If you follow me on social media or know me in person, you will know that I go through more phones than I do hot meals. It’s hard to condense these reasons into a readable article, but I’ll give it my best shot. There is one phone that has converted me from and iPhone fan into a Nexus fan – the Huawei made Nexus 6p
For a long time, I was firmly in the Android camp. I felt for the most part, Android was the superior operating system for my needs and the rival operating systems, namely iOS, didn’t hit the spots that I required when it came to my use cases. The only issue was that I couldn’t find that one Android device to tide me over long enough to necessitate the need for a 24-month contract like normal consumers do.
This wasn’t necessarily to do with the hardware or even the build quality of the devices I have owned — it was more to do with the software and what the manufacturers were doing to the software that made me rethink my options. Android, for all intents and purposes, is one base operating system. Google develop it, push it out to manufacturers, then its up to the OEMs to go crazy on design elements, features and everything that they believe will add a USP to the overall look and feel for consumers to enjoy.
Back when I was at my worst with my smartphone purchases – roughly around 2010 – I always felt an unrelenting need to change things all the time. Stock applications, launchers etc just weren’t cutting it for me. While a lot of people like the idea of customisation and the freedom to do whatever they like, I was in the vocal minority of people that liked to keep things looking the same as it was when I first switched on the device. Don’t get me wrong, I dabbled in custom ROMs, kernel tweaking and changing the device so much it’s hardly recognisable — hell I even produced themes for CyanogenMod and AOKP for a short while before I lost all motivation to do it. This is where iPhones came into play.
iPhones: The Lazy Man’s Phone
Now while the heading is a little misleading on my part, it really shouldn’t be. I feel it’s more of a nod to Apple for the simplicity of iPhones and its software. Apple tend to lead the charge for feature implementations, and while they aren’t the quickest in the world to add something, you can be damn sure that it will be the best representation of that feature when they announce it.
I bought my first iPhone in 2009, which if my memory serves me correctly was the iPhone 3GS at the time. The iPhone 3GS was a weird phone – from its glossy plastic backside to the unusual choice of a metal but not so metal edge that surrounded the device. It went down as not one of Apple’s best designed phones if you want to be a historian about it. I was in the group majority of people in the ‘hate’ camp when it came to the 3GS.
My overall Android fanboyism wanted to hate the device whether it was actually decent or not, but one thing that my unrelenting fanboy antics couldn’t get past was the simplistic software. Again, this isn’t a negative comment by any means, as I was more of the type of person to just use a device as-is when I take it out of the box and set it up. The iPhone 3GS launched with iOS 4, which at the time Apple were finding their feet in the software field. It didn’t have much compared to Android, but what it did have it managed to trample all over Android with, and that came down to the usability of it. It was the first phone I had ever used that I could setup, not touch anything (mainly because you couldn’t), and just use the device as it was intended to.
Shortly after I purchased the 3GS, I wanted Android back in my life. Now without delving into my own memory and reciting each phone I have owned in the past, I couldn’t tell you exactly which phone I went to after the 3GS; all I can really tell you is that it was an Android device. The core reasonings as to why I wanted Android back in my tech life was unbeknownst to me at the time, but looking back on it, I think it was because Android had more to offer, although you had to do a little tinkering to actually find what you wanted.
I think this is where Android and iOS become polar opposites: Android is more for the people that like to explore new avenues, whereas with iOS you are stuck to the same pattern and really have no choice but to use what is given to you. Of course now we can see that Apple have opened up a little bit and added the opportunity for further customisation to happen, but back then it wasn’t as simple as that.
Just to cut a long article short, we’re in 2016 now and I’ve been through my fair share of both Android and iOS devices. Up until a week or maybe two weeks ago, I was firmly in the iOS camp. From iOS 7 onwards I was very intrigued in the natural design shift and the well-implemented features. Not only that, but I really didn’t have to do anything to learn and function the operating system. The way your Apple TV works with your iPhone and vice-versa is a very smart way of doing things, as well as the handoff and continuity features to work alongside my MacBook. This brings me to last week.
To cut right into it, I wanted to find a place to hang my virtual hat in terms of a network provider. The Three network, which I was on at the time, wasn’t cutting the mustard for me. 9 times out of 10 I didn’t have a signal and the remaining 1 time the signal was full, but I’d have no 3G/4G. This was when I found a deal on the aptly named HotUKDeals. They had a Nexus 6P on an O2 Refresh contract.
This basically means you’re paying separate contracts, so if you want to upgrade early, just pay the phone off. I went ahead with it straight away. I’ve had a Nexus 6P before, but after researching into it a little bit, it would appear that the first unit I had was pre-production, which in turn gave me no choice but to sell it.
The Dawning of the Nexus 6p
So the Nexus 6p came in the post 4 days ago, and I instantly fell in love with Android again. It was a feeling that I hadn’t had with the OS for a long time. I don’t want to compare Apples to…Androids here, but in some regard it reminded me of the simpler times I had with iOS. I didn’t need to install any third-party apps to make it work the way I wanted, no overbearing bugs that made me want to throw the device in a river, and more importantly: it was simple.
I’ve fallen victim to a running joke recently on social media and it goes like this:
- I purchase a new phone, sing its praises
- Social media followers then proceed to say: “I give it 3 days”
- I sell the phone in 3 days and go back to my iPhone.
For the most part, the above is true. I haven’t been able to stick to an Android device for more than a week without having iPhone withdrawal symptoms. This is why, with confidence, I wrote this article. The Nexus 6P, along with the Android N developer preview changed my perception on Android as a whole. An operating system I fell in and out of love with like some crappy Jennifer Anniston rom-com has now swallowed me whole.
Android N is the best Android has ever been, and giving an Apple a run for their money with its simplicity with no ‘in-your-face’ features that are begging to be used. It’s just a simple, well put together piece of code and the cogs are working in conjunction with each other very well.
As far as the Nexus 6P is concerned, it’s a flawless device. The build quality is a credit to Huawei and Google’s partnership. They didn’t bring Huawei into the Google offices and go against the grain with an unassuming, typical design — they played to Huawei’s advantages of some of the best hardware design that nobody has seen before. It’s a well-built piece of aluminium that has been moulded into a stunning piece of Android hardware.
Most of what was said earlier in the article will be recited here, but the Nexus 6P took me back to the simpler times when Android was in its infancy. It wasn’t out there to force features down your throat, and it didn’t have an ulterior motive — it was there just to use and do with it as you please. The one thing that I loved about iPhones actually brought me back to Android for the same reason. Google finally have a hold on consistent design language, and apps are becoming a lot more ‘Android’ by the day.
I will miss some aspects of iOS, but it certainly won’t lead me back to using it for those reasons. The Nexus 6p and Android is where my hat is now, and will be for the foreseeable future.