I’m a mobile device junky. In my technology job, I’m fortunate that I get to work with popular mobile devices including Apple iPads, Android tablets and smartphones and Windows mobile phones. But when it comes to the smartphone I carry around full time, I’ve been a long time Android user, starting with the original Motorola Droid which came out in November 2009. I bought it on the first day it was available. Since then, I’ve had two HTC smartphones (the Thunderbolt and DNA) followed by the Samsung Note 4. I used the Note 4 as my full time device for a year. But I was becoming increasingly frustrated with it.
In my job, we offer mobile apps to our customers which are used for our major conference events and for our private discussion communities. I have to test our apps on lots of devices. And although Android has been my smartphone choice for years, I started reconsidering when the iPhone 6s announcements came out.
I’m a Verizon Wireless customer, primarily because they have the best (or at least one of the best) networks in the U.S. Several months ago, they rolled out Android lollipop (5.0) to Samsung Note 4 users. I was initially worried because a similar upgrade to my Nexus 7 tablet had rendered it almost unusable, due to horrible performance issues. That was eventually resolved thanks to a later 5.1.1 update combined with a factory reset. But since Verizon often controls when and if their customers ever see Android updates, I worried about the future of my phone.
My Samsung Note 4 was a pretty good device before the lollipop update, but after Verizon pushed out 5.0, I began having call quality issues and performance problems. I tried a variety of potential resolutions to no avail. I eventually decided to abandon my Samsung Note 4 smartphone in favor of the Apple iPhone 6s Plus.
Things I Like about the iPhone 6s Plus
- Speed: It’s fast. Everything responds quickly including switching apps, loading apps, and taking pics. In contrast, my Note 4 has routinely been sluggish in all of those aspects.
- Built-In Find My Device: The Find my iPhone service (if my device is lost or stolen) is built-in and works well.
- Great camera: It has one of the best in a smartphone today.
- Safer apps: With Apple’s app store, you’re less likely to download malicious apps due to Apple’s more rigorous restrictions and app inspection process. I also feel less of a need to install an antivirus app in contrast to the Android platform.
- Finger print (Touch ID): I love using this rather than a PIN number or pattern, in contrast to my Android experience.
- Do Not Disturb: While there are 3rd party Android apps to offer something similar for Android, I really like the built-in feature to set a schedule that turns off alerts and rings, with exceptions permitted for important family or friends.
- Most Apple Apps are better: This isn’t always true, but I’ve usually found Apple versions of apps to be better than their Android counterparts. There are definitely exceptions but some of the most interesting apps have been built for the iOS platform. For me, one app that I use regularly which isn’t as good under iOS is the Yahoo Mail app.
- Lightning Connector: It’s nice to have a connector that isn’t keyed up or down. It inserts easily without confusion.
- No Crapware: As a Verizon customer, I have routinely been plagued with bloatware / crapware on my Android phones. Especially frustrating is that you can’t remove the pre-loaded apps. They can be disabled so they don’t run, but you can’t remove them.
- Device OS Upgrades: With Apple, as soon as they release a new version of their iOS, users can download and install it (unless your device is really old). In contrast, most Android phones are sold through the carriers and/or device manufacturers, and it can take many months before a user might see an Android update for their phone.
- Extensive Market of Accessories: With Android phones, the market is so fractured with numerous brands and models that it can sometimes be difficult to buy 3rd party accessories for your specific smartphone. With Apple devices, it’s just the opposite. There are TONS of options.
Things I Don’t Like
- The 6s Plus is a tad heavier: At a weight of 6.77 ounces (192 grams), it’s about 8% heavier than the Note 4 at 6.21 ounces (176 grams). The width, height and thickness are quite comparable but the weight increase, even though relatively modest, is something I noticed.
- No Dedicated Back Button: After years of having a dedicated button for “back”, this is one of the things that stands out for me. But I suspect I’ll get used to it.
- Safari / Mail scroll speed: I find the slow scroll speed of Safari and the Mail app to be rather infuriating at times. You can’t flick your finger to scroll quickly. For web surfing, I’ve downloaded Chrome as an alternative browser which scrolls much faster. But I miss the fast flick speed for mail.
- Flashing Indicator Light: My previous Android phones had an LED light that could potentially flash with a different color to notify me of messages or alerts that were waiting. I miss it but it’s certainly not a deal breaker.
These devices are so sophisticated and feature-rich that one could write a War and Peace length book about them. Definitely not something I want to do, but I think I’m going to be quite happy in my switch to the iPhone 6s Plus.