Here's How to Decide Between iPhone and Android

Sep 30, 2015

Google's new Nexus smartphones, unveiled Tuesday, both look pretty nice. There's the Huawei-made Nexus 6P, a 5.7-inch device, and LG's Nexus 5X, a more affordable 5.2-inch phone. Both do everything a modern smartphone should: There's mobile broadband, there's a nice camera, there's a fingerprint scanner.

So should you buy one of Google's new Nexus devices over, say, an Apple iPhone 6S? That depends on you more than it does on the phones.

These days, buying a smartphone is a lot like buying a car. Whether you get a Ford Focus or a Toyota Corolla doesn't really matter in terms of sheer utility. Both will get you from A to B with similar price, performance, mileage and so on. They're likely to have similar perks for a similar price, too, like Bluetooth connectivity or GPS. Which one you ultimately choose depends mostly on just one factor: Which one you like better on a primal level that's hard to communicate other than "this feels right."

See Google Doodles Through the Years

google doodle la tomatina
Aug. 26, 2015 For the 70th anniversary of La Tomatina.Google
google doodle la tomatina
Google doodle sally ride
Mar. 20, 2015 To celebrate the start of spring and the vernal equinox, Google created a stop-motion animation of flowers in bloom.
Nov. 12, 2014 For the landing of the Philae lander, the first spacecraft on a moving comet, Google created a gyrating lander with passing stars.
Sept. 9, 2014 For Tolstoy's 186th birthday the Google Doodle team created an appropriately long doodle, with a click-through doodle.
May 4 2014 For the Audrey Hepburn doodle the doodle team adapted an image from a 1956 black and white photograph taken by Yousuf Karsh.
June 9, 2011 The doodlers came up with the idea of a playable logo, then pegged it to guitar innovator Les Paul's 96th birthday. Turning on composer mode allows you to create songs that you can share online.
March 24, 2011 The Harry Houdini doodle was created in the style of the old posters advertising the death-defying magician.
Nov. 25, 2010 Chef Ina Garten prepared this Thanksgiving feast, which Google photographed. If you clicked on a dish, her recipe appeared.
May 7, 2010 Google asked the San Francisco Ballet to pose and twirl to re-create Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.
Oct. 7, 2009 Scan the doodle that marks the first patent for the bar code and you'll decode Google embedded within.
March 2, 2009 The doodlers arranged classic Dr. Seuss characters, like the Cat in the Hat and the Grinch, to form the logo's letters.
Jan. 28, 2009 There was no other way to honor abstract artist Jackson Pollack than with a chaotic drip painting.
Jan. 19, 2009 Guest artist Shepard Fairey (famed for his Obama HOPE poster) did a sketch for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Jan. 28, 2008 Early on, Google used Lego blocks as casing for hard disks. Later it feted Lego's 50th anniversary.
April 22, 2007 A melting iceberg for Earth Day is one of many eco-minded doodles the team has created.
Jan. 4, 2006 Enter the world of out-there doodles — Google in braille. Only problem: you can't feel it.
March 30, 2005 The Van Gogh doodle appeared in an era when doodles began to get more ambitious, and it's one of the doodlers' best interpretations of a specific painter.
Aug. 13, 2003 Early doodles of famous folk tended to be simple, like this silhouette of Alfred Hitchcock.
March 14, 2003 The early doodles were often simple but playful, like this mustachioed drawing of Albert Einstein to celebrate his birthday.
Nov. 14, 2001 Google's first doodler, Dennis Hwang, gave the logo an Impressionist look for Claude Monet's birthday.
Aug. 30, 1998 When employees left for the Burning Man festival, the Google logo became a cryptic BE BACK LATER sign. "There was no master plan for doodles at that point," says doodler-in-chief Ryan Germick.
Aug. 26, 2015 For the 70th anniversary of La Tomatina.
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That's now true of smartphones, too. If you're deciding between an iPhone and an Android, it really comes down to whichever feels best in your hands. Every modern smartphone does the basics: They've got high-speed Internet, they run apps and play movies, they take pretty good pictures and videos, they let you Snapchat silly pictures to your pals. And for the most part, every major feature on an Apple device has an equivalent feature on an Android phone, and vice versa. Want mobile payments? There's Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Wallet. Smartwatch connectivity? There's Apple Watch and Android Wear. In-car infotainment controls? There's CarPlay and Android Auto. And so on. (Android fans do, however, often have the luxury of getting new stuff first).

This Rule of Feel is even more helpful if you've decided to go with an Android device. After you've made that choice, you'll face what seems like a near-infinite number of smartphone options. So how do you figure out which Android phone is right for you? Start with the specs that are important to you — say, a great camera — and whittle your way down the list from there. And as with cars, try to take one for a test drive before buying, because it's all about feel. A helpful tip: Google's Nexus phones are pretty much the only devices out there that are "pure Android." That means the company making them didn't load them with any extra stuff you might not want. Most other Android phones, from brands like Samsung, LG and HTC, are crammed with manufacturer add-ons you might love or hate.

This carbuying analogy holds up in another way, too. Lots of phone makers and wireless carriers are now offering payment plans that look an awful lot like a lease. Apple, for instance, will let you upgrade to a new iPhone every year for a starting price of $32 a month, with AppleCare+ thrown in for good measure. And most of the major carriers are doing away with two-year contracts and subsidized phones, instead offering monthly payment plans for devices. So not only are you facing lots of good options for hardware, you've now got to pick how you'd like to pay for that device, too. Good luck!

See Steve Jobs’ Legacy in 16 Photos

Apple Announces Launch Of New Tablet Computer
1976 Apple I was Apple's first computer, which became obsolete within a year. Today, they are auctioned off as collector's items.Justin Sullivan—Getty Images
Apple Announces Launch Of New Tablet Computer
Steven Jobs
Apple computer Chrmn. Steve Jobs (R) and technician w. new LISA computer during press preview.
Steve Jobs ist tot
Pixar's Toy Story 1995 text
Foreign media photograph and film the new Apple Co
FILE PHOTO: Farewell In 2011
San Francisco Ca Steve Jobs Apple's Interim CEO Introduces The Macintosh
Apple Unveils iPad 2
Apple Launch iTunes Music Store In London
Steve Jobs at MacWorld
Steve Jobs Launches Annual MacWorld Expo
Apple CEO Steve Jobs Delivers Opening Keynote At Macworld
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs unveils
Apple Unveils New Software For iPhone And iPad
Apple Announces Launch Of New Tablet Computer
1976 Apple I was Apple's first computer, which became obsolete within a year. Today, they are auctioned off as collecto

Justin Sullivan—Getty Images
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