Android devices go much farther than iPhones, starting with bigger batteries and more place to store files, and finishing with the technologies like fingerprint scanner. Let’s look at some of the most popular Android phones to clarify the situation.
HTC ONE A9
When you hold an HTC A9, you may think you’re holding an iPhone 6, so similar it looks. Apple’s design is breaking all the records with several millions sold 6 and 6s models of iPhone, which makes other companies follow the trend. The A9 has a 5’’ screen, its corners are a bit curved; it has a casing from metal and a fingerprint scanner on the front of it. There’s one more thing that makes it different from an iPhone though – the Android 6 Marshmallow operation system. With every new version this OS strives to improve the functionality and the number of useful apps, as well as the store that isn’t a poor copy of the Apple Store anymore. The HTC costs, however, just over half the price of the entry-level 6s, and although it has the same stingy 16GB of memory, will take an additional memory card of up to 200GB — something no Apple phone can do. As with the iPhone, the slim design means a small battery (with a charge of 2,150 milliampere hours — mAh — it will require recharging every day), and the 13Mp camera can lack zing in low light. The screen, though, is a beauty: bright, colourful and a higher resolution — 441 pixels per inch (ppi) — than an iPhone’s.
Verdict: A new star of the mid-range.
GOOGLE NEXUS 5X
Google’s Nexus phones and tablets are designed to show off Android, and the 5X is the latest mid-range handset, made for the internet giant by LG. You get a 5.2in display at 424ppi; a fingerprint scanner on the rear (not as odd as it sounds: it’s a natural resting place for your forefinger); a 2,700mAh battery and the latest Android 6 software with none of the tinkering and extras added to the others here. All of which is excellent. Less exciting is a distinctly plasticky look and feel, a pedestrian 12Mp camera, the lack of a memory card slot (built-in capacity starts at 16GB) and charging over USB-C. This new connector — like Apple’s Lightning jack — can be inserted either way up, but any old cables and chargers you own won’t be compatible.
Verdict: An affordable workhorse, but you won’t ever mistake it for a premium handset.
Honor is a sub-brand of the Chinese company Huawei, and its phones are sold direct to customers or through its exclusive UK retailer, the Three network. The intention is to make good-value handsets, and the 7 is in this sense a success: it is probably the best compromise between price and performance on the market. The casing is plastic but looks and feels like metal, and it has a rear fingerprint reader, a 5.2in display at 424ppi and a 3,100mAh battery with a fast-charging option — although you’ll need to buy a £15 plug to take advantage. A dual-Sim tray allows you to have two phone numbers, or you can use one slot for a memory card to beef up the 16GB of internal storage. There’s even a 20Mp camera. So, what are the compromises? It’s a blocky-looking handset, and until a promised upgrade arrives, you’ll be running last-generation Android 5, complete with a questionable design makeover from Honor.
Verdict: Great value.
MOTOROLA MOTO X FORCE
The biggest phone here has a 5.4in display with an eye-popping 540ppi resolution, as well as 32GB of storage (plus a memory card option), Android 6 and a 21Mp camera. But the star of this show is a five-layer display — the ShatterShield — that Motorola says is unbreakable, backing up this claim with a four-year warranty. Independent testers have thrown it off a high building and even driven over it, and the phone kept ticking. It’s also water-repellent (but not strictly waterproof) and it comes with a choice of “ballistic nylon” or leather back. Inside is a 3,760mAh battery that could last even heavy users to the two-day mark, and a bundled fast chargerthat will pump in 13 hours of juice in 15 minutes. The result is a powerful and genuinely tough handset, but a chunky, heavy and none-too-pretty one too.
Verdict: A fast phone for the fat-fingered.