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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.