FOR years, Android devices were the phones that were never as polished or easy to use as their Apple counterparts. But since the latest versions of Android and the newest devices from the likes of Samsung and LG, all that has changed.
So, for those who have long been iPhone users, does this mean you should jump ship to the dark side or continue on your Apple ways?
If you’re ensconced in the Apple ecosystem, it might be hard for you to run away. If you have an iPhone, a Mac and an iPad that all synchronise and work together, if you use iMessage, if you have bought many apps and if you rely on iCloud, you’re probably better off staying with what you have. And that’s not a problem. Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are two of the best devices on the market.
But for those looking to take a break, these are the things you can look forward to if you decide to grab an Android device.
When shopping for an iPhone, the only options are a big iPhone or a little iPhone. With Android devices, the choices are endless.
Choose between an expensive, high-end device that takes brilliant pictures, has a big bright screen and feels great in the hand, or grab one that does the basics and costs little. Want to add more memory or replace a battery? There is a device in every price range to do just that. Travel a lot and would like two SIM card slots? There’s a device for that too. If you’re all about the look of your phone, pick between devices that are glass, metal, plastic, leather or even design your own housing.
Like the physical aspects of a phone, the software side of an Android device can be customised endlessly. All iPhone users can do is rearrange the icons and change the background.
On an Android device, not only can you do that, but you can add widgets that can display all types of different information at a glance. You can change just about everything with your phone’s interface.
You can also change your default app for things like messaging, web browsing, maps (admit it, Apple Maps sucks) and your camera — all things not possible on an iPhone.
Apple restricts what users can do, particularly how files are accessed. With Android, you can store and access just about any type of file that will fit on the device, whether that’s a movie, picture or even a computer program. Things like torrenting (which we are sure you only do legally) are possible on Android devices, as is watching Flash videos through the phone’s web browser.
You can even have multiple things open at once, so if you want to keep watching a video but need to punch out an email, you can resize the screens and have them both going at once. Apple introduced a similar feature in iOS 9 for the iPad, but strangely didn’t extend it to its biggest mobile, the iPhone 6 Plus.
Now this is handy. Instead of searching around for an Apple Lightning connector, charge your Android device with any micro USB cord lying around. Chances are, if you bought a non-Apple electronic device of any kind in the last few years you will have some of these lying around.
While the iPhone 6 technically has NFC (near field communication) capability, Apple has limited its uses. Android devices, however can use it in many ways. Hate the hassle of trying to pair your bluetooth speaker with your phone? No worries, with NFC you can literally just tap your phone on the speaker for them to connect. Similarly with sending files, just tap two phones together and the photo, song, or whatever your sending will be sent automatically.
Anxiously waiting for Apple Pay to land in Australia so you can buy things with your phone? Samsung’s flagship devices can already do that here if you’re with the Commonwealth Bank or Westpac.
The iPhone’s camera has always been brilliant, often superior to any Android device maker’s options. But things have changed this year, with both Samsung and LG bringing the big guns. LG in particular with its upcoming G4 has the best camera yet seen on a phone. It’s brilliant in low light and has a fantastic manual mode that lets you create images not possible on other devices by adjusting settings like ISO, shutter speed and white balance. Don’t believe us? Check out the awesome pictures people are taking on the G4 on Flickr.