From Nexus 4 to iPhone 5S: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
My first smartphone was an original iPhone (the AT&T 2G kind), and it was a mind-blowing experience. I later upgraded to an iPhone 3GS and after that got bored with iOS. I switched to Android with a Galaxy S II. The experience was mostly good but hit and miss. I never really felt like I got the full Android experience until I got the Nexus 4.
What a great device it is. Pure Android is a mostly lovely experience but I longed for the air-tight user experience that Apple offers. Now that iOS 7 is out, my interest in Apple's OS has piqued once again so I went out and bought an iPhone 5S. After a week with the device, here are my thoughts on what the device does well, what the device lacks, and what is just down right ugly.
- Smooth. This has been a bit overstated. Android scrolling is more laggy than iOS, but not by as wide of a margin as some people like to perpetuate.
- Stock Apple apps are really good. They're very refined and high quality, except for one. See: the Bad.
- iMessage is great. I'm a big proponent of Hangouts, but it's sorely lacking in SMS/MMS integration. iMessage takes care of that.
- Screen quality is superb. The PPI isn't as high as I'd like (try loading the desktop version of The Verge in portrait, you'll only be able to read headlines), but my goodness does the screen look amazing overall. I can't put my finger on why it's so much better but it destroys the Nexus 4's display quality.
- TouchID works very well. Much better than I thought it would.
- Camera is fantastic. Enough said. Everyone knows iPhone cameras are great. Slo-Mo is a pretty fun thing to play around with, similar to how Photosphere is fun to use on a Nexus.
- Control Center is very useful. My biggest complaint bar none with iOS pre-7.0: no quick toggles. Control Center addressed that, and then some.
- Accessory ecosystem is huge. Where Android users have a mountain of device choices, iPhone users have a mountain of accessory choices.
- Ringer hardware toggle. This is a very under rated feature. No more unlocking the phone the holding down the volume key. Just flip the switch.
- In general, app quality is first class. It just seems like there are a lot of apps that perform/function better on iOS than Android or are just exclusive to iOS. Example: Mailbox.
- The new look iOS. I'm one of the seemingly few people that very much enjoy the new look of iOS. I think iOS 7 looks absolutely beautiful. The colors look great and refreshing, and the demise of extreme skeuomorphism was long overdue.
- It really isn't easy enough to share things between apps. Example: I took a picture and wanted to share it via Hangouts while I was in the Photos app. I had to exit the app, find Hangouts, then attach the picture. Why not just add the Hangouts app to that share list in the Photos app?
- Screen size. This is also a bit overstated, and I will admit I am guilty of it too. I do miss the extra screen real estate, but not as much as I thought I would.
- Lack of file manager. Example: I have a folder of wallpapers on my computer. If I wanted them on my phone it was easy to plug it in, drag and drop it into the pictures folder on my Nexus 4. It took me a while to realize the closest thing to this for the iPhone was to sync the folder via iTunes. This is a headache compared to just a one-time drag-and-drop. Maybe I'm missing something here and you guys can enlighten me.
- Animations really do take just a bit too long. When I unlock the phone, I usually get one swipe in before the apps are completely done swooping in. To get to the page I want to, it takes 1 extra swipe just about every time. After a while it becomes a little annoying. I'm not really being impatient about it either. It looks like it's done swooping, but when I swipe apparently it still has some swooping left to accomplish. If the animations got sped up a little it would completely fix this.
- Keyboard is easier to use one-handed but is too cramped when using both thumbs. I would say >80% of the time I am using two hands to type, so this is a legitimate issue.
- Apple Maps is still not up to par. I already got some wrong directions, and it confuses highway exit names sometimes ("Take Exit 3B" when in reality the exit is 3A).
- No user-defined default apps. Everyone knows this is something iOS is lacking. I don't want to be asked if I want to open a link in Safari or Chrome. I want it to do one or the other automatically, every time, at my choosing. I understand that Apple wants to keep tight control of how people use their OS, and spare users of the "Open with..." dialog every time they want to do something. But there just isn't a good excuse for Apple to not use good judgment and allow user-defined default apps for a few select scenarios like email and web browsing.
- Still no way to display information on the home screen. Seriously? The Today tab in the Notification Center keeps track of stocks and weather without killing battery life, so don't tell me that widget-like information would kill the iPhone's battery. The Calander and Clock apps display updated information in real time on their icons. How hard could it be to display the information you already have on the Weather icon?
So I ask, has anyone else recently switched from Android to iOS? I'm curious about others' experience with their switch since overall mine has gone pretty well.