Outsmarting the iPhone

FRESNO, Calif.

There has been plenty of buzz about Apple's new iPhone 4S, and Consumer Reports testers say it turns out to be a great phone. The 4S is faster than the iPhone 4, and the upgraded camera takes better pictures. The voice-activated personal assistant, Siri, also works well, and it even has a sense of humor. When you ask, "Siri, what is the meaning of life?" It replies, "I can't answer that now, but give me some time to write a very long play in which nothing happens."

Consumer Reports says there is another aspect of the iPhone that's a real selling point: compatibility. If you own another Apple device, such as an iPad or a Mac computer, getting pictures, video, and music from one device to another is a breeze.

But Consumer Reports says there are plenty of other smart phones out there that perform just as well, or even better, than the 4S. For example, several phones weigh less than the 4S and have a bigger display, including the Samsung Galaxy S II. A bigger screen is great for Web browsing and video.

Another important consideration is speed. Many of the Android phones use the 4G network and are faster than the iPhone, so content downloads are quicker and videos play more smoothly.

Among Verizon smart phones, Consumer Reports gives its top rating to the Motorola Droid Bionic. For Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T, the Samsung Galaxy S II topped the ratings.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.

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