Android Vs. iOS Vs. Windows Phone 7
A year full of changes
2011 was a prolific year in regards to smartphones. The market was practically choked with novelties coming from brands such as Samsung, Apple, HTC, Motorola and many others. The iPhone 4S was bought by so many people that we’ve lost count, Google’s Android operating system saw a great rise in popularity and Microsoft’s mobile strategy received new life with the release of the Windows Phone 7. But a question remains: what’s the best OS nowadays? We compared and tested the Android OS, the iOS and the Windows Phone 7 and here is what we found.
Android is the most customizable
The UI on an Android operating system is the most customizable of the three and comes with app icons front and center (that can be moved or deleted with the exception of the Dialer, Web and Application Tray ones) and a simple home screen. This OS also features 5 built-in customizable panes, including the home screen; we could navigate through them in two ways: either by touching the dot situated at the bottom of the screen (representing one of the panes) or simply sliding our finger to the right or left. All in all we had no problem using Android’s UI.
iOS has elegant interface
The iOS looked both elegant and straightforward, two elements that made our smartphone extremely easy to use. We very much liked the almost perfect combination of hardware and software. Apple’s UI has a design that can be recognized from a million and that’s one of the reasons why the iPhones are so popular: the display is kept simple and it shows several app icons in a clean grid; you’ll also find a standard hard key at the bottom of the phone whose purpose is to return you to the main screen and notification icons that inform you about connection strength, battery level and many other important information. On the bottom sit icons for the most important apps: phone calls, e-mail and so on.
Windows Phone 7 is a hybrid
The interface of the Windows Phone 7 is different than the two above. For starters, it is the least customizable of the three we’re comparing on this page. Second, it concentrates on a series of oversized hubs which enable the user to perform certain tasks; they are big because their role is to give users info without the need to run the underlying application. So when we turned on our smartphone for the first time we didn’t see the many app icons we saw on the Samsung Nexus S and the iPhone 4S. Some downsides when compared to the Android (with 7 screens) and the iOS (with 11 screens) would be the fact that the Windows Phone 7 sports only 2 screens and it is not as customizable as those two operating systems we tested for this review.
A lot of apps available
Each of the three operating systems comes with a number of apps, available for download and test. The Android has 100.000, the iOS 350.000 and the Windows Phone 79.500 apps; there are also markets for these apps: an Android one, an Apple Store and a Microsoft Store.
As for data integration during our tests, the Android automatically synced and integrated with Google Services; so you’ll have to be a Google user and, if you want to synchronize music files between your Android smartphone and PC, you’ll have to make use of the Windows Media Player. Features-wise, the Android has voice control, voice search, support for Near Field Communication and many others that the iOS and the Windows Phone 7 don’t. On the other hand, the iOS offers integration with all the Apple services and software products and also with Outlook.
The differences in tests
In the features department, this operating system boasts FaceTime (used for video-calling purposes) and a much better music player. The Windows Phone 7 is stuck with Microsoft and all that it offers. It syncs and integrates with Outlook, cloud-based services (like Hotmail), uses Internet Explorer and includes mobile versions of PowerPoint, Word, OneNote, Excel and SharePoint. The iOS and Android both tether via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB; the Windows Phone 7 doesn’t.
The review conclusion
As bottom line, the Android OS is the best out of the three when it comes to customization, features and openness. The iOS is, on the other hand, the most stylish and user-friendly, not to mention it has a great marriage of hardware and software. Should you be a Microsoft fan and someone who doesn’t consider a plethora of apps the most important thing ever, then the Windows Phone 7 is the perfect operating system for you.