I’m what most internet trolls would call an ‘Apple fanboi’. I have a MacBook, an iMac and an iPhone. Apple products have typically worked well for me and have accomplished mostly what I need out of them. That said, they’re not perfect, and over the past three or so years I’ve had some brief flirtation with Samsung’s Galaxy line of phones, most notably the S2 and the S3, and I always felt they were vastly inferior to the iPhone.
Fast forward to 2013 and iOS has begun to feel a bit stale. I decided, after much research that if I was going to give Android a fair chance, I had to try a Google Nexus… stock Android I reasoned was the most logical step considering that I didn’t like what Samsung tacked onto Android, and because I wanted a phone that would continue to get Android updates for some time into the future.
I’ve been using the Nexus 4 for around a week now, and here are my first impressions having come from the iPhone. Note that my comparisons here are against Android 4.2.2 and IOS 6.1.3.
- The stock email client is horrific. ActiveSync support is terrible. The client is buggy, slow and lacks polish. I definitely would have expected more. Luckily, TouchDown for Android fills this gap quite well, but it sucks that the default client is so terrible, especially when you consider that the iOS counterpart is so good.
- Headphone control is nonexistent. By default, iOS integrates with most headphones and allows the control of volume and changing of tracks etc. direct from the headphone remote. The same cannot be accomplished in stock Android. Frustrating as hell when you’re on a run and you want/need to change music selection without pulling your phone out. There are apps that can achieve the same thing, but I’ve not found one that manages to control both volume, changing of tracks, and answering of calls. Not one.
- FaceBook integration is missing from Contacts and Calendars. Why?! Again, maybe I’m just spoilt because it’s in iOS, but this seems like a glaring omission.
- Managing sound profiles is more difficult than it should be. iOS allows the user to set the phone on silent with the toggle of an external button. Android allows the user to toggle sound profiles only after unlocking the device.
- Lack of a ‘Do not disturb’ function. iOS allows the phone to automatically go silent at scheduled times… great for sleep time when you don’t want mails and notifications to wake you. Again, it can be accomplished with apps, but it’s missing in the base Android OS.
- Screen rotation is cumbersome to turn on and off. The quick settings widget doesn’t have a rotation setting, which means you have to drill down into Settings, then Display, then toggle it on or off. The same can be accomplished on iOS far more easily.
- I’ve had the launcher app crash on me. That’s bad. ’nuff said.
- Apps seem less polished. Case in point would be the horrific Facebook app… on iOS it’s crap, but at least it doesn’t crash as often.
- The back button. I’m not the first person to find it inconsistent as hell, and I certainly won’t be the last.
At any rate, there are some definite upsides to the Nexus too… it’s different and I definitely need to give it a bit more time… will post again in a week or two regarding my progress with it.