I finally got an iPhone 4S last night, and now can do side-by-side comparisons with the Galaxy Nexus I picked up at Google a couple weeks ago. First impressions: the camera on the iPhone 4S is amazing, and definitely better than the camera on the Nexus. (I still can’t fathom why Google and Samsung put a 5-MP camera in the Nexus when the Galaxy S II has an 8-MP camera.)
The feature I really wanted to check out is Siri, and I haven’t had much time yet. A few 4S owners I’ve talked to say they don’t use it much. But even in my few early tests it seems Siri is better than any of the alternatives on Android. (Vlingo, Skyvi, Iris, Cluzee.)
My other immediate impression is more visceral. The Nexus is much bigger, but also lighter. The screen is brighter. At first I thought it was too big, but over the past two weeks I’ve come to like having all the screen real estate.
Apple fans claim the iPhone 4S is the perfect size, because you reach every part of the screen with your thumb. I get that. But I think the iPhone is starting to look too small. I was surprised this week when one of my neighbors, a petite woman, said she’s frustrated with the small screen on her 4S. She tried out the Nexus and liked it. And her hands are really small. Maybe the ability to do everything with one thumb is overrated — or, at least, maybe it’s outweighed by the benefits of a bigger screen.
My technique with comparing phones is just to have a bunch of them lying around, all connected to Google Voice. I have all of them available and just see which one, over time, is the one I most naturally pick up and want to use. I try not to think about it, and just see which one do I grab and throw in my pocket when I’m headed out, which one is the one I pick up to check email in the morning, that kind of thing.
Recently I had a Nokia Lumia 800 running Windows Phone in the mix — and every time the phones rang, the Nokia was the one I picked up. The design is just really nice, and it feels great in your hand. I’m doing an interview with the head of design at Nokia next week, and I’m anxious to talk to him about the Lumia 800. It really is a gorgeous device, and the Windows interface is really fresh and different.