Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Switching from iOS to Android: Pros and Cons

I have been using the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge from September 7th to December 6th, 2016, and Samsung Galaxy S7 from November 6th to today, December 27th; so I have been enmeshed exclusively in the Android ecosystem for the past three and a half months.

I believe three months is the minimum amount of time that it takes to become enmeshed in an operating system and really get a feel for its ins and outs. Anyone who has switched OS's for only a few weeks and claims they know what it's like has not really understood the intricacies of a given ecosystem and is therefore not more qualified to make any sort of judgement than someone who has never used it before.

Why I decided to try Android

  • I was interested in finding out firsthand what the other side was talking about. Are the two os's really comparable and are just a preference, or is one really better than the other. Most people bashing the other side have never actually tried the other OS, so their opinion is limited.
  • Apple is frustratingly limiting and stubborn. For example, Apple doesn't support flash because of Steve Job’s grudge over Adobe’s refusal to make Photoshop for a Mac early on. It kept 16gb as a base model until 2016. The iOS calendar app did not allow the scheduling of repeating events until 2014, a bug Apple took over a year to fix.
  • Apple restricts Google access to a lot of essential features, like contacts in maps and adding calendar dates from gmail.
  • I felt entrapped in Apple's ecosystem. Apple wants to dictate to all users what apps to use use and how to use them. with iCloud bullying me to buy more space, iCloud photos and iTunes not working consistently or lacking features. Apple maps being an annoyance because it doesn't have stars, and navigation doesn't support one-handed use or zooming out while en-route. Mail has limitations. Not a fan of scaling.
  • Apple’s simplicity is at the same time liberating and constraining. I do like the Apple Notes and Calendar apps, among other features.

Other considerations:
Although most Android phones are cheaper than iPhones, and there is a great variety of them to choose from, these factors were not issues for me, as Samsung flagships ($670 for S7 and $780 for S7 Edge) cost about the same as the latest iPhones ($650 for iPhone 7 and $770 for iPhone 7 Plus).

The Pros (reasons Samsung Galaxy S7 is better than an iPhone):

  1. Dedicated back button
  2. Weather widget
  3. Google products: maps is better: your timeliness and start driving options. Shows where you're facing. Can search by contacts within maps. Google photos sync right away and shows the progress real-time. On Apple, you have to sync photos to Google manually by opening the app and keeping the app open for the duration of time it takes all the photos to sync.
  4. Keyboard: Numbers show on keyboard,
  5. Camera: faster (" - Quick access to camera. The double tap to open is so missed. I literally have missed photos due to how slow and cumbersome iOS is.")
  6. Ability to capture screen plus scrolling
  7. Allows flash
  8. Pop up message icons
  9. Charges fast
  10. Smaller top and bottom bezel make the phone smaller.
  11. Can toggle between continuous input/cursor control in the keyboard settings.
  12. Can access the clipboard from the keyboard with the last 20 copied texts and screenshots.
  13. Headphones: tangle-free flat cord
  14. Widgets and screen customization.
  15. Splitscreen
  16. Can charge without turning on
  17. Battery lasts about 12 hours
  18. Expandable memory. The cost of MicroSD is way cheaper than what Apple charges for storage upgrades. 256gb Micro SD for $65 vs $200 for Apple.
  19. Smaller form factor. Much smaller top and bottom bezels.
  20. View an app in pop up view.
  21. Long charging cord
  22. Ability to set default apps, like chrome (won't open in maps on Facebook or yelp). Can set default apps, for example, can use Google or Facebook messenger to send and receive phone texts.
  23. Messenger app has scheduled texts to send at a later time and day.
  24. No badge app icons. Notifications on top left.
  25. Google Now, slide left and see flights, arriving packages, weather, events, news, time to home, where I parked
  26. iOS Calendar app much better
  27. No badge app icons
  28. When pressing home button from app carousel, it gos to home screen, not the previous app.
  29. Can create shortcuts to start map directions. App drawer. Can have duplicate app shortcuts in different folders.
  30. Estimated time until charged is shown
  31. Indicator light notifies me about any new messages without turning on phone.
  32. When phone dies, you have a few seconds before the call is disconnected to say your battery died.
  33. The OLED 5.1" screen on the S7 is absolutely beautiful. And the size is perfect. The whole phone's design is very elegant and a pleasure to hold when not using a case.

The Contras (reasons Samsung Galaxy S7 is worse than iPhone):

  1. Samsung has a non-reversible power adapter.
  2. Apps don't rearrange automatically and empty home screens (with no apps) don't disappear automatically.
  3. Fingerprint sensor is not as good, doesn't cover the whole finger.
  4. No facetime.
  5. Takes 2 seconds to take a screenshot, but the screenshot has more functionality.
  6. No 3D Touch.
  7. Setting up notifications (no badge app icons) settings, text to speech, even emoji keyboard is very complicated.
  8. Have to hold and drag to select text (no magnifying glass), instead of tapping. Hard to select text and control the cursor location; with 3D touch, you can just press hard on the keyboard and move the cursor freely and accurately, on Android you can control the cursor with the Google Keyboard’s space bar, but it’s not easy to use. No magnification of text, so can't see where you're pressing.
  9. Sometimes accidentally press the back or recent buttons when trying to press something close to the bottom of the screen.
  10. The S7 Edge requires multiple taps to get the back/save buttons, and when grabbing from a car holder it inadvertently touches the screen. Easy to accidentally press the Back/Recent buttons when grabbing phone, which is especially inconvenient when traveling with Google Maps, because pressing the Back key exits navigation mode.
  11. No "undo" or "redo text" keys. Backspace button on the pre-installed keyboard deletes way too fast when you press and hold. Inputting+ is a somewhat clumsy workaround for undo.
  12. Can't copy/paste text in the messenger chatheads.
  13. No touch-top-bar to go-to-top of a page
  14. Can't go back to the call screen readily by clicking the green call screen at the top. Have to pull down the menu and then click on the call rectangle.
  15. Keyboard doesn't automatically switch back to letters after pressing a symbol, such as an apostrophe.
  16. Samung’s native calendar app: does not retain compact format when switching between portrait and landscape and back.
  17. Google Calendar: cannot edit which calendar an event is associated with (but can on Samsung calendar)
  18. Speaker is very small and easy to cover inadvertently.
  19. Can't share location natively or within messenger.
  20. In Messenger, impossible to take landscape photo with one hand.
  21. Camera scratched easily
  22. Changing sound (even with headphones) on changes only the ringtone volume instead of media volume unless something is playing.
  23. Can't share location natively
  24. Can't speak selected text
  25. Occasional lag and stutter
  26. Apple Music is laggy
  27. Volume buttons change ring volume instead of media volume unless media is playing. They also make an audible beep.
  28. There is a high volume warning that pops up every time I try to to turn the volume up beyond a certain point.
  29. Can’t read text easily. No swipe down with two fingers to read an article.
  30. Apple music takes too long to start up and crashes upon startup
  31. It's slow. The unlocking and opening apps stutters.
  32. Settings are hard to find and are too complicated.
  33. Annoying Samsung pre-installed apps. Competing Samsung pay and Android pay. AT&T/carrier apps. Other apps. Apple has only one ecosystem - one Apple Pay, one Siri - which work smoothly.
  34. No "reader view" available in Chrome (same in iOS's Chrome). There is a beta reader view feature in Chrome, but it needs to be enabled manually, and there is a pop up that asks whether you'd like to switch to reader view on every new page. Safari just has an option in the search bar that is easily activated.
  35. Lags sometimes when waking up, takes five seconds after home button press to turn on. Although Apple sometimes has its glitches, it's overall much more reliable than a Samsung.
  36. Separate downloads folder.
  37. Hard to navigate settings. Usually need to search google for something simple like changing a default app. Whereas on an iPhone, it is usually intuitive to find the needed setting by going to the setting app.
  38. Screen sometimes shuts off when swiping down instead of opening menu.
  39. No scroll-to-top when tapping the status bar.
  40. Can't slide right to go back, inconvenient when using left hand, since the back button in on the right.
  41. Lots of bloatware from both Samsung and AT&T (if not unlocked)
  42. The settings are hard to navigate. For example, changing default app requires going to settings, finding the current default app, and clearing it as the default app, and then performing that fast and selecting a new default app. Also, finding IMEI number is not intuitive. Need to google most things.
  43. No Fitbit Android support for MobileTrack. Meaning I can't use my phone to track steps if I forget to put on my Fitbit tracker, like you can on an iPhone 5s or later.
  44. Cannot use and sync notes easily. Google docs is much harder to use than the Apple notes app.

The biggest reason why I ended I switching back to Apple is its simplicity and reliability. All the settings - although not as exhaustive as those of Android - are simpler and intuitive to navigate. And the phone stays reliably fast for longer - upwards of a year versus only a few months on a Samsung. There is no noticeable sluggishness when unlocking the phone or opening apps, and apps are run smoother on an iPhone.