For the longest time I believed iPhone was the greatest smart phone on the market and I thought I would never change, but in the past few months I became very frustrated with many aspects of the iPhone and realized that the rest of the smart phone market had surpassed Apple with innovation in many areas.
These are the factors that lead to my looking for iPhone alternatives:
- The battery would not last a full day, ever. I tried everything possible, read battery optimization guides, changed tons of settings, dimmed the brightness and nothing worked. Even with moderate use it would not last a single day without additional charge. This was my biggest issue with the platform.
- Trying to add media to the phone is too difficult. If you want to put a movie on your phone you have to deal with iTunes and syncing your device and converting movies to the proper format so that iTunes would recognize it, and it’s incredibly annoying. Windows Phone and Android treat your phone like a flash drive. Plug into a PC, copy the media over, done.
- The OS has remained stagnant for too many generations. The mass appeal of the iPhone is that it’s so simple, the OS is just pages and pages of apps, but this simplicity is also why you have limited functionality. Even with a complete overhaul of the OS with iOS 7, it really hasn’t changed since its first generation. I guess one could argue “don’t fix what isn’t broken” since millions of people love it, but when you compare it to the competition it is extremely outdated.
- Stagnant hardware. With Android and Windows Phone you have multiple hardware manufacturers making a huge range of models for each platform. With iPhone you just have Apple, and they will only come out with one phone per year, and only do a drastic change to hardware ever two years.
With all these frustrations I started to scan the market and read about alternatives. One day in the AT&T store I messed with the Windows Phone which I knew didn’t have a large market share but I liked the OS and the hardware and I decided to give it a try.
Here are the advantages I found with Windows Phone 8.1:
- Significantly better battery life. Most Windows Phones are larger than the iPhone and sport larger battery, but also the OS is better optimized for longer battery life. There is even a battery saver mode which makes the last 10% of your battery last very long by shutting down battery draining functions for you. One night with limited use I made 8% battery last four hours. On iPhone 8% battery basically means it’s going to die in the next 5 minutes no matter what you do. On my Nokia Lumia 1520 I can almost go two entire days without a charge.
- Better hardware. If you look at most of the Nokia Lumia models all of them sport significantly better specs than the iPhone. Larger screens, faster CPU, more ram, larger battery, expandable storage, NFC, better camera, and wireless charging. Android also has many of these same hardware advantages.
- Better OS. I thought iOS had the simplest interface design, just pages and pages of apps. Windows Phone has a cleaner and simpler OS. The OS breaks down into two pages: home screen page and all apps page. I pin all of my most used stuff to the home screen, and they are arranged in tiles that can be changed into different sizes, the important stuff is larger, and the less important stuff is smaller. Then on the all apps page, it’s just a list of everything on my phone which is listed alphabetically. I can jump to any letter quickly and find the app I want. Its cleaner, it’s faster, and it looks really amazing.
I have found some major negatives to the Windows Phone platform, they aren’t deal breakers for me, but for certain types of users it makes the platform almost unusable
- The app store is lacking in apps. Given that Windows Phone is only 5% of the market, when a developer is making an app they may not even consider writing it for Windows Phone or it’s the last platform they write it for. I haven’t found any major apps missing but it is far from the maturity of apps that iPhone and Android support. For users that use many specific apps for certain tasks may find that these apps do not exist on Windows Phone. There are apps that do pretty much everything you need, they just won’t be that apps you’re used to. Microsoft realizes that the lack of apps is a major problem for their platform but they have one huge advantage over other platforms that should get them up to speed quickly. Microsoft has given developers tools so that any app they write can be used on Windows Phone, Surface tablet, Xbox One, and Windows 8. This also means for the customer that when you buy one app it is universal and works on all devices without separate purchases. This will attract developers who want to reach the largest possible audience with their apps. Windows Phone may not have the largest user base, but the entire Windows platform encompasses a huge population.
In my transition to Windows Phone there was maybe a one day learning curve, but overall it has been extremely easy to ditch the iPhone. The interface is so simple and fun to use that I never missed my iPhone. The switch has made me care free about my battery life, it has increased my productivity with my phone due to the added screen real estate, and I’m getting more enjoyment out of my device.