Going iPhone: An Android user faces harsh truths and minor annoyances

February 12, 2014
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We so often encourage iOS users to switch over to Android, but we don’t really know what would viscerally compel them to. We’re obviously fans and proponents of Android, but comparing Apple’s to apples, is Android really the better platform? To decide, we got our hands on an iPhone with the idea of looking at both Android and iOS from a different perspective: the iPhone user’s.


I know, you’re already upset and ready to leave nasty comments, but hang on a minute. How can we use an iOS device, right? We’re an Android site! Our goal is to better compare and contrast the Android and iOS experience, which will inherently delve into ecosystem and platform topics. We're approaching it from the opposite and, switching to iOS from Android. In approaching the iPhone objectively, we find a lot of arguments for using it as a daily driver. We also ran into some road blocks that just seem to exist with the platform, and really hamstring it versus Android.

Having had the device only one week, we’ll give a quick oversight this time around, with more articles to come on the subject. Of course the first thing that strikes you is the size of the device, as it’s painfully smaller than even the now-normal 4.7-inch and up Android devices. I use a Nexus 4 or Moto X on a day-to-day basis, and compared to either of those, the iPhone 5C I have is just so freakishly small. The build is sturdy enough, but the screen and overall size are still taking time to adjust to. When I do have to switch back to one of my Android devices for testing an app or the like, the screen looks downright massive. The LG G Flex we recently reviewed really looks more like a tablet when sitting next to an iPhone. Oh, who are we kidding -- it looks like a tablet anyway.

iPhone Nexus 2

One major thing iOS has going for it is the app ecosystem, where everything is on offer. It really hits home how many interesting, cool apps are on the App Store when migrating between it and the Play Store. That alone makes a very compelling argument for the iPhone, save for one little issue. In the App Store, there are iPad apps, and iPhone apps — sometimes, you just can’t get it both ways. Facebook Paper, for example, is an iPhone only app; there is no iPad app. With Android, you’re not left with that compromise, and that’s just what it is — a compromise.

The camera on the iPhone is easily the best there is, hands down. We’ve been testing it versus the LG G Flex and it’s 13MP shooter, and the iPhone just takes clearer shots, and does so faster. Compared to the Moto X or Nexus 4, there is often no argument to be had. An HTC One gets closer to brilliance than the others, but there is still nothing quite like the camera on an iPhone. For taking photos on the go, the iPhone is easily the winner -- and that's a big deal.

Again, there are a lot of great things about the iPhone, even from an Android users’ perspective. There are also some major and minor annoyances already evident. Over the next few weeks I’ll be using the iPhone exclusively, objectively poking and prodding it for gems of greatness. I’ll also unabashedly shame it when necessary, and can already see where those posts may come from. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.


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  • IuseBOTHplatforms

    I respect your decision to try ios. Most android people just hate iPhone without even trying it which to me is idiot. I use a Nexus 4 and iPhone 5s I switch between the two. Both have their ups and downs. IPhone has a lot of very creative apps and a universal experience. Android has a lot of options and you are not limited to one app store. I love my Nexus 4 for apps like showbox, allcast, icon packs, launchers, utorrent, titanium backup, greenify etc… I love trying different roms and even making my own themes. I love my iPhone 5s for apps like 60hz, comic zeal, tweetbot, paper, IFTTT, Scanner Pro, The Wolf Among US, XCOM, etc… Sorry for the wall of text, but if you love tech you should most defiantly try both .One thing though I would try the 5s instead since you can go head to head with best of both platforms. 5c is really a iPhone 5 dressed in plastic.

    • Patrick Smithopolis

      Unless he’s comparing performance it really doesn’t matter if he uses the 5S or the 5C.

    • JeffColorado

      I have actually recommended iPhones to people before. Apple does make great hardware and they do have good support. There are just two requirements: 1) You need to not care about what iOS *can’t* do (and a lot of people don’t), and 2) you need deep pockets (because anything Apple will be expensive as hell, including repairs and support).
      If you meet those two criteria, you should skip Android and buy an iPhone. Otherwise, pick an Android phone.

      • Patrick Smithopolis

        I constantly recommend the iPhone to people who have never used a smartphone before even though I don’t know much about iOS. People say iOS is easier to use. I don’t know how true that is.

      • maysider

        it is not true, just see this video, the facts, iPhone is too simple so it’s missing obvious features therefore it is very difficult to do some tasks:

        goo (dot) gl/1XnaSv

        Android is easier to use, it’s just Apple’s great marketing selling inferior products, they are great at

      • maysider

        1) I don’t need to care about Android, but I can, I have freedom
        2) sgs4 = better camera than an iPhone according to the blind tests (2x better)
        3) more apps available in store
        4) “iPhone most vulnerable phone among smartphones, says security firm” + the last update Apple fixed more than 70 security issues + easily to hack iPhone (easily to turn off “find my phone” feature
        5) multiuser environment
        6) free connect and copy files
        7) everything is smooth and lagfree
        8) quad-core = more power (don’t trust to the “tests”)
        9) freedom
        10) far more advanced notification centre that Apple copied
        11) my own browser, mail app, keyboard
        12) superior voice recognition, don’t have funny Siri
        13) many languages for voice recognition

        there is really no need to buy an iPhone to show you have something special for such the ridiculous price

      • Bob Bobby

        i always go for android cuz there are tons of customization that you can do on your android phone but iphone can’t. I mean c’mon we all know that all iphones look the same the only difference is the wallpaper or the cover

  • blanco112

    Using apps on an Android tablet is also a compromise since most apps are made for phones and simply blown up for tablets. Also, if you really want to compare use the 5s, not a 5c.

    • KID ANDROID

      If they’re comparing the iPhone to a Nexus 4 then they should compare it to the 5c. If they were comparing it to the Nexus 5 or Galaxy S4 then ya the 5s would be the way to go with comparative devices.

      • blanco112

        Well the author also uses a Moto X for a daily driver and mentioned the LG Flex. Im sure writing am Android blog they probably use more flagship level phones than not. But your point is taken.

        As far as the ease of the OS I think both android and iOS are comparable. Moving over from an iPhone to a Nexus 7 and Galaxy, I definitely thought android was less user friendly. Still do to this day. But its probably hard to move from Android to IOS simply because of the things iOS is missing. I find it harder to use iOS now and I had an iphone for two years before switching. But I struggle with not having a back button, finding menus, etc….things that didn’t bother me when I wasn’t thinking to look for them.

      • Nate Swanner

        I’m on the fence there. Android is easy to use for some things, iOS others. That’s why I’m giving it time to really make a good assessment. So far, I can see really strong arguments both ways for ease of use alone.

  • Josh Holtrust

    A lot of REASONABLE Android users I talk to actually like the hardware part of the iPhone. They just don’t like iOS.

    I use both. I like both equally. I will say, though, I wish apple would open iOS up even just a tad. There’s so much potential. A jail broken iPhone is just awesome because of the more open aspect.

    • http://www.androidauthoirty.com/ Nate Swanner

      In doing my diligence about Jailbreaking, I agree — it’s likely a better experience. I’ve never been much of a ‘root’ guy, though.

    • Adam Berg

      Are you for real? We develop more advanced apps which use our in house database and the iphone hardware is really lacking compered to Android flagships (customers gets our solution on a jailbreaked iphone if you wondered).
      So everyone that concluded that nothing on a smartphone is easier to use on a small screen is unreasonable???

      • Josh Holtrust

        Yes I’m for real. I didn’t just dream about the conversations I’ve had with other Android users. They do like the iPhone hardware, just not the software. I stand by what I said.

        To answer your question, you’re putting words in my mouth. I said no such thing.

  • jason

    Nexus 5 takes clear pics too :D

    • Patrick Smithopolis

      It’s a hit or miss with the Nexus 5. Sometimes I take a picture with my Nexus 5 and I’m blown away by it but other times I want to vomit. This doesn’t apply to video recording though. The video recording on the device is amazing.

    • http://www.androidauthoirty.com/ Nate Swanner

      I would say it CAN take clear pics, but it’s got its challenges. Now that Google fixed the weird blue-ing effect, it’s not bad at all. Also, super light! The iPhone is like a little brick.

  • Patrick Smithopolis

    The hardest thing to me about using the iPhone is trying to go back one screen. Every time I use someone’s iPhone I just end up hitting the home button to go back.

    I somewhat agree with you about the camera. It’s a great pickup and shoot camera but you can get some great shots with Android phones too. With Android phones you need to set up the shot to get a great photo; it’s not a pickup and shoot thing.

    • http://www.androidauthoirty.com/ Nate Swanner

      I find that in a controlled environment, the experience is similar… but how often does that happen in real-world scenarios, you know?
      We’l test both, of course, but so far — in a day-to-day setting — the iPhone is tough to beat when it comes to snapping pics.

  • Gilbert Gonzalez

    I don’t know what else to say…..

    • http://www.androidauthoirty.com/ Nate Swanner

      I find myself making that face quite a bit this week. Hopefully, it goes away soon ;)

  • JeffColorado

    Are you kidding me? You are using the Nexus 4, flex, and One for comparison? Why not the Nexus 5? Note 3? G2? Hard to take this article seriously.

    • whiteboy_cannon

      The nexus 4 runs the same software as the nexus 5 does. G2 is essentially a flat g flex. Though the note 3 could be a nice comparison but any touch wiz device would work

      • JeffColorado

        The Nexus 4’s hardware is significantly worse than the 5…I know, I own both. No LTE, lower storage options, much crappier camera, slower CPU, lower res display with worse color and washed out blacks. Hardware-wise the Nexus 4 should not even be in this discussion…aside that it is old as the hills (at least by Android standards) it is not even for sale anymore.

      • chrischoy9 .

        Not to mention that unless those tests on the Nexus 4 was done under -20 degrees C, the CPU would have throttled to around 1 GHz or so

    • http://www.androidauthoirty.com/ Nate Swanner

      Who said we were stopping with the devices mentioned above?
      Also, an iPhone 5C is arguably more comparable to the devices listed. It’s also a lot less about specs and a lot more about the experience. Skinned devices like those form LG and Samsung are part of the Android experience, so we’ll put them to the test as well.

      • JeffColorado

        How is it comparable? It’s 2010-era lower resolution and PPI? More limited OS functions? The Nexus 5 is half the price and virtually the same specs! LOL – I’d say Android still handily crushes the iPhone 5S in everything except processor speed, and even there several Android phones are very close.
        It seems like you are deliberately handicapping the Android “side” so that iOS can compete. Look at the reviews…not everyone agrees the iPhone has the best camera. I don’t even just mean MP…I mean actual photo quality and shutter speed. Just seems like the article goes out of it’s way to be lenient on the iPhone is all.

  • Fii

    I’ll be praying for you :)

  • J s3

    May Andy give you strength on your great journey!

  • Christopher Robert

    S4 and note 3 both take great pictures, I never understood what people meant by the iPhone taking better pictures.

    • http://www.androidauthoirty.com/ Nate Swanner

      Have you used an iPhone? I’d be curious to know your take if you have.
      I have also been pitting the Galaxy Camera against the iPhone, just for kicks. Interesting results.

    • Josh Holtrust

      As a user of several android phones and iPhone, in real world usage, the iPhone camera beats at least the s4 and HTC One, in my opinion. I haven’t used a note 3 so I can’t comment on that. I’m not saying the S4 or One take bad pictures by any means, though.

    • chrischoy9 .

      iPhone tends to have a better image processing chip and automatically does all the manual settings you would need to set on android to get a decent image.

      I still perfer Samsung and LG ‘ S camera app as it let’s you customise like on a proper digital camera

      • Christopher Robert

        From my experience with an iPhone 5 (not a 5s) my note 3 has way less lag time to take the shot, partly because you tap the screen to auto focus before you hit the button. It allows for clearer pictures with less blur especially with moving targets.

        If conditions are perfect and everyone is holding perfectly still I guess my wife’s iPhone takes a better picture, but that situation is rare most of time time we choose to use my camera over her because we get better pictures in real world situations.

  • Edward Daniels

    i just dont understand why this person is using the Nexus 4 instead of the Nexus 5. why use Samsung’s flagship device and not Google’s flagship device? it just doesn’t make sense the scale is tipped in favor of the iphone becuz these ppl FAILED to use the appropriate deivce and this is called Android Community. At least use the right device to give android a fair fight.

    • Adam Berg

      What to you mean – use Samsungs flagship – he doesn’t even mention a Samsung device – which by the way is Note 3 at least for 2 weeks until s5 is presented. (Note 3 with latest Android update reminds my how s2 was when it showed up, s4 is to laggy in my opinion unless you change to ftl or a similar launcher).

      • Edward Daniels

        When I say flagship in taking about the top of there to of the line device. For example the galaxy s4 and note 3 would be considered the flagship devices.

    • chrischoy9 .

      He is also a 5C to do those comparisons too….

  • Athos Dourado

    Pls, try to attach a document to an email in iphone and tell us how it was. Example: a CV. This is mainly why I prefer Androids

  • m.kmalie

    Will if u want a good android camera u should use sony xperia it’s the best….and what about the price of the 5c it’s almost the same price of the s4????!!!

  • Duke Carico

    Looking very forward to this Nate!

  • Luke Mildenhall-Ward

    A great and noble idea to try both Nate. As a converted Apple user, a big part of it is the interoperability of services across the Apple ecosystem; an even bigger component is how incredible their support is. —If my out-of-warranty iPhone won’t start or gets a rare error I know I can take it to my local Apple store for free diagnosis and in many cases a free-of-charge repair, but if what am I supposed to do when a Nexus product has a problem?— Android users often wonder why we pay a premium compared to them but it’s reasons like these. It’s often hard to get these aspects across in a week-long review but perhaps you’ll be able to explore them a little. Good luck! :)

  • davidgeek

    The iPhone apps are also available for iPads, just they are filtered away in the App Store. You have to explicitly show iPhone apps. Give it a try, you can give your opinion on the fact that they run at the 3.5 iPhone resolution (with a 2x zoom option).

    • chrischoy9 .

      2x zoom option is no longer the case with iOS 7

      • davidgeek

        The 2x is still there, checked on an ipad air.

  • Adam Berg

    It will be interesting to see what you think in the end. But I am guessing it’s not your first time with ios. If you only used Android before and just now tried ios for the first time, the first thing you should have mentioned is that it almost only is a simple launcher and a unlogical one as well.
    There is no support for buttons for closing or pulling up menus. Settings for an app is often found outside the app – how logical is that! Often it’s a combined setting for multiple apps (like email) so most messages often shown are for the wrong specific app. And how logical is it to start the search funcion, pull down on screen but not from the top!
    Calling phones for tables when going back to a normal sized phone after using the redicousely small and overpriced iphone makes me believe your in fact are a iphone user from start and are thrown in here disguised to start debate so you can get more advertising to your site.
    Not immediately mentioning the lack of widgets only makes me more suspescious and if you can’t see through Apples marketing about it’s lacking harware (cpu is In fact 40% slower then Android flagships which to some is clouded by iphones limited os which makes it seem fast compered to some Android devices with a fuller os but not up to date hardware and latest bug fixes like the Note 3 has now) some one with some tech knowledge should do this article instead.
    If you don’t conclude what a piece of crap iphone is for your money, you have proven my point;-)

  • Blowntoaster

    So you say the IPhone camera is better than the G Flex one. and the HTC One runs it close….”say whaaat?!!!”

    Seriously, the HTC One camera is only good in low light. everywhere else it gets a beating from the likes of the LG G2, GS4, Note 3 and Even the Xperia Z1/Compact.

    Speed wise, the Note 3 and G2 takes pictures in auto mode really fast, much faster than I’ve taken with an Iphone 5s in normal situations. yes, some of the modes are slower, as they have to focus properly first before the picture is taken. but my Note 3’s photos’ quality are 95% much better than Iphone 5/ 5s pictures.

    OS wise, one can debate for hours on end about what is better and what is not. Unfortunately the Play store just has so much “crap” apps in it, that you sometimes end up stop searching for that great app because you gave up scrolling through all those dodgy apps. maybe the big G should review it’s policies on what apps are released on the play store. that should improve the quality of apps at least a little bit.
    in the end it is down to what you want out of an OS: features, tweakability,etc = Android,
    or stability and simple yet effective features = IOS.
    each has it’s good and bad sides.
    I always say, if you are not tech savvy and just want a smartphone that works, get an I-phone.
    If you know how to and love to tweak, fiddle and play with gadgets then an Android device is definitely for you.
    but seriously, this is the Android Community. Here we just want to read all about android.

    leave the other platform comparisons to other sites like PocketNow, Techradar, The Verge, Engadget etc…
    please…

    • Adam Berg

      I agree in most, but we always recommend a Windows Phone to someone that is not tech savvy, since all our tests shows that it is easier and more logical to use than ios.
      We only recommend iphone to iZombies who doesn’t listen anyway and maybe to those who have already invested a ton of money in ios apps.

  • Jason Williams

    I’m a longtime iOS user who migrated to Android about a month ago. Here are my overall impressions about the differences :

    1) If Apple doesn’t think you should be able to do it, you’re not doing it, no matter how cool or interesting “it” is. Jailbreaking fixes some of those things but if you’re on a contract, jailbreaking voids your warranty (I think). Android is all open, all the time, you can make your phone whatever you want it to be. But sometimes wading through the cesspool of shit to find what you want is overwhelming.

    2) Pushing app installation to your phone is a killer app feature for Android. This does not exist in any capacity for iOS

    3) Notifications (which everyone says is better on Android) are just infuriating on my Galaxy Note 2. I love leaving my iPhone in it’s dock on my desk and just watch tweets, emails, calendar entries… whatever… just queue up on my screen where I can read them and act on them if needed. That just doesn’t exist on Android, certainly not on the stock software. Notifications in the lock screen (especially if your device is pin locked due to corporate email) are almost useless. There are at least a dozen apps that I’ve tried and none of them give me the experience that I want.

    4) Devices – hands down, Android wins on this one. And this is what finally made me leave the Apple ecosystem.

    5) Camera – to the average user this just doesn’t matter. Phone cameras are so much improved over 10 years ago.

    6) App development – Android’s apps are very “tweaker” friendly. Loads of options, tons of settings, tons of apps that do exactly one thing but do it reasonably well. I would characterize app development on Apple devices as more holisitc and definitely a more attractive endeavor. Apps on the apple store want to change your life in one way or another which is great when they work but my experience is that all of them grossly overpromise and underdeliver.

    Maybe it’s just growing pains (it’s only been 6 weeks or so) but I frequently wish that I could have iOS on my huge Galaxy Note 2.

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  • Chris Williams

    iPhone keyboard is awful. No Swype, no long press for letters and punctuation. You have to switch to another keyboard for those. Also can’t tell at a glance if you’ll be typing upper or lower case.

  • http://jltechword.wordpress.com/ JLWard

    You state, “The camera on the iPhone is easily the best there is, hands down.” This of course I’m assuming mist be a statement confines within the boundaries of the scope of this article – comparing the iPhone to Android. Surely the Nokia Lumia1020 by virtually ALL comparisons and metrics has proven to be the current standard by which other smartphone cameras are measured. The quality of the the pictures generated both the high resolution and the over sampled 5 megapixel image of which each of those 5 megapixels is comprised of up to 7 megapixels, have proven to stand above the competition in most comparisons.

    The Nokia Lumia 1020 – A True Cameraphone
    JLTechWord.wordpress com