Another week of use and the good and bad side of Apple vs. Android start to show
iPhone and me go back sometime. We’ve been through some stuff and created many unique, special memories along the way too – priceless ones that can never be recreated.
But, like anything, there can come a time for change and if not change then a fresh look and a new perspective. By opening my eyes up to Android over the past few weeks it has made me take a step back and look at iOS and my iPhone differently.
Note I say differently – in no way am I about to start shouting that iPhone is rubbish and that I’ve been misguided all these years! Far from it actually – my iPhone 14 Pro has stood up to scrutiny ever so well, but at least now I have that newfound perspective I mentioned.
It puts me in a better place to write about what is good and not so good in the iPhone vs. Pixel and Android vs. iOS wars. As I’ve been using the phone over the past few weeks I’ve been keeping note of the areas I love with iOS and iPhone and the areas that I think Android may have it nailed.
When I bought my iPhone last fall I didn’t have the choice between the Pro or Pro Max. To get my hands on a handset for the launch weekend (kind of important for what I do) it had to be the Pro.
I’ve been happy enough with it too. I’ll always gravitate to larger screens – I just like screen real estate on whatever device I’m working on. In a perfect world, I’d have plumped for the Pro Max and using the larger-screened Pixel 7 Pro this past few weeks has only reiterated that feeling.
The larger screen is easier to type on and work on than my iPhone 14 Pro. So the obvious easy fix then would be just to get my hands on the Pro Max right? Well yes and no.
There is a massive weight penalty for stepping up to the largest iPhone. My iPhone is 206 grams, the Pixel with a 6.7-inch display is 212 grams and the Pro Max is a chunky 240 grams! With the identical screen size. That’s an awful lot of weight to carry about all day. The Pixel seems to offer size & comfort – the best of both worlds. It’s fractionally slimmer too.
Although the display is technically not the match for the iPhones, in day-to-day use you don’t notice much meaningful difference and that large display at more-or-less the same weight as the smaller iPhone goes in its favour.
Maybe it’s a case of having been iPhone for so long, but it is starting to feel a little ‘samey’ and this year’s iPhone 15 doesn’t look like it’s going to be making any bold new design statements either.
I get that manufacturers can’t be chopping and changing design language regularly for a host of reasons. Cost is one and brand recognition is another. Apple has given us iconic designs over the years – the classic iPod, iMac and AirPods come to mind and you can add the early iPhones to that list as well.
The shape stands out and is instantly recognisable. But surely now it’s well enough established that Apple could be brave and make some sort of design changes to it.
The Pixel has decided to break the mould. The wrap-around, almost infinity-like screen is a style winner. The camera ‘visor’ though I am not so sure about.
Although most of that weight I was just moaning about in the iPhone is all due to the camera glass, the layout looks better on the iPhone but the Pixels visor is more practical as it sits better on the desk with way less wobble – both phones are case free by the way.
Talking of design another phone that has been bold enough to be different is the Nothing 2 phone – I’m tempted to get one to compare if only for the radical design.
Charging & battery life
I’ll defend the battery on the iPhone though.
Although I’m now grabbing the Pixel more often it still isn’t doing all the heavy-lifting stuff that I put my iPhone through. But the Pixel just seems to drain quicker than the iPhones in standby mode. If I was hitting the Pixel with more Bluetooth action, tracking and pairing I think it would not hold up too well despite Google’s claims of it having a 24-hour plus battery life.
Most flagship phones are QI certified so if you wanted to future-proof your wireless charging purchase then park the idea of MagSafe which is purely for iOS devices and buy a QI-certified charger instead. Yes, it’s slower but it would cover you whether you go Android or iPhone down the road.
On the go
The comparison I’m about to make isn’t totally fair.
When I got my car recently one of the first options I ticked was the Apple CarKey one. I wanted the option at least to go keyless. I’ve written before that the functionality is limited but I still like the choice it gives me.
I’ve got my car spec’d with Apple CarPlay so I can’t give you an idea of what Android Automotive is like by comparison. Apple CarPlay is getting some decent improvements later this year in iOS 17 but as it stands it does pretty much what I need of an in-car infotainment system – and it’s wireless now too in this car which has proven reliable and only on the very odd occasion has it dropped out.
The speakers on the Pixel are honestly shockingly bad and if this was my only phone that would be a problem – maybe not a deal breaker but you’d certainly expect more from a flagship handset.
iPhone just shines when it comes to onboard audio. Sitting on the sofa watching YouTube the speakers on Apple’s phone are pretty full sounding and at least don’t offend.
Checking the spec sheets both phones run the same Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) tech yet in my somewhat basic test the speeds are consistently way faster on my iPhone. I’ve repeatedly sat here testing them today and the iPhone on average is giving me 38mbps down and 8.68mbps up yet the Pixel only gives me 8.74mbps down and 3.58mbps. Any idea why that may be?
Storage & support
In the UK the Pixel seems limited – at least I think so if I’ve done my fact-checking correctly.
In the U.S. you can order your Pixel with 128/256/512 GB yet in the U.K. we are only offered 128GB or 256 GB. Why that would be I’ve no idea but even in the U.S. you can’t choose a Pixel with 1TB of storage.
If you were using this phone ‘professionally’ and shooting RAW images and 10-bit HDR video storage could soon become an issue.
Although the Pixel costs less it’s still a pretty expensive outlay and this is another area where Apple scores with at least 5 years of support while the Android phone will only get around 3 years. IOS 16 is still supported on iPhone 8 for example which is seven years old now.
The UI and user experience
The UI on the Pixel is an area Apple could learn from.
Both unlock snappily enough but the way the Android device offers a cleaner Home Screen is ever so neat with just the two rows of icons rather than the somewhat cluttered full screen. Apart from the aesthetics, the lower-third layout makes single-hand use easier as well. The icons can also be swapped out for logos for a more contemporary stylish look.
I’m torn over the photo app and which one I prefer. I think I prefer the layout on the iPhone as you seem to be able to switch quicker from day to month or all photos but on Android the Utilities function which lets you move photos quickly and free up space is ever so handy.
Some of the functionality of Apple is hard to replicate though. I know I am trying to bridge the Android to Mac gap but I’m sure I can’t be alone with that workflow.
While I’ve found some workarounds there is no way you’ll ever beat the seamless experience of being all in with Apple. Instead of AirDrop, I’ve tried SnapDrop and Clipt for the universal copy & paste function. Whilst both work neither feel as quick and simple to use as Apple’s native options. SnapDrop has certainly proved a better option than Android File Transfer that I played with last week. Although that was the official suggestion offered to me on the Pixel help page it was awful and unreliable.
The Android’s speech-text abilities still continue to amaze me and it leaves the iOS equivalent for dust. And thanks to Android, I’ve finally been able to unlock Reddit! I could never find a decent client for iOS but Replay on the Pixel is just brilliant!
Hopefully, this has gone some way to show you that both worlds have their strengths and weaknesses.
From the Android point of view, I am still very new to it all, but again that will go some way to let you know what it’s like to pick up a new OS from scratch if you’ve ever thought about wanting to change. I may have overlooked some things, so I apologise in advance for any mistakes or oversights but basically, there have been no major pain points.
Overall I’m still happy with iPhone and iOS but the gap is closing.
Now about that Nothing Phone 2…
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