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Transition Story: the Tale of a Former iPhone User

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by chowanec, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. chowanec

    chowanec Newbie
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    I know these stories are common, but I know when I did the research to arrive here, I would have loved to find more of these. From the user's perspective, not endgadget's, lifehacker's, etc. Forgive the length. Ignore if you want. :)

    UPDATED: I added a "What I miss Most" section below as I have been using the phone for two weeks now. Hyperlinked my apps to make it easier if you are curious. Updated some of the review to account for some of the comments below. Might as well not mislead others. :)

    --How I Got Here:
    So -- I've been an iPhone user for about 2.5 years. I was a big believer in the phone -- I mean, say what you will -- it changed the face of phones forever. And my 3G was no different. I had found a newfound respect for Apple. i still despise iTunes and in general (as a linux user at home), I hate closed systems. But back then, android was intriguing, but there wasn't anything that was going to pull me away from my iPhone. It was stable, it had an appstore with some pretty useful apps, there were even some good games. And, it was a hell of a long way from my iPod -- click wheel and all.

    Recently though I had a problem with the microphone not working ONLY in the headset. So, I did what you do. I went to the store. Then they sent me to the help-desk (sorry -- genius bar) where when they determined that, in fact, the microphone was not working through the headset (smug look included) he told me (no joke):

    Let me get this straight. If I walked in off the street and was a new customer, you'd give me the same deal? "Yes." I know this 20 something ironic hipster probably went to a sales class and learned these advanced techniques. Is it bad I wanted to punch him? So, I calmly stated that I would check out my android options. He told me: "You could do that."

    So I left the fruit-worshipping cult to join the robot-worshipping one.

    I needed to stay on AT&T, which made the research easy. The Atrix seemed the only way to go and it was coming out in a few days from my help-desk escapade. On paper, hell, this was the phone to get. I wasn't in it for the webtop dock or the multimedia dock or any of the medicore reviewed accessories. I applaud innovation. Hell, I still have my Newton and my 3DO system somewhere around here. Execution can lack, but if we don't support good ideas, we'll never have amazing toys. I hate closed systems and while the Motorolas seem to be more on the closed side, the specs of the phone was what interested me the most. And let's face it -- guys like designgears and the army of other smart folks will find a way. They rooted the phone before it was even out.

    My android friends, I was sold.

    --First Impressions

    Fit and Finish
    The phone itself is basically identical in size and weight to what I was used to with my 3G. I'm sure we can debate the finer details, but it's close enough not to matter. The screen is beautiful, the gorilla glass is going to work well considering I have 2 small children who will put it through it's paces.

    I would have preferred they use some more substantial materials than plastic. Metal rockers on the volume, or a metal backing would be nice. I'm not a fan at all of the backplate, I feel like I am going to crack it everytime I remove it. While I think the fingerprint sensor is a great idea, it's oddly placed for me and I was expecting the home button to double as the power button, not the indiscriminate fingerprint reader. Minor complaints really.

    Most worrysome is how slippery I find the phone. I mean, I'm a self-proclaimed nerd, but my hands aren't greasy or anything. Promise. I've almost dropped the phone twice already. For whatever reason, it wants to fly out of my hands... :p

    OS/MotoBlur
    I read that people hate MotoBlur, but since this is my first android phone, I'm not sure where Froyo starts and Motoblur stops. It doesn't really bug me all that much. The biggest change was figuring out how to make the phone do things I knew how to do with my iPhone. I wanted to be able to group my apps. But the area I knew Apple got right was the options menu. It is ABSOLUTELY overwhelming at first. (Like when new Ubuntu users open Synaptic for the first time). Apple absolutely understands how to simplify things down. Almost to a fault, but hey, credit where credit is due. My dad could NEVER be able to pickup the Droid phones the way he can his iPhone. (Cue debate). Well, at least not THIS droid phone.

    I adore the voice command features -- I thought it would be a gimmick, but I am happily surprised with how well it works. My last name is a mess of letters and it gets that right for God's sake. I think the notification tray is a great idea. Widgets? Apple, are you taking notes yet? (And if this stuff exists on the iPhone 4, I wouldn't know). Needless to say, I was impressed. But overwhelmed with my options.

    Software
    I did what you all do -- uninstalled the default apps. As mentioned, I was mightily impressed with the voice commands, the speediness of the app loading. Not a huge fan of the app drawer -- I had grown used to grouped apps via my iPhone. But man -- one thing was clear. This phone was quick. I loved the integration with linked in and last.fm. Using the profile pictures for the contacts is a genius idea (Apple?). I hate the desktop sync application - MotoBloat or whatever it is called. I wasn't impressed with the default layouts and twitter/facebookified desktops. I don't and won't ever use that stuff. Yeah, I'm old. So what.

    The turn by turn GPS navigation puts my iPhone to absolute shame. The compass for when I am walking somewhere using the navigation app pointing me in the right direction is brilliant too. :)

    I love the Swype interface. Brilliant stuff.

    The toggle widgets in particular are a fantastic idea.

    --Where to Start
    1) Try not to get overwhelmed by the Marketplace. It has ALL THE SAME PROBLEMS of the AppStore. I desperately want more ways to filter search results. The only way to find something is to seemingly know exactly what you're looking for. However, almost every major app I used on the iPhone has an Android equivalent. I don't find myself lacking anything in my transition.

    Apps on iPhone also on Android that I was used to:


    I ended up installing and using the following apps to get closer to my iPhone habits:

    • Go Launcher EX: I used this to make application groups, nearly identical to the iPhone. Other people use LauncherPro I've found to replace Blur, but Go Launcher does both things for me, hence, I went with that one. Also installed the notification plugin.
    • Beautiful Widgets: Read alot about this one -- seemed popular. Put the weather on my desktop like I wanted.
    And then the apps I was BLOWN AWAY by:

    • PocketCloud: It's probably more the phone than the app, but this thing is screaming fast on the phone. Great VNC client.
    • Goggles: This is awesome, I can't wait to dig into it more. Probably exists on the AppStore, but this is what makes technology cool. :)
    • Where's My Droid: Another great idea. I can text my phone if I lose it and have it report it's GPS coordinates. :)
    • Tasker: If there is ONE app that is going to change everything for you, it's this one. It is REALLY hard to wrap your head around at first and is truly the power-user app for power-users. But man, I've configured it to: auto-silence the phone when the phone is oriented face down, not bother me at night when I am sleeping, powers down wifi, bluetooth, etc. in the middle of the night to conserve battery, autoconnects when near my house for wifi and activates GPS based on apps that need it. All of these things add up to a longer battery life. Tasker is what sealed the beauty of android for me. It is something Apple would never allow, but has created an environment to let my phone be what I want my phone to be. Not what Cupertino thinks my phone should be.
    The Rest of the Apps I Installed:

    • Amazon MP3: This is totally awesome. I use their service over iTunes as I don't want to convert AAC to MP3.
    • AppBrain App Market: Solves SOME of my issues with the market store.
    • BBC+Sky Sports: I'm an Arsenal fan, so, I need a way to track the team. :p
    • Dolphin Browser HD: Not sure I need it, but I've been exploring some other browsers.
    • FlickrFree: To show off my awesome kids.
    • Ghost Commander: Use this to get to my Samba shares. Needed that plugin too.
    • Handcent: A MUCH better SMS solution than the phone comes with.
    • MixZing Basic: Going to upgrade in a week or so, after I've used EVERY audio player app in the marketplace. :)
    • Overlook Fing: Cool network mapping utility.
    • PowerAmp: Yet another music player -- this one is pretty damned powerful thus far though.
    • SwitchPro Widget: I think this is the best widget for the system toggles that I could find. Transparent setting makes my desktop look the way I want/
    • SXSW Go: Have I mentioned how much of a music nerd I am?
    • WoW Remote Auction House: Uh. Right. I'm a nerd.

    --What I Miss Most:
    Visual Voicemail: Oh my, I didn't realize how much I liked the visual voicemail on the iPhone. I was quite STUNNED when I had to dial into a voicemail. I had gotten SO used to doing it the iPhone way.

    iTunes: I cannot even believe I had to write this -- I hate iTunes, but I had the most incredible time getting music onto the 32GB SDHC card I bought. It quite literally took me 5 days. I am still unsure what I was doing wrong, but I couldn't get the music apps to recognize that I had the card in, they couldn't recognize music when it was on the card. Ugh. iTunes is pretty painless in hindsight.

    --Conclusions
    It's simple: I'm never going back. It is for my phone what Linux Mint is for my home PC. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this little phone and I am SURE I have an immense amount to figure out about it still, but if you're an iPhone user looking to make the switch, take it from me. You can do it if you've ever built your own PC, ever used DOS or any CLI interface. Hell, if you ran Win95, you could do this. I just wouldn't give it to my Dad yet. I don't think it's as ready for someone like him -- for him the iPhone will suffice and be fine.

    Would love any other thoughts or app suggestions from the long-timers.

    Cheers.
     

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  2. sw33ndawg

    sw33ndawg Well-Known Member
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    this must have taken a long time..
     
  3. MarcMaiden

    MarcMaiden Android Enthusiast
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    This is a great write up. Not because its a pro atrix/android review, but because the review highlights the similarities and advantages of android vs iphone.

    A little hint to all you iphone converts....When you plug in the Atrix to the computer, it will ask you if you want to install its media software. I was very much impressed with the software it came with. It is similar in look and feel to itunes (though a little less clunky and more user friendly) and it gives you the option to sync files from you computer to the atrix via categories for example:

    under music it showed me folders and lists such as
    "music from itunes"
    "music from zune"
    "music from windows media player"

    it pretty much is drag and drop.

    same goes for the photos and videos.


    just a really nice touch from motorola. The phone has not gotten enough praise for the little things like this.



    EDIT:

    although you already use tasker,

    in the settings under battery, you can set different profiles for the time of day to conserve battery. For example, there is a "night mode" already activated when the phone is idle for more than 15 min between the hours of 10pm - 5 am, no syncing will occur.

    also, you can track your phone via motor blur's website.




    oh and if you are looking for a closer lay out to your iphone but like launcher pro, i suggest you check out "golauncher" here is a video showing you what it can do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xyf_C2yL14s
     
  4. Sobe

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    As an iPhone 3g user for the past year and a half i can totally relate to everything you said. Excellent write-up
     
  5. Duffmaster

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    I dont have an iPhone and never will have one for any reason. Amazing write up, I will have to show it to the rest of my family (iPhone 3GS users) and try and convert them. This is also my first Android phone and I am blown away!
     
  6. dsmoot

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    I've used Iphones for a couple of years then spent a year on the N900. Got tired of Nokia never living up to its promises and just jumped to Android.

    To me, Android is a compromise system that is the best you can buy for now. Iphone is a closed ecosystem, their authoritarian crap just turned me off. I got tired of fighting them for control of my property.

    Nokia's maemo is the opposite end of the spectrum. It was totally open. If you want root access, you just install an application provided by Nokia to enable a real root shell. N900 was an awesome OS structure... Real Linux, real multi-tasking, full Unix stack. I could run a light version of Apache on my phone. BUT, N900 never caught on. Never got decent third party app support. And Nokia pulled their boneheaded WP7 move and that was the last straw.

    So I have two weeks total Android experience and so far am enjoying it. To be brutally honest, there are a few things that the iPhone did / does better and there are a few things the N900 did / does better. But Android does a great job of getting the best of both worlds. It is commercialized enough to get great app support. It is open enough to get great nerd support.

    Now if we could just find a way to let phone hardware manufacturers make great hardware free of the corrupting influences of the carriers, we would be in gadget paradise.

    David
     
  7. Droid_Genius

    Droid_Genius Android Enthusiast
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    Excellent!! I have iPhone 4 and you got me on edge of trading in for Atrix!! Time to go see how my Att rep can help me!! To the store...in 4hrs
     
  8. zizo79

    zizo79 Android Enthusiast
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    Can anyone tell me if there is a way where I can activate the screen when it is in locked mode by just touching the screen and not the power button? Thanks
     
  9. Droid_Genius

    Droid_Genius Android Enthusiast
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    Doubt it because you would be doing accidental presses and butt dialing lol
     
  10. vinay427

    vinay427 Member
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    I completely agree with the write-up. Also, I too have had a 3G for 2.5 years. Phenomenal build quality! I can push just about as hard as possible on whatever part and there are no creaking noises. I still love Macs (dual boot mine with Ubuntu) but iDevices, although very intuitive, aren't open enough for my interest. However, I wouldn't say that one OS is in general better than the other. It's just that I have found Android better suits my interests. Although I'll find out for sure when I get my Atrix in a few days.
     
  11. jroc

    jroc Android Expert
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    I agree, very nice write up. For those that think its too long, its a nice read. Do yourself a favor and read it.

    lol, that was funny... :)

    I have seen a couple of user reviews and comments from current or recent iPhone users recently that are alot more unbiased for Android and iPhone compared to reviews from big tech sites. I didnt think it was possible...lol

    Also, Maemo sounds very interesting.
     
  12. papabri

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    Anyone have any links to pics that compare the same image quality on both the iphone 4 vs atrix? Haven't had any luck googling. Would love to see the same image on each phone side by side so I can really see the difference, since some claim it's significant while others claim it isn't.

    Thanks for the write-up. Very well done.



    EDIT: Oh just to get in there before the "go to the store and look for yourself" comment, I live in ontario canada, so the more research I can do online before driving to buffalo hoping to find an off-contract atrix, the better!
     
  13. Bnice

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    Nice write up for folks making a change,I enjoy reading the user experience with a constructive point of view.
     
  14. RkFast

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    I agree with this sentiment.

    One review says the screens arent even close, the Atrix is totally sub-par, etc.....and others say the Atrix screen is brilliant, just short of Retina, etc.
     
  15. asuprice

    asuprice Member
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    I had an iphone 4 for about a week then returned it for the Atrix. I didn't even realize a difference, but I usually don't inspect pixels either. I thought the captivate screen was better than the phone screen, but to each his own. The Atrix screen is fine for me.
     
  16. Jp77

    Jp77 Well-Known Member
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    great writte-up! made me want this bad boy even more!
     
  17. chowanec

    chowanec Newbie
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    I think the iPhone screen is better, but the Atrix is no slouch at all. I think there is 100 vertical pixel difference. It's noticeable, but the Atrix looks pretty great.
     
  18. ranova

    ranova Android Enthusiast
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    I was a long time iPhone user, used every iphone (iphone 4 for about a month) and decided to make a switch.

    The main reasons for my switch:
    - Integrated Google Voice
    - Google Navigation
    - Swype
    - Widgets
    - General customizability

    The iPhone 4 had great built quality. The glass and the metal made it feel like a true premium phone. It also has an amazing battery, which no Android phone (not even the atrix) can come close to.

    I went from the Evo, to Captivate, to Nexus One, to the Atrix all within a year time span.
     
  19. chicknlil

    chicknlil Android Enthusiast
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    OP, few thoughts/suggestions from me...

    Get WidgetLocker from the market for $1.99. The feature you'll probably be most interested in is the "easy wake" option that allows you to use any hardware button to wake the phone up. For me, being used to the button orientation on my old Captivate, I tend to hit the volume buttons (which is where the power button was on the Captivate). The app is also superb for customizing your lock screen (see one of my screenshots as a point of reference).

    In terms of grip/slipperiness of the phone - try the Body Glove case. It adds a slight bit of bulk, but its got a nice rubberized feel to it that makes the phone very solid to hold.
     
  20. krhayes

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  21. damewolf13

    damewolf13 live~laugh~love
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    Welcome, Chowanec!
    That was very informative, and well written, and since I have never used any iphone, I appreciated hearing the impartial comparisons between the two.
    After I got my first android phone (the pathetic backflip) I knew I would never go back to any other platform.
    For those who are starting out with an amazing first android experience, enjoy!
    You don't know how lucky you are!!:)
     
  22. chowanec

    chowanec Newbie
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    Made some changes and some new comments after a week or so of use.
     
  23. Hawk375

    Hawk375 Newbie
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  24. Phoneguy65

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    This is a fantastic write-up. Thank you for taking the time to do it. I've downloaded a few of the apps as reviewed and have now found more things that I like about the phone and the operating system.
     
  25. dressagerider

    dressagerider Well-Known Member
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    Great review! I agree with everything you said. I switched from androidto iPhone and am back in an android phone with the attic.

    I really liked my iPhone but the locked down system got old and I was ready to get back to a Droid. I am relearning android and very pleased with the atrix.

    If anyone is trying to choose between iPhone 4 or atrix I say definitely go with affix.
     

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