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My last Symbian phone was the Nokia N73, and that was about 9 years ago. That phone had an amazing rear camera back then (3.15 MP Carl Zeiss lens), a decent display and Symbian OS (S60). It was a good phone. No, it was a great phone.
It did everything and more, and I remember one of my friends, who also owned it, saying, he felt like ‘the world fit into the palm of his hand’ – and I agreed.
Fast forward a couple years later and the device which seemingly brought the world to us, is outdated, obsolete and almost forgotten.
BlackBerry was a strong contender, and is still in the race, somewhat. I recently gave BB a try when I went ahead with the BlackBerry Q10, and it was a pleasant experience.
Today however, we all have to largely choose between iOS and Android. The two giants in the smartphone arena. While I have, until now, been on the Android ship, today I am going to share my experience with iOS, after I finally gave into trying it.
Why I finally tried the iPhone (and why I didn’t do it sooner)
Firstly, I want to share what made me try the iPhone. The phone itself was never new to me, I had seen it on friends and family over the years. I just wasn’t willing to give it a go.
I think a lot of it had to do with my pride and how I was someone who was used to building his own PC rigs, rooting all his Android phones and flashing them every now and then. How could I possibly get an iPhone? Everyone used to say they are for ‘sheep’ – mindless, gullible people who will buy anything an evil corporation (Apple) will sell them.
So for years, I steered clear of the ‘iPhone’. Until, I got myself a MacBook Pro. I was on the lookout for a new laptop recently because my younger brother hijacked my Dell 7537 Ultrabook. I found a MacBook for a great deal and just thought ‘hey, everyone says they are great, let’s try’.
Suffice to say, they had me at the Retina Display. Man did I love the Retina Display (don’t think I am ever going back). And while it may seem shallow, but I did love the MacBook for its body. It was exquisitely made – the aluminum was pure class (and considerably better than the one on my Dell 7537), the construction was solid and OS X was snappy. Without turning this into a MacBook Pro review, I’ll just say I loved it.
After about two months of using the MacBook, I felt like the iPhone deserves a try too. After all, if the company made such a great notebook, the phone can’t be much worse, right?
First Impressions with the iPhone 6 Plus
After some research, some bargain-hunting and a lot of deliberation, I decided to go for an iPhone 6 Plus. I had briefly tried it in the store, but I went ahead and took the leap so I can get over with the whole ‘been there, done that’ thing.
To be honest, while I loved the phone’s body, the same aluminum feel, the solid construction and the brilliant (but not AMOLED – AMOLED screens rock) display – I was a little underwhelmed with the software side.
There were no widgets? No customizable homescreens? That was surely a step backwards right? So, all I can see is basically the app drawer…forever. I was not happy.
How about some apps? Okay, the App Store is decent yes, but I feel like there are less free apps here than the Play Store, or maybe I am being biased?
Thank God they have SwiftKey – I love SwiftKey for the swiping typing feature. But hey, SwiftKey on iOS is not really the same SwiftKey I was familiar with on Android – it feels restricted and plus all the amazing keyboard themes here are paid.
That’s me thinking, ‘not cool. So what’s all the fuss about? There are no themes, no launchers, no widgets, almost no customization, less free apps (seemingly) – so what do people do with iPhones?’.
But since I had gotten it, I wanted to use it to give it a fair shot at impressing me. After I got over my complaints about customization, I started looking into the features that were available. The fingerprint sensor was a good one, the setup was easy and it worked almost perfectly. You can even lock a few apps with touch ID.
The display, particularly on the iPhone 6 Plus, is HD, so that’s good. But these are all hardware features and did not justify or make the iPhone better than any Android phone with similar features.
Regardless, these were my impressions on the first day. I then gave the phone more time, and now, it’s been over a month. And, my opinion has, somewhat changed.
My experience after switching to iPhone for 30 days
Before I go ahead, I want everyone to know that this is merely my opinion (so, no flaming. Please) of the iPhone and iOS after a month of using it.
And if I may say so, I feel that iOS is a more ‘pragmatic’ operating system compared to Android. Now, a lot of people may disagree with me. But I am not saying that iOS is better. I feel it’s just a more pragmatic OS.
In summary, over the last 30 days, I’ve realized that it ‘just works’ every time, every single time. While my Android phones, even top-end ones, have let me down on occasion with a freeze here or a crash there – my iPhone is yet to do that. I haven’t had to reboot the phone more than once or twice, and that too due to some network issues.
The RAM on this device is just 1 GB, but it is at par with high-end Android phones running on 3 GB RAM chips. It’s fast, it’s snappy and it just gets things done. Making calls, texting, using WhatsApp, Viber or Skype – it’s all pretty simple and most importantly, reliable.
The battery life (at least on my 6+) is very good and the multi-tasking is also very decent. I have never had to forcefully close any apps (while I have had to do that on Android, even with 2 GB phones and Quad-core processors) and games work almost flawlessly.
A lot of practical things that I’ve come to depend on recently are all working on iOS, such as privacy controls, in-app notification banners, lock screen notification management, cloud storage and backup, calendar and email syncing – it all works out of the box and like I said, works reliably.
Over the past month, I’ve come to appreciate the efficiency iOS offers. There are no distractions, and while this particular thing also translates into ‘limitations and restrictions’, the truth is that the iPhone does all the things I need it to do.
On the bonus side, I loved the camera on the phone. Pictures come out really nice, but most importantly, starting the camera app is very snappy and the viewfinder is very responsive. Taking pictures comes very naturally to the iPhone it feels.
Finally, the iPhone’s integration with the MacBook is also very useful. Features like hand-off allow you to switch between both devices while you use apps like the Chrome browser. You can also take your phone calls on your Mac as long as both devices are connected to a network and syncing photos and music between devices is also a breeze.
I also appreciate AirDrop, which lets you transfer files between your Mac and iPhone in seconds.
All in all, I can say that while Android has been and will be, my first-love, iOS or the iPhone, is more practical, less distracting and just gets the job done. On the plus side, it does all this in style and comes with the added ‘bragging rights’ part, which never hurt anybody.
However, I realize and agree that the Apple ecosystem is a closed one, and you will need to have a Mac and an iPhone to make your laptop and your phone play nice. The same is the case with wearables, as most of the Android Wear watches do not work with iOS (but that’s changing with the new version of Android Wear) and you’ll have to resort to the Apple Watch to take advantage of all the possibilities.
In the end, I will re-iterate, that this is not a post about whether iOS is better than Android, or Android beats iOS – this is a post about my personal experience switching to iOS and how I feel the iPhone and the iOS take a more practical, utilitarian approach to communication.
Broadly speaking everything that Android phones do can be done on iOS and everything an iPhone does can be done on Android phones – in the end it’s a matter of personal preferences, and I for one, am beginning to prefer the iPhone as a communication device that has the added bonus of being ‘smart’.
I am however going to continue evaluating the experience and sharing it with you guys. Meanwhile, I’ve ordered the Apple Watch (which is btw on sale now), so I’ll post an update when I’ve had the chance to use it.
Till then, please feel free to share your thoughts on all this by commenting below. What do you guys think? If you use Android, would you ever be willing to try an iPhone?