Google Nexus One v Apple iPhone 3G

Checking out a Nexus One
Image by ekai via Flickr

Google’s launch of the Nexus One smartphone has, as expected, revived the argument about is the iPhone still ‘top dog’? My personal view (and I make clear here that I own neither phone but am giving my opinion on them after reading various blogs and reviews).

The consensus seems to be that the iPhone still maintains its top position but that its rivals are getting closer. However, in my humble opinion, its early days and not until the Nexus One has been out in the wild for several months and we get some genuine user feedback can we say definitively, one way or the other, whether its a good or better than the iPhone. Re iews by magazines and bloggers are all well and good but it doesn’t beat real-world usage by the end-user.

So, if you are considering the Nexus One instead of the iPhone, what are the things to bear in mind?

  1. Are you an Apple user already – if you use the Mac then the iPhone is probably the first choice for you. You will love the Apple touches, the design and build quality, the Apple way of doing things and you will no doubt fall in love with the huge range of Apps available.
  2. If you are not an Apple user already, but use a PC instead, the choice is not so clear cut. You then have to ask yourself what do you REALLY need out of a smartphone? Its no good just jumping on the bandwagon without having a genuine need for a smartphone. It will only cost you more than you need to pay and it may not offer any real advantage over any other (cheaper) smartphone.
  3. If you decide you actually need a smartphone, what are the features to look at and compare between different models? I would suggest the following:
    • Screen: How easy is the touchscreen to use; is it big enough for web browsing (without forcing you to do lots of scrolling to view the page); is it the only input method or is there a QWERTY keypad (I refuse to call them keyboards!)?
    • Does it come with decent 3G performance and is it available on the network you want?
    • Does it have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth?
    • What about the camera – what resolution is it, does it have flash, can it do video?
    • What Apps does it come with or have available; are they what you require and are they free or expensive?
    • Does it have a proper headphone socket rather than a proprietary one?
    • What battery life does it have?
    • Is the GUI (user interface) practical or is it a fancy-looking but useless one; how many keystrokes/touches does it take to get where you want to be?

I would say that these are the important questions you need to ask if looking for your first or a replacement smartphone. I would also say that if you can hold off for now and stay with your existing phone or a cheaper option (12 month contract or PAYG option), then do so. Not only are the opposition getting closer to coming up with a genuine alternative to the iPhone, Apple will also be introducing the replacement to the iPhone 3GS sometime n the next 12 months (probably) and who knows what that will bring to the party?

Also, don’t forget that Apple is supposedly bringing out the iTablet (iSlate or whatever it will be called) later this month and this is rumoured to be available from March. Whether it will have smartphone functions or not isn’t clear yet. If it does t will certainly be a game-changer.

However, if you must have a smartphone now, I reckon the iPhone is the best option for most people, as log as it makes financial sense, e.g. you use lots of minutes, texts and internet data. If you are looking to spend less than £30 pcm then look elsewhere.

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