I’m currently road testing a Moto G9 Power.
If you can’t wait for my eventual review, here’s a spoiler: it’s a great little phone. Well, big phone, to be more accurate (I’ve never used such a long smartphone in my entire life).
The battery life is staggering, by today’s standards, and its price (just £179.99 in the UK) makes for a compelling budget phone.
But I’m not being the best reviewer, if I’m honest. As I sit and type, the G9 is laying somewhat unloved on the sofa across from me.
Next to me is my trusty iPhone 12 Pro.
And, yes, I’m aware I’ve previously written about how uninteresting I believe Apple’s smartphone has become these days.
But having delved once more into the world of Android, I’ve found myself constantly reaching for the iPhone.
I think I’ve worked out why.
The iPhone feels like an old pair of shoes
Apple won’t grab that sentence as a soundbite for their next iPhone marketing campaign, but it’s about the biggest compliment I can provide for their smartphone.
You’ll know this feeling. You’ve got a pair of shoes you love wearing. You can’t throw them out. You don’t think you’ll ever throw them out, no matter how much your partner explains that you need to throw them out.
You’ve probably got a piece of software that’s the same. It’s dangerously out of date, there are better options out there, and you know, deep down, that you probably spend more time swearing at it than benefiting from its features… but you can’t give it up, because you know it like the back of your hand.
This is how I feel about the iPhone. And it creates issues when I try and use a different smartphone platform.
I’m a very occasional Android user, and that means I’m not at all familiar with its intricacies. For instance, I wanted to screenshot something yesterday and realised I’d have to search Google to find out how to do so.
What did I do instead? I reached for my iPhone.
There’s less… noise
One thing I do like about Android is how fun it feels. I noted this in my review of the brilliant Pixel 4a; compared to iOS, it feels infinitely more configurable and there’s a nice sense of playfulness running throughout its configuration options.
The downside of this is that it feels less approachable when you simply want to undertake basic tasks or learn how to do something. The screenshot I wanted to take is a case in point – I’ve still not even bothered to Google it because (perhaps unfairly) I have a feeling there’ll be about seven ways to do it.
Whenever you switch back to iOS after using Android for a while, you realise how clean Apple’s mobile operating system is. There’s less noise. And, yes, that does make it look a little dated, to a degree.
But for as much stick as springboard gets, it does work. The presentation of apps and consistent features across iOS just makes it a far more approachable platform. I never find myself having to turn something on in order to access a feature, nor do I encounter several ways to achieve the same result. That matters when you’re busy.
The marriage of hardware and software is even more apparent
Now, I know I’m not comparing apples for apples here. The Moto G9 Power isn’t powerful. It’s rather sluggish, to be honest, and several football pitches away from the iPhone 12 Pro in terms of performance.
By comparison, the Pixel 4a is zippy. But even that struggles at times against what is, clearly, an OS fighting with whatever set of internals the manufacturer has decided to use.
This doesn’t happen on iOS. It’s why iPhones, iPads, and now even Macs are so slick. When Apple combines its own hardware with its own operating system, the results are buttery smooth.
This isn’t a fault of Android – it’s just part and parcel of that operating system. Like Windows, it needs to be flexible enough to work on a massive range of hardware configurations. Unfortunately, that means it’ll rarely if ever match the sheer speed and performance I’ve always enjoyed on iPhones.
The ecosystem (yeah, I’m trapped)
Hands-up: Apple has ‘got’ me.
I use three elements of the Apple ecosystem which are more important to my daily work than I realised, before I started using the G9. They are Handoff, Notes and Photos.
Since using the G9, I’ve realised how often I need to transfer stuff from one device to another. Whether it’s a note, file or image, the ability to do so via AirDrop or iCloud is so, so useful.
I know it’s possible to do this with Android, and I’ve even had suggestions from the lovely, smart people on my Discord server on how to do this cross-platform, but as they were only too quick to note – it’s a real ball-ache.
Apple’s ecosystem isn’t faultless, and it is, of course, a way for them to tie you in and extract more money from your bank account. But I don’t care. It just works – I’ll happily pay a premium for that.
So, I’m not switching to Android
The Moto G9 Power I have in my hands is a review unit, and I’m indulging in it for a while because I think it’s important to keep your options open, but it really has revealed how important the iPhone is to me.
I feel ill at ease without the 12 Pro to hand. I have this constant, nagging feeling that I’m going to need to do something which will take an age on the Moto, and while that might be unfair, it does reveal that switching platforms would be a huge challenge for me.
Have you made the switch from iOS to Android? If so, what do you miss about the former, and what do you like about your new platform of choice?