I have gone to the dark side. It’s a long story but the short version is I’m now the owner of a Nexus 5 Android phone. And I like it. More or less (some days more, some days less)
Let me work this backwards. After a ton of years of being an iPhone user easily integrating the phones into my working life (Mac computer and iPad) I’ve arrived at a space where an outsider is muscling in. I’ve had it a few days now and rather like the larger size (didn’t think I would but I do) and having figured out how to turn it on and off and add/subtract/delete programs (no mean feat switching mental gears) the system is set to work.
Why The Switch?
We live on both sides of the US/Canada border and up to this point, have used Rogers as a cell provider. My regular cell bill – with added profit centres such as the Regulatory Access Fee (which isn’t a government fee but one the carriers charge to add to their profit line) made sure that bill approached a hundred bucks a month. And the US costs were out of this world for basic service add-on plans.
A new Canadian carrier Wind Mobile opened up with a US style all-you-can-use option. So for $60/month I have unlimited talk-text-data on both sides of the US/Canadian border. The only added fee is the usual Canadian GST tax that brings the bill to $76/month. Period.
Now – the problem with Wind is their system is limited if you’re travelling out of the major population cores. So the phone still works but you’re going to pay a .20/minute surcharge for using the phone while you’re outside of their tower range and your data doesn’t work. (In the US – as long as you’re near a T-Mobile tower you’re fine for data) If I’m driving between my island and Toronto, I will be without data for an hour – give or take a few minutes. And fyi, that twenty-cents a minute must be paid but it comes off the price of the cell phone you’ve purchased from Wind and if you stay with Wind for two years (there’s no contract) your phone is free no matter how much you talk off system or what your phone cost originally.
But they don’t have Apple phones in their plan. And while you can bring your own 5 or higher, I didn’t want to buy a 5 when the 6’s are just about to come out. They do carry Nexus however so I went that route. A free Nexus if I stick for two years.
And given the state of the competition, why wouldn’t I?
But there’s a learning curve.
I figured out how to turn it on, turn it off and navigate, so there are two learning curves left. The first is to make the darn thing sync with my desktop and iPad and figuring out which apps are the best ones for my use.
But. I have already learned enough to say I like it but will probably go back to Apple when the iPhone6 comes out.
The first is I was carrying around way too many apps on my iPhone. I never used most of them and when it came time for me to switch phones, I looked at what I used and started looking for replacements. These now fit on a single screen and quite easily.
The criteria for being uploaded in the first wave
Was the ability to sync and being used.
Flipboard and Feedly both moved. But Feedly doesn’t have the software Buffer capacity as it does in iPhone. And Flipboard won’t recognize my magazine even though I’ve signed in.
The Mail app was pretty standard and given I use gmail for my three main “lives”, it was an easy switch.
Social has been interesting. Everything I used – from Twitter to Facebook and services such as Hootsuite and Buffer came along.
The cloud bases systems – Evernote, Dropbox and Skype came easily. Yahoo Weather and Kindle moved seamlessly. All the travel apps came – Yelp, Local etc came easily and willingly.
There’s a system “Quick Office” for basic word processing and the WordPress app came willingly to the phone. But I don’t use the phone for either of these things – no big deal.
There are two issues. One is around travel. Google maps works on straight data. (yes, there’s a temporary workaround for some small local destinations) but Wind data disappears if you’re out of tower range. That means I need a GPS system with residual maps and there are two. One is based on the Garmin system and the other the Tom-Tom system. My test so far looks like I’m going with the Sygic or Tom-Tom system (the Garmin reviews for the Android version pointed out flaws and comparisons we didn’t see with our iPhone version) I like Sygic and it will be worth the price when we’re out of range but not out of directions. After a week of using it, I do like some things about it but there are flaws (how do you decide to easily delete one destination and key in another?) and the ease of use does not compare to Apple apps.
The second issue is around getting Apple and Google to play nicely together. To sync contacts, calendars and photos. I can tell you there’s a way but it’s buggy and works sometimes and not others. For those trying to do this crazy stuff, it’s all about the iCloud (which in itself is funky) setup. Again, I’m not obsessing about things such as iTunes. I am working on the contacts and calendars (more or less working) and the pics will come next (hey, need to carry pics of the kids and grandbabies!) 🙂
It’s too early to say whether I’ll be happy with Wind or the Nexus or whether I’ll scurry back to the protection of Big Cell but for the moment, I’m happy with what I’m seeing and getting and it’s meeting my basic cell needs at a price that looks pretty good. But so far, so good.