How the Galaxy S23 Ultra will break my vicious iPhone cycle (and why it's so difficult to stop using Apple's phones in favor of Android)

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
How the Galaxy S23 Ultra will break my vicious iPhone cycle (and why it's so difficult to stop using
Who knew that I'd become an iPhone user? And not only that – but a long-term one too. I sure didn't. Five years ago I was happy with my big, midrange, and fairly basic Xiaomi Mi Max 2 smartphone, and Apple's iPhones seemed like overpriced, polished, yet fairly unimpressive options that people chose purely for the obligatory status symbol that they've become.

I wasn't familiar enough with iPhones, and was quick to judge, as I've seen many other people do. But things are never as simple as they look from across the fence.

iPhones are, in fact, fantastic phones from a lot of angles. Fairly reliable, very simple and easy to use, featuring great build quality, long-term software updates, and (at least a reassuring promise of) user privacy.

For better or worse, though, I'm a power user, meaning that I like to make the most out of every one expensive device that I own, and having been used to Android, it's hard to deal with the iPhone's limitations.

No Samsung DeX modes, no sideloading apps, heck, not even simple split-screen multitasking. No stylus support, can't change the launcher or customize too much… A chunk of things that I may want from my phone, to not only make the best of it, but also make it truly my own, are rapidly coming to mind when I think about this.

And over the last few years, I've been trying to go back to good ol' Android, so I can get back that power and freedom.

In fact, one of my New Year's resolutions will be to finally switch back to Android in 2023, and I believe I know the phone that'll help me do it – the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

However, breaking away from Apple is going to be a challenge. Things are more complicated than you may think, so let me explain what the problem is…

Apple has locked me in; I'm in ecosystem jail! Now I have to buy several all-new devices just to switch back to Android

And no, I don't care about the colors of text bubbles like most people seem to – the reason I'm locked into Apple's ecosystem goes beyond software.

I went on to buy an Apple Watch Series 7, which I use everyday for workouts, and AirPods, which – same. And while Apple's true wireless earbuds will technically work with Android phones like the upcoming Galaxy S23 Ultra, they'll sound worse, because my favorite feature about them – Spatial Audio – is inconveniently iPhone-only. Even worse, the Apple Watch will simply not work with any Android phone at all.

So making the switch back to Android is a big financial commitment – and obviously it'll take a great phone to get me to give up on my personal $400 Apple Watch and $250 AirPods Pro 2, and proceed to buy similarly-expensive, more Android-friendly smartwatch and earbuds. Then start getting used to those from scratch again.

But there's more. I usually use a MacBook, and switching my iPhone with an Android phone means I'll no longer be able to quickly and conveniently AirDrop photos and videos from my phone to my laptop. AirDrop – you guessed it – works between Apple devices only, and it's too great of a feature to give up painlessly. So there's that big adjustment to anticipate, too…

You see? It's very hard to escape from Apple's clutches once you're deep into its hardware and software ecosystem, because, say what you will about it – it's very convenient. Also ruthlessly locked down.

And those things I mentioned are only barely scratching the surface of what I'll be giving up, that I've now become accustomed to. There's more, such as, say, using Siri and Apple's Reminders app.

Now, I know there's Google Assistant on Android, but once you get used to something, and you get used to doing it a certain way… you know…

But, there is also a lot encouraging me to break away from my iPhone, and the whole self-inflicted Apple imprisonment in general, so let's talk about that next.

The downsides of iPhone (from a power user's perspective, spoiled by Android)

  • No split-screen multitasking
  • No power user features like Samsung DeX
  • No stylus option
  • Minimal customization
  • Can't sideload apps, can't get emulators or download torrents

And before someone comments on the torrent thing – torrents aren't just for piracy. Also, piracy exists beyond torrents. I've been into watching old-timey movies that have now gone into the public domain, and thus are legal to download.

The easiest way for me to download those in their best preserved quality would normally be via torrents, but lo and behold – Apple doesn't allow torrenting apps, just because they can theoretically be used for downloading illegal content. By that logic – why not remove Safari and all web browsers too? It's pretty ridiculous.

No emulators on the app store either, and it's not like you can sideload any. I have a huge retro gaming collection and I'd like to be able to carry some of that childhood with me, in my pocket, on my phone.

But only Google lets you do any of that stuff; meanwhile Apple acts like it's your strict (and often unfair) parent that knows better than you what you should be doing, and how.

On Google's Play Store, you can not only download torrenting apps and emulators freely, but Android even lets you sideload apps and games that aren't on the Play Store too – such as Fortnite. I don't like being restricted and treated like a dumb kid and, and in that aspect – Google is infinitely better than Apple.

In any case, besides the obvious lack of split-screen multitasking and generally any power user features, especially if we compare it to a Samsung flagship, the iPhone's complete lack of stylus support has also become a huge issue for me as of late.

In my spare time, I've been working on a retro-style indie game, and for it, I tend to draw pixel art assets on my iPad. But for miniscule pixel art, I really don't need that huge iPad display, and I'd rather be able to work on those assets from my phone. When the Galaxy S23 Ultra comes out (likely in February, 2023), and I switch to it, I'll be able to work on my pixel art anywhere I go, anytime. Not just at home, or the occasional places where I've brought a bulky iPad and an Apple Pencil with me.

Why the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the best upcoming phone to break me free from Apple's ecosystem (perhaps besides Samsung's own Galaxy Z Fold 5)

It's pretty simple. The S Ultra phones are an epitome of everything that's great about Samsung, and the S23 Ultra, like its predecessor, will be a shining example of what a power user smartphone should be like. It's in a league of its own, too. More specifically, what I personally need from my phone is exactly what the upcoming Galaxy S23 Ultra offers:

  • Big display
  • Big battery
  • Powerful productivity and multitasking features
  • Customizability

But since it's not all sunshine and roses, here are the things I'm hoping Samsung improves upon with the S23, because they're currently not ideal on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, especially compared to the iPhone:

  • Speaker quality
  • Battery life
  • No Exynos processor! Give me Snapdragon, or give me death

I won't be going into the details, but the reason "battery" is in both categories is – although the current S22 Ultra already has a long battery life (beyond 12 hours of usage), it can always be better. Check our Galaxy S22 Ultra review for the exact battery life benchmark results, but basically, the then-current iPhone 13 Pro Max beat it by quite a bit.

Also, something iPhones always beat Galaxy phones in, and it matters to me a lot, is the speaker quality. For whatever reason, Samsung develops these amazing smartphones like the Galaxy S22 Ultra and its upcoming successor – S23 Ultra – with their industry-leading displays, perfectly compact design despite the big battery and screen, industry-leading power user features and even a built-in S Pen stylus, yet never bothers to also pack in a good speaker.

If you've heard a Galaxy S phone next to a flagship iPhone, you know what I mean – while the iPhones generally have strong, full sound with even a hint of punchy bass, Samsung's phones normally have tinny, disappointing speakers that, in my opinion, are worse than even some budget phones out there. Pretty weird!

And we do everything on our phones nowadays – including gaming, watching movies and YouTube videos, so sound quality matters a lot. Why pair an incredible, gorgeous display with a tinny speaker, Samsung?

So there is room for improvement, and some tiny things that I wish the upcoming Galaxy S23 Ultra will finally improve upon, since it's otherwise basically the perfect smartphone for someone like me.

And perhaps the one and only Android smartphone that will be so good, it finally gets me to switch teams once again, and completely return to Android. There will be a follow-up on that, and in the meantime, stay tuned for the latest news on the Galaxy S23 Ultra here:

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