Android vs iPhone: which should you buy?

Compare the latest Android and iPhone tariffs with broadbandchoices[1]

  • Compare Android and iPhone mobile phone handsets
  • Choose a tariff with the right amount of mobile phone data, texts and call minutes
  • Consider the camera, storage, security, apps and software 

 

Need a new mobile phone deal? Compare Android and Iphone handsets

Key points

  • Generally you can pick up an Android handset for much cheaper than an iPhone
  • iPhones make it easier to sync to other Apple products like iPads or an Apple watch
  • Android phones are more flexible with storage, allowing you to use an external SD card

It's the defining characteristic that many millennials measure themselves by. Are you Android, or iPhone?

It's even been known to end fledgling relationships. When your new love's message appears in green, instead of blue, for some choosy iPhone devotees' things are over there and then.

All seems a bit dramatic, doesn't it? But when so much of your life happens on your mobile phone, choosing the right one is serious business.

Android and iPhone each have their own defining characteristics, and whichever one you choose may say more about your personality than the phone itself…

It's impossible to give a comprehensive guide of all the pros and cons of both phone types without reviewing the most recent handsets, but here's a general overview of their characteristics.

Market share

Based on sales alone, Android has got to be the choice - since 2011 they've consistently outstripped iPhone, mostly due to the wide range of Android phones on the market and their competitive pricing. In 2015, Android had an 81% share of the market.

What about Windows phones?

The debate between which phone provider to choose is framed around Android and iPhone because they take up the lion's share of the market.iPhones

Cost

If you're looking for a cheap phone, you're basically limited to Android. There are many different types of Android phone, ranging in price from £50 to £800, while iPhones start at a much higher price. If you want to buy a handset outright, an iPhone will set you back £600-£900.

If you're taking out a mobile phone contract iPhone will generally be more expensive, but there are ways to save money on a mobile phone contract.

What do you already own?

Whether you choose Android or iPhone will depend on what other devices you own.

If you have an Apple computer, tablet or watch, you're probably better off sticking to an iPhone so all your devices can work together in harmony.

Similarly if you have a Windows computer you might want to stick to Android, or get a Windows phone.

Hardware

When it comes to choosing between iPhone or Android, there's much less choice of iPhones compared to Android.

Apple only sell three or four different models at once, in varying screen sizes ranging from 4in on the iPhone 6S Plus to 5.5in on the iPhone 7 Plus.

Cameras and screens

The wide range of choice means some Android phones have better cameras and higher-resolution screens than Apple phones, while some don't. The hardware you can get will depend largely on your budget.

Storage

Did you know...?

  • iPhones are locked down and can't be used as a hard drive like Android devices

One major hardware difference between the two is that Android phones offer expendable storage, as they allow you to insert a microSD cards. Apple charges for extra storage and doesn't allow you to insert a microSD card.

However, internal storage can be a boon. You don't need to worry about apps, music or video files and can rely on your phone to perform well, instead of relying on an SD card.

Software

When it comes to choosing between the two, it's as much subjective as it is objective. Whether you prefer Android or iPhone will depend on your preferences, and ultimately what you're already used to.

One of the major differences between Android and iPhone is the former's flexibility in comparison to the latter. This covers lots of different things, but ultimately it means that you can do more with an Android phone compared to an iPhone.

Android phones allow you to install unknown software, while Apple controls what you can download by whats available in the App Store.

A major difference is that Apple controls iPhones, while Android phones are open source. You can plug in an Android phone and use it like a hard drive, while an iPhone's hard drive isn't accessible except through iTunes or other software.

However, this is a problem that can be solved by downloading Apps from the App Store. Every Google service (Calendar, Gmail, Maps etc) is available on the App Store which means you can customise your phone to use the apps you want, even if they're not Apple. This doesn't work the other way around, however.

Security

As we've already mentioned, iPhones are locked down and can't be used as a hard drive like Android phones. While this does make them less flexible, it also makes them more secure and less vulnerable to being hacked.

Android phones in some instances are secure, but this depends on their operating system and if they have full-disk encryption.

iPhones are basically unusable without their unique passcode, which also makes them less attractive to thieves.

Apps

It used to be the case that iPhones got new apps first, while Android users had to wait. Now that's largely untrue, as developers tend to make apps for both systems.

The breadth of choice on Android phones is more extensive but that's mostly due to the fact apps aren't as policed as on the Apple App Store, where all apps must be approved before they can be listed.

By Emily Bater