iPhone vs. Android: Which is right for you?

If you’re buying a smartphone or signing up for a new contract, one of the biggest choices you’ll have to make is whether to go for an Android or iPhone handset.

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 You might already have a preference between the two, but in case you’re undecided – here are the important factors to consider before making your decision…

What are the similarities?

Something to think about when you make your choice is that for all their differences, Android and iOS phones essentially all do the same things. You’ll be able to make calls, send texts, use apps, browse the web, take photographs and record videos.

Whether you choose an iPhone or Android device, you’re likely to get a smartphone with a HD screen, tons of internal memory for your photos, video and music, a similar amount of RAM – which determines the speed at which you can operate the phone - and comparable processors to make it all work.

But of course the devil is in detail, and it’s the little differences that matter the most to many people.

Operating system (‘OS’) – Android vs iOS

This is perhaps the biggest and most obvious difference when looking at and using a smartphone.

It’s like sitting behind the wheel of two different cars. Everything you need will be on the dashboard, but each manufacturer will lay things out differently.

‘Android’ is Google’s OS and ‘iOS’ is Apple’s. Whereas only Apple iPhones use iOS, the Android OS can be found on handsets from tons of manufacturers, such as Samsung, Sony, Motorola, HTC and so on.

Android is what’s known as an ‘open source’ OS. This means the computer code that makes it work is freely available for developers (or anyone with the inclination and a web connection) to tinker with.

As such, it’s much more flexible. For example, if you wanted to add an album to your Android phone from your computer, you could just plug your phone into your computer, then drag and drop the file into your Android music folder.

To do the equivalent on iOS, you’d have to open Apple’s iTunes software and manage your music that way.

The trade-off with open source OS’ is that they are more vulnerable to attack because when your source code is freely available, there will always be people who pore over it to find ways to exploit it.

What Apps can I get?

Android has come a really long way and can go toe-to-toe with iOS in almost every way, but there are still instances where a new app will come out on iPhone first, leaving Android users out in the cold for a few weeks.

It’s less common these days, but it does happen. If you like to be up to date with the latest apps, iPhone might be the better option for you.

There are also issues with compatibility. When an app developer makes a new app for iPhone, they know exactly what hardware they are developing for.

The problem with Android is that there are countless different handsets, each with different specs to develop for – making it harder to ensure your app works properly on each.

You might find that even though you can download an Android app, it isn’t actually compatible and useable on your handset – typically if your phone is older.

Android is much more customisable

If personalisation is important to you, you’ll love Android’s customisation options.

While iPhone lets you change your wallpapers to make your handset more you, Android lets you change everything – from icons and fonts to animations and interface – via ‘launchers’ downloaded from the Play Store.

How do they compare on price?

The cost of the phone is another big factor when you’re choosing between iPhone and Android.

It’s here that Android has the edge because not only are iPhones pretty expensive, Android has spent the last few years pumping out super-cheap, feature-packed phones.

From the Moto G to the OnePlus One and the Wileyfox Swift, there are some amazingly-capable phones available for less than half the cost of the latest iPhone and with specs to rival Apple’s best efforts.

But of course a premium price tag means a premium product. Apple is lauded for its sleek designs, whereas cheaper Android handsets tend to be made of cheaper materials (often plastic). 

In September, Apple is set to launch its newest iteration in the iPhone series – the iPhone 7. Keep up to date with the latest rumours and deals on our dedicated page. 

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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