Nexus 5 – the phone that makes me switch...?
So this feels like an odd post to be writing. My smartphone purchase history is as one-sided as they come: Original iPhone → iPhone 3G → Phone 4 → iPhone 4S. And every single one of those devices has been a delight. I know that sounds corny ('to surprise and delight' is basically Apple's credo, right?) but it's true.
[Almost-but-not-quite my phone collection... apart from the one on the right]
The original iPhone felt like a device made especially for me: all my music, my e-mail, and the entire freaking internet in the palm of my hand? It was a revelation. (My poor Sony W850i never stood a chance.) And from there, the iPhone just kept getting better. The explosion of incredible software that was (and is) the App Store. 3G data speeds (ask any original iPhone owner what a difference this made). Retina displays. And, through it all, the gorgeous design, impeccable build quality, and impossibly smooth OS remained constant.
Today, my iPhone is simply an indispensable part of my life: my source of music (Spotify), books (Kindle), podcasts (Downcast), RSS feeds (Byline), Twitter updates (Tweetbot)... etc., etc. Hell, I even strapped my iPhone to my motorcycle and used it as a GPS to ride from England to Africa, using the excellent TomTom app. My trusty 4S went through hailstorms, mountain ranges, sand dunes – and some seriously poor driving decisions – and never missed a beat.
So it feels almost... disloyal to admit that I'm looking at the (leaked-to-hell) Nexus 5, and I'm feeling... kinda tempted. I'm not looking to start an Epic Troll Fight here (naive as that probably sounds) – I'm not really the tribal type. But I was wondering if any of the (many) thoughtful Apple aficionados who frequent this forum are in the same boat – even a little bit? I'd also be interested to hear from people who've made the switch from iOS to Nexus devices in the past. (Skinned Android devices don't tempt me even slightly. Nor does mucking about with rooting my device. And Google Play edition phones aren't available here in the UK.)
[Like this, but with more apps and better wallpaper, please... via cdn.gsmarena.com]
My poor iPhone 4S is definitely on its way out – it just can't run iOS7 smoothly, once I start multi-tasking. Don't get me wrong – I like iOS7 (new icons and all). But when I start even moderate multi-tasking (switching between Spotify, Kindle, Safari and Mailbox, say), the phone starts running out of RAM really fast. I end up tapping the (unresponsive) snapshots which the iPhone displays until it's reloaded the app (which takes a few seconds) – making every app-switch an exercise in delay and frustration. That's not what iOS is about.
I don't blame Apple – it's old hardware running cutting edge software, after all – but it means I'm definitely looking to upgrade. So, just get an iPhone 5C or 5S, right? Well... maybe. But the Nexus 5 is tempting me for two key reasons: screen size (/screen shape), and price.
Start with screen size: in common with plenty of people on this forum, I've often wished that my iPhone 4S screen was a little bigger. But I've never wished that it was just taller. The dimensions of the iPhone 5/5S screen just feel... weird to me.
[A joke image, yes... but an uncomfortable joke, as far as I'm concerned – via mobilmania.cz]
Yes, I know, 'one-handed-operation' etc., etc.... but I've got pretty big hands – I can cope. My friends' 4.7-inch-plus Android screens look pretty good to me (their often-laggy scrolling not so much). The Nexus 5's 5 inch display – especially if it's lag-free – looks great.
Then there's price. I pay for my phones upfront, because I love the flexibility of SIM-only contracts here in the UK. (£12.50 a month, unlimited data, no lock-in – what's not to love?) The leaks suggest a Nexus 5 price somewhere in the £399 range for a 32GB device – which is more than a third cheaper than the comparable iPhone 5S (£629). That's a fair bit of money.
In the U.S. the iPhone stays price-competitive with flagship Android devices (on-contract), because it gets bigger subsidies from the carriers. But here in the UK, that isn't the case. So the iPhone 5S would be a phone with a screen size I like less... but which costs more money. That thought certainly gives me pause. Sure, the iPhone's fingerprint reader is cool – but is it £200 worth of cool? I'm just not sure. And surely Google won't repeat the mistake of shipping a Nexus device with a shoddy camera. (Right, Google...?)
And yet, even if the Nexus 5 gets kick-ass reviews, I'll still be hesitating. Because, as you'd expect after all these years, I'm now deeply invested in Apple's ecosystem. My app library is huge, and a few of those apps are expensive. (TomTom Europe alone was almost £100 - that's a biggie...) I have an Apple TV, and find AirPlay simply brilliant. (The thought of plugging yet another device – say, a Chromecast – into my TV's tangle of wires isn't hugely appealing.)
I think the phone I'm really hankering after is the (rumoured) iPhone 6, or iPhone Plus, or whatever they end up calling it. With the larger (not just taller) screen which many of us have been hoping for ever since the 4S. But that phone won't be arriving for a full year now (if at all – Apple rumours being what they are). And my 4S kind of sucks (or at least stutters) right now. So if the Nexus 5 turns out to be just a competent device (4S quality camera or better, non-laggy UI, decent battery life), I'll be sorely, sorely tempted to make that switch, and buy my first Android device.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. (Especially if they're, you know, non-troll-y. If all you want to say is 'Fandroid suxxx' or 'Apple Fanboi Iz Brainwash' then feel free to move right along...) £400-£650 is a lot of money to me, and I use my smartphone more than any other device in my life. This isn't a decision I take lightly...