My experience with Android

I poopooed the iPhone when it first came out but have to admit I was a convert as soon as I played around with Alex’s 3GS – I bought my own within 24 hours of doing so. I’ve been a fan ever since and was embarrassingly devastated when I lost my beloved 3GS a couple of weeks ago. I bought a low-end Samsung Galaxy model to tide me over for the rest of our travels, just so I have something for basic communication when Alex and I are separated. (The shop didn’t actually sell any non-smart phones so I just bought the cheapest smart phone they had. It cost less than half the price of my first ever mobile, a good old Nokia 3310. ;) Anyway, doing that has given me a chance to actually play around with Android for the first time.

Now for a big fat disclaimer:

  • I’m certainly no technical expert.
  • This is not a review of Android, or Samsung phones.
  • I understand I’m using a low-spec phone with an old version of Android.
  • Therefore this is not, nor is it intended to be, a fair, equitable or comprehensive comparison of Android vs iOS.
  • ALL it is, is a list of things I do and don’t like about using this phone with this version of Android.
  • This is something of a concession on my part, given that otherwise I never would have given Android a look in.
  • Both operating systems have different things to offer which will appeal to different people, it all depends on what you want in a phone.
  • I guess my ultimate point is: I can now better appreciate why people like Android phones and would prefer them… but I’m still going to buy an iPhone 5 when I get home. ;P

If you’re after a comparison between Android and iOS you can find plenty of proper articles on the subject – this is certainly not one of them!

Things I like about using Android:

  • Easy sync with Google. Everything I do (email, contacts, calendar) is Google-based, so all I had to do when I turned the phone on for the first time was log into my Google account and everything synced automatically. (Of course I had all of this on my iPhone too, but it did take a little longer to set up.)
  • The mail app displays my Gmail labels and I can add and remove them from the phone.
  • I can see all the places I’ve starred on Google Maps (from my computer or on the phone) in one view. (As opposed to only one pin at a time on the iPhone.)
  • Downloadable Google maps for offline use. (I’m hoping when iOS6 gets rid of the native Google Maps app Google will bring out their own that lets you do both of these things on the iPhone.)
  • The map compass seems faster and more reliable.
  • Swype. (Especially since the screen is so small on this little phone that I usually miss the letters I’m aiming for if I try to punch them in individually.)
  • Automatic notification when there’s an update available for an installed app.
  • Wifi availability notification is more subtle and useful.
  • A discreet ‘R’ above the phone signal reminds you roaming.
  • There’s no barrage of pop ups about the fact you have data roaming turned off when you open your email or maps.
  • Links automatically open in the main browser, not a slow half-assed browser built into the app.
  • Widgets.
  • Drawing a pattern to unlock.
  • Having a back button.

Things I don’t like:

  • The screen is so small and low res it makes Alex’s 3GS look like it has a retina display. XD (I know this because it’s a low end phone and nothing to do with Android!)
  • Scrolling can be quite laggy (again, I’m sure this is the phone).
  • The OS design is not as intuitive.
  • There’s no easy backup option as far as I’m aware (eg to a computer or an equivalent of iCloud).
  • You get too much information about each app and in the settings. (I know some people would argue this is a good thing, but because I’m not that techy I’m happy for all this to be hidden behind the scenes like it is in iOS.)
  • No sync with iTunes. (Again, I know many people would consider this as a plus, but I love the way I have everything organised in iTunes.)
  • The SD card dismounts itself randomly, tells me off for doing it (which I didn’t) and then any apps saved to it disappear until the issue is fixed (normally with time or a restart).
  • It’s not obvious if you’ve closed a program or if it’s still running (except for Skype).
  • Can’t zoom in on emails for a more accurate copy and paste.
  • The touch screen buttons sometimes just simply don’t work, no matter how many areas you tap in (once more, no doubt due the fact it’s a cheap phone).