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HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4

Posted: , posted by John V.

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Interface and Funcitonality:

If there is one commonality that both respective platforms exude, it has to be that they're completely one of the most responsive and fastest ones out there by far. Powering the Apple iPhone 4 is none other than an A4 processor presumed to be clocking in at 1GHz, while the usual 1GHz Snapdragon CPU is embedded within the HTC Surround. Windows Phone 7 and iOS share that common bond with their swift performance, which is evident from their smooth kinetic scrolling and fluid transitions. Speed seems to be at the top of the list with these two platforms, plus, they seem to be very stable as it's not too often we witnessed things crashing. However, that's pretty much where the common bonds end, as one takes a closer look at the unique user interfaces they decide to employ. Since iOS is such a mature mobile platform, it of course offers additional functionality over the infant stage that Windows Phone 7 finds itself in right now. For example, iOS offers multi-tasking, copy & paste functionality, and a wealth of venerable apps. Still, we'd have to say that Windows Phone 7 is one very pretty platform thanks to its heavy usage of transition effects, live tiles, and integration of social networking.

Now that Windows Phone 7 is here in the flesh, it's almost amazing to see it run so effortlessly without much lag or slowdown, which is the same experience you get with iOS. However, the difference is that iOS is starting to show its age versus the dynamic happenings with Windows Phone 7. Apple's tried and true use of a grid format with its interface was nice a year ago, but it doesn't have that appeal which accompanies the eye catching visuals commanded by Windows Phone 7. With both platforms, there is a minimal set of personalization options they offer. For iOS, you can obviously rearrange the placement of icons and change the background wallpaper. And with Windows Phone 7, you can also rearrange the layout of the tiles or even pin additional ones, but it's the dynamic look of these tiles that will capture the attention of most eyes.

Windows Phone 7 homescreen on the HTC Surround - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
Windows Phone 7 homescreen on the HTC Surround - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4

The interface of the Apple iPhone 4 - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
The interface of the Apple iPhone 4 - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4

Moreover, it does a good job of integrating the platform's core apps with social networking – like being able to sync your Facebook and Windows Live contacts with the phone. Without question, the iPhone still lacks it to this day, but that's what makes Windows Phone 7 more conducive for those who want to constantly be in the know with their select group of friends. Of course, you can always resort to using dedicated apps like Facebook & Twitter – which both platforms offer to give you that true mobile experience. But still, the HTC Surround's integration of social networking is way ahead of anything found over on the iPhone 4.

Social networking on the HTC Surround - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
Social networking on the HTC Surround - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4

Social networking on the HTC Surround


For all its experience, the iPhone 4 still lacks a usable notifications system – which can clearly be seen with its intrusive pop ups. Though, it gets a little worse for email notifications in iOS since you only hear a tone and vibration indicating that something has arrived. And although it's not the best, Windows Phone 7 does a better job in this area since you get basically the same notifications, but there is also a bar that shows up in the upper portion of the screen that'll indicate what kind of notification it is. Furthermore, it'll break down the notifications when you're in the lock screen with the HTC Surround.

Seeing that Apple heavily advertises FaceTime in their commercials on television, that's one of the sole differentiators between these two devices. The HTC Surround lacks a front facing camera, so the iPhone 4 has the unique functionality of doing video phone calls. Granted that it will only work over Wi-Fi, there are other alternate solutions, like Yahoo Messenger, which will enable it over 3G.

Video calling on the Apple iPhone 4 - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4

Good thing that both smartphones can use AT&T Navigator for a true voice guided turn-by-turn directions app – that's because their core map apps lack it. Google Maps on the iPhone 4 has a slight edge over the Bing Maps with the HTC Surround, but at least they both provide for some basic functionality. However, the Apple iPhone 4 gets treated to Street View and the ability to get mass transit, walking, and driving directions. Unfortunately for the Surround, it omits mass transit and street view with its repertoire – but at least you're subjected to the basics.

AT&T Navigator - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
Bing Maps for Windows Phone 7 on the HTC Surround - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
Bing Maps for Windows Phone 7 on the HTC Surround - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
Bing Maps for Windows Phone 7 on the HTC Surround - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4

Before Windows Phone 7, there were few devices that offered the seamless and hassle-free messaging experience that the iPhone's on-screen keyboard is able to achieve. And even to this day, the iPhone 4 makes the task of whipping out a mean text message so effortlessly thanks to its responsiveness and auto-correct function. However, it's safe to say that the HTC Surround, with Windows Phone 7, also packs one of the better messaging experiences out there. Not only does it emulate the responsive feel seen with the iPhone 4, but it even does a nice job in correcting you. Sure it doesn't have copy & paste from the onset, but as we continue to see the platform evolve, it'll eventually make its way. So whichever device you plan on using, just expect to witness one of the best typing experiences on any mobile handset out there with both handsets.

Messaging on the HTC Surround is one of the better messaging experiences out there - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
Messaging on the HTC Surround is one of the better messaging experiences out there - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
On-screen keyboard - Messaging on the HTC Surround is one of the better messaging experiences out there - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
Messaging on the HTC Surround is one of the better messaging experiences out there - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
  

On-screen keyboard

 

The Apple iPhone 4 makes the task of whipping out a text message effortless - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
The Apple iPhone 4 makes the task of whipping out a text message effortless - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4


Data and Connectivity:

Aside from their lack of Flash support, the web browsing experience with both devices is truly amazing – even more when they offer smooth kinetic scrolling. Internet Explorer is able to keep that level of responsiveness that Safari Mobile has been known to radiate since it burst onto the scene in 2007. Multi-touch support is enabled for both web browsers as pinch gestures are able to zoom in or out with no problems. However, the iPhone 4's Retina Display has the advantage with its stunning detail, especially when you're in a zoomed out view, as it's able to make even the tiniest of text very clear. It's not to say that the WVGA resolution in use with the Surround's 3.8” display isn't bad, but text can look somewhat garbled from far away. Additionally, the Retina Display is able to throw up more natural colors than the Surround's LCD panel. Still, both are clearly at the top of their games as they exhibit one of the best web browsing experiences you can find.

Internet Explorer offers one of the most satisfying experiences to date - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
Internet Explorer offers one of the most satisfying experiences to date - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
Internet Explorer offers one of the most satisfying experiences to date - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
Internet Explorer offers one of the most satisfying experiences to date - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4

Web surfing with the Apple iPhone 4 - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
Web surfing with the Apple iPhone 4 - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
Web surfing with the Apple iPhone 4 - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4
Web surfing with the Apple iPhone 4 - HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4

Since both are GSM handsets, you're not going to find any problems using them anywhere in the world. Additionally, they both offer Wi-Fi connectivity in the event you don't have sufficient connection to the network around your location. Moreover, both handsets feature Bluetooth and GPS to round out their arsenal.

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