By Matt Suppelsa

With the holidays around the corner, many teens have a new smartphone on their wish lists. The two biggest phone releases since September are the Droid Bionic (Sept. 8) and the iPhone 4S (Oct. 14).

Now that we’ve had enough time to check out both devices, we took a side-by-side look so you know which phone is right for you.

Each device has its strengths, and both have some common features, such as an 8-megapixel camera shooting 1080p HD video.

The iPhone 4S’ operating system, the iOS 5, is easy to understand and use for even the least tech-savvy user. The 4S’ camera snaps photos quicker than previous iPhones and boasts an image stabilizer—a feature that allows for face detection and better white balance adjustment, and is particularly useful to those who make videos because it automatically reduces shakiness.

Another standout feature is the superior screen quality using a Retina display, which has the “highest-resolution screen ever,” according to Apple.

The Bionic’s standout feature is its use of Verizon’s 4G network, which offers speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G.

The Bionic runs on Google’s Android Gingerbread operating platform. Android’s strong point is its level of customization and freedom. Android is open source, meaning its source code is released to the public and can be used by many more app developers, which could give Android users many more app choices in the future.

Also, Android phones can run Adobe’s Flash player, which allows users to view Flash content on websites, play online Flash games and stream Flash video.
The iPhone, on the other hand, doesn’t support Flash. The only workaround is purchasing an app that converts flash to HTML5, and some reviews say the workaround isn’t good enough yet.

iPhone 4s
Price with a two-year contract and memory: $199-$399 depending on internal storage (8, 16 or 32GB)
Carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint
Size: 4.5 x 2.3 x 0.4 inches
Operating system: iOS5
Networks: The 4S is capable of 4G on AT&T’s GSM network, but only 3G on Verizon and Sprint’s CDMA networks. You can only browse the web and talk at the same time on AT&T.
Processor: Apple A5 dual-core processor
Camera: 8 megapixel rear camera; VGA front camera
Talk time: 8 hours
Apps: The App Store has more than 333,000 apps, of which more than 121,000 are free

Droid Bionic
Price with a two-year contract and memory: $299.99 with 16GB of internal memory and a 16GB external memory card. An external card of up to 32GB can be susbstituted.
Carriers: Verizon
Size: 5 x 2.6 x 0.4 inches
Operating system: Android Gingerbread
Networks: Verizon’s CDMA 4G LTE network
Processor: Dual-core processor
Camera: 8 megapixel rear camera; VGA P2P front camera
Talk time: 10 hours, 35 minutes
Apps: The Android Market has more than 206,000 apps, of which more than 134,000 are free

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About The Mash

The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free every other Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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