Julie’s gadget diary – I’m switching back to Android

It’s been three months since I switched from an LG G6 to an iPhone 7 Plus and I’m ready to go back. Big shock right? Three months might not sound like a long time, but it’s the longest stretch that I’ve had with an iOS device in many years. 

Why am I switching back? It’s not that I don’t like the iPhone 7 Plus. I like it quite a bit. I like the camera, iMessage, AirDrop, and the battery life. It’s a great phone and anyone would enjoy using it. But I’m not really “anyone”. I have a built-in desire to tweak, and bend devices to my own will and that’s tough to do with iOS and the iPhone.

When I switched to the iPhone three months ago, I told myself that tweaking was time-consuming and not necessary. It was the self-talk equivalent to “it’s time to grow up and put away childish things” that a parent might have with their child.

That talk didn’t stop me from being frustrated that I couldn’t rearrange the iPhone’s home screens my way instead of the Apple way.

I also ran into a few instances where I wished I had an Android phone so I could pair a mouse and a keyboard and use it like an ultra-tiny laptop to connect to The Gadgeteer web server while I was at my day job where they block SSH to outside machines.

Then when I wanted to revisit my in-vehicle handsfree media player project from a few years ago I quickly figured out that I can’t do those sort of things with iOS.

But what really did it was when Verizon Wireless sent me a Samsung Galaxy Note8 to review a couple weeks ago. That’s all it took to make me realize that I’m an Android person, not an iOS person and it’s time to switch back.

Now the question is which phone do I switch back to? A Samsung Galaxy Note8? Hmmm…. that’s a nice phone, but I don’t think so. I think I’ll go with an LG V30 or the new Pixel that’s going to be announced on Wednesday. I wish I had Android phone to switch to right now, but I don’t. I hate waiting…

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26 comments… add one
  • Nicholas October 1, 2017, 1:04 pm

    How do you handle media and apps when switching between platforms? Do other systems in your home (e.g. apple tv vs Chromecast) that fit into one ecosystem better than the other factor into your choice?

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 1, 2017, 4:23 pm

      I mainly stick to Google services no matter what phone I may be using or testing. So I used Gmail for my email, I use Google Photos to back up my photos, I read ebooks using Google Play, and use Keep for notes.

  • Ray Raddatz October 1, 2017, 3:15 pm

    Is it too soon to say “I told you so” 🙂 As a fellow tinkerer I knew you’d never be happy with all the restrictions Apple puts on you.

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 1, 2017, 4:24 pm

      Go ahead 😉 I deserve it 🙂

      • Alan October 1, 2017, 7:57 pm

        Garbage. Restrictions. Spoken like someone who didn’t really give iOS a chance. Enjoy your malware filled applications and being a cog in a “I’m the product that needs to be squeezed” Google world.

        • Cornelis October 2, 2017, 12:11 pm

          @ Alan: you’re talking back at “the gadgeteer”…Julie has been doing gadgets and systems for well over 20 years. I doubt you have that much knowledge of the “biz”… 😉
          Anyways…listen Alan, you don’t really think that Apple is our friend and is the Robin Hood of our day (e.g.: Prism). When switching to Google, all techies know where we are heading and what’s in store (“…and I thought there’s no such thing as a free lunch…”…well: there isn’t).
          Apple may keep our data down safe for now. But none the less it’s a corporation and you know where that will head when profits go down.
          If you have a problem with the switch – then ask yourself this: where are you online? …and that will be the place “they” will find you. So just go back to your (also unsafe) landline and try and stay off the grid. Nowadays: you won’t be able to. I am assuming that you have a PC and that you wrote this via a web browser…. get what I mean? 🙂

  • Shawn Conin October 1, 2017, 7:39 pm

    Any particular reason why you would pick the v30 over the note 8?

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 1, 2017, 7:57 pm

      Right now I like the look of the V30 better and the location of the fingerprint scanner. But until I get a chance to get my hands on one, I’m just guessing.

      • Shawn Conin October 2, 2017, 12:09 am

        Totally agree with the fingerprint scanner, doesn’t help that i have small-ish hands. i really liked how sony phones have theirs on the power button, but no other company seems to be implementing that.

        Looking forward to your review of the v30 and pixel 2 (XL) in the coming weeks.

  • James October 2, 2017, 9:19 am

    The words to that Simon and Garfunkel song (the sound of silence) spring to mind 🙂
    I follow Tankgirl (Myriam Joire) on Google+ and her review of the LG V30 camera makes me want one too. I am a Xperia fan (for my sins) and I am waiting for the new design language version.
    I am waiting also to see if the iPhone X changes the landscape like the iPhone 4 did. Then I might have to put it on my bucket list.

  • Daniel Saroff October 2, 2017, 11:49 am

    I use an iPad (because it is mainly a consumption tool), but I have an Android phone, because, for productivity, I really want a tailorable device. So, I totally understand.

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 2, 2017, 12:21 pm

      I recently purchased an iPad Pro not long after I purchased the iPhone 7 Plus. I find that barely use it though so I’m not sure what I will end up doing with it or the iPhone 7 Plus for that matter. I really should keep at least one iOS device for future reviews.

      • Daniel Saroff October 2, 2017, 12:38 pm

        We’ll see what happens to my iPad usage when I get my V30 (whose screen will be bigger than my 5.2″ Motorola Droid Turbo). I suspect it won’t change, though, because for reading books or emails, or watching videos, the iPad Air larger screen real estate is a boon. Also, when doing more complex web searching or browsing, I prefer it to my current phone. Of course, that might change with a V30.

        I find both have their place, and the iPad gets such far superior battery life.

  • Lynn Lopez October 2, 2017, 12:07 pm

    Welcome back to the dark side. I wish I could have bet someone on how long you would stay with Apple. You and I sound very alike when it comes to technology. I too went to Apple for a while due to work providing it and thought I would give it a fair shake. Like you I got frustrated with the limited ability to modify how the screen looked and I totally use a keyshair USB key to do text message with my pc keyboard at work. I would hate not being able to do that. I just got rid of my Pixel and ordered a Note 8. There were a couple of things about the Pixel that upset me. I will give them to you now as a heads up for the next Pixel.

    1. No wireless charging – and the new phone does not sound like it will have it either. My new truck has a wireless charging pad and to run a cable to the phone just kills me!
    2. Bluetooth issues – There were tons of issues with bluetooth when the phone came out and it still never worked perfectly pairing with my truck. I am running my old Note 5 right now until I get the 8 and it is night and day from the Pixel as far a bluetooth goes. I actually see the audible book I am playing now where it would never show up under the Pixel.
    3. The pixel was the first phone that ever actually broke on me. I could not hear people when I called them. I ended up exchanging the phone for a refurbished one thru the Google support, but it was really disappointing.
    4. I had to recently hard reset because all of a sudden the phone just started doing weird things. Home button not working, settings icon not working. That was painful to have to reset up the device even with a full backup available. That could have been due to it being a refurbished phone – who knows.

    I did love how the phone was pure clean Android, but I don’t think Google had the whole process really nailed down yet. Hopefully the next phone will be up to par. I know I will be frustrated with the slow update of the OS on Samsung. I do know that I will never buy a locked Android phone again to keep the carrier crap off. I am excited to see how your next phone reviews go.

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 2, 2017, 12:26 pm

      Hi Lynn!
      Thanks for the checklist. I forgot about the wireless charging feature (or lack thereof) with the new Pixel. Ugh. I was hoping that my next phone would have that feature so that might be a deal killer for me. Although I’ve been getting along just fine without it during the past few months with the iPhone. Good battery life and fast charging make the lack of Qi tolerable.
      Bluetooth issues seem to follow me from device to device. I had recently complained that I always have problems with Bluetooth on Android devices and that I wasn’t having any such problems with the iPhone 7 Plus. Well, guess what? I’ve started having Bluetooth issues with the iPhone 7 Plus. Right now it’s just restricted to one pair of headphones that I’m reviewing so it could be a fluke.

    • buddy October 3, 2017, 11:23 am

      I have used a lot of brands since the 90’s..Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorolas, Samsung, LG and the only one phone that ever broke on me was the original iPhone . I returned and replace it a total of 4 times. I brought it on a trip to Boston to do the Freedom Trail and used it to take pics. Lo and behold, when I got home, the phone froze and no matter what I did or Apple for that matter helped. I lost my precious pics forever. I never used an iPhone again after that

      • Julie Strietelmeier October 3, 2017, 11:33 am

        That reminds me of when I was using an iPhone the last time. It was during my cancer “adventure”. I was using an app that let me take a picture of myself every day and created a movie out of all the pics. I was using to show my hair growing back and had months of pics until one day the app froze and I lost all of them. Suck with a capital S.

  • Mike GAULT October 2, 2017, 10:42 pm

    Welcome back to the darkside. I just got the note 8 and have a lot of research into it. The 2 gigs of ram is what really sold it to me. Might wanna give it another try, there isnt much it cant do. With the s pen it might be able to be a real work horse for u. V30 o8 note 8 as long as u are back.

  • Richard Kingston October 3, 2017, 10:53 am

    Interestingly, I have just moved the other way, from Android to iOS – agreed it has only been a week since my purchase from Apple of a refurbished iPhone 6S Plus. Previously I had a Nexus 5X and Moto 4G Plus. Here;s the reason for my switch – security updates and then price.

    So, my 5x broke down after about 13 months. My Moto got the Blueborne vulnerability and they do not offer security updates very frequently. So I researched Androids and determined to get the updates, I needed a Pixel. Almost $900 for the XL 128GB. The Samsungs are not assured of prompt updates. So, I drank the Cool-aid, and the little candy that said “Eat Me”, or maybe it was the fruit that Eve gave me from that nice snake.
    I really like the iPhone so far and only cost me $549 from Apple. The new Pixel 2 XL is rumored to be north of $900.

    • Julie Strietelmeier October 3, 2017, 10:55 am

      How are you coping with the OS differences so far?

      • Richard Kingston October 3, 2017, 12:43 pm

        Good so far, though some compromises.
        1.The iOS email and calendar apps have less eye candy than the Google apps – which I like after a few days. The Google email and calendar apps do not look as good on iOS as Android – smaller font.
        2. Like the iOS maps driving directions app better than Google. Appears to be powered by TomTom. Clearer than Google maps.
        3. Did try the Outlook app for iOS – too detailed (same as for Android), but was happy to see that it opened up the native iOS mapping app.
        4. Getting used to the iOS widgets – potential there.
        5. No equivalent that I can find to Android Auto. Loved the large font and buttons on Android auto for music/audiobook playing in the car and large font for Hangouts messages. iOS notifications are too small when the phone is attached to a dashboard mount (my car has no ApplePlay).
        6. Loading audio books through iTunes takes some getting used to – but using the Apple Books and Music apps may be superior than a 3rd party app and loading directly into the app through iTunes file sharing (basically a tick in the box for the Apple option loads and unloads the audio book or album).
        7. Love the Apple hardware button for silence.
        8. Much prefer a front positioned fingerprint scanner on the iPhone, than the backside positioned one for the Google Pixel.

        My colleagues are counting the 14 days return period. They expect a price reduction on the Pixel when the Pixel 2 is released, causing me to choke up the apple chunk I have bitten and return to Android.

        • Richard October 7, 2017, 10:34 am

          Okay, so after 10 days of solid use, the Apple iPhone 6S has been factory reset and will be dropped off at Fedex this morning for return. I am back to my Moto G4 Plus as a stopgap, and my Pixel 2 64GB will be delivered on October 19th or thereabouts. The reason? I am totally unstable!!

          Okay, that’s unfair. Real reasons? I wanted to love the iPhone, but here’s the problem:

          1. Siri is not anywhere as good or integrated as Google Assistant / OK Google. Yes, I know that you need to train these. I tried, even to the extent of adding phonetic spellings to some of my contacts (there’s a field for that), and visiting places I travel to and pinning them on the map in the hope that Siri would better identify them. I set the input language to English UK (my accent). Nope. Siri wanted to take me to places in Florida (I live in California).

          2. But the biggest problem was audiobooks. Yep, you heard me correctly. iTunes, what a disaster. Spent a good 10 hours trying to get it to work consistently and accurately. Limited success – and I have used it before, so no newbie here. The third party apps looked promising, but the best had a fault and did not search.

          3. I missed the Google integration, and the “tap yes” second factor authentication.

          I love the updates, two already since the iOS 11 release. That’s good. Right. And then the clincher was Google guaranteeing three years of software and security updates. The Pixel cost an extra $100 over the refurbished iPhone 6S Plus, has 64GB compared to 128GB on the iPhone, and has a 5 inch screen compare to the 5.5 on the iPhone. 3 years of guaranteed updates compared to maybe another 2 (to make 4) on the iPhone. Better integration with Google infrastructure, and a much superior AI in Google Assistant (sorry Siri): I asked Siri yesterday “what’s my calendar looking like today”? She replied: “I’m not sure that’s the type of question that you should be asking your assistant!” When I repeated the question several time, she locked me out.

          • Julie Strietelmeier October 7, 2017, 11:36 am

            Thank you for your thoughts on iOS vs Android. I also wasn’t happy with Siri compared to the Google assistant. Most of the time when I asked questions she would just bring up links for me to go to with a browser. That’s not helpful when I just want a quick answer.

            My Pixel XL trade with Dave arrives today. I’ll be switching over immediately to that phone so I can box up my iPhone 7 Plus to send to Dave and then when I get the Pixel 2 XL on 10/17-10/18, I’ll switch to it and give Jeanne the Pixel XL.

            Next problem to solve – cases for both phones…

          • RICHARD October 7, 2017, 3:32 pm

            The constant problem, new case, and getting the screen protector on without dust spots just after you have succeeded getting it perfect with the old phone!

          • Julie Strietelmeier October 7, 2017, 3:34 pm

            Ah yes, screen protector. I need to order one of those too.

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