I recently listed 17 reasons why iPhones are inferior to Android phone. They are all real. Apple could fix every one of these. But laying out the advantages of either ecosystem, what’s the net value they bring?
This page assesses the value of each of the points where I compare the phone ecosystems. No matter how many points I have in favor of an ecosystem, they are only worth acting on if they have significant value.
Below, I first rate each point primarily on three factors:
- Does it help me be a better member of my family?
- Does it help me do paid or volunteer work better?
- Does it help me be smarter or more effective?
If the decision point doesn’t help me with one of these factors, it is not valuable as a decision point.
But if the decision point does help at least one of these factors, then it will contribute to a score that helps with a decision on which ecosystem to move forward with.
For each point, I provide some commentary. The Importance column is how many of the above factors the point affects. If it affects no factors, then its score is 0. The Score column has a 1 if Android is better, -1 if iPhone is better, or 0 if they are about the same. I’ll award a 2 or -2 if one is far better than the other. Extended is simply Importance * Score. The sum of Extended is the final score I am going after. If it’s significantly positive, I keep my Pixel 4 XL. If it’s significantly negative, I go with my iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Note that this scoring is mainly based on me comparing a Pixel 4 XL to a iPhone 12 Pro Max. In my prior commentary, I was not as device-specific. This is a guide for my own decision. For example, I am not factoring in possibilities of Android phones I do not have, such as the Nexus 5.
|Reason and commentary||Importance||Score||Extended|
|Call screening. Call-screening is a big deal: interruptions destroy developer productivity. However, iOS apps like Nomorobo are only $2 per month. Compared to the value of my time, an outlay of $2 isn’t much different than $0 (since call-screening is built into my Pixel), so I’m calling it a wash.|
Also, the robocall problem should be largely solved by June 30, 2022, thanks to STIR/SHAKEN implementation timelines, so that hopefully limits how long I’d need to buy a product.
|Browser ad blocking. I hate ads. Admittedly, Android’s ad-block advantage only comes from it allowing me to install Firefox. Because iOS allows ad blockers with its bundled browser, it gets a win.||2||-1||-2|
|YouTube ad blocking. Android wins this, but I cannot associate it with any objective value to me. YouTube is mostly a time-waster. I should be reading instead.||0||2||0|
|Universal back button. Android does well with this.||1||1||1|
|Gestures. They are mostly equivalent except for iOS’s missing back-button gesture.||1||1||1|
|Exiting apps. While Android’s back gesture is great way to exit apps, I think I use it about as much as I use the swipe up gesture. I’d just need to learn to swipe up exclusively on the iPhone.||0||1||0|
|Ambient display. Being able to glance at my phone is good for a lot of activities. That said, it’s not a strong advantage for Android because I can tap the Apple screen.||0||1||0|
|Treating me like an adult. Annoying, but I can live with it.||0||2||0|
|Application organization. Even though Android’s app drawer beats the pants off iOS here, I admit I don’t use it all that much. The apps I use frequently can be placed on my home screen easily.||0||2||0|
|Text messaging from other devices. This is a big deal. Android’s advantage is attenuated by the possibility of using a Bluetooth keyboard with the phone or an iPad, but sheesh, that’s more complexity.||2||1||2|
|Bundled apps. While Android win is real, iOS has gotten better about letting me junk Apple’s bundled garbage. Apple still has a lot of work to do here to not be as bad as Samsung. And I can uninstall a lot of the Apple crapware.||0||2||0|
|Browser flexibility. This is more philosophical opposition to Apple’s cynical, arbitrary rules than anything else. The main reason I value this is for ad blocking. Fortunately, unlike Android, iOS supports ad blocking on Safari, so iOS gets the win.||0||1||0|
|Camera activation. I am concerned about this. There are many times I’ve needed to catch something quickly, and that is harder with Apple. It’s only a slight advantage.||2||.5||1|
|Hardware design. While the Pixel line of Android has a clear advantage, I can fix Apple’s form-over-function human-hostility with a case, which I do with any phone I have.||0||2||0|
|High-refresh rate screen. This is a true shortcoming of Apple, but I don’t think it affects me.||0||1||0|
|Digital assistant. About the only thing I use the digital assistant for is dictation. While Android has the clear advantage, I can probably adapt my speech to do better with Siri.||0||1||0|
|Use of standard cables. Clinging to Lightning cables is super idiotic. But on the net for me, the extra cable load is a one-time deal and won’t increase complexity meaningfully.||0||2||0|
|No black crush. This will help me in low-light scenarios. Admittedly, the low-light scenarios are mostly watching Matt’s Off Road Recovery at night, so overcoming this has true value.||0||1||0|
|Screen brightness. The Pixel 4 XL’s brightness is inadequate for outdoor situations. The iPhone fixes that.||2||-1||-2|
|Battery life. The Pixel 4 XL’s battery life is awful. Even if the iPhone’s battery life isn’t all it cracked up to be, it’s still considerably better. The difference is big, but the fact that I can easily make up for the Pixel 4 XL’s weakness with small battery packs attenuates the value score to only a 1.||3||-1||-3|
|iMessage compatibility. This helps with communications with most the people I text.||3||-1||-3|
The final score is -5, which is a significant score in favor of keeping the iPhone.
In the end, it’s not a big deal to switch to Apple.
There is no other phone in the Android ecosystem I am interested in. I will not consider second-rate manufacturers that ruin the Android experience with garbage crapware, like Samsung. OnePlus is a contender, but it’s not quite there for me. While the Pixel 5 has a lot going for it, its weak processor, lack of face unlock, and reliance on an obsolete camera sensor are major marks against it.
The financials will work out. I can recover about 1/4 of the cost of my iPhone by selling my Pixel 4 XL. Also, since the iPhones devalue more slowly, that makes it easier to recover costs by just selling it, should the Pixel 6 or some future OnePlus work out better.