Not with the man; with the machine. Before the launch, Apple had already amassed a cult following. And sure enough, the iPhone became one of those revolutionary products that changed everything. Ten years I followed every product launch, every WWDC, every slice of rumor of the next phone.
Switching to Android was pretty much unthinkable. Sure, I flirted with the thought of going Android when my third iPhone in two years failed. But I felt too insecure to walk the final step to the other side. What about my apps? What about my photos? What about my Mac? What about my friends? What about iCloud? What about contacts, iMessages, emails, AirDrop? The list felt overwhelming.
The great switch didn’t materialize until eleven years after that first iPhone unlocked in my hand in 2007. I had heard great things about this Android universe. And finally, when my iPhone X stopped working at the same time as my car broke down on the high way I made a pledge.
Good bye iPhone, hello Android.
Five weeks into the Android universe I’ve made some reflections. Just to dim the cliffhanger, I’m not dramatically partial in any way. I decided to split my review in to pros and cons- and it’s meant to appeal the average smartphone user with no particular technical knowledge. For the record- I went from an iPhone X to a Samsung S9+.
The actual switch is super easy. I was very pleasantly surprised when I unboxed my brand new Samsung S9+ and found that there was a tiny adapter included that would allow me to simply connect my Samsung to my iPhone and it would automatically let me transfer every photo, contact, message, note and app from my iPhone to my Android. It was incredible simple and didn’t take much longer than two hours.
You’re welcomed straight into a new family. One of my fears of leaving iPhone, was stepping down from the iCloud. Fortunately I was heavily engaged in the Google ecosystem and Android phones are generally optimized for Google. It seemed like every app I opened had already synced with my Google apps and didn’t require a single password before everything just magically worked.
The phone makes you look better. I suspect the camera on the Samsung S9+ optimizes its colors for maximum youthfulness, but nevertheless the phone photos seems to make you look better than you do in person. It also has a slew of various kinds of photos you can take, including focus photos (where you get the depth quality) and AR images that let you create your own AR emoji. The selfie feature also lets you take selfies just by raising your hand- no need to press the button.
It’s just… smooth. I found iOS a bit annoying. So many barriers, constantly asking for passwords and logging me out of apps. The Android lets you download anything without nagging for a password, and rarely asks for authentication more than once- to unlock the phone.
Personalization heaven. As opposed to the iPhone where everything is standardized and looks the same for anyone, Android allows you to personalize your phone down to the last detail. I’m a bit of a techie and love to test new features. Some people may find these endless personalization possibilities overwhelming, but they are not a requirement to get the phone to work. Even my apps have a special gold skin that I downloaded from the Google Play store, and I never get tired of organizing my phone to optimize productivity.
It’s not Apple… Apple is famous for its unique ability to build community and a brand users love. One may feel a sense of community and belonging when you own an Apple product. It sends a message that you’re modern, affluent and stylish. Not to say my new phone isn’t stylish, but comparing the attention attracted to my new Samsung to the mass of comments I got when I showed up with the iPhone X, is pretty much zero.
You’re no longer in the know. If the majority of your friends have an iPhone, prepare to feel slightly left out at first. You can’t share images super fast using Airdrop, group texts happen without you in iMessage (do they even realise you are no longer there?) and your beloved shared albums in iCloud live on with nothing but a faint memory of your previous activity. I found it an important task to notify all my friends that they needed to reach me via Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp from now on, and made sure to take plenty of photos during events so that they would have to join my album on Google Photos if they wanted to see them.
It’s not as intuitive. iPhone is famously easy to use. Even my parents got it immediately. To be honest I don’t dare imagine my parents with my new phone. Partly because they’re so used to the iPhone that anything new would be frustrating, but mostly because the Samsung requires more practice to get in the optimal flow. Everything is not as intuitive, yet it feels smarter in many ways once you get used to it.
It doesn’t sync with your mac. If you have a mac, like I do, the experience is not as seamless. I find myself having to send photos and notes via email, which on my previous iPhone would magically appear on my mac. I also miss text messaging via my MacBook.
Biometrics don’t really work. The Samsung S9+has face-id, fingerprint id and even iris-id. But I’m sorry to say that it seems to fail at biometric authentication more often than not, requiring me to input old-school pin-id every time I unlock it. Compared to the spectacular iPhone X face-id ability, this one feels like a joke.
In conclusion, I’m happy to have made the switch. Partially because I feel less trapped in the Apple ecosystem, because no one likes to feel trapped.
Not saying I would never rejoin iOS if their new iPhone proves worth it, but I am honestly quite thrilled to learn a new operating system and explore new smartphone avenues. I guess my biggest realization is that the switch is just not that dramatic after all. If you feel like trying something new, go for it!