Here’s my take as a former Android user on the iPhone 6s Plus, but first, a little background. For those of you who follow me on Google+, you’ve seen me grow jaded toward Android and various phones that encompass the ecosystem. Now before you color me an iPhone/iOS fanboy, let me give you a little background my Android usage.
My first taste of Android came with the DROID Eris in the spring of 2010, and I’ve been using Android ever since. Following the DROID Eris purchase, my experience with Android phones included the Motorola DROID, Motorola DROID X, HTC Incredible 2, the DROID Razr, HTC Rezound, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy S4, Moto X, Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and the LG G4.
In that time, I have very much enjoyed Android. From flashing ROMs to putting up with the various quirks that came with the OS. However, like I said in the beginning of this article. I grew jaded. Part of me wanted something different. I wanted something more. I thought about getting an iPhone, but the Android fanboy in me wouldn’t dare. Plus, I was so vested in the ecosystem I didn’t think I’d be able to move.
But then Lollipop came out. It destroyed the user experience on my Note 4. It turned a beast of a phone with the battery endurance to go all day without need for a charge into a typical phone with lackluster performance. I decided to get the LG G4, because again, I wasn’t ready to commit to iOS. I already had an iPad Mini 2 for a tablet, but I wasn’t ready to go all in.
At first, the LG G4 was wonderful, I raved that it was the flagship device to get early on. However, after I wrote that review, my device started to develop issues. The all-day battery life went to having to change the battery and recharge the phone at least twice a day. My phone became laggy, often times taking 30 seconds to a minute to open an app or switch songs in Play Music or Slacker.
Plus, I was sick and tired of having to sacrifice certain aspects of the phone to get others I wanted. If you want a great camera get an S6 or LG G4, but you’ll sacrifice battery life and a more stock Google Android experience. Want an unadulterated OS experience and faster updates, get a Motorola or Nexus device, but you’re going to give up a good camera. None of these devices carried every single aspect. It was because of this that I decided to switch to an iPhone.
I’ve had my iPhone for a week. Thanks to the 13 million pre-orders the first weekend, I had to wait a few weeks. Needless to say I was a bit nervous. However, after a week of usage, here are my initial impressions on the iPhone 6s Plus as a former Android user.
Design and Build
I love the way this phone is built. It’s solid, easy to hold and really isn’t that much bigger than my G4. I mean it’s taller for sure, but not obnoxiously so. My only gripe is that it’s slippery. The smooth metal finish has forced me to have near misses in dropping my phone. I will definitely need a case for it.
iOS has really grown up a lot. No I can’t place widgets or change the icons (which I somewhat miss) but it just seems to work. It took me a few days to find apps to replace certain apps I used daily, but thanks to Keep, Google+, Play Music, and a number of other Google apps being on iOS, it wasn’t too painful of a move. Thanks to a few friends of mine – hat tip to Cristian Colocho and Keith Mathews – I was able to find some good replacements for the Android apps I use. I’ll miss certain Android apps – Chronus, Tweetings and Today Calendar to name a few – but I’ve found OK replacements for most.
3D Touch and TouchID are some really handy features. While there are only a few apps that support it, 3D Touch does add useful quick gestures to my device. Plus, the handy vibrate/click feature when I activate 3D Touch gives me a very simple joy in using it. I look forward to seeing how Android OEMs will implement it into their skins.
As far as TouchID is concerned, this is my first experience with a decent fingerprint scanner. When I had my S5 and Note 4 I had fingerprint scanners but they worked about 50 percent of the time. It’s nice putting my finger on the home button and it unlocking almost instantaneously. I know that Google has stepped up its game with the new fingerprint scanners though, and as such I’m pretty excited to see how fingerprint scanners will be used going forward.
This is probably my most favorite feature of the iPhone 6s Plus. I went from having to switch out the battery and charging several on my G4 multiple times a day to going two days without plugging in. The 6s Plus has rid my fear of needing to be near a charger during the day. Short of the Maxx series, I haven’t had an Android phone get killer battery life. I’m aware Marshmallow adds feature (Doze) that maximizes battery life, so that’s a great feature for Android users, but I’ll get to the downside here in a moment.
With the iPhone, I’ve been able to use my phone consistently and still manage to get about 3-6 hours of screen on-time depending on what I’m doing. With my G4, I’d consistently get about an hour tops. I went a full weekend without plugging in the 6s Plus. I’ve never done that with an Android device.
The camera is decent. I loved the camera on my G4 and the bar was set pretty high. The camera here does what it needs to and I’ve had fun with slow motion. I’ll need to play with it more though. It takes great pictures of my dogs and that’s mostly all the matters.
One of my biggest issues with Android is the lack of updates. Granted I can get a Nexus device if I want fast updates, but then I’d have to sacrifice other things. I’ve mentioned that Android 6.0 has killer battery life optimizations but here’s the rub, I have no idea when I’m getting that update. I know, that’s the choice I make when I buy a phone, but when I turned on my iPhone for the first time, I received the update to iOS 9.0.2 within minutes. I didn’t have to wait six months for an incremental update to hit my phone. That’s huge in my opinion.
Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the iPhone. I haven’t I had any issue with it so far. While I’m interested in seeing what Google is doing with Android 6.0 and the new Nexus devices, the iPhone 6s Plus is the first phone I’ve felt like I haven’t had to trade one feature to get another. Everything on it just seems to work. Don’t me wrong. I will miss a lot about Android. The customization being the biggest aspect of it. Android is a great OS for tinkering and making it your own, Apple is vastly behind in that area, but Apple nails the overall usage experience. Call it simple, call it whatever, but it just works.
I don’t know how long I’ll be with iOS. Perhaps I’m just in awe because it’s a good experience so far – all phones usually are early on, but as of right now, I very much enjoy my iPhone.