In this series, I will talk about my transition from being an Android user for almost a decade to an iOS one.
Up until now, I was using only Android devices and not just any Android devices but the flagship ones. In the recent years, I’ve had an LG G3, a Samsung Galaxy S6+, and a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. At the moment I have a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus. Unfortunately, the last one came with lots of issues (I had to return it three times since it had various problems) and I decided to purchase the new iPhone 8 Plus and try to use it as a daily driver. However, it is not that easy as I thought it would be.
If you think that this review will be biased, you are right. It will be. I cannot erase eight years of experience just like that. So, here it goes.
I started by unboxing it. The first thing that I saw was the phone, which felt … already old. Huge bezel on the top and huge bezel on the bottom. That screams old to me. Given the fact that up until now I’ve used the latest Galaxy S phone, the iPhone feels like it was released three years ago. Yes, the build quality is unmatched, and it looks flawless, even with the glass back. But with phones like the S8, the LG V30 and the Note 8, it feels old, man.
The screen looks good. Very good actually. Even though it is 1080p and still IPS, it has a great color calibration and good outdoor visibility.
Right after that, I started with the setup. I was given the option to restore my apps and data from my Android device. I decided to start fresh, so I can install and configure everything myself and get the most of everything. That went great, and I’ve got to see the main screen, a.k.a the launcher.
The only thing that I can change on the main screen is the positioning of the apps. That threw me off a bit, but eventually, I got used to it. Still, sometimes I am double tapping on the touch ID hoping to see my screen’s wallpaper.
I started installing the apps I want from the App Store, and the next thing that bugged me was that the whole process is a bit tedious and I started thinking that maybe I should have used the “move from Android” feature I was offered with in the beginning. Funny enough, right there I was presented with a freeze. Two times, when I tried to install an application, the App Store just froze on the waiting process and never continued. I fixed that by restarting the phone and attempting to install the app again. Nevertheless, it was a brand new iOS release, and probably still has some minor bugs.
In the process, I came to the conclusion that I rely A LOT on Google Stuff. I installed Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Sheets, Drive and the Google app. Here I stumbled upon my other issue. It seems that the Gmail app has some issues since when I turn the phone in horizontal mode, the app was just freezing and the only way to fix this was to close the app and reopen it. I tried to reproduce this with the Inbox app. There everything seems to be working just fine.
Using the iPhone 8 Plus
The next thing I wanted to do was to change my ringtone. I’ve heard if you don’t use iTunes this will be hard and it was. After searching the Web for a good 30 minute period, I was able to change it using an app called “GarageBand”. Yey!
Then I started to use the phone actively. Facebook, Instagram, making calls, etc. I expected the phone to be superfluid and working without any hassle. Well, my friends have lied to me. There are occasional lags here and there. Not going to bash much on that though, as I said, it’s the first release of the new iOS, and probably they are still figuring some stuff out. Despite that it has the most advanced CPU in a mobile device, it is not faster than my S8+ in the everyday tasks.
One of the new things in this iPhone is the Files app. Despite the name, however, you cannot browse your files. The application combines all your cloud storage accounts in one place, and that’s it. The feature itself is very useful – I can browse my iCloud and Google Drive accounts from one place. However, I expected to have a bit more freedom.
I also tried the Bluetooth connection in my car. The link between the two devices was created with no issues. However, when I was switching from Spotify to YouTube or the opposite, the connection was dropping, and I had to connect again. Never had this issue with other phones.
Another thing that genuinely annoys me is that I cannot set a default app for a browser, music player, etc. As I said, I rely heavily on Google and prefer Chrome over Safari and Gmail over Apple’s alternative. Now I have to deal with the following:
- If I open a link from Facebook, it opens in Facebook’s In-App browser.
- If I open a video from the same app, the In-App browser is launched again and not the YouTube app. This means that the quality of the video cannot be changed.
- If I open a link from Gmail, it opens in Chrome.
Weird and inconsistent. Something that I did not expect, to be honest.
The keyboard is not very customizable as well. I like the number keys, which you can add above the regular keys on almost every keyboard app on Android. However, here I was not able to find a setting which can allow that. Other than that, it works just fine.
The calls were pretty good. The voice coming from the Galaxy’s earpiece was more clear, which is weird because when I listen to some music from Spotify or YouTube, the sound is great. The sound quality is miles ahead from the S8 & S8+. More for that, however, in the second part of this review, where I will talk about the good stuff in iPhone 8 Plus.
To sum up
Most of the things mentioned above are just features that exist in Android from a long time. I can and most probably will get used to the differences. However, iOS has been developed for ten years already, and it bugs me to know that I am paying a ton of money for a device that does not allow me to make even slight customizations that can ease my experience with it.
Stay tuned the second part! There are a lot of good things in iPhone 8 Plus which will be discussed in it.
EDIT: The Gmail app works fine after updating to iOS 11.0.2. Not sure if they fixed something but I thought it is worth mentioning.