Mac Heads

Which is Faster- iPhone 5S or Samsung Galaxy S4? #AskBrothaTech

Which Is Faster- iPhone 5S Or Samsung Galaxy S4 via BrothaTech.comSince I’m a Brotha that’s into technology (see where I get the name?), I often get tech-related questions via email and social media. So I’ve decided to start a new column on my blog entitled (you guessed it) #AskBrothaTech where I highlight some of the most common (or uncommon) questions as it relates to technology and the Digital Lifestyle.

Here is the latest from a question sent to me via Facebook:

“Hey BrothaTech,

I need to upgrade from my iPhone 4. It’s just too slow for me. I’m thinking about going back to an Android. Maybe the S4. Thoughts? I need speed more than anything.

Sincerely, Speed Demon”

(I added the Speed Demon part because reasons)

Ah yes, the age-old question I get asked the most. In my opinion, all of the flagship smartphones are so close in technical specs that just trying to eyeball which phone is the fastest is nearly impossible.

But since I know y’all ain’t trynna hear “it depends” I’m going to try and give you my honest, non-diplomatic, but non fan boy-ish answer. Smartphone speed is broken down into two factors out-of-the-box speed and how compatible a person is using one device over the other.

Out of the box

Like I said earlier, smartphones are so close spec-wise that a straight-up legit benchmark test can only reveal a “winner” and “loser” between an iPhone 5S and a flagship Android device like the Samsung Galaxy S4. Since I don’t have the time (and don’t get paid) to be messing around with benchmark test, I will say that from a “too many hands in the cookie jar” standpoint, an iPhone may just end up slightly faster than a GS4 out of the box.

From the conception to the assembly line to a consumer’s hands, Apple has been known to be a dictator. They control the hardware and software that goes on every device out of the box. Conversely, the Android OS (owned by Google), device manufacturer (in this case Samsung), and the wireless carrier all have a stake in what goes on the the device before you even open the box. As a result, all that extra stuff we techies affectionately call bloatware in theory can slows down the GS4…Unless you pay full price upfront for a Google Play edition GS4 straight from the source.


Here is where the “it depends” catch-all rears its ugly head, but is a valid point I must make. It doesn’t matter how fast the actual device is – It depends on your compatibility with the device and it’s ecosystem. For example, If you’re always using Google’s services (Gmail, Google Drive, Maps, Calendar, etc.) you will find that those services are integrated into and Android so smoothly, you may find that the GS4 faster than an iPhone 5S, even if those same services are available for iOS.

Same goes for iOS, if you’re knee deep in the Apple ecosystem (iTunes, iMessage, App Store, iLife, etc.) you will find that getting that content on an Android device takes extra steps that could slow down your productivity. As a result, you will feel more productive on an iPhone 5S over the GS4. In other words, your comfort and level of investment with each device/ecosystem should determine which device is “faster”.


Bloatware aside, which may or may not even be a deal breaker, In the end, you will have to decide what’s more important to you: device speed or device compatibility.

Before any of you crazy fan boys (that don’t even get paid by Apple or Google to be fan boys) hit my site with all your “exceptions to the rule”, keep in mind that everybody’s situation is different, so speed truly does “depend” on how you use a smartphone in the long run.

If you have any tech questions you want me to answer, be sure to hit up my Contact Page, or use the Hashtag #AskBrothaTech on Social Media when submitting questions.

Mac Heads

Switching Back To iOS From Android – It Just Works

Switching Back To iOS From Android - It Just Works via BrothaTech

Not sure if I just got bored and wanted to look at something new for a change, or I truly am a fanboy, but I’ve temporarily (or permanently) switched back to my iPhone 5 as my daily driver. I’ve been using my Samsung Galaxy S4 for quite some time and I must say the larger screen size was my main reason for getting one, and it came in handy numerous times on the potty when I had idle time to browse the web, watch a video, or draft an email.

Additionally, I use Google services all day long, so having that “Google juice” baked into my smartphone is an added bonus

Side note: I’m still trying to figure out a full-proof way to use my Google Apps email aliases in Apple Mail for iOS 7. 

So after a while rocking Android, I’ve switched back to iOS.  While my fat thumbs (Lawd, please force Apple to let us use SwiftKey) and bad eyes have to get used to a smaller screen again, going back to Apple has been a pretty pleasant experience.

The first obvious thing I noticed is that getting media (music, movies, podcasts, etc.) on my iPhone was simple because I use iTunes to download and mange my media. I use a doubleTwist to get iTunes content on my Android, but some content (old DRM stuff) just won’t carry over. Plugging up my iPhone and watching the magic happen is simply a better experience.

Another observation was that it appeared that my Android was getting more an more stuttery (word?) and not as smooth when doing basic tasks like detecting when I wanted to type and pulling up the virtual keyboard, switching between apps, and taking pictures. My GS4 had to literally “think about it” for a while before completing the task.

iOS on the other hand, is still a smooth and seamless experience. Now one could attribute my Android issues to the fact that by the time the manufacturer and the carrier are done with Android, the user experience is lessened. But like I said, as time went on, the stuttering got worse…And until any of you Android enthusiasts scoffing at my analysis (or PR folk looking for influential brands…’cause I’d like to consider myself influential in this tech game) want to send me a Google Nexus 5 to truly experience Android, you will have to make due with my iOS vs. Android experience.

Yeah, my phone is tiny, and I will have to figure out some workarounds to continue dependence on using Google services on an iPhone, but I will say my overall opinion of an iPhone is that with all of its developer and ecosystem restrictions…It just works.

Mac Heads

Google Now For iOS: Meh – But That’s Good for Google…And Siri

(Image courtesy of Google)

Let’s just say I was pretty excited to find out that the Google Now service is now available for iOS devices (built into the Google Search app). To give you some background info, Google Now learns your habits as result of tracking location throughout the day and keeping track of all your smartphone interactions ( like Google searches) and delivers customized information to you when you need it most.

Need to know the weather before you walk out the house in the morning? Google Now shows you a “card” with the current weather conditions. Need to get a quick recap of the news while you commute? Google Now has a card with the latest stories. There are a total of 29 cards including (but not limited to) news, travel, appointments, sports, traffic that get smarter the more you interact with your phone which, in a way, makes it a true smartphone – It knows what you want to see and gives it to you without asking.

So you can imagine I quickly downloaded the app on my iPhone 5 and zipped through the settings to get everything set up to my liking. After a couple of minutes, I quickly realized that Google Now for iOS is NOT the same as Google Now Android:

Extra steps required

google now for ios search homeAs soon as you open Google Now on Android, you are presented with relevant cards based on your preferences (Accessing Google Now varies across devices). You can also use Google Now as a widget on one of your home screens for quicker access.

With Google Now for iOS, you have to open the Google Search app and then “flick” up from the bottom of the screen to view the cards. Yeah, I’m not over-extending my thumbe usage by completing one extra flick, but the whole point of Google Now is to get information NOW, and the Android version essentially does that better than iOS.

Way more functionality all rolled into one app

You can use Google Now for Android to search the web and find installed apps, compose emails and text messages, add appointments to your calendar…In other words you can essentially use Google Now for Android as the starting point for all your phone interactions.

With Google Now for iOS you can only perform web searches (no finding installed apps, adding reminders or calendar appointments)…Still need to keep Siri around for deeper iOS integration. Let’s face it, Siri is not “what’s hot in the streets” when it comes to understanding what the hell you are telling her to do.

More Cards

With Google Now for iOS, you only get 22 of the 29 cards. The notable holdouts include, Fandango movie information, airline boarding passes, local events and concerts. Yeah, you could use Apple’s Passbook App for those features, but who uses that? #RealTalk

With all the superiority that Android has over iOS when it comes to Google Now,putting out a slightly sub-par service on iOS is still a good thing for Google:

“All your [data] are belong to us”

The ONE thing that SkyNet Google wants more than anything in the whole wide-world is your data. Google Now for Android is only available for devices running OS 4.1 (Jelly Bean). With Android fragmentation, not every phone has the latest OS. So they are limited in the amount of data they can get from mobile users.

Adding Google Now to iOS gives Google more access to data. Just about everyone with an iOS device (iPhones, iPod Touch & iPads) can serve up their data on a silver platter to Google.

“Mo’ Data…”

“Our services are better so our phones must be too?”

Since Apple and Google’s relationship is “complicated”, it’s obvious as to why Google would want to give Android every advantage it can get, without completely alienating iOS users altogether (see “all your [data] are belong to us”). So while it behooves Google to get their apps in the App Store, it’s also reasonable to make their offerings on Android better.

I love Apple hardware, but I’m in Google’s ecosystem all day long. There just may be Apple fans who love Google’s services so much that they are willing to seriously give Android a shot if it means a better experience for them overall.

All that to say Google Now is pretty dope…Way doper than Siri. While I don’t think I’m ready to ditch Apple over one app, I’m sure as hell glad I can get at least a portion of added Google functionality on my iOS device, even if that means being a little jelly (I don’t think grown men say jelly in place of jealous) of my Android counterparts.

Maybe Google Now on iOS will force Apple to stop dragging its feet with Siri if only to try and “one up” Google?

…Competition is ALWAYS good for the consumer.

Mac Heads

How I Went A Day Without My iPhone

No iPhone Tweet

I’m one of those people who wouldn’t flinch if I left my wallet at home, but would whip the car around and go back home if I left my iPhone sitting on the kitchen table. Now, I thought it was because of my iPhone 4S AKA, “The Precious”, but now I’m having second thoughts since receiving the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE (they have to do something with that name) from the Verizon Wireless Ambassadors Program.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m also a mobile app reviewer for PCMag’s AppScout blog, so I get a ton of mobile apps to test/review…and keep. Since a large majority of these apps are for iOS devices, I assumed the lack of apps would prevent me from truly testing out the HTC ‘D.I.4.L.’ So I couldn’t just leave my iPhone on the charger and throw the DI4L in my pocket and go about my business. I had to do some serious research and really examine what I needed and what I didn’t need before I took on this momentous challenge.

Calls & SMS

I had to make sure I could stay in contact with my “peeps”. The #VZWA Program not only provides a phone but free VZW phone/data service with all the bells and whistles. So, the first thing I did was forward calls to the number that came with the phone. Since I’m already a VZW customer, completing this task was pretty simple.

I also use Google Voice for “bidness” calls, so changing what phone my GV number rings to was even simpler than setting up call forwarding. I just downloaded the app on my DI4L, logged in to my account online and changed the number from my mobile number to the DI4L number – done!

The ONLY thing I’m missing is text messaging. What would be idea is if I could send text messages from the VZWA-provided number and the recipient’s caller ID displays my main mobile number on an incoming text. Thay way, I don’t have to give out yet another contact number. Since very few people txt me, I will have to force them to adopt an app like Voxer to send/receive text messages…and them some.

I may decide to port my main mobile number over to Google Voice and easily receive calls and text messages from one number, no matter what phone I use, but that process is a little more involved, so it will have to wait until the [rhymes with iPhone 5] comes out.


I’m a Googler as far as software/services are concerned, so synching my email (personal, business & family) accounts was easy since I was now syncing with an Android phone. I just set up the Gmail/Google Apps account sync and Boom! My email, calendars, contacts and taks were up and running.

I will admit, the native email, contacts, calendar apps currently for iOS is pretty whack, so I use third party apps for email (Sparrow) and contacts (Smartr Contacts) and just deal with going native for the calendar. Native Google/Gmail on an Android is a better experience in my opinion (Yes, even as an Apple fan I can be unbiased), so I found that my productivity has been bumped up a notch. I will have to reassess when iOS 6 drops.

HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE by VerizonApps

As you can see, just by switching to the DI4L for this test, I’ve already consolidated some of the apps I need to use on a daily basis. But what about all the “essential” apps that are sitting on The Precious? Well, there are some apps that I also use on a daily basis that I needed to download for this test to work.

Social Media:

Twitter – MUST

Facebook – MUST

Google Plus – I guess

Instagram – The ONE app that would stop me dead in my tracks from trying this test using a Windows Phone (and I want to so bad because I have a Samsung Focus fully charged and collecting dust).


Evernote – My de-facto notes…and just about everything else app

Dropbox – Where I keep all my business files and other cross-device docs in the Cloud

Shoeboxed – Where I save/manage/export all my receipts for expense reporting

TripIt – My automagic travel itinerary

Scan – Barcode scanner and QR Code manager

Adobe Reader X – Viewing PDF’s in emails, on websites, and from other apps

SwiftKey – My mobile keyboard of choice – If Apple wasn’t so “particular” with their iDevice “experience” I would beg SwiftKey to release an iPhone app

In other words, the fifty-eleven thousand apps currently on my iPhone are nice and definitely an advantage to any other mobile platform on the market, but not a requirement for me to get through the day.

The two features Android has over iOS right now is stupid-fast LTE speeds, which saved my arse more than once when I had to use the mobile hotspot feature when the WiFi sucked in the location where I was trying to get work done; and built-in voice Navigation. I have “window suction” Navi in my car, but it’s nothing like firing up Google Maps Navigation and speaking the address and instantly getting turn-by-turn directions, versus reaching over my dashboard tapping in the address on my traditional navigation.

I want my iPhone, but I don’t need my iPhone. What I need is a capable smartphone. The HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE (with Google/Android guts) from Verizon Wireless more than met my needs, with a little extra to spare. On my first day without my iPhone, I was invited to an NFL Madden 13 back to school event at the Microsoft Store in Atlanta, and I was able to do all the things a blogger does at an event with no problem.

The one thing I was concerned about (and rightfully so) was how speedy 4G LTE speeds will pwn your typical smartphone battery. So I made sure to bring my Duracell Powermat backup battery with me. Other than that, I was okay without my iPhone for a day.

I may just rock this look for a while…until I get my hands on the iPhone 5 (or New iPhone) next month to see how a larger screen, Verizon 4G LTE speeds, and new iOS 6 features feel for a REAL comparison.

What…You thought I was a true convert?


“I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”

Mac Heads Tips and Tricks

Ask a Brotha: iPhone 4S Or Wait For iPhone 5?

iPhone 5 Concept
iPhone 5 Concept Drawing Courtesy of Uptown Magazine

Every once in a while, I get tech questions via social media networks and other channels. So I decided to start a new area on my blog where I answer some of those questions in order to help a larger audience who my have the same questions. So don’t go getting all up in your feelings if you ask me a public question and it shows up here – Consider your question as inspiration for a blog post…You’re welcome.

This one comes via Twitter:

“Bro Terrance is it worth waiting for i-phone 5…..In fall maybe? or just go with 4S”