Android vs. iOS
They’ve been around since the mid-aughts, but the debate still rages over whether iPhones or Androids are better. Ultimately, you can buy high-end iPhones and Android phones, as well as less expensive models of each, and you tend to get what you pay for. That said, you may find that either an iPhone or Android is a better fit for your lifestyle and the way you use your phone.
All iPhones are made by Apple, whereas a large number of smartphone manufacturers use the Android operating system, so you have a much wider range of options if you choose an Android phone.
Android phones are any smartphones that use the Android operating system. Many different manufacturers produce Android phones, with popular models coming from Samsung, Google, LG and Motorola. The majority of manufacturers use a custom interface, so the user experience will be different from one phone to the next.
Because Android phones aren’t all made by the same company, they can vary widely in quality and features. You can find basic Android phones for around $100, while high-end flagship models can cost more than $1,000.
What you’ll love about Android phones
- Although iPhones have improved in this department recently, Android phones still beat them when it comes to organizing your apps so you can easily access those you use regularly.
- Android phones come at a range of price points, so you can find a model for you, whether you have $100 or $1,000 to spend.
- The stock keyboard on Android phones is superior to the stock keyboard on iPhones, giving you a better typing experience.
- Google Maps is far superior to Apple’s Maps app. While you can download Google Maps to an iPhone, it isn’t compatible with Siri, whereas it works perfectly with Google Assistant or other Android virtual assistants, like Samsung’s Bixby.
- Android phones are charged using a standard micro USB or USB-C cable, which you probably already have tons of lying around from other devices.
What you should consider about Android phones
- The cheapest Android phones can be slow, buggy and have poor cameras.
- Many Android phones come with a large amount of bloatware — that is, preinstalled apps that you often can’t remove from your phone.
- Android phones usually only support updates for a couple of years, while iPhones offer 5 years of updates.
Top Android phones
If you’re looking for a high-end Android phone, you can’t beat the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G. It has an incredible camera with a 100x zoom and 8K video recording capabilities, it’s extremely quick and smooth to use, and it comes 5G-ready. The Google Pixel 5 is a more affordable mid-range Android phone. It’s also 5G-ready and has a very decent camera, though it can’t beat the S21 Ultra. If you want a cheap Android phone that still performs well, consider the LG Stylo 6. It has a triple camera system, great display and runs smoothly.
iPhones are the original smartphones from Apple and have a band of loyal followers. They run on iOS, which has a slightly different look and feel to the Android OS, though if you can use one, picking up the other should be easy enough. You have less choice when buying an iPhone because there are only a handful of models on the market at any one time, but you can be sure any one of them will be a solid pick.
Although anyone can use iPhones, they’re always popular among people who already use other Apple products, like Mac computers and Apple Watches, because it’s easier to integrate your devices if they’re all made by Apple. You can find some affordable iPhones starting at around $400, while the best and most feature-rich iPhones cost around $1,200.
What you’ll love about iPhones
- The latest iPhones have impressive battery lives and can go more than 24 hours on a full charge.
- Cameras on cheap iPhones are still decent and beat cameras on cheap Android phones, for the most part.
- It’s easier to set an iPhone to silent or vibrate compared to an Android phone — there’s a physical switch to do so on an iPhone, while to switch to silent on an Android, you must log into the phone and select the right option from the pull-down menu.
- iPhones have a better selection of apps than Android, especially in the creative realm, such as Garage Band, which comes free with iPhones but isn’t available on Android.
- iPhones of all price points have fairly solid builds and decent hardware, while cheap Android phones are more of a wildcard.
What you should consider about iPhones
- You can’t get an iPhone if you’re looking to spend less than $300-$400.
- Android notifications are a little more nuanced than those on iPhones, allowing you to set the priority of various notifications and more easily clear them with a single swipe.
If you want the best iPhone on the market right now, opt for the iPhone 12 Max. It’s tough, has excellent battery life and features an impressive triple camera system with wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lenses, plus lidar technology for quicker focusing. The iPhone 12 Mini is a mid-range choice and a great option for people who prefer their phones on the smaller, more manageable side. It has great build quality and an excellent camera system. Buyers on a budget should opt for the iPhone SE, which uses older technology than the flagship iPhones but still performs decently.
Should you get an Android phone or an iPhone?
Whether you should buy an Android or an iPhone is more about personal preference and the quality of your chosen phone than one option being objectively better than the other. If you have a lot to spend, a high-end Android and a high-end iPhone will perform equally well, while you might get more for your money on a tight budget by opting for an Android phone.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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