15 Android Phones Versus the iPhone 5

The iPhone 5: Obsolete Before Release?

Since the original 2G model launched back in 2007, Apple’s iPhone products have typically been the King of the Smartphone Hill. Whether you're talking about the 3G, 3GS or the iPhone 4, there is no denying the success that Apple has enjoyed in this space, much of which is thanks to the potent hardware Apple puts into its products.

But what about Android devices?

The iPhone 2G and 3G wore the Best Hardware crown up until the release of the following model, but that started to change when the iPhone 3GS was arguably bested within several months by devices like the Motorola Droid and Google Nexus One. The iPhone 4 was the fastest smartphone for less than a month when the Samsung Vibrant launched with a larger screen, similar-but-faster CPU, and more potent GPU.

This year the iPhone 5 may be outclassed before it even launches, all thanks to the massive progression of the Android platform as well as the effort put in by chipmakers like Nvidia (Tegra), Texas Instruments (OMAP) and Qualcomm (Snapdragon). We’ve rounded up 15 high-end Android phones - some of which are already available while others are expected sometime later this year - that are ready to give the iPhone 5 (or iPhone 4GS, whatever it's called) a run for its money. We will give each phone an “iPhone Threat Level” of Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange, and Red; Green being little to no threat to the iPhone 5’s success, and Red being a severe threat.

This article is predominantly about the hardware within Apple and Android smartphones...but we do address software, design and UI layers to a certain extent, especially when we're talking about specific manufacturers like HTC. It's hard to talk about smartphone hardware without mentioning other factors, so keep that in mind as you read on.

UPDATE: Reviews for the Samsung Galaxy S II are starting to trickle in. So far it's a very warm reception. [Engadget Review, Slashgear Review]

  • caseyd
    Excellent article. I am a long time user of the IPhone, but I've been waiting for the latest and greatest by Apple. Since they decided to push off the launch of the new product as they had previously from June to September/October, I decided I am going to look into Android products as I don't want to wait that long. After this article, I know what phone I'm interested in. I'm even willing to wait a few months for it. Who knows, Apple may pull me back if they ever announce anything, but at this time, I'm extremely excited by the prospect of using an Android phone for the first time!
    iPhone needs to incorporate T-Mobile 4G LTE band, which would make it compatible with all GSM networks in North America/Europe. This would significantly expand prospective user base. There is no need to sell iPhone on T-Mobile, as unlocked versions will show up on T-Mobile network. This would be a big plus for ATT as they are buying T-Mobile. Happy apple users, as now they can seamlessly switch between ATT and T-Mobile. There is still no 3G world phone on the market and Apple would be first one again.
  • dimar
    For some reason I feel that it will be missing the most important features I need such as FLAC playback, high quality audio with professioanl EQ, 1080p60 at 80Mbps HD video recording/playback, dual microSDXC card reader, USB 3.0 support and on & on... So yes, I'll wait for Samsung Universe T instead.
  • Had one HTC last year, sold it fast again. Going no touch now, battery is king. Anyway, not speaking about battery time makes this rather useless. I will consider Iphone 5 if they bring in even more battery life.
  • burnley14
    It means that even if the iPhone 5 launches according to schedule, two months later there will be a phone on the market that is more than twice as powerful (or, using Apple’s math when comparing the iPad to the iPad 2, eight times as powerful).

    This gave me a good chuckle. Very nice article by the way, it was a pleasure to read.
  • blueer03
    It looks like I may need to replace my Nexus 1 with the Sensation; the design even makes it look like an N1. I just hope the build quality is up to the same standards, as it is one of the things that I love about it over the other plastic HTC phones.
  • quantumrand
    blueer03It looks like I may need to replace my Nexus 1 with the Sensation; the design even makes it look like an N1. I just hope the build quality is up to the same standards, as it is one of the things that I love about it over the other plastic HTC phones.
    The Sensation should be a very sturdy phone. If you look closely, you can see that it has a unibody exoskeleton, which I believe is made from aluminum or at least some metal allow. It doesn't cover the whole phone though, so you won't have any antenna issues like the various versions of the iPhone.
  • It's good to hear from IPhone owners, but until they have used Micorsofts Windows Phone 7 they don't know what they are missing. Windows Phones will surrpass Apple and Google by providing phones that are both easy to use and clolely tied to all Windows systems.
  • To me, support from third party developers is almost more important than hardware specs. Apple and Android both have excellent support but, as we all know, Apple has a slight edge. Let's not forget there's so many Android sets out there with only a handful of real true smart phones. There will always be millions and millions of Android os's out there but Apple sells millions and millions of one phone and will continue to do so and so will the Android OS. I think everyone has learned from RIM and Palm... Don't get lazy by shoving out the same garbage year over year.
  • fulle
    The Droid 3 should release soon as a iPhone5 competitor as well. A lot of the specs are unknown, but we can basically assume it'll be very competitive, with its show stopper feature being a 5 row qwerty keyboard.
    - Us existing Droid and Droid 2 owners might know more than others missing out, but a good 5 row qwerty is a pretty big deal.