CNET to the Rescue: iPhone vs. Android!

This week, mobile phone guru Kent German tackles the gear question of the moment: iPhone or Android? Here's how to answer the question, for yourself and others.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
5 min read

This week, Kent German, CNET mobile phone guru, answers this vexing life question: iPhone or Android? We'll be talking about that for a bit before we get to your e-mailed, questions, many of which are related to the Epsilon breach we discussed last week with CNET reporter Elinor Mills.

If you have a tech question for CNET to the Rescue, e-mail rescue@cnet.com. No question is too basic, so if you've got a tech problem that's been getting under your skin, please call us and we'll try our best to help you out.

Watch this: CNET to the Rescue Ep. 42: iPhone vs. Android!


Episode 42: iPhone vs. Android

Road tests
Rafe's Synology DS411Slim: update, 8 weeks on: It's done making thumbnails! Everyone stop worrying.

Marantz SR-19 from 2001: Nothing lives forever.

Kent tests the Puma solarphone.

Today's topic: iPhone or Android?
Can you say one is better than the other, in general?

Discuss differences, benefits, trade-offs, etc.

What if you're new to smartphones?

Best carrier for smartphones?

Best Android phones on the major carriers?

What if you're on a budget?

Discuss call quality / antenna issues

Service and support

Listener Questions
Jimmy from Roseville, CA: My question is in regard to the security of the information on a Barnes & Noble Nook Color. I am just about ready to purchase the Nook, and I see myself using it mostly on public Wi-Fi hot spots. When using it I will be doing casual Internet surfing, Netflix streaming (whenever they finish their Android App), and, of course, watching the awesome BOL podcasts. Since none of this would require exchanging any sensitive information, should I be concerned about using the Nook Color on public hot spots?

You should always be concerned when you use a public hot spot, no matter the device. You can exchange sensitive information without realizing it, if, for example, your e-mail app polls for messages and is unencrypted. The other real threat is that you might *think* you're going to Netflix, or Twitter, but you're going to a password-harvesting site instead. You should get a certificate warning if you're using SSL security in those sites, but most people don't, and you can get scammed that way. That's why some banking sites now have two-way passwords--the site first shows you a recognition image before you type in your password.

Best bet: Use a portable hot spot like Overdrive or MiFi. That way, the mobile carrier controls the DNS.


Vanna Peck: I watched your episode about the Epsilon breach, and I would like to take some of the advice I heard about on the show. I did not quite understand what was said about making multiple accounts with the business' name in Gmail ... I would like to do whatever was recommended but I am a little confused as to how to do it.

You can use your standard Gmail address and a "plus sign" and your mail will still find you. For example: "rafe.needleman+target@gmail.com." Then you create a filter for "address+whatever" on GMail atSettings->Filters->Create New. You want the actions to be Apply New Label (which you can make up) and Archive or Skip inbox

Another idea is to use OtherInBox, which automatically filters e-mails based on standard commercial services.


I suspect my e-mail address got caught up in the breach at Epsilon. Is there some way that I can bounce their spam mail back to the sender so as to fill up their "Inbox" and force them to remove me from their list or group of e-mail addresses? I've heard of this being done, but haven't found out how. If you know of a good way to handle this, I would appreciate it.

It's not worth it. Their inbox is not like your inbox. There's no one watching it. The e-mails aren't even taking up disk space and causing an inconvenience. Retaliation like that won't work. You'll have to dig deeper. Or move on with life (recommended).


Rudy in Singapore: You were talking about the Epsilon breach and were also talking about LastPass earlier in the episode. What if LastPass is breached?! Just like what happened to Lifehacker and its larger network. Now not only do you have to change ALL your passwords STAT, but you may not even know the passwords to certain sites if you generate them using LastPass! Please tell all users not to use LastPass for important Web sites like banks, etc. (unless I'm wrong).

Fortunately, that's not how LastPass works. Your main password is not stored on their servers, and your site passwords are heavily encrypted. I don't believe it is a perfect system, but it has passed muster by security wonks, and is more secure than alternatives.


Lou: Since all of the ISP's are capping data now, I was wondering if connecting your computer to a networked hard drive or using the airplay feature in Apple products uses data. I figured since everything is locally stored, it shouldn't. But since it's all connected to my router and sometimes asks for IP addresses, I just wanted to make sure. If it eats data, that would definitely suck.

It would suck, but don't worry about it. Only traffic that actually makes it out of your home counts against caps. By the way, if the IP addresses you're talking about start with 192.168... then you're only talking about local traffic. 192.168.whatever.whatever is "home," or your local network.


T C: I was hoping to get your advice on a purchase we plan to make this week. My husband and I are trying to decide between the Cisco-Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Simultaneous Dual-Band Wireless-N Router and the Netgear N750 450 Mbps Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router WNDR4000. Which of these routers would you recommend?

We are not gamers, but we do have lots of devices in our home including a Roku. We're currently using a Linksys WRT400N, and we have experienced a lot of reloading when we stream using the Roku.

Dong No says: I would recommend the E4200 or any of the true dual-band in the Linksys E series (e3000, e3200). (the E4200 and E3000 have been reviewed). They are much better than the WRT400 and also come with very good QoS engine. Users might need to know how to configure the QoS though, they have to use the Web-interface and so on. Hopefully however, there won't be a need for that as so far the streaming seems to work fine with the new Es.


Mark from Toronto: In last week's show you were asking for a good MP3 Tagger, best one I've found is MP3 Tag Scanner... you've actually got it on download.cnet.com. This thing does just about everything, including the ability to embed artwork, and lyrics. Windows only, though.


John M. Campbell: Just wanted to submit a tip about the headphone wire. Generally, when I have my little earbuds in a nice neat ring, I will grab the little bead/knot thingie where the two bud lines are joined to the main line, letting the rest of the wires drop down. If done right, most of the time, it will untangle themselves.