9 Apr 2015

Why I moved to an iPhone from Android

My first smartphone was an android phone. The first phone I got which wasn’t a hand-me-down was an android phone. The first phone I saved up for and bought was an android phone. Android introduced me to the world of tech, to the wondrous world of rooting, ROMming and the incredible XDA forums. Being known as someone with a major predilection for android, I surprised most of my friends when I told them that I had, a few weeks ago, switched to the iPhone 6. And now, after these few weeks of use, I do admit something that a year ago I wouldn't have said even if my life depended on it: The iPhone is better than most, if not all, android phones.

Back in March 2013, when I got my first respectable android phone, the Nexus 4, I despised the iPhone. I saw the iPhone 5 as the epitome of business exploitation. Exorbitant prices, specifications that were mostly along the lines of current android flagships, if not worse and a cagey OS with no customizability and ridiculous restrictions. And iTunes was (and still is, to be frank) a joke. Granted, its DAC put android phones to shame and in my eyes, it looked better than any other smartphone. That didn't make up for the other shortfalls though. I remember vehemently arguing against the iPhone 5S when it came out, convincing my dad to hang on to his failing Galaxy S2. My mom merely gave me a grin as I berated the iPhone franchise and ridiculed her aging iPhone 4. I told myself I would abhor iPhones and anything else that Apple made that ran iOS.

Two years later, what changed? Not much. I still believe Android is exponentially more powerful than iOS, has much greater potential and, after Lollipop, is more of a looker than iOS is.

Why switch to iPhone then? Two words: Consistency and Ecosystem.

Yes, the Galaxies and HTC Ones have more RAM. Yes, the Note 4 has twice as many megapixels (16 MP) in the primary camera. I’ll admit the “Retina” resolution of 750 × 1334 sounds pathetic against an LG G3’s 2K (QHD) screen. A fingerprint scanner and an aluminum body aren’t all that salient anymore. Sony’s Z phones can withstand dips, while the iPhone can’t.

Knowing all this, I would still recommend an iPhone over any other phone today. Coming from someone who was, till a few months ago a borderline fanboy for Android, that’s saying something.

The first thing that struck me after using the iPhone for a few days was how rewarding it was to be invested in Apple’s ecosystem. The iPhone and my Macbook sync so well, it seems like a given. Continuity, Handoff and everything else that had me excited for Yosemite make the iPhone and Macbook combination much more than just a sum of parts. Airdrop and Airplay live up to the hype. Assignments I work on in the bus on the iPhone sync with the Mac as soon as I connect to the school’s WiFi. Tabs I open on the Mac in school I can read on the iPhone, on the bus home. Backing up Photos on a computer aren't an issue anymore. Not that Android can’t compete: Chrome OS and Android supposedly feature similar integration, but Chrome OS doesn’t really cut it.

I don’t intend this as a damning statement, but the iPhone has worked better for me than any Android phone I’ve used. It doesn’t do as much as a Galaxy or a Note, but what it does do, it does perfectly. This and the consistency with which it works sets it apart from Android. If there’s one thing that’s set every iPhone apart from the Android flagships of its time, it’s how well it works. The Galaxy S6 has a truckload of features (gimmicks?), Sony’s Xperia Z3 boasts waterproofing and the LG G3 has some pretty slick camera tricks and knock on, putting the iPhone 6 seem austere in comparison. Every Android flagship puts the iPhone to shame on paper, with numerous processor cores, twice, sometimes thrice, as much RAM as the iPhone and much denser screens. But none of these seem to hold a candle to the iPhone in terms of everyday user experience and longevity.
In my experience at least, the iPhone 6 has just worked so much better than Android. I haven’t had to deal with abysmal battery life (Nexus 4 and 5), tons of rubbish gimmicks (Note 3), Touchwiz, which cannot seem to fix its issue of giving crazy lag after just a few months of use, and lots more. The Note 3 had a much larger battery, but for whatever reason the iPhone lasts just as long, if not longer. The Note 3 (13MP) and Nexus 4 (8MP) had better cameras on paper, but don’t even come within a one mile radius of the iPhone’s picture quality and its ability to take good shots 8 out of 10 times. I will admit that I prefer the Note’s (over)saturated AMOLED screen, but the iPhone’s IPS LCD is pretty darn good too. And Apple’s DAC makes the Note sound laughable.

I could go on about this, but I’ve also got to recognize Android’s merits over iOS. I really do miss the customizability and openness of Android. I miss the crazy power that it had at times, like rooting and ROMming and even Samsung’s S Note features. Perhaps the HTC One M9 would be the closest competitor to the iPhone from the Android world. I love HTC’s design for the One series, Sense 7 is beautiful most times, if not all, and it’s the only one with audio capabilities rivaling iPhones.

Maybe in a world where IB didn't take up all my time, I would've still stuck with Android. But at this point in my life, I’ve got a dedicated gaming system (PS4) and a Mac for productivity and Designing, leaving me with very few demands from my smartphone. The only prerequisite is that whatever it does, it should be able to do it perfectly, consistently. And at this moment, I don't see anything apart from an iPhone fulfilling my needs.

Maybe in a few years, when it’s time for an upgrade, I’ll buy the latest Nexus or One or hopefully a project Ara device and wait for the waves of nostalgia from years of android use to come crashing back.

(This article is comprised entirely of the author’s opinions and points of view. Your mileage is likely to vary, so please refrain from taking offense eat any statement made.)

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