With Android, the simplistic description is Google makes the operating system, then gives it to the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). The OEM then builds the hardware, middleware, and add-ons. Then the telco gets involved with their own branding (AT&T Music, for one- does anybody actually use that?). Then the user is left with a handset with several stakeholders' hands on it. This often delivers a horrible experience.
I researched a bunch of Android phones, and talked to some people. One friend LOVES the Atrix line, but the Atrix HD (which was $1 on upgrade at Best Buy last week) had a weak battery and only 8 GB of storage.
At the moment, the top-of-the-line Android phone is the Samsung Galaxy S3.I also recently bought my wife an iPhone 4S. Her 3GS was dying. It didn't seem to want to wait for the iPhone 5.
She came up with an idea: use my upgrade to give her the Galaxy S3, and I can have her 4S.
I'm a nice guy. I did it.
So my impression is, so far, not bad. It's not the iPhone 5, but it's still a little better than the iPhone 4 at this point in time. When brand new, the iPhone 4 smoked! It was fast. Not anymore. Lately, it's been a chore to use. The 4S is faster, and more useful.
I complained a few weeks ago that iOS 6 should have been a 5.x upgrade. That was on the iPhone 4. On the 4S, it does perform better. At least, some of the new features were designed to work on it and not on the 4 (that old planned obsolescence again).
I've done a few tests. I've had Siri set some reminders for me. I also asked for directions. At church today, we had a visit from a small group member who left long before I joined the group. I was invited to Cheeseburger in Paradise. I asked Siri to give me directions to Cheeseburger in Paradise. She did, then launched the navigation feature, which got me there (yes, I knew where it was). I overshot on purpose, and it calculated and got me there. This feature was not available on the iPhone 4. If I get a car mount, I coulddecommission my 7 year old Magellan GPS.
And so, having replaced my iPhone 4 for a 4S, suddenly, the iPhone is fun again. Not sure how long that will last though. I'm afraid when the 5S (or whatever they call the .x upgrade to the iPhone 5 next year) comes out, the 4S will grind to a halt too. Apple is good at that.