Why I chose an iPhone 4s

I’m sorry Google, Samsung, Microsoft and Nokia. I really wanted to break out of one walled garden and explore another. None of your devices are truly free and none of your offerings truly perfect.

Originally I looked at my iPod Touch 64GB and lamented. If I ran a Personal Hotspot I could share a new phone with it and double-up on my experience using both Android or Windows Phone and iOS. However when I compared what was available I decided keeping things simple and converging my iPod and phone into one device made the most logical sense; less to charge, less to find and less to learn.

I did however do it grudgingly but lured by a simple fact:

I could sign up to a mobile phone contract for little more than my unlimited home broadband that gave me unlimited untethered phone broadband at least 2.5 times faster than I can get into my house.

The choice was just too compelling.

So it came down to swapping my very basic phone for something else; something Personal Hotspot capable and high end to cover the period of the contract. My options were diverse but I creamed the crop to:

  • iPhone 4s
  • Nokia Lumia 800
  • Samsung Galaxy S2
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Each had a compelling set of reasons to buy.

iPhone 4s

  • Small, good phone size, yet HD screen.
  • Proven technology from my iPod Touch, migrate everything without paying more.
  • First iPhone with 64GB (essential for me).
  • Won the Gadget Show power-use tests with 8 hours and beating all others.
  • Guaranteed at least two major firmware updates in its lifetime

Interesting to note, Siri was not on my list of advantages. Of the negatives:

  • Same, boring UI, not dated, but no access to technical content either
  • Some browser incompatibilities, yet I believe Apple is right to be Flash stubborn
  • Expensive and part of the Apple walled garden

Nokia Lumia 800

  • First real Windows Phone contender
  • Solid Nokia Design, small and phone like
  • Excellent camera and offline maps built in
  • Real early adopter platform leading to the Windows 8 future
  • Galaxy S2 level quality of OLED display

Negatively however:

  • No commitment to updates, not even Windows Phone 8.0
  • Functionally limited, although Microsoft is rapidly getting up to the leaders
  • 800×600 res display limited by Windows Phone OS; no new phones will be higher res until WP8
  • Small flash storage with unibody design and no ability to add more
  • No Personal Hotspot support yet (although vaguely promised by Nokia)

Galaxy Samsung S2

  • Amazing high spec phone
  • Great OLED display, excellent graphics acceleration
  • Dripping in features, including 5GHz, DLNA software, upgradable flash memory

Negatively:

  • Running Android 2.4 although version 4.0 now out
  • Rumours of 4.0 upgrade, but no official word
  • 800×600 res display, trumped by Nexus and iPhone
  • Somewhat large and unpocketable
  • Android Marketplace is like the wild west, and then paid software costs more than Apple

Galaxy Nexus

  • Concept phone developed by Samsung for Google
  • Latest Android 4.0, pure and not messed around with by Samsung
  • Jaw dropping amazing HD screen that knocks it out of the park

The negatives however are long:

  • Way too big to be a serious phone
  • Graphics processor is very slow compared to Galaxy S2
  • 5 mega-pixel camera is very poor quality
  • No flash memory upgrade and on-board flash is very small
  • Looked like a Samsung concept rather than a Galaxy S2 replacement
  • Limited Android Marketplace as new version just out

Conclusion
So in the end things just didn’t stack up. I wanted the perfect Android or Windows Phone and none could offer me that. Worse, none would commit to software updates to carry them forward over my contract, which was also a deal breaker.

I really wanted to be an early adopter with Windows Phone and I was prepared to take the negatives on the Lumia 800 if Nokia would commit to updates through to Windows Phone 8.0 and beyond.

So in the end, I decided that the iPhone 4s was a unique upgrade over the iPhone 4 and the one for me. Specifically because:

  • Had everything I loved in the iPod Touch 4G 64GB
  • No need to buy apps again, just restore from backup
  • Doubled the processor power and seven times the graphics speed
  • One of the few small high-spec phones left on the market
  • Gorilla glass on the front and back mean you can’t scratch it, finger print resistant coating
  • Apple rumoured to be releasing the iPhone 5 in a year with a unibody aluminium design similar to their laptops. I hate their unibody designs and their scratchy metal backs. The iPhone 3 was horrid
  • One device to rule them all

So there you go. I lamented, analysed, theorise and frustrated myself. However, a little grudgingly this is where I ended up. That said, I’m ecstatic with the freedom of being always on the internet, Siri is just awesome and the iPhone 4s is a peppy little beast perfectly suited for two to four years of use.

I hope that in a couple of years the hardware of a Galaxy S2, merged with a Galaxy Nexus, shrunk and built by Nokia running Microsoft Windows Phone 8 will be there to compete but sadly that time isn’t here now and as such I’m glad I’m not an early adopter to be left in the gutter.

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