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iPhone an downgrade from Droid?
January 26, 2011 4:41 AM   Subscribe

I'm currently with Verizon and have a Motorola Droid. Now that the walls have come down, I'm considering the iPhone (mainly because I use iTunes and don't want to carry a clunky iPod). However, I want to make sure before I make the leap that I will not regret it. Is the iPhone an upgrade or a downgrade? What's the big difference?
posted by boots77 to Technology (28 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
http://www.ehow.com/how_5596820_transfer-music-motorola-droid.html
posted by EtzHadaat at 4:47 AM on January 26, 2011


Lifehacker put together an in-depth guide for just this subject yesterday: Everything You Need to Know About the Verizon iPhone and Making the Switch. It comes with a handy table of contents to jump to key points. You can also check out their point-by-point comparison of Android and iOS for power users considering a switch.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:06 AM on January 26, 2011


Rumors I've heard suggest to hold put for the next iPhone model, as it will be able to use the 4lte service. Depends if you're in a hurry, I suppose, as it might take til summer or fall for it to come out.
posted by jasper411 at 5:28 AM on January 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The big differences (that I am aware of), are

1) Android is more of a "hackers phone" with easier access to things like software development, and the working guts of the system. iPhone takes care of everything for you. YMMV on which is better.

2) Android syncs everything wirelessly with google for free. iPhone requires being plugged in to itunes to sync, although you may be able to do something wirelessly with MobileMe (Apple's pay service) that I don't know about. My gut feeling is that Android has better backup protection for contacts and email and calendar and apps and stuff.

3) iPhone users have more sexual partners. (OkTrends 2010). Depending on what you're looking for in a relationship, this may or may not be an improvement.
posted by yeolcoatl at 5:35 AM on January 26, 2011


Previously. That AskMe was specific to the asker, so it probably won't answer all your questions, but it's worth a read.
posted by Tehhund at 5:45 AM on January 26, 2011


Yes, I've also heard advice that waiting for the next iPhone is a good idea if you've already waited this long.

However, Verizon admitted yesterday that its unlimited $30 data plan is just to get people to switch from AT&T and would be a limited-time offer, so you might want to keep an eye on that for timing as well. I'd think it'd have to last several months as an offer at least, but you never know.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:50 AM on January 26, 2011


Also previously.
posted by Tehhund at 5:52 AM on January 26, 2011


Should you get an iPhone?

If you like iTunes *ugh*, that removes a major problem with the iPhone (namely, it forces you to use iTunes). I use direct storage access on my Droid weekly, and it's awesome, but if you're already an iTunes user you'll probably like it. I'll admit that the iTunes integration is pretty good, if you like iTunes.

You will lose turn-by-turn navigation. Whether that's a big deal to you depends on how much you use it. I depend on it now, maybe you never use it.

I suffered many fewer application crashes with my previous iPhone. It was rare. I now deal with them weekly on my Droid, but the benefits of the Droid outweigh this negative to me, and I think that will improve as the Android marketplace matures - it doesn't seem to be an OS problem, it seems to be a shoddy new app problem.

Finally, Apple's UI standards drive me nuts, and they require their app developers to adhere to at least some of those standards. There's less room for innovation - you can't even get Swype on an iPhone. But again, if you like the iOS UI (try it out yourself on a friend's phone), this may be just fine for you or even a positive since it ensures consistency.

Should you get the first Verizon iPhone?

Most of the sources we've linked to say no - the next one will almost certainly support LTE, which Verizon is rolling out. If you live in a rural area you might not care, but if you live in or frequently travel to a decent-sized city Verizon may have you on their rollout plan. So only take the dive now if you are super excited for an iPhone. Your question says you're not that excited, so you should probably wait and see how it goes and how soon they're planning the LTE iPhone.
posted by Tehhund at 6:16 AM on January 26, 2011


Turn-by-turn navigation. There's an app for that. There are several on the iPhone. The one I use, Waze, is free and does a great job.

Your biggest issue with the switch might be the lack of a physical keyboard on the iPhone. My wife left iPhone for the Droid because she wanted a keyboard.
posted by studentbaker at 6:30 AM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Personally I can't see Apple pushing a device for Verizon that it only is able to market for the next few months before it's rendered obsolete by an iPhone 5. Wait for LTE if you want, but I can't help but feel Apple did enough engineering work getting the iPhone on Verizon that it would not make sense for them to give themselves such a short window of opportunity to sell the product. The only reason to push an iPhone refresh soon would be if they are building one that will work on any network rather than having to maintain two different models. It's a lot of work for such a limited payoff, especially when you consider that the US is really the only sizable market for CDMA2000 phones like Verizon's in the first place - the rest of the world mostly uses UMTS/GSM, like the original iPhone.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:46 AM on January 26, 2011


Personally I can't see Apple pushing a device for Verizon that it only is able to market for the next few months before it's rendered obsolete by an iPhone 5.

Actually, this is exactly the scenario that I'd bet on (six months, actually) with a likely voucher-rebate from Verizon for early adopters who swap handsets.

As proof I'd point out that most carriers still offer the older iPhone 3GS alongside the 4 today, as a lower-end alternative. Apple even does this in their online store.
posted by rokusan at 7:26 AM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I went from a Droid to an iPhone....and am going back to an Android phone after a week because of one app: the built in GPS and navigation. I love the iPhone, but the lack of a comparable (free) turn by turn navigation app was the kiss of death. I use the Google nav app daily and cannot live without it.
posted by rtodd at 7:38 AM on January 26, 2011


note that since Apple doesn't want to cannibalize its own music iPod sales with the iPhone, the iPhone's music software features lack a bunch things that the music iPods have (and which you may be useful). Borrow someone's iphone and compare and contrast with your ipod.
posted by Bwithh at 7:42 AM on January 26, 2011


bwithh, I'm really curious what features you think are missing. I've had an iPod Classic, an iPod Touch 2G, and now an iPhone 3GS running iOS 4.2. Apple is pretty clearly trying to convert their low-margin iPod customers into high-margin iPhone customrs. The iPod app in iOS 4.2 is easily the most full-featured they've ever offered.
posted by Oktober at 7:58 AM on January 26, 2011


the iPhone's music software features lack a bunch things that the music iPods have

Huh?
posted by dobbs at 8:01 AM on January 26, 2011


It's hard for me to believe you don't see the trouble with this question. if you had said "this is how I work, this is important to me" then the question might be answerable. As is, with not other information, you're basically asking "which phone is better". Which is unanswerable. But since you asked:

I prefer the iPhone because it keeps my life simpler. It's the same reason I switched to the mac in the first place. It does everything I need and I love the attention to detail. I know that every two years or so I'll simply get another iPhone. I'm not worried about which android phone to get, or if my android phone will get the next OS update and when. I don't want to hack my phone. I don't care about bragging that it's open source. I'm pretty confident that any clear advantage android has will be addressed by apple. Again, simplicity, getting things done, etc.

I absolutely love my iPhone 4 and I have no doubt it's the best phone for me available today. I'll probably skip the next iPhone, and give the iPhone 6 a good look. Until then, I don't really worry about phone wars.

Now, if android came out with some feature that blew me away, and apple had some motive against this feature, I would rethink my position. I don't see that happening. But if it did, hey, I'd give android a chance. Until it does, I'm very happy not worrying about DO I HAVE THE BEST PHONE EVER and more just enjoying my awesome phone.

Now, if you love google voice, if you hate apple, if you love hacking on your phone, go android. If I was 20 again, and loved spending hours screwing with my phone, and loved that android sounds like something from Tron, I'd probably have an android phone. But I enjoy simplicity and polish and order more today, at least when it comes to my phone.

You will lose turn-by-turn navigation. Whether that's a big deal to you depends on how much you use it. I depend on it now, maybe you never use it.

Why do people keep saying this. You will lose FREE turn by turn navigation. And google's app is great, but I believe that it downloads the maps as you go, as opposed to downloading the whole US, so even if it was offered I'd purchase a gps app.
posted by justgary at 8:45 AM on January 26, 2011


Android syncs everything wirelessly with google for free. iPhone requires being plugged in to itunes to sync,

No you don't you can sync mail, calendar and contacts OTA with an iphone and google's apps (for free). It takes a slight bit of work to set up but thats all.

Personally I like the iPhone but I really need to switch to Verizon. But as ready as I am to switch I'm waiting for the iPhone reboot which should happen in early June. Right now Verizon has the iPhone 4 in, basically, 3G.

Truth be told for most people the switch is a bit superficial. Most people would like either phone (they are both good) but like one or the other for fairly minor and personal reasons.
posted by bitdamaged at 9:35 AM on January 26, 2011


Which Droid do you have?
posted by radioamy at 9:44 AM on January 26, 2011


And google's app is great, but I believe that it downloads the maps as you go

Since the last update to Maps (not OS update, just the map app) it will cache a certain amount of data, so this is not true anymore.

But really the #1 difference as studentbaker pointed out is the keyboard. I've tried plenty of keyboardless smartphones (Android and iPhone) and can't deal with it, I do more typing than calling on my phone and the physical keyboard is a must.
posted by wildcrdj at 9:51 AM on January 26, 2011


bitdamaged: "Right now Verizon has the iPhone 4 in, basically, 3G."

Not sure what this means, as no carrier has the iPhone in anything other than 3G. The iPhone 4 is not a 4G (nor LTE) phone.

And having said that, I think you might regret getting the iPhone 4 right now. As others have said, it seems likely that Apple will come out with a 4G phone sometime soon, so I would wait to change your phones until that happens. This way you also avoid any potential "early adopter" bugs/annoyances, like the "you're holding the phone wrong" thing.
posted by Grither at 9:52 AM on January 26, 2011


You can easily sync your mail, contacts, and calendar between google and the iPhone. The only thing (I think) that an Android phone syncs w/ google that the iPhone can't is photos w/ Picasa.

I have both an iPhone 3GS and an original VZ Droid that I've upgraded to Froyo myself. I don't know if it's the phone or the OS, but I've found the Droid to be really frustrating to use. It's definitely not as polished as the iPhone. Scrolling, zooming, etc all feel a lot better on the iPhone. I've read reviews that this is solved on the super-new Android phones by throwing hardware at the problem, but I cannot comment personally.

I find the app selection on the iPhone to be a lot better. Both in quantity and quality. Many companies only release iPhone apps, or the Android apps are months beyond and not as fully featured.

However, there are some benefits to Adroid:
- some apps, like the ones that change your phone settings (ringtone, ring volume, etc) based on things like your location or time
- some features of the hardware that are exposed on Adroid but are not in iPhone, like a wifi scanner / analyzer that helped me fix some wifi problems I was having.
- notifications sytem.

While iTunes is annoying, but if you take Morpheus' advice and bend like a reed in the wind, it's really not too bad. If you have OSX, it's even better. Supposedly on Android you can get a lot of the same smart music playlist features with DoubleTwist, but I haven't tried it. There is no real analog to the iTunes store (whether music, video, etc) for Android.

I think the best advice is to go to a store and try out the iPhone to see if you like it. Create a set of tasks for yourself based on the types of things that you do every day or want to do every day.
posted by reddot at 10:00 AM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


For me, the biggest advantage of the iPhone over Android phones is one that's relatively superficial: the scrolling is much, much smoother. The iPhone uses the GPU extensively to speed and smooth out animations (much like OSX, or Aero on Vista/Win 7, or Compiz on Linux) and to me that really makes the phone more enjoyable to use.

Beyond that, the application are generally better on iOS, although the Google apps are weaker. Google chat is pretty abysmal on iOS, for instance, as it relies on third party apps that don't work very well.

The iOS notification system is also a disgrace.

Overall, I still like the iPhone better. When (if?) Android's entire GUI is hardware accelerated, I'll probably switch.
posted by The Lamplighter at 10:45 AM on January 26, 2011


Hardware wise, the iPhone is amazing, but so are the higher end Android phones. The real difference comes down to the OS and the apps available for it. In my opinion, those apps are the biggest reason to go iPhone rather than Android.

As others have pointed out, Android is great for people who like to tinker. iOS is great for people who want it to work right without having to tinker.

Developers are making far more money making apps for iOS than for Android, mostly because iOS apps are only on the app store (even the free apps) whereas Android apps are available all over the place and mostly pirated. Since that's where the money is, that's also where most (again, I said 'most') of the development is going on, and that means better stuff for you.

I don't understand why people hate iTunes. I adore it - especially when it comes to music organization. I love the power of sorting options, especially when it comes to being able to make smart playlists. "Give me only songs from when I was in college (1990 to 1994) that I've rated 3 stars or higher" or "Give me only songs that I've rated four or five stars but haven't listened to in the last six months."

And iTunes works very well with the iPhone. I use the iTunes Remote app a lot, and I have some of my smart playlists synced to my iPhone, which constantly changes the music on my phone without me having to make an effort.

If you have any interest in Photography, you want an iPhone. Some Android phones have higher resolution cameras, but the iPhone camera is no slouch. And when you pair it up with apps like Hipstamatic and Camera+ or ProCamera, you're in for one hell of a lot of fun.
posted by 2oh1 at 10:51 AM on January 26, 2011


Lifehacker put together an in-depth guide for just this subject yesterday: Everything You Need to Know About the Verizon iPhone and Making the Switch. It comes with a handy table of contents to jump to key points. You can also check out their point-by-point comparison of Android and iOS for power users considering a switch.

That point-by-point comparison is a bit dated. Google Voice works fine on the iPhone, for instance. I do all my texting with it. Many new Android phones have come out since it was posted, too, so it wouldn't surprise me if some of the other comparisons were off.

Battery life is better on the iPhone, but more easily replaced on some or all droids. The touch screen works better on the iPhone than any droids I've tried. I'd love to have Google Nav on my iPhone, but TomTom does have the advantage of working offline wherever you are (and mine uses Darth Vader's voice because I'm nerdy like that). I'd love to have Swype on my iPhone, but the software keyboard it comes with isn't bad at all. I haven't seen a droid with a better screen resolution than the iPhone, but there are some with larger screens.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 10:56 AM on January 26, 2011


I've got both an iPhone 4 and a Galaxy S, and I can't really say one is better than the other. Both phones have their disadvantages and advantages.

Android has better integration with Google services (eg: Google Maps can easily sync with Navigation, click on a user's address in the contact list and it will take you directly to Navigation), I really like the back button, the taskbar at the top is great, homescreen widgets and homescreen tweaking make the user interface really useful. Definitely more hackable (I use the Tasker app to make the phone do tons of useful stuff that the iPhone can't do). If any of this is important to you, the iPhone won't be able to do these things as well.

iPhone has nicer apps. Tons more games. The screen resolution makes a big difference in usability since a major use of the phone is using the browser. GPS is rock solid, and there are free GPS navigation apps out there but the paid apps are excellent too (not as good as Android in my opinion, but good enough). You will appreciate the iTunes integration if you use it already.

Personally the hardware is top notch on the iPhone, but I personally like Android OS better due to the hackability. I think if you do get the phone, you'll see that it will be an upgrade to the Droid (way better screen, better battery life), but there will be things about the software you may miss from your old phone.

Like others I'd suggest waiting a couple months because there is a possibility of much nicer phones from both Apple and other Android vendors that you can choose from.
posted by ajackson at 11:08 AM on January 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I prefer the iPhone because it keeps my life simpler... It does everything I need and I love the attention to detail... I know that every two years or so I'll simply get another iPhone. I'm not worried about which android phone to get, or if my android phone will get the next OS update and when. I don't want to hack my phone. I don't care about bragging that it's open source.

Hmmm. Sounds like we have exactly the same needs in a phone, and I'm perfectly happy with Android. Apparently the misinformation that accompanies every Windows/Mac AskMe discussion must also apply to iPhone/Android questions.

Fact is, the phones are nearly identical except that:
* Android is hackable (if you want it to be)
* Some Android phones have a physical keyboard
* iPhone uses iTunes.

Since you like iTunes, you should go with iPhone, keeping in mind that it may be replaced with a better model shortly. The new iPhone will be a MAJOR upgrade to your 2-year-old Droid (I also have a Droid, and my gf's* new EVO is much, much faster) regardless of OS, unless of course you want a real keyboard.

*My gf is an Apple girl, but loves her Android phone. Maybe because she's not all that tied to iTunes.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:09 AM on January 26, 2011


I use isyncr to get get my itunes playlists onto my android phone, and keep the data (playcount, skip count, ratings) synced.
posted by garlic at 12:02 PM on January 26, 2011


I went from a Droid to an iPhone....and am going back to an Android phone after a week because of one app: the built in GPS and navigation. I love the iPhone, but the lack of a comparable (free) turn by turn navigation app was the kiss of death.

There is a free Mapquest app for the iPhone that does turn-by-turn navigation. It has decent reviews--not all glowing, but lots of people seem to think it works OK and like it. I haven't used it much yet, myself.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 1:48 PM on January 26, 2011


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