In his latest review, Mark Needham, founder of fast-growing technology company Widget, swapped his iPhone 4S for a Samsung Galaxy S III. But was he prepared to make the switch permanent?
The first look you get of a Samsung Galaxy III is impressive. The screen is larger than any iPhone to date, yet the whole unit feels lighter than an iPhone.
A successful new phone has to have a balance of impressive looks and gimmicks which get users showing it to their friends and long-term benefits which keep customers using it months later. The Galaxy III has plenty of tricks. It shows off its screen with a range of visual effects which appear to show water rippling across the screen, accompanied by some very realistic sound effects. You can take a screen shot, by flattening your hand, positioning it at 90 degrees to the phone and drawing it across the screen of the phone.
Deeper into the phone, there are lots of improvements from the days when Android was a primitive system. To my amazement, I did get some useful results out of the Google Voice application. Asking something simple like “weather in San Francisco” produced a Google search on the weather in San Francisco. I tried the same statement on Siri on my iPhone 4S, which replied “Sorry, I couldn’t do it. Could you try it again please?”
The quality of phone calls is also better on the Galaxy than on my iPhone 4S. Part of this is the simple fact that, since the Galaxy is larger, the microphone is nearer your mouth.
But moving from one phone to another is not as simple as it used to be. In the old days, you took your SIM card out of the old phone, pressed the right buttons to open the back of the new phone, slotted the card in and away you went. Your phone number moved across to the new phone, and for most people, who saved phone numbers in the SIM card, everything you needed could be moved in a couple of minutes.
Today we have far more saved in our phones than a few telephone numbers. Either within the phone or by synchronising with Outlook, most users have a large address book on call. According to Techcrunch, iPhone users have an average of 65 apps installed on their device. Even if most of these are apps were used once then forgotten about, most people have several apps which they use more than the telephone which started it all.
A month after getting the Galaxy III, I was still carrying both it and my iPhone around, as I had so many apps which I had not moved across to Android. Unlike upgrading from one Apple device to another, there is no smooth upgrade from iPhone to Android – it seems more like changing your religion than changing your phone.
Mark Needham is chairman and founder of consumer electronics distributor Widget UK Ltd, www.widget.co.uk
Device supplied by Vodafone UK Business; free from £30 on 24-month price plans including 600 minutes, 250 texts, 500 MB of web access