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ios vs android

I recently switched from an iPhone 5 running ios7 to a Moto X running Android 4.2.2 (Jellybean). If I've already lost you, probably you should stop reading. :) But this is "Tuesday Tech" after all, and I thought some of my readers might be interested in my observations and comparisons. These are anecdotal, not scientific; but I do pay pretty close attention to settings, usage, and usability. So consider this a real-world comparison. In some cases, I know what is specifically "Moto X" (model) and what is more generally Android (operating system). I'll comment on that in a final section. I also am realizing that this could get very long, so I'm just going to mention the more significant things (to me) and leave what seem like secondary differences for another day. What is More or Less the Same
  • APPS: I was pleased to discover that my most-used apps from the iPhone were also available for Android; in most cases, I could even sign back in with my same user name and password and my data appeared (for example, with my fitness app). I had not invested a LOT of money for paid apps on iTunes, so that was not a big issue. (But do see note on apps below on "Where I miss the iPhone.")
  • SIZE: Unlike a number of other flagship Android phones, the Moto X is approximately the same size as the iPhone 5 (which I like).
  • VOICE CONTROL: So far, the Google Now touchless control and Siri seem roughly comparable, though I've had some better success with Google Now than I did with Siri.
Where I Like the Moto X/Android
  • GOOGLE: I probably most enjoy the integration between all things Google and the Android operating system. If you don't know, Google created it AND I think partnered with Motorola on the Moto X, so this phone is made for Google-users... and I am a big Google-user (and fan). SIDE NOTE: the iPhone played well with Google - in some ways for me as a Windows user more so than it's own native apps; but there was a noticeable step-up in Google connectivity with the Android/MotoX.
  • BATTERY LIFE: once I figured out that the Weather App was constantly accessing GPS and turned that off, I am getting 15-16 hrs. on the Moto X compared to 10-12 on the iPhone 5 with similar usage. (I know usage varies, so the best thing I know to do is compare my usage to myself.)  I've actually enjoyed enough extra battery from the Moto X that I find myself using it more throughout the day than I did with the iPhone. The Moto X/Android also has an effective battery utility for squeezing the last little bit of life out at the end. I think I could probably go 17-18 hrs. before actually having it shut down on me. (Now, if I take a bunch of video or upload on 3G or some other intensive activity, that will shorten; but nonetheless, it's longer by 15-25% than what I got from the iPhone.)
  • SCREEN: while I have read the specs that the Moto X screen is not as high def as the iPhone screen, it is plenty clear and bright and more than makes up for it with the accessibility settings for larger fonts. I have trouble reading the tiny default type on the iPhone. The accessibility settings there help in SOME apps, but not others; on the Moto X/Android, setting the font size higher helps in MOST apps and I can read much more easily
  • TYPING: I stumbled across this in an article, but the slide-to-type feature built in to Android works very well and may almost DOUBLE my typing speed on the phone. (I think there is an app available on Android or ios7 for this, but it's now built in to Android.)
  • SPEAKER: The audio speaker is usefully louder on the Moto X
  • NOTIFICATIONS: after adjusting to the differences, I prefer the notification system on the Moto X/Android, both in how it displays and in how easy it is to get to the full notice or action; this will probably vary significantly by user
  • HOME SENSOR/BUTTON: While a small thing, I have had several Apple devices (iPod Touch and iPhones) where the home button has worn out and stopped functioning. The comparable home button on the Moto X (and most or all Android phones) is on the screen rather than a part of the hardware. (It actually is a piece of hardware - a sensor; but with fewer moving/breakable/wearable parts than the Apple 'button'). Likewise, the button to show all running programs is a separate sensor next to the home sensor... the same thing on the iPhone requires a double-press of the home button, which puts more wear and tear on it.
  • BACK SENSOR: Speaking of button/sensors, I also like the far left 3rd sensor on the Moto X, which functions as a 'back' or 'previous' button. I use this frequently and it wasn't present on the iPhone.
Where I Miss the iPhone
  • AD-FREE APPS: I mentioned above that most of the apps I use were also available on Android for free. What is surprisingly missing for several apps is the ability to pay a little to remove ads. I'd gladly do so (and had on the iPhone), but those ad-free versions are not even available for Android. I suppose it's a different profit-structure for Google, but it's frustrating to have no other options.
  • MORE ELEGANT APPS: I was surprised to see that the Apps I was using looked a generation OLDER on Android. I know that many apps freshened up their appearance with the release of ios7, but some of my Android Apps look even older than the pre-ios7 versions. I don't understand that if the App is by the same creator... maybe they think Apple users need the more polished experience? It's more of a surprise than a bother (though some of the fresher Apple versions actually included helpful tweaks to the use and not just the look).
  • QUICK-SETTINGS MENU: Though I wasn't a huge fan of the aesthetic change that came with ios7, one feature that made it worth the change for me was the quick settings menu that you can swipe up from the bottom. It provides access to a number of features I frequently accessed (toggling wifi, airplane mode, flashlight, alarm clock, brightness, airplay, bluetooth, etc...). Android has a similar (swipe-down) menu, but it shows active notifications and the quick-settings menu comparable to ios7 is a button available from there. So, there is an extra step to get to it. Not a huge thing, but I probably do access it 20x a day and miss the quick(er) access on the iPhone.
  • CAMERA: while the megapixels are roughly comparable between the two phones (Moto X might even be higher), I am finding that the iPhone had better lighting adjustments and produced better-composed pictures and video. Basically, tapping the iPhone screen set focus and light balance; the Moto X camera only taps to focus. The zoom, while not great on the iPhone, produced better results than the zoom on the Moto X.
  • AIRPLAY: I realize Airplay is only useful if one has an Apple TV, but this was a feature I used frequently at home and work. I understand the Moto X/Android can do this with the Google Chromecast key, but at not the same quality and with select content.  (I do still have an iPad, so I'm not completely cut off; but, the most frustrating piece is taking video on the Moto X and not being able to quickly or easily show it on the bigger screen.)
  • GYRO/ACCELEROMETER/GPS: one of my primary uses for the phone is to track my running; my impression thus far is that either the gyro, accelerometer, or GPS on the Moto X is not as precise as on the iPhone 5. When I looked at my stats on the iPhone after a run, I'd see a smoother graph of my speed. The Moto X graph of speed is up and down (it averages out the same, but looks like it is checking at an interval rather than steadily).  Now I also moved where I carry the phone from my upper arm (iPhone) to my pants pocket (Moto X), so it may be that the phone senses a different motion; I'll test this out. There may be a batter-saving tweak involved, too, but thus far, the Moto X is giving me some bogus stats on my runs because of these differences.
Bottom-Line? All in all, I was happy with the iPhone 5 and I am happy with the Moto X! It was a roughly comparable and lateral switch. I'd recommend either phone enthusiastically. Hopefully, some of these notes and comparisons will be useful in some way. Why did I switch, then?  Great question! That was prompted by the costs of service with Verizon. What led me to Republic Wireless was the significant reduction in cost and a solution to the lack of cell signal in my house (0 bars; 1 on a good day next to a window or on the front porch). So far, 8 weeks in with myself and one teenager having made the switch to Republic and the Moto X, we are thrilled with the overall change. As soon as our other contracts run out at Verizon, we'll move the whole family over.  I'll write some more soon about why Republic Wireless is a unique and good option in another post. I'd be interested in any specific iPhone/ios7 or Moto X/Android experiences in the comments!

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