I have always been accused of being late to many parties relating to phones. I only moved from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4 in September, almost a year since the iPhone 4 was launched. For those who think I owe them an explanation, well, these phones are not cheap. You do not want to rush and buy something only to realise that if you have waited a few weeks, you would have made a different choice. There is a very close relationship between rushed decisions and regret. If you are going to spend more than 50k on a phone, or anything for that matter, it is important to take time to prayerfully consider your options. I would rather any day be in a situation where I wish I had made the choice sooner than in one where I wish I had not rushed into something.
One also need not rush to be on the very bleeding edge of technology and remain perpetually the prey of manufacturers who will everyday have yet another “revolutionary” product that you will wonder how you have survived for so long without. That is why I am not changing my iPad 1 yet. But that’s a whole other story.
Having been locked and glued onto the world of Steve Jobs products for close to four years, I was getting a bit bored and just wanted to see what else is out there. I just wanted to play outside the walled garden for a while. There has been a lot of buzz around the android platform and how it is the way of the future. Having been in this world for just over a month I agree fully. I read a lot of articles about the Galaxy S II vs the iPhone 4 (even 4S) and even though I took each review with a pinch of salt, it has always convinced me that this Samsung phone was worth a second look.
I had also seen several local reviews but for some reason I was not too convinced as it seemed that they were just extolling the virtues of the Samsung without enough information or experience about the iPhone or iOS for that matter. Of course if you are coming from the kabambe or ideos, the Samsung will look like heaven. Anyway, here are my first few things I can now speak from experience about the shift from the iPhone to the Samsung Galaxy S II. Of course I decided to keep both for a while before deciding which one to keep.
1. Samsung’s Larger Screen
This may be a subtle difference but after you get used to the Samsung’s 4.3 inch display, the iPhone 4’s 3.5 inch display looks tiny. Though I think the iPhone retina display outshines the Super AMOLED Plus display on the Samsung, it feels like a small price to pay to move. The browser or should I say browsers for the Samsung since the Android world has many options is more responsive and easier to read on the Samsung. Another very small but amazing difference on the Android platform is the “back” button. It is really hard to do without this on these days.
2. Apps shmapps!
The biggest issue I have heard people raising as the reason for sticking to iOS has been the perception that there are so many apps they have gotten used to and they wouldn’t want to do without if they were to move to Android. From my experience, the majority of the apps you have on iOS have an Android equivalent. The only one I miss is Flipboard which I still have on my iPad. There is one thing that is important to note here. There are by far more Android smartphones now than iOS ones. According to this article Android is winning this battle too. iOS is restricted to Apple products while Android is now the platform of choice by very many manufacturers of smartphones worldwide. So there are actually now more smartphones running Android than iOS. iOS may also have more apps, but that gap has been reduced to about 100,000 apps and is closing fast. Android is now leading in the number of downloads already.
So in this case, the Samsung is ahead simply because it is running Android. This is going to get even better this week when the next version of Android, 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is released for the Galaxy S II.
3. Android is more customisable
I can choose to have my sms look like this today, and like something else tomorrow. I can have live wallpapers as a background for my apps. A live picture that changes depending on the time of day, dark at night and bright during the day. Even Siri is no longer a big deal as there are even so many options for Android equivalents.
4. I can change/remove my battery and add storage space
The day after I bought my Samsung, I bought an extra battery and also got a 32GB mini SD card. When you buy an iPhone, you are stuck with as much space Steve Jobs and his guys have decided you should have. It was a pleasant surprise to be able to do this for the first time in a long time.
I could talk of so many things that are easier, better on the Samsung than on the iPhone but I think you already know I am sold out on this phone. At this point I may also sneak in the fact that the Samsung has an 8 MP camera compared to the iPhone 4 5 MP one.
5. But what do I miss about my iPhone?
To be absolutely fair, there are several things I miss since I moved. I don’t miss them enough to go back, but I miss them all the same.
I miss iTunes. The iTunes ecosystem is much better than the android market. Music management is very very simple on the iTunes environment. I miss live updating smart playlists. The plus side is that the Samsung has built in FM radio which the iPhone doesn’t.
The Samsung’s battery life sucks. Of course it is easier now that I carry a spare battery and this means I can survive a busy day. There are very many apps that claim to handle battery issues of the android platform but I still think these have a long way to go. I hear Ice Cream Sandwich will deal with this but until then, I miss the iPhone’s battery life.
One of the things I thanks God for is that I still have the iPad and so I am not completely cut off from the Apple world.