Three years ago, I switched from an iPhone 3Gs with iOS 4.2 to a Samsung Focus with Windows Phone 7 and I wrote a series of posts about the changes (here’s the translation, powered by Bing: part I, II and III).
Things have changed a lot since 2010: Android has surpassed iOS and is now the market-share king, Google bought Motorola, Blackberry has “disappeared”, Windows Phone has evolved quite a bit and Microsoft is in the middle of the process of buying Nokia’s devices & services business.
Since then, I’ve owned a Samsung Focus S with Windows Phone 7.5, a Nokia Lumia 920 with Windows Phone 8 and since a few weeks ago, an iPhone 5s with iOS 7. All those phones and experiences gave me a much better idea of what I need from a smartphone.
This is a list of categories I’ve used to compare the Lumia 920 with the iPhone 5s:
- Battery – Winner: tie
My perception of battery life is always better when I use a new device, specially when I compare it with an older device, so let’s forget for a second that the iPhone 5s gives me 2 days of juice… in a year, I’ll probably be charging my phone every night.
- Form factor – Winner: iPhone 5s
The 920 was heavy and bulky, and the 5s is light and thin. Apparently nobody is interested anymore in having a small screen combined with top-notch materials and specs; why do I have to choose between a low-end device and a gigantic smartphone? The 5s has the perfect size (4 inches) and some of the best hardware in the market.
- Personalization – Winner: Lumia 920
Instead of talking about how boring a row of icons looks, I’d rather talk about how useful Windows Phone’s Live Tiles are. I miss being able to pin a contact, a location or pretty much anything an app allows me to pin. I even miss the ability to resize the pinned items in my Start screen.
- Interface – Winner: iPhone 5s
Windows Phone brought a fresh perspective on what a mobile OS should look like; however, seeing most of the tiles with the same color on top of black or white background can become boring after a while; iOS 7 got these clues and its simplicity and minimalistic transparences are a great addition to a beautifully designed interface. And no, I don’t have any issues with the color palette; perhaps my colorblindness helps here?
- Apps – Winner: iPhone 5s
Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram… these and many more services are constantly updated with new features, and iOS apps are consistently the first ones to be updated. Everyone can survive without the very last feature, but as the early adopter at heart that I am, being the first one to try them feels nice.
- Security – Winner: iPhone 5s
Is Touch ID secure enough for James Bond? No. Is it secure enough for someone to protect their SSN or tax returns? No. Is it enough for the average person? Yes! A fingerprint sensor that works seamlessly and fast is way more convenient and secure than a 4-digit passcode.
- Charging and standard connectors – Winner: Lumia 920
One of the best features of the Lumia family is the wireless charger; I miss being able to charge my phone by simply leaving it on the charging plate and not worrying about cables. And when I needed one, any micro-USB cable would work.
- Camera – Winner: Lumia 920
Even though the camera of the 920 isn’t the best out there, it never disappointed me, ever: it took great pictures in low light, crisp images in normally-lighted rooms and with great resolution all of them. The iPhone 5s camera, even with the new dual flash, doesn’t even get close; it’s way too easy to take a too-dark or blurry picture with red eyes all over the place.
- Reliability – Winner: tie
I have to say that I haven’t used any of the iWork apps that cause the iPhone to reboot (I use Office) but none of the apps I own have crashed so far. iOS 7 is as smooth and reliable as Windows Phone 8, and I like that.
- Special category: Siri – Winner: iPhone 5s
This is the feature that I’m more excited about; apart from getting information about practically anything you want (which will result in a query to Wolfram Alpha or the Wikipedia), Siri is extremely helpful when performing simple tasks on the phone with natural language: I can ask about the meetings of the day while I walk to catch the bus, ask her to read my last text or email, create or move meetings with friends, modify settings, add reminders based on location… it’s awesome!
In conclusion, Apple wins when it comes to combining hardware and software: the iPhone 5s proves that controlling the experience end-to-end, from the chips to the bits that run through them, is the way to go.
Image via Microsoft and Apple