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Android to iOS: Day Four - Screens, Batteries and Cool Hands

This far into my iPhone experience I've discovered that the things that I took for granted on Android don't make a heap of difference because the iPhone matches every Android move with one of it own.

Today, though, I'm looking at screens, a place where Android has iOS beaten hands down. Or does it?

Apple let's you have the iPhone 5 in one screen size. Four inches and that's your lot. Packing in over 300ppi there's no arguing that the screen isn't sharp and clear, but really there's so much more choice on offer if you're looking over the fence at the Android grass.

First let me discount the 1080p screens that have arrived this year. I've only been able to examine one such screen closely - that of the Xperia Z - and on that basis I can tell you there is no discernible difference in clarity and sharpness between 400ppi screens and 300ppi screens.

However in terms of colour reproduction and tonal accuracy the iPhone 5 has the second best screen I've ever come across. Only the HTC One X can best it in this respect. I expect that the HTC One will also achieve this when it arrives on these shores.

Aside from clarity and colour reproduction the other key metric for screen performance is size.

Whatever you're doing on your phone additional screen inches make it better. Playing movies or games, browsing the web or even just when composing an email the iPhone feels small compared to flagship Android phones. Against the Galaxy Note 2 it feels like someone has asked you to enter and exit your home through the letterbox rather than using the whole front door.

On the plus side however, the iPhone's small screen makes the whole phone feel small - in your pocket, in the hand, on your desk. I haven't yet established why Apple and most iPhone users are keen to point out that it can be used one handed, but its true, it is entirely possible.

Once again its a case of readjustment. The Apple way is different and offers as many advantages, just in different places. I really doubt that a 5" screen on an iPhone would feel like a genuine Apple product because it would compromise too many Apple ideals to bring to market.

Of course one benefit of that small screen should be improved power consumption. In fact Apple makes a point of the iPhone's power saving features in its advertising.

My experience suggests that Apple got the balance right - in my first rundown test, from early on Thursday morning, through to this evening the iPhone ran one day and seventeen hours on a full charge, with more than eight hours in use time, reaching 23% battery remaining before I plugged it in. This was achieved with Wifi and Bluetooth turned on and brightness set to auto. I was especially surprised to find that the battery charge only dropped 1% overnight - clearly the iPhone's stand-by mode is more power efficient than any Android phone I've experienced.

This is consistent with the sort of battery runtime that I've been getting from the Galaxy Note 2, with similar usage patterns, and suggests that the iPhone will run two working days between charges.

One probable reason for this excellent result is the processor. The Tegra quad core processors in my two Android phones run blisteringly hot with any sort of sustained or demanding usage, consequently the phones have nasty hotspots. The One X is a particularly bad offender and I have found that sustained usage can make it unbearable to hold due to the heat.

The iPhone runs completely cool. Scoring another massive tick on my box of likes. I've no doubt that the Aluminium back panel is at least partly responsible for this. Most of the glory must go to the A6 CPU beating beneath it though.

After four days my view of the iPhone has been completely turned around. From cursing its inability to be like an Android phone I've switched to embracing a different way of doing things and have been surprised at the rewards.

Tomorrow I will be looking at the camera. An area where both Nokia and HTC claim to have changed the game.


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