I can already hear the Android fanboys yelling.
“You weren’t using the latest Android device!” “Each Android phone is different!” “You are an Apple fanboy!”
It’s all true. But this review is real. I used a Nexus One for one week while abroad, and this is as unbiased of a review as you will get out of an Apple fanboy like me.
Many parts of Android are straight ripoffs of iOS. That’s ok. Many things are very different. But some aspects of the Android made it completely unusable as a phone. Other aspects made me want to throw it against a wall.
When the iPhone came out in 2007, it wasn’t perfect. It didn’t have 3G, apps, and it was only on AT&T. But it was a perfectly functioning phone.
From my week of using a Nexus One, heavy on calls, SMS, web, and maps, here were my biggest annoyances:
- I could never hear the ringer or feel the vibrations. So I basically missed every single call and text.
- Notifications like missed calls were hidden away in the notifications bar. So I missed those as well unless I explicitly checked. I love hitting the power button on the iPhone and seeing missed calls/texts/notifications.
- Battery life was horrible. Didn’t even come close to lasting a day.
- WORST: When typing, I often hit the “Home” button which lives just below the space bar in the keyboard. Most agravating thing EVER to constantly be taken home.
- Hated the permanent back button. There’s no context to what “back” means. Especially when it would take me to other apps and the home screen. It’s usefulness was random.
- When I was about to depart Paris by plane, I couldn’t remember if I had already switched the phone off. So i tapped the power button. The phone proceeded to boot. Grrr. On the iPhone, you hold power to turn it on. Tapping power or home will light up the screen if the phone is already on.
- Inability to put the phone on silent without turning it on and using the touch interface.
- Poorly thoughtout UI. For example, this screenshot:
On the left we have an unlock icon and an arrow point right. So if I swipe to the right, the phone unlocks. Cool.
On the right, there’s a speaker icon and an arrow pointing left. So if I swipe to the left, the sound turns on. WRONG. In this state, the sound is already on and swiping turns it off. Grrr.
- Generally poor responsiveness, inaccurate geo coordinates in maps, difficulty using two fingers in maps.
It’s all about the polish
For the past 20 years, I’ve been convincing people to buy Macs. There was a point a few years ago when Windows had “matched” everything the Mac had. My argument became tough. “But it just works on a Mac.”
Android is now at the same place vs the iPhone. The feature set looks identitcal, but the level of polish and usability is nowhere close. Explaining this to someone is nearly impossible. You have to use it.
Apple will keep adding cutting edge features like Siri, but the real win is that the iPhone just works.