Friday, April 01, 2016

My Android Experience

Last December, my wife's phone died.  Well, it didn't really die, it just stopped talking to cell towers.  Everything worked but she couldn't get calls or texts (even when the phone showed 5 bars).  Great!  Now we need a new phone.

I wanted to get a new Windows Phone but the new 950s were too expensive.  However, I didn't want to get an older phone because I didn't know how upgradable it would be (Windows 10 Mobile had just come out).  On top of all that, I was have a little frustration with some of the apps missing from Windows Phone along with a study that Kristina was doing that required an Android or iPhone.  It was really looking like Windows Phone was a dead end and, with iPhones being so expensive, I decided to try an Android phone.  After some discussion, I gave my phone to my wife and got myself the Android phone.

I decided to get a Nexus 5x.  Nexus phones are guaranteed two years of updates and are sold unlocked so I would have no carrier dependencies and would get security and other updates (these things are important to me and rare in the Android world).  So, after spending 4 months with Android, here is what I found:

Pros:

  • The apps are better on Android; there's more of them and they're usually more mature
  • The fingerprint scan is awesome!  I don't want to call it magical but it's pretty magical
  • The size is great for me - it's the first time I wasn't wishing for a screen that was a little bigger
  • Google Now let's me set timers - it may seem a little thing but I use timers all the time and Cortana doesn't do timers
  • Amazon Music - I use Amazon Music on my Sonos and it's cool to have it on my phone as well
  • Call notifications on my fitbit - kind of cool when it works but no text notifications
  • Thanks to the Chase app, I can deposit checks from my phone


Cons:


  • No live tiles - I tried widgets but they're not even close - no homescreen notification of texts, calls, or emails; now I have to manually pull up the notification screen and it's so full of email and other alerts that it's not always obvious if I missed a text or a call
  • No reading of text messages in my car (bluetooth enabled car stereo)- Cortana would read me my texts and let me respond all via voice; with android I just get an alert sound (I tried some apps that are supposed to do it but they made my phone hot and didn't work consistently)
  • Performance - the phone starts out snappy but some apps (especially chrome) slow it to a crawl; I find that I'm constantly quitting apps so that I can get good performance
  • Phone heats up - this phone gets warm and I find myself quitting apps to cool it down


In the end, I switched back to my trusty Windows Phone and upgraded it to Windows 10.  I am happy to have my live tiles back and Cortana reading me my texts while I drive.  I do miss the fingerprint scanner and a couple of the apps but I really didn't use them that much (Amazon Music may have been the exception but I listen to books while I commute now and the Audible app on Windows Phone is great).

So, I tried Android but I'll be sticking with Windows until I can't any more.  I guess I just like it too much.  Meanwhile, my wife is trying out the Android phone.  I may follow up on her experience later.

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