Strap yourselves in folks, this one is sure going to piss off a few people. How do I know that? Well I’ve been at this game for a very long time, and I know how passionate the biggest supporters of some brands can be. Outside of sports, and in some cases moreso than sports, fans of Tesla, Apple, Android and a few other brands are the most passionate defenders of their brand.
Well, get this – it’s all subjective. Everything. Even performance can be subjective because different use-cases can require different levels of performance, and different types of performance.
But today, I’m not going to do any benchmarking. I’m going to draw on my own frustrations, and satisfactions when it comes to using both Android and Apple devices.
In early February Samsung flew me to San Francisco for their Galaxy S23 event. Since then, I’ve been using Android exclusively. The S23 Ultra, then the Flip4, then the Oppo Find N2 Flip, then the Galaxy A54, and the Pixel 7 and S23.
This past week I switched back to iPhone. And it got me thinking – what do I miss about Android? What am I glad to have back.
So let me issue you some subjective judgement on ten areas that I notice in day to day, week to week use.
Design – Winner: iPhone
Well, this is a wide-ranging and blanket statement, but Apple does better design and build quality than anyone else. Samsung is a photo finish for second.
In Samsung’s defence, their mid-range phones like the A54 bat above their average when considering price. And while Samsung doesn’t lose out on this one, it’s a blanket reference to the vastly differing qualities and design of Android that for some make it appealing, but for others the allure of the design and materials which Apple bring together so well are just too much.
And I’m one such person.
Biometric Login – Winner: iPhone
I’ve tried all your sensors folks. Fingerprints on the back, on the side, under the screen and facial recognitions and Apple’s FaceID.
The simple point here is this – FaceID is the best biometric login and authentication system out there.
I had this realisation the moment I restarted the iPhone. From apps that use FaceID and just do it instantly because you’re looking at the screen, to the simple unlock of the screen – there’s rarely a false start like there is with Fingerprint sensors.
In particular the under-screen ones, they’re an amazing thing to behold, but they don’t work as well as others. Anyone that defends them over FaceID is legit off their rocker.
Setting an Alarm – Winner: Android
Oh Apple – why can’t you do something so simple.
Every night, when I go to bed, I set two, maybe three alarms. In my game there’s no sleeping in – that’s missing work, not turning up late, just missing it entirely.
So yes, it’s a bit strange. And I’m a touch OCD here too – I want to know the alarm is on, and I didn’t make it PM not AM for example.
On Android, when you set the alarm, it tells you how long it is until it goes of. Simple, and brilliant.
This means I know it’s for the morning, but also, sometimes if it says “Alarm set for 4 hours and 23 mins” from now, I can say to myself mate – get more sleep, and perhaps push the envelope a bit, or cancel a morning commitment.
Voice Assistant – Winner: iPhone
Now this is controversial.
And yes, I know Google assistant itself is a better, smarter “assistant” but do you know when voice matters most? When driving.
When your Android Auto or CarPlay notification is a message you do want to reply to.
Google gets it wrong more than it gets it right.
Siri is far far better at understanding and taking dictation.
For that simple reason, I use Siri 100 times more than I ever used Google Assistant.
Navigating apps and the OS – Winner: Android
Android fans would laugh at the number of times I swipe from the right of the screen to the left to go “back” in an app and it takes me no-where on iPhone.
Yes, many apps built in a back arrow on iOS apps, but that’s also often placed next to the “previous app” link top left so you make mistakes when tapping.
Apple has swipe gestures that work great, but they need a “Back” swipe gesture on by default – stat.
Typing – Winner: iPhone
Sorry Android, get it together. The number of times I wanted to throw my phone at the wall for the mistakes I was making is ridiculous.
I tried default keyboards, GBoard, SwiftKey you name it. The point is, I shouldn’t have to.
On iPhone, it just works. And yes, there’s some autocorrect fails, some dumb stuff, but it gets more right in corrections than wrong. And for that I’m grateful.
Integration with the Cloud – Winner: Android
Apple has a superior backup and restore cloud system, I acknowledge that. But We need a simpler way of navigating cloud usage.
Google just nails this, and in particular, Google’s Photos app is outstanding and class leading.
I’m awarding Cloud to Android because I use Google Photos when on iPhone, that’s saying something, and also, because iCloud is so complex I’m scared to untick photos on cloud storage to save some space, for risk of it somehow costing me precious data.
Apps – Winner: iPhone
Flighty – it’s a premium example of an outstanding app for travellers, know everything about your flights. But it’s only on iPhone.
This happens a lot, because iPhone is easier to develop for. You don’t have the million screen and processor options of Android. So it almost always comes first.
And for some reason, iPhone apps just look better.
Charging – Winner: Android
USB-C baby! And while that’s coming to iPhone 15, it’s a long way behind.
Plus, you’ve got amazing fast charging options that are vastly superior to anything Apple is doing, look at what Oppo has with it’s VOOC fast charge and consider how far Apple is behind.
Price – Winner: Android
The cheapest iPhone is in the $700 price point.
That’s the price of a good to great Android Phone.
There are many, many more affordable than that – so for that reason, Apple will never win the price war.
So, which should you choose – iPhone or Android?
Hey, this is why if pushed, would buy an iPhone – but look above. Ten areas of interest, five each way. Others’ may have differing views.
It’s closer than it’s ever been, and it’s easier than ever to switch from one to another too.