I’ve switched back-and-forth between iPhone and Android in the past and I’ve always felt the iPhone edged out any Android phone, but not anymore.
I switched to a Galaxy S8 months ago and I don’t see myself going back to iPhone, even the X. The iPhone is dead to me. Here’s why.
iPhones don’t age well
On my iPhone 6+, most apps crash on first open. Apps freeze for 5–10 seconds whenever launched or switched to. I lose 3–4%/min on my battery and Apple Support insists that my battery is perfectly healthy. I went through “apps using significant power” and uninstalled most of them.
On top of all of this, it was recently discovered that Apple is intentionally degrading the user experience based on your battery quality. Yes, they’re releasing a software update to give transparency to users and reducing the cost of a battery replacement (which is on a months-long backlog — more on Apple support later), but it feels like planned obsolescence and they’re just trying to avoid losing a class-action lawsuit.
The video app is busted. Many times I record a video and all I see is a zero-second-long black frame saved. I’ve given up on taking photos because the camera app takes forever to start up and has seconds of shutter lag.
This phone worked just fine three years ago. The minimal benefits of the previous iOS updates are far outweighed by the horrible user experience it’s created.
I have the original Moto X (from 2013) and it still runs buttery smooth.
AppleCare and Apple support are incompetent
This isn’t related to my previous iPhone, but it illustrates the lack of quality of Apple.
Recently, a bottom rubber foot on my MacBook came off. It was still under AppleCare so I took it into the store, my first time to the Apple Genius Bar. They told me that AppleCare wouldn’t cover the replacement because it was cosmetic. How the rubber foot isn’t part of the laptops utility is astonishing. When you typed on it, it would wobble. To fix it, the entire bottom chassis had to be replaced, which would cost $250.
I told the Apple rep that I was surprised and I’d call Apple Care later. I asked him to file a ticket for tracking and he replied that he had.
Later, I called Apple Care and they assured me that the replacement was covered. They also said they didn’t find a ticket in the system from the Apple rep that I had spoken to earlier. I had to go back into the store to get a rep to look at the physical laptop again and verify the foot was missing. Frustrated, I asked them to call the original store I had visited to confirm. They agreed and eventually confirmed it.
Before this, I had asked them to send the part to an Apple store that was closer to my house and not the original Apple store that I had visited. A week later, I received a call confirming the part had arrived at the store furthest away. Surprised, I asked them to send it to the other store (which was ~15 miles away). They said that they’d have to send it back to the warehouse and then the other store would have to order the part.
A week later, the other store finally receives the part. I visited the store, they took my laptop, and I waited a couple of hours to replace the bottom. The rep came back with the laptop telling me that it’s ready. I inspected the bottom and the rubber foot was still missing. Confused, he sent the laptop back. The rep returned five minutes later with a new chassis, fixing the rubber foot. So not only had they somehow not repaired the bottom originally, in reality, it only takes a tech five minutes to repair it, not hours.
The cascading incompetence at Apple support was mind-blowing.
Related to the battery issue above, if you try to replace your battery you’re facing months-long delays. On top of that, you have to mail your phone in or take it into a store, with both options facing the risk that you’re without a phone for as much as a week. Who can really live without their phone that long? Is this incompetence or intentionally meant to drive people away from replacing their batteries?
iPhone’s hardware design feels dated
Even the iPhone X feels dated compared to the S8. This is much more of a personal opinion, but the S8 feels damn sexy in your hand. When I watch a movie, the true blacks of the OLED screen just blend into the body. It feels like a bezel-less phone from a science fiction movie. Whereas the iPhone’s design still separates the screen from the chassis with bezels.
More objectively, even though it was released after the S8, the screen on the iPhone X isn’t as good. It’s lower resolution and it has more bezel.
Here are the specs: Galaxy S8–5.8-inch Super AMOLED, 2960 x 1440 pixels (570 ppi pixel density), 1000 nits, 83.6% screen-to-body ratio vs iPhone X — 5.8-inch 18.5:9 True Tone OLED, 2436 x 1125 pixels (458 ppi), 625 nits, 82.9%, screen-to-body ratio.
Plus, iPhone X has that notch. As a developer, I abhor it. As a user, it’s annoying to have wasted space when, for example, I’m browsing the web.
Not only is S8 a better phone than iPhone X, it’s significantly cheaper. I just bought my S8 and a 256GB SD card for less than $700. The equivalent iPhone X would have cost me $1,252, plus another $10 for a dongle to use my headphones. That’s nearly the price of two S8s.
Android and S8 has better features
Where to start? Here’s an incomplete list in no particular order.
- LastPass auto-fill. Sure, this is an app feature, but it’s impossible to build on iPhone. This felt like a game changer when I switched, shaving a ton of time setting up my phone.
- NFC for two-factor auth. You can use a Yubikey on an iPhone but it requires a dongle (like everything else these days).
- SD card slot. I ran out of space on my previous iPhone and had no way to deal with it other than buying a new phone or delete apps.
- Trusted locations for unlocking. It’s a huge time saver to not have to constantly unlock my phone at home or in the office.
- Samsung Pay works on any credit card reader, Apple Pay doesn’t, which hamstrings its use case massively.
- The notifications are better. Interactions are great, they actually work, and the overall design is better.
- I don’t have to buy a dongle for my headphones.
- Androids unlocking mechanisms are generally faster than iPhone X’s facial recognition. And there are more options. And the fingerprint scanner feels better on the back.
- More battery saving options.
- Built-in call spam detection. Call spam has been ramping up in the United States so this is very welcome.
- A free hardware button. Yes, that side hardware button on the S8 that’s dedicated to Bixby sucks at first. However, with BXActions, you can make it do whatever you want, like triggering the flashlight. Now I wish every phone had an extra hardware button.
- Google backs up your data. I’m thrilled not to have to use iTunes anymore (which deserves a completely different post) or be forced to pay for iCloud.
- An option to keep the phone on if you’re looking at it.
iOS is suffocating
On Android, you can install apps that automatically update your wallpaper, change your entire app launcher (I’m using Evie) including a dedicated search bar, start Google Now by swiping up, handle your SMS. Also custom phone dialers, Facebook Messenger chat heads, Samsung Edge (surprisingly I like this feature). You can even download apps outside of the app store.
Did I mention that Google Photos actually always syncs in the background? Versus the iPhone, where you need to open it every 10 minutes to make sure it’s syncing. Custom keyboards are reliable, whereas on iOS they still crash randomly.
iOS doesn’t offer any of this because they restrict what developers can build.
Even if you eliminate all of the “power user” features above, I think the S8, and Android broadly, is a better choice for the average user.
Siri is still next to useless
Google is just hands down better at search, including things that you would imagine Siri would be good at by now, like dictation. I think everyone already agrees with this point, so moving on.
Apple doesn’t feel like Apple
Apple has generally been a fast-follow copier, perfecting features that have already been released. Lately they’ve just felt like a slow follower that has the same or fewer features.
For example, Samsung devices have had wireless charging for a while now and Apple is just catching up with the same feature set. The charging speed is the same.
Samsung is also experimenting with fascinating things like VR and DeX. Are they perfect? No. But I also don’t believe that Apple is capable of swooping in and perfecting them now.
Apple’s “new and innovative features” aren’t impressive either. Animoji could be done with a standard camera, but they’re locked to the iPhone X. It’s pure marketing to sell more Xs. I’ve had force touch for years now and have never used it. And the list goes on.
I’m putting my money where my mouth is and buying Android devices until Apple steps its game up.