Why I decided to move?
I am a tech-enthusiast and an Apple fanboy. Or at least I was an Apple fan boy until recently. On 26 September 2017, after 8 years and at least 4 generations of iPhone, I bid farewell to Apple and hello to Android. It was the end of an era. It was emotional saying goodbye to my iPhone 7 Plus and the comfort that comes with iOS, but I was excited to meet my brand new Samsung Note 8, with its S-Pen, wireless charging, phenomenal screen, and all the other bells and whistles that it boasted.
So what made me change after all those years?
The answer is that I expected more from Apple. And when they underwhelmed with the announcement of the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X, I decided it was time to hitch my wagon to a more superior technology. If Apple wanted to keep me handcuffed to their shiny devices, they would have to work for my love.
It was the end of a long road which saw me slowly becoming fed up with Apple. The software became buggy. I was getting tired of their proprietary ecosystem and even though I have combined kilometers worth of Lightening cables, I liked the idea of having one USB C cable for all my gadgets. And most importantly, I wanted technology that was cutting-edge and unfortunately Apple has started finishing in second place in the great tech race.
Making the change
I must admit, it was harder to swop over from iOS to Android than I expected. And I consider myself to be fairly tech-savvy. I had to move contacts from iCloud to Gmail; I had to find Android-equivalent apps of the native iOS apps (turns out Stitcher is a very worthwhile replacement for Apple’s podcast app); I had to learn about a whole new, and very different user experience; I had to figure out how to change all the settings and customisations to make my experience just right.
There are a lot of guides available to help others who are looking to follow a similar path, but when it comes to just getting used to the new OS – you just need to give it time. By the end of a week, I was getting comfortable with the new phone. I was proficient by week 2. After week 4, I consider myself an Android warrior.
So how does the new experience compare?
Where Android wins
I’ll start with a word of caution – it is difficult to learn how to configure your Android device to get you exactly what you want. But once you do it – oh boy. I’ve got themes and widgets and custom dialer and launchers and everything in between! It’s incredibly powerful.
Android is that hippy who runs around giving everyone free hugs. The whole system is open and apps talk to each other seamlessly. The sharing widget is also 1000% better than what iOS have to offer and I can send stuff from one app to another quicker than it takes the iPhone X to recognise your face.
There are some great UI touches that make Android really stand out. Want to go to your settings? Just swipe down from the top and long-press the settings icon. Changing WiFi networks is just as easy. Want to quickly dial a contact? Open your dailer app (I use Drupe) and start typing their name using the letters on the number keypad. It’s easy peasy and it just works.
After playing around with all the widgets available, I’ve settled on a calendar widget, a WhatsApp widget (to show my unread messages without me having to open the app), some quick-call widgets to dial favourite contacts from my home screen, and a variety of widgets to quickly add things to Todoist, Reminder, Samsung notes, and Evernote. These widgets are huge time-savers and I’ve become completely reliant on the super-fast workflows they unlock.
I chose the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 which comes with the S-Pen. Although I have landed up not using the pen as much as I expected to, its still a real game-changer when it comes to quickly jotting down a note. Want to write down a takeaway order quickly? Just take out the pen and start writing. It’s a lot quicker than opening up the notes app on the iPhone..
The edge-to-edge screen is also just wow and watching movies on the phone is a treat.
What I miss about iOS
Ease-of-use (yes, it works both ways).
iOS is simple. It’s easy to get around and intuitive. For example, taking a photo and then touching it up on iOS is a breeze. Doing the same on Android requires a mishmash of different apps and doesn’t flow as well.
It plays well with others.
The Apple ecosystem is a cosy place to be if you’re fully immersed in it. And I got some angry looks from my MacBook, my AirPods, my Apple TV, and my iPad when I introduced them to my new Samsung. Pushbullet works well to send texts and information from your MacBook to your phone, but its nowhere near as seamless as Apple’s native tech (like iMessage, universal clipboard, to name a few). The reality is that the iPhone has become an extension of a MacBook and it works like a bomb. To the same degree, AirPods work with Android but it’s not the same without the magical integration that they have with the iPhone.
Even though you can get 99% of iOS apps on Android these days, apps just look better on an Apple. They’re slicker and somehow more elegant and less rough-around-the-edges.
Would I go back to Apple?
Nearly 4 months in, I’m converted. Android is just so great for so many reasons and has become a big part of my tech ecosystem. So the big question I get now is- would I ever go back to Apple? Being a technology-obsessed, gadget enthusiast, I most definitely would reverse course but only if Apple give me something to make my mouth water. I want them to work for my hard-earned money and to show me why they’re superior. Yes, Android has many advantages but there is nothing that I wouldn’t be able to live without if Apple managed to entice me back. But alas, I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon, and so in the meantime, you can find me in the corner doodling away with my S-Pen on my Samsung.
Also published on Medium.