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Topic # 223161 15-Sep-2017 20:40
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Having been a dedicated iPhone user since 2011, I'm seriously considering switching to Android.  My reasons are many - the limitations of Apple are starting to bug me, my iPhone 6 is gradually getting slower, and I'm intrigued about getting a proper smartwatch that isn't an Apple Watch (which doesn't excite me at all).

 

However, I know nothing about Android.  Zip.  I'm aware of a few of the flagship handsets (Samsung, Google, HTC, Huawei), but I don't know anything about Android as a system.  So I'm looking for advice from "Android" people, or people who switched from Apple, on which handsets are good, what things I should be aware of, generally any useful advice.  Currently, I'm quite enamoured of the Note 8.  I played with one in store yesterday and I was quite impressed by it.  I quite like the stylus (I generally like stylii with my devices), and the size felt a nice step up from my iPhone 6 without being too ridiculous.  The screen looks fantastic, and the wireless charging will be a boon.  I bank with BNZ, so being able to use Android Pay would be a nice extra too.

 

I'm also looking for advice on a smartwatch.  Again, quite taken with the Samsung Gear S3, especially the rotating bezel which seems like such a natural use of the typical watch feature. It also feels like such a James Bond thing.  However, I've read that the apps are very limited because it runs Tizen OS rather than Android Wear.  Is this a big issue in reality?  Are there better watches that also do the rotating bezel thing?  My current "smartwatch" is a Garmin Vivosmart which I use mostly for notifications, but it frequently disconnects from my iPhone, meaning I often don't get those notifications.  Is this an issue with the Gear S3 (or other smartwatches)?  Is there advantage to getting the 3G model for that very reason?

 

Also,specifically on the Note 8, I see pre-orders are offering a range of inducements.  Apple never seem to offer these kinds of inducements, so I don't know how common they would be after the phone is finally released?  If I did go for the Note 8, is it worth pre-ordering to take advantage of the offers, or is it likely that similar or better offers will turn up again in a few months?


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  Reply # 1867103 15-Sep-2017 21:10
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Be patient as you move to Android don't use it for one day throw your arms up in the air and give up

Linux

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Reply # 1867104 15-Sep-2017 21:13
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Linux: Be patient as you move to Android don't use it for one day throw your arms up in the air and give up

 

That's some seriously accurate profiling right there...





"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
- John Stuart Mill


 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1867111 15-Sep-2017 21:42
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Things to be aware of:

- iMessage. Make sure you deregister iMessage before you get rid of your iPhone, otherwise you won't be able to receive texts from other Apple users. Also, messages sent to you will appear as green bubbles for other Apple users, and you may get some hate from them because of this.

- Snapchat is crap on most Android devices (in terms of image quality). This is due to Snap Inc not bothering to optimise the app for Android. Snap's CEO even said that he hates Android and it's users.

- Facebook and Messenger apps are battery hogs on Android. I would recommend using the Facebook website instead of the app, and Messenger Lite instead of Messenger.

- Like Snap, many developers/companies treat Android as a second class citizen, as a result you may see some popular apps being released much later on Android than compared to iOS (particularly big name games), or in some cases not at all.

- Speaking of apps, Android's Play Store can be a nightmare, there's tons of crappy apps - some of them can be potentially nasty. I wouldn't recommend installing random apps unless someone's specifically recommended it. Don't go by the reviews because they suck - full of fake spambots and idiots. Also some apps aren't updated in years, avoid them - they may be potentially full of bugs and exploits and may not work well with newer Android versions. I would recommend Android Police, Android Central and Reddit's r/Android sub to get app recommendations. And of course, you can always ask here. :)

- Unlike iPhones, Android phones are only supported for 2-3 years, so bear that in mind if you like to keep your phone around for longer.

- Unlike iPhones, Android devices don't fit very well within the Apple ecosystem (no surprises). So if you're invested in many other Apple or Apple-compatible products, it's best to stick with the iPhone, because you'd lose out on features such as handoff and iCloud sync or lose accessory compatibility.

- Every manufacturer's version of Android is slightly different than the other. Samsung's version is called TouchWiz, LG's is called Optimus UI, HTC's is called Sense UI, Huawei has EMUI and Xiaomi has MIUI. All these versions are what's known as "skinned" Android, and can differ widely in terms of features and looks. Some of these manufacturers tend to preload their phones with crappy apps which you can't uninstall and some features which you can't even disable.

- In contrast to the above, you have what's known as "stock" Android. This generally refers to AOSP, ie the Android Open Source Project, which is the base Android build released by Google that other OEMs and devs build upon. Stock can also refer to variants of Android where the OEMs haven't deviated too much from the AOSP base - keeping the same looks and layout, while making minor additions here and there. These OEMs include Motorola, OnePlus and of course, Google themselves (Nexus/ Pixel devices).

- The advantages of stock Android is that you get faster updates, slightly better performance, no bloatware, fewer bugs and a more consistent user experience. Stock Android devices are also easier to root and receive better custom ROM support. The disadvantage of stock is that it can be quite lacking in features.

Personally I would recommend a stock Android device to someone who's switched from the iPhone, as skinned varieties of Android such as TouchWiz can get slower over time and can develop visible stuttering/lag.

That being said, the Note 8 is a fantastic device and so is the Gear S3. Don't worry about the limited apps on Tizen, because Android Wear is also pretty limited right now so you aren't missing out on much. And as far as I'm aware, no other OEM is doing the reading bezel. IMHO you're better off with the Gear S3 over Android Wear watches because the Gear has way better battery life. Android Wear is nice and all but who wants to charge yet another device every single day? Also, I haven't heard of any disconnection issues with the Gear. The 3G model is nice because you can receive phone calls, text and stream music without having to use your phone (great if you like going on runs / working out).

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  Reply # 1867131 15-Sep-2017 23:03
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d3Xt3r: Things to be aware of:

- iMessage. ...
- Snapchat ...
- Facebook and Messenger apps ...
...

 

Nicely aummed up d3Xt3r. I choose to use Android at home & iOS at work.

 

- Having dual SIM support is also nice.
- So is having expandable storage with a micro SD card.
- The ability to explore more of the file system than just the camera folder.
- Multi account support is better in Android.
- If you are prone to downloading a lot of apps, consider some AV software.
- I find the user experience is acceptable with ratings equal to or greater than 4.3
- I do love the ability to have a portable Wi-Fi scanner on Android.
- There are different launchers available changing the complete feel of the phone. Google has Google Now, Microsft has Arrow and the stated by d3Xter, the manufacturer generally use their own to skin their devices.
- Having the back button is great, even though it does not work consistently. Sometimes you'll go back to a previous menu item, sometimes back a page in your browser history or back to the previous app you were using. You'll have to learn how your launcher handles the back button.
- Just like the double tap on the home button on iOS, you have the task switcher button (these days generally represented by a square). Some manufacturers are kind enough to have a 'kill all' option here, some don't.
- No peeping & popping with 3D touch.
- The ability to have more than one app store.
- Microsoft Windows phones and Android previously had a guest / kids mode. This meant limited ability while you hand your phone over to somebody for whatever reason. Rarely used but I think quite handy feature.
- If you are into that kind of thing, you can contribute to AOSP.
- The ability to use the web interface of the Google Play store and remotely trigger an installation of an app onto a device of your choosing linked to your account.
- Previously, searching for an app on the Google Play store and not finding it because your handset wasn't compatible. Very frustrating.


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  Reply # 1867162 16-Sep-2017 00:59
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Some great tips above.

 

 

 

As already stated, one of the nice things of iPhone is you will get updates for 3-4 years both security and features. This is not the case with a lot of Android devices, inc Samsung. To avoid this you can go with a vanilla android device, like the Google Pixel for example. A Pixel 2 is due soon. 


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  Reply # 1867205 16-Sep-2017 09:35
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The inducements are great if you are confident in the handset you are buying. Just be aware the promotions can be for limited stocks of the extras. When I ordered my S8 the inducement was a 256GB SD card. The phone was delivered (picked up from NL) but no card. When I enquired they said the demand had been underestimated and they were on back order. After another two weeks of it not turning up I got them to change the deal and sell me a Gear S3 at half price. In the end happier with that and buying a 64 GB card than the original promotion.
For the base functions expected of a smartwatch the Gear S3 is fine, Tizen and all. If you are trying to do a bit more, particularly more advanced interactions with your phone, then it is slightly more limited than Wear. The hardware however, is beautiful. The bezel and button interactions are great. The connection it has with my phone is streets ahead of either of the LG or Sony watches I own. I find I often finish the day with the battery on my S8 still above 70% because a lot of the time I haven't needed to pull my phone out of my pocket.
I have written to Samsung and suggested they need to make more of the Samsung phone/watch combination.

Android is definitely more 'geeky' (still) than iOS, but it can be successfully used straight out of the box. To get the most out of it, it does need to be tweaked though. Most GZers are more than capable of that.

Some other things to consider that may or may not bother you;
Firmware updates take ages to filter through because they have to go through Google-OEM-Telecom approvals before getting space on the servers to be available.
If you buy any device other than a Samsung be prepared for a very limited range of locally available accessories.


Apps are definitely not as polished as iOS. While there is a standard for layouts and operations, it is not as strictly enforced as Apple's is.




Areas of Geek interest: Home Theatre, HTPC, Android Tablets & Phones, iProducts.



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  Reply # 1867400 16-Sep-2017 21:06
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Thanks for all the feedback guys.  Lots of stuff to digest there.

 

Firstly, I'm okay with the whole blue/green iMessage thing.  I never got why people get so angry about that.  I thought it was pretty straightforward - if it's iPhone to iPhone then it goes as a data message, but if it's not then it's a simple SMS message, and the colour simply differentiates that.  I tend to use Viber or Telegram for most messages, and only use SMS/iMessage for people who I don't know on Viber.  So I don't see that as an issue.

 

I don't care about/use Snapchat, but the app thing does bother me a little.  I find it weird that apps on Android are so poor compared to iOS, given that Android has such a bigger market share.  One of the reasons I've been pondering a move away from iOS is because some apps are becoming slow/buggy.  For instance, Viber often takes 5-10 seconds to get to a usable state.  But I hadn't realised that Android may be similar or worse.

 

The "life" of an Android doesn't bother me too much.  I've had three iPhones over 7 years, so the average is a little over 2 years.  When I upgraded from my iPhone 4 to a 5S, the older phone was definitely past its best.  The upgrade from 5S to 6 was more about a rare opportunity, but having used it for nearly 3 years, it's done a pretty good job.  I could probably eke another year out of it, if I really wanted to, but history is showing me that about 2-3 years is about my average for a smartphone.  With that in mind, are Samsung's flagship phones more likely to be supported than other Androids?

 

I haven't invested in the Apple ecosystem, other than the apps I've bought in the App Store (not many).  I haven't even made real use of the iCloud.  Where I do feel a little conflicted is that my wife is invested in the Apple system, and we had been using Family Sharing for apps.  I feel, weirdly, a bit like I'm abandoning her and going over to the "dark side." 

 

The "stock" vs customised Android does make me pause.  I feel like I should lean toward the stock versions, for maximum support and upgradeability, but the only handset which has really grabbed me is the Samsung Note 8 and S8+.  It seems like the stock android handsets are a little less "exciting", but maybe I'm not looking in the right places.

 

Incompatibility of apps might be a worry, and isnt something I've ever had to worry about with iOS.  Does the issue relate to popularity of handset? i.e. would something as "popular" as a Samsung Note likely be more compatible than other handsets?  Also, is it just an issue for some niche apps?

 

Are there any firm recommendations for handsets other than the Note 8?  Someone mentioned Pixel 2, but that still hasn't been confirmed, let alone released.

 

And can anyone say whether Android handsets, like the Note 8, are likely to be offered with bonuses after their initial pre-order phase?  The reason I ask, is if they are then it may not be important to pre-order before the end of this week.  But if the inducements all dry up once the phone is actually released, then I might be tempted to buy sooner rather than later.

 

On the smartwatch question, how long do people expect the watch to be "useful" for?  It's one of the things that has bugged me about the smartwatch concept.  For me, a watch should last a long time, if not a lifetime (if its a good watch).  I have an EcoDrive watch that I fully expect to last the rest of my life, but I don't think I could tay the same about a smart watch.  However, I could probably get on board with it if it lasts longer than a smartphone (i.e. 3+ years).

 

 


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  Reply # 1867402 16-Sep-2017 21:23
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In terms of a watch. The apple watch is pretty good and one of the best out there for a fitness ans smart watch. But you need an iphone to have one. YOu also need a recent iphone to get updates for the watch OS, so if you have a apple watch and an iphone 5, you won't get the next watch software update unless you buy at least an iphone 5s phone.  Not sure how the android watches  measure up in terms of features etc.

 

I can't see an apple watch though lasting much beyond 3 years as an actual full smart watch, as you need a phone with it that continues to provide it with updates. But it potentially it could last a long time as more of a dumb watch. I just wonder how long apple will provide software support to old apple watches for, as the hardware will eventually be too slow for all the features they add.

 

 

 

In terms of apps support, I don't think you can really go past the iphone for the number and reliability . I have android on a second phone, and much of the overall interface are way better than the iphone, and the iphone has gradually introduced  a lot of those features overtime.


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  Reply # 1867403 16-Sep-2017 21:30
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lxsw20:

 

Some great tips above.

 

 

 

As already stated, one of the nice things of iPhone is you will get updates for 3-4 years both security and features. This is not the case with a lot of Android devices, inc Samsung. To avoid this you can go with a vanilla android device, like the Google Pixel for example. A Pixel 2 is due soon. 

 

 

 

 

I wonder if there has been any research as to which type of phone works out cheaper over 3-4 years. I know with my samsung galaxy  it only got updates for about a year before updates ceased, and it wasn't long before apps wouldn't support the old versions. Also it became unusable due to it being jerky and laggy with the latest updates, which isn't something that has happened with older ios devices with ios updates, except for the ipad 2, where ios 7 or 8 made it almost unusable. So that experience turned me off android. 


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  Reply # 1867405 16-Sep-2017 21:42
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A Google Nexus 5X is a good way to ease into Android. It's stock. It still gets the latest updates. Use it for 6 months. Learn Android. Then get the best phone available.

I've wanted a Google Pixel, but I just can't bring myself to spend $1300-1400 on a phone. Same reason I haven't upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy S8 because I can't get over the feeling they are taxing us for the failure of the Note 7 with the steep price of the S8.

Google phones are the way to go, IMHO. They get the latest updates and aren't cluttered up with vendor apps. I use my SGS7 and Google Nexus 5X daily. The latter is usually on my dash doing nav duty.

(EDIT: I shouldn't post from my phone. It's max-typos every time.) 





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  Reply # 1867412 16-Sep-2017 22:49
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The note pricing does reinforce that flagship smartphones are going up in price. The iPhone is also a case in point if you want the flagship model. IMO that low and mid range phones have got a lot better. Low range can be a bit of a gamble still but mid range ones can offer similar functionality to top models.

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  Reply # 1867414 16-Sep-2017 23:06
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Lizard1977: ... I never got why people get so angry about that.  I thought it was pretty straightforward - if it's iPhone to iPhone then it goes as a data message, but if it's not then it's a simple SMS message, and the colour simply differentiates that.  I tend to use Viber or Telegram for most messages, and only use SMS/iMessage for people who I don't know on Viber.  So I don't see that as an issue.
Then you are not the target market to send laser shows and rising balloons or confetti with your loud or slamming messages.

 

Lizard1977: ... Incompatibility of apps might be a worry, and isnt something I've ever had to worry about with iOS.  Does the issue relate to popularity of handset? i.e. would something as "popular" as a Samsung Note likely be more compatible than other handsets?  Also, is it just an issue for some niche apps?
The 'searching for existing apps and not finding them because of incompatible hardware" was a while ago. To me, it feels less prevalent these days. I mention it because it might trip you up.

 

Linuxlover: ... is a good way to ease into Android. ...
Excellent advise. Practice with a cheaper model, between $300 - $700, and then make the switch to a flagship phone. Phones under $200 are generally under powered. The practice will highlight what irks you & what works. You can maybe even practice flashing the phone without the fear of bricking a $1000+ piece of equipment. After you've seen how it works, then upgrade to the flagship. By that time, the Pixel 2 will also be available.


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  Reply # 1867427 17-Sep-2017 06:53
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I've done this twice and both times have gone back to apple. The last time I tried a Samsung S7 Edge and hated the fact that I had to wait so long for the latest OS update. I also use a smartwatch and the Gear S3 is nowhere near the capability and polish of the Apple watch.

 

I moved to a Google Pixel XL and that was a really great phone and received regular updates. If you are going down this path I would definitely opt for vanilla Android. 

 

One thing to know is that resale value on Android devices is lower than that of Apple in my experience.

 

Basically, Apple just works across its entire ecosystem. With Android (especially non-vanilla) I found that there was always compromise and if you want a smartwatch or tablet, it just does not compare.





When you live your life on Twitter and Facebook, and are only friends with like minded people on Twitter and Facebook, you are not living in the real world. You are living in a narcissistic echo chamber.

 


My thoughts are my own and are in no way representative of my employer.


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  Reply # 1867472 17-Sep-2017 10:41
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mattwnz: The note pricing does reinforce that flagship smartphones are going up in price. The iPhone is also a case in point if you want the flagship model. IMO that low and mid range phones have got a lot better. Low range can be a bit of a gamble still but mid range ones can offer similar functionality to top models.

 

True! The mid-range phones of today are also often the flagship phones of 1-2 years ago. In some cases they can be even better. The SGS6 16mp camera is better in my view than the 12mp cameras on the SGS7 or 8....and the SGS6 is a lot cheaper and is still a fast, powerful phone.   





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  Reply # 1867677 17-Sep-2017 20:19
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If you like the Note8 I'd jump on the preorder right now. The bonuses will dry up immediately. Then your best shot will be wait 3 months for its price to drop in the parallel import shops.
In my recent experience, the Samsung phones with the latest UX is far more polished and cohesive than the spartan pixel/nexus experience.
I came from a 3GS Apple to Android Note 2 and never looked back.
With regard to watch longevity, I have a Sony SW2 which is from 2013. I expect to get another year or so out of it. The biggest issue is that the software platform has been abandoned by it's manufacturer for years. Stuff seems to still work, but I'm thinking I have to be realistic at a 5year life.

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