So you walk into an electronics store looking for a new smartphone. Sitting on top of the nearly empty shelf is the Apple iPhone 5, while a stack of boxes with LG Optimus 4X HD inside sit just across it. What do you do? What DO you DO? Should you go with what millions are currently trying to get their hands on or get the underdog in the Android world?
If you ever find yourself in such predicament, we suggest making comparisons between the two phones before you swipe your credit card. But guess what, we already did one for you; and we even made a video comparing the iPhone 5 and Optimus 4X HD in real life.
The extra 0.5-inch that the iPhone 5 has over the predecessor won’t make you want to break out and sing “A Whole New World,” but it is a fine addition nonetheless. The increased resolution, now at 1,136 x 640, is a crowd pleaser as well. The iPhone 5 has another secret sauce in that it uses a brand new technology that removes an extra layer from the screen, which should make the display pop more and make outside viewing better.
Meanwhile, the LG Optimus 4X HD comes with a 4.7-inch True-HD IPS display of 1,280 x 720 resolution. There’s no questioning the quality of the next-gen IPS display, as you’ll find pictures and text look sharp. It also offers good performance when used outdoors.
We believe most people will enjoy phones with bigger screen and resolution. Phones are not about making phone calls anymore. They’re also about typing those Excel documents your boss urgently wanted while you’re having your lunch break, or Flipboard-ing your way through boring meetings, or catching up on your favorite TV shows while on the road.
Then again, enjoying a bigger screen ultimately means accepting that you’ll have a bigger bulge in your pocket.
Build Quality and Design
To accommodate the new display, the iPhone 5 is now taller, though the width remains virtually the same. Thanks to the use of aluminium on the back, it is built sturdier than ever, as our drop test video will show you. Apple has managed to keep the DNA of the phone intact, while adding some new things here and there.
For instance, some will like the idea of having the headphone port on the bottom of the screen. As for the new Lightning port, which replaces the old dock connector, it may be smaller and faster – but it also means you have to either invest in a new set of accessories or get a pricey adapter.
LG sticks with its plastic theme with the Optimus 4X HD, so it’s to be expected that the build quality isn’t as good as its rival. Not to say that it’s not durable – just not as tough as the iPhone 5. Design-wise, you’ll find no sleek curves here since LG seems to be angling for that distinctively boxy look.
We have to say that design has never been one of LG’s strongest suits.
Hardware and Camera
Apple has said that new A6 processor the iPhone 5 used should help make the phone run two times faster than the iPhone 4S. We then learned that the A6 consists of a dual-core CPU clocked at 1.05GHz, while the former runs it at 800MHz. Aside from the new CPU, the phone offers 1GB RAM, 16/32/64GB storage, 1,400mAh non-removable battery, Bluetooth 4.0, and LTE radio.
The LG Optimus 4X HD is powered by a 1.5GHz Tegra 3 quad-core processor that gives you access to some of the most advanced gaming apps on the Android platform. Then there’s 1GB RAM, 16GB storage, microSD slot, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, and removable 2,150mAh battery.
The iPhone 5 and Optimus 4X HD come with an 8MP rear camera and both are equipped with an LED flash. While useful in ensuring that the shots won’t be a complete disaster, they can only do so much in badly lit rooms. The iPhone’s camera now allows you to take panorama shots, as well as taking stills while shooting videos. Again, these are features that you can find on Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich, the Optimus 4X HD included.
As for things that are lacking on the iPhone 5 – leaving out NFC is a disappointment for some, but we imagine it won’t be a deal breaker for those who have been craving for the phone since last year. Also, the iPhone 5 doesn’t come with an expandable storage option and removable battery.
Software and Ecosystem
The iPhone 5 runs iOS 6, which offers several improvements over the last version. You’ll find that Siri has now gotten smarter and knows her sports stats well. There’s Passbook that lets you organize all your tickets in one place and you can now chat with fellow Apple fans on Facetime via cellular connection.
LG Optimus 4X HD runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. This is one generation behind the latest and greatest version, otherwise known as Jelly Bean, but ICS is a solid OS that should offer a fast and stable mobile experience.
As for the ecosystem, Apple’s is as solid as ever and you’ll find no problem getting apps and other multimedia contents to load onto your phone. We believe the app situation in Android has improved ten folds, where it’s getting rare to see software available solely and exclusively on App Store. Google Play has received a good boost of content; from books, magazines, TV shows, movies and more.
Pros and Cons
Apple iPhone 5 Pros:
- Good, sturdy design
- Improved display size and resolution (for iPhone’s standard)
- Complete ecosystem
Apple iPhone 5 Cons:
- Limited OS
- No NFC, expandable storage, and removable battery
LG Optimus 4X HD Pros:
- Flexible OS
- Huge display (bigger is definitely better)
- NFC, expandable storage, removable battery
- Competitively priced
LG Optimus 4X HD Cons:
- Plastic isn’t that fantastic
- Might not get timely Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update, if ever
It can be said that the simplicity of the user interface on the iPhone 5 is both its strong and weak point. Android is all about making your phone how you want it to look, while you have to be content with what Apple is giving you when you choose the iPhone. And yes, there’s still no real multitasking on iOS 6 (and the can of worm is opened).
From the perspective of long-time Apple users, the lure of a 4-inch display on the iPhone 5 will be hard to resists. But why stop there? Once you see all that a 4.7-inch display can offer, you may find it hard to go back to something smaller.
If price isn’t an issue and you think that the new display is big enough, then by all means go ahead and snatch that iPhone 5. Otherwise, the LG Optimus 4X HD is a worthy Android smartphone to consider.