Thursday, April 17, 2014

Goodbye, iPhone

Last weekend, I got a new smartphone.

I hadn't meant to swap up my phone so soon, had meant to replace it in June. I also hadn't made up my mind about what phone I wanted. Did I want to upgrade to the latest iPhone? Did I want to move over to Android? How about those Windows Phones?

I'm never tied to a brand. I am loyal to no corporation. I own a Windows PC and an iPad. My laptop is made by HP and I hook it up to an LG monitor. The TVs in my house are Insignia and Samsung. I shoot photos with my Nikon DSLR and my Canon compact cameras. My cars have been Pontiac, Chevy, Toyota, Datsun, Honda, and Ford.

I have coffee apps for Starbucks and Bridgehead.

The only issue I had with moving away from Apple for my smartphone was that I would lose some of the apps upon which I have come to rely. My favourite app for cycling, Cyclemeter, is available for Apple products only. Same goes for Tweetbot, which is what I use for mobile tweeting. HootSuite, which I also use (though, I really use it on my laptop), is only available for iPhone and Android.

In breaking with Apple, I thought it might be best to go with a Windows Phone because I feel it will be easier to integrate with my home computer. And while I'm not crazy about the tiles for Windows 8 on my laptop, I liked the ease of use on the smartphone.

The next major factor for choosing a new phone was the price. My provider was offering the Nokia Lumia 625, with Windows 8, for free, on a two-year contract (contracts don't bother me, especially since I was going to unlock my old iPhone). For an iPhone 5s, under the same contract, it would cost more than $400.

I went for the Windows Phone.

That is to say, I'm testing it. I understand that this is a pretty basic smartphone, but my needs are simple. I want to be less reliant on my device. I found that I couldn't walk away from my iPhone, that I was on it all the time. I was addicted. So far, with my new device, I've been on it only when I've been customizing it and restoring some of the apps that are still available (I almost freaked out when I learned that the Starbucks app is not supported, but settled down when I found the Bridgehead app).

I have 15 days to decide if I like it. And so far, there are things I like, other things I don't like. I like the ease of navigation. I'm not planning to load up the device with tons of apps; just the "essentials" (my social-media apps, communication apps, note-keeping tools, and photo-related apps). No games. I love how I can scroll to the tiles that I've set up and quickly access the apps I need.

I like the size of the screen. With my failing vision and my constant forgetting of my glasses, this screen is much easier to read than my iPhone.

I like how I don't have to deal with the controlling and un-intuitive iTunes for setting up my music. I'm still dealing with a learning curve with the Windows Phone app, which lets me quickly drag and drop the tunes I want, but I'm getting the hang of it and it's much faster.

I like the integration of many of my social-media tools, such that I can check Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail in one place. Awesome.

I like how the phone knows when I'm getting in my car or van, and the Bluetooth automatically syncs and shuts off all apps, except for the phone and text messages. And it will read my texts to me through the hands-free speakers. My old iPhone 4 didn't do that.

But I do have a make-or-break issue with the phone: the other day, when I plugged my Windows Phone into the USB port in my car, I expected it to sync and respond to the voice-command system of the car (my car's console runs on Microsoft, after all). But the car failed to detect the device through the USB connection (it did connect with the phone, through Bluetooth). When I wanted to listen to my music, it only played through Bluetooth, only played one song, and the sound quality was poor.

I love my music. When I'm not listening to CBC Radio while driving, I'm cranking my tunes. This is a deal-breaker.

I have reconfigured my music on the phone and will try it again. But I'm now doubtful.

Also, I listen to my music through my device when I'm at work. On my iPhone, I would use my noise-cancelling headphones. But, because of how the headphone jack is angled, I have to remove the phone from the protective case to get the jack all the way in. And some of the jack is exposed. 

I don't like that.

I don't know if I will keep the device. If I don't, I can try an Android phone. I'm eyeing the Samsung S4.


Update: in the time since I wrote and sent this post to publish, I have replaced the Windows Phone with an Android. I'm now test driving a Samsung Galaxy S4. I would still love to hear your thoughts on your smartphone pick.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ross. On Monday I swapped my BBC for the Samsung S5. I'very haf Samsung tablet since January which replaced my BBC play book - yes I'mean of the few that bought one.

    I like S5 so far. Synchs well with Outlook for all my contacts and calendar using Kies. It's fast and nice large screen.