Thursday, January 30, 2014

Android Mom

Some of you are going to gasp, feel betrayed, and possibly call me a traitor (others will be agnostic about my decision and some may even support it) but I am prepared and braced for the scrutiny.  Recently, there has been a lot of hard decision making (including piles of research and spreadsheets) resulting in challenging life changes.  We added a Sam's Club membership to our Costco lifestyle. I'm no longer driving my dear Odyssey but a Mazda 5 (mostly a financial decision because our minivan suffered an untimely departure and all we can afford is a mini mini van), and now I gave my beloved iPhone to my daughter and became an Android Mom (my husband says that there is a joke in there somewhere but I don't get it and I am quite sure that I don't want to).

I've had an iPhone for years.  If I were to guess, I would say at least 7.  My sister got one and then I kinda wanted one too and then after I got it, I was totally hooked.  I felt like I had the world at my finger tips.  My own personal Inspector Gadget.  I talked countless friends and family members into getting an iPhone (regretfully sometimes even shaming or scoffing them into it) and we would all laugh and talk about our apps.  Siri was my friend.

You can easily research elsewhere about the concrete differences between the smart phones:  Battery life, megapixels, size, weight.  What I am going to give you is the mom perspective.  A very Non-Technical Review:

iPhone - the PROS:
  • It is so CUTE!  Every time I glance at my old white iPhone 4s with a perfect rainbow purple Kate Spade case, my throat gets a little tight.  Thankfully my daughter loves it too.  I couldn't bear for it to go unloved like the Velveteen Rabbit.
  • An iPhone is uncomplicated and simply easy.  It comes all set up to be very user friendly.  You need about 3 minutes of "training" and you are good to go, even if you have no idea how to use a computer or you are 2 years old.
  • When you get a new iPhone, everything transfers so nicely that you can barely tell you updated.  That said, iPhones bank on you getting new models regularly.
  • Apple products are great for parental locks and tracking kids.  You may not need it now but you will when they hit adolescence.  Take my advice, best to just have the guidelines in place young.  
  • Music & movies & games are so easy to download, back-up, and share with the family.
  • Apple isn't very buggy; I've never heard of anyone getting a virus.
iPhone - the CONS:
  • The free apps work okay but I always found that the 3rd party ones were kind of tricky to realistically incorporate-- and most of the time there is a charge to even try them!
  • There is not room for much customization.  For example, I didn't like the calendar that the iPhone came with through iCloud.  I paid and downloaded a bunch of new ones but they still didn't work quite right.
  • Apple doesn't share well.  Anytime I've bought a cheaper / non-apple charger or alarm clock or anything but iHome, it seems glitchy.
  • That is really it.  Other than that.  I loved my iPhone.
Nexus 5 - the PROS:
  • It looks sparkly compared to my iPhone.  The screen is crisp and it almost feels like you are holding a little HD computer.
  • EVERYTHING can be customized.  I mean everything.  And for someone who loves to compulsively research, rearrange, and organize, this is so fun.  I can adjust how my screen looks, what color/size/shape my icons are, how the clock appears.  I can make my own icon that looks like a flower but calls home.  I can get an app for a perfect calendar view or contact list. 
  • On my iPhone, I had 4 pages of apps.  Some apps I rarely used and would forget what folder I buried them in.  On the Nexus5, rarely used apps can be buried in a separate alphabetized area.  An app can also be in 2 places with no limit on how many pages and folders you want on your main screens.  It is hard to explain without showing, but it is kinda cool.  Even some pages can just have the app / widget open all the time.  Today I decided on one page with tiny icons and then separate pages with just my open weekly calendar, another with just the weather, another with a direct link to each person that I call or text often.
  • Almost everything is outright free.  If it isn't free:
    • It has a 15 day trial
    • a donation can be made at a later time
    • additional "pro" sets with likable features can be purchased but are not required
    • there are ads (rare)
    • even if you pay for it, you have 15 minutes to reverse the charge.  In my case, I usually know in 15 minutes if I will use a program or not.
  • I had never been a Mac / Apple person.  I love gmail/chrome/google (but not google+  I just don't get it.).  My picasa web albums are all beautifully easy to view and my mail actually works perfectly.  
Android - the CONS:
  • I feel left out with my iPhone friends, family, and kids.
  • It isn't cute.  It is kinda big and the cases are boring.  You do get used to the size really quickly and now the iPhone actually seems absurdly tiny.
  • The apps I paid for with iTunes can't be used; although there was a really easy app that transferred my iTunes music over flawlessly.
  • It takes awhile to fix the address book and calendars from iCloud to Google or whatever you will use.
  • My Nexus 5 came empty.  I like that but I can see how it might be over-whelming for some people.  I've spend hours setting up my phone while being trapped inside on these polar vortex days.  Way more time than I ever spent setting up an iPhone.
  • Apparently, this much sharing comes with a cost.  It is more susceptible to catching a virus.  Just like real life.
So why did I switch you ask?  Well, it was that or move or plan a vacation or go nuts.  We are really winter stir crazy.  That, and we switched from AT&T to T-Mobile for our cell service.  T-Mo has potentially dicier coverage but will save us over $100 a month (and no contract); With the new plan we needed some new phones. The iPhones were more expensive and the more we talked with people, the more both my husband and I thought a Nexus 5 was really our kind of thing.

Summary-- I love it.  A little obsessively, but I love it.  I just want to tweak everything and make it all pretty and organized and fun.  

Recommendation?  Honestly, I wouldn't recommend a Nexus 5 to everyone.  I think iPhones are great for kids.  I also think they are great for people who just want something to work-- Friends who don't have the time or desire to research and rearrange and adjust.  My Nexus 5 is so fun, but I love this kind of stuff, it is my "me time".  A lot of the people that I talked into an iPhone would probably still be happier with an iPhone.  Those devices are just less complicated.  In a world where things are complicated enough and we are juggling jobs, parenting, marriages, family, bowling pins... sometimes it is nice to have a phone that simply works well.  That is an iPhone.  Right now, I need a little spice to my salsa, a little adventure to my day, a little change in my life, and I love my new Nexus 5.

Peace out my frugal loving homies! 

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