iOS 7: how does it stack up against Android?
So we've been playing with a beta version of iOS 7 for a while now on our iPhone 5. Some things about it we like, while other we aren't really that happy with, as those who have read our iOS 7 preview probably know. But now it is time to take a look at Apple's mobile OS from another perspective – how does its latest form fare against the competition? In particular, how does iOS 7 stack up against the latest version of Android? Well, that's what we're here to find out with the help of our iPhone 5 running iOS 7 beta and our Google Nexus 4 with Android 4.2.2 on it.
Lock and home screens
On each home screen of an iPhone 5 running iOS 7 there's room for 24 icons total. Interestingly, a stock Android home screen on a Google Nexus 4 leaves room for only 20 app shortcuts even though the smartphone has a larger display with higher resolution. Of course, that's not too big of a deal, especially when both interfaces allow apps to be sorted in folders. The iOS 7 home screen design and layout aren't bad, but perhaps it's all a bit too static, which is why we tend to like Android more for its versatility. It's just that widgets are a pretty cool feature that Apple's mobile OS has yet to adopt in one form or another.
Quick controls and notifications
Speaking of notifications, the Notification Center in iOS 7 has been overhauled and now takes the user straight to their agenda. That's very convenient for people who actually use the Calendar app. Furthermore, the user is free to pick what notifications are to be displayed there – stocks information, unread email, Game Center alerts, reminders, and more. Android's notification bar is a bit different for it doesn't display much if there aren't any pending notifications. But on the other hand, the user does get updates via Google Now.
Dialer and contacts list
Phone app is pretty much all you need to call someone as it lists your contacts, your recent calls, and your favorites. Of course, a keypad is available as well. Android's Phone app is pretty much the same, but it has one notable advantage over its iOS counterpart, namely that it displays a photo of each contact as you scroll down the list, while the iPhone's contacts app shows a contact's image only if you tap on them to view detailed information.
On-screen keyboard and messaging
But when it comes to messaging, iOS has a significant advantage over Android with its iMessage system, which automatically routs texts over the web instead of eating up the user's monthly SMS allowance. Not that Android's Hangouts is a bad solution, but it would have been more convenient if the Android messaging features were unified in a single app.