Last week, I ordered both an iPhone 6 plus and a Samsung Galaxy S6 through Swappa. Each cost around $350. Yesterday, the iPhone arrived, first, so it will be evaluated first. (The Galaxy is coming from California.)
The point of this blog isn’t to compare hardware, particularly with Android, but since the iPhone is a closed system with only one type of hardware available, it will inevitably creep in, and I do want to touch on a few points in this post.
The phone was used and in great condition. I couldn’t help noticing that there was a “halo” effect around the Apple logo on the back. One of the weird things about the culture surrounding Apple is a certain emphasis on displaying their corporate logo whenever possible. I’ve seen few cases for other phones that go out of their way to make sure the logo is visible, but most cases for iPhones seem to making showing off the logo a priority. The result in this case, from the phone’s previous owner, is the halo. Bling. I clearly bought the ‘wrong’ case, a minimalist Amzer case, the same one I use and prefer for my Windows phone. (I also bought this case for the Galaxy.) It covers up the logo, which is just fine with me, as I really don’t like being a walking billboard for any brand.
The iPhone has a SIM drawer, so I had to finding something small enough to open it. By contrast, the Lumia 950XL has a removable back cover, and removing or adding the SIM cards is much easier. The Lumia model I have supports two SIM cards, any of which can be active at a given time, making international travelling a bit easier. The Lumia also has a removable battery under that back cover. I have a spare, so I don’t need to take a bulky (and slow) battery/power source with me, I can just swap out the thin battery (although this does require restarting the phone).
The third thing under the removable back cover of the Lumia is an SD card for removable storage. I can inexpensively add plenty of space for music, videos or movies, podcasts, file downloads, photos, etc. SD card storage is much cheaper than buying more storage built into the phone. Apple has never offered removable storage support. That being said, there are drawbacks, mainly in speed, although that’s improved over the past few years. As native device storage has increased, the need for removable storage is somewhat lessened. Everyone’s usage is different, but I doubt I could fill up 128Gb if I tried, unless I needed to download dozens of movie in HD and hundreds of music albums.
The iPhone 6 Plus is almost exactly the same size as the Lumia 950XL, so it felt great in my hand. It has a smaller screen due to the larger borders/bezel. It’s slightly longer and slightly thinner. Both have camera bulges, with the Lumia’s being in the center and the iPhone’s in the corner (meaning the Lumia is a bit more stable on a flat surface). The extra thickness from the Amzer case leveled out the camera bump on the iPhone but not completely on the Lumia.
There are two ways to turn an iPhone on: Press the home button or the power button. With the Lumia, you press the power button, or just tap the screen twice. I definitely prefer the double tap, which is faster and easier to do with one finger. The Lumia also has a retina scan, so you don’t have to touch the phone again. If it’s in a base or other holder, double-tap, look at your phone, you’re in. The fastest way with the iPhone seems to be tap and hold the home button, which can take more fingers, depending on the dock or how your phone is positioned.
One of the first adjustments for me to make was the camera button, or lack thereof on the iPhone. Most Windows phones have a dedicated camera button. One press, and you’re taking photos; with a double-click, you’ve got your photo. With the iPhone, there’s an added delay and different movements required. You turn the phone on (one of two ways) and then you swipe left to engage the camera, then take pictures.
Another hardware thing to address was the power cable. The Lumia has a standard USB-C connector, and there are several of these cables in my house, work, car, etc. With the iPhone, it comes with the proprietary lightning cable. So, unless I want to buy some more cables, I pretty much have to carry the cable with me wherever I go.
Because I’m trying to evaluate iOS and Android from the perspective of a Windows phone user, I am not signing up for any of the “ecosystem” that Apple and Google try to hook into phone users to ensure lock in. I’m not using iCloud with iOS and I will be avoiding Google services wherever possible. I’ll also be favoring Cortana over Siri or Google Now/Assistant/whatever.
Coming soon: iOS first impressions, plus posts about Google and about the Lumia 1020.