and choose any article and then click "Reader" from the URL bar. The results are rather nice. Not quite as nice as it being done instantly in the case of the HTC though as it's another process to go through.
Alternatively sticking to the actual webpage Safari allows a double tap to the relevant area of text which automatically aligns the column to fit the screen. Again view a Register article (non mobile) and double tap the left-pane story colum or the right-pane advertisement column for it to auto fit.
The seamless integration of iMessages into the messages app is nice. Thereby all text and iMessage conversations flow as one. iMessages being marked out in a blue speech bubble and SMS in green. iMessage is great to keep MMS costs down (at the expense of data) if you like to send lots of picture messages. Obviously you need an iOS 5 owning friend for this to work but its nice that you don't have to switch between apps or select the transmission method; iOS sends by whichever is applicable to that contact without any instruction or setup from the user.
Friday 4th November 2011 13:36 GMT Eponymous Cowherd
Real time Info
Android mostly uses widgets to display real-time information, like the lauded Window Phone tiles, as well as the notification bar.
The notification bar is useful for basic info (got mail, etc) while widgets are suitable for more detailed info (weather, train times, etc).
Android should actually come top in this category, as widgets are far richer than Windows Phone tiles, and may be freely mixed with other home-screen objects.
In fact, you missed a major category out, customisation. Most Android phones have 5 or more "home" screens, each screen can be fully customised placing widgets, shortcuts or folders onto each screen in a completely ad-hoc fashion. This allows me quick access to information (widgets), web pages and apps (shortcuts), and data (folders) in exactly the way I want. Neither Windows Phone, iOS or BB come close to this flexibility.
Friday 4th November 2011 14:42 GMT Dapprman
Friday 4th November 2011 16:47 GMT Eponymous Cowherd
Saturday 5th November 2011 00:19 GMT Paul Shirley
Tiles, just widgets with a Microsoft trademarked name
There's some traditional Microsoft sleight of hand going on, in a move they have form for, widgets were renamed Tiles to make them uniquely Windows. In reality the big differences are: WP7's home only contains widgets, no mixing with dumb(ish) icons and their home is a 'vertical' layout.
Some like the vertical thing enough to implement it on Android. Personally I prefer grouping related views by screen but only Android allows users to swap launcher and some phones even ship with multiple homes to choose from.
A mystery is why he didn't notice almost all recent Android's seem to ship with the news&weather widget making it essentially a stock item. Probably too busy gawking at the Sense version to notice ;)
Sunday 6th November 2011 13:51 GMT dessanti candido
Every winpho app has a tile; you can say that any android app has a widget? no? so they are not the same thing.
you can put almost everything on start menu (the equivalent of android home screens), a single contact, web links, a playlist, a single song, you can have multiple tiles of a single application the represents shortcut to different part of the app and all of them can be refreshed by the app itself.
so i dont think android can win hands down with this kind of customizations,widgets are avaiable in almost every os of the planet, same things can said for home screens
Friday 4th November 2011 13:37 GMT Dan 55
Death greatly exaggerated, still five years to go
Symbian Anna/Belle should have been included to show what the opposition still have to work on.
The only thing really wrong with Symbian were the sub-sub-sub-sub-menus and being late to the touchscreen party which have been corrected. After a quick read I didn't know WP7's and BB's dialler was so painful, find it hard to believe that there can be mobile browsers without text reflow, and as for camera functionality they all look decidedly lacking.
Friday 4th November 2011 14:11 GMT sisk
Friday 4th November 2011 16:52 GMT Dave 15
Depressingly difficult to find
But if you do look or ask many phone shops do still have them - well some at least, in the UK mainly N8 and C7 (though there are several others). If you head to Germany there are more than that in some shops.
Nokia are low in the sales rankings because their advertising and marketting departments shoudl have been shot and replaced with people that have a clue what to do - if Nokia had done this 3 years ago they'd still be in the number 1 slot - the products are actually damned good.
Frankly when faced with an onslaught of advertising from Apple putting an occasional advert of a blind man taking photos of a roller coaster was really just a completely stupid and idiotic idea - the person behind that should be lynched by the shareholders for the damage he has done to their investment.
Friday 4th November 2011 13:57 GMT Martin Dunn
I hate to admit it but..
.. I do like the look of the WinPho7 interface.
and this is from a guy who generally detests all things Win.. My work laptop is linux, all my home pc's are linux, my tv runs linux, I one owned a debian phone (now on Android).. you get the idea.
The fact that it look like Win8 desktop rather Win7 does present a small problem to me - what will they call the mobile platform when the similarly Metro styled Win8 surfaces?
Friday 4th November 2011 13:58 GMT Stuart Henderson
erm... why does your Android not look like my Android?
is it because you've actually reviewed HTC Sense running on an older version of Android? or is that what ICS looks like?
if it's the former, it seems a bit weird to review the latest version of each of the other three OSs, but then review an old version of Android with some weird manufacturer specific hacks on top.
swing and a miss.
Friday 4th November 2011 16:47 GMT Anonymous Coward
Saturday 5th November 2011 11:18 GMT Anonymous Coward
<quote>I think they call it fragmentation...</quote>
No, they call it choice.... Of course 'choice' is an alien concept to you fruitfans out there, with yours being limited to: 1) "How much am I willing to let Apple gouge me for internal flash storage at £100 per 16GB?", and (not until very recently): 2) "What colour, black or white?"
Friday 4th November 2011 13:59 GMT Paul Boocock (UK)
Not a bad view of the 4 platforms. Its interesting to see how some platforms top some areas but are lacking in others.
One thing though, WP7.5 does have a quick jump feature in contacts, you just need to tap the current letter and you can quickly jump to another one.
It would have been nice to have a look at the social network integration which is on offer on the various platforms too. Concentrating on the built in social functions rather than the 3rd party apps. I have a sneaky feeling WP7.5 would have come out miles ahead in this category.
Friday 4th November 2011 13:59 GMT Alex C
Portability & Poll
Try getting your information off a dead iPhone onto another brand of phone. Easy if iTunes wants to talk to your new phone, but iTunes only talks to apples.
That section of the walled garden cost me another 18 month iPhone contract. I never had a problem with the walled garden till I realised just how restricted I was. My fault of course for not using outlook and maybe it's got better in the last couple of years but boy did that make me angry. I had naively hoped I'd be able to drill into the iTunes backup.
You're right of course not to pick a winner but let others pick based on what they're looking for (even if it is something of a cop out...) Perhaps democracy can choose a winner.
I'd be curious to see a poll of reg readers - to see what OS they are using, and what they'd prefer to use. Better keep in a choice for Symbian and non-smart phone choices as well.
Friday 4th November 2011 16:46 GMT James O'Shea
"Easy if iTunes wants to talk to your new phone, but iTunes only talks to apples". Not quite. I, for example, have my info (email, contacts, etc.) easily available via Gmail. And, if I really wanted to, I could use Hotmail. I could probably use Yahoo, too, but I don't Yahoo so I can't be sure about that.
Now, it's true that I can't move my apps over, but IOS apps won't work elsewhere. Moving songs and movies and whatnot over is fairly simple; if you had your stuff synced to your computer in the first place, you can use the sync client for the new phone to move 'em. If, for example, you have an Android phone talking to a Mac (possibly the worst possible combination) then you'd need Mark/Space's Missing Sync for Android <http://www.markspace.com/products/android/missing-sync-android.html>. Note that this will handle moving your email and contacts over, too.
Friday 4th November 2011 14:00 GMT The Original Ash
Apples and oranges are surprisingly similar!
In other news, my house came with windows which opened and closed and allowed in light, doors which prevented burglars from taking my things, and running water from taps in the bathrooms and kitchen! I understand that there are different types of houses with different types of window, door, tap etc, but they all do pretty much the same thing.
The actual difference:
Blackberry: You have an office in your house.
iPhone: You have all Apple brand furniture, how Apple want it arranged, and it all works perfectly well and looks pretty. Not particularly original, though.
Android: Put your curtains on the ceiling if you want! Don't want a door? Install a rolling shutter instead! It might be clunky and hard to use, but damn it it's how you want it!
Windows Phone 7: No idea, never used it.
Friday 4th November 2011 14:01 GMT Homer 1
Android is "prosaic"?
Both Android and iOS just have the same "grid of icons" appearance, so how exactly can iOS be "pretty" but Android be "prosaic"?
However, unlike iOS, Android supports widgets, far greater customisation out the box, and even greater customisation if you install one of the vast number of custom firmwares available - only possible because Android is Free Software. With Apple's proprietary iOS, you're pretty-much stuck with the sterile aesthetics imposed by Apple, along with many other draconian restrictions, a fact you seem to have completely ignored in your review.
If you like hospital-ward aesthetics, I guess you might be inclined to describe iOS as "pretty", but personally I think it's far more prosaic than Android.
Friday 4th November 2011 14:09 GMT Perplexed of Hove
Friday 4th November 2011 14:10 GMT DJ 2
Friday 4th November 2011 14:10 GMT JimmyPage
Friday 4th November 2011 14:44 GMT damac
There is a call recording app for android. But it does require custom rom (cyanogen works just fine at least for me) and custom kernel! Head over to xda-developers.com/forum and search for call recorder in Android/Software category :)
On another note, IMHO, first of all, the reviewer talked about most features of HTC Sense as if they were features of Android. Secondly, The reason Android *can* have all those features and many more is because of its flexibility which isn't taken into account in the review at all!
Friday 4th November 2011 15:35 GMT Rob Beard
I looked into this for my Galaxy S, looks like there are call recorder applications but they only work on that particular model of phone anyway if you put the phone in speakerphone mode (otherwise it only records the local end, not the caller on the other end).
Doing a bit more Googling though it appears there is a modified phone app for the Galaxy S which allows call recording (presumably though you need to root your phone and I don't know if it's available for other Android phones).
Bit poor really considering my old Nokia something or other (6230i?) could do it.
Friday 4th November 2011 15:36 GMT Chris Miller
I think there are legal issues - at least in the UK, you must tell someone if you're recording their phone call (hence all those 'calls may be recorded' messages you hear on call centres). That won't necessarily stop an individual from doing this, but making and marketing an app to enable it might get you into trouble.
Friday 4th November 2011 23:19 GMT jonathanb
In the UK, recording a call is legal if *one* of the parties to the call is aware that it is being recorded. That means you can record your own phone calls without telling the person at the other end, but you can't eavesdrop into someone else's phone call.
At the call centres, the boss may record the calls without necessarily telling the employees, so by telling you when you phone up, they comply with the law.
As far as a call recording app is concerned, it would be illegal to install it in someone else's phone and have it record all calls with out letting the person using it know, but if it has a record button you have to press to commence recording, it could never be used illegally.
Friday 4th November 2011 16:47 GMT James O'Shea
Friday 4th November 2011 14:11 GMT putrescine_uk
Friday 4th November 2011 14:39 GMT Nigel Whitfield.
Perhaps some of the RegHardware readers can answer the questions I've posed at gonedigital.net on this topic...
Essentially, I want well integrated SIP.
And I want good call handling that can do what I do on Symbian: callers are in groups, each group with a different ring tone, so I know if it's friends, family, VIP, etc. And by using 'profiles' I can select which groups I'll be alerted to, either with a couple of button presses, or by time of day - for example, at night, I only want noises for calls from 'family' and 'VIP' and not from texts.
These - and great email - are to me far more important than apps or games. They're the bread and butter of using a phone, and I want the same functionality in a new phone, even if it's achieved in a slightly different way - but it has to be straightforward to change profile.
Saturday 5th November 2011 10:08 GMT PJI
And another feature
My two year old Nokia, C-5 has another nifty feature: it has a good stab at saying the name of the caller if in the contacts - very handy when busy, to let you know at once who it is. And, as all ready said, the ability to control call handling by groups is very useful.
I wonder how long it will take for "smart" 'phones to fulfil the "'phone" part of the name properly.
How about a review of all these types, based on telephone call management, SMS and MMS capabilities? i.e. compare them as telephones.
Just yesterday a colleague was complaining about his HTC android something or other and then pulled out an old Nokia that he carries to make 'phone calls (without having to plug it in daily). Symbian does a better job of localisation too, at least to UK English. The move to Windows should solve that advantage for Android and IOS however.
Monday 7th November 2011 10:05 GMT Dan 55
Caller name speech +1
Great in the car. You pair the phone to a bluetooth handsfree interface, keep bluetooth always on so it pairs when you get in the car and so goes into handsfree mode, set up a car profile to auto-activate when in handsfree mode, and set up that profile to have caller name speech turned on.
Another feature that other phones still don't have from a supposedly dead OS.
Unfortunately those of us who know how to use Symbian are stuck down a dead end because there's still nothing else that can replace it yet (apart from BB as a business phone from a data security point of view) and its fate was greatly brought about by the tech press who were more excited with new ways to fade and scroll between screens.
Friday 4th November 2011 14:40 GMT DB2k
useless article, never going to be useful
Surprised to see such a light on content article supplied by El Reg, with so little information, missing basic parts of the feature set (iOS Reader was the first I saw missing, saw a few more after that and gave up counting). It is always going to be very hard to say "which is best" so you've opted for a very light touch to try and keep it tight and short but it reads like someone hasnt understood how to use the devices to compare them best.
Did you talk about the insane fragmentation of Android? Look at this:
Friday 4th November 2011 14:42 GMT Shaun 1
Friday 4th November 2011 14:45 GMT Buzzword
Friday 4th November 2011 14:45 GMT sisk
Android is like the slightly nerdy kid who can't get a date to the prom but shows up to the 10 year reunion with a supermodel wife who gushes about what a great husband he is. iOS is more like the slightly retarded but widely loved jock who really can only do one thing well, but it's the one thing everyone cares about. WinPho is the kid whose older siblings were all troublemakers and who hasn't yet had a chance, which we all hope he will take, to distiguish himself from them. Blackberry is the class president of the class that graduated two years ago but still hangs around the high school.
Friday 4th November 2011 14:46 GMT Steve Foster
Yuck - the whole reason I deliberately have multiple email accounts is to help separate and prioritise communications ("work" work, "client" work, "maintenance" work, high-priority personal, low-priority personal, online notifications (shopping/banking/etc) and so on). Merging all my accounts into a single Inbox defeats that (or forces me to not configure some accounts on my phone at all).
Saturday 5th November 2011 10:08 GMT Fuzz
That's where Windows phone does well. I have 3 email accounts configured on my phone, two of them are personal and I have merged, the third is my work account and I have that separate. You can choose to merge any number of accounts into different groups each group can have its own tile. Or you can choose to leave them all separate (the default).
Friday 4th November 2011 15:33 GMT Jonathan White
Isn't the fact that there's some confusion between Android Core OS feature and those features the phone maker (or even telecoms provider) have layered on top a valid point? Users aren't going to differentiate between the platform and the implementation. Most people I know who have bought an Android phone haven't bought a specific android phone for a specific window manager, they've bought on cost or brand loyalty (i.e. SE vs HTC). Those people don't differentiate 'their' Android from someone else's Android.
Friday 4th November 2011 15:39 GMT The Taft Hotel
Very poor review of the Android email. You should have been using the gmail client and doing the account consolidation with gmail backend. This work exceptionally well and is far superior to the other options.
Your android score reflects more your ability to work the phone, rather than android email.
For next time maybe you should get someone who knows how to use it to actually do it.
Friday 4th November 2011 16:42 GMT gujiguju
Friday 4th November 2011 16:47 GMT Dave 15
Friday 4th November 2011 23:28 GMT bazza
Not always the case
3 uk do a skype client for Blackberries (and many other phones too) which works over the 3g network, and is *free* to use within the uk. They've done a good job of integrating it with BB notification system too, and it also goes to voicemail.
If you really want skype it's a very, very good combination. It decided things for me - always on free skype anywhere everywhere.
Friday 4th November 2011 23:29 GMT Richard 12
There is proof of how MS have already failed.
Windows Mobile is a shoddy turd, only made barely usable by HTC Sense and Opera Mini.
It fails miserably at being a phone, and isn't very good as a doorstop either.
Anyone who has used Windows Mobile hates it.
The 'stock' Windows Mobile is completely unusable - a Start menu has no place on a phone.
This is why Microsoft have tried really hard to separate their newest phoneOOS from the old brand.
If they don't manage that, then the Windows Phone will die.
Sent from ny Windows Mobile POS.
Friday 4th November 2011 18:28 GMT Anonymous Coward
comparison of the software helping hand?
zune software has huge usability problems: not showing texts, no tooltips if text doesn't fit, scrolling by wheel not fully supported, problems updating the library if messing around with the phone (without jailbreaking it). as a music lover, this is a big minus to me.
and the "feature" that annoys me most at wp7 when calling: no possibility to paste in the phone number, if you copied if from a web page.
also no possibility to edit called number so you have to input the correct number with all its digits.
what I like most: the interface in general and how well most applications run (applications using complex html pages suck a little though performance-wise)
Friday 4th November 2011 23:19 GMT Anonymous Coward
What about battery life whilst doing all these things?
Battery life/functionality is a factor, you can have a all singin/dancing phone but if it only sings for an hour compared to one that can make calls for a week solid and only that is somewhat a factor for many.
Also call quality, ability to make calls in weak signal area's like outside the m25 etc. Big factor.
Also how robust the phone is, does it feel like it will last a weekends ramberling or does it feel like you need to were white gloves handerling it?
Excellent feature overview read but lacks a little on the functionality aspect of a review, but there again don't worry as others don't detail those things either apart from users who use the phones :\.
Friday 4th November 2011 23:28 GMT Chris 171
Just adding my voice, you may have been surprised.
No hardship to just throw one in to the pot for shits & giggles cos its dead anyway right? tsk
All the tested are 'me too' devices in my eyes. S^3 walks its on path & I welcome its foibles with open arms. Its good to be different. Supported for another 5 years, that'll do for me.
How far we have come in the previous five years is more important. Whole ecosystem will be different in 2016 as I see it & until then, N8+Opera=Win
Friday 4th November 2011 23:28 GMT Richard Lloyd
Epic fail on many fronts
I'm really surprised about this "shoot-out", especially when it's conveniently taken place just after iOS5 comes out, but before Android 4 (ICS) does! Also, as people have pointed out, this was a test of HTC's Sense UI (and possibly some of the apps they add/modify), which is different to Samsung's Android UI for example.
I know the shoot-out was supposed to be about the out-of-the-box experience, but apparently this doesn't include the various app stores/Markets (even if the review would be limited to ease of use of said stores/Markets, rather than mentioning the quality or quantity of downloadable apps), which almost *all* smartphone users would use whereas there's stuff in the review that I've never used on my HTC Desire (e.g. the e-mail app, Facebook or Twitter are three to mention).
BTW, the ratings sections claim there are two sets of "Instant Messaging" ratings (the second one is for the e-mail review - dugh!). Talking of ratings, I'm totally incredulous that the ratings totals weren't provided at the end, so for those who want to know (marks out of 35):
Windows Phone 25.0
So is the reviewer going to have anohter shootout in a month with Symbian and Android 4 included then? Maybe not, because iOS 6 won't be out until next year and we've got to make sure Apple wins...
Saturday 5th November 2011 00:20 GMT Si 1
Odd features to focus on
I have to admit I've never seen the appeal of text reflow, all it seems to do is make text wobble and jitter about the screen while I'm trying to zoom in on it.
Also, I'm not sure I see the point of Smart Dial. Surely it's quicker to jump to a name in your contacts than trying to remember their number and typing several digits? Or am I missing something about it?
Saturday 5th November 2011 00:26 GMT Neily-boy
Making a call.......
.........On Blackberry 7 is a complete piece of piss. If you want to call your mate Dave, you just sart typing the word Dave straight onto the main menu. No finding a contacts menu first, nothing, just tpe. You'll get as far as typing DA and your phone will have offered you his contact. That universal search is mentally good. Hard to explain unless you've used it. I can only conclude that the reviewer hadn't sussed it out.
Not only will it offer you contacts with the word Dave on it, it will offer you e-mails that the word Dave appears in, call history, google, youtube, and anything on your phone. It is the coolest unadvertised feature on BB7.
If you don't have a Blackberry don't worry everyone will have copied it in a few months time.
Saturday 5th November 2011 10:06 GMT Anonymous Coward
My Nokia and previous, fairly basic Nokias do this for the contacts list, have done for some time I believe.
But then, I think Nokia's basic telephone functionality knocks most others, especially smart "phones" into a cocked had. Why on earth are they not smart enough to have the ability to put contacts into groups and then enable or disable receiving calls from specific groups, e.g. to disable work calls at weekends, private calls during meetings? Different ring tones per group?
Should a smart phone even call itself a phone if it can not match the functionality in mobile phones for years? I do know people who carry a simple one for telephone calls and a smart phone for the internet etc. stuff. Sad.
Saturday 5th November 2011 11:28 GMT Anonymous Coward
<quote>If you don't have a Blackberry don't worry everyone will have copied it in a few months time.</quote>
Sorry to burst your bubble mate, but my HTC Hero has had the exact functionality you describe for over 2 years now. Furthermore I'd guess that Android has had it for even longer than that (after all, what else would you expect from an OS created by the company behind worlds largest search engine?)
Saturday 5th November 2011 19:32 GMT Neily-boy
Bubble still intact.
Not that I posess an HTC Hero, but it is my understanding that you have to press a specific button to access the universal search menu? This is not the same as just typing a name or word straight on your homescreen. Like I say, no other buttons, no other menus, no scrolling, no nothing. Just type.
Have a shufty on Youtube if you don't understand.
I'm not claiming that RIM invented universal search, what I'm saying is that their BB7 version of it will appear on every other phone's UI very soon. It's certainly not something that you could patent. Well, I say that, but you probably could in the US if your company name rhymed with dapple.
Saturday 5th November 2011 11:06 GMT Bronek Kozicki
reminded me why I chose "long in the tooth" blackberry, although one with physical keyboard. I'm email addict. BB integration with email is indeed very good - I'm using both gmail and generic IMAP and they work flawlessly, although initial setup to filter only stuff I'm interested in can be tricky. There is also additional "push" (delivery time measured in seconds) account with phone contract.
Saturday 5th November 2011 19:32 GMT Chris Eaton
beaten to it I see
I have my Google contacts synched on my iphone;the trick is to set it up as a microsoft exchange server with the server as m.google.com
You can also do this with Virgin and Sky email as they are run by google also
Saturday 5th November 2011 19:35 GMT Mad Hacker
Sunday 6th November 2011 13:52 GMT Bob 18
So true about the horrid Android email client. But for those who are stuck with Android and want something better --- or who might consider buying Android but are put off by the email client --- I installed K-9 mail from the Android Marketplace. It is free, and made me very very happy. No more misgivings about email after that.
Sunday 6th November 2011 19:56 GMT VinnyR
Difficult to compare Android but....
Android is a difficult platform to judge due to the many different manufacturers and their versions of the Android experience. I can understand why one example phone was used, however it seems strange to me that the reviewer did not choose a phone with Android 2.3 especially as the latest iPhone 4S was chosen.
Sunday 6th November 2011 20:50 GMT Anonymous Coward
Monday 7th November 2011 02:03 GMT Anonymous Coward
Monday 7th November 2011 09:59 GMT Anonymous Coward
Fed with iPhone hoop jumping I've had enough
I have been an iPhone user for about 12 months, non contract monthly PAYG type agreement with O2, it's a jailbroken mobe but I am fed up with jumping through hoops to be able to make my phone do what I want. Sorry Apple but I need a little more flexibility, especially for tethering and as soon as I can manage to get my arse in gear I'm off to Android and get myself a Galaxy S2.
Every time a new O/S comes out I have to faff about with new JB code for the iPhone. I want to access apps on the phone I have use the monstrosity that is iTunes, I just want to get to the phone's guts by way of simple FTP or ssh and add files the apps need, directly.
Sorry Apple it was fun while it lasted but I need to spread my wings and your attempts to clip them and me having to escape are just too much grief for something that should be easy. I need a "real" tech phone, not a toy.
Monday 7th November 2011 10:01 GMT frankieh
Not a like for like comparison.
Desire HD was officially released 14 May 2010, and you have that up against the very latest from Apple, Microsoft and Palm?
This review should have waited till the Galaxy Nexus was out.. or better yet, when the Galaxy Note, the current highest specced Android phone, gets its ICS update.
1. IOS has just recieved update.
2. WP7 just got mango.
3. ICS was not actually tested except on paper.
re-run the test on a Galaxy Note in a month or so and we'll see if ICS on high end hardware is up for the match up with the others. Lets compare like for like and get an actual relevant result.
Monday 7th November 2011 12:45 GMT tonyoung
Is it just me ...
... surely not ... that sees the many advantages of the flexibility that Android offers for both business AND personal use?
I use all seven Android 'home' screens - divided between work, play and settings - often using folders to group games, social media and work stuff, with priority items (Gmail, calender, maos, call history, calculator, SMS, world clocks, weather in 7 cities and camera) all on the first home screen.
Add the fact that HTC gives you Sense - and that Android offers the ability to add whatever widgets and apps you need to run your life (including Exchange) - I don't know why anyone would want an alternative, except for that aesthetic choice-thing or maybe the security and cost-effectiveness of BBM. Certainly not iOS (and I speak as a user of an iPod Touch).
Personally, I like the ability to switch wifi and bluetooth on/off instantly to prolong battery life when out on the road. I don't use FriendSteam, but it's there if I want it - with a host of HTC and other widgets on demand.
I'm illustrating that users can customise their Android phone to exactly suit their own requirements. Most people buying a smartphone - you would think - would want to be able to do that.
So, I'll be sticking to a Desire S until HTC introduce something better (which in my case does not equal bigger). It syncs neatly with my Asus Transformer tablet and all the Google stuff on my trusty old Toshiba laptop. I'm sure syncing will evolve to many more devices over time. I already read (the same) ebooks on my Kindle, tablet or phone as circumstances take me.
(And because my phone came from Orange *shudder* it also backs up my contacts data automatically to the cloud, i.e. I don't have to remember to do it or wait until it's connected to a PC).
Can't wait for ICS!
Tuesday 8th November 2011 11:05 GMT stim
Personally i think WP7 wins everything hands down! I have used (and owned most) of all others and am more than happy with WP7 for the foreseeable future - it's completely re-thought and totally modern compared to some of the more aging O/S's out there...
The main thing is with WP7 - actually go and try it. If you use it (for more than a day, not just 2 mins) you'll likely be hooked...
Thursday 10th November 2011 17:52 GMT boatey
iOS and GMail contacts
I don't have any contacts on my phone. They're all on GMail and have been for 2 years. iOS syncs my notes, e-mails, contacts and calendar from GMail and it works a treat. There's a few other incorrect statements in this article as well but I can't be bothered to pick them out now.
A bit disappointing for El Reg.