Well, apart from costing me a few friends (you know who you are!), the process was mostly painless.
Here’s the short version: Overall I’m really really impressed – this is a seriously good phone for the money and none of the downsides are that bad. Other than perhaps it being a bit big to operate 1 handed, I prefer it to my iPhone 7.
Here’s the slightly longer version:
- Screen and general UI – it’s a superb screen and the UI is super responsive – no difference from the iPhone XR
- Battery life – unbelieveable – about 3 days
- Robustness – this phone is amazing, it’s properly waterproof and doesn’t break when you drop it (have a look at this if you want to see just how robust https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksX4NAmReeg)
- The Google play store – I think I prefer this to the Apple store – somehow it just seems easier and faster to install stuff
- The way apps are laid out – there are two ways to access your apps and one of them is an alphabetical list of all apps*, and from there you can also copy them to the screens just like on an iPhone. It’s intuitive and means you can keep your home screen(s) clean
- The home buttons – it actually has 3 buttons so there is always a home button, a “view all open apps” button and a “back” button accessible
- The normal headphone plug – I don’t need to remember to carry round a lightning or USB-C to headphone adapter all the time!
- The camera – it’s actually got 4 cameras, normal, wide, macro and telephoto as well as a “pro” mode where you can set shutter/aperture/iso/EV manually. Hi definition, very useable images. Does 4k video if you want it and can live with the file sizes.
- It has a “files” app where you can easily access all the files on the phone just like on a computer (e.g. downloads, photos etc.)
- Just about everything is configurable! The settings are very open and you can even put it in developer mode yourself if you want to configure even more things.
- The fingerprint sensor on the side – it works brilliantly as a fingerprint sensor, it’s just the location of it means I’m always pressing it accidentally and locking/waking the phone by accident!
- Access to my iTunes music – you can’t do it without a £10/month Apple Music subscription – there’s no free version for accessing the music you already own, it’s everything or nothing. So instead I’ve switched to Amazon Music which I happen to have anyway with Prime.
- Apple iCloud Family – everyone else in my family is still on Apple and I can only approve or view purchases from my Macbook now.
- Migrating your WhatsApp history is a massive pain so I ended up ditching it. Not that big a deal as it turns out, quite freeing actually, and looks like I may ditch WhatsApp altogether when they change their data gathering terms & conditions on Feb 8th.
- Downloading photo’s onto Lightroom doesn’t work very well, but then it’s even worse on the iPhone XR so I don’t think I’m missing out.
- Having to agree to privacy notices from Xiaomi (Chinese) and Google – I winced every time I clicked “I agree”
- The size – this is a tall phone and I think it’s probably 25mm too tall as I can’t operate it 1 handed
- The photo processing – although it has a good camera the base images are over processed and have noticeable distortion at the edges. Fine for social media where you want things to ‘pop’ but not great if you want more realistic colours. I haven’t yet found a way to adjust this
*yes, you can do this on an iPhone as well but it takes a lot of swipes
So, how do I conclude? Should you switch to Android from Apple? Who cares! Do what you like! In general I think I prefer Apple’s approach to privacy than Google’s. I guess you have do decide if you would rather keep your cash or your privacy;) I wanted to do it as an experiment to broaden my horizons and see if I could learn anything. I’m happy I’ve done that and I’ll carry on using it for a while and maybe I’ll switch back to iPhone or maybe I won’t – we’ll see!