September is usually the start of smartphone season, so I made a decision I would lastly make the leap: After utilizing iPhones completely since telephones acquired knowledge plans, I’ve all the time been interested in what life is like on the Android a part of the world.
So I made a decision to seek out out, spending a minimum of a month with an Android system to see if switching cell platforms made sense for me. It turned out I wanted lower than that to know I am probably not an Android particular person and that I am going to stay an iPhone consumer for a really very long time. The expertise even pushed me to improve my iPhone sooner than I deliberate to.
This is my diary from my first — and final, a minimum of for some time — month on an Android telephone.
Day 1: Choosing an Android telephone
I needed to get probably the most impartial model of Android conceivable, so I borrowed a Pixel 3a from the Tom’s Information labs. I made my alternative in a type of “what if?” state of affairs, questioning how I would reply to the most affordable Google telephone after utilizing the iPhone XS Max for a yr.
After swapping my SIM card into the Pixel 3a and booting the system up, I started to understand the look and feel of Google’s telephone. Sure, the bezels on its chin and brow (or backside and high, when you want) are a bit chunky, but it surely felt superlight in my pocket, at 5.2 ounces — 29% lighter than the 7.3-ounce iPhone I used to be used to lugging in every single place.
When interacting with Google’s interface and downloading apps, I did not discover any jarring or disruptive velocity drop. I did discover that Android lacked something near Apple’s Reachability characteristic, which makes it simpler to faucet objects on the high of your display. Sure, XDA made a software for this, however that years-old characteristic needs to be a primary providing by now.
Day 2: Wait, you’ll be able to’t copy a picture?
We spend years acclimating to the world round us, and alter is not all the time nice. So I should not have been shocked that Android lacks one of many quite simple issues about iOS that I’ve grown to depend on: copying and pasting photographs. I bumped into this problem after I tried to clarify the “xkcd” comedian “Somebody is unsuitable on the web” however could not copy the picture from the net web page utilizing my Pixel 3a.
Sure, though you’ll be able to share a picture (or something, actually) between apps utilizing the share sheet, Android would not allow you to copy a photograph to your clipboard. Which may sound wildly trivial, however attempting to vary to the share sheet simply felt unsuitable — significantly after I’m attempting to ship a picture in a tweet by way of a textual content to a good friend. The official Twitter app would not even allow you to share photographs; you simply share the hyperlink to the tweet.
Day 3: Properly, I suppose I am not trusting Assistant
I set a reminder in Google Assistant to filter my chilly brew focus, and, nicely, it simply did not present till I opened my telephone a minute later. That is not how reminders work with Siri (they seem on the telephone’s lock display), and I am unable to consider I am saying Siri is healthier at one thing than one other assistant. That is why it is good to faucet outdoors your bubble.
My colleague Rami defined that he hit an identical downside on his Pixel Three and simply ditched reminders for timers.
Day 4: The place’s Android 10?
I do know Apple spoils individuals with immediate entry to iOS updates, in comparison with how third-party Android system homeowners typically have to attend. Nevertheless, I did not suppose that one in all Google’s personal Pixel telephones would take days to get a brand new software program replace. Sure, whereas Android 10 “got here out” on Sept. 3, I used to be nonetheless refreshing the replace part of settings, in search of it on Sept. 4.
MORE: Android 10 Overview: An Replace in Progress
On the worst, Apple takes about half an hour further to flow into main iOS updates, and within the case of iOS 13, it is obtainable to telephones relationship again 4 years.
Day 5: Darkish Mode arrives and disappoints in Android 10
Sure, two days after I assumed I would get it, I lastly acquired Android 10. And … I’ve gotta ding Android by itself darkish mode characteristic. I will be getting extra acclimated with iOS’s new Darkish Mode quickly, however I’ve to agree with my colleague Adam Ismail, whose Android 10 overview mentions how poorly Google integrates the mode.
MORE: iOS 13 Overview: The Greatest Replace in Years
For instance, after I tried to sort within the Google bar on the Pixel’s residence display to seek for particulars concerning the upcoming film Parasite, I noticed a glitch that made it seem like not everybody was instructed about Android 10’s Darkish Theme. Particularly, the textual content hadn’t turned white, so I had the expertise of studying barely legible darkish textual content on a darkish background.
Day 6: The Pixel digicam was made for marriage ceremony season
My first actual check of the Pixel 3a’s cameras — which do a number of what the Pixel 3’s cameras do — got here after I went upstate to the Catskills for a marriage. The Night time Sight characteristic, for capturing rather more of what you see in low-light conditions, made photographs from the bride’s household’s home in Andes, New York, look incredible.
Our smartphone digicam face-offs enable you discover the finest digicam telephone, however this expertise taught me how good Google is with out having to place images aspect by aspect. Once I can swap my $1,099 iPhone XS Max out for a $399 Pixel 3a, and have no one ask questions on my picture high quality? And in reality praise the standard of the photographs, as occurred with this picture from NYC? That is a win for Google.
In truth, this made me all of the hungrier for Apple to place its personal tackle Night time Sight into the iPhone (extra on that in a few days).
As we pulled out of city, going again to NYC for the workweek, I began to overplan my schedule. So, I assumed I would dive into the Google Calendar app and see if I might get a greater view of my upcoming days.
I discovered a pair of Android home-screen widgets for Google Calendar that I really like. Once I swipe my residence display to the left, I now see the Schedule view, which presents your appointments and reminders in record type, so I can get a number of particulars on the speedy objects on my agenda. On the subsequent display over, I’ve acquired the complete month view, so I can see into the space.
MORE: Prime 7 Android 10 Options That You Ought to Attempt First
Sure, Apple has some widgets within the Immediately view (left of the house and lock screens), however I typically neglect them as a result of they do not really feel as helpful. The Apple Calendars app has two widgets: Up Subsequent and Calendar, which simply aren’t as helpful and may hog rather more area than they want. Android widgets have way more granularity on the quantity of display they take up.
Day 9: Leaving my iPhone (and apps) behind
Immediately was the primary day I did not even suppose to convey my iPhone to the Tom’s Information places of work with me. Sometimes, I have been carrying round each, as a result of a few of my favourite iOS apps do not have Android counterparts.
However after somewhat over every week, I’ve begun to truly belief the Pixel 3a, having discovered little eccentricities like picture administration and reminders. The one factor I do not suppose anybody needs to be pressured to get used to, nevertheless, is how Android variations of well-liked apps simply aren’t as nicely made.
Slack, specifically, has probably the most baffling disparity and appears to be designed for individuals who work in just one Slack workspace. (I am in 5.) On iOS you’ll be able to see all of your workspaces by right-swiping repeatedly, going from the channel or DM you are in to the record of channels to the workspaces. For some motive, the Android Slack app hides the record of workspaces behind a grid of squares above your whole channels.
MORE: iOS 13 Options You may Need to Attempt
I additionally discovered a curious glitch in Android Instagram. When listening to music from Spotify or Apple Music, after which opening up a Story submit that has audio, the audio of stated story submit would pop onto my headphones between every Story submit phase. One other bizarre Android Instagram flaw is that swiping again a display would not all the time work. Sure, you should utilize an edge-swipe to advance from a DM convo to your record of DMs, however performing that very same gesture once more will not convey you again to your own home display.
Day 10: The iPhone positively wants Night time mode images
The previous 9 days with Android’s Night time Sight satisfied me that I would not purchase a brand new iPhone until it had one thing related. So you’ll be able to guess I used to be comfortable that the iPhone 11 unveiling centered on the one factor I actually needed from Apple: higher images. In truth, as soon as Tom’s Information had the prospect to check out Apple’s new iPhones, we determined that the iPhone 11 featured the finest low-light digicam we have examined.
And in that second, I used to be fairly certain I would be upgrading to a brand new iPhone. Apple was taking over the one Pixel 3a characteristic I favored probably the most and doing a ton of different iPhone tips. And I even considered upgrading sooner moderately than later, as one can do on Apple’s iPhone Improve Program.
Day 20: Why cannot iPhones do GIFs like this?
Sure, I went 10 days between entries, however that is as a result of I slowly discovered all the things I favored or disliked concerning the Pixel 3a and Android expertise. Attending a professional wrestling present in deep Brooklyn, I found the final actually fascinating Android characteristic that I’m begging Apple so as to add.
Why, Apple, cannot I flip a Reside Photograph right into a GIF? The Pixel 3a can do that actually simply, because of its “movement images” (principally, the identical as Reside Pictures) and an Export menu choice that has a GIF choice. On iOS that you must … nicely … import your Reside Pictures to a Mac, open them in Pictures and then you definately get an choice to export as GIF.
Apple wants to acknowledge that a number of the world would not use the corporate’s Reside Pictures format. Twitter, and plenty of different companies, are so in love with GIFs that they’ve a GIF button.
Day 25: I miss my writing apps
After some time of poking across the Play retailer, I’ve come to the conclusion that Google Docs is the perfect writing app on Android. And I will be trustworthy — that is not excellent news.
Possibly I developed requirements for writing apps which might be too excessive. If it isn’t a well-laid-out, light-weight app that makes use of Markdown and that syncs between all of my gadgets, I do not need it. Working with iA Author was the closest I acquired to liking an Android textual content editor, besides after I tried to navigate its menus … which really feel slapped collectively.
Day 30: Take me residence, iPhone 11 Professional Max
So, as my month-long experiment drew to an finish, whereas I used to be nonetheless utilizing the Pixel 3a, I went to my native Apple Retailer and exchanged my XS Max for the iPhone 11 Professional Max. Now that Apple had the nighttime images mode I envied, there was much less motive to think about staying within the ‘Droid life.
MORE: iPhone 11 Professional Max Overview
Whereas I actually envy the GIF export and superior widgets of Android, I am already too acclimated to the iPhone life. You may discover I did not say iMessage as soon as. Sure, individuals joke about inexperienced bubbles versus blue bubbles, however I by no means discovered that anybody I talked to cared.
For me, it is extra that iPhones work the best way that my mind works, which might be extra about my thoughts conforming to Apple’s strategies. Possibly if Android allow you to copy a picture to the clipboard and app builders labored as arduous on their Android apps as on their iOS apps, I would not have gone operating again to Apple. However the iPhone delivers all the above, plus its darkish mode supposedly works so much higher than Android’s, so it is the place I am staying.