You been using this iOS 7 thing? Needs a few more hours in the oven, am I right?
As an owner of every iPhone model since its inception, iOS 7 doesn’t really make me think it’s the end of Apple(!), but it does make me peek over the fence to see how that new Android 4.4 is doing.
I compared my relationship with iOS 7 recently to having a fight with your girlfriend and then heading to the bar to find an ex ready to buy you drinks. The ex in this scenario is a Nexus 5 running KitKat, obviously. Oh boy, why not stay for at least one? Just to relax and see how things are? Ha ha oh god.
I was able to get my grubby mits on a Nexus 5 and decided to give things a go. I added my work email onto the phone(Exchange!), downloaded Instagram, Vine, Twitter, Dropbox, VSCO, and all that good stuff. I use my phone mainly for heavy email, Twitter, Instagram, photo editing, and the ultimate lock-in, iMessage. Oh gosh, iMessage. Who knew until now how deep your neon claws were sunk into my body?
First things first, that screen is huge! Just looking at my iPhone 5 after holding the Nexus 5 made me feel sorry for the poor thing. It makes the current iPhone size feel like a child’s toy. In extended use it actually even made me want to use my iPad mini less and less, but I’ll get into that horrifying thought later.
I love the Google app on my iPhone as well, and welcomed seeing its integration into the OS of this phone. However, seeing the Google Now cards design blown up on such a big screen was kind of lame. The cards feeljust right on a smaller iPhone screen, and seem really silly on a large screen. It was like laying out flash cards in front of me all day long. Maybe it’s better on a Nexus 4.
I was really excited to see the notifications on a Google device as well. Boy was I in for the opposite of a treat! Apparently Android does not have native notification for when your phone is locked. On an iPhone, if your phone gets pinged while locked you can at least see a little blurb about what the heck the message is. On Android, you need to scroll down the Notification Tray to see what you missed. It may not SEEM like a lot of work, but in practice, it can be a pain. I ended up adding a third party notification tool meant to mimic the Moto X which helped, but still didn’t solve things 100%. I never thought one day I would think fondly about iOS notifications, but by god it happaned. My wife probably would prefer that I don’t see notifications while my phone is locked, but that’s neither here nor there.
Opening just about any file I want in just about any installed app I want to was pretty great. Done editing this photo in VSCO and would like to open in Dropxbox? Sure! Wow, 2013 technology is amazing! iOS is on its 7th iteration and this kind of inter-app communication is still not possible. Lol whut?
I also listen to podcasts during my commute, and Pocket Casts is a thing of beauty. It’s similar to their recent iOS 7 redesign, but it shines on Android. I almost wish they took a different route totally for their iOS app, since the Android version is vastly superior.
The camera is actually pretty good. I wasn’t able to test it before they recently pushed out that update with some camera fixes. I took a few Instagram shots with it, including the one at the top of this very article. Video, not so much. I tried to record some video of my son’s recital while I was in the first row and couldn’t get the damn thing to focus. It was the kind of thing that would prevent me from even bothering video on the phone ever again. Still photography though, seemed very on par with an iPhone 5 to my eyes.
Instagram does indeed have an app for Android, but boy howdy does it need redesign. It’s pretty gross and makes me want to open the app less and less each time I see it.
Scrolling through app and web pages is also super weird. Though, I think that’s something that Android as a whole hasn’t really perfected. It’s not buttery smooth on iOS. I’ve seen that reported in other reviews and always get tired of reading it. But, sadly, it’s true. It’s just not as good. Also, I kept tapping the top of an app to scroll quickly all the way to the top. Never worked! Steal that thing, Android.
Since my work emails uses Exchange(!), I needed to use two different mail apps on Android. Gmail has its own app, and there is also another app just called Mail where you can add your own non-Gmail accounts. Boy is it lame to need to use two different emails apps. Also the app is gross looking. Speaking of gross, there are two different Photos apps. One called Photos and one called Gallery. I have no idea.
I use iTunes Match on my iOS devices so I uploaded my music to Google Music and gave that app a try. The design is a bit strange, and the color scheme is like a bright yellow/orange. Probably the last color I want to see while relaxing to music. Android also stretches album covers to a lock screen if you’re listing to music or podcasts. I do like how I can see the entire album square on iOS. A minor detail, that becomes not so minor during actual usage.
I actually wanted to use my iPad mini less and less while playing with this phone. That was a scary thought, because I love my mini! The phone feels great, but I kind of wanted to not use it and go back to iPhone so it wouldn’t impede on my mini love. Which is absurd, but it’s true. I DO want a larger iPhone now, but perhaps not one with a large 5 inch screen.
The biggest takeaway from the whole thing was iMessage. I use iMessage to talk to 99% of my contact list. Most of those people do not communicate regularly using Facebook Messenger, or even Google Hangouts/GChat. I think what really prevents me from moving to Android is that I use iMessage constantly on my Mac. It’s so seamless for me to carry a conversion from my phone, to my Mac, and then to my iPad on the couch. If I switched, I’d have to only text most people on my mobile devices. That would suck. And believe me, I know how silly that statement is! God forbid I only text people from my phone or iPad. Oh, what a sacrifice to make! I get it.
iMessage is so connected to not only myself, but friends and family that I can’t possibly switch to Android.
Not to mention FaceTime with family. I could try and group all my friends into using Google Hangout for iOS, but nobody wants to be the guy asking their friends to download apps for chat purposes. I tried that for Textie and my friends still never let me hear the end of it. Also, I’m 99.9% sure that logging into the Google Hangouts app necessitates creating a Google+ account, so I’d never hear the end of that either, good grief.
So, the gist of the whole thing is that Android is pretty great, but iMessage may have me for good.
For better or worse.