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Diary of an iPhone defector gone Android

My name is Stephan. I’m not a writer or a journalist, though I was asked to write about my experience transitioning from an iPhone to Android for Recombu. 

I was what you would have probably called an, ‘Apple fan boy’. Macbooks, iPads, iPods, iPhones, I’ve spent a fair few thousand pounds on gadgets sent forth by the almighty deities up above in Cupertino. Replacing each Apple product with each yearly refresh, I’ve stayed loyal to the brand, convincing friends and family to get themselves suckered into the Apple ecosystem. I don’t regret it, and I don’t think they do either.

This year I’ve been feeling a little lost and confused with the direction Apple has been taking me though, and now, everybody has an iPhone. The sheen has worn off, the special factor long gone. Thanks to Apple’s ubiquity, and their new identity, I’m a fan boy no more. 

Is it because of Steve Jobs’ death? Am I just bored? Either way, iOS7 didn’t fill me with much excitement, more embarrassment and I’m ready for a new flavor of mobile OS.

I’m a jail breaker

I’m not a hardcore techy, but I like to tinker with my gadgets. I jail broke my iPhone and in my opinion, donned it with some much needed wow factor. 

Of course, Apple doesn’t want anyone to ‘jailbreak’ its phones. It can cause irrevocable damage and could void your warranty, not to mention curb the control the mighty hand of Apple has on your experience. 

For me, it only enhanced the experience while still retaining Apple’s once unrivalled quality. I was hearing murmurs that other manufacturers were playing catch up in the Android camp for a while; now, it’s time for some defecting.

Pre-buy

I researched some top of the line phones that could match or outmatch the iPhone 5. The Samsung Galaxy S4 was the most apparent, unsurprisingly. 

I’d had several Samsung phones in the past and I knew a few people with the Galaxy S2 and S3. They claimed they were great alternatives to the iPhone. But I needed something a little more special. 

Then I came across HTC. Not a company I was very familiar with. The HTC One, their latest offering did have a certain wow factor though. This was painted by the media as their make or break phone, a kind of one last chance. Review after review, it came up trumps. On paper, it looked great, I was almost sure I had found my new phone.

Day One – The dawn of a new age

I’ve just bought a phone. I’m opening the box. I’m entering a new world: Android. I’m embracing a brand new, incredibly slick HTC One. Taking it out the box and holding it is a real pleasure. The aluminum is cool to the touch and cool aesthetically. It’s big, really big, much, much bigger than an iPhone. 
For its size and metal construction though, it isn’t too heavy. I’m instantly impressed, daunted, excited, eager to fire it up.

It’s on, it’s bright, it’s loud, its all alien to me. 

I’m a little overwhelmed with the options and features I have to admit. It’s time to just get tinkering.

Day Two – Wi-Fi saves the day

Woke up and reached for my…HTC One. It was cold, it made me want to hold it. Play with it. Thank God for Wi-Fi.

Waiting for my micro SIM to arrive in the post so not using as main phone just yet. But already drawn to holding it more than the iPhone. Maybe because it’s new, maybe because it’s bigger. 

The fluidity and speed is amazing. The feature, BlinkFeed is blinkin’ annoying but perhaps I will get used to it – or just kill it.

I’m already looking into changing and tweaking it. Overclocking the CPU is of interest too. This rooting malarkey needs some investigation. I keep pressing the middle of the phone to go home. I wish I could turn the HTC logo into a button, but I suppose even Androids aren’t that customizable! 

Day Three – Hack, slash and hardware niggles

The modder in me came out this morning. 

I’ve been researching all about rooting the HTC One. I went ahead and downloaded a stock Google Edition ROM, rooted and flashed it. 

It is now a sleek, fast, fresh (BlinkFeed free) phone. 

My main issue at the moment is the HTC home button. More to the point – the fact it isn’t a button at all. 

The home button is on the right and the back button on the left. Quite disorientating when you’ve just had the one button for the last 5 years. 

Another wee nag is the power button at the top of the handset. I’ve got piano fingers, but even this is pushing it. It’s just a big phone and I felt as thought the button should be on the right?

Hardware niggles.

Day Four – Juicy juicy

I did some battery comparisons between my iPhone and the HTC One. I noticed it takes longer to charge the HTC. It’s got a much bigger battery, so that makes sense. 

I messed around and managed to enable fast charge which helped though – success! The drainage is good and all in all, coming from the iPhone, I’m impressed.

Feeling confident with the phones OS now. In fact when I do have to go over to the iPhone for various reasons, picking it up is like picking up a child’s phone. Basic, simple and boring. And more importantly, I’m noticing the screen is just too small for me now. I thought it was better once – it’s worse.

I also bought a mobile battery pack from Maplins 10,000mAh. Should keep it juiced up nicely for trips abroad.

Day Five – Hardware issues! What hardware issues?

Fiddled around with different themes, tweaks and apps. Total customization is easy and there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of restriction. 

As I have rooted the HTC One, I get more access to more modifications than Android generally permits, but to be honest, Android lets me change what I need. 

Otherwise everything is there already. I overclocked it. That was fun. Pumped it up to 2gHz and it was much faster, but the battery life waned. 

I’ve now under clocked it now so I can gain perhaps 10% more battery. 

What’s even more fantastic – remember my gripes with the HTC logo not being a hope button? Remember my resentment of the hard to press home button? Both issues have been put to bed. 

After installing a new kernel, all I have to do is swipe the HTC logo and it’s on. Smart! XDA devs – you rule!!

Day Six – Sounds good to me

On the train listening to Spotify and was blown away with the sound quality. Although not a Beats fan, this added hardware and software feature certainly pumps up the volume and quality. 

I listen to a lot of music on the go so I am very happy to hear/see this. Finding more tweaks and apps that are allowing me to transition from an iPhone user to android more easily. On the downside, I was walking around today and I noticed I had to use two hands to write.

I felt as though it was perilously dangling from my hand. This is something I never did with the iPhone. Disadvantage? Maybe. But SwiftKey, a keyboard app. It makes typing seem effortless. It’s the first thing I recommend downloading! I found the stock Android keyboard to be terrible.

Day Seven – 95%

The iPhone has been sold. It’s out of my life and I am adjusting beautifully. Lifting the HTC out of my pocket and holding it is such a pleasure. And after days of tweaking it to just how I like it, I am 95% sure I made the right decision. Still the issues with power button and home button bug me, but that I was able to do something about them is huge. 

Conclusion

It’s been over a week. My iPhone has been sold and I am now left with the HTC One. Did I make a mistake? No.

Of course, it’s a whole new format and infrastructure using the Android system. It did take me some time to get used to certain things. 

The honest truth is I did also at one point worry that I could not go back to the iPhone. That was before making the switch though. From the off, since getting it, the HTC One did at the very least what I needed it to do. In turn, I’ve quickly come to realise, it’s just better for me.

I’ve already pulled the HTC One out in front of people who’ve been doing the ‘ooooing’ and ‘aaaaaing’ I once got when I took my iPhone out. It has made me love my phone again. I use it with pride. I still have an iPad Mini and Macbook and wont be giving them up, but phones are changing and evolving quicker than tablets and laptops. 

So, my little iPhone, for me at least, I’m afraid you’re no longer the best in the class.

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