Apple has released two new iPhones in recent days, looking to regain the lead from an increasingly impressive Android smartphones – but have they done enough?
In both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus Apple has produced two phones with larger displays than previous iPhones, which Steve Jobs had previously argued was the perfect size for comfortable use. The iPhone 6 is only a little bigger than its predecessors, but the iPhone 6 Plus suffers the same problems as other phablets – namely that it needs two hands to use.
Apple has long dominated the smaller smartphone market essentially since the release of the original iPhone in 2007, but Sony has made very good strides into this arena with their Xperia Z Compact series.
If we take the most recent Xperia Z3 Compact Android smartphone as the main competitor to the iPhone 6, then we have two very capable devices that still fit quite comfortably in the palm of the hand.
Both have similar sized displays (4.6″ for the Z3 vs 4.7″ for the iPhone), and similar pixel densities (319ppi for the Z3 vs 326ppi for the iPhone), and are both very carefully designed and well constructed. The iPhone may have the edge on looks, but the Sony is waterproof, which can come in very handy.
While the iPhone 6 has an excellent 8 megapixel camera, this is where the Xperia Z series really shines, with Sony making use of their expertise in their camera division and include a huge 20.7 megapixel sensor.
The Z3 offers more horsepower under the hood than the iPhone, with its quad-core 2.5GHz Krait 400 CPU with 2GM of RAM offering more oomph than the iPhone’s 1GM of RAM and dual-core 1.4GHz CPU even with its 64-bit architecture.
The inclusion of an MicroSD-card slot on the Z3 also swings the vote in its favour, with the iPhone offering 16-128GB options for notable steps up in price, as 128GB MicroSD cards can be bought for under £50 today.
Both phones are on a par with connectivity, as they both offer the 4G speeds where its available, and there’s always WiFi and superfast fibre broadband on offer for streaming and downloading in the home or office. Bluetooth 4.0 is also available on both devices, as is NFC but strangely Apple has so far been silent on the NFC front (although APple Pay is likely in the pipeline) giving the Z3 the edge once more.
Apple have included a 1810 mAh battery in the iPhone 6, which is a step up from previous models, but is notably smaller than the 2,600 mAh on offer from Sony. iOS has historically performed a little better than Android with battery life, but Sony has managed to squeeze in a third more battery capacity and this shows in standby time tests, with the Sony way out in front.
Operating System and App Store
Android has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and matches iOS on most features, with the two leading mobile OSes now regularly borrowing from each other. It now really comes down to personal preference when it comes to which OS people prefer, iOS is still slightly better looking and easier to use, but Android offers more customisability so it is difficult to recommend one of the other.
However, where Apple still does have a major league is with the App Store, as it remains the first place for most developers to launch their apps and offers in general a slightly higher calibre of app. The biggest reasons developers look to iOS first is because by having fewer devices with fewer different screen sizes, apps are easier to develop for Apple devices, and it doesn’t hurt that iOS apps generate more revenue per user either.
However, as Android continues to increase its market share, which already stands at 85%, and dominate new regions, developers are likely soon to move to an Android-first release strategy simply because of the numbers of users.
The combination of iOS and Apple’s App Store may, therefore, still have the edge for the time being, but this may not be the case in 12 months times.
There is no doubt that the iPhone 6 is a fantastic phone and for anyone already with a collection of iPhone apps it is a good upgrade offering a slightly larger screen, battery, and better performance than previous models. However, in their Z3 compact announced just days before the iPhone 6 Sony appears to have finally edged out Apple to lead the pack on smaller screened premium smartphones, and area that Apple has dominated for seven years.
|SONY XPERIA Z3 COMPACT||APPLE IPHONE 6|
|SYSTEM||Android 4.4.4, Xperia UI||iOS 8|
|DISPLAY||4.6 inch LCD, 1280 x 720 pixels (319 ppi)||4.7 inch LCD, 1334 x 750 pixels (326 ppi)|
|DIMENSIONS||127.3 x 64.9 x 8.64 mm||138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm|
|WEIGHT||129 g||129 g|
|CAMERA||20.7 MP (rear), 2.2 MP (front)||8 MP (rear), 1.2 MP (front)|
|PROCESSOR||Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, 2.5 GHz, Quad-Core||Apple A8, 1.4 GHz, Dual-Core + M8 Processor|
|RAM||2 GB||1 GB|
|INTERNAL MEMORY||16GB + microSD||16/64/128 GB|
|CONNECTIVITY||HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi||HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi|
|SPECIAL||Waterproof to IP 65/68||Fingerprint Scanner|