I’ve been an avid Android user since pretty much the dawn of Android. I started with Eclair 2.0 on the LG Ally and have used it all the way up to Kit Kat without missing a beat. What does Android have to do with this article, you might ask? It has to do with a lot. I’ve been a part of the ever-evolving community of smartphone users that influence the general public on what phone to buy since smartphones are one of the biggest if not the biggest part of my world as an IT professional. A few years ago, I wouldn’t be caught dead with an Apple product. As time has passed, your desire to have more evolves. So what happens when an iPhone 6 lands in the hands of a long time Android user? Read on to find out!
I have always been a fan of the iPhone’s design. The chamfer edges of the iPhone 5’s design is still my all-time favorite design in a smartphone, but this year’s offering is missing this design language. Instead, Apple has elected to round the corners of the phone. The display is using curved glass for the first time on an iPhone as well, which I am a fan of (the glass looks like it’s melting off the side of the phone.) On the back, there is some weird design going on with metallic-colored lines underneath of the camera lens, which protrudes slightly to where you cannot place the phone on a flat surface without a case. The lines make the phone look like a sports-field, giving the back of the phone an awkward appearance. The power button has been moved from the top of the phone to the right side, like an Android phone. Since I am already used to it, I have had no problem turning the phone on and off, but to returning iOS users this is going to take some getting used to. The volume buttons are in their usual spot on the left side and are much bigger and longer. On the home button, the fingerprint scanner has returned. In all honesty, the phone is still very attractive, but is my least-favorite designed iPhone since the 3GS.
The curved edges compliment the incredible thinness of the phone so that it does not dig into your palms. Apple most likely realized they needed to do this so the phone would rest in your hand better. As with all aluminum phones, it feels sturdy. The phone is incredibly light, and the thinness makes you feel like the phone could bend at any minute if enough pressure is applied. The screen size is 4.7 inches, which means for most men the phone can be used with one hand. The buttons on the side feel sturdy and feel like they can withstand the use of time of constant pressing/clicking. The home button, however, feels like it will give out pretty quickly over time if it is used heavily. Overall, the phone feels like it will last, but probably not longer than a year/year and a half.
I’m using this article to rant a bit about my incredible dislike for spec arguments, as for the past year I feel like smartphones have reached a point where hardware is more of a meaningless point unless it is battery life or the camera. The processor is Apple’s A8 processor, which is a 64-bit dual core processor clocked at 1.4ghz. The phone also has 1GB of RAM (I am not sure if it is DDR2 or DDR3.) On paper, for any Android fanboy, this may seem terrible for 2014’s standards. The only thing I can recommend to anyone that seems to doubt the performance of this phone is to pick one up and use it. Performance is literally flawless on this phone. One of my biggest gripes of Android is that these spec-packed phones pack all the power in the world to handle an OS, but yet I still seem to find lag in doing the most minute of tasks, such as text messaging, e-mails, and even swiping down my notifications or browsing my apps through the app launcher. Swiping through my home screens and notifications on my iPhone is absolutely perfect, there is literally no lag to be found at all. Apps launch fairly quickly, games run fluid and well. There’s no lag writing e-mails or text messages, notifications and messages received while composing messages do not slow down or lag the phone, which is something every android phone I have ever had suffered with (although I am blaming SMS for this mainly.) I have had zero issues with the fingerprint scanner, it opens my phone every time I scan it with zero issues.
This is how every flagship phone in 2014 should perform. There is absolutely no excuse for any phone these days to lag unless they’re a mid-range or lower. I can’t stress it enough that any phone will run well enough if it is optimized well enough to run on its hardware, which is what the Moto-X did so well last year.
Since there are not enough review fields in here, I will lump reception in with performance. Reception is better than my G3, but it’s worse than what I had with my Sony. I never dropped calls in my usual areas I drive with my Sony Xperia Z1, but I do with my G3 and I have with my iPhone. Not as bad, but the issue’s still there. The antenna could be better.
Sound on the iPhone is pretty good as well. I can hear people clearly on the earpiece, and the speakerphone is loud and audible. Music sounds great streaming over bluetooth and in headphones, and I cannot complain.
Packaged with the iPhone 6 this year is iOS 8, which has remained largely the same as iOS7 with some feature upgrades. You now finally have notifications in your swipe-down bar from the homescreen. It’s a nice addition, but they’re severely lacking compared to Android. There’s no single button that clears them all at the same time, and they’re arranged by apps. Some apps, like your e-mail for instance, give you multiple notifications over a period of time. If you don’t clear them, they’ll stack on top of each other. In a few hour’s time, you’ll spend 30 seconds+ clearing out notifications . Pretty cumbersome.
Folder arrangement is still the same, by dragging one icon over another you automatically create a folder, which will name itself based on the type of apps that are going into it. Since there is no app launcher, your homescreen becomes a cluttered mess, and you almost have to make folders to keep the clutter down. Unfortunately, if you arrange your apps in different folders based on the type of app they are, you’re still going to have a mess of folders and tiny icons all over the place. One of my favorite things about Android was that I could drag the apps I wanted to use in my quick launch bar, allowing me to have an icon-free desktop to look at some pretty awesome HD wallpapers. And since Apple preloads your device with at least 15-20 apps, maybe more, this is pretty much impossible.
iOS 8 is not without its fair share of bugs, either. I have noticed opening up my camera app that it thinks the phone is upsidedown, and even when I snap photos they’re upsidedown as well. I’ve been a victim of the keyboard disappearing in text messages and in Facebook messages as well. Since this is also a bigger screen and form factor, I have had an issue with some games force closing on me. No big deal, as the same issues existed when the 1080p screened smartphones came along with Android. Developers will adapt, and these issues will disappear soon enough.
Before the iPhone 6, I was using the LG G3. I thought it was awesome that my phone had a laser, and the autofocus was insanely fast on it. I could snap pictures pretty quickly (unless I turned on HDR, then I waited 6 seconds or longer between photos) and the digital image stabilization did pretty well at not blurring the photos. However, when the lighting dimmed, I felt like the digital image stabilization disappeared pretty quickly and most of my pictures were blurry.
Along comes the iPhone 6, touting focus pixels on it’s 8 MP sensor. I’ve grown accustomed to having cameras with more megapixels, so finding out that the iPhone 6 only had 8 still was a letdown. Using it, however, has completely changed my perception. First off, so my first short paragraph about my LG G3’s comparison fits in, the auto-focus on this phone is fast. Insanely fast. Faster than my G3, and it had a laser. What do these focus pixels exactly do, one might wonder. They focus on everything in your camera’s range, so that when you snap a photo, little to no blurriness is to be found. I’ve snapped photos in my moving car with no motion blur whatsoever and immaculate detail. The best part? It does this in low-light too. Granted, this phone’s focus pixels is also paired up with digital image stabilization as well, so you have two technologies working together to create one gorgeous image. iOS 8 also includes a new mode called auto-focus lock, which by pressing your finger on the screen will cause the phone to lock its focus on whatever the camera was focused on. This makes shooting macro photography easier and more possible. By doing this you can also swipe down or up, causing the exposure to get lighter or darker, whichever you prefer.
If you are not satisfied with your photo, you can edit the photo in the photos app. There’s filters which you can adjust much like Instagram, and you can crop as well as rotate and skew the photo to your liking as well.
I can sum the camera up in one sentence; this is the best camera on a smartphone ever. Colors are natural, they’re not over-saturated and colors are neither warm nor cold, they’re just right. Skin tones are nearly flawless and perfect, and noise in low-light is minimal. The 5S was nearly there in terms of overall performance, the 6 is there. This is the benchmark of camera phones.
My only drawback is still the megapixels. Having more meant more detail in crops, which would make the macro photography even better, but I cannot complain, as the pixels are bigger than standard pixels in other smartphones and crops still look good enough.
Listening to my friends and my girlfriend constantly complain about battery life on previous iPhone generations was a bit scary. Fear not, as this battery gets me 8 hours of on-screen time with auto-brightness settings which for the standard smartphone user will get you through the day. It’s not impressive by any means, nor is it even close to its competitors in terms of overall endurance, but it is better than my G3, and it’s considerably better than previous iPhones.
So what is the iPhone like to a long-time Android user? Pretty decent, actually. The performance screams, the camera is the best on the market, and the new 4.7″ form factor is very good for my hands. It does come with its shortcomings, however, such as an average battery, some software bugs, a cumbersome notification system, some durability issues, average reception, and the lack of overall control and customization. It feels like the iOS platform is starting to open up a bit, which is a great start for a company otherwise known to be in complete control over its user experience. This will most likely lead to me purchasing a new iPhone every year, which is possible thanks to T-Mobile’s JUMP, but it also means that I will be switching back to Android as well. Both platforms have their pro’s and con’s, which makes your buying experience pretty difficult right now. But if someone had to ask if I would recommend this phone, I would answer with a definite yes.