iPhone 4 vs. Windows Phone 7 Smartphones: An In-Depth Comparison

iPhone 4 vs. Windows Phone 7 Smartphones: An In-Depth Comparison

At a press conference today, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Balmer officially unveiled its new Windows Phone 7 operating system for mobile devices, along with nine smartphones by various manufacturers that will carry the software upon its release.

Together with Android devices, smartphones running Windows Phone 7 will be one of the biggest competitors to the iPhone 4 running iOS, so how do the new devices compare to Apple’s already massively popular iPhone?

The comparison chart below compares the iPhone 4 to the nine Windows Phone 7 launch devices:

iPhone 4 with iOSWin7 Mobile Smartphones
Processor:Apple A4 Chip (1GHz)1GHz and up
RAM:512MB

512MB

Internal Storage:16GB or 32GB

8GB-16GB

Camera &5MP with 720p recording

5MP-8MP with 720p recording

Screen:960×640 Retina display

WVGA-480×800 super AMOLED

Battery Life:7hrs talk-time

300hrs standby

Up to 7hrs talk-time

Up to 456hrs standby

Video Calling:

GPS:

Physical Keyboard:

Available on selected devices

Accelerometer:

Gyroscope:

So that’s how the technical specifications square up to each other. Microsoft has tapped up Dell, HTC, LG, and Samsung to make the hardware for the first of the Windows Phone 7 devices, and as far as performance goes, each device is pretty similar. The processors are all around the 1GHz mark, and each run 512MB of RAM.

The camera and video recording capabilities of the iPhone and Windows devices are also very much alike: apart from the HTC 7 Mozart which boasts an 8MP camera, the rest of the Windows Phone 7 launch clan sport a 5MP camera with 720p video recording – just like the iPhone 4.

None of the Windows devices have a screen that comes close to the iPhone’s Retina display, but a couple do have physical qwerty keyboards, which will please the likes of Blackberry users who are used to having buttons. You also won’t find a gyroscope in any of the Windows devices, so those that have been impressed with them in the new iPhone will be disappointed. So what about software?

Video demos of Windows Phone 7 in action certainly seem to be pretty impressive, with a fresh, intuitive user interface, greatly improving upon its predecessors. But it’s unclear at this early whether it will be any match for iOS. To compare the operating systems, we’ve highlighted some of the standout areas below.

Multitasking

Windows Phone 7 won’t support multitasking to begin with, a feature that iOS users waited forever for. Just like it did with iOS, however, multitasking may find it’s way on to Windows devices in a future update.

Multimedia

Windows Phone 7 users will use Microsoft’s Zune media player for their music and movies, and the Zune software for PC to sync their media to their handset. This competes with the fantastic iPod application iOS users love, and the iTunes software for Mac and PC that – faults aside – does a pretty good job of syncing everything we want to our iPhones.

iPhone 4 vs. Windows Phone 7 Smartphones: An In-Depth Comparison

Internet & Email

We’re all familiar with the fantastic Safari and Mail applications built in to iOS; both of which are a great example of how internet and email should be handled on a mobile device. Safari features intuitive touch controls and the ability to save your bookmarks to your home screen, whilst Mail boasts a unified inbox and message threading.

Windows Phone 7 comes with Internet Explorer Mobile, which boasts tabbed browsing and touch controls much like Safari. It also has Outlook Mobile built-in for email which features streamlined account setup for Windows Live, Google, and Yahoo mail accounts, as well as multiple Exchange accounts.

Tethering

Unlike the iPhone, Windows Phone 7 devices don’t currently support internet tethering. However, just like multitasking, this came in a future update to iOS, and the same could happen for Windows.

Flash

I’m sure you’ll already be aware that the iPhone doesn’t support Adobe’s Flash player, and to begin with, Windows Phone 7 won’t either.

Camera

The Camera app for iOS is great for taking quick snaps while you’re on the move, which you can then sync to your computer, send to friends via email or MMS, or upload to your MobileMe gallery. Windows Phone 7 features a “Pictures Hub” which, much like camera roll on iOS, houses your entire picture collection in one place. As well as syncing them to your PC and sending them to your friends, you can also upload your pictures directly to Facebook or Windows Live.

iPhone 4 vs. Windows Phone 7 Smartphones: An In-Depth Comparison

Apps & Games

Of course, Microsoft have their own App Store for their Windows Phone 7 devices, called “Marketplace.” Only time will tell whether the Marketplace will become as popular as the App Store with regards to the number of quality apps and games available, but big name developers like EA have already committed to developing games for Win7 devices. And with Xbox Live built-in for online gaming, it’s certainly on the right tracks.

Microsoft have their own Office applications built-in, including mobile versions of Word, Excel, OneNote and Powerpoint. Although iOS doesn’t yet boast Apple’s own office applications for the iPhone, there are plenty of third-party office suites available.

Carriers

On launch, Windows Phone 7 devices will be available in 30 countries on 60 cell phone operators. In the U.S., Windows devices will be available on 3 networks including AT&T and T-Mobile, and 7 carriers in Europe including Orange, Vodafone, and O2.

Conclusion

As a huge fan of the iPhone and iOS, I hate to admit that Windows Phone 7 looks pretty impressive. Compared to its Windows Mobile predecessors, it’s a huge improvement; the software looks clean and intuitive and really nice to use. But at this point it’s hard to say whether it’ll be anywhere near as good as iOS. The same goes for the hardware: some of the Windows Phone 7 launch devices look pretty great and provide features that many people find the lacking in the iPhone, like a physical keyboard. However, none of them seem to beat the iPhone 4, and they’re nowhere near as gorgeous.

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  • Detergent

    Were you smoking drugs when you wrote this article? Windows Phone 7 is horrible. You can’t save files to your phone memory that you made with office mobile, and you cannot sync your contacts and agenda items. Next time when you do a review, do it professionally, and cover this kind of flaws.

  • Andreas

    Fully agree with Detergent. My wife just got an HTC Mozart running Windows Mobile 7 and I have an iPhone 3GS. While the hardware specs. are very similar the user interfaces are completely different. What struck me most was that the Windows Mobile 7 is so clunky that every tasks becomes a nightmare, ie the majority of tasks need 1-2 clicks/touches more on the screen for Windows Mobile 7 then on the iPhone. Also, the way Windows Mobile 7 is using the screen estate is extremely inefficient. So, there is no way that Windows Mobile 7 is coming close to iOS. Obviously I am a big Apple fan, but to be fair I would give credit where credit is due. Just to make sure I am not one sited I did have a closer look at a friends Android phone today and if I have to move away from iOS I would definitely prefer any Android phone over this Windows Mobile 7 mess.

  • mrtoyama

    My sister and mom have an iphones (one iphone4 the other 3gs) and I do have to say that the app store is much better then marketplace, but the main reason I chose windows phone is the integration with most apps and xbox live, obviously. Even as a high school student, the office app saved my grades multiple times. If you don’t think Windows phone is good now, you will in time.

  • Andreas

    Regardless of the app store or marketplace the user interface on Windows Mobile 7 is so clumsy that it takes ages to figure things out once you did it takes a number of mouse clicks more to get there. Why for example can’t I group my apps. like in folders? Why can I only fit about 8 on one screen when I start the phone and the rest ends up in a long list sorted by name, when humans are faster with recognising images? Also, how do I determine which calendar I sync with on my laptop if I don’t use outlook and how can I turn off hotmail contacts syncing when I only want the emails out of it? There are heaps more of examples why the interface is badly designed… As I said, all other OSes are better, including Android, Symbian and iOS.

  • JJ

    Detergent – wake up – like every other apple fan you seems very confused (or at least technically insolvent) – but who cares, right? A lot of people confused about their own identity seems to buy an iPhone, as it makes them feel part of a group…

  • Garfieldcat94

    Andreas, you couldn’t group apps on iphone for ages and I have about 15 apps/hubs on my start screen – more than 8. You don’t need outlook to sync your calender with your laptop, I use windows live mail. And to turn off hotmail syncing contacts just turn it off in settings like I have done for some email accounts. By the way you use heaps less clicks to do things, sometimes none because it tells you how many emails, messages, etc on the live hubs on the start screen. The list of apps to the side does have images aswell. The interface is heaps better than iPhone, you probably havent even tried to use it, you just looked at the windows logo and assumed it was bad.

  • Andreas

    As you clearly stated Garfieldcat94 you couldn’t group apps in the past, but guess what you can now, makes it a weak reason that Windows 7 is better. Now, also, there might be images aka icons for the apps in a list, but I can’t sort by icon, I have to go with app name in the Windows 7 list, which is not helpful, since the human brain is better with images then with text. And yes, I have worked with a Windows 7 mobile device as stated in one of the posts below – should have read all my posts… Now, as far as clicks are concerned iOS has a tag on the icons as well, based on app used, which is no different to Windows mobile 7. However, the UI of Windows 7 is cumbersome and badly designed for various reasons, but two of them are a) it is not effectively using the screen available, ie wasting space and b) different apps. – even the ones from Microsoft – seem to look and feel very different, not something someone who understands UI design should implement. There are heaps of other things from a usability point of view and I am not disputing that things can be done in Windows mobile 7, but it is just too often that the way they are done is too counter intuitive, again not a good design. At the end of cause everyone has to decide for them self whether they like it or not and taste is not something that can be approached logically. I for myself find that Android, Symbian and iOS doing a much, much better job when it comes to UI though.

  • Vinod Menon

    Come on guys, give microsoft time to breath…. I am using both iphone and wm7.. recently bought htc hd7.. its fine so far… jut need more applications and facebook integration looks very cool. Few things required – google aps, twitter/ gtalk/ skype integration in groups etc. Also require more instant messengers… the notification in tiles is great. Overall I like the concept behind the OS… only thing is that they bought it to the market a little early – i mean before necessary modules were added… probably they want to start capturing the market… I am pretty sure that lot of muscles are working on the WM7 platform and shortly u will see a rush of applications..
    Possibly micrsoft will also try to rectify their past mistakes… and open up the OS for development. Being a layman (not a techie guy), i felt WM7 is more userfriendly than my old Android – in terms of use and connectivity :)

  • Tony Kan

    I appreciate your candour. I’m a huge Apple Newton fan and yes, even though I’m proud of Apple’s achievements in the smartphone arena, you’ve got to be dishonest not to appreciate the creative work that Microsoft has achieved with their Metro UI design language.

    Its quite a departure from the iOS world where many things look like they are mimicing real-world objects such as bookshelves, antique compasses and paper book page turns.

    Some might argue (simplistically) that Android is really just a open-sourced version of iOS. At a certain level of abstraction, they have a point. I think its great that there is another school of thought out there that has managed to further invigorate the smartphone market.

    With smartphone hardware going remarkably minimalistic, the OS UI is where producers will find the most latitude to differentiate themselves. This is why I think the Nokia-MS alliance is really risky for Nokia. Instead of developing their own cut-through UI they have adopted someone else’s. When I look at a Sony-Ericcson phone I fail to see why I should buy it. OTOH, HTC has done a brilliant job at creating a very profitable business just manufacturing handsets without creating their own OS but they have tweaked the Android UI to differentiate themselves. At the moment, WP7 doesn’t give them that flexibility. Maybe that will change once we see the full impact of Nokia-MS’s alliance agreement which is rumoured to give Nokia more latitude for UI tweaks.

    I see that the latest Nielsen survey shows WP7 is picking up some traction and is outperforming Android when compared at a similar time period following initial launch date: http://myapplenewton.blogspot….

  • Dave D

    I stopped reading this article after the 3rd “fantastic”.

    I’ve been a reasonably happy iPhone customer for almost 2 years (love the phone, hate AT&T with a passion), but I’m considering a Windows 7 phone when it’s time to re-up. I was looking for an objective review, but should have known better considering the web site. Too bad. Lost opportunity.

  • Rich

    I’m in cosideration as to which phone to go for, windows 7 or iphone 4.  I’ve owned a 3GS for 18 months and have, in general, been more than happy with it.  However, I am reluctant to get the iphone 4, simply because it falls down as a basic phone.  Apparently you need a rubber band on it in order to make a phone call. I ‘m leaning towards the windows phone, I just want the app store to be as generally good as apples.  

  • Andreas

    Rich, I have used both phones and personally was disappointed by the Windows 7 phone. I currently own an iPhone 3GS, but don’t intend to upgrade to iPhone 4 either, since I don’t think it adds that much extra value. I personally would wait for iPhone 5 before I upgrade unless I have to. I would encourage you to seriously try using a Windows  7 phone if you can, since its user interface is very different to the iPhones iOS. It might be for you, it might not be. Depending on what you expect, but be warned, it is the two user interfaces are very different. Also, depending on how much you want to have some apps that assist you with day to day tasks I find that there aren’t as many quality tasks yet available on Windows 7 as on iPhone, but I am sure that will change over time. – Hope this helps – let me know if you want to know more, since we have both phones at home.

  • A Name

    The word ‘fantastic’ appears in the article twice.

  • Nelzen3

    I just bought the windows 7 tonight. I was on the phone for about 15/20 minutes and I noticed that the phone really heated up. My ear was burning even after I got off the phone. I originally liked the phone because of the large icons.  Perhaps this is the reason for the generated heat?  I never had this problem with my Iphone.  This is a concern.  Has anyone else experienced this?

  • Emma924

    iphone 4 is the best, because you can transform it into a windows phone if you want!, can a windows phone do that vicecersa?

  • Avedis Magdesyan

    VERY TRUE!!!! I’ve had an iPhone and it died on me and never turned back on -____- MY WINDOWS PHONE 7 ROCKS!!!! Super Smooth super responsive and very VERYYYYY FUN TO USE! =)

  • Avedis Magdesyan

    Tell you the truth i agree Apple has a great app store but WP7 has just been released and is still a baby. i own one and day by day many great apps are released. This new Mango update coming out on WP7 this FALL will be an EPIC UPDATE!!!! I LOVE MY WP7 and have owned an iPhone 3G before and to be honest the Windows Phone 7 is WAY more better, much faster, never glitched on me before, and has a very fun and sleek interface. it may take a while to get used to the OS but as soon as you use it for 2 days you will fall in LOVE WITH IT! =) GUARANTEED 

  • Avedis Magdesyan

    Yes it can… LOL ive done it to my WP7 but i removed it cause it reminds me of my old CRAPPY iPhone 3GS

  • at1976

    i need help – i am a big user of a outlook exchange account and use not only email and calender but also, NOTES and TASKS. i am currently using a HTC Touch Diamond 2 which syncs all my data from my exchange to my phone and vice versa very well. however, all these new smartphones dont seem to have notes and tasks on the. 

    is there anyone out there who has overcome this issue? which of these phones have or have apps for them?

  • Andreas E. Dannert

    From what I know iPhone does it with one of the extra apps. like “Appigo ToDo”, which apparently syncs. tasks with Outlook. I haven’t used it myself, but some friends did and seemed to be happy with it. As far as notes syncing is concerned I believe from reading some posts that this can be achieved directly between an iPhone and Outlook. Hope this helps.

  • Sebastian Alston

    Windows 7 phone will take over iphone in the next 2 eyars. Trust em. Widnows company rocks and microsoft all the way. Apples things egt hacked by noobs like jailbreak and crapp.

  • Sebastian Alston

    haha. Liar cause u cant transform it dumbass. U cant use Office, Microsoft EXCEL OR XBOX Live. So iphone gets shit.

  • Harrydent6

    safe

  • Harrydent6

    Iphone 4 rocks dude

  • Harrydent6

    sebastion alston needs to calm right down

  • Harrydent6

    no it wont

  • Harrydent6

    idiot

  • Harrydent6

    sebastian’s bang out of order, needs to pipe down

  • Harrydent6

    you need to tone down pal, getting abit excited over the phones.

  • Harrydent6

    thats rich coming from you

  • Emily Andrews

    I agree that the Windows Phone looms impressive, I have an iPhone at the moment, but may actually consider getting a Windows phone next. I know they’re a bit behind with apps, but I think they’ll catch up soon enough. People have commented on their speed too. I am happy with the speed of my iPhone but apparently the Windows phone is better. They look so impressive too!

    I do think that the iPhone is going to have to watch out and maybe even up their game to keep all of their customers, as the Windows phone isn’t far behind.

    We wrote an article a week or so ago on these phones and their strengths and weaknesses, and I must admit, the Windows 7 came up on top with the iPhone coming a close 2nd. There are also reviews on the Android phone, which is also one to watch out for and the Blackberry. This may help people who are unsure of what phone to get next http://www.lucidica.com/blog/c… 

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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