Friday, 6 June 2014

IOS to Android Move the finale parte

So the epic conclusion of my battle to move phone ecosystems from IOS to Android is here and this will be my final post on the subject (although I will probably moan occasionally about the new phone I sure over coming months).

So which phone did I choose, what network, how much am I paying and how does the Android suit me ?

If you're sitting comfortable, lets being.

I've been living with the new phone for about a month now. In the end I finally plumped for the Samsung - the Galaxy Note 3. The basis for the decision was partly to go for a piece of technology that wasn't quite cutting edge and that has had several months from launch for the manufacturer to bed in the soft and firmware so there would be no nasty surprises in general operation. In addition the big factor for me was the screen size. I found the iPhone 4 and 4S just to small to be usable and then the 5 was better but over time as I used it more it just became too frustrating for the some kinds of work and leisure use cases I have (comics, accessing client records and so on). The screen real estate available on the Note 3 is simply a different world away from the Apple device.

From a practical standpoint the first task on changeover (more on that below) was to get all the vital apps I use installed and up and running - this took literally 30 minutes - so much for being tied in to the IOS ecosystem ! The only purchase I 'had' to make was to buy an Andriod version of Pocketcasts my preferred pod catcher app and I only did this through laziness at not wanting to spend the time getting up to speed on using a new android free app.

Next, I've starting using it on and off in tandem with the iPhone for my main daily tasks - as of now I'm still using the iPhone more as my daily driver simply because of the call issue for work Monday through Friday and I'm not about to carry two phones with me most of the time. However, I did carry both for a couple of weeks and was able to easily use them interchangeably. In terms of a review/comparison I find the speaker on the Note about the same level of volume as the Apple device. Certainly the sound quality is a little more scratchy but that's the slight compromise on build quality/design that I knew going in I was going to suffer. Interestingly (as I will come onto in a second) with the Note I am consuming more media on the device and therefore using the external speak more than on the iPhone and so far the suble differences between the two speakers isn't causing any negative associations for the Note. The main area where I would I think struggle is in the car. The iPhone external speaker could be heard in the vehicle over any traffic/travel noise short of full motorway cruise. I suspect I would struggle much more with the Note. This is though a moot point for me as I have the Audi media system in the car and both devices link quickly and easily making quiet podcasts in the car a thing of the past.

As a work tool the Note really does blow my IOS device out of the water. I don't use multi-tasking on screen often on the Note but on the couple of occasions when I've been out and about and needed to use multiple apps simultaneously it has worked flawlessly. I have personal and work e-mail set up separately on the Note and find the notification process and e-mail fetching seems to work better on the new device. In addition, although this isn't a problem with the Note versus the iPhone but rather my old Orange data plan, having unlimited data on the new '3' (network) for the Note has made e-mail and work browsing online 'off' wifi much easier and less stressful.

As a last issue on the main differences is media consumption. The Samsung device has a great screen (but rubbish in direct sunlight unlike the iPhone which is OK) and I'm using it much more as a mini tablet than I did the iPhone 5. The screen size is great for browsing and I am reading comics and watching TV (Netflix mainly) on the Note which is something which just didn't work for me on the IOS device because of the size.

The build quality of the Note is I would say 10% worse that Apple's particularly the plastic 'metal-like' band that goes around the phones edges. Previous experience has taught me - dropping my iPhone 4 on day 2 and chipping the screen - that purchase one should always be a phone case and I simply went for a cheap plastic skin (Amazon £ 3.99). This fits like a glove, adds nothing to the overall profile of the device and importantly covers up completely the crappy plastic silver bit - net result it's now like holding a five inch glass screen in hand and literally nothing else.

So far I have only dabbled with the S Pen stylus but I think will use it occasionally for note taking (I'm a great user of my phone for shopping list in the supermarket and christmas shopping lists etc) and little else. I've found the device takes a little time to get used to as a phone because it is so flipping big but I suspect that is something I will get used to as I use the phone itself more from the end of this month.

Lastly thoughts on Android and TouchWhizz, the Samsung skin over the OS. To be honest the biggest issue with TouchWhizz is the bloatware that sits on the device, lurking and downloading updates and draining battery life behind the scenes. First job was to ditch all the crap into folders and hide them then turn off all the extraneous rubbish in the various settings apps to conserve power. I really don't need all the fancy gesture and touch functions so they're now gone and I have gotten the device from lasting about four to five hours on a full charge (granted it had only been charged and discharged a couple of times at that stage so the battery will not have been working at anything like full capacity at that point) to a couple of days on light use and certainly 9 or 10 hours on medium/heavy use. To give an idea, on average I have to charge the iPhone 5 at around 4.00pm most days to last through to the end of the evening at around 11.30pm. So far today with light use since 7.00am the Note is down to about 84% at noon so I think I will have no problems moving forwards on power consumption, at least equivalent to the Apple phone.

The actual changeover hasn't been quite so dramatic as one might fear - I'm still running the iPhone as my main phone as the contract doesn't expire until 27th of June and if I utilise the PAC code to move the number over to the Note before then I will be charged an early departure fee. In addition I've already ordered an orange PAYG nano-sim  to go into the iPhone. Once the phone number is transferred over to the Note it will definitely become my main (exclusive) daily driver. I know from having had two decent smart phones concurrently I just do not have the patience to manage two devices at the same time. Given the strength of the Note on both work and media consumption I actually think I will end up using it for more hours of the day and probably replace some iPad functionality with it too.

I am planning to keep the iPhone running on the Orange PAYG so I can have it as back up but more to ensure that when IOS 8 becomes available I can look at it on both phone and tablet.

I do regret not being able to play fully with the new HTC One M8 as I still think it looks a better constructed and more 'beautiful' device that the Samsung Note 3 but the work demands and the screen size just tipped the balance for me. I have toyed with running the Note for six months then selling both the Note and the iPhone 5 to buy a slightly cheaper HTC One as its price comes down, but have decided instead to see what happens with IOS 8 and the pending iPhone 6 - it could be that with the extensions to the OS and the rumoured larger screen sizes that I might consider a move back into IOS again on the phone side. Having switched over to Android and seen how easy it is I really feel I'm much more 'fleet of foot' in an IT sense and I can in future move to whichever device fits my need case best and of course which I enjoy most much more easily.

If I do consider a move back to IOS it will be on the basis of waiting until at least February or March of 2015 when the iPhone 6 has bedded in and prices will have dropped below the extortionate launch levels and good second hand ones are available. On balance, having reduced my monthly contract costs by £ 10 a month and have two good phones on hand for re-sale if necessary I don't think I would ever enter into a monthly contract with a subsidised device again.

Hope this article and the two pre-cursors were of some interest. If you have any comments please feel free to e-mail :


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