My Nine Month Android vs iOS Road Test
I’ve gone on record many times before with my displeasure and overall hatred of PCs and Windows based devices. Yes I was quite vociferous in my Apple Vs PC debating several years ago but now I feel that I’m well and truly beyond that and happy with my choice. My only gripe is having to rely on a PC in my work environment where I still find myself shouting the common phrases of an Apple user, “work”, “come on” and my favourite, “DO SOMETHING!!” at my 8 month old work laptop. So, to the point here. Back in May, I had a go on a friend’s Nexus 7 and found to my surprise that I actually thought it was quite good. Up until then I never considered buying an iPad as I had my iPhone and could never really see a use for it. However, seeing the 7 inch tablet work it was nice, portable and the OS was pretty impressive. Therefore, to the point of this post.
The main thing that captured my attention was the quality of the touch screen and it being (nearly) as good as an iPad. As it’s portable, cheaper than an iPad and pretty cool I though I’ll go ahead and get one. This was the introduction to my first Android device and living with three different operating systems to really compare what’s what between them. So after nine months of owning the Nexus 7, here’s my thoughts and opinions on where it succeeds and fails.
The Touch Screen
As I mentioned above, the touch screen is pretty good – actually pretty good indeed. I’ve played around on many phones and tablets and for me none of them ever match up to the smoothness and the ease of use of an Apple device. The Nexus is smooth, very responsive and overall very easy to use. However, after prolonged use certain issues suddenly start to appear. Firstly, using a Tablet for anything other than passively reading/watching stuff and the odd social networking is pretty pointless. Typing an email becomes long winded and quite irritating. Solely because of the size of the keyboard, which requires more than just a thumb to type. My emails started to become spelling-error laden and grammatically questionable. User error? I definitely think not. Here’s three of my main gripes of the Nexus touch screen:
1: When typing, it simply can’t keep up with the speed of your actions. Letters get missed out even though you did press them and there needs to be a significant gap between pressing to allow Android to understand it. I find myself constantly having to rely on the predictive text to type and this is like going back to the old Nokia phone days.
2: Whilst browsing the internet everything works fine until you have to click on a link. Quite often the Nexus doesn’t recognise which link you have clicked or can’t place if you want one or the other. It then brings up a zoom to see which one you want – if your lucky that is – or it will just select a link that maybe next to it. Apple devices most definitely do not behave in this way and I never struggle on my much smaller iPhone the way I do on the Nexus.
3: This is relating to point 1 above. When typing and you make a mistake, you need to go back to fix errors or add more text. Putting the cursor back to where you want to go just doesn’t happen. I eventually have to touch in several areas just to get it in vaguely the correct location. Then it’s a matter of grabbing the selector to the place that you want (if it lets you). Something that I found in the upgraded versions of iOS is much simpler to use and much faster.
Touch screen: Fail
To be honest, this is the part that I was not expecting. With the increasing rise in Android devices it would be daft to think that the array of Apps would be less on Google’s app store. Also, it would also be daft to think that the Apps would work differently on Apple and Android devices. Wrong to both. What really shocked me and then frustrated me even further was going on to the Play store and finding that the App I want isn’t compatible with my device. Say what?! So, when someone releases an App they don’t make it for all Android devices? That’s utter pantalon merde! Now there’s an instant disappointment that I can’t have one of my favourite Apps on my tablet. Every single App in Apple’s App store will work on any Apple device…isn’t that the way it should be?
Next problem is the Apps themselves. I use the Sky News App quite a bit as well as the Facebook App on my iPhone so when I first installed them on the Nexus I had a shock. The user interface was a bit rubbish and it didn’t have the features that I was used to on my iPhone. Why would that be the case? How come the Apple Apps are so much better? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. The biggest gripe with this though it that either I’m very unlucky or it’s the Apps don’t work as well and are full of bugs. My favourite one is the image below which I see on a regular basis with my Sky News App.
The Apps: Fail.
It’s not all doom and gloom as some things are pretty good. The speed of Android is probably its party piece and is always reliable. I like the way I can switch between Apps with relative ease as well as viewing the history of all the Apps I’ve been using for me to quickly switch between. Yes, top notch that and equally as fast as iOS.
The Speed: We’ll call that one a draw.
(My apologies, I don’t actually know what Google have called it but it’s the equivalent of Siri). I’ve played with Siri a little bit and my overall opinion is that it’s bollocks. There’s quite a lot that it doesn’t recognise as well as the annoyance that certain features are only available in the US. Google’s version is pretty good and does deliver relevant results.
Voice Activation: Success
I can see why they’ve done it and it does make it quite a success. However, the Google account syncing across all devices success is also it’s biggest failure from my point of view. Whilst browsing the net, hanging out, sharing info, downloading Apps, chatting and emailing all of that is being scooped up by Google for personalisation. My dislike of this is mainly down to my job. Without going into a lot of detail here, when you are signed in to Google all of that information becomes hidden to us and only known to Google. If Google were to succeed in having everyone signed in whilst they did everything, all of that data would disappear and the internet marketing industry would be severely handicapped. No Google, keeping this data for your own advertising is just wrong!
Privacy: Epic Fail!
I like this app and it’s great on all devices. However, I don’t want people to see who I’ve been hanging out with. Stop that Google!
Google+: In spite of the latter point, success.
Transfer of Stuff
Microsoft devices don’t like playing with Apple devices. It’s always been and always will be a bit of a negative user experience until they just learn to get along for the sake of us the customers. Plugging in my Nexus to my Mac was an interesting experience as I wanted to find out if I could put music or photos on it. That turned out to be a bit pants really as I couldn’t get anything on to it. iTunes is pretty crap and I’m not defending it. However, on a Mac if you want you can ditch it and use something else to manage your music. You can even download another version of a music burner and use that…maybe even use something like Spotify to import all your music into. Maybe a bit of user error on this one but I still found it pretty rubbish how it didn’t really allow me to transfer anything from my Mac to the Nexus.
Transfer of Stuff: Hmm…fail I think.
Hmm, there are a few positives but it’s mostly a fail for me. It’s slick, fast and has the second bast touch screen on the market but I’m sorry I prefer iOS. What is quite interesting here though is that for the best user experience of Operating Systems, it might be best to stick with one to truly appreciate the cloud based syncing and compatibility. All Apple, all Google or all Microsoft. So now it’s just down to choice.