Saturday, March 06, 2010

The iPhone, Nexus One, N900 Shootout. Part 2

iPhone

Part 1

Hardware Buttons

iPhone has the least number of hardware buttons which makes it the most easiest to use. Barring the power button and the adjust volume buttons, there is just ONE home button on the main screen which has just one function. It also makes sure that all the app navigation/options be a part of the app UI which makes it more intuitive for a rookie user.

N900 has the maximum number of hardware buttons considering it has a physical QWERTY keyboard. It also has a lock/unlock slider, power button, and an adjust volume button. As I mentioned earlier I found the keyboard unusable. I was not able to hit the keys on the top row of the board. The lock/unlock and power buttons are misplaced and hence unusable too.

Nexus has the 4 Android hardware buttons which I found as an irritant in the beginning but slowly I got used to it. The Back button makes it easy to navigate between multitasking apps. The Options button allows the apps to tuck in some options and nav elements under it so that the UI can be cleaner but the user may take some time to get used to this kind of navigation. Home button of course to go Home at any point of time; long pressing it will also give the last 6 apps I used. Search button is to search Google or do contextual search. I've got used to them now and it works well for me. Of course on Nexus these buttons' touch areas little out of place. I also found that the sequence of placing these buttons on Android phones are not consistent which is bad. Nexus also has a roller ball navigation like Blackberry which is useful only when I'm fine editing text. But I'm a fan of how iPhone handles this; magnifies the cursor position when I long press on text.

Winner: iPhone

Sound/Voice Quality

The speaker of Nexus is not great to listen to music. But it has noise reduction features to make your voice quality better. I did an telephonic interview amidst a lot of noise and when I apologized the candidate said she could barely hear any noise. But of course I was not able to hear her properly coz of the noise.

iPhone of course has an iPod about which I need not talk about here. But again the speaker is just fine. Voice quality on iPhone is also just decent.

N900 wins hands down here. The stereo speakers are superb. It is indeed a multimedia phone. Voice quality is also good.

Winner: N900

Apps/Store

The iPhone app store as everyone knows has all kinds of interesting apps. Again I don't have to talk about it here.

If you are an iPhone fan you will be disappointed by the kind of apps available in the Android market. Android apps are not necessarily like iPhone apps. Android market does have "iPhone type" apps (which are not as good) to "just services" which run in the background to do specific tasks. If you want to change or add some functionality on to your phone, just search in the market and i'm sure you are going to find it. I've downloaded quite a lot of utilities which are useful. Like the flip and shake service - it runs in the background and allows my phone to go to silent mode when flip it when it rings, shake to make the phone screen change to a flash light. I have another small service called "car mode" when activated will switch on the speaker phone whenever I get a call. Android apps also talk to other apps and share tasks which is a great relief for developers as they can focus on the app's core features. The back button makes sure that you navigate to and back from one app to another smoothly.

I did find a lot of "iPhone style apps" (mostly games) on Ovi store for N900, but they neither are as good as the iPhone apps nor there are Android kind of "services". Of course usual suspects like Facebook and Qik are there everywhere. I did download Firefox for N900 but found the native browser faster.

Winner: iPhone of course but Android is not behind with a completely different set of capabilities.

To be continued
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