Haviv Rettig Gur
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iPhone 5 makes me happy…that I switched to Android

Apple may have started this revolution, but it's falling behind
(CC BY-NC CRuS23, via deviantART)
(CC BY-NC CRuS23, via deviantART)
(CC BY-NC CRuS23, deviantART)
(CC BY-NC CRuS23, via deviantART)

Great news! The new iPhone 5 is still not as good as my Samsung Galaxy S III.

A couple weeks ago I took the plunge into Android territory, instead of waiting for the new iPhone that was announced today. I’ve been a faithful iOS user for three years now. But now that the iPhone 5 is out, boy am I happy I switched to Android.

Here’s why:

1. The specs are worse: The brand spanking new iPhone 5 has a smaller screen, fewer pixels, and about 30% less battery life than the Galaxy SIII. (Don’t believe me? Just compare the specs.)

2. The camera is the same: The iPhone’s much-hyped new 8-megapixel iSight or iVision or iAmACellphoneNotACamera camera is exactly the same as the SIII’s.

3. You’re stuck with a worse battery: As an SIII owner, I was able to buy a larger battery with my new phone, upgrading my SIII to about 80% more battery life than the iPhone 5. Needless to say, unlike Samsung, Apple doesn’t let you swap out its battery for a bigger and better one. Don’t like that worse battery? Too bad.

4. You can’t expand the phone’s memory for more music, movies, etc: I went with the cheapest SIII, with just 16 gigabytes of memory, confident in the knowledge that I can always get more memory by buying a micro-SD card for the phone’s built-in micro-SD slot. If you buy a 16-gig iPhone, you’re stuck with 16 gigs until…you buy a new iPhone. There are no memory expansion slots.

5. Apple doesn’t play nice with your other gadgets: What do I mean? Apple just pulled a proprietary cable plug switch on you, so all your old iPhone or iPad peripherals, chargers and accessories won’t work with the new iPhone without adapters — that only Apple sells. Samsung, on the other hand, just builds all its phones with industry-standard micro-USB slots. My SIII charger and my Kindle charger and my travel battery charger are interchangeable, so it’s not an expensive tragedy if I lose one.

6. Android works the way you want, not the other way around: Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich OS is so much snappier and more versatile than iOS (and there’s always Jelly Bean to look forward to). My calendar events are right there on my home screen, along with podcast controls and a “live background” that changes to reflect my local weather. Integration with Google Maps is perfect. And I can tweak the OS so that home-screen buttons will silence my phone, turn on the flashlight or set my morning alarm — all from the home screen. I even figured out (it wasn’t hard) how to set the phone to silence itself automatically when I place it face-down on a table. Try doing that with an iPhone.

7. For everything I gained, I lost nothing: Every game I had on iOS is right there on Android. Every service I use, including social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and reddit, or news aggregators like Google Reader and Pocket, or video/chat services like Google Talk or Skype, or Amazon’s shopping and Kindle apps, or Pandora, Pinterest or Angry Birds, or the app that accesses my computer’s online backup — all are on Android.

8. Just as simple to use: And guess what? It’s not more complicated than iOS. My wife hates futzing with tech. But she started using her Galaxy right out of the box. Maps, email, the camera, Facebook and Twitter — all seem to work smoother and better on Android.

I honestly don’t know why I stuck with iOS for so long. Apple may have started this revolution, but it’s falling behind.

About the Author
Haviv Rettig Gur is The Times of Israel's senior analyst.