For the past few years, I had been using iPhone just like everybody else that I know. Since I’m part of the Verizon Insider program, I have the pleasure of playing around with different type of phones. Recently when I tried Droid Maxx, I knew that it was time to make a switch.
Before I go into explaining why I switched and what I love about Android and the phone specifically, I want to clear up few things. This is NOT A REVIEW because I don’t get paid to do that. I try numerous phones, but this was the first one that I decided to actually replace my iPhone with.
You’re probably wondering why would I switch away from iPhone?
Well, to be honest I really didn’t like iOS 7. Sure I know I can jailbreak the phone and change the look, but I’d rather spend my time on something worthwhile.
Second my 4S was getting old. It started to freeze up a lot more frequently which required a full restart of the phone. I knew I had to get a new phone, and when I got the Droid Maxx, I knew it was for me.
Those who know me know that I’m not a die hard Apple fan. I used to have an Android device in the early days, but it was no match for an iPhone at the time. But since the switch, I’ve noticed a lot of improvements.
When switching away, I wanted to make sure that I have an equivalent of a Siri in my Android device. Why? Because I love the ability to set reminders, make appointments and use other voice commands. Siri was like my secretary.
When I tried Google Now, I was pleasantly surprised. It is far better and sort of creepy, but I like it.
I can activate it with a voice command “OK Google” and ask it to do basically all the same tasks as I would with Siri. The real improvement comes with the driving detection feature.
As soon as I start driving, my phone automatically starts playing my music. Now this can be a little awkward when you’re in a car with people you don’t know. I got in a cab and my cab driver freaked out when he heard loud Indian music (yup the speakers are pretty good in this phone).
Aside from automatically playing music, the phone also lets you know when you have a text message. I think this is very convenient because I can ask the phone to read me the text while I drive. If it is something really important, then I can use the voice command to make a phone call without ever having to look at my phone.
Now to the creepy part. Because I use Google for just about everything (email, calendar, browsing, maps, etc) … It knows me way too well.
Just this past week, I was in LA visiting my good friend David Henzel. As soon as I landed in LA and got in my car, it automatically suggested the driving route to the MaxCDN office. When leaving from MaxCDN office, it automatically suggested driving route for David’s loft.
I drove down to Orange County to hang out with my friend John Chow. As soon as I got there, it had directions for Kicking Crab a place where I had eaten before. Now obviously I wasn’t going there, but it remembered. It also remembered the starbucks I got coffee from, and many other places. I’m assuming all of this data is coming from my google maps history. This is kind of useful but also creepy.
Since I travel a lot, I use TripIt to organize all of my travel plans. Basically TripIt detects reservation emails and automatically imports my reservations. Google Now does the same thing and more. I can use the command, when is my next flight and it will pull up my travel plans.
What’s even crazier is that it also knows the gate information which is something TripIt can’t provide. I mean even the boarding pass doesn’t have it right away. Unless you’re using the Delta App, there is no way to find out your gate number in advance until you get out and see it on the monitor screen. Google Now also has that information, so I don’t even have to look at the screen.
All in all, I’m very impressed with this. Google Now is like a secretary that I never had. Although just thinking about the artificial intelligence gives me goose bumps.
No More Apple Lock
When using iPhone, I always felt locked into Apple. Switching away made me realize how much I liked not being part of the annoying Apple ecosystem.
- Music – I’ve never really liked the fact that I had to go through iTunes to put music in my phone. I want a simpler drag-drop solution where I can just dump music in a folder. Switching to Android made me realize how much I really loved this feature.
- Chrome – Chrome is a far better browser. It syncs with my bookmarks and it is relatively faster.
- Calendar and Contacts – I have always used the Google Calendar, so I felt right at home. All of my contacts were right there from my google accounts which was very convenient.
- Ability to Delete Core Apps – I hate that I can’t get rid of the Newstand app and other core apps that I don’t like. In Android, I can disable even core apps.
When I switched, I started getting FB messages and phone calls from a lot of friends who said they cannot send me a text message. It turned out that Apple really wants to lock you in.
All of these friends were using an iPhone. I knew that iPhone auto-detects a contact that is using an iPhone and sends the text as an iMessage. Now when a contact (me) switch to a different device, the phone makes it impossible to send text messages to that person. It just says text failed when it should really say iMessage failed and auto-attempt to send a text message.
I notice that a lot of people are having this problem with literally no fix. For those friends and family who were nearby, I fiddled with their phone. For some, I had to remove a conversation and try again. For others I had to remove my entire contact and recreate a new one. For some it didn’t work for a while until I send them a few messages as text until their iPhone finally detects that my number is not associated with an iPhone.
That’s a terrible user experience, and I really hope that Apple fixes this. I’m really glad that I’m not in an Apple lock anymore.
I use my phone a lot, so I need extra battery life. In the early days of Android, they were all a battery drain. Even with my type of usage, iPhone would die out. That’s why I had an Otterbox Ion Battery Case.
With Droid Maxx, I have a much better battery life. To give you number comparison, iPhone 5S comes with 1570 mAH battery vs. Droid Maxx has 3500 mAH. That’s basically double the battery life.
Overall, I think I’m very happy with the switch that I made. With the convenience of Google Now, larger screen size on the phone, better display resolution or so it seems to me, and a much cleaner interface, I definitely think I made a good choice.