I like my iPhone hardware, but prefer Google apps and Android Wear - help!

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by hipnetic, May 19, 2016.

  1. hipnetic macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    About a year ago I wanted to see if I was missing out on anything having been an iPhone user for several years. I had never owned an Android phone and I was getting the itch to try something different (side note: in the early days I was a Palm OS fan and owned a Treo).

    Also, I was intrigued by the idea of a smart watch, though I could only think of a couple of use cases for it. I didn't particularly like the cost, physical design, or limitations (limited watch faces, in particular) of the Apple Watch, but I did find the Moto 360 appealing (other than the flat tire - ugh). Around that time there were some deals going around on the 1st gen Moto 360 (about $150, maybe even a little less), and a deal also came around on a refurb unlocked Nexus 5, so I bought both. At the time, I already had an iPhone 6 (now upgraded to a 6s).

    I got everything working and went on vacation with my family and decided that I really loved the watch and certain Google apps, but disliked the overall phone experience. At the time I had played with Lollipop but also the beta of Marshmallow. Things I liked/disliked:
    - Liked: Overall watch experience when synced with the Android phone. Customizable watch faces. Checking off items from my grocery list using Google Keep. Other watch stuff.
    - Liked: The look, usability, and functionality of certain Google apps on the phone. Specifically, Google Keep and Calendar.
    - Disliked: Battery life on the Nexus 5 was awful. I can't say for certain if it was due to rogue apps eating battery life, OS issues, or hardware/battery issues, but I couldn't get through a whole day. Even worse, recharging the phone took *forever*.
    - Disliked: 3rd party apps compared to their iOS equivalents. They were often buggy, eating up battery life, and/or simply a couple of features behind their iOS versions.
    - Disliked: Losing iMessages and Find Friends. Losing iMessages was especially hard because I have a MacBook Pro and I like texting via that. I did install/use MightyText, which was acceptable, but not as reliable. As a Find Friends replacement, I think I found Familio to be the best of the worst, but not as good as Find Friends (and required getting my family to be willing to install it on their iPhones).
    - Disliked: Not all phones get the latest version of the Android OS, and even Nexus phones seem to have support dropped sooner than Apple drops support for older iPhones.

    After that experience, I eventually decided that the dislikes outweighed the likes, and my appreciation for the Moto 360 wasn't a big enough reason to live with the dislikes. So I switched back to the iPhone and stuck the watch in the drawer.

    Later, the Android Wear app came out for iOS and I tried that, but it was awful. I couldn't use Google Keep, was severely limited in watch face options, etc. Trying out the watch again did get me to try to be creative about getting the watch working, and I've been experimenting with syncing it to my Nexus 5 and leaving the Nexus at home, plugged in all of the time, so that I can keep the watch synced to that. When I leave the home, I get the "cloud" symbol at the top of my watch, since it's no longer able to sync (I've played around with using my phone as a hotspot and using WiFi on the watch, but it loses connection frequently).

    Over the last several months I've been using the Google Calendar and Keep apps on my iPhone, and I also like Google Photos better than Apple's cloud storage (specifically, how they automatically tag the photos and you can search for things using keywords - yes, I know this means that someone/something is looking at my private photos, but I'm not too worried about that).

    Still, since I'm finding myself liking the Google apps more and more, I keep thinking about whether I should try using an Android phone again. I found out recently that I could get an AT&T GoPhone Moto E for $30, and easily unlock it, so I did that. But then I found out that it likely wasn't going to get the Marshmallow update, which bummed me out. Of course, Android N isn't far off at this point. And even though the Moto E would likely give me great battery usage, and I actually like the smaller size, did I really want to downgrade from my iPhone 6s' camera and screen quality?

    Sorry for the long rambling post, but I wanted to provide the proper context, and provide some details as to what is and isn't important to me. I'm curious if there are others in a similar predicament and if you have recommendations for how to deal with it. One idea I have is to go ahead and try using the Moto E (or my Nexus 5 again - now that Marshmallow has been released and I'm more aware of certain apps that drain the battery, perhaps I can squeeze acceptable battery life out of it). I'm a little worried about "breaking" my messages, though. I believe that when I switched to Android (and later back to iPhone), iMessages got wonky, and it took some effort to fix that.
  2. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    A poor man's solution would be to get an inexpensive android phone and just use it on wifi so you have the apps you want and can sync with your watch - and then just use the iPhone for everything else. But who really wants to carry two phones, right?
  3. hipnetic thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    That's essentially what I'm doing now. Keeping the Android phone powered up and on WiFi (no SIM card) and leaving it at home. But it means that I have to deal with seeing the cloud icon at the top of my Moto 360 watch and I still lose some functionality of the watch (e.g., can't reply to text messages).
  4. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    From your post it seems that the big draw is Google keep on Android wear. Have you tried the Apple watch? What about Evernote? What about the stock iOS notes app?

    It seems that you don't want to spend a lot of money, so I would suggest you wait at least until the next Apple watch is released and try either the current gen that will be on sale or maybe the newer mode. if you don't like it, return it during your 14day return window and wait until the fall and get the next Nexus and get an Android wear 2.0 watch.

    Or since Android 2.0 will make the watch standalone you should be able to use it properly with the iPhone.

    If you want to switch now, if you want an experience similar to the iPhone you'll have to look at a higher end Android phone, the Moto E wont be better than your Nexus 5 except for maybe battery life. However all the dislikes you listed still ring true even with the latest and greatest (except for battery life). You'll still lose imessage/find my friends, updates are still hit or miss, and 3rd party apps are still less polished than their iOS versions.

    I think your best bet is to try the Apple watch, since it seems the Moto 360 is what's really pulling you and not so much Android.
  5. hipnetic thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    Not to turn this into a Google Keep discussion, but I'll just say that I mainly use it for grocery lists. The ability to easily re-sort lists on my computer is a must-have feature which the stock Apple Notes app lacks. And the Google Keep app for iOS doesn't offer Apple Watch functionality.

    Also, as I mentioned in my OP, I simply don't care for the Apple Watch. I think it's way overpriced (as are the new Android watches, IMO - I think the $150 I paid for my Moto 360 is the "right" price for a watch accessory). I also prefer the round face of the Moto 360 (and other Android watches), and the Apple Watch is too limited in its ability to customize the watch face. Also, from what little I've played with it, I don't like the method for launching 3rd party apps. You either have to use your voice or you have to use that silly bubble zoom in/out launcher. On Android Wear, I swipe from the watch face to an alphabetized app list (with a couple of recently used apps at the top), which I can then easily/quickly scroll through to find what I want.

    BTW, I also hate Siri. I do use the transcription feature on iOS frequently (for composing text messages when I'm in the right environment) and it is pretty accurate, but any time I've ever tried to use Siri for anything else, I've been frustrated. I don't really like talking to my phone or watch in general, but when I have played around with this on the Nexus 5, I found it to work much better than Siri.

    Having said that, I have occasionally considered buying an Apple Watch, despite the criticisms I listed above. Again, because of the lack of Google Keep and the lack of easy re-sorting in Apple Notes, that was one of the deal-killers for me. Cost is not a hindrance to me (I can afford it), but I do consider myself to be frugal and I simply don't find the current prices to be a good "value".
  6. TheAppleFairy macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2013
    The Clinton Archipelago unfortunately
    Looks like you are going to just have to draw straws to see what phone you should have.

  7. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
    Do you have a Mac or PC? If it's a PC, have you tried going to iCloud.com and editing your notes there? If it's a Mac you should be able to edit your notes in the notes app.

    Also, have you tried Evernote? It also gives you the option to add notes from your watch on both Android wear and Apple watch.

    Your best bet might be to just wait until the fall after Android wear 2.0 comes out, since it's suppose to be standalone, it should gain a lot more functionality when paired with an iPhone, since it only really needs a data connection.

    I also think unless your going all in with a high end Android phone, you'd be wasting your money grabbing a cheap one as your Nexus 5 is a really good phone and should give you a good idea if that's what you want to do. And from your list of dislikes, none would be remedied with a higher end Android phone anyway.
  8. nviz22 macrumors 603


    Jun 24, 2013
    To be fair, you can use a lot of Google apps on iOS. It may not be appealing to the eyes because iOS feels a lot more simplistic and barebones, but it gets the job done. Pair it with an Android Wear watch and you're solid.
  9. Cnasty macrumors 68040


    Jul 2, 2008
    Man, I am the complete opposite on this one.

    Google/Android hardware is amazing to me compared to the iPhone hardware lately which is pretty stale but give me iOS and the integration of its abilities into my life anyday.
  10. hipnetic, May 19, 2016
    Last edited: May 19, 2016

    hipnetic thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    I have a MacBook Pro. To be clear...what I want to do is easily re-sort a list. Specifically, I'll start by creating a grocery shopping list by just randomly listing everything I need, in no particular order. But then I want to re-sort the items to roughly align with where/when I'll find them in the grocery store (e.g., group all of the veggies together and list those first, followed by meat, etc. to follow the path that I walk in a particular grocery store). With Google Keep I can easily drag up/down individual items on the list on my iPhone or laptop. The Apple Notes app doesn't support that. The Google Keep app on my Moto 360 doesn't either, but I don't need to re-sort items on my watch (I would have already done the re-sorting before I left to go to the grocery store).

    Also, the Google Keep app on my Moto 360 (and iPhone) has another great feature that is lacking in the Apple Notes app on iPhone (I'm not sure how the Apple Notes app works on the Apple Watch): When I check off an item, it automatically drops it down to the bottom. On the Notes app on my iPhone, the items stay put when I check them off. So, by the time I'm close to finishing shopping, the few items I still need to get are all at the top.
  11. bgro macrumors 65816

    Jul 6, 2010
    South Florida
    I use the reminders app for my grocery list. I have a list called "Groceries" shared with my wife and we can both add or check off items as needed. The reminders app also supports the resorting you need.
  12. Blaze4G macrumors 65816

    Oct 31, 2015
    Just a tip, if you do infact switch to android, it would be best to get a flagship device or you won't ever be satisfied with the experience. I think in the back of your mind you will be comparing whatever phone you get to your 6s. You're probably going to start missing the camera, speaker, build quality, etc if you go with a cheap android phone.

    The Nexus 5 is still a decent phone but is known to have bad battery life. Since you bought it refurb that even makes it worse. If you're able to put a new battery in the nexus you should be able to get a full day out of it (barely). It is actually quite easy to change too.

    I am not sure if Android Watch 2.0 or whatever it is called has better iOS support, so you could probably check that out. It seems if android watch had similar support on iOS as Android you would be happy with an iPhone + android watch pair.

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11 May 19, 2016