Need help choosing a smartphone or tablet? Head to Versus IO

This clever site compares a huge selection of models head-to-head, giving you the reasons you should choose one over another.

Trying to decide between, say, the hot new Samsung Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 4S? How about the Amazon Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7 tablets?

Sure, PC World's reviews can help tremendously, but sometimes it's nice to see a blow-by-blow comparison between the exact models you've narrowed down.

For that, head to Versus IO. This handy site lets you compare two mobile phones or tablets side-by-side, giving you not only an overview of their features, but also explanations as to what those features' advantages are.

Let's use the aforementioned S3-vs.-4S as an example. When you type in the names of those two models and click Go, you'll immediately see images of the two phones side by side -- a great way to see just how much difference there is between 4.8-inch and 3.5-inch screens. (Answer: huge difference.)

Versus IO also tells you how many reasons there are in favor of one model over the other. For example, the Galaxy S3 has 19 points in its "Pro" column, versus just 10 for the iPhone.

Scroll down and you'll see those reasons spelled out in impressively plain English. Under the Connectivity section for the S3, the description notes that it has an HDMI output, versus "no" on the iPhone, and explains why you'd care: "Video and movies can be watched on a TV with HDMI input."

On the flipside, the iPhone offers "Direct OS updates by OS vendor," which is important because "It can be updated directly by the OS vendor, so no need to wait until the manufacturer or network provider releases an update."

I think these kind of real-world explanations can be especially helpful to novice shoppers, who may not appreciate the differences between, say, a 40nm and 45nm processor.

Versus IO has more phones than tablets (the Barnes & Noble Nook series was nowhere to be found), and not every aspect of every device is factored in. Just because a phone has a bigger battery, for example, doesn't mean it has better battery life. And the site doesn't take pricing or carriers into account.

Still, for those who like to not only compare specs but also learn more about them, Versus IO is a great place to visit.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.com, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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Rick Broida

PC World (US online)
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