And so far, I like it..
It’s been a while since I sat down and wrote on this site. A lot has changed in my life and the world of technology in those couple months (I have become an avid gamer, it would seem). The biggest out of these changes, at least in the intersection set of technology and my life, has been the fact that I have stopped using my beloved iPhone 6s Plus and have decided to explore the pastures on the Android side of the fence. In the two weeks since I’ve taken the plunge, I must say that the grass, indeed, does seem greener around here to me.
But let’s reign in our horses and slow down a bit. Why did I decide to make this change, one that I didn’t think I’d be ever making after experiencing the warm embrace of the simplicity and solid performance of iOS? Why did I decide to call it quits with my two-year-old iPhone 6s Plus even though, every time I pick it up, I marvel at its design sensibilities? Switching to Android also means leaving my Apple Watch, a product I have sung praises about a lot, behind, so, why did I do it? I’ve, over the years, also spent quite a bit of money on the App Store, so, there must have been something really big to make me abandon ship. I don’t know if the reason is big enough or not, but I ran out of space, like, every day.
I bought a 16GB iPhone 6s Plus in 2015, a couple of days after it was released in the US and a couple of days before it was released in India. Why? I’m glad you asked. I wanted the latest and greatest that Tim’s team had to offer and didn’t want to sell my organs to buy it. So, ya, 16GB it was. But, over the course of two years and the increases in app sizes and the data iPhone stores, that 16GB has become woefully little. I don’t have a problem with storing photos. I take a lot of photos and use the excellent Google Photos for my photo storage needs (I haven’t run out of Google Drive storage yet, so, I’m even able to back my photos up in full resolution). But, these apps, I tell you. I deleted Facebook a long time ago because of the space it used to occupy (the battery drain it causes didn’t help either) and this influx of parents and relatives on WhatsApp which has led to me being a part of 20 groups which I have put on mute of a year hasn’t been kind to my phone’s storage space either. This led to dreaded ‘out of storage’ messages every day which led to me having to clean my phone more often than I clean my face. At the beginning of March, on a sunny afternoon (summer has already arrived in India!), tempers rose, swear words were uttered and I decided that it just wasn’t working out.
Like any other creature of logic and limited means, I decided that buying a 128GB iPhone, even one from the last generation, (32GB wouldn’t cut it and if it did, have you seen the prices of those things these days!) didn’t make sense. iPhones, notoriously, also don’t have expandable storage. I also have two SIM cards and was having to use two phone because iPhones are too cool to offer two SIM card slots. And, I was just pissed with Apple for wanting all my money for selling me a phone with decent storage space. I looked at the Moto G4 sitting on my table, with its expandable storage, dual-SIM capabilities, TurboCharge, and the lack of interest in harvesting my organs and decided that I would take the plunge and switch to Android for a bit to see how things are in Google’s garden.
What that meant was that I also had to part ways with my Apple Watch, arguably my favourite piece of tech. Note that I’m in the market, selling my 17-month-old iPhone 6s Plus and 12-month-old Apple Watch. But, hey, that meant I could explore the Android Wear side of things. Android Wear 2 has made Google’s trailblazing smartwatch platform (which lost most of its steam in 2016) much better and I could buy an Android Wear 2 compatible watch for less than what my Apple Watch will fetch me when I sell it. I researched and researched and bought a refurbished Moto 360 Sport. So, ya, I’m using Moto G4 and Moto 360 Sport as my daily drivers these days and in the next few weeks, along with catching up with all that I missed in the last couple of months, I’ll be writing more about my experiences with Android, Android Wear and my two Motos. That said, here are a few quick thoughts based on my couple of weeks living the Android life.
- I missed being able to customise my phone to my heart’s content. Apple’s focus on simplicity doesn’t allow for much more than changing your wallpaper in the name of customization. On Android, taking cues from my friend Matt Birchler, I downloaded Action Launcher 3 and made my Moto G4’s software look and feel like Google Pixel’s. (It didn’t stick, though. Moto G4 is still a budget smartphone and works the fastest when used with Google’s default launcher which is quite light on system resources). I also love the fact that Google’s Wallpapers app sets me a new wallpaper every day. Like Wallcat on my Mac, this ensures that my phone never feels stale.
- I didn’t think it would be, but having an ambient display showing me the time all the time without having to turn my wrist, is a big convenience. Android Wear – 1, Apple Watch – 0.
- Moto G4 might be a budget smartphone which sells at around INR 12k, but if someone didn’t tell you that, you wouldn’t be able to guess its price by the performance it puts out. Things are very smooth most of the time and though there are these occasional hiccups (especially with it taking some time to load my home screen after I exit a heavy app), the phone surely punches above its weight.
- One thing that iOS surely does better than Android is the notification markers. Android badly needs those. I have 200 unread emails. I didn’t even realise that! iOS always ensured that I cleared my emails because I didn’t like those red dots marking my home screen breaking my peace every time I looked at my phone.
- I don’t miss 3D Touch. I do miss the iPhone’s excellent camera, though. This is one area where Motorola cut corners. But hey, it’s one-fourth the price of the iPhone 6s Plus.
- Also, I quite like Moto G4’s design. The plastic is sturdy and the phone feels really light and in a sea of metal slabs, the G4’s grip-y back design has its own personality.