I’ve had my work iPhone 3GS (which I’ve affectionately nicknamed as ‘The Classic’) for four years now, and as time has been going on, the thing has been getting slower and slower (why does this happen to all computing devices?) I really like the iPhone, and despite successors being released every six months, I hadn’t really pushed hard for an upgrade since the iPhone 5 was released.
A month ago I received an email from my IT department at work:
We intend to replace the old 3Gs iPhones before the end of June with 4G compatible devices. Since iPhone 5 does not reach the minimum requirements for Endava Premium Phones standard, please choose between the below three models by the end of the week, 7th of June:
• Samsung GS4 [Android]
• Sony Xperia Z [Android]
• Nokia Lumia 920 [Windows]
Please confirm the model by replying to this email with your choice.
Also please be informed that the new phone must be kept for the next three years and replying to this email is the confirmation you agree with this term.
I questioned what the minimum requirements were, but in the interest of your time, the conclusion was that there was zero leniency and we had to choose one of the listed devices.
I instantly discounted the Sony because I know people with Sony laptops and phones. They are always slightly bespoke and never quite work as well as the standard operating system.
The Nokia was intriguing. I owned and liked one of the very first HTC Windows phones several years ago. The two people I know with modern Nokia/ Windows passionately try converting everyone else to the platform, however the app store doesn’t include some of my favourite and most used apps. It’s interesting how I chose a work phone based on the consumer apps. I even went to the support forums of those apps and saw users begging for Windows releases, but without any response.
I asked around and came to the conclusion to go for the Samsung.
Firstly, it’s nice having a phone so responsive. And the screen is incredibly, vividly clear. The phone is physically larger than any other smartphone I’ve seen, although I like it. It’s more like a mini tablet, and considering I don’t have a tablet, its nice having such a large screen.
There are some downsides. After three weeks of use, and I still make loads of mistakes on the keyboard. The space bar seems to be in the wrong position because I join words together with a ‘b’ instead of separating them with a space.
And my big bugbear is that Samsung lost a patent to Apple over the use of showing misspelt words with a red underline. Having been used to this on word processors, web browsers and all previous phones that I can think of, and overusing the ‘b’ key, my email recipients must think I’ve become illiterate in the last month.
The App Store (sorry, ‘Play’) is comprehensive and easy to use – within an hour I’d downloaded all the apps that I’d used on my iPhone. The difference is that on Android, the icons appear in a mess rather than the nice layout of the iPhone. Another hour later and the apps were organised quicker than you can say ‘OCD’.
One of the nice features is that all photos are automatically uploaded to a Dropbox account. To me, this is real consumer cloud functionality because it makes the data more portable, rather than Apple’s iCloud, which isn’t portable, and to this day I still can’t delete my Apple ID.
I like the notifications interface. Whereas Apple displays notifications for each app (with the red circle), Android is more subtle with small icons at the top of the screen, and a scroll down action shows the detail behind the notifications.
Apparently the Samsung is compatible with Vodafone’s 4G network, however the network itself isn’t ready yet. One of my colleagues at work who has a personal iPhone 5 on EE has faster Internet speeds using 4G than I get using Sky broadband Unlimited at home.
In summary, I’m happy with the Samsung because it’s so much quicker than The Classic, but having a super-modern phone that’s predominantly used for emails without a spell checker is more than a hindrance. However I would have much, much rather taken the new iPhone 5.