I’m Switching From The iPhone 6 Plus To The Samsung Note5
I have always had a love-hate relationship with Android. While I have been attracted by the perceived "openness" of the platform and the possibility of customization, I have always been disappointed with the unnecessary complexity that the so-called openness brings. This openness allows for OEMs like Samsung and LG to ship Android devices that not only differ in look, feel and functionality from other manufacturers' Android devices, but sometimes, even from other Android devices from the same manufacturer.
Android's perceived openness also allows carriers to take out key hardware and software features from these devices and even delay or deny important software updates, sometimes even critical security updates. For these and a few other reasons, I have always favored the stock Android experience offered on Google’s Nexus line of phones. With the exception of the first and the current Nexus phone, I have owned every Nexus phone. But before I owned any Nexus Android device, I owned a Samsung Galaxy S phone.
My first Android phone was the Samsung Vibrant, the T-Mobile variant of the first Galaxy S. The Vibrant was Samsung’s first credible attempt at an “iPhone Killer”. It was released in the summer of 2010 to critical acclaim. The phone bore an uncanny resemblance to the iPhone 3G/3GS due in part to the rounded corners on its plastic shell and its eerily similar iconography. In fact, Apple thought that the Vibrant resembled the iPhone so much that it sued Samsung over it. Many in the Android blogosphere fawned over the device’s bigger screen (4-inches vs the iPhone’s then 3.5-inch screen) and faster processor.
Mine never worked properly. Besides a few minor quirks and niggles that could have been attributed to the then half-baked Android operating system, my Vibrant (and many others) had a busted GPS chip. Samsung never publicly acknowledged this issue, though they tried and failed on multiple occasions to fix the issue by releasing several firmware updates. The last straw came when, after I applied an update from Samsung and tried a few solutions from online forums, the phone gave me a 45-minute ETA from my apartment in lower Manhattan to Manchester, Connecticut. This is a 2-hour, 45-minute trip by car. I literally threw the phone away, swore off Samsung devices and walked into the Apple Store to buy an iPhone 4. I’ve been using an iPhone ever since - until now.
Save for the Galaxy Nexus - a Samsung-built, stock Android phone that was sold and supported by Google - I have never owned or used a Samsung smartphone or tablet until now. About a week ago, I received the new Samsung Galaxy Note5. The Note has always been this unapologetic beast of a phone. It has always had a huge screen, a stylus (S-Pen), gobs of power and a ton of power-user features like expandable storage and a big, user-replaceable battery, that is until the Note5.
Ask many die-hard Note users what they think about the Note5 and you will be greeted with moans and sounds of disappointment. This is because of the omission of what would be considered Note power features. A good friend of mine posted a picture to Instagram with the caption: "No microSD, no removable battery, no 128GB model?”. Though not all avid Note fans feel this way, he and many others feel that by Samsung eliminating those so-called power features from the Note5, they have essentially made an iPhone. Another friend, Patrick Clarke, wrote a First Impressions post on his Galaxy Note5 and I’m happy to say that his experience was mostly positive. Take a look at his post and tell me what you think.
So now that I have the Note5, what am I going to do? A review, but with a twist. For the next three or so weeks until the iPhone 6s Plus comes out, I will use the Note5 as my only phone. I will transfer all my contacts, setup my email and social media accounts and download Android versions and alternatives of all the apps I use on my iPhone onto the Note5. I will document my experience with the Note5 from the point of view of an iOS (iPhone) user, comparing the Note5’s camera to the iPhone 6 Plus' camera. I will test the S-Pen and find out if Steve Jobs was right about the stylus.
It’s no secret that I use, like and almost always prefer Apple’s products over competing products, so I cannot wait to use the Note5. I will chronicle every part of the experience - the switch to the setup, the day-to-day experiences, the differences between iOS and Android and the differences between stock Android and TouchWiz (Samsung’s iteration of Android). I want to hear from you - what your preferences are and if you agree or disagree with me. I can’t wait to get started and I hope you enjoy the series, even if there are differences.