New iPhones solid, but I'll stick with Android

New iPhones solid, but I'll stick with Android

After one week with the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, I can declare that it is one of the best phablets ever made.

Apple's Reachability feature, for instance, is a great example of a simple solution to a simple problem. When you double tap the Home button, the display shrinks so that your thumb can easily reach apps sitting at the top of the screen.

The company's marketing of the word Reachability is also a masterful example of how a company can take a rarely used abstract noun and fold it seamlessly into the tech lexicon.

Of course, the new iPhone 6 Plus has also put front and centre the word "bendable" and permutations thereof, including "bendgate". They refer to the unfortunate reports that the 6 Plus is more prone to bending than its smaller counterparts.

But in all honesty, what else would you expect of an aluminium frame?

I have a friend who broke a DSLR camera simply by stacking things on top of it. If you shove a laptop into a bag that is already full, you run the risk of cracking the laptop's screen. And have you ever tried to extract a tablet from a tightly packed bag? Apply enough force and you will probably pull it out. But chances are, you will lose your grip and send the tablet crashing into a wall or onto the floor.

When annual in-camp training was still a part of my life, I would always swop my smartphone for a simple, army-ready feature phone which could take the abuse of being used out in the field.

In other words, learn to take care of your gadgets.

The bendable iPhone saga has been blown out of proportion. Aside from the same few "bendgate" reports that have been circulating online, I know of no one who has reshaped his 6 Plus to resemble a banana. Given the large number of people I know who have bought Apple's phablet, that is a good sign.

The biggest reason for picking up the 6 Plus is its camera. While I would argue for Android's superior operating system over Apple's iOS, the same cannot be said about the camera hardware of the 6 Plus.

While there were instances when the cameras on my Samsung, LG and Sony phones produced sharper images, shots taken with the 6 Plus were consistent in colours, image quality and vividness, indoors and outdoors, and in low light.

Still, with everything thrown in, there is very little about the 6 Plus that would make me give up on Android.

And I am not even going to repeat the well-worn argument of how Google's open ecosystem is better than Apple's walled garden.

Android handset makers continue to excite me with such innovations as the curved screen of the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, the ability to multitask on the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or the cross-play PlayStation 4 feature on the Sony Xperia Z3.

Peripherals such as Google Glass, Samsung Gear VR and the LG Watch R are ushering in a new wave of hardware that appeals to me as a consumer and tech writer.

Meanwhile, players such as Asus, Xiaomi and ZTE continue to churn out well-made and attractively priced devices which suit all types of users.

As I was telling someone, Apple users will find plenty of reasons to buy the new iPhones. Anyone looking to upgrade from a Windows Phone or BlackBerry, and who can afford the higher prices of Apple products, should also consider them.

But Android users, used to paying reasonable sums for high-end products, will find that Google's ecosystem still has plenty of appeal, and that ecosystem is definitely growing bigger in more ways than Apple's self-contained one.

This article was first published on Oct 1, 2014.
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