Apple's iPhones grab a lot of attention, but there are many reasons why 86.2 percent of all new smartphones sold run Android. Apple provides a completely catered, top-down experience in which the company dictates exactly which apps you can run and which features your phone can have.
Android takes off the training wheels and lets consumers choose from a swath of hardware and software, also giving access to key technologies, such as 3.5mm headphone jacks, 3D cameras and 4K screens that Apple doesn't think its users can handle. You can also get an unlocked Android phone for far less than the cost of Apple's least expensive handset, the iPhone SE.
Composite: Kenneth ButlerHere are 10 reasons Android beats the iPhone.
1. Better Values
With smartphone subsidies going the way of the dinosaur, you have to take a hard look at your next phone's full retail price. If you want an iPhone, you have five choices: the $399 iPhone SE, the $649 iPhone 7, the $749 iPhone 7 Plus and last year's models: the $549 iPhone 6s and $649 iPhone 6s.
While the SE may sound like a bargain in comparison to its big brothers, you can find a really great Android phone for much less than $400. You can get a solid handset like the Moto G4 Plus, which has a 5.5-inch, 1080p display and decent Snapdragon 617 CPU, for less than $250. The OnePlus 3 sells for $399 unlocked with a full-HD display, 6GB of RAM and a snappy Snapdragon 820 CPU. The $89 Moto E has a small, 4.5-inch, low-res screen and only 8GB of storage, but if you're really short on cash, it can serve in a pinch.
2. 3.5mm Headphone Jacks
With its two latest iPhones, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple has removed the 3.5mm audio jack that lets you connect a pair of standard headphones. If you want to listen to music on your Apple handset, you'll have to use a dongle, connect a pair of Bluetooth headphones or buy a wired set that uses the company's proprietary lightning connector.
However, most of the world's headphones, ranging from the $3 pair you get at Walgreens to the $300 set of Bose QuietComforts you got for your birthday, still use the 3.5mm connector. With the exception of Moto Z, most Android phones still have this popular port.
3. Higher-res screens
Apple is literally years behind the competition when it comes to screen resolution. In 2014, the company finally released its first full-HD phone, the iPhone 6 Plus — two years after the first 1080p Android handset debuted. Today's iPhone 7 Plus is still stuck at 1920 x 1080, while the mainstream 7 clocks in at a mere 1334 x 750 -- the same exact resolutions as two years prior -- while the iPhone SE provides only 1136 x 640 pixels.
By contrast, the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium has a 4K (3840 x 2160) display, and several mainstream Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 offer 2560 x 1440 screens. This makes them better suited for high-res video viewing, reading and gaming. Even sub-$300 phones like the Moto G Plus come with 1080p displays.
4. 3D Cameras, Advanced VR
If you're looking for cutting-edge technologies, look no farther than the latest Android phones for features such as 3D depth-sensing cameras and truly immersive VR. You can get some VR mounts, including Google Cardboard, that run on iPhones. But Samsung's Gear VR offers a truly eye-popping experience, and it works only with the company's Android phones.
Imagine using your phone to get indoor turn-by-turn directions or to measure the size of a wall in your house. Google's Project Tango allows Android phones to capture depth data about their surroundings and use it to map a location precisely or impose accurate augmented-reality objects on top of your view. Lenovo's Phab 2 Pro is the first Tango-compatible phone, thanks to its 3D camera. Apple probably won't add a 3D camera to the iPhone for years.
5. Customization, widgets and skins
Like a father in a 1950s sitcom, Apple thinks it knows what's best for you, no matter what you need or want, so it locks down the UI and offers fewer customizations than Google does. You're limited to a few select widgets in your notification drawer on an iPhone. But with Android, you can choose from thousands of widgets that live on your home or lock screens and provide everything from music playback to weather and note taking.
Manufacturers such as Samsung and LG add custom "skins" on top of the core operating system, offering a unique look and feel, along with features Google hasn't implemented yet (e.g., gesture controls and Airview). Better still, you can install your own launcher or add a custom theme, which makes your phone look and feel completely different — and uniquely yours.
6. Many more hardware options, including rugged phones
Google's marketing tagline for Android is "Be Together. Not the Same." That makes sense, because the platform appears on hundreds of different phone models around the world. You can get Android phones with giant screens, small screens, built-in projectors, QWERTY keyboards and replaceable batteries.
Perhaps most importantly, there are many mainstream Android phones that are made to take some serious punishment. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are the first Apple phones that are water-resistant, a feature that Samsung and Sony have had for years. However, they don't offer any extra protection from bumps and falls. The Motorola Droid Z Force has a shatterproof display that won't scratch, even if you drop it from 5 feet in the air.
REBUTTAL: 10 Reasons the iPhone Beats Android
7. A working file system
Want to copy files from your iPhone to your computer? You'll need to install iTunes and set up an account, and even then, you can move only media files, such as photos, back and forth. Plug an Android phone into your PC, however, and it instantly mounts as an external drive filled with folders you can drag and drop. You can also navigate through the file system on the phone using apps such as Astro File Manager or ES File Manager. Apple apparently doesn't trust you to see the file system on your iPhone.
8. Universal sharing
You see a Web page in your browser, a map in your navigation app or a photo in your gallery, and you want to share it. On Android, you can share to any service whose app you have installed, including Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Google doesn't need to bless an app for it to show up in the sharing menu, nor do the browser maker, the navigation app publisher or drawing app developer.
Unfortunately, on the iPhone, you can share only to the apps that the browser, photo gallery or other app specifically supports. So, because Apple doesn't think much of Google+, WhatsApp or Pinterest, you can't share to them from Safari, and you won't be able to unless Apple’s gatekeepers specifically build in support.
9. A back button
Android's back button provides a really simple and helpful way to return to a previous screen no matter where you are. The button even works across apps. If you hit a link in Facebook and get transported to the Chrome browser, you can return to the social media app when you hit the back button.
On the iPhone 6s, you can use only app-specific navigation or hit the home button to end up back on the home screen. That's a lot more swipes and taps that waste your time and tire your fingers.
10. Multiwindow support
If you're looking to multitask on your phone, you want an Android phone. The latest version of Google's mobile operating system, Android 7 Nougat has a built-in multiwindow mode, allowing you to, for example, look at the company Web page in one window while you reply to your boss's email in another. Even without the latest OS update, phones from LG and Samsung have this split-screen view built in. Apple added a split-screen view in iOS 9, but only for its tablets, not its phones.