Android VS iPhone power users – here's why we made our choice

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Android VS iPhone power users – here's why we made our choice

Android power user



Name: Rado
Smartphone: Xiaomi Mi Max 2


Which Android phone are you using and why?


Some may be surprised to know that for the last three years I have mostly been using the now aging Xiaomi Mi Max 2. It has a large 6.44-inch display and a huge 5300mAh battery, a number we rarely ever see getting surpassed even in recent phones. Unlike current "large" phones with screens over 6 inches, which are designed to have narrow and tall screens, the Mi Max 2 is reasonably wide, which makes it great for most use case scenarios, and a true large phone, not just tall.

As a tech enthusiast and reviewer, I have also often temporarily used other Android and iOS smartphones, from the budget to the high-end, but am just too comfortable with my Mi Max 2 to switch entirely. I'm about to start using the Google Pixel 4 as my daily driver, although if I am to recommend a phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note would likely make the perfect Android smartphone for most power users. If you're interested in having absolute power and versatility, invest in a Galaxy Note 10+.

Why do you prefer Android as a power user?


Although I admire how clean and easy-to-use iOS is on iPhones, I appreciate that Android is giving me full control, and treating me as the administrator of my own phone. There are so many things you can do with your Android smartphone with minimal tinkering, normally solely via apps. Here are some of the things I love about Android:


I can always make my phone feel fresh by customizing it


While iOS is only now about to get resizable home screen widgets with iOS 14, on Android you can get a launcher app to completely change how your home screen looks and feels. I bought Nova Launcher and Smart Launcher, currently using the latter for its clean and consistent-looking widgets. Icon packs are also available, which change how your apps' icons look. Your Android phone can fully represent your unique personality, beyond just the wallpaper.

I can have widgets for several email accounts, on my home screen


I'm surprised iPhone users are fine with this, but having to open an app in order to see your emails feels so distant to me. Normally I have two of my main email accounts as widgets either on my home screen or in a widget section that's a single swipe away, showing my emails at a glance. This is just one example of a time-saving convenience that I'm unable to overlook when using an iPhone.

I can multitask effortlessly on Android


I'm an avid iPad user, but even on iPadOS multitasking is worse than it is on Android phones, and on iPhone – it's almost non-existent. Picture-in-picture is finally coming with iOS 14, but what about split-screen or windowed apps? Those have been around for quite a few years on Android. In fact, this is the main, most significant reason I'm unwilling to switch to iPhone – the lack of split-screen multitasking.

I can access most files and folders on my phone


Like on a computer, I can easily browse through almost all folders on my phone, view the files inside, or create my own folders for, say, documents. iOS only recently added a Files app and it's still very limited, showing folders from only the few apps that support it. On Android, you simply have access to most files and folders, including those on your microSD card, which yes, is a thing many Android phones allow you to use.

The average Android phone has the potential to replace a computer


Android 10 has a hidden, underdeveloped desktop mode, so we know something bigger may be coming. But even now, flagship Samsung phones have DeX support, which turns your smartphone into a computer replacement when you need it to. Connect to a monitor, keyboard and a mouse, and your phone's home screen turns into a Windows computer-like desktop, and apps start opening in windows, completely changing your entire experience.

Even if you're not using a Samsung flagship, you can download a launcher such as Sentio, which does a similar job. Any good Android phone has a legitimate potential to be your Swiss Army knife device, that is both your phone and your computer.

I can even run Linux on my Android phone if I want to


That's how much freedom Android users have. Although the previous option works way better, booting a desktop operating system such as Debian Linux on Android is easy, thanks to apps like Debian noroot. As the name suggests, you don't need to root your phone or really do anything more than simply downloading the app from Google Play and running it.

But why would one want to boot Linux on their phone, for any other reason than curiosity? Well, I've been able to run desktop programs such as Chromium, Audacity and Gimp on my Android phone via the aforementioned Debian noroot app. This is quite impressive on its own. And if I choose to mirror my phone's screen to a TV at the same time, I get yet another PC experience from my trusty Android phone.

Even if you see all this as pointless right now, consider the possibilities in the future. As Android smartphones continue getting more powerful, some day they will be able to run Linux and desktop software effortlessly, and maybe even Windows.

I can choose my default music player


This is a simple one. What if you download some of the many free songs available on, say SoundCloud? How would you play those on your iPhone? On Android I can not only pick a default music player, but I even have my music folders in a home screen widget, so I can browse through my songs and play the ones I want, regardless of the source they came from, without even opening an app.

In conclusion


Obviously that's not all, but I think I made my point. For better or for worse, Google's Android grants users and developers way more freedom than Apple does on the iPhone. I totally understand why iPhone users may prefer the simplicity and limitations of iOS, as it all suggests better security, stability and ease-of-use.

But users who want to do as much as possible with their phones should always go for Android, no matter how unattractive and inconsistent it may look or feel sometimes. With some effort, you can make Android yours, and your phone one-of-a-kind.

iPhone power user



Name: Preslav
Smartphone: iPhone 11 Pro


Which iPhone are you currently using and why?


I’m currently using the iPhone 11 Pro. Still lamenting the lack of 3D Touch on it, but — unfortunately — the iPhone XS Max I was using previously was mercilessly ripped away from me. So, like it or not, I was dragged into 2019, kicking and screaming.

Why the iPhone? Well, two reasons — iOS and the camera. Let’s unpack them one by one.

Does the iPhone have the best cameras?


No.

There are a few Android devices that actually perform better in many scenarios. But I guess we can all agree that the iPhone has cameras that are easily in the top 5, so that’s good enough, right?

What is it that I really like about them? They are extremely consistent and predictable. I could be looking at a scene with my two eyeballs and I can already imagine how the iPhone is going to capture it.

Android phones will sometimes… surprise you — it may be pleasant, it may be a shock.

This is extremely useful for me since I use the iPhone as a tool. I often record B-roll footage (even A-roll before I bought a camera) for my YouTube channel with just the iPhone, since I don’t often lug my camera around. I can get some cool action shots with the ultra-wide lens, I can bring subjects closer with the telephoto. I AirDrop those to my Mac and they are ready to be imported in Final Cut.

And yes, I have used various Android phones for the same purposes before. Sometimes I captured footage that just looked better than what the iPhone would do, sometimes I got a jittery, color-confused mess. I don’t like surprises.


Granted, many Android phones come with great manual modes on their camera apps. On an iPhone, you need to fish for a good video recording app if you want more advanced features. But chances are — you will quickly find a solid, stable, feature-packed app, which gives you everything you need.

I’ll talk more about apps in the next section —

Why do you prefer iOS (iPhone) as a power user?


OK, it doesn’t have customization — but to be fair, I hardly care about icon packs. My Windows PC has had the same wallpaper since 2010-ish. My MacBook still has the stock Catalina wallpaper. Guess how much I am invested in “customizing” my phone.

I will say, I am still super annoyed by how iOS insists that app icons be ordered in strict rows and doesn’t allow for empty spaces so that you could better arrange your apps thematically. But that’s a pill I’ve learned to swallow.

iOS gives me the apps I need



Here’s the thing with iOS — it will usually have creative apps that are objectively better than on Android. Either because they have exclusive features or because they just run better.

And, as infuriated as you might be right now, I’ll ask you this — can you find me an Android video editing app, which supports keyframes? Let me save you some time — there are two. One is KineMaster, the other one is VivaCut. Yes, they technically support keyframes, but only for animation — you pre-program linear movement or resizing for your layer… and that’s it. You can’t have it dynamically change filters, brightness, contrast, et cetera between keyframes.

And I am not even going to talk about how clunky and cumbersome these apps feel to use.

To top it off, VivaCut is a shameless 1:1 copy of Enlight Videoleap — a video-editing app that’s currently only available on iOS and it’s actually pretty fantastic. I use it for all my quick edits on the iPhone or iPad and it has everything I need, proper keyframing included.

OK, what about other apps? Let’s take a look at another hobby of mine — music and, more specifically, guitar playing.


For years, Android was battling an audio latency issue, which simply made it impossible to have proper real-time audio for musician apps on the platform. Apple has had these since what… 2010? The iPhone 4? Wow.

Nowadays, if you buy a midrange Android and launch an app like Tonebridge (guitar effects app), you will be greeted by the message “You may experience audio latency while playing” or something along the lines. Well, if you buy an iPhone SE (2020) for $400, or an old, beat up iPhone or iPad off of Ebay, you will still get ultra-low latencies and the gadget will be perfectly usable as a makeshift guitar processor or demo recording workstation.

3rd party developers have taken note of that and there is a plethora of musician accessories and apps for iOS and iPadOS. For Android… yeah, you have a few options, which are kind of meh, and may or may not work satisfactory.

I’ve gone to rehearsals with just a guitar, an audio interface, and an iPhone. I recently made an entire song using only an iPad Pro, just to see if it’s possible. I could’ve done it on an iPhone, too, though with more fidgeting on the small screen. But I can’t do any of that on Android.

I don’t really miss split-screen


I’ve been an avid Android user for quite some time. I even hogged the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge for a couple of years and praised it for many things, its multi-tasking included.

While it’s sometimes annoying that the iPhone can’t split its screen, so I can do a quick check of something and get back to what I was doing, it’s not a game-changer. Let’s be fair, most of the time we want split-screen from our phones, it’s because we want that YouTube video to keep playing while we do something else (respond to an email) real fast.

Prolonged use of split-screen or floating windows on that tiny display? Yeah… I don’t think that’s something I enjoy doing nowadays.

Pairing with accessories



For some reason, some phones in Android land still have some issues when it comes to Bluetooth pairing. Samsung seems to be the biggest offender here — I’ve had most trouble pairing to a 3rd party smartwatch or action camera with Samsung phones than any other brand.

iPhones on the other hand… well, “it just works”. I will note, that it’s often not automated, which is cumbersome and annoying. For example, you need to go into Settings and hook up your iPhone to your action camera’s Wi-Fi signal manually, then you need to go back into the action camera app and proceed with what you wanted to do from there. GoPro has fixed this in recent years (the app now has control over the iPhone’s Wi-Fi and will hook up to your GoPro camera automatically), but some other cameras still haven’t caught up.

Bottom line — it’s an issue with previous experience and “reputation”. Whenever I see an interesting accessory that supports both Android and iOS, I am 95% sure it’ll work flawlessly with an iPhone, but concerned about pairing it to an Android.

In conclusion


Being free to customize and install whatever OS you want on your phone might be impressive and make some people giggle. But when it comes to using a certain gadget as a tool, it all comes down to three questions:

  • Does this tool have the features I need?
  • Does this tool fit into my workflow without disturbing it?
  • Can this tool add value to my process?

For me and what I do, the iPhone answers “yes” to all three questions. Does this mean it’s the end-all-be-all smartphone for everyone? Most certainly not. Which phone answers “yes” to all three questions for your use case? Comments section is open!

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