What is good technology — You bought which smartphone?

Play nice, guys...
Play nice, guys…

I have enjoyed my MacBook Pro. It’s been an excellent computer and has lived up to my expectations. So when I needed a smartphone, the choice was obvious. I got a Samsung Galaxy S3.

But don’t Samsung and Apple get along as well as Democrats and Republicans and work together just as effectively? Here’s why I chose the Galaxy over the iPhone. (And no “Fandroid versus iSheep” trolling, please.)

I admit this was mostly an economic decision. My carrier offered a USD 200 rebate on the Galaxy and let me pay the rest off in interest-free installments of USD 20 per month for 20 months. I could get an iPhone 5 with my plan, but I’d have to get an unlocked one for USD 649. After holiday shopping and replacing some appliances, that was more than I was able to spend.

Money wasn’t the only consideration, though.

I went with the Samsung for the same reason I went with the MacBook Pro: the hardware. The Galaxy S3 has a larger and wider screen than the iPhone 5, something my aging fingers and eyesight appreciate.

I also like the ability to replace the battery and add an SD card to the Galaxy. The option to upgrade or replace components was why I went with an older MacBook Pro instead of waiting for the retina model where everything seems to be soldered in.

One thing I disliked about my old Samsung slider phone was that the touchscreen was unresponsive. Samsung seemed to get its act together with the Galaxy. The touchscreen is responsive and sensitive.

A nice surprise with the Galaxy is that it accepted the same wall and car chargers that I used with my old slider phone. Had I gone with the iPhone 5, it wouldn’t have used my old cables. I would also have to get an adapter to charge it with my old iHome clock/radio.

Although the Galaxy is a great deal and a good phone, I was concerned about my ability to exchange data with my Mac. You can’t beat pairing a Mac and an iPhone with iTunes and iCloud. Samsung provides a program called Kies that can sync data between a Mac or PC and the Galaxy. Kies transferred over all of my music and kept most of the track information (except for cover art hosted on iTunes.) It didn’t do as well transferring calendar data and contacts. It grabbed information from my Mac, Facebook, and my iPod Touch, and it wound up duplicating information on my phone. After I cleaned up my data, I moved my calendar data to Google. It now syncs nicely on both my phone and my Mac.

(So, Samsung and Mac do pair as well as Democrats and Republicans. Unlike Democrats and Republicans, the Samsung and Mac actually get stuff done.)

Samsung provides Dropbox. You start off with 2 GB, but if you sign up for various bonuses and promotions, you can bump it to 50 GB for free. What I like about Dropbox over iCloud is that I can sync lots of different files with it and view data easily on my phone, my Mac, and from a browser on any computer. When I took a photo with my Galaxy, it showed up instantly on my Mac with Dropbox.

The Galaxy comes with Android 4.1, but it’s hard to tell which sugary treat is installed because it has been heavily Samsungized. I don’t mind as a user because a number of the Samsung apps are more useful than the Android originals. There is a voice control system called S Voice that works just as well as Siri. I can get lots of Android apps from Google Play and Amazon, including most of the iOS apps I used on my iPod Touch.

I know people who can argue for hours over the pros and cons of iOS and Android. I’m not one of those people. As long as the operating system works with a minimum of trouble, I’m fine with it.

A downside of the Galaxy S3 is that it is harder to find cases for it. With an iPhone, you can find cases everywhere, even Dollar Tree. I had to order mine from Samsung, but I got a nice one with a flip cover. And you need a case for the Galaxy S3 because it is very slippery to hold. (Cell phone makers, can’t you make a phone that doesn’t easily slip from your hands? Do you really make that much on phones replaced because of damage?)

Overall, I’m happy with my Samsung Galaxy S3. It works well as a phone, runs the apps I need, and (mostly) exchanges data with my Mac. The Galaxy does what I need without much fuss, which is my criteria for good technology.

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