2 Weeks with an iPhone 6

I’m pretty vocal about my feelings for the iPhone and iOS devices in general. I don’t like them; I think they are too locked down and that they aren’t as feature-rich an Android devices. However, as I should have an iOS device to test on and there are a few seemingly good things about iOS, I decided to get an iPhone and use it as my primary phone for a couple of weeks.

TL;DR: I though the iPhone 6 was OK, but I still prefer Android day-to-day.

The things I already thought to be true before I purchased the iPhone 6 for testing were these:

  1. It’s a well-designed phone, hardware-wise.
  2. It’s got great battery life.
  3. It bar-none takes the best photos of any smartphone.
  4. It has the widest array of accessories.

The iPhone 6 went above and beyond in proving those points to me. I enjoyed the way it felt in my hand and could use it with one hand (more on that later). The battery lasted a very long time, even with heavy use or when using apps like RunKeeper, which uses GPS and keeps the screen on. After using the iPhone 6, I’m more frustrated with my Android phone’s battery life. I can get the same amount of time from the OnePlus One, but it requires some intervening on my part, particularly with GPS and background services.

As for photos, here’s an unfiltered one I took with the phone:

iphone6-pic

I’m not a very good photographer, but that sure makes it seem like I am. Finally, I don’t think it’s any secret that there are way more accessories for the iPhone than Android, but they are also better. The running band I got for the iPhone is much better that the one I got for my OnePlus One, which is actually for the Galaxy S4. The cases are nicer, and there are sites dedicated to photo accessories and the like. I’m going to Disney World in a few days and will be happy to be able to get stuff for it that I could never get with any Android phone I’ve had.

I few things I really liked that I wasn’t expecting:

  • The pull down widget area. It’s incredibly well designed and very convenient. At first I thought it was a ripoff of Android widgets, but it’s not. I think something like that on Android would go a long way.
  • The “One Hand” mode. Double tap the Touch ID button and pull the screen down half way. This is a really nice feature, and as someone with smallish hands, I deeply appreciate it.
  • Lock Screen notifications. There are some simple, quick interactions you can do from them. Android has some similar features, but it’s still worth noting here.

All of that said, I still went back to using Android primarily.

Back to Android

There were a great many things I didn’t like about the iPhone. In no particular order:

  • No back button. That’s a really convenient thing on Android. It’s easy to get back to where you were from where you are.
  • Single place to manage notifications. This was pretty annoying to me, but I’ll chock it up to being used to Android, which allows you to manage notifications within each app. I didn’t like that if I was in an app, I’d have to back out, scroll to Setting icon, tap it, scroll to Notification, find app.
  • Badges. I know I can turn these off, but I hate seeing tons of badges. They give me agita.
  • Touch ID was buggy. It’s nice to have but I still spent a lot of time putting in my iTunes password.
  • Apps! Yes, iOS has a bigger library of apps. Yes, the apps generally look nicer than their Android counterparts (though that gap is closing). BUT…the Google Apps I use are invaluable to me and there’s not a one-to-one relationship between Android and iOS. Google Now is much more robust on Android, as well as more engaging.
  • Siri. Yeah, Siri was as bad as I thought. I tested it against Google Now on the same phone and Google Now is better.
  • That iMessage nonsense. I definitely made sure to turn that off, knowing it would screw up text for me if/when I switched back to Android.
  • Updating broke things that shouldn’t have broke. Like SMS sounds, for example. It’s a known problem, and I had to reset my device settings to get it fixed.
  • It felt delicate. With my OnePlus One, I’m not afraid to toss it around a little. With the iPhone, I didn’t even put anything else in the same pocket.

One thing I’m on the fence about is my general feeling of boredom. I don’t like how locked down iOS is. However, it is nice that I didn’t have to tinker with it; as Colin pointed out, I could spend my time better than just customizing my phone. I felt I was using my phone less, though I suppose that’s not a bad thing.

The Thrilling Conclusion

I didn’t hate my time with the iPhone, but I definitely wasn’t convinced to convert. There are things I’m just used to on Android and prefer. I know it seems close point for point, but the things I didn’t like are weighted much more than the things I liked.

I still plan on using the device for testing, and will likely use it on trips or longer days when I need the battery and want to take nice photos. It will likely be my primary device in Disney World, and when I do some more traveling this summer.