iPhone 4 verses Samsung Galaxy S 2

Comparing two phones on two different operating systems is never easy, but if a comparison is to be done these are the two to look at. The iPhone 4 is of course the best iOS smartphone on the market, out of only two, and the Galaxy S 2 is the arguably the best Android smartphone on the. I haven’t used them all, but the pedigree Samsung brings and my experience with the phone suggest it is near the top of the Android pile, if not at the very top.



Apple recently instigated legal proceedings against Samsung based on the premise that the latter has been copying the former in hardware and software design in the mobile space. It is easy to look at this as yet another lawsuit in the mobile industry and to just dismiss it, but the more I use Samsung smartphones the more I see similarities. When I look at these two phones, I see the following-

The large home button on the Galaxy S 2 is sat on its own flanked by two virtual keys that only light up when pressed.

You can take a screenshot on the Galaxy S 2 by holding down the power and home keys.

You can move icons around the home screens by dragging them to a new place and while many operating systems do this, it is hard not to see the similarity in use here.

There are some aspects of what Samsung does with Android that sail very close to the wind in my opinion. The hardware has long been a source of contention, but the software tweaks are sometimes too close to how iOS does things. The addition of the screenshot mechanism in the Galaxy devices, while very welcome, is almost identical to the iOS screenshot method. I’m not sure if these areas are patented, but Samsung could have chosen any number of ways to implement this and they chose one that is the same as iOS.

When Samsung does things differently the results are highly impressive. When it copies others the results are still impressive, but it does feel as if I have seen it all before, which I have of course.

If someone asked me today which smartphone they should buy out of these two, I would almost certainly say to go for the Galaxy. The screen is bigger and better, the camera is better, the phone is lighter and the call quality is much clearer. Battery life between the two is similar and from a hardware perspective the Galaxy is some way ahead. The Retina screen in the iPhone 4 was much touted as being the next big thing, and it is indeed fantastic, but I find myself wanting to use the larger Galaxy screen for films and most other tasks because there is just so much space to play in. Retina is lovely, but high resolution is more than enough for me and it seems as though dimensions are more important than pixels per inch to me.

The software is mightily important when choosing a smartphone and there is little doubt that Android is catching iOS quickly and the birth of Google Movies will be one of the final pieces of the puzzle. I can’t really tell you which is the better phone for you, but I can say that the S 2 is ahead in terms of hardware and that Android is closer to iOS for usability than it has ever been.

On a personal level I am torn between these phones. The Galaxy S 2 is a better phone of that I have no doubt, but like many others I have been enchanted by the reliability, completeness and usability of iOS. A year with one phone is unusual for me and a year in which I have had no real inclination to move is remarkable, but Apple has done a very good job of keeping me within the iOS fold. Many iPhone users will stick with their phones for a long time to come and will enjoy the new found loyalty they have developed to one platform, but new users now have some deep questions to ask themselves. Apple needs to be careful of that because Android is finding itself in a more diverse range of products every month and it could outsell the rest by a massive margin eventually.

So, these are both stunningly good smartphones. When I use the Galaxy S 2 and revert back to the iPhone, the screen feels tiny. When I use the iPhone and revert back to the Galaxy S 2 the interface feels slightly messy in comparison.

It is like comparing apples and oranges and it depends on your taste as to which is right for you. The really good news is that both will do everything you want them to do yet it is amazing that one is almost a year old and still competing with the best the competition can offer.