Saturday, December 15, 2012

Back to Android

The last weeks have been a whirlwind. After patiently waiting for the Samsung Galaxy Note II to come out on Verizon for three months, I snapped. On Friday, November 23, 2012, which is also known as "Black Friday", I bought the HTC Droid DNA.

Why would I buy the HTC Droid, if I wanted the Galaxy Note II? Two good reasons at the time. One, I wanted a large screen, the Droid DNA has a large 5 inch display with a stunning 441 pixels per inch. Two, I knew that the Galaxy Note II was coming out in less than a week, so if I had buyer's remorse, I could "easily" exchange the Droid DNA.

Since the horrible exchange experience I suffered through is not the topic of this story, I will quickly summarize it:
  • Two phone calls to *611 which is Verizon's customer support
  • Three trips to three different Verizon corporate stores
  • Two long nights of searching for a non-existing paper receipt
  • Unnecessary stress on my sweet wife
I will never buy something again, if I have a suspicion that I will return it. It is not worth it. I will say that the Droid DNA was a beautiful phone, but I was set on a phone with a 5.55 inch screen, which happened to be the Galaxy Note II.

So, how does it feel to go back to Android after having the iPhone 4S for thirteen months? At first, I wondered if I made the wrong choice by leaving Apple's iOS. In order, here is what Apple does better:
  1. The keyboard. I have swype on the Galaxy Note II and it is a fast method of typing. However, the accuracy of hitting the intended characters on the iPhone is still above any Android keyboard.
  2. The e-mail client. I have Gmail, Exchange, Yahoo, and Hotmail. They all worked perfectly well together on iOS. Android needlessly separates your Gmail from the other e-mail clients. Android e-mail syncing is buggy. I will read e-mails on my Android phone, and they will show up as unread when I log into my e-mail account from my desktop. I have my e-mails accounts set to sync on my Android phone, but sometimes I will only see new e-mails, when I physically push for a refresh.
  3. The camera. Both the Samsung Galaxy Note II and HTC Droid DNA capture decent pictures, but with the iPhone 4S I was able to take better pictures. I commend the Android phones for greatly improving their camera's, one example is the decreased time between snaps.
  4. Voice commands. Yes, Google had voice actions first, but like with most things Apple does, they were not the first, just the best to do it. With Android, I have to unlock my phone and then locate my voice shortcut to do voice commands. With iPhones, all you have to do is long press the home button on a locked out screen and Siri comes on.
  5. Pre-installed applications. iPhones come with less bloatware. On my Droid DNA and Galaxy Note II, pre-installed were: Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Amazon MP3, Audible, IMDb, Kites air, NFL Mobile, ViewDini, Verizon Voice mail ($1.99/ month for visual voicemail), VZ Navigator, and Zappos. And that was not including the manufacturer apps.
  6. Accessories. There are more accessories for iPhones. For instance, the Spygen glass, is not available for my Galaxy Note II, but is available for the iPhone 5.
Wow, after making that list, I wonder why I even switched out of the iPhone. But, the most important factor for me was size. To me, size is currently the most significant difference between an iPhone and an Android. If you enjoy working out with your phone, you will enjoy the size of the iPhones. But my biggest use for my smartphone was not a camera or a music player or even a phone, it was as an e-reader. I wanted the biggest phone possible that I could still put into my pocket. The Galaxy Note II is that perfect phone for me.

Here are the things I love from Android:
  1. Widgets. My favorite widget is the calendar widget, which shows me my next four appointments/events.
  2. Most phones like the Galaxy Note II, come with a removable battery and a micro SD slot for more memory.
Here are the things I love from my Galaxy Note II:
  1. The battery life. While previous Android phones were notorious for quarter day battery lives, the Galaxy Note II battery lasts me all day. The iPhone 4S battery would last me a little over half a day. For me battery life was the second most important factor in determining what phone I would get.
  2. The stylus pen. At work, I no longer have to take a paper and pen to write down notes during a meeting. Now, I take notes on my phone with my stylus.

After two weeks of using the Galaxy Note II, I can say to all those people that wanted this big phone, go for it, you will not be disappointed. The only thing I would caution those people is to prepare themselves for the jealous stares of "haters" that out loud call your phone too big. These haters will mimic your phone calls by picking up a tablet and putting it to their ear. But in silence, they are crying out and longing for the Samsung Galaxy Note II.

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