HTC Surround vs Apple iPhone 4

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.



1. android_hitman unregistered

excellent comparison

2. techsican unregistered

I like the new Windows Phone. I rather see the comparison between the iPhone4 and the Samsung Focus. When is that going to happen, if at all?

3. Gabriel unregistered

Man , can you share your iphone 4 wallpaper ? thanks

6. jovel16

Posts: 59; Member since: Oct 05, 2008

I've said it before, but you can download the wallpaper by using the "Wallpapers HD" app. Check it out, they have wallpapers optimized for the Retina Display.

4. Lazarus

Posts: 1; Member since: Oct 22, 2010

iphone 4 is a clear winner

5. jeremy unregistered

Sorry, but why wouldn't you compare the Focus to the iphone? I could have told you how this was going to go strictly by the reviews of the HTC surround.

7. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1249; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

I don't really like the iphone but i still think it wins.

8. Arturo Bandini unregistered

Obviously you should have use the Samsung FOCUS rather than the crappy HTC surround. - The Focus has a better screen. Indeed S-AMOLED is fantastic and better than Retina display, and of course better than the old LCD screen used by HTC. - The Focus has a slot for microSD cards, that allows the user to get up to 40GB of storage! Which is more than the 32GB storage of the iPhone. - The Focus, contrary to the HTC, with its quality camera allows very nice pictures and videos. A comparison between Samsung Focus v iPhone 4 would have been more honest and objective.

9. Drewidian unregistered

I agree with Arturo. The Focus is a better competitor to the iPhone. WP7 was designed in part to take advantage of the AMOLED screen. Battery life is better, as well as the contrast. A comparison to the Dell Lightning or the HD7 would have also been appropriate. Hardware aside, I think that pinned items, hubs, and data aggregation should have been covered more. Apple is just about apps and what they do individually, and has none of this functionality. App hopping has always been a problem with their platform, where WP7 looks to address that. To leave out the strengths of a platform seems to be unfair. you talked about the retina display and fluidity of both platforms; however when you got to the map applications, you left out that you could pin locations to the start screen of WP7. To anyone trying to get to a saved location or itinerary quickly, this is a huge advantage on WP7 where you don't have to open the app and then search or use a favorite or recently searched list. not to mention the other pinned items you can have. with every iPhone app you HAVE to open the app first then go to the section for the data you want. one last thing.. XBOX LIVE... nuff said.

10. JonDoe unregistered

For the length of the review it was pretty basic... I would have liked to see a review that talks about how each OS differentiate each other from the other. For instance... he never even opened up the people hub or talked about the hub strategy at all! He never mentions voice control via tellme service in wp7, nor mentioned pinning tiles. He never talks about local search, resturant reviews, whats near by in the search experience (lol or mentioned the cool effect of zooming in on bing maps). In Zune player, he never showed the cool screensaver of zune while playing music and didn't even mention the zune pass being able to access 7 million songs whenever you want! I'm not a iphone user so I'm not sure what specifc features it has over wp7 besides the talked to death ones like copy and paste and mulittasking (which the reviewer mentioned) but I assume there must be other (not hardware features but software). To be fair i think the review did a good job reviewing the hardware, although other reviews have commented that the Surround speaker isn't so great on quality... i guess its something you have to hear for yourself. All in all, i hope there are other reviews with other devices (focus, hd7, venue pro) that compare to iphone4. Like Android, the beauty of wp7 is choice! There a phone thats right for you... physical keyboards, 5-8MP cameras, 3.6-4.3 inch screens amoled, slcd screens kickstands, speakers, sd card slots etc....

11. iphone-user unregistered

I do not like the not-colorful menu of the WINDOWS 7 OS. Yes, it is different! but ... it is minimalistic-ugly and confusing. There are moments when you are wondering - is this ON or OFF, is this an option or what, etc. There are some good phones - hardware-wise - but this OS is not mature enough. For me, clear winner is the iPhone and then the good Android phones.

12. Mike unregistered

Does the Surround have a plastic screen or a glass screen? I'm considering getting the Surround or the LG Optimus 7 (Telus, in Canada), but my Vogue and TP2 had cracked LCD screens (leaving me with the multi-coloured liquid-under-the-screen-rectangle I'm sure many of you have seen).

13. drewsadik unregistered

@Lazarus why is the iPhone a clear winner? are you another fan boy? i mean windows phone 7 is clearly a more modern and innovative OS while iPhone is too prideful to change so its stuck in the past

14. drewsadik unregistered

the FOCUS would have been easier to compare and also has higher consumer interest. . . consider doing SAMSUNG FOCUS vs. SAMSUNG CAPTIVATE for android

15. GL unregistered

I miss a comparison of the soundquality out of the 3.5mm jack, using some high-end headphones. I think a lot of people uses their phones as music-players on the go. So for me, soundquality through the jack-plug matters a lot. Any thoughts on this?

16. Guest unregistered

Thank you for the VERY complete and informative review, it was way better than the first 15 comparisons I found online. Keep up the good work, and thanks again.

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