Consumer Reports, an influential U.S. monthly magazine, has reviewed Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, and is impressed with both handsets but concludes that Motorola’s new Droid handsets and some other Android smartphones are better than Apple’s latest offerings in terms of screen size and battery backup.
According to Consumer Reports, the iPhone 5s clearly beats its predecessor with the new Touch ID fingerprint scanner, a faster processor and an enhanced camera, while the less pricey iPhone 5c “is a compelling offering for budget-minded buyers” -- a remark that contradicts most tech enthusiasts, who were disappointed with the iPhone 5c’s “not-so-cheap” price point.
The report said that both handsets have longer talk times and benefit from the redesigned iOS 7, which allows Siri access to more apps than before while also allowing access to a new Control Center feature with a swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
Consumer Reports, which is published by Consumer Union since 1936, also praised the iPhone 5s’ Touch ID, stating that the feature worked well during tests and “was a heck of lot easier than typing a PIN or password.” The phone’s 8-megapixel camera with a digital image stabilizer also made an impact on the magazine.
On the iPhone 5c, the report said that many people would like the device’s plastic and its “eye-catching colors,” despite the fact that the phone’s “capabilities are more closely aligned with the iPhone 5, and it's a half-ounce heavier and about 15 percent thicker.”
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Still, the report ranked Motorola’s Droid Maxx, Ultra and Mini, and other smartphones from Samsung (KRX:005935), LG (KRX:066570), and HTC (TPE:2498) above the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c because of their larger displays and superior battery life.
“Yet, battery life was still notably shorter than on other phones in our tests, including three of the latest Droids from Motorola, which ran for as long as 24 hours,” Consumer Reports said. “Also, their small screens, while sharp and bright, can't beat the larger, sharper displays that adorn flagship models from Samsung, LG, and HTC.”
According to the report, Droid Maxx’s 3,500mAH battery enabled the device to deliver more than 24 hours of talk time on a single charge in one of their tests, while both Droid Ultra and Mini also offered impressive battery backup while packing many of the Maxx’s features into a thinner case.
Many Android smartphone manufacturers have increased the screen size of their flagship devices, bringing them closer to the “phablet” segment, while Apple continues to stick to smaller displays, citing convenience for one-handed operation of the iPhone.
However, the company increased the length of its handset’s screen with the iPhone 5 last year, and rumors now suggest that an even bigger iPhone could be launched some time in 2014.