There comes a time in everyone’s life when looking at the mobile phone notifications just doesn’t suffice. We battle that situation, we change the phone’s wallpaper, lock screen, ringtones and even the good ol’ back cover. All of this only to give the phone a fresh breath of life. This avoids the urge of switching to a newer phone. But the situation gets stalemated when the phone gets terribly slow.
And when that happened to my Lumia 820, I happily switched to Lumia 925. But when the time came for the next upgrade… I was out of options. The Lumia 950 and 950 XL have some of the worst reviews out there and there is no point buying any of the two. Oh, and by the way, I have always been a Nokia loyalist and, no points for guessing, a Windows Phone user. Why, you may ask, the answers can be found here.
I do have an iPad so I am fairly comfortable with iOS but android has never been my cup of hot chocolate. So with the honest understanding of the fact that beggars cannot be choosers and some self-brainstorming of whether to buy an iPhone or an android, I finally decided to bite the bullet and bought the darling of tech reviewers also known as OnePlus 3.
Now this blog is not a phone review. For someone who has used Windows Phone all his life and android only for two weeks, I don’t consider myself qualified enough to write an android review. Also, I do understand that no two android phones (from different manufacturers) are the same due to the customized versions of android. This is more of a rundown of the first time android user. Take this with a spoon of sugar (yeah avoid that pinch of salt!)
When I started using android in OnePlus 3 for the first time, comparisons with windows were obvious. Comparing hardware is pointless though. A phone from 2013 has no chance against a 2016 model. The dash charging of OnePlus 3 works like magic, however, the magic of the slider for turning the phone silent is something I am yet to understand as sometimes even when the slider is down, the phone remains on silent and I have to manually go in and increase the notifications volume. Still not sure what I am getting wrong there.
I like to run. And while I am running, the fingerprint sensor senses my fingers while the phone is untouched and still in my pocket. The phone also sometimes launches the flashlight or camera, one of the reasons why I always keep “tap to wake up” features turned off since my Lumia 820 days. Then there is a notifications light on the top left. This makes sure you don’t have to check the phone every single time you leave it unattended for a while and would want to know if something new has arrived. So minor yet so convenient.
There were expected tantrums android threw at me in the beginning. I had no idea how to remove widgets from the start screen or how to turn off the dreaded autocorrect. In an exceptional mishap, which is touted as a ‘feature’, the selfie cam with some ‘smile’ option didn’t stop taking photographs for a few seconds before I had to jump out of the camera app altogether. But the biggest of them all was Settings!
It seems everything from the kitchen sink drain to the temperature in the refrigerator can be adjusted from the unending, ambiguous and ever confusing settings. For instance, if you wish to turn off the vibration while typing, under “SETTINGS”, you may try “SOUND AND NOTIFICATION” since that is where you can toggle if you would want the phone to vibrate but this option is NOT available there. Now, you may move to “LANGUAGE AND INPUT” and it’s NOT there either. However, within that you get into “SWIFTKEY KEYBOARD” which in turn opens up yet another can of worms (read: MORE SETTINGS) and three taps later, you are finally able to disable your phone’s vibration when you type! I am not sure if SWIFTKEY is an app. It doesn’t show up in the list of my installed apps though.
But then not everything requires an app here. The quick toggles are a life saver. For instance, double tapping the network icon to start/stop data has ‘convenience’ written all over it. Talk about sliding the incoming notifications down for more or replying to emails/messages from the notification itself is a dream come true for a windows user. As someone who never likes to be out of touch when it comes to official emails, being able to respond from the notification itself is a gem. But then setting up your official email on android is another sour story altogether! Oh, how I miss the inbuilt Outlook in my windows phone!
I must admit, after using apps made for windows phone, using apps made for android feels like they have hometown advantage! Smooth, fast, much more features packed, the android apps make their windows siblings feel like beta versions at best.
For instance, the official Instagram app for windows is still a beta so forget about Boomerang or Layout. Android has Instagram in all its glory. Another app, Swarm, which is a mere vanilla check-in app on windows turns into a fun little game on android. Its parent, Foursquare, presents suggestions based on your location which is probably a little too much to ask for on windows. In fact, I am not sure when was the last time Swarm or Foursquare were updated for windows!
Which reminds me, the app updates on android are far more frequent. The sheer number and diversity of available apps in the play store is magnificent. And although I don’t play any games on the phone so it didn’t matter to me, but, windows basically have no games if you compare it with the options available on android.
The fact is, for an android or iOS enthusiast, going to a windows phone would be a nightmare! The google suite will probably be the first thing that the user won’t find in the windows store. The apps won’t update as often and above all which phone would you buy? Almost all top class OEMs are missing from the scene.
However, for someone switching from windows to an android device is sure to be surprised by the amount of things that can be done from the smartphone itself. Nonetheless, when you say goodbye to a Lumia 925, you are also saying goodbye to the simplicity of its file system (specifically when connected to your PC), the powerful low light performance camera, those endearing live tiles and that bing lock screen which delivered breathtaking images every single day.