I recently discussed migrating to cross-platform apps in an attempt to break away from the Apple Ecosystem which was a precursor to me swapping my iPhone 4S for a Nexus 5. Now it’s time to talk about the pros and cons that I ran into by making the move.
PRO: Universal Back Button
I absolutely love the concept of a universal back button, either physical or software-based. It makes navigation a ton easier than on iPhone which relies on each software developer to build their own navigation. This results in inconsistencies across apps as some developers put the navigation at the top while others place it at the bottom.
CON: Lack of a physical button on the face
As much as I like the soft home button, the lack of a physical button creates a problem for me. I personally like to set my phone next to me on my desk and be able to hit the home button to wake the phone. The Nexus 5 has a wake up button on the right side, usually forcing me to pick up the phone to hit the button. Additionally, the low profile of the buttons makes it hard to see which way the phone is sitting, the physical home button eliminates that guess work.
PRO: Google-made apps are way better
Generally speaking, the apps that Google has made, specifically AdSense, Analytics and Hangouts, feel way better on Android than their iPhone counterparts.
CON: Mixed lot of quality apps
I don’t mean the availability of quality apps but the fact that some apps that I used on my iPhone that were superb were subpar on Android. Most notable for me was Yahoo! News Digest which lacked some features and the navigation felt terrible in comparison to the iPhone version. That’s not to say that all apps were like this, I felt the Facebook app was better on Android.
PRO: SMS and Gtalk in a single app
I love how Messages.app on OS X let me do Google Talk and SMS but felt the experience fell short on the iPhone. There is a Google Hangouts app, but it was for Gtalk and that was it. Shortly before I got my Nexus 5, Google released the consolidated functionality of both Gtalk and SMS in a single app. I’m unsure if this particular improvement made it to the iPhone version.
CON: Lack of “Do Not Disturb”
One of my favorite features of iOS / iPhone is the ability to set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” mode between certain times. I’ve been known to receive weird texts in the middle of the night (usually not for me) so this feature is a must for me.
PRO: There’s an app for that!
Fortunately, there are apps for just about everything, and I found Nights Keeper that brings the same DND functionality to Android. In my opinion, Nights Keeper is way better as it allows you to set up multiple schedules whereas the iPhone only allows one. There are other options out there as well.
CON: Google Play store is full of noise
There is something to be said about the stringent app approval process that Apple has imposed. Such regulations keep the noise to a minimum. The Google Play store has a TON of options, arguably too many and it’s hard to figure out what’s the best app when there’s 50 apps to go through. Rating and reviews help this a bit, but a lot of app categories end up with 2 or 3 apps with decent reviews which still left me without a clear choice.
PRO: Wireless charging
When we bought a Wii U I splurged and bought this wireless charging panel by Energizer (highly recommended). Out of the box the Nexus 5 can be charged by induction but doesn’t come with any charging panels. I went ahead and picked two up off of Amazon, one for beside my bed and one for my office and/or travel. Both have been great and I love being able to charge wirelessly. I had a dock for my iPhone but induction charging is the only way to go.
CON: Crappy battery life
As great as wireless charging is, I find myself needing to charge way more often than I did with my iPhone 4S. I never felt like the 4S had great battery life, but generally speaking, I usually never had to charge it in the middle of the day either. The Nexus 5 will burn through the battery pretty quick when I’m playing games, I assume because of the size of the screen.
PRO: Larger screens
Not really a pro for Android but for the device manufacturers, the larger screen on the devices is just great. I can’t even use my old iPhone now without feeling like it’s painfully small. I still think there is a fine line between nice big screen and “seriously bro, your phone is a tablet”. The Nexus 5 screen is the right size for me, I dare say it may even be a touch too large for my tiny hands.
CON: Crappy screens
Even with the larger screens, which are great, the quality of them seems to be pretty crappy compared to the iPhone. Get in the sunlight and I can barely use my phone and end up seeing a rainbow of what I assume to be touch sensors.
PRO: Home screen doesn’t contain every installed app
I really enjoy the fact that my phone’s home page doesn’t have to be cluttered with every damn app I have installed on the phone. To remedy this on my iPhone I would have a “The Rest” group that I would toss all the apps that I rarely used or simply didn’t use and couldn’t delete. I’m not big on having a bunch of home screens, just two or three are fine by me.
CON: Lack of a GitHub app that shows trending repos
The official GitHub app doesn’t show trending projects on iPhone or Android but iPhone has a third-party app that does show it. I couldn’t find a similar app on Android, unfortunately. I’ll keep looking though, good chance I missed one while trying to cut through the noise.
PRO: Refund workflow is amazing
It’s been a while since I had to get a refund from Apple, so perhaps they already do it this way, but the Google Play store gives you a window of time to delete the app and have the transaction cancelled. That workflow makes way too much sense and makes it easier to try out paid apps for a few minutes to see if the app suits your needs and expectations.
CON: Tap to scroll to top
This is probably the biggest thing I miss from iOS, the fact that if you touch the status bar you will scroll up to the top of the page / app you’re in. Based on my research, it seems that this functionality sort of exists if running an after market firmware on your Android device. I personally don’t want to run an alternative firmware since they are generally behind the current official release of Android.
PRO: Google Now
Google Now is absolutely amazing. Super smart and totally blows Siri out of the water.
CON: Privacy, you has none
As great as Google Now is, there are obvious privacy concerns in regard to what Google is keeping track of on their servers. Not just that, but it seems like most apps ask for a ton of permissions on your device. Just because I don’t have anything to hide doesn’t mean I want to be fully transparent.
PRO: Swipe keyboard
Still getting used to it again, but I love being able to swipe out words and phrases. Apple is late to the game on it, but iOS 8 will be supporting third-party keyboards!
I love my Nexus 5 and plan on using it for at least a little while. If the iPhone 6 is released with a larger screen, I will be switching back. Why? Well even though I don’t want to be paying an arm and a leg for phones, I still feel that the iPhone is the superior product (in both the hardware and software categories) and I only want to be using the best.
Would love to hear everyone’s war stories about switching from Android to iOS and vise versa, comment below!