Phones War of ecosystems. Help from knowledgeable members (Android, iOS & Mac, Microsoft)

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by pedromcm.pm, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. pedromcm.pm macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Location:
    Porto, Portugal
    #1
    Greetings from Portugal,

    I’m a new poster to these forums but I read them since before acquiring my Macbook Air, in 2011. Mac Rumors was (and is) a very good source of information (the best?) about all things Apple. Together with The Verge, this website is my main source of information about the mentioned area.

    Unfortunately, being a good source of information and having good forums for learning, discussion and providing help are completely different animals, as I found when I was a user at AppleInsider (as pedromartins). Members fueled with hatred, ignorance (especially when they are moderators) with their little “wolf pack” behind their backs can be a plague, so I left, but Mac Rumors is different. The number of users is huge, moderators seem knowledgable and calm, and you can see people ready to learn/help in every thread. Yes, some trolls are present, sometimes everyone becomes a troll. That’s the Internet, I guess.

    So I want your help. If (some of) you do not want to read this post please do not spam the thread. I do not care that you think that it is too big, yadda yadda. That’s what she said. :) English is not my first language, so I will do my best to explain myself.

    Here’s the situation:

    I have a Macbook Air (2011, i7), amazing product. Unfortunately, for various reasons, I can’t use an iPhone. If I’m going to pay so much, I need a bigger screen, so I can use it as a modern smartphone (I find all “modern” tasks to be better with a bigger screen). If I can’t easily do what I want, it doesn’t matter how fast it is, how great OS and support are, or how beautiful it is.

    Basically, for users like me, a bigger iPhone is a better iPhone. Of course, no one is studying Mechanical Engineering + web browsing + playing games + read books + read pdfs + create and edit docs + watches videos on their device, so a bigger iPhone isn’t a better iPhone for everyone. However, sales numbers from other companies suggest that another iPhone line with a bigger screen could generate similar or bigger revenue than the current model, especially because Apple provides a better OS, better build quality, better camera, ecosystem and support than everybody else. Android has nothing more to offer (for most normal users) than bigger screens. I also understand that iOS (textures) were the main limitation for another screen resolution. With iOS 7, that’s not a problem anymore. What do you think?

    So, because I would never pay “iPhone prices” for Android devices (they have similar or worse screens, similar or worse battery life, all of them are way slower, they do not design their SoC (and when they do it’s crap. Hello exynos!), they do not make the OS or services (most important part) and most of them contributed 0 for the modern smartphone), I was looking for the cheapest dual core/1gb of ram/jelly bean/nice design/supported smartphone I could find. 6 months ago, I bought a brand new Galaxy S3 mini for 130 euros, no contract. It was a nice promotion, right?

    Because it was one of the 10 best sellers/most used devices and had the “Galaxy S3” brand, I never thought that since Sep. 2012 (debut) to this day, the device would have exactly 0 support, 0 updates. I know that there’s nothing worth it in Android 4.2, 4.3 and even 4.4 itself, but Samsung really reached a new low, here. You can blame the Novathor chipset, but that wasn’t my problem. I guess Galaxy S3 users (international version) can blame the company behind the Exynos SoC too. I wonder who that may be, especially when the S3 mini with Qualcomm version will get Kitkat. /s

    So, I’m a proud owner of a Macbook Air and a not-so-proud owner of a Galaxy S3 mini.

    Here’s the problem:

    I despise Samsung software. It’s basically a heavy, useless, ugly cousin of iOS 4 and I want to avoid it as much as possible. Custom ROMs are not the way (I tried them) because of the Novathor SoC and all of them suck, basically. I also want maximum integration between phone and Mac and I really enjoy Google software and design on Android, so I use the maximum of Google Apps instead of Samsung Apps. All of them are insanely better than the Samsung equivalent. If you see anyone mentioning Samsung Kies in a good light, shoot them.

    Because of this, I need help in order to figure out how to configure my smartphone for better integration and to take advantage of it. Keep in mind that I prefer Apple apps first, Google apps second and Microsoft apps third. Samsung apps must disappear from my radar.

    Apps/habits that I use/have on my computer and that I do not want to change:

    - Safari. I tried Chrome, but I find Safari to be so much faster, better integrated with other services, battery-friendly and “lighter” than Chrome. Besides, Google software on the desktop brings bloat like software update, etc. I still use google search within Safari;
    - Apple’s mail and iCloud email. I do not want to use Gmail anymore, despite having a Gmail account. I forward that email to my iCloud account, just like I do with the university email;
    - iTunes and correspondent ecosystem. It works great, looks great, great content and I already invested in it. It will ease the transition to an iPhone in a few years;
    - I will subscribe to the cheap and awesome 4 years license of Office 365 for University. I will acquire one desktop license from a friend. This means that I need integration within the MS software from Mac to Android phone.

    Because of what was mentioned, I installed Google Chrome on my phone (always up-to-date, syncs searches with Safari, etc) for web browsing (for MacRumors!), I uploaded my iTunes music to Google Music (and use the Google app) and quickly deleted the Mac App, I downloaded One note/office mobile and onedrive from the PlayStore and had to use the stock mail app from Samsung to receive and send iCloud email.

    So, I have no need for Google Keep (one note), Google drive (one drive), Google Play books (iBooks) and Gmail (iCloud) apps. The experience wasn’t smooth because Chrome is not that fast, I lost musics and the Samsung mail app is hideous. Google services go down much more frequently than iCloud, but no one cares. I wonder why.

    Anyway, here are the questions that I would like to see answered (especially questions 1 and 2):

    1. Anybody on a similar situation can provide advice and share their experiences?
    2. Is there any way to sync my iTunes podcasts, TV shows, Movies, iTunes U and Books to Android (and the other way around)?
    3. What is the best email app from the PlayStore? It has to be compatible with iCloud mail and look as holo as possible, similar to other Google Apps. (yes, I’m looking for uniformity and a nice UI instead of what Samsung provides)
    4. What is the best Radio FM app from the PlayStore? (holo-look)
    5. Best Clock app? (holo-look)
    6. Best calculator app? (holo)
    7. Best way to disable apps that can’t be disabled on app settings (samsung music and video apps, stock browser)?
    8. Best camera app? (holo)
    9. Best phone app? (holo)
    10. Best video player app? (holo)

    Of course I already use the Google Now launcher and disabled all the bloat form Vodafone and most Samsung apps. I also use Hangouts as SMS app.

    Thanks in advance,
    Pedro
     
  2. ozaz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    So, I read quite quickly but I took from your post that you don't want to pay iPhone prices, you like large screens, and you don't like it when Android devices don't get updated.

    Nexus 5 is the phone for you. Alternatively Moto G or Moto X.

    2. If you're not going to use iOS, you have to ease up on the Apple services.

    I think there are ways to watch iTunes U content on Android, but have not tried myself yet. You can probably transfer music purchased through iTunes onto your Android device (I think its been DRM free for a while), but I doubt you can transfer books, movies, and TV shows purchased from iTunes.
     
  3. CyanLite, Mar 31, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014

    CyanLite macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    #3
    You think so lowly of Android that it's mind boggling, although understandable considering the device you are using. Android phones used to be, at one point, behind iPhones but now the iPhones have been left in the dust. Screens, battery life, speed (arguably) are much better on Android flagships in general.

    I will read the post completely but to answer your questions quickly:

    3. K-9 Mail
    4. Spirit FM Unlocked AOSP (doesn't work with newer Samsung devices because of Knox but I guess it'll work fine on yours)
    5. Timely
    6. Caculator++ and Calculator JB
    7. Titanium Backup
    8. Most camera apps are designed badly on Android so I recommend Camera KK, though I am sure someone else can recommend something better.
    9. KitKat Dialer
    10. MX Player Pro
     
  4. pedromcm.pm thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Location:
    Porto, Portugal
    #4
    Thank you.

    Thanks for trying to help. I already have an Android device, as I mentioned.

    No, I think that Android is great, but iOS is better. However at this moment only Android provides what I need.

    And saying that there is a single Android flagship with better screen, battery life and speed than an iPhone is factually incorrect. However, that wasn't the point of this thread.
     
  5. CyanLite macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    #5
    HTC One M8, Xperia Z2, and LG G2 are all better in terms of screen, battery life, and speed than the iPhone. Although the quality of display is purely subjective.

    P.S. I will answer all your questions after I come back in 20 mins.
     
  6. pedromcm.pm thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Location:
    Porto, Portugal
    #6
    No, a quick check at Anandtech's benchmarks and the ability to use the 5s and the LG on real world usage shows that you are factually incorrect.

    Ok, your help is appreciated.
     
  7. CyanLite macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    #7
    You're basing your conclusions on speed off of benchmarks? Oh okay.

    What about HTC One M8?

    P.S. I answered all your questions that I knew the answer to in my first post.
     
  8. pedromcm.pm thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Location:
    Porto, Portugal
    #8
    Thanks for your first post. Where do I download that radioFM app? Does titanium need root for what I need?

    - So how are you coming to those factually incorrect conclusions, then? Did you use the m8 already? I stated my reasons.
     
  9. CyanLite, Mar 31, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014

    CyanLite macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    #9
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mikersmicros.fm_unlock

    Yes, you need root

    I based my conclusions on videos that compared speed at which the apps open and other similar tasks (which is as good as it gets to "facts") and based on that the HTC One M8 came out on top. It also has better battery life according to Anandtech, GSMArena, and PhoneArena. As for the display, according to Anandtech, the HTC One M8's display has better black levels, contrast ratio, and white point than the iPhone 5S.

    Funny how you say I am the one who is "FACTUALLY" incorrect.
     
  10. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #10
    1. if you are going to switch - you just have to bite the bullet and do it. Trying to get ANY android to run exactly or just like an iPhone is not going to work with great success. You have to treat it like it is.

    2. dependent on DRM you should be able to sync those files (movies / podcasts /music) via simple drag and drop with Android file transfer - books will require you to re-upload them to google books however, and again need to be DRM free and in epub format. iTunes U however will not be available on android.

    3 - 10 = go buy a nexus or google play edition device and all your problems will be solved. My advice would be to sell you S3 mini and buy yourself a great value Moto G - it is a better spec device than the S3 mini anyway and one that answers all your 3 - 10 demands as it's running stock android. As it's only €150 for the base config - you can try it out without investing a lot of € in a top of the line android flagship.
     
  11. CyanLite macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    #11
    Lol exactly, most apps I mentioned for those questions are stock Android apps.
     
  12. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    Why not wait until the fall to see if Apple releases a larger iPhone. Rumors are rampant about a potential size increase. Of course if you still don't want to pay the prices, then your options are limited.


    As for the android app selection, I'll defer to the others as I'm not as knowledgeable in that department.
     
  13. pedromcm.pm thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Location:
    Porto, Portugal
    #13
    Guys, thanks for your help. Clearly some of you did not read the whole post.
    I bought a S3 mini 6 months ago, I had no other option.

    I will keep this device for a few years, before buying an iPhone.
     
  14. ozaz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    Your first post didn't say you were not open to switching to a different Android handset. As others have said, that would solve a lot of your issues. There would be very minimal financial cost of selling S3 mini and buying a used Moto G.
     
  15. MRU macrumors demi-god

    MRU

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #15
    WHY ? Why prolong your user suffering with a device that is not to your liking, jumping through hoops to make it stock ?

    Seriously you could sell the S3 mini and buy a Moto G outright at no additional cost to you.

    A couple of years frustration and bad android experience avoided for the sake of advertising / selling your old handset. Do it on eBay and it will take you all of 30 minutes to get the advert for it on there.


    30 minutes hassle vs 480 days of frustration.

    Sounds like a no brainer and would take a lot less time than the time your investing looking at how to get around touchwiz and debloating the S3.



    Exactly.
     
  16. cynics macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #16
    To be honest I don't think you'll get an answer you like. You obviously do your research so you know what's out there. Even left other forums for questionable reasons which seems to be a road we are currently heading down.

    I'd suggest compromise in the form of waiting for the iPhone 6 and hoping the screen is large enough for you. Or getting an iPad (mini) to satisfy your large screen needs. Both have cons that's why I said compromise. :)
     
  17. pedromcm.pm thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2014
    Location:
    Porto, Portugal
    #17
    What do you mean with that?

    Yes, looks like selling the device and buying a Moto G or E is the right way to go.
     

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