It’s kind of weird how going from Android to iOS is akin to the saying “never forgetting how to ride a bike”. iOS has basically had the same basic functionality since I had my first run with it in 2011, but Android is an entirely different story almost every time I switch back from iOS. A lot of it has to do with the different UI skins that each manufacturer has, but I think there’s a double whammy in the fact that Android itself has been through a remarkable amount of changes in such a short amount of time – especially in comparison to iOS.
This time is no different. It’s been over a week since I received the Note 5 from Samsung’s Ultimate Test Drive, and adjusting to life with a gigantic Android phone with a stylus has been somewhat challenging as I try to get used to all of the bells and whistles included with this powerhouse of a phone. Although there are several things that I do miss about iOS, there are also a number of things that I really like in the Note (and from Android in general) over my iPhone – 5 of which stand out as major things, in my opinion.
I will start of by admitting that I have not used the S Pen as often as I thought I would. I have always loved styli and frequently used them back in the day when they were necessary for touchscreen smartphones, and I think perhaps nostalgia may have been what caused me to think that if I were to ever own a Note that the S Pen would be in my hand constantly. It’s not.
I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve had the phone for less than two weeks and frequently forget that it even exists, but the S Pen has still proven to be handy for those on the fly moments when I remember something that I need to get – which happens a lot. By simply removing the S Pen I’m able to write those things out and save it, and I don’t have to do any additional steps to unlock or open the screen. Either way, I am appreciative that it’s there, even if it isn’t something that I’ve quite gotten the hang of yet.
On the other hand, I did not think I would use multitasking as much as I have. As it turns out it’s super convenient to be able to use two apps at the same time, particularly if you’re the type of person who likes to look up information that they’re not familiar with anytime they come across it, or you frequently bring up a calculator, or you need to take notes on something from a webpage.
I really like the camera on my iPhone for how simple and straightforward it is, but I also find that I love Samsung’s camera as well. It’s fast, the settings are easy to toggle, and there are quite a few settings you can mess with along the way without ever needing to download a third-party program. Back in the day I remember Samsung’s camera being slow and kind of laggy, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue anymore. I’d say the camera experience is quite enjoyable.
I have really missed having a dedicated back button. iOS 9 introduced a “sort of” back button in its software, but it only works sometimes and it just isn’t in as convenient of a location as the capacitive back button on the Note (or the virtual ones on other Androids). I also enjoy the App Switch button, and wish I could stop instinctively double tapping the physical home button to bring up background apps.
This is an Android thing rather than a Note thing, but I’ve always preferred the way Android handles notifications – for the most part. While I love how much iOS will let you control notifications, I’ve always preferred Android’s status bar to keep a constant reminder that I’ve missed something. I still haven’t gotten in the habit of checking my Notifications tab on iOS, and when I finally do there’s typically a lot to sift through. I get through my notifications faster on Android because the Status Bar icons annoy me merely by existing. I just feel more productive and informed with Android’s status bar.
I’m sure there will be more things I learn to like as the trial continues. For now, I think I miss iOS more than I love the Note, but I think that’s just because I’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to everything this phone can do and still haven’t quite gotten used to it yet.
What are your favorite features of your daily driver, readers? Let us know in the comments below!