Android and iOS have different features. We explain how they’re different, here.
Android vs iOS vs Windows Phone 8
One of the most fundamental questions faced in choosing a new mobile phone is to consider which Operating System is right for you. Until recently, the decision for almost everyone came down to Android ( that’s Google’s handheld device Operating System ) vs iOS ( that’s Apple’s mobile device Operating System. ) Then Windows Phone 8 was released at the end of 2012. Windows Phone 8 added another layer of choice and, for some, confusion, in to the process.
This article is designed to provide you with the pros and cons of each of the 3 major Operating Systems. Your final choice is always going to be a deeply personal one. Our goal is to make it a little easier for you to choose the right one for you.
Where you can get the cheapest deals on your Android or iOS phones
As you will know if you have read our other articles, we believe buying your phone outright and adding a SIM to it is by far the cheapest way to go about running your Android or iOS phone.
Best SIM Only Plans March 2018
Boost Mobile | Best Prepaid Data Rates On The Full Telstra Network
Prepaid | 28 day expiry | On The Telstra Mobile Network 3G+4G
Boost Mobile are a reliable brand. They are the only phone company other than Telstra to resell the full Telstra ‘Retail’ Network. With Boost you’ll get:
- The full Telstra Mobile Network
Other phone companies resell part of the Telstra Mobile Network. Only Boost and Telstra plans allow you access the whole thing.
- Free streamed audio:
Data free streaming of Apple Music (requires subscription) on top of the data included in your plan.
- A range that includes 7 day and 28 day plans:
Boost offer a selection of plans including 7 and 28 day variants.
- Recharge options from $10 to $50:
Boost have a total of 5 recharge options for their prepaid plans, ranging between $10 and $50.
Boost Mobile Plans For Your Mobile
- Boost $10 Prepaid Recharge = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 1GB of 4G data.
- Boost $10 Starter SIM = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 1GB of 4G data.
- Boost $30 Starter SIM = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 8GB data (4GB + 4GB Bonus on your first two recharges).
- Boost $20 Prepaid Recharge = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 1GB of 4G data.
- Boost $40 Starter SIM = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 16GB data (8GB + 8GB bonus on first two recharges).
- Boost $30 Prepaid Recharge = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 8GB data (4GB + 4GB bonus on first two recharges).
- Boost $40 Prepaid Recharge = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 16GB data (8GB + 8GB Bonus on first two recharges).
- Boost $50 Prepaid Recharge = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 24GB Data (12GB + 12GB Bonus on first two recharges).
All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. You can learn more about this company in our Boost Mobile review.
Belong Mobile | Fairest For Data
Postpaid | Month to Month agreement | On The Telstra Mobile Network 3G+4G
Belong sell access to the Telstra Mobile Network. They have a simple to understand plan structure with options on data, national ($5 extra) and international calls ($5 extra.) Belong also offer the fairest treatment of data that any phone company in Australia have. a ‘data vault’ feature. Whatever data you buy, is yours, forever. It just keeps rolling over until you use it or leave them.
With Belong, you’ll get:
- Data Vault:
All Belong’s Mobile plans come with ‘data vault’. When you buy your data, it just keeps rolling over until you decide to use it or leave them!
- $5 National Calls:
Belong’s price plans are data first. If you want to add Unlimited Australian National calls, it’ll cost you $5 a month, on top of the price of your data.
- $10 International Calls:
And if you want to make Unlimited International Calls (to 10 selected destinations – or to 23 selected countries’ landlines) just add $10.
Belong Plans For Your Mobile
- Belong Mobile $25 = 15GB of 4G data (5GB plus 10GB welcome gift).
- Belong Mobile $40 =45GB of 4G data (15GB plus 30GB welcome gift).
- Belong Mobile $30 = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 15GB of 4G data (5GB plus 10GB welcome gift).
- Belong Mobile $35 = Unlimited national calls & SMS + 15GB of 4G data (5GB plus 10GB welcome gift) with international calls & SMS to selected countries.
- Belong Mobile $45 = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 40GB of 4G data (15GB plus 30GB welcome gift).
- Belong Mobile $50 = Unlimited National Calls & SMS + 45GB of 4G data (15GB plus 30GB welcome gift) with international calls & SMS to selected countries.
All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. You can learn more about this company in our Belong Mobile review.
Strong, Simple Plans & A Well Known Brand
Amaysim plans can be bought either Prepaid or Postpaid On The Optus Mobile Network 3G+4G
Amaysim are the 4th biggest phone company in Australia with over 1m customers. They consistently have one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry and have a plan range which you can buy as either prepaid (28 day expiry) or postpaid – just select the option you want in their checkout. With Amaysim, you’ll get:
- Strong plan range:
Amaysim have a range starting at $10 per month and rising to $50 per month. Data inclusions are up there with the best available and, with Amaysim, things are nice and simple. You’re just buying voice calls, SMS and data. There are no optional extras.
- New International Inclusions:
Any plan you buy, starting at $30 per month will now include free International Calls to 12 destinations.
- Great Customer Experience:
Amaysim are consistently one of the best performing phone companies when it comes to customer satisfaction.
Amaysim’s plan range:
- Amaysim Unlimited $10 = Unlimited standard national talk and text + 1GB data.
- Amaysim Unlimited $20 = Unlimited standard national talk and text + 2.5GB data.
- Amaysim Unlimited $30 = Unlimited standard national talk and text + 5GB data.
- Amaysim Unlimited $40 = Unlimited standard national talk and text + 15GB data.
- Amaysim Unlimited $50 = Unlimited standard national talk and text + 20GB data.
- Amaysim As You Go $10 = 15c per min voice, 15c per SMS and 15.4c per MB data.
You can find out more about this company in our Amaysim review.
OVO Mobile – Free Video & Radio Content
Prepaid | 30 day expiry | On the Full Optus 3G and 4G Network
OVO’s offer a totally new way of looking at a phone company – they’re one of our best selling partners. Their plans are, pretty much on a par for data inclusions with the best in the industry. In addition to talk time, SMS and data, OVO’s plans include exclusive access to exclusive video content. All of OVO’s plans come with ‘OVO Play’ an app which lets you watch their free content on your plan. With OVO, you’ll get:
- Free Video Content – Motorsport, Sailing, Gymnastics & Water Polo :
OVO offer a growing list of free video and audio content. Motorsport fans might like the 400 Thunder Professional Drag Racing Series, Australian GT, Formula Drift and other petrol head live streaming. OVO Play also includes other sports like sailing and gymnastics. The price of the content is included in the monthly line rental charge you pay OVO for your prepaid plan. So, importantly: You won’t see your data balance decline while you’re watching them, the streamed content is free.
- Free Streamed Audio:
OVO’s plans also offer FREE radio streaming, also included in your plan offers access to the Tripple M network and other selected stations.
- OVO for Kids:
OVO’s plans come with the offer of free access to Parental Lock software. Buy your child the $9.95 plan from OVO and you’ll be able to monitor what they access on their phone and set times for it to turn off and turn on it’s own connection to the internet.
OVO Plans for your mobile
Picking an OVO plan is simple. All of OVO’s plans include Unlimited talk and SMS in Australia to Australian numbers plus superfast 4G data.
- $9.95 Unlimited = $200 standard calling and unlimited SMS / MMS + 1GB of 4G data.
- $19.95 Unlimited = $500 standard calling and unlimited SMS / MMS + 2GB of 4G data.
- $29.95 Unlimited = Unlimited national Talk and Text in Oz + 5GB of 4G data.
- $34.95 Unlimited = Unlimited national Talk and Text in Oz + 10GB of 4G data.
- $49.95 Unlimited = Unlimited national Talk and Text in Oz + 19GB of 4G data.
You can learn more about them and their unique content in our OVO review.
Kogan Mobile – Best Value on the Vodafone Network
Prepaid | 30 day expiry | On the Full Vodafone 3G and 4G Network
Kogan Mobile keep it simple. They have some of the most competitive SIM Only / Prepaid plans in Australia, on the much improved Vodafone network. With their multi month recharge options, Kogan add some genuine value and choice to the market.
With Kogan, you’ll get
- Monthly, quarterly or annual options : Do you want a single recharge payment with a 1, 3 or 12 month validity ? With Kogan, you’ll get discounts for multi-month purchases you were going to make anyway. They add the convenience of less frequent running out / topping up. And they keep the total predictability and flexibility of prepaid.
Kogan’s 30 day plan range :
Kogan’s 30 day plans all have Unlimited talk and SMS in Australia to Australian numbers. The difference is the amount of data which is included.
- Kogan EXTRA LARGE $49.9 – 30 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 23GB of data.
- Kogan LARGE $36.9 – 30 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 32GB of data (16GB + 16GB bonus).
- Kogan MEDIUM $29.9 – 30 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 6GB of data
- Kogan SMALL $16.9 – 30 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 2GB of data
- Kogan SMALL $46.90 – 90 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 2GB of data.
- Kogan MEDIUM $79.90 – 90 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 6GB of data.
- Kogan LARGE $99.90 – 90 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 16GB of data
- Kogan EXTRA LARGE $139.90 – 90 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 23GB of data
- Kogan SMALL $179.90 – 365 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 2GB of data
- Kogan MEDIUM $299.90 – 365 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 6GB of data
- Kogan LARGE $399.90 – 365 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 16GB of data
- Kogan EXTRA LARGE $529.90 – 365 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 23GB of data
All talk time and SMS for use in Australia to Australian numbers. All data is for use in Australia. See all Kogan Plans including 90 day and 365 day plans. You can find out more about this company in our Kogan Mobile review.
Great Value Data & Best For International Calls
Prepaid | 30 day expiry | On the Full Vodafone 3G and 4G Network
If you’re after an unlimited plan with incredible data inclusions, or you make calls overseas, in our view, you need look no further than Lebara. Lebara use the much improved Vodafone 3G + 4G network which covers more than 96% of Australians. With Lebara, you’ll get :
- Big Data on the Vodafone 3G + 4G network:
Lebara’s plans include enough data for even the most ravenous data eaters.
- Broad Range Including Plans With International Calls:
Lebara have Unlimited International Call plans at $29.90 and $49.90 price points. Lebara’s cheaper international call rates cover all the major destinations including : UK, USA, Greece, China, Canada, Germany, Denmark, France, South Korea and Switzerland. (Inclusions vary, see our review.)
Lebara have 30 day plans, 180 day plans and 360 day plans. Buy up-front and save.
Lebara’s prepaid plan range:
- Lebara Extra Small Plan $14.90 = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 2GB of data.
- Lebara Mini Mega Plan $24.9 = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz + 2GB of data.
- Lebara National Plan $29.9 = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited standard call to 12 selected countries + 15GB of data first month (5GB + 10GB bonus).
- Lebara Mega Plan $39.9 = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited standard calls to 12 selected countries + 26GB of data (10GB + 16GB bonus).
- Lebara Unlimited Plan $49.9 = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited standard calls to 50 selected countries + 35GB of data ((15GB + 5GB recharge bonus) plus 15GB activation bonus).
- Lebara National Plan $160 – 180 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited standard calls to 12 selected countries + 5GB of data.
- Lebara Mega Plan $225 – 180 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited standard calls to 15 selected countries + 16GB of data.
- Lebara National Plan $300 – 360 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited standard calls to 12 selected countries + 5GB of data.
- Lebara Mega Plan $420 – 360 Days = Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz with unlimited standard calls to 15 selected countries + 16GB of data.
You can find out more about this company in our full Lebara Review.
And if you’d like to know more about why we recommend a SIM Only deal for your Android or Apple phone, check out our article on how to save 30% on your phone bills.
A quick summary of the differences between the major Operating Systems
Before we get in to the detail, here’s a quick summary.
- Android :
Available on a wide range of device sizes, weights and from a broad array of manufacturers. Android offers flexibility, personalisation and a super slick tie in with Google’s services like Gmail or Google Plus. Perhaps best of all, Android offers Widgets – which we tell you about below. If you’re the person who sets up the family TV when it arrives, Android might be best for you.
- Apple’s iOS :
Simple, reliable and consistent across Apple’s range of products including iPads, Apple’s IOS is familiar to almost everyone. You’ll find compatible accessories everywhere you go, if you choose it. If you’re new to ‘smart’ mobile phones or already have some Apple products in your home, Apple’s iOS just could be right for you.
- Windows Phone 8 :
Underrated, simple, stable, both personalisable and innovative, Windows Phone 8 is only let down by the number of apps which are available for it. If you love Nokia phones, have a family or run your own corporate IT team, Windows Phone 8 could be your ideal OS.
Android / Apple iOS / Windows Phone 8 Homepages
The image below is what you’ll see most often if you choose ( in order ) Android / iOS / Windows Phone 8.
The homepages of the different handset options you have.
1. The Android Homepage – This one has the HTC Sense User Interface Overlay
2. The iOS Homepage – Classic Icon Griid
3. The WIndows Phone 8 Homepage – Tiles are updated with behind the scenes info
The 3 most populat phone Operating Systems have been compared, below, on their key attributes :
- Range of devices
- and, ultimately, the sort of user they are likely to appeal to.
Of course, the other key aspect of a mobile phone Operating system is the apps available on it. This is covered briefly, below. However, it’s so important, we’ve considered app stores independently, too, in this article : Android vs IOS vs Windows Phone 8 App Stores.
Android is the world’s most popular mobile operating system platform and it’s my personal favorite.
Pros of Android :
- Available on a large range of devices.
Android ships on a broad selection of handsets. Android mobiles vary in value from $100 to $600. Android is available on everything from tiny devices like the Samsung Galaxy Ace, to enormous phones including the largest ( in the mobile category, anyway ) mobile available right now, the Samsung Galaxy S4. A wide range of devices means you are more likely to find an Android that fits your size, weight, cost needs.
Android is the most flexible Operating System of the three we’ve considered. Want to hack your own phone and configure it to whistle on a Friday ? No worries. Want to use a different keyboard or typing method ? It’s possible. Android takes some time to set up but if you’re prepared to invest it, Android can adapted, almost endlessly, to do exactly what you want it to. Personalisation allows you to set the device up according to your needs. Mobiles can be an expression of the sort of person you are and personalisation helps you paint that picture exactly as you’d like.
- Google services experience is slick.
Apps which tie in with Google’s online services have been integrated well in to Android. Google maps, Chrome, Gmail and Google Plus’ mobile experience are all incredibly mature and well integrated in to the Android OS. If you are already using many of Google’s web products then you should consider this a serious plus point.
- Android has Widgets.
Widgets are part web page, part application, widgets expose information from the internet live on your handset. If you’re not familiar with this idea, it may be hard to get your head around. Imagine a weather widget on your device home-screen. Every time you look at your phone, it will show you the weather forecast for the next 24 hours. You don’t have to open an app, you don’t have to open a browser and search, it’s just always there. The Widget capability is a useful feature you’ll only find on Android. We’re all hooked on information and Widgets make the information you want easier to find.
Here’s how Android looks and feels.
1. Personalised HTC Android with Weather Widget
2. HTC have a ‘Sense’ User Interface – inconsistent with other Androids
3. A Music Widget – music straight from homepage – no ‘app’ opened
Best SIM Only <$30
- $200 standard calling and unlimited SMS in Oz
- Month to month
- Free Delivery! Set your own Data Limit.
- Optus 3G + 4G Plus
- Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz
- Recharge every 30 days.
- Free delivery!
- Vodafone 4G
- Unlimited standard calls and SMS in Oz
- Month to month
- Australian customer service and support.
- Optus 3G + 4G Plus
- Unlimited standard national talk and text
- Month to month
- Free delivery!
- Optus 4G Plus
- Unlimited National Calls & SMS
- 5GB + 10GB welcome gift
- Month to month
- Welcome gift of 10GB data. All plans come with data vault. You keep all your unused data, forever!
- Parts of Telstra 3G/4G network
Cons of Android
The cons of Android are the other side of the flexibility / configurability coin.
- Android is not about Simplicity.
All that configurability comes at a price. It might take you a while to learn how to get the most out of the Android platform. Android appeals particularly to geeks ( like me ), early adopters and people with a bit of experience using modern ( smart ) mobile phones. Android is not the simplest platform to pick up and use from the 3 we’ve compared.
- Android does not have the best Reliability.
I can only talk from my personal experience of Android. I suffer more freezes and call drop outs on Android that I do Windows or IOS. It doesn’t happen every day or every call but I’ll get a crash once a week at least. If you’re going for Android, be prepared to expect the same.
Android products might appeal to the more technically capable, people prepared to invest in considering their product, who like a particular device form factor and / or who already uses a lot of Google’s online product suite.
iOS is the Apple Operating System.
Pros of iOS
- Simplicity is Apple’s strength.
One of Apple’s slogan is ‘It Just Works.’ For the vast majority of situations, that’s true of the Apple Mobile Operating System. If this is your first ( smart ) mobile phone or if you find it hard working with computers in general then Apple is more likely to be your sort of device. It’s easy to navigate iOS and it’s hard to imagine you don’t already have at least some experience of Apple’s Operating System on at least one platform, be that an iPad, iPod, Mackbook etc.. If you do, you’re halfway there before you start and many don’t have the time or the patience to learn something new.
- Apple offers Consistency across apps and platforms.
The experience on Apple devices and in the apps is far more consistent than on other platforms. Apple’s guidelines for those submitting apps, in this area improve the usability of the iPhone itself and how it and apps integrate in to other elements of the Apple infrastructure.
- It’s hard to fault Apple’s reliability.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a call drop out on a call made from an iPhone. Apps have to be checked with Apple before they’re put in to the iTunes store so conflicts and accidental shutdowns are even rarer than on Android products.
- There are a lot of accessories available.
There is a fantastic array of accessories available for Apple mobile phones. From Bose sound systems to remote controlled helicopters you can fly using your iPhone 5 touchscreen, don’t under estimate the power of having so many users all on one platform, in stimulating hardware manufacturers to develop an iSomething which ‘Works with iPhone.’ More accessories can make your iPhone more useful to you and more integrated with your life.
Here’s how iOS looks and feels.
1. The iOS Homepage has icons, no widgets and limited personalisation
2. iOS is more reliable. Simple tasks are done well – here, browsing
3. iOS is simple. You’ll be able to pick it up and use it immediately.
Cons of iOS
- Device range is limited.
Unless you want an older iPhone 4S instead of a newer one, range of Apple iPhones is not as broad as those available to people prepared to consider the other two Operating Systems. There’s no mini version of the iPhone, there’s no phablet variant, there’s no cheap offering. Colour options are limited – except when it comes to the iPhone 5c.
- Apple devices have apps but no tiles or Widgets.
The range of apps available in the iTunes store is great. But they’re just apps. And if you’ve experienced Widgets or even the Windows Tiles then you’re likely to feel you’re taking a step backwards going to iOS. That said, the apps which are available for Apple tend to be more mature than their equivalents on the Android or Windows Platforms.
- Apple products are not that personalisable.
You can change the homepage screen and put a picture of your kids on it. And you can give people their own ringtone when they call you but that’s about it.
- Price. iPhones are expensive.
You’ll be lucky to get away with a contract less than $50 per month for any kind of iPhone.
Apple products can appeal to people new to smart mobile phones, who love the Apple brand and have experience of it and who know how useful apps can be.
Windows Phone 8
The Windows Phone 8 mobile Operating System falls somewhere between Android and Apple. It’s not nearly as popular, especially now. However, the platform is gaining momentum. It has some features you won’t find in either Android or iOS. Windows 8 is a credible product and, in the opinion of Whatphone, you could do a lot worse than consider it.
Pros of Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone 8 is clear, simple, slick, looks modern and is holistically considered. The interface feels well put together and mature.
Like Apple’s iOS, I’ve never had a dropped call or a crashed app.
The homepage can be configured with Tiles. Somewhere between an app and a Widget, tiles expose some information from ‘behind the scenes’ – whether that’s pictures from your device shown in a tile on the homepage or your latest Facebook post. You can change the colour of every screen component in settings.
- Innovative software features.
Windows Phone 8 has a few new features which neither Android vs iOS have managed to imbed. A kids area can be configured in the settings of Windows Phone 8. Swipe left from the homepage ( once set up ) and you’ll see an area where children can play safely. Put whatever apps you want to in there, from drawing to angry birds. There’s a shared ‘Family’ facility where parents and their children can all have access to notes ( for shopping lists, for example ), pictures they’ve all taken and a calendar. Android and iOS have been in market for some time. Windows Phone 8 developers have come up with genuinely useful capabilities. It’s to their credit and if these sound useful to you, why not take a look at a Windows Phone 8 product.
Range of devices is neither a Pro or a Con at this stage for Windows 8 devices. There are only a small number of products in the Australian market but it’s growing all the time.
The Windows Phone 8 range is already larger than Apple’s portfolio. It should also be mentioned that each of these products is styled in a unique way with a variety of full body colours. There is more flexibility in pricing options too. Not all Windows Phone 8 devices are at the top end of the pricing bracket.
Additionally, some Windows 8 products have other innovative features, this time related to the hardware they provide. A good example is wireless charging.
Here’s how Windows Mobile looks and feels.
1. Tiles expose info on home screen – e.g. Last Facebook post and favorite pictures
2. Windows Phone 8 devices have Microsoft Office apps installed
3. Children’s corner – innovative features for the family
Cons of Windows Phone 8
- Apps. There is not nearly the range of apps available for Windows Phone 8.
Of the dozen or so applications I install as default on iOS or Android products I’m testing, less than half were available in the Windows 8 store. Over time, this is likely to get better. One of the core elements of the Windows 8 platform is that apps can be developed for the desktop and then easily transferred to the mobile platform. There are 75,000 apps a year being developed for Windows Phone 8 so, before long, the most common apps will be dealt with. Importantly, every Windows Phone 8 device comes with Microsoft Office.
Windows Phone 8 might appeal to business people, those who put family first and everyone who wants to keep it simple.
Summing up the handheld OS comparison
What used to be Android vs iOS is now Android vs iOS vs Windows Phone 8. As with all these things, OS is a very personal choice. However, there are clear differences between them. Apple’s the safe bet. Android is for people who like to play with their phone settings to get it exactly the way they want. Windows Phone 8 falls somewhere in between.
Some parting thoughts designed to make you feel a bit more reassured about this : This is probably not a decision to worry about. There is no bad choice here. As you can see from the above, each one has its strengths and weaknesses. One of the funny things about operating systems is that, the first time you use it, you complain it’s hard. Then you get so used to whatever you have that you can’t stand to leave it. Rest assured, in a few months post buying your phone, you’ll feel that way about whichever one you choose.
This Month’s Hot Offers
See all SIM Only plans
If you need another network, for example you’re after an unlimited plan with Telstra coverage, or you live in a city and you’re happy with Vodafone, you might like to check our SIM Only Comparison page and compare all the plans ( including every one mentioned on this page. )COMPARE ALL SIM ONLY PLANS