My bio on Mr. Phone reads, “He is trying hard to convert all the team members into Apple fans but is facing a lot of resistance. Is anyone willing to help?” As a a matter of fact, not only did I fail in that pursuit…I, in fact, made a complete volte-face in my personal ideology.
Yes, I’ve switched to Android phone for good after using an iPhone for the past four years. And much to my surprise, I don’t regret even a single minute of that decision. Why does it matter if I switched to Android? Well, because I am the same person who wrote – I will never use an Android phone as my primary device – in 2017.
Evidently, 2018 has already been a great year for Android which is probably why I wholeheartedly embraced the ecosystem once again. Therefore, I’ve decided to chronicle my smartphone journey leading up to today. Why? Because it could help anyone trying to sift through the bevy of great smartphones at their disposal today.
Don’t forget that this is an experiential piece, and therefore, it might not necessarily answer specific questions like – should I buy the OnePlus 6 over the iPhone X? Is the price difference justified? Yada yada…
However, you might find a takeaway or two – in the sentences that follow – which could help you fix that perennial confusion: should I buy a flagship Android phone or an iPhone?
The past – Moto Razr and Nexus 4
Before I talk about my current scenario, let’s hit the rewind button. Don’t worry, I’ll try to keep this crisp and interesting. Let’s not forget that introspection of the past, can add different perspectives.
So, when I started working with PCWorld India in 2012 I gave my personal phone – the Nokia E5 – to my mother. Why? Because I was reviewing phones day in and day out. And ever since I started out I have a strict personal rule – use any review unit as a personal phone. And we are talking about the days when the Cloud Storage was still a buzzword only in the enterprise circles and hadn’t permeated into the consumer tech. Backing up and restoring phones wasn’t as simple back in 2012. Regardless, I did it.
However, due to unforeseen circumstances, PCWorld India’s online operation was shuttered prematurely and I had to buy a new phone. Around that time, the iPhone 4s was just announced. I had planned to buy it. In fact, my then colleague Nikhil Pradhan, was also in the same predicament and was considering the Moto Razr instead. Not the flip phone, but the one that had a qHD (540 x 960p) display and ran the then latest version of Android. I was intrigued because that phone was slim and sexy as hell. Then something weird happened when Nikhil purchased the iPhone 4s instead and I picked up the Moto Razr. And thus, started my first real Android experience.
Although, six months later, I sold my Razr and picked up the Nexus 4. I absolutely loved the Nexus 4. It was the first phone where I performed experiments galore. I had ample time back then. You know, before Themer by MyColorScreen existed as an app, I used to watch MyColorScreen’s YouTube videos and make those themes from scratch. Trust me, it wasn’t easy. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the video below to understand the number of steps involved to make your phone look completely unique.
But, that love story didn’t last long because my Nexus 4 dropped from a height of 2 feet and smashed to smithereens. And, that’s the only phone screen I’ve ever smashed. And, that’s when I picked up my first iPhone – the iPhone 5C. It’s been a love-love relationship with Apple since then. I replaced my 5C with the iPhone 6 soon after. In the interim, I also picked up an iPad mini, the iPad Air, a MacBook Air, the Apple TV, and a MacBook Pro after using the iPhone. That’s how enamoured I was with the whole ecosystem.
And, I finally used the iPhone 7 Plus as my primary phone, which served me well for a good year and a half until…May 2018.
The present – moving on from the iPhone 7 Plus to an Android phone
Like I said before, very recently, I took a conscious decision to move from my trusty iPhone 7 Plus to whichever Android smartphone comes to me for review. Why? Because, Android has started to mature beautifully. And now, it has reached a stage where I can confidently say that Android is the most advanced mobile operating system in the world. Obviously, there are still a few flaws in the system but a good chunk of it has been fixed. Let me break down my personal views on Android phones in general:
Stuff, I love about Android phones:
- Material design is absolutely well thought out and clean now. In fact, quite a few apps follow the material design now and they look outright stunning. My favourites are Google’s very own apps like the new News app and the Podcast app.
- The RAM management has improved and brands like the OnePlus are showcasing how Android, even with a fork, are showcasing how fast phones can actually get. In fact, I find the OnePlus 6’s performance to be blazing fast when compared directly with the iPhone X.
- Android phones like the Huawei P20 Pro, Google Pixel 2XL, Samsung Galaxy S9, and more are already showcasing how smartphone cameras are getting better by the day. I’ve done a ton of camera comparisons and honestly, the iPhone X lags in the photography department when compared to these phones.
- And for an audiophile like me, Android phones like the LG V30 and the Xiaomi Mi A1 come with enhanced audiophile-grade DACs. This definitely improves the audio performance by leaps and bounds.
- Dual SIM support. ‘Nuff said.
Stuff, I miss from an iPhone:
- Not one Android smartphone brand has managed to figure out how to do good haptic feedback. The iPhone’s Taptic Engine is literally unbeatable. I absolutely love the instant response while you touch the screen. It is gratifying.
- Say what you want about 3D Touch, I find it extremely useful. There is no looking back once you find out you can use 3D Touch to navigate to any part of the written text easily. It’s not only extremely handy, it is probably the most ingenious smartphone features of all time.
- Most games are better on the iOS thanks to Apple’s tight control over GPU. Even the roster is generally better. For example, Fortnite is still not on Android but you can play it on iOS. Also, iOS-exclusive games like Infinity Blade are so friggin good!
- I know Spotify lovers swear by the app, but I prefer Apple Music. Go, sue me. And Apple Music on Android is a horrendously coded piece of software.
- There is this new feature on iOS 12 that I love, which tells you how much Screen Time you have spent on a particular app. However, I am sure that Google will port it to Android soon.
Moving on, currently I am using a OnePlus 6 as my primary device and am absolutely loving the whole experience of using an Android phone once again. After playing around with Nova launcher, I settled on Evie Launcher. It is one of the coolest launchers available on the Play Store. And, it works for someone like me who is moving from iOS; because at the core of the Launcher is one of the most efficient Search functions I’ve ever used. Swipe down to search any app you want. It is pretty fast and responsive. I strongly believe that Google needs to make Search a core part of Android soon.
Also, I am absolutely loving the freedom that comes with home screen customisation. In fact, I have started a #project365 (of sorts) where I share my home screen customisations and icon packs on Twitter every day. And, if you are the sort who has time to spare then there are a truckload of custom ROMs at your disposal. Note that you can use a custom ROM provided your smartphone is running on a Snapdragon chipset and your boot-loader can be unlock.
P.S. My colleague Avtar swears by Lineage OS. And, that thing is loaded with customisation options. I mean you can even customise the way your battery percentage bar or your network bars look. In fact, if you change your phone you can even export your previous settings. It all just works so seamlessly.
The future – looks clear
There’s just so much to like about an Android phone that I doubt if I will move back to iOS. Moreover, if I can get a flagship-grade experience at less than half the price, there is really no compelling reason for me to get an iPhone. My only primary concern was stability, but phones like the OnePlus 6 and the Pixel 2XL are increasingly proving me wrong with stunning performance and reliability.
In fact, in my story where I praise iOS, I had openly challenged anyone to argue that Android phones can last more than two years. I have to take back my words now. That said, Apple still has the upper hand when it comes to timely software updates and extending support to old phones. Moreover, the adoption rate of iOS is also pretty high when compared directly with the latest versions of Android.
I am not rabble rousing here by saying that Android is better than iOS or vice versa. I am merely highlighting the fact that an iPhone is no longer the holy grail of smartphone performance. And, I am glad I found that out sooner than later. Peace out.
What do you guys think? Do let me know in the comments section below.