From HTC/Android to the Dark Side: Part 2

In my previous post  I discussed my reluctance to leave the trusted HTC mobile phone and Android platform by switching to the ‘Dark side‘ – i.e. Apple products.

My main concerns were the restrictions imposed by Apple compared to the openness of an Android operating system, but these were
overruled by the attractions of reliability, battery life and compatibility with other Apple devices.

So I got myself a 32GB iPhone5c in white.

The iPhone5c in white
The iPhone5c in white

First impressions – it looks and feels nice in my hand. It’s thicker than my HTC One S; but the slightly curved back actually fits the shape of my palm better. The screen is also slightly smaller – but the resolution and crispness of the new technology more than compensates for this.

Using the phone, I’ve found it nippy and responsive – unlike my aging HTC. Whether it will continue to be so as I clog it up with data and apps over time, remains to be seen.

Having used Android for so long though, I found a few GUI (Graphical User Interface) aspects somewhat irritating, such as:

  • The lack of a ‘back‘ button. This is such a useful button that I can’t believe Apple haven’t fitted one by now. My thumb keeps waving in the air over where it should be, desperately seeking what it won’t find! Ok, so there’s onscreen equivalents. But there’s not even a common interface design – sometimes it will be a ‘Done‘ icon in the top right hand corner, other times it’s an arrow or ‘Back‘ link in the top left hand corner; with Safari, it’s an arrow in the bottom left hand corner. Come on Apple! It’s common knowledge that in good GUI design you keep the interface design consistent. Having 3 different ways to go back a screen is just silly and annoying. On the HTC going back a screen was a doddle and it could also be used to close an app. With the iPhone, I’m tending to leave apps open. Yes, it’s coping nicely running plenty of concurrent apps, but one day it’s going to start slowing down, and it’s a pain to have to go into the apps overview screen (double-tap the main button) to kill off all those unnecessary apps. Although admittedly, that is a neat way of managing the current apps running – on Android I would have had to go to each to manually close rather than being able to ‘flick’ away. Although I probably would have just closed them with the back button when I’d done with them in the first place 🙂
  • The ‘hold down’ for a menu option. This was essential to Android operation and gave you a nice pop up menu with all the options you could possible want. This doesn’t seem to be the case with the iPhone. Some apps and screens DO have it, but not many – otherwise it brings up just the cut and paste screen. You have to double tap, but again, it’s inconsistent – it doesn’t seem to work in all screens; sometimes you have to find the menu at the top. Or the bottom. Again, inconsistent GUI design, poor Apple, poor!
  • Sharing. On the HTC I could hold down on a picture, or a link, be it in Facebook, mail, or another app, and I would get the same, consistent menu, and be able to share it to the full list of applications that were installed. On the iPhone? No. Different apps mean different menus, and a limited amount of options. I keep wanting to share posts on Facebook with one person via either a Facebook message or email. But those options simply aren’t there; I can only post it on my wall, or post it on their wall. If it’s a video then then iPhone generously decides to give me a further option to send a link via Facebook messenger. But that’s all. I use the Whatsapp application with several friends and I’m no longer able to send them pictures in one simple ‘hold down – share – whatsapp‘ action. Instead it’s a convoluted system of opening multiple apps and navigating multiple, inconsistent, menus. Joy. I can’t be bothered to share now!
  • Copying & pasting. Yes the iPhone has that nice ‘zoom’ magnifying feature to be able to move the cursor to the exact place you want, but it’s still fiddly to use, and where’s the damn cursors gone from the keyboard? And can’t I just poke where I want the cursor? Nope, the magnifying glass usually pops up. In the wrong place. The whole copy and paste functionality feels clunky to me after Android’s simple system.
  • The keypad/keyboard. It’s a little niggle, but still annoying – it’s not very clear that you have shift on or not – the coloured in shift key isn’t very visible – on the Android, the letters of the keyboard were clearly in upper case when shift was on, or lower case when it’s off. Much easier to use.

After reading this, you may think I hate the phone.

I don’t. It has some nice features and apps, and is overall pretty usable – and running much faster than my HTC did; lets hope it
stays that way. Battery life seems to be promising too – but again, let’s see how it is after a years use.

It’s still too early to comment in terms of reliability. My HTC had a few annoying habits. Whenever I went abroad – it seemed to
be when I’d disabled roaming data (wifi could be on or off) – it would have occasional ‘seizures’ where it would vibrate like crazy, jump from screen to screen and automatically take several screenshots.

During this time – it could last 2 seconds to 30 seconds – the phone was unusable, and would have interrupted whatever you were doing, sometimes with data loss. Highly annoying.

The phone also occasionally came confused as to whether there was a data signal or not; sometimes you had to reboot it to re-establish a data signal, or quicker, put it in airplane mode (data off) and back out again to ‘look’ for a data signal again.

Hopefully I won’t experience any of these problems with the more robust Apple operating system. But I have noticed one problem so

Several times I’ve gone to make a call and it’s instantly hummed and said ‘unable to connect’. I’ve tried immediately after and it’s worked.

Mind you, the HTC used to do that regularly too!

I’ve now used up the 14 days I had to make up my mind and return it – too much hassle for one. Perhaps I should have tried a newer HTC model, or the very popular Samsung Android phones.

It’s too late now – but I have no regrets. It’s still better than my dying HTC, so I’m happy for now.

Will I be happy in 6 months time? Watch this space…

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