David Artiss

The GadgetShow and un-smart smartphone test

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Tonights The GadgetShow included a “showdown” between 4 of the “latest” 1 smartphones – the iPhone 4, Nexus S, HTC HD7 and the Blackberry Torch (each representing a different OS – iOS, Android, Windows 7 and Blackberry, respectively).

Now, on Twitter I’ve denounced The Gadget Show a few times and said I’d never watch it again. But I do. Normally though it’s their lack of actual testing of tech 2 and reliance on padding with competition and “challenges”. I’ve gotten around that now by recording it and using the PVR to whiz through the results – sometimes I’ve had an episode down to 10 minutes. What does also annoy me though is their obvious fanboy-like obsession with Apple products (particularly from Jason).

So, before their Smartphone test I guessed the iPhone 4 would win. And, it did. But it was how it won that provokes questions.

The first test (and a phone was eliminated after each test – not sure why, as it may be excellent in the other tests) was ease of use. Which is a fair enough test. Except it was a in a speeding car and tested the time to turn it on, look something up on the internet and email something. The tester – Pollyanna  – obviously didn’t like the keyboard of the Blackberry generally and seemed to almost purposefully not try. But what kind of speed test is the switch on time? Most people wouldn’t leave it turned off, so this would never be an issue. The iPhone was the slowest to turn on but somehow came the 2nd fastest overall (it must have been REALLY quick to make up the time, but that somehow didn’t get mentioned).

Next, now with the Blackberry out of the testing, was a photo and video test. That to me, was good. The Nexus has best photos and the iPhone the best video (note how Jon Bentley goes on about the high quality of the video when he’s remained pretty quiet up to that point). So, the HD7 is now out of the running, leaving the Android powered Nexus S and the Android 4.

The last test was to test it’s apps. Hmm. This was done by leading the 2 testers around via a series of clues that they solved by using apps. They obviously knew which apps to use beforehand and were 100% clued up on how to achieve their goals. Their first task was translating a Spanish message to know they had to get dressed up. They then used an app to find somewhere for an outfitter and then had to print an invite – this invite told them where to go next. Jon reached this place first not because of the phone but (her words) Pollyanna took longer to choose an outfit and had to run in high heals. Once there he got first choice of a vehicle to get them to their final destination – he got a motorbike and Pollyanna got a horse-drawn carriage. Hardly a fair fight and nothing to do with the phones. At this point I realised that I was going to be correct and the iPhone would win. All they had to do was use a SatNav product to guide them to where they were going.

In a case of “Tortoise and the Hare”, however, the iPhone app failed Jon and he ended up going the wrong way. Would the iPhone not triumph after all? Of course it would. With Pollyanna nearly there and Jon still lost, the Nexus S mysteriously “went dead”. No explanation was given as to why (if it was battery life it couldn’t have properly charged beforehand) and the iPhone was declared the winner.

This is the iPhone that takes an age to switch on, has 2nd best speed of use, 2nd best photo capability, best video, an equal footing in apps but with a 2nd place free SatNav application, and somehow it was crowned the best Smartphone. Because the Nexus S “went dead”.

Fair, or badly biased? I know what I think. And Apple are laughing again.

  1. their words[]
  2. and when they do it’s often stuff that we, the average consumer, would be able to buy[]

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1 Comment

  1. It’s since been pointed out to me the reason why the Nexus lost the final part of the competition… Google’s navigation app uses online maps, meaning it has to constantly download updates. The iPhone app used uses offline maps. There are offline equivalents for Android, but they didn’t feel to use them.

    So, the Nexus lost because of their poor choose of apps to install. Nice.

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