• From iOS to ICS: Android through the eyes on an Apple user


    My friend Ray recently gave me a call. He was in-between iPhones and wanted to borrow something for a week. I guess he figured I'd lend him something old - possibly with a keypad. So I can imagine his surprise when I offered to lend him my HTC One X.

    Now Ray is an interesting fellow. He's a die hard Mac fan. He owns a Macbook, MacPro, iPhone and puts Apple stickers on his cars. I'm sure he's got a bunch of 'think different' T-shirts in his wardrobe too.

    It's not that Ray hates PC's, cars without Apple stickers and plain T-Shirts. It's just that he just really loves Apple stuff. So the reason he doesn't use Android phones is not because he thinks they're inferior - it's just that Apple products work really well for him so he's never really considered anything else.

    He follows tech news and knows what an HTC One X or Galaxy S III is but he's not that aware of all the features they have.

    The reason I lent him a One X was not to try to convert him to Android. Rather I wanted him to give Android a try so that he could give me his thoughts on it. It's not meant to be a 'Why Android sucks or Why Apple sucks article'. Note the he's going from an iPhone 4 running iOS 5 to a HTC One X (He actually wrote this before the iPhone 5 launch). So the HTC One X is going to be a big step up for him. Here's what he wrote:
    I have pledged my allegiance to almighty Apple since 2003, so you can be clear where my bias lies in this review. Like many others, I was wowed by the first iPhone and have been giving my soul to carriers in the form of contracts to get the latest from Cupertino. When the Apple ecosystem is all that you've known for so long, it's difficult to pick up another device and learn again.

    Usability:


    The home button on iPhones has to be the single greatest achievement in device usability If you've got a toddler, they will instinctively press that home button to make something happen. This is the first learning hurdle with the Android o/s and the HTC application. The subtle "vibrate" when pressing this home button isn't quite like an actual button. I'm assuming there's a setting for this but waking from "sleep" is done by the power button on top. With the iPhone on a desk, I can push down on the home button to see an alert. The HTC on the other hand isn't as easy.

    Android appears to have layers with presenting apps. There are more ways to organize applications and I found this to be liberating, albeit time consuming to setup. Apple could learn from this approach of giving users more than one choice.

    Typing was a pain on the HTC. Despite the increased real estate, the space bar button was too small and I kept inserting periods instead. Extremely annoying. I found the voice dictation to perform very well despite a minor lag compared to Apple's version. It did not take me very long to fall in love with Swyping. I know it's not for everyone but I could see that it learned on the go. And once again I have to be critical of Apple's lack of choice for text entry.

    I'm split on the placement of settings. On the HTC, each app had settings and the "global" settings menu isn't easy to go through. The good side is that you have more control through the options available to you. The downside is that it's not easy to find the setting that you want. From a development point of view, I'm not sure you can justify one settings menu that includes all applications on the phone (or at least links to the apps). I think it's worth mentioning that once I found the settings menu that had the setting I wanted to set, I was happy. The journey to figure that out was annoying.

    The "back" soft-button was nice to have but redundant on most applications (that have the function in a graphic usually at the top). I found this most useful in the browser application. And can you define "incognito"? This was an odd browser feature to see on a handheld device because I can't recall it being available on Safari or Firefox.

    Calls:

    It's a phone so making phone calls should be at the top of any review. No issues with call quality and carrier reception was as expected. The only issue I have on the HTC is accessing functions like speakerphone or other sources - the iPhone presents larger buttons to activate these during a call.

    Performance:

    The browser experience on the HTC is far superior to anything Apple currently has. Opening webpages via WiFi were quicker and navigating had more punch to it. Ironically, I found that opening Facebook from the browser was quicker than using the Facebook app. On the latter, updating the feeds took longer although browsing through profile photos was snappier.

    Battery life was the most noticeable compared to the iPhone. Doing what I normally do didn't bring me any anxiety over available battery for the rest of my day.

    It would be interesting to compare the vibration motor across phones because the HTC is loud. I'm used to the subtle iPhone vibrate so this came as a shock while at work and coworkers within a 10ft radius knew I received a message.

    The display is gorgeous and game graphics are smooth. Youtube and Vimeo streamed quicker than what I observed on the iPhone. What I did notice was games crashing when initially starting up. The app would hang for a decent amount of minutes before notifying me of an issue.

    Downloading apps from the Play Store was straightforward - not a "clean" presentation compared to the Apple App Store but better in the presentation of free versus paid applications.

    A huge plus for the HTC is the camera application. It starter significantly quicker compared to the iPhone, and the image quality shined. Although all camera phones suffer from graininess due to boosting sensor sensitivity, I think the video captured had an acceptable amount. I wouldn't consider this camera functionality a deal-breaker for me.

    Integration:

    Information integration has to be one of the best things to come out of social networking. I didn't realize how "closed" my world was with iCloud. Android's use of Facebook, all of the Google apps, DropBox, etc were all integrated into the phone. Presentation of this consolidated data was acceptable; it was difficult to ascertain the source when finding errors. But this was a huge step forward in bringing my online world to the handset, essentially bringing all of it wherever I go. So, if you have profiles in more than four online networks, an Android device is better suited for you than anything Apple currently has.
    Ray is now happily using an iPhone 4s though he dreams of an iPhone 5.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: From iOS to ICS: Android through the eyes on an Apple user started by howard View original post
    Comments 33 Comments
    1. turbogeek's Avatar
      turbogeek -
      It's too bad he wasn't evaluating more comparable models. Talking about no more battery anxiety, but coming from a 2 year old battery. Noting that a brand new dual-core S4 renders faster than a 2 year old A4 processor. Impressed by a dedicated camera processor vs time-sliced application processor.

      A friend of mine is an Apple fan to a fair extent. He recently tried an Android for a few weeks, and now hates both...
    1. coolshock1's Avatar
      coolshock1 -
      He was also comparing a 3g phone vs a 4g.
    1. Festivale26's Avatar
      Festivale26 -
      I had the iP4 and now Samsung Galaxy S3. No looking back. Only bad thing is battery life. Just downloaded tasker app. Should be able to help with battery woes once profiles are set.

      SCORE
      iPhone4 0
      SGS3 1
    1. DarknessTM's Avatar
      DarknessTM -
      Quote Originally Posted by coolshock1 View Post
      He was also comparing a 3g phone vs a 4g.
      he stated that he was using WIFI...
    1. EVERLASTIN's Avatar
      EVERLASTIN -
      Went from iPhone 4s to the GS3 and love it why get an iPhone 5 there's no big upgrade from the 4s
    1. Tsepz_GP's Avatar
      Tsepz_GP -
      Still loving my Exynos based GS2 battery life is incredible on Android4.0.4, also thoroughly love its slim and lite build (116g), glad Apple fans will get to experience how it feels to have a super lite and thin smartphone.

      Great review Howard, a nice view from an Apple user trying Android. Just like him looking at Androimd, im the same when looking at iOS.

      I like iOS's consistent nature, as well as its fluidity, it just feels more solid as an OS overall compared to Android, yet at the same time i prefer Android due to its versatility, vast hardware variety, and inter-connectivity, it just feels more up to date and more connected than iOS.

      Anyway, thanks for the great read.
    1. Heatseeker123's Avatar
      Heatseeker123 -
      I did not like Android for the longest time. Jelly Bean made me a believer. So fast and smooth and functions really well. Some things are actually easier and significantly better than in iOS. Android has finally stepped up their game enough to satisfy me. Too bad a lot of people are still clinging to the past about Android being slow unstable garbage. Oh well. I guess ignorance is bliss.
    1. Fortissimo's Avatar
      Fortissimo -
      Incognito is available on the (desktop) Safari and Firefox in different name. It's Private Browsing in FF. Incognito is the term used on Chrome. Actually one article taught how to change the label on the Safari (desktop) browser from (I forgot what) to "Porn Mode" :-) .

      I also have used both. But iOS is simpler to use for non technical users than Android, although Android isn't too difficult, it is still complicated for those who don't even know how to use a computer.
    1. Morphling27's Avatar
      Morphling27 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Heatseeker123 View Post
      I did not like Android for the longest time. Jelly Bean made me a believer. So fast and smooth and functions really well. Some things are actually easier and significantly better than in iOS. Android has finally stepped up their game enough to satisfy me. Too bad a lot of people are still clinging to the past about Android being slow unstable garbage. Oh well. I guess ignorance is bliss.
      I agree - I'm an android user and I think it has to do with a vast majority of phones still being stuck on 2.3. I think the most recent report put it at over half. Now, gingerbread was a good OS, but many companies (big and small) didn't do it right on many devices so it sucked.

      JB is a great step forward. It brings phone OSs to a new standard. iOS is great and many value for it for the simplicity, but sometimes dumbing things down too much leaves some stuff to be desired.
    1. OceanViewer's Avatar
      OceanViewer -
      iPhone 5 is a minor upgrade.
      If he tried the Samsung S3 or Note, he would have converted.
      That's what happened to me and I am not going back to iOS.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by OceanViewer View Post
      iPhone 5 is a minor upgrade.
      If he tried the Samsung S3 or Note, he would have converted.
      That's what happened to me and I am not going back to iOS.
      He's using a 4s now. I'm lending him one of my S III's later this week. I'll post a follow up article when he's done with it.
    1. Drillbit's Avatar
      Drillbit -
      Why not let him try a Galaxy Nexus with Jellybean too and raw Android. It would also be interesting to see his perspective on the different Android builds vs. the vanilla one.
    1. Umarehsan's Avatar
      Umarehsan -
      i have used a captivate and then the galaxy nexus for about 2 years combined, and the GS3 for about 3 month and switched to a 4S.

      I am a fairly technical guy, well i am in control systems stuff so i know my way around codes etc but i hate having to set up my smartphone and want it to just work. I also found i can do everything i did on my android phones on the 4S as well, but it lasts much longer and is actually a pleasant experience to use both hardware and software wise. Not to mention those giant screens which are mandatory on every high end android phone made my hands cry. Love the 4S form factor.

      Funny thing is, half of the gameloft games i bought on nexus weren't officially compatible with my GS3 (some are still not, where is backstab?) and i hate to pirate it just to make it work on my device. Also my cousin's i4 can run MC3 great and he even does online play on it (frankly i cannot play a virtual dpad game for longer than 10 mins, touch screens aren't for hardcore gaming IMO). On the nexus the game lagged. A more than 2 year old phone is able to handle intensive apps nicely.

      So while some might believe android is the "light", some of us die hard apple haters (i still don't have a mac or ipad, and for the near future don't plan on one unless i dev for iOS, because frankly i LOVE my win7 machine and playbook tab) have also seen the other "light".

      It goes both ways.
    1. Umarehsan's Avatar
      Umarehsan -
      Quote Originally Posted by turbogeek View Post
      It's too bad he wasn't evaluating more comparable models. Talking about no more battery anxiety, but coming from a 2 year old battery. Noting that a brand new dual-core S4 renders faster than a 2 year old A4 processor. Impressed by a dedicated camera processor vs time-sliced application processor.

      A friend of mine is an Apple fan to a fair extent. He recently tried an Android for a few weeks, and now hates both...
      BB10 please come now lol.

      Yeah i also want WP8 or BB10 more than android or iOS. Both bore me a lot. The novelty of both apps and custom ROMs is now over. Need something fresh.
    1. Guest 252's Avatar
      Guest 252 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Heatseeker123 View Post
      I did not like Android for the longest time. Jelly Bean made me a believer. So fast and smooth and functions really well. Some things are actually easier and significantly better than in iOS. Android has finally stepped up their game enough to satisfy me. Too bad a lot of people are still clinging to the past about Android being slow unstable garbage. Oh well. I guess ignorance is bliss.
      So true. I use to despise Android. Stupid donut, stupid gingerbread. Then I tried an ICS 4.0 and I was sold. Not only has the software bested ios, Jelly Bean blows way past it (at least on my Galaxy Note). If you would have asked me 2 years ago to switch from iphone to Android I would have chewed ur face off.... now there is no going backwards to apple.

      Cant wait for the 5" 1080p HD IPS+ LCD screens to hit Jelly Bean phones. Sweet.

      I tried my co-works iphone 5 and bleh.. whatever. Too bad that ios people seem perhaps less open minded to try ICS on an Android super phone.
    1. primetechv2's Avatar
      primetechv2 -
      Maybe if Apple started opening up their device more instead of less? No Siri for older iPhone users was mean (4S). No Google Maps for all iPhone users was just dumb.

      The last time Apple promised anything open was when they doused Adobe for Flash, and thus forth Adobe cast that cursed child aside after thanking Apple for the prophecy of its demise.
    1. turbogeek's Avatar
      turbogeek -
      Quote Originally Posted by Umarehsan View Post
      BB10 please come now lol.

      Yeah i also want WP8 or BB10 more than android or iOS. Both bore me a lot. The novelty of both apps and custom ROMs is now over. Need something fresh.
      I too wouldn't mind a change. Not a fan of ICS on my Touchpad though; I only really keep it on there for Netflix at this point. I just find I use the thing far less until I boot back into WebOS. But that app selection is very sparse and for the most part it's amature hour. And something about WP UI just puts me off. I'm the sort to revert to 'classic desktop' look on Win7 - the often pointless, resource consuming WP tile animations grate me. I (doubt, but) hope BB10 takes off. From what I've seen of the Playbook OS there's a kind of WebOS-ness to it (the gestures & task management) which I think I'd really like.

      Oops, that is pretty far afield of the thread topic though, didn't mean to derail. I'm curious what Ray's impressions will be when comparing phones only 1 generation apart, and now having some familiarity with Android.
    1. whatcoverage's Avatar
      whatcoverage -
      Give me a flip phone any day. No data, no............, well a keyboard is nice, but just a phone.
      Web, mail, anything, give me a screen big enough to read. I don't need DPI, I need enough screen, and enough light to not have to go hunting for my glasses. Is there an App for that :-)
    1. turbogeek's Avatar
      turbogeek -
      Quote Originally Posted by whatcoverage View Post
      Give me a flip phone any day. No data, no............, well a keyboard is nice, but just a phone.
      Web, mail, anything, give me a screen big enough to read. I don't need DPI, I need enough screen, and enough light to not have to go hunting for my glasses. Is there an App for that :-)
      You sound like a good candidate for a Galaxy Note 1/2 (possibly even just a Galaxy Player 5.0). My eyes are still good, so I prefer a phone where I can reach all 4 corners one-handed, without fumbling to re-adjust my grip. That tops out at about 4, maybe 4.3". I think a near ubiquitous data connection is just too handy for me to give up -> no going back to flip phones for me at this point.
    1. Prolab's Avatar
      Prolab -
      Its nice to see a mature, honest perspective about Android from an iPhone user.

      Its great that iOS works for him. I do like iOS, but the lack of screen size, expandable memory, LTE, having to use a propriety connection and basically - a lack of options is the reason why i turned to Android.

      Android reminded me of Palm and windows mobile and in ways - has some similarity so it a natural progression for me.

      I'm also looking forward to try BB10 and and WP7 & 8.

      Sent from my HTC-X710a using HowardForums