When you buy an iPhone, you basically know what you're getting. It's going to have a sleek design. It's going to be running the latest version of iOS. You're going to have access to iTunes. You're going to have access to iCloud. You're probably even going to have access to Apple Music, and it's probably going to interface with half of the devices in your house.
When you buy an Android device, well...you can't ever really be sure what you're going to get. You might have TouchWiz. You might have access to MotoBlur, or maybe HTC Sense. Your device could be running Lollipop, or Cupcake, or Marshmallow. You might have Verizon's bloatware on there, or AT&T's, or maybe you're running a bunch of free streaming services, because you're one of the lucky few with T-Mobile service where you live (I do not, for the record).
My point is, there's a reason a lot of us choose Android as our daily driver when it comes to mobile devices: Choice. For the most part, we're fairly well set to have the device that we want, in the way that we want it, with (for the most part) the carrier we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. And, if we don't like what's offered to us, nine times out of ten we're able to root our devices and install custom ROMs, giving us even more power over our devices, and even more choice of what we have.
I used to be one of those people. I bought devices that could be rooted so that I could tinker with kernels and roms and gadgets and gizmos galore. These days? I'm in my thirties with a kid, two jobs, and barely have time to pick my own butt, let alone tinker with that kind of stuff. When I buy a mobile device, I know I'm not going to get the ideal experience, which is why I've managed to whittle my long list of demands down to a few, to make my Android device the ideal device. So, what's on my list?
1. It has to be big. I need a lot of screen real estate, so devices like the first generation Moto X just aren't going to cut it. I'm rolling with a Note 4 right now. It feels good in my hands, gives me plenty of screen size to watch videos, and comes with the bonus feature of multi-window (eat your heart out, older iPhone users). I want to pull my phone out of my pocket (at least the part that fits) and have people go, "Damn. That's a big phone!"
Yes...I know it is.
2. It has to be fast. I don't want a laggy phone. I want to unlock it, get to my apps, pick one I want, and go about my business. A lot of times (I'm looking at you, Note 4 running 5.0.1), this is where Android really stumbles. Things get laggy if you have too many text messages, or too many cached photos. I need my phone to be quick.
3. It has to be smooth. I need my device to flow. Think of the first time you experienced Project Butter. Amazing, wasn't it? I want to scroll between screens and have it move fluidly. No hitching, or lagging. I want to open an app and not have it linger too long on the splash screen.
I'm honestly not picky when it comes to the OS overlay that comes with a device. I've had them all, from Vanilla to TouchWiz. Each of them has their own pros and cons, and I'm fine with whatever is on there. Currently, TouchWiz is how I roll, and it suits my needs, as long as my device is performing with the three items I've listed above.
Android, to me, is the perfect operating system for any person, because Android becomes you. You don't have to adapt to an ideal or a way of thought. You don't have to conform to any particular way of doing things or setting things up. If you want 10 home screens full of widgets, you can have 10 home screens full of widgets. Don't like the launcher that's on your device? Try Nova, or Action Launcher, or Apex Launcher. Wish you could have more than 4 x 4 on your app drawer? You can do that, and more.
In a way, having all of that variety at your disposal can be overwhelming. I find myself changing launchers about as often as I change underwear (no, not monthly), and I can understand how it might not be that way for a lot of people. But give me a device that's fast, smooth, and big, and I'll let the OS take care of the rest.
Article written by contributing TEKSide writer: Zach Egolf