Sorry dear iPhone 7, it’s not you. It’s me.
After using the iPhone 7 Plus for six months I miss my Android experience, so I chose to go back to Samsung. This time I got the Samsung S8+, as I loved the old Samsung S7 Edge that I had.
My iPhone 7 had 128GB of memory and was very capable. However, I still feel that IOS and Apple are not targeting my use scenarios as a global traveler. Dual-SIM for one, availability of local Apps another bugger. Also from using the Windows Phone, I miss live tiles. I think that is Windows Phone had the App selection it will be my preferred experience. The closest I get is the widgets on Android, and I do enjoy Androids widgets. Also, with all the traveling I do, I sometimes have to install an application that is not available in Norway. With Android, I am always able to find the app and get it installed.
Also, I am a huge fan of RescueTime to understand how I spend my time. On Android, it actually can tell me how I spend time, but they are not able to get that data from the iPhone.
Below you find my comments after a week with the Samsung S8+
I would say that the quality of apps on IOS is high. With very few exceptions, all mobile apps are available for IOS.However, as a globetrotter spending significant time in multiple countries, there is one important challenge to the availability of apps that are only available in specific countries. Blame it on the publishers, but for example, this is a frequent issue for anything that is local in scope – like the already mentioned Starbucks app, public transportation apps, and take-away food apps. (you need all those when you are working in a city for a significant period – they save you time). With Apple AppStore, my account is tied to a particular country, and an “excellent” message greeting me with “This app is not available in your country.” is always frustrating. And yes, the same goes for Google Play store.
Some apps are crucial to my productivity. On Android platform all of those are available.
Android has all apps I use except one – and that is Perioscope. I love how Perioscope is giving me a report and dashboard about my day, tracking data from multiple sources like Moves and RescueTime. Sadly, RescueTime is missing from IOS.
For my daily use, the phone is my information hub on the go. As of now I also have the Samsung Gear 3 watch. Unlike Apple Watch, the Samsung Gear 3 is also able to connect to iPhone. However, connecting my smartwatch to iPhone do have some shortcomings compared to connecting it to Android. (as the geek I am I also have an Apple Watch – and that connects nicely to the iPhone but in the real spirit of Apple, does not connect to Android)
For this article though, I am focusing the phone experience. Here is where the Samsung shines. First of, the always on screen makes it easy to see what kind of notifications. I have Opening the phone, I also the widgets give me direct visibility to the most important information – no need to open the app.
This gives me an information dashboard on the go just with a glance.
The freedom to set up my start page and applications the way that feels natural to me suits me much better than the IOS way. To be fair, IOS has tried to address this with their screen; my challenge is that there is only one page, and the number of widgets and how they present information is not that flexible at all.
Bixby gives me a great view of my day from a calendar and location point of view. But still, it needs more integrations to apps, like Todoist and Tripit would have been great. But it’s an excellent start, and Bixby VIsion is also promising.
Here is where this phone shines compared to the iPhone for me.
First of, having two SIM cards is essential to my intercontinental travel. I wish I were able to have the SD card present together with two SIM cards, but hey, you cannot get everything.
Bixby and Bixby Vision are good companions to help me keep track of flights and Uber requests.
Even though Android is limited with regards to regions for installing Apps from Play Store, you can easily find the app’s APK online, and install and get access to the functionality. I never understood why they limit this based my “home country” as it makes sense for me to have the local apps when I am in a given location for a significant amount of time.
What I also found is that NFC is beneficial when the apps enable it. This goes for some SPG hotels where you can use the phone to open the hotel door, as well as I can use the NFC function when traveling with SAS to board and get access to the gate.
The camera is great – but so is the camera on the iPhone 7. It seems that the Samsung is better in dark environments.
I am not certain about this yet – it seems that Iphone7 plus has a better battery. At least I never ran out of fuel during the day, but with the Samsung, I often end up with draining my battery quite fast. I am a heavy user of Bluetooth and background apps, but the iPhone never had issue lasting a day.
What does not work that well on Samsung S8+
I think most reviews already mention this, but the fingerprint reader is horrible.
Seriously did anyone test the fingerprint reader before they sent the phones to production? I get that they had to move it as the screen gets all the real estate on the front. However, I am surprised nobody thought that having it on the side of the camera like this was a bad idea. I am pretty sure I am not the only one that keeps putting my finger on the camera lens.
The face recognition as it is today is a joke. Microsoft did that one pretty well with Windows Phone, even though it works even better with the higher performance on my Surface Book.
Overall the Samsung S8+ fits my needs better than the iPhone 7 Plus. But there is still room for improvement – and again, your mileage may vary.