Samsung Captivate vs. iPhone 4

I know everyone and their cousin gets tired of the iPhone vs. Android fanboy slugfest, but that's not what we're about this time.  Allyson, one of our pals over at TiPb, took some time to compare the Samsung Galaxy S Captivate against her iPhone 4.  Frankly, it's a refreshing break from the Mobile OS wars.  She makes plenty of good points, talks about the faults on both sides, and turned out something that was a great read. 

I agree with a lot of her commentary, disagree with some, but can't take serious issue with any of it.  Go have a look before the internet is completely taken over by Cupertino death grip videos.

Have you listened to this week's Android Central Podcast?

Android Central

Every week, the Android Central Podcast brings you the latest tech news, analysis and hot takes, with familiar co-hosts and special guests.

  • Subscribe in Pocket Casts: Audio
  • Subscribe in Spotify: Audio
  • Subscribe in iTunes: Audio (opens in new tab)
Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • I love my Incredible, but damn those Galaxy S phones look sexy. They're light, big, and the screen is wonderful. It all just depends how they'd be supported...
  • Not a bad review at all. There were some interesting comments on both phones. Some of her negative remarks were things I wouldn't necessarily agree with. Coming to an Android phone without a Gmail account would make things a little bit more of a hassle, but it would be the same for a person jumping to an iPhone without a Mac. Can you use an Android phone without a Gmail account, or an iPhone without a Mac? Absolutely, but having the right tools opens up a lot more functionality and simplicity on both ends. And I don't find the excessive customization of notification sounds to be detrimental to the phone. I have four email accounts, a twitter account, and my messages all going to the phone. I like having a distinct notification for each so I know if I need to take a second to handle the work email or I can wait a few for the personal stuff or to respond to some tweets. Again, it's small things that I disagree with and, obviously since I have a Droid, I've got my own personal bias. Still, good article over all. Edited to add: having to be tied iTunes is a massive disadvantage to me. For one, there's no iTunes option on Linux, and two, iTunes is such a massive resource hog that I avoided it like the plague on my Windows box, as well as my old Mac Mini. Having that be the one point of connection alone immediately eliminates my interest in the iPhone.
  • Agree with this. She mentions how it's such an issue to have to use Google, and presents that as a disadvantage. Yet, she has no problem using iTunes for her iPhone. But, as you state, you can use Google on any platform, whereas you're limited with iTunes. So, she presents a "con" for the Android platform for being forced to use something, yet presents a "pro" for iPhone for being forced to use something that is even more limited.
  • To be fair she points out that iTunes is her preference and that "Since I am a Mac user" the iPhone wins. And in addition she makes the comment that it all depends on the users needs, and the iPhone's syncing was more in line with her needs then Android's.
  • I'm sorry, but the iPhone screen is too small for it's resolution.
  • That Samsung is a pretty mutha. The screen quality is the best out...from what I've seen.
  • I gotta say, she completely fails/face-palms when it comes to the "Compatabilitly" section. Where she mentions that its easier to sync using the iPhone, she also mentions that she's not a gmail user and is a MobileMe user. Well flip it the other way. I'm a Gmail user and not a mobileme user. I'm going to have a harder time to transfer sync things (atleast initially) than the native MobileMe user when it comes to the iPhone 4, and vice versa on Android. Also, she fails when it comes to transferring media to her phone. There's no autosyncing outside of DoubleTwist, but once you've mounted your phone you can Drag and Drop from any folder in your computer OR iTunes. Other than that, it was interesting. It almost seemed in the Conclusion that she was saying that she was open to switch to Android given a bit more refinement
  • This is what I posted on that stupid iPhone blog ;) "I have the Samsung Vibrant and it blows my brothers iPhone 4 out of the water. The thing about Android is that it’s unique as its user. If you have an iPhone it’s the exact same boring layout as everyone else’s iPhone. I have a calendar on one of my screens, a picture frame of my wife on another, RSS feeds, a games screen, twitter client screen, etc.
    An addition, the retina display ain’t (excuse my French) all that. Sure, the text might look “clearer”, but for watching movies and gaming, the SAMOLED looks way better. Deep contrast and theater like colors – Avatar looks stunning and sounds amazing with the 5.1 sound the headphones produce. All in all, I’m a tech guy and it’s obvious which OS is superior. Multi-tasking is better, notifications is better, customization is better, availability is better."
  • 5.1 sound through headphones? So you have headphones with 5 speakers and a subwoofer? Where can I get a pair? lol. Headphones can only output stereo (2 channel). But I'm sure that the audio with that phone does sound amazing.
  • Yup, there's 5 speakers and a sub-woofer. It fits a little snug but well worth it. It's the phone that actually supports 5.1 channel surround sound. It's virtual and you can only use that feature with your headphones - it sounds freakin awesome you clearly notice the difference.
  • yes. high end head phones have multiple speakers and/or drivers and the human ear can only differentiate left and right not front and back because of the placement of the ears on the human head unlike the angled ears of an owl or the movable ears of say a bat. and with multiple drivers in a high end set of headphones you can get a better surround sound experience than with a full 5.1 stereo system. try the monster beat studios, the bass doesn't interfere with any of the other sounds and you can tell the separation of sounds and the clarity is amazing.
  • Her comparison of the camera's was perfect. Lately it seems every comparison/review I read goes on for DAYS talking about the camera and then weights it far, far more important than it should be in the overall summary.
  • Wonder if this was a reference to me and my cousin...then again I doubt that we are that well known on the forums
  • here is what I tell every iphone user I talk to: iOS is more well rounded than android.
    more well rounded when it comes to its gaping holes! haha Apple is great at rounding out it's rough edges to make it feel better.
    Android on the other hand has a solid set of features that just need a little polish now. Coming from an iphone 3g, my main thing I hated was lack of customization. with me being a power user, my iphone didn't look and feel all that different from someone who had no clue how to use their iphone. With android, I blow my other android friends away with my phone because I spend a lot of time loading custom ROMs and tweaking stuff.
    android offers SO much more to those who are looking for it and offers a solid experience to those who could care less about power user features. all that said, I doubt Apple can bring out anything to pull me back over. google is better at phone OS's. period.
    based on the review above, she only reviewed 2.1 and pretty much said it's becoming more neck and neck when it comes to the experience. With 2.2 out and 3.0 on the way, I think google is looking to deliver quite the blow :)
  • I agree about the customization stuff. One of my big gripes with the Apple platform is that it's very much a one look kind of setup. The thing I love about my Droid, and the Android platform in general, is that I can truly make the phone "mine". Between settings, backgrounds, and widgets, I can have a look and function that I won't see on other Android phones. My widget/screen layout is a function of my preferences, not some uber-bland icon layout that every iPhone is locked into. And this is before throwing on a Home Replacement app to further customize the look and feel and general operation. Yes, the multitude of options does add to the learning curve and makes setting up the phone a little more tedious, but this is a Smartphone. After the initial investment in setup, you're set, and when it comes time to shake things up a bit, you have a multitude of options to accomplish that. Hell, I've had some feature phones that had more customization options than the iPhone. The iPhone culture seems to have done a remarkable job of demonizing any effort to make a smart phone perform actual smart functions by equating variety and customization with difficulty.
  • While I'm glad an Apple fanboy (or girl in this case) actually attempted to try an Android device, you can tell she took an extremely biased approach. In the first section, she says the phones "both feel solid in your hand." Then at the end of the paragraph, she says "the iPhone 4 still feels more solid in my hand." Under Compatibility, she gripes about not being able to port all her contacts, etc. to the Captivate. If this were an Android user testing an iPhone, wouldn't they say the same thing? Then she mentions how the Captivate "almost forces you to use not only Gmail but GCal as well." Is that not the same situation with the iPhone? I highly doubt the screen is the problem with the battery life on the Captivate. Screens don't take up as much power as people think. She never once talks about signal quality or how phone calls sound. Hmm... I will conclude by saying this...a buddy of mine went to an Apple store and played with an iPhone. After about 15 seconds, he said "how the heck do I go BACK?" and said screw it and set it down. I'm sure there is a way, but the fact is an iPhone is not as easy to use for someone who hasn't had one for 3 years just as an Android phone would take getting used to. IMHO, the bias of the writer turns me off to the entire comparison.
  • Its always the case that the iPhone bloggers discuss Android from the perspective of how they do things on iOS. Now rather than just repost the article I'd think that AndroidCentral would write their own maybe with someone coming from Android to iPhone and playing just as "dumb" when it comes to how to do things to illustrate that with any switch you are going to have to learn some things. Without that we end up with a bunch of articles always claiming "Android has a ways to go" just because it doesn't work like the iPhone.
  • I think its obvious that this is a biased story though (MAC and iPhone lovers). Copying the contacts over should have been a breeze since you went from AT&T to AT&T, just use the sim card. Since iPhone now supports 'Bump' you could have used it as well to move them from 1 phone to the other. Media is where she really showed biased remarks, as if you plugged your Captivate into a Windows machine and ran WMP you would see its a snap to sync your music, movies, even pictures (if you use WMP for pictures). Was good to learn more about the battery comparison and being a Captivate owner I was dissapointed to find out the iPhone 4 is doing a little better. The last thing I wanted to share or coment was that she mentioned several times about the AMOLED screen and greatness, lets not lose anything there, its a Super AMOLED screen!!
  • I completely agree.. I was watching the video for Hardware and i was like "WHAT!?".. all she talked about was the screen and how the device looks like. She doesn't mean the "hardware specifications" whatsoever, not only the Super AMOLED but 1GHz Hummingbird Processor and things of that sort.
  • The conclusions would obviously be different if an Android device blog did the comparison instead of an iphone blog. I think they're both great devices, but I like the broader array of options Android gives me. I've said before that the iphone is a great smartphone for my mother, but I like the power of Android. I think you really have to understand it to appreciate it.
  • Being a Blackberry user and never using an iPhone or an Android device for more than a few passing minutes, I can say that this review is extremely biased. Being a first-time user on either of these phones, I can't understand how Crapple is considered to have a better UI. The Android looks better and there is MORE THAN ONE BUTTON to navigate. All I experienced when trying an iPhone was a headache with not having both a BACK button and a MENU button. I'm still sticking with my BB because the right Android hasn't come out yet, IMO. I will never get an iPhone for several reasons... even if it claims to have better battery life, you can't have an extra battery to swap in when it dies! Also, companies come out with higher capacity batteries for BB/Android, so battery life isn't as big a concern for them. No SD expansion, no customization, no removable battery, FUGLY overall... oh and iTunes can eat a big bag. Oh and also, why does Crapple need to release a new phone when they updated their OS? Other than a higher res screen and new case, isn't the new iPhone basically the same other than the OS? So, instead of upgrading your OS (free), Crapple convinces you to spend $$$ and get a new phone with Crappy reception? No thanks!
  • This is a fair review from someone who is entrenched in an eco system. At least when she said she typed quicker on the iPhone she qualified it with the fact that she had used an iPhone to type for 3 years, so it was to be expected. So many reviews obviously tap away for half an hour (or less) and then declare the iPhone keyboard to be better (ignoring the importance of habit in typing). I do think some of her observations are interesting as for many iPhone users coming to Android their experiences would be similar. Power users will dive in and love Android but casual users who have spent years in the Apple eco system will have trouble adjusting. The issues with syncing were a classic example. She wanted to sync the way Apple has tied her into syncing in the past using the Apple based model. Android offers more flexibility in syncing but it does not natively do so the way Apple does (which I am thankful for but ...). Her belief that Samsung's skin (personally my least favourite as it tries to ape Apple too much)is Android, is also an issue that will be interesting to follow over time. Non power users are likely to leave their phones pretty close to how they get them and this may affect perceptions of Android in the wider market over time. The point is that Android's growth is not going to come in the main from the casual iPhone user. It is predominantly going to come from new smartphone users, power users and those who are sick of companies like Nokia taking so much time to sort themselves out (more worldwide than US).
  • Ok...I couldn't even read through but half of thing. Its just another "it doesn't work like the iPhone so iPhone wins" article. I read up until the parts about no easy way to sync and being forced to use Gmail. And there were no good points made prior to that so exactly what were the good points. I mean seriously...if you still want to be tied down to a computer to keep your contacts and what not then maybe you want the iPhone. With Android I just sync to Gmail and thats it just like she syncs to iTunes except mine is doing it constantly over the wire. I'm no less locked into Gmail as she is iTunes. Please AndroidCentral...I know its your sister site but call BS when its obvious. iPhone sales aren't going to keep AndroidCentral open. Android sales are. I'm not saying you have to be fanboyish but when your sister site is pulling one of these obvious BS jobs call it and show people how they are in error.
  • but the iphone has the WIFIs, and the bigger GBs...
  • Don't you mean "jeebees"?
  • We need a blackberry user who has never touched an android or iphone to do the reviews. They are to biased. Of course whichever is your favorite youre gonna give better ratings too.
  • Unfortunately, they didn't test the feature of changing the keyboard (other than swype) swiftkey is by far the best/most iphone like. Also, i mean, 2.1 is nowhere near 2.2...I've got Cyanogen running on my evo after using 2.1 and sense for a month and its night and day better. Even then Sense is supposed to be better than Touch Wiz isn't it?
  • on syncing media, I am sure if Apple would not close off iTunes to only the iPhone it would be a snap to sync music with other devices as well.
  • as for battery life, I work in the office with 2 iPhone users one on 3G and one on 3GS and they have their phones plugged during the day to charge. I do have to charge my EVO during the day but I am using it all day.
  • It's the fairest comparison I've seen over there since I've started reading these blogs. Obviously there were some biases in the review but no more than you would expect from anyone that was used to one way of doing things over another. I'd expect a similar slant toward Android if an Android user were doing the same comparison review. It was certainly much better than when Rene starts preaching about something trying to justify what seems like devotion rather than giving alternative options an open view.
  • I think you should take down the link to that review. It is a terrible review by a clueless newb. The hardware section shouldn't be about the "feel" of the gd phone, it should be about the performance. If you want a "look and feel" section, then make one. Nothing in that review was analytical at all.. it was all about how she "felt." Typical.
  • Ultimately that wins over more average consumers than hardware specs do... I'm not saying she has a point, to me a glass back just feels fragile either way (only Apple could get away with that without major complaints), but that's how it is. She wrote the article from the perspective of a casual consumer rather than a journalist who's tasked with actually finding the faults in a device, which is pretty normal these data, if not somewhat of a disturbing trend.
  • the glass back was all a scam so you buy the $30 ripoff bumpers, but now they got to give them out for free because of the reception issue. FAIL
  • 1st- this review is probably accurate of what the "average Mac using Jane" would think when using both phones. 2nd- this is the WORST smartphone review I've read in recent history. She had NO DISCUSSION ON Screen/color/resolution/size. I guess to her they're the same? She says it's "Crazy" to consider missing sync for a ONE TIME $40 fee to have full sync capability- and yet she's PAID $10 a MONTH for 3 YEARS for Apples mobile me? ($360+ and counting) No discussion on how either phone browses the web & displays it...for example- no flash support on iphone- pinch to zoom on iphone has lack of reflow of text... having a 4in screen vs. 3.5 to read the web... How about speed of pages being rendered on the phone? She doesn't know the difference between the Android OS and a SKIN. I expected this coming from her review however. This is more of a All of her plusses for the swipe left to message- right to call or click on a contact picture are features of Touchwiz NOT Android OS. The one thing I will say in her defense regarding you can't drag and drop media is the rumor that these phones aren't mac compatible- and you'd have to use a card reader to do that- which may be why she didn't try it- she couldn't get the phone to mount to the desktop. Mac may not be 2% of the computer userbase anymore- but it is under 15% and saying companies need to "get with it and support Mac already" is still VERY Naive- and I AM a Mac user. What's more naive is Apple assuming the iphone is right for every macuser...
  • I enjoy the fact that you are a mac user and chose android. I think that many android users are also very computer oriented, knowing their way around computers. Apple seems to always try to make it so easy for the regular consumer to do things that I think they never learn to do things like mount a drive. I'm not saying that all mac users are like this because there are plenty who are very computer savvy but I can imagine a future where no one cares about how their electronics work they just want to press a button and have it do everything for them.
  • I think most apple users are just too used to apple telling them what they want and how they want it to make a decision for themselves. That must be why it's so difficult for someone in their position to use something else
  • cool samsung galaxy phone covers pearl case