After a Month on a Galaxy Note...

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by MadGoat, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. MadGoat macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2007
    This is more of a rambling, but I did a 30 day challenge with using an impressive Android phone (Galaxy Note) after being on iOS for the better part of 4 years, started on the 3G right up to the 4S.

    After deciding that I would not be upgrading to the iPhone 5 as it really doesn’t offer anything that the 4S doesn’t already have and the screen bump is marginal at best, I decided to purchase a New (second hand) Galaxy Note.
    After one month of 24/7 use, I must say that the Note is a fantastic device, with its 5.3” screen and amazing colours, I was blown away. Having the stock OS that came with all the Samsung Note apps and other cool stuff, it was great. After Rooting and Flashing a custom OS (CM9), it was ok, but lost a lot of what made a Note a Note.

    I did like the widgets, although after 30 days, I found I was only using a weather widget and a MP3 player widget. I loved being able to tweak everything to my liking and killing services I didn’t want or ever intend on using.

    I didn’t like the battery life, I found it highly unpredictable. Usual routine is unplug the phone at 6AM, leave for work get to work (already at 96-98% did nothing on it), lay the phone on my desk, by 10AM my battery is about 76-80% (GPS: Disabled, Sync: Enabled, Wifi: on and connected, screen brightness about 60%) While my 4s by 10 AM would be between 95-98% with the same amount of usage.

    • Widgets
    • Tweaking (Tasker is awesome)
    • Custom roms
    • Changing default apps to handle tasks
    • NFC (Mostly for around the house, telling it to go into a power save mode if it was laying on an NFC card on my table.)
    • Those little shortcut, capacitive buttons on the bottom of every android. Very, Very handy.

    • Micro-Managing everything in order to preserve memory and battery
    • The lack of apps that are on iOS, simple killer apps like GoodReader, sure there are over half a million apps in Play, but quality of Play apps vs. iOS apps, Apple dominates here.
    • Battery, it sucked, no matter how many service I killed and prevented from starting up, it sucked.
    • Sound, there seemed to be buffering issues with MP3s and sounds would skip at times after a days use (fixed by increasing the buffer size)
    • No easy, reliable way to sync iTunes and android (iSyncr and Double Twist were ok, but hate it or love it iTunes is an amazing organizer of playlist, play counts/last played and ratings)
    • App fragmentation, it’s still there and it blows. It’s not so much an issue with the larger publisher, but the indies are lacking.
    • App stagnation, some apps remain on older versions while iOS gets update after update. Example Order & Chaos, last updated on May 16th 2012, iOS version has been updated many times since.
    • Keyboards, of all the choices in keyboards, none seem to match the predictability and auto correctiveness of iOS. Swype was fun though. Swiftkey was the closest to iOS.

    I’m sure there are more that I’ve left out, but these are the big ones.

    I’ll give quick pro/con on the iPhone

    • It really does just work
    • Battery life is fantastic, here it is 11:15 and the battery is at 85% while downloading apps
    • App consistency, it’s consistent and Apps work right out of the box
    • The keyboard, it’s silly, but it works great.
    • Camera Performance is second to none for a phone.

    • Stale OS. Conceptually, it hasn’t changes since 2.0 on the outside it’s still very static and very limited.
    • No Widgets, tiles or anything to help you keep up at just a glance. You have to open apps to see anything. There’s an app for this and for that, but no tiles/widgets to see what’s the latest happening.
    • The Lack of any customization. Why can’t there be a toggle somewhere deeply layered inside that says “I know what I’m doing, give me root access”? Even if getting into it means swipe up, up, swipe down , swipe down, left ,right, left, right, home, power, home…
    • Lack of buttons.
    • Lack of shortcuts to do simple tasks or toggles; I’d like to shut off wifi without going into sub menus.
    • No profiles. I love having profiles in CM9, the ability to quickly change all my volumes and services based on a profile. A sleep profile, in my case, would shut off every sound but turn on vibrate for phone calls only. A loud profile would put all my volume to.

    All in all, they’re both great Phone OSs and they both have their great features and their very annoying features. The simplicity of iOS really is great, but sometimes you just want more. The complexity of Android is great, but sometimes you don’t need all that micromanagement. I found myself managing memory quite a lot and killing tasks left and right.

    In Conclusion: I am looking at the iPhone 5, I think I'll be getting it sometime after I sell this Galaxy Note. I consider myself very much a tech savvy person, but Android is more work than I care for from a phone.
  2. THE JUICEMAN macrumors 68020


    Oct 3, 2007
    Nice review. I agree with your overall theme. Android when I have used it ha been too much work and effort. That's my opinion. iOS isn't enough work. That is why I am looking at window phone 8. Hopefully it will be a happy medium between super simple and super boring and super customization and too much work for a phone.
  3. angieutc macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2009
    EXCELLENT Review! I also had the Note for a little under 30 days and agree with everything you posted! Of all my gripes with Android, I just could not get pass the app inconsistency.

  4. MadGoat thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2007
    Another gripe... Sunny days, out side. Even on full brightness(battery killer) you struggle to see the screen.

    But a pro, at night, it made for my favourite ebook reader. so nice a light, just the right size to read comfortably.
  5. Tones2 macrumors 65816

    Jan 8, 2009
    I'm surprised about the keyboard comment. I think one of the WEAKEST part about iOS is the small keyboard with tiny keys, no skinning options, sucky auto-correct (which I turn off), no swiping feature, and no 3rd party support. I miss like every other word on the iPhone. I can find many more usable options on Android, and skinning / customizations can make the visability, key size, etc much more custom to how I myself type.
  6. iphonefan74 macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2012
    First off, you should have waited for the Note 2 getting ready to come out. As a user of both Android and iOS, I find it amusing when Apple fans tout how much better the apps are, its BS. Every app on my Android phone works just as well if not better than its counterpart on my iPad and iPod Touch. You should have installed Juice Defender if you couldnt figure out how to make the battery work for you. However, its a giant display, of course its going to chew up battery.

    No easy way to sync iTunes? How hard is it to drag and drop from your iTunes on to your Note? Much easier than the hoops you have to jump thru in iOS to add media to your phone. Keyboards? Really? If the iOS keyboard were so great, you wouldnt have sites with "Damn iPhone auto correct" everywhere showing just how much of a fail it is. The selection of keyboards blows the crap stock iOS keyboard out of the water. I cannot stand to type on my iPod Touch, the iOS keyboard is that pathetic. If you are a tech savvy person, why didnt you download a custom ROM to meet your needs? Sounds to me like you just want a simple, bare bones device. Stick with the iphone then please.
  7. Carouser macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2010
    That was a good review, thanks.

    I'm confused.
    1) I had no idea you could just drag and drop from iTunes to a Note.
    2) I have no idea how that is easier than using iTunes with an iPhone.
    3) Why are you comparing 'drag-and-drop from iTunes to the Note' with 'managing media through iOS on an iPhone'? It seems a spurious comparison.

    As for the rest of your post, maybe consider being less defensive? It's up to you, of course.

    EDIT: The comment about 'it's a giant screen, of course it will use up the battery' is particularly odd. I assume first of all that the OP was comparing the battery to other similar devices, so your defense doesn't really apply. Secondly, a device with a giant screen should have better battery life, since there is more space for power to begin with. The iPad is basically a huge battery slab with some processors stuck to it.
  8. aced411 macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    I could have written the same thing about my month with a Galaxy Nexus. Seriously loved the screen size and jelly bean was quite impressive...but yes app fragmentation wass frustrating, app quality is lower and battery management was major freaking annoying. For those who are considering windows phone, been there too. Battery is better (than most androids), UI rocks and app fragmentation isn't an issue but same issue with app quality and a lot less apps period (I expect this to improve). I still think iOS is the best choice, as bored as I am with it.
  9. iphonefan74 macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2012
    Yes, you can plug pretty much any Android phone in to your computer and use it as a USB device. Open your music folder, drag and drop from iTunes. Also, its a ton easier to get media on to a Note than an iphone. You don't need to convert it to an MP3 or MOV file and then have to rely on iTunes to get it to your phone. Something as simple as adding a new ringtone is a chore with iOS. On the Note (or any Android phone) you can download a file and select it as a ringtone right from your phone. See the difference?
  10. SpectreOne3 macrumors member

    Sep 2, 2012
    Nice review. I have been interested in the Note but after my Samsung experience with my current phone, Droid Charge, I'm leery of Samsung and Android. Battery life, app fragmentation, poor update support, etc...
  11. Prototypical macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2011

    This is my feeling around WP8 as well. Enough customization to make it YOUR phone, but not so much that you always have to fiddle with it (and never actually get it where you want it). It's Apple's "walled garden" but with a lot more toys, gizmos, and tools to play with inside that garden.

    Great write-up, OP! You mirror my feelings about Android in most aspects. Not bad by any means, just not for me and my lifestyle.
  12. iphonefan74 macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2012
    The Charge is a bargain basement cheapo phone. Thats like being afraid to own another Ford because you once owned a Pinto. Try a real Samsung phone like the SIII or Note :)
  13. SpectreOne3 macrumors member

    Sep 2, 2012
    Sure, now its known that its a bargain basement phone. At the time I bought it I would argue that wasn't the case. ;)
  14. MadGoat thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2007
    I pointed out one very valid app that's not seeing any updates, Order & Chaos hasn't been updated since may. No mounts, no pvp, no bug fixes. Others I couldn't install because it wasn't compatable with my Note and a couple of games were nothing but wireframe objects with no assets. Galaxy on Fire was unplayable because the text was a mm high at most.

    I installed Juice Defender on day 5 and it helped... some, but still, the recommendations it had on what to do to save power was ridiculous. Why should I handicap my phone to save battery, why whould I have to turn off sync, location services, and all the other options that make a smartphone "smart"? My iPhone has all of these services enabled at all times and I never suffer poor battery issues.

    As for your giant display argument, it theoretically shouldn't be that much of an impact, Amoled should be friendly to the battery, unless you're running a full on bright white screen all the time. Blacks shouldn't need power.

    Drag and drop instead of iTunes defeats the purpose of my already made play lists, my star ratings and played counts.

    Hoops in itunes? How hard is it to put a checkmark on the artists, album, genre or playlist you want and click sync?

    I have big fingers and the iphone's keyboard has rarely autocorrected to the wrong thing, even on its small, unskinable keyboard. I used Swype and Swifter and while swifter performed better, it wasn't up to snuff. Also since going from the stock gingerbread that came with the device to ICS after a day, swifter didn't have the "tablet" split keys option anymore.

    If you read my post, I did download a custom ROM and out of all of them, CM seemed to be the most feature complete ROM out there.

    As for what I want? I wanted a happy meduim of customization without having to worry about every little service running on the phone. The problem with customization is that the more cool things you do, the more you impact the performance of the phone. Why tout live wallpapers when it kills the battery, why tout all of these widgets that let you do stuff when it kills the phone too?

    Using navigation to get me home would also kill my battery... slowly, but it still was dropping, I doubt I could have made it from my place to Toronto without the battery taking a dive or overheating. Using navigation on my iPhone, my phone actually charges while doing that and even playing music.

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