Smartphone OS showdown: Android vs. iPhone OS, Windows Mobile vs. BlackBerry OS and more

iPhone OS, Google Android, BlackBerry OS, Symbian or Windows Mobile: Which smartphone operating system is right for you?

Are you sure you really want an iPhone?

Are you sure you really want an iPhone?

Symbian Series 60

Available on: A wide range of Nokia smartphones and some handsets from Samsung and Sony Ericsson

Current version: 9.4 (UI: S60 5th Edition)

Symbian is the most popular smartphone OS in the world and S60 is the user interface on most Symbian-powered smartphones, including the Nokia N97, Sony Ericsson Satio and the Samsung HD Icon. Now owned by Nokia, Symbian was originally a closed OS but it is now in the process of being open sourced. Smartphones running the Symbian OS are capable of multitasking and are compatible with Flash. Since the emergence of the iPhone and Google's Android many have criticised Symbian due to its steep learning curve and dated user interface. Symbian has a large developer community and a wide range of apps are available, but it doesn't have a central application store.

Strengths: Large developer community, compatible with Flash, multitasking

Weaknesses: UI not as polished as alternatives, often requires a steep learning curve to use, no central app store, the interface on touch-screen Symbian phones isn't as intuitive as competitors

Get it if: You like the interface of Nokia phones and you want the ability to customise and tweak your device

Avoid it if: You want a simple and hassle-free user experience, or you want a user-friendly touch-screen smartphone

Windows Mobile

Available on: A wide range of HTC, Samsung. Sony Ericsson, LG and Motorola smartphones

Current version: 6.5

Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system was originally designed to provide a PC-like experience on your smartphone. The advantages of a Windows phone include mobile versions of Microsoft Office applications (Word, PowerPoint and Excel) and tight integration with the Outlook e-mail client. A wide range of other applications are available, including many business-focussed apps. However, Windows Mobile handsets have been plagued with outdated and unintuitive user interfaces and have often been criticised for being slow. The latest version, Windows Mobile 6.5, provides an intuitive home screen and a newly designed Start menu, but still lags behind most of the alternatives when it comes to usability. Manufacturers like Samsung, with the Omnia Icon and HTC, with the Touch Diamond2, have resorted to creating their own UI skins that sit on top of the Windows Mobile interface in order to provide a more intuitive user experience.

Strengths: Integration with Microsoft Outlook and Exchange, wide range of apps available

Weaknesses: Not as responsive, intuitive or user-friendly as the alternatives

Get it if: If you would like a Windows-style interface on your mobile phone and if you want seamless integration with Outlook

Avoid it if: You want a hassle-free user experience, you want an intuitive menu system and you prefer to not use a stylus

Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MotorolalgsymbianiPhoneAndroidWindows Mobile 6.5iphone 3gRIM BlackBerryWindows MobileApplesamsunghtcmobile phonessmartphonesNokiaGoogle Android

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?