On Wednesday, December 18th, I decided it was time to give up my Nexus 4 Android for an iPhone 5s. This was a move that most of my close friends recognized to be life changing. Here is a guy that has been pro Google everything for years and he is dumping his Nexus 4 for an iPhone 5S? There has to be a darn good reason! Well, here is my story.
My Smartphone History
I guess now is the time to go over my brief smartphone career. In late 2007 I had the misfortune of purchasing a Motorola Krave clear flip phone. At the time I thought it was the coolest thing since ICQ. Suffice it to say that this particular model was not the smartest of phones. It was my first touch screen phone but the technology was terrible. Texting on this phone drove me absolutely bonkers. In late 2009 I knew it was time to make a switch. The iPhone 3GS it was. I purchased the phone in September of 2009 and I was in love.
My first “smart” phone – The Motorola Krave
This was a smartphone that was actually smart. I could check my email, browser the Internet and even play Angry Birds. At the time I had no social media so Facebook and Twitter apps were not even on my radar. The only apps I had on the iPhone 3GS were time and money management apps. When I would travel I would make the $1.99 purchase to get a map or tourist app. All was great in the Wojdylo smartphone land until 2011.
In September of 2011 I was due for an upgrade and I was ecstatic when I heard the iPhone 5 was going to be announced by Steve Jobs in the summer of that same year. If you remember correctly, the iPhone 4 had some issues with the design and the antenna that wrapped around the phone. I was ready for a revolutionary mobile device that was going to change the world. Steve walked on stage, had a smile on his face and subsequently announced the iPhone 4S. What?!? You are giving me some chick named Siri and that is it?
I was furious. I had waited patiently for this amazing iPhone 5 and now I have going to have to wait another entire year? At this point I decided I would give Apple a few months to come out with something different. There were rumors in January and February of 2012 that the iPhone 5 would be coming out by Memorial Day weekend. Once again, I was super excited. Well, Steve Jobs was getting very sick and Apple was dropping the ball with the latest iPhone in the early part of the year. I was still toting around my iPhone 3GS while everyone else had an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S. I was so frustrated that I didn’t even download the latest iOS.
I actually had the white one but the iPhone 3GS looked like this.
In March of 2012 I hoped on Google+ and started to ask about the newest iPhone versus Android. For anyone that has never been on Google+ you must understand that the user base is very pro Android and anti Apple. After doing a little bit of research I decided to break down and buy the latest Android phone that was available at AT&T. In late March 2012 this was the Samsung Galaxy SII Skyrocket. How can a phone not be awesome with a name that included Skyrocket? This thing could take me to the moon!
One of the main reasons I purchased an Android phone was to utilize the Google tools. Apple had decided they wanted a Google-less phone and here I was using Maps, Gmail, Adsense, Analytics, Google+, Trends and every other Google product available. That search thing was pretty big in my life as well. For the first few weeks I learned how to use the Android operating system. I was never a guy that wanted to customize everything about my phone. I dove into Android as much as I could and was enjoying the ability to access all things Google at all times.
I will admit, the Samsung Galaxy SII Skyrocket was not as pristine as the iPhone. It had more of a plastic casing and the feel was not the same. It was much lighter but not as durable. I dropped it a few times and the back popped off. This never happened with an iPhone. One of the features I did enjoy about the Galaxy SII Skyrocket was the ability to take out the battery. I am a smartphone user that must have a battery that is above 80% at all times. I start to go into coniptions if my battery gets close to 65%.
My white Samsung Galaxy SII Skyrocket on AT&T
This was a huge issue with Android. It was nearly impossible for me to keep my battery at a level higher than 50%. With all Google services running on my phone I had about three to four hours of battery life before I started to run low. Note that I was a heavy Internet and app user at this time. Unlike my iPhone 3GS I did use the Skyrocket to run all kinds of apps including Twitter, Gmail, Google+, ESPN and others. At any given time, I would have 10 or 15 apps open. By December of 2012 I had fully grasped the Android operating system but there were little things that were starting to irk me.
One of the main issues I had with Android was the apps that would stay open. This is such a problem with Android that “Advanced Task Killer” is one of the most popular apps. This should tell you something. It is almost like Windows on a phone. Remember all those random Windows programs that would open just because? Well, it is similar with Android. The GPS is another huge issue with Android. When you turn GPS on it completely drains the battery. Remember, this is a guy that wants his battery above 80% at all times. If I turned the GPS on for more than 10 minutes the battery would sink well below 80%.
Enter Ingress. In early December 2012 I downloaded Ingress; an augmented reality GPS game based on landmarks and monuments. I fell in love with Ingress and started playing several hours a week. Heck, I drove from Raleigh to Wilmington and all the way to Richmond, Virginia just to hit some portals. Unfortunately, battery life was a huge concern. If I played Ingress for an hour my Skyrocket was completely dead. As you can imagine, this is not fun when you have driven three hours just to capture some portals. I know, that is a me problem.
I decided to buy a second battery for my Samsung Galaxy SII Skyrocket solely for Ingress. By late January and early February I realized that Ingress was taking up way too much of my time and it was time to pull back. This was the same time the Nexus 4 became available to the masses. Prior to February of 2013 you had to get on a waiting list for the Nexus 4. When it became available in the Google Play store I dropped the $300 for the pure Google phone. Who wouldn’t want a Google Android phone that gets the latest operating system the day it is released to the public?
The updates to the operating system is another huge issue with Android. Each and every Android phone gets the newest operating system at a different date. There are some Android smartphones that are still running operating systems that are two or three versions old. I am not going to get into the technical reasons for this but I think it is silly. Why should a Samsung Galaxy SII Skyrocket be running an operating system that is completely different from the Nexus 4? All Apple iPhones are running the same operating system. I digress…
I was very excited about finally having a pure Google phone with the latest operating system. I was running Android Jelly Bean and it was amazing. I could do anything and everything with my smartphone. I later found out this was a problem. I was doing anything and everything with my smartphone. When I went to a sporting event or to a movie I was on my phone checking apps or updating Google+. I was also checking my email and looking at Twitter. There was never a moment when I was not fully connected to something on the Internet, mainly a Google product.
My all glass Nexus 4
A major concern with the Nexus 4 is the fact that it is made of glass. Yes, the entire phone is glass. If you drop it on its side or on its back you are going to break it. While at a golf event in Raleigh I dropped my Nexus 4 from about three feet and it shattered the entire back of the phone. There was absolutely nothing I could do. The phone was still functional but it looked terrible. Mind you, I have never broken a phone in my life. I have dropped phones but never broken them. It is also difficult to find accessories, such as cases, for the Nexus 4 because you have to purchase the phone through the Google Play Store.
A few more months went by and I started to notice that my Nexus 4 would have a new “system update” every single morning I woke up. Yes. Every morning. Not the Sugar Ray song. This drove me crazy; once again, not the Sugar Ray song. Even when I did not want apps to update they would. One that was a huge problem was Swiftkey. Anyone that has an Android knows there are hundreds of customizable keyboards available. This sounds great to a new user but it causes all kinds of problems down the road. I was a fan of Swiftkey just because it memorized many of the words and phrases I used. Unfortunately, every single time Swiftkey updated Android reverted back to the stock Google keyboard. This would happen at least a few times a month.
By the time November 2013 rolled around I was fed up with all the random updates and the over customization of the Android operating system. I know there are millions of smartphone users out there that love the ability to customize the font of the apps on their phone. That is not me. I want a smartphone that maintains battery life and can do the basic functions of a phone which is call other phones! Also in November I decided to curtail my Google+ usage because it was taking up too much of my life.
I was a guy that was updating Google+ over ten times a day. I would use my smartphone for many of these updates. Anytime I went to an event I would take a photo and post to Google+. When I went out to eat I would mention it on Google+. When I was writing a new blog post I would share it to Google+. I had to admit to myself that I was using social media, particularly Google+, way too much.
In December 2013 I got sick for the first time in several years. While sick I would pick up my Nexus 4 and checked my Gmail and Google+. As you can imagine, little things started to get on my nerves. I then deleted the Google+ app from my Nexus 4 and decided I needed a change. On Wednesday, December 18th I woke up to an email from Sam’s Club stating the iPhone 5S was on sale for $119. Count me in!
Buying my iPhone 5S
On December 18th, 2013 I was still sick as a dog but I needed to get out of the house and do something. I went to Sam’s Club with a hop in my step as I was getting the brand new iPhone. Maybe even the gold one! I asked the salesmen what options were available and he said the gold iPhone 5S was available. He put my information in his computer and explained I was not due for an upgrade until March 2014 which would have been two years after I purchased the Samsung Galaxy SII Skyrocket. I was heartbroken. He said I could call AT&T and ask them to bump up the date because it was the holiday shopping season and it wasn’t that far away.
I made the call to AT&T and they explained I could get the gold iPhone 5S but it would be $199 and I had to purchase it from AT&T directly. I decided this was fine as I wanted to get away from the Android operating system. The AT&T employee was extremely nice as he explained the phone would be overnighted to my apartment. I was going to have my new iPhone on Thursday. I had little concerns about getting the phone from FedEx because I knew I would simply turn the iPhone on and it would be ready to go. It is not complicated.
My gold iPhone 5S. Ain’t she a beaut?
On Thursday, I received my phone around 4:00 pm est and the rest is history. By 4:45 pm my phone was ready to roll with all the apps I needed. I downloaded Twitter, Snapchat and Fandango. Everything else can stay on Android and out of my life. No Google+, no Facebook and definitely no Gmail. This has been a truly life changing experience as I am no longer connected when I leave my apartment. If clients want to contact me, they have to call. If friends want to eat lunch, they have to actually hear my voice. It has been glorious.
Why the iPhone is Better For Me
Even though I toned down my online social interactions I still like to be social. As much as I love Google+ it is still not the social hub I desire. I am a huge sports and entertainment fan. Some of my more enjoyable online social events happen to be centered around live events. At this point, Google+ has very little, if any, interaction related to live events or sports. Twitter dominates that arena. Any time I do not want to purchase a UFC fight or I want to know the score of a college basketball game I can hop on Twitter and get an update within seconds. Not only can I get a score update but I can get a first hand experience from someone at the event.
The latest iOS update integrates Twitter beautifully. You can drop photos into Twitter and it will Tweet within seconds. One of my biggest complaint about the Nexus 4 was the terrible integration of Twitter. Well over 40% of the time I would try to tweet it would fail to send. If I was trying to tweet anything with media such as a link, YouTube video or photo it would fail over 90% of the time. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I tried to tweet a photo of a golf course and it failed to send. It was very frustrating.
Not only is Twitter far superior on iOS but so is Snapchat. Three days after I purchased my iPhone there was a Snapchat app update; only for iOS users! Remember, this is the same app that was available on iPhone for three months prior to coming to Android. This is all too common with the more popular social apps. They are released on iOS and months later there is a version for Android. Unfortunately, the Android version is never as good. Just another reason the Apple iPhone is much better for me.
Ok, I get it. I am a social butterfly when it comes to a smartphone. That is not for everyone. I completely agree. Many of my friends do not have Snapchat and they tweet three times a week. Even if you take out all the social apps, the iPhone is far superior to the Nexus 4. The camera is 10 times better. This isn’t even a debate. I compared the two cameras side by side and the iPhone wins hands down. The battery life of the iPhone is amazing. Since I have purchased the iPhone I have not had the battery below 50%.
Just last night I went to a college basketball game. I live tweeted, shared three Instagram videos and texted with my family members during the entire three hour event. By the time I arrived home my battery was at 68%. If I were using my Nexus 4 it would not have made it to halftime of the game. No way. No how. If you enjoy a phone with a very strong battery there is no questioning which phone is better.
The iPhone is Not a Google Phone
Apple has been adamant about making the iPhone Google-less. When I purchased my iPhone there were zero pre-loaded Google apps. No Gmail. No Google Maps. Definitely no Google+. At this point in my life I am fine with this. I lived for 21 months locked into Google every waking moment. I amassed over 525,000 Google+ followers and I met some amazing people. That said, I have recognized that it is not for me. I enjoy real life social interactions. I know some may say that Twitter and Snapchat are not real life interactions. I agree, but I can participate in conversation with those around me.
When I use Google+ there are very few people within 50 miles of where I live. When I go on Twitter I can find thousands of people updating their Twitter feed with UNC, NC State and Duke college basketball tweets. In fact, the majority of the students I know at UNC are active on Twitter and they have never used Google+. Twitter is a great way for me to see what is going on in the local area. If I want to go to a UNC sporting event I hop on Twitter and see what games are being played that day. If I want to go to trivia night on Franklin Street I can find out quickly on Twitter. These opportunities are not available on Google+.
Apple has done an amazing job of helping people use their phones to make life easier. I can honestly say that my Android phone made my life harder. I had to constantly charge the phone. I was always sending and receiving emails. I was encouraged to use Google+ quite a bit. Once again, I know this is a me problem but it is something I solved very quickly by purchasing an iPhone and removing Android from my life.
As of December 29th, 2013 I have one Google app on my phone – YouTube. I am not signed in and I use it just to check out some of the more popular videos that are trending. YouTube is the place to go for online video so there are few alternatives. I have no desire to download Hangouts, Gmail, Google+ or any Google app. If I need to use a Google service it will be done on my MacBook Air computer. It has been a wonderful experience so far.
The Response to My Switch on Google+
To no one’s surprise, those on Google+ that are pro Android are pointing out all of the reasons I do not know how to use an Android smartphone. This is the exact issue with Android. I am an individual that understands technology pretty well. Heck, I set up this website and make a living off it so I can’t be that far behind. Maybe I am. Who knows? That said, many explained that my heavy usage and little understanding of the operating system is why the battery died so quickly. Umm, I need to write a thesis on using an Android to get the most out of my battery life?
As I stated in the previous sections, I have been able to live tweet an entire basketball game and update Instagram with videos and I have zero concerns with my iPhone battery. Maybe it was Google+ that was draining my Nexus 4 battery. If so, one would think the company that created both products would find a way to make them work together without concerns. Is that asking too much? I bought the pure Google Nexus 4 phone hoping there would be no issues concerning the Google apps.
Some have also pointed out that my lifestyle was the reason I left Android for the iPhone. Umm, no shit? I would call myself somewhat of a computer nerd but not so much that I am only willing to converse with those that have the same passion for customizing the fonts of a smartphone as I do. Since leaving Android I have had so much fun in sports and entertainment conversations on Twitter and, get this, real life! Let’s bring that issue up right now. Many Google Plussers stated that I should have downloaded a third party Twitter app. Why? Why is it so dang hard to use Twitter on Android that I have to download a third party app?
You know what Twitter app works amazing on iOS? The Twitter app! You know what Snapchat app works amazing on iOS? Snapchat! I have had zero concerns with either of these apps on iOS. I grabbed the ole Nexus 4 yesterday and checked my Twitter app. Per the usual, there were updates and tweets that were not sent. The only reason I tried was to see if things had changed in the last 10 days. Same story, new day. If you have used the Twitter app for iOS and the Twitter app for Android there is absolutely zero comparison. The iOS app is far superior. This is coming from a guy that runs the Google Plus Chat on Twitter.
Some have predicted I would be back to Android by the end of the year. I have two Android phones that are running on wifi right now and I can assure you that I have no desire to go back at this point. Once again, it is very important to note that I am looking for a phone that fits my lifestyle. Not a phone that can go to the moon and back with a flick of the wrist. The iPhone has worked wonders for me, but that does not mean it is for everyone.
Over the past 24 hours I have been called everything from an iSheep to a wannabe journalist. I guess purchasing a phone that suits my needs is the wrong decision. Maybe everyone on Google+ can help me choose the smartphone that is correct for me. Sadly, this type of mindset is what has pushed someone with 525,000 followers to use Google+ less and less over the past month. I would imagine I will reduce my personal usage even more in 2014. Google+ is still the best social network for business but it is not a place to enjoy fun and entertaining social interactions. Luckily, the Google+ app does not come stock loaded on the iPhone. No concerns there.