The smartphone market is filled with a plethora of options from various companies and pricing options ranging from dirt-cheap to exorbitant. Buying a phone for a very limited number of tasks and for a short period of time is easy, just grab any cheap phone. However, if you’re looking to invest in a reliable and long-term companion, a phone has to meet some set standards.
The three most important aspects to be considered in assessing a phone (features aside) are-
- Software stability and support
- Hardware quality
- After-sales service support
Android and iOS have been around for almost the same time, Android being a year late to the party. Both the operating systems started out differently, iOS designed to work only on the iPhone as a locked-down system whereas the Android designed to work on any hardware as an open project.
Both have gone through countless number of changes over the years, with iOS taking cues from Android and Android taking cues from iOS. However, Google hasn’t been able to change the fact that Android suffers from the worst condition of fragmentation; majority of the phones do not run on the latest version of the OS. As of May 2019, the most recent version of Android (Pie 9.0) was running on only 10% of the devices whereas iOS’ latest version was running on 85% of the devices.
But why is being on the latest version of the software important? Well, it may not be important for all but for some it is; especially for those who treat security as a priority. For example, virus-infected apps on some versions of Android can change system settings without user’s consent and if Google decides to add a new security layer in the next version of the OS, the update will only reach a small fraction of devices.
To be more precise, yearly Android updates only reach the devices that were released as far as a year ago and in some cases, neither the most recently released devices get the latest security features. However, if Apple adds does the same, it will reach devices that were released as far as four years ago.
Android manufacturers do continuously push security patches but that only helps with identified weaknesses in the OS and do not contain any new security features as such. The patch practice is similar to fixing a punctured tube with a patch rather than getting a new tube made of better material (or a tubeless tyre).
The materials used to create the phone body and the quality of it help determine the physical durability. But what’s more important is the internal components of the phone. Well, everyone’s not a tech-head to understand what constitutes a good amount of RAM, a strong CPU, and a strong GPU.
In the Android world, manufacturers scream “internals internals internals” from the top of their lungs. Yes, Android phones do use a lot more amount of RAM compared to the iPhones but they still can’t match the smoothness of the iPhone and tend to slow-down with the passage of time. Take for example, the flagship phone from the maker of Android, the Pixel which is known for performance stutters in just months of use.
Apple’s advantageous in the case of performance because it creates both the hardware and the software. So its able to tightly integrate both to create a seamless user experience which doesn’t degrade for well over 3-5 years on average. Memory hogging is far less compared to Android and also a smaller capacity battery lasts for the same amount of time a “big battery” Android phone would last for.
After-sales service support
Apple Stores are located across the US, UK and many other countries offering a hassle-free service experience. In countries where Apple doesn’t have its own stores, the company has partnered with third-party stores to create authorized service centres which offer a non-fidgety experience similar to its own stores.
In the Android world, Samsung offers a great after-sales service support which comes close to Apple’s. However, companies like OnePlus, Google and more, which create some of the most expensive Android phones lack physical stores (or have limited stores) which is a big turn-off for a lot of people as those phones will have to be serviced at third-party (non-authorized) service centres. Non-authorized service centres can be shoddy and in some cases charge heavily taking advantage of the customer’s lack of knowledge.
The Samsung Galaxy S10, the Galaxy Note 10, the Pixel 3, OnePlus 7 Pro are great phones but they lack something or the other. On the other hand, the iPhone single-handedly checks all the three most important aspects that make a phone reliable.
Over the years, Apple has built an extremely strong network of service centres and a strong software foundation in collaboration with the hardware team that is unmatched by any other smartphone maker. So if you’re looking for a no-compromise phone which will last for long, get an iPhone. However, if you need an Android phone, it’s the Samsung flagship phones that come close to offering an unmatched experience.
Author’s note: The Android and iOS phones being compared, fall under the same price-bracket with a slight or no difference in price