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iPhone OK, but Android a better bet?

  • iPhone 4S is a good choice, but Android phones may be better
  • Either one, don't dive into a contract just to get the phone!
iPhone OK, but Android a better bet?

Ed. note: Alexandra Thomas is a producer for HLN Money Expert Clark Howard.

The results are in and it’s official: iPhone 4S owners have been cleared by the ultimate consumer watchdog (besides Clark, of course) to sit back and enjoy their new gadget. Consumer Reports says upgrades from the original iPhone 4 make the newest Apple smartphone worth it, and they’ve given it the green light.

However -- and this may come as a shock to Apple followers -- the newest bells and whistles just weren’t enough for the 4S to outscore some of the latest and greatest Androids on the market.

First, a few things for the Apple enthusiasts. Consumer Reports does recommend the newest iPhone, after it performed very well in the magazine’s latest round of smartphone testing. Signal strength? Not a problem! The new 4S isn’t having the same reception problems as the iPhone 4, which was the only factor keeping that phone off the “recommended” list. Battery life in the 4S is also not a problem. 

Apple announced last week that some glitches in the latest iPhone operating system, iOS 5, are affecting battery life in some devices. The company plans to work it all out with a software update in a few weeks.

Although the two look almost identical, enhancements on the 4S did give it higher overall rankings than the now old-school version. So what’s the difference? An upgraded camera, faster “dual-core” processor and Siri, the voice-activated feature that basically becomes your closest friend when she accepts and responds to verbal commands like sending your friend a text or reminding you of an errand.

But all those features still weren’t enough to beat out a group of Android-based phones, according to Consumer Reports’ latest ratings. So who came out on top? The Samsung Galaxy S II and the Motorola Droid Bionic. For the most part, those that outdid the iPhone 4S have bigger screens and run on faster 4G networks.

In the end, no matter what kind of phone you’re into, make sure you don’t handcuff yourself to a contract just to get it. Clark says prepaid cell phone plans are, without a doubt, a better deal for your wallet. New deals are beginning to pop up for the holidays, so check out what’s available for that smartphone you feel you’ve just got to have!

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