Moving from an iPhone to Samsung S4

iPhone 3GS
The ‘Classic’, aka the iPhone 3GS.
Source: Wikimedia

I’ve had my work iPhone 3GS (which I’ve affectionately nicknamed as ‘The Classic’) for four years now, and as time has been going on, the thing has been getting slower and slower (why does this happen to all computing devices?) I really like the iPhone, and despite successors being released every six months, I hadn’t really pushed hard for an upgrade since the iPhone 5 was released.

A month ago I received an email from my IT department at work:

Hi Bradley,

We intend to replace the old 3Gs iPhones before the end of June with 4G compatible devices. Since iPhone 5 does not reach the minimum requirements for Endava Premium Phones standard, please choose between the below three models by the end of the week, 7th of June:

•         Samsung GS4 [Android]

•         Sony Xperia Z [Android]

•         Nokia Lumia 920 [Windows]

Please confirm the model by replying to this email with your choice.

Also please be informed that the new phone must be kept for the next three years and replying to this email is the confirmation you agree with this term.

Thank you,

Kind regards,

I questioned what the minimum requirements were, but in the interest of your time, the conclusion was that there was zero leniency and we had to choose one of the listed devices.

I instantly discounted the Sony because I know people with Sony laptops and phones. They are always slightly bespoke and never quite work as well as the standard operating system.

The Nokia was intriguing. I owned and liked one of the very first HTC Windows phones several years ago. The two people I know with modern Nokia/ Windows passionately try converting everyone else to the platform, however the app store doesn’t include some of my favourite and most used apps. It’s interesting how I chose a work phone based on the consumer apps. I even went to the support forums of those apps and saw users begging for Windows releases, but without any response.

I asked around and came to the conclusion to go for the Samsung.

Firstly, it’s nice having a phone so responsive. And the screen is incredibly, vividly clear. The phone is physically larger than any other smartphone I’ve seen, although I like it. It’s more like a mini tablet, and considering I don’t have a tablet, its nice having such a large screen.

There are some downsides. After three weeks of use, and I still make loads of mistakes on the keyboard. The space bar seems to be in the wrong position because I join words together with a ‘b’ instead of separating them with a space.

And my big bugbear is that Samsung lost a patent to Apple over the use of showing misspelt words with a red underline. Having been used to this on word processors, web browsers and all previous phones that I can think of, and overusing the ‘b’ key, my email recipients must think I’ve become illiterate in the last month.

The App Store (sorry, ‘Play’) is comprehensive and easy to use – within an hour I’d downloaded all the apps that I’d used on my iPhone. The difference is that on Android, the icons appear in a mess rather than the nice layout of the iPhone. Another hour later and the apps were organised quicker than you can say ‘OCD’.

One of the nice features is that all photos are automatically uploaded to a Dropbox account. To me, this is real consumer cloud functionality because it makes the data more portable, rather than Apple’s iCloud, which isn’t portable, and to this day I still can’t delete my Apple ID.

I like the notifications interface. Whereas Apple displays notifications for each app (with the red circle), Android is more subtle with small icons at the top of the screen, and a scroll down action shows the detail behind the notifications.

Apparently the Samsung is compatible with Vodafone’s 4G network, however the network itself isn’t ready yet. One of my colleagues at work who has a personal iPhone 5 on EE has faster Internet speeds using 4G than I get using Sky broadband Unlimited at home.

In summary, I’m happy with the Samsung because it’s so much quicker than The Classic, but having a super-modern phone that’s predominantly used for emails without a spell checker is more than a hindrance. However I would have much, much rather taken the new iPhone 5.

11 thoughts on “Moving from an iPhone to Samsung S4

  1. What about the actual change over, from OS to OS? Apple ‘lock’ their system so transferring music, contacts, data (especially within business applications) seems to me like it could cause a bit of a headache?

  2. I agree with you, hence the comment about welcoming the use of Dropbox. I use Spotify anyway, to provide that openness, and I use Exchange (and LinkedIn) to store all my contacts for the transferability.

  3. I guess that keeps it relatively headache free then. Thanks. Been thinking about the switch over myself so this is helpful to know!

  4. “I questioned what the minimum requirements were, but in the interest of your time, the conclusion was that there was zero leniency and we had to choose one of the listed devices.”

    Nothing’s changed there then. They need to know that this attitude is one of the reasons that people leave.

  5. Niall – many organisations provide a single device to staff (e.g. the dreaded BlackBerry).
    I think it’s good that we can choose from two ‘droids or a Windows phone. Clearly most consumers prefer Android over iPhone anyway.
    An alternative is to provide staff with a cash amount for all technology (BYOT), which is a different subject altogether!

  6. I bought the iPhone 5 a few months ago (also upgraded from a 3GS) – and I have to say that it’s really just a slightly fast 3GS – that’s it. I was considering Samsung as my next phone – since I’ve heard/read that it’s a superior phone and the the ‘open’ policy of Android means there are great keyboard and other apps that just can’t be released on the iPhone.

  7. It was probably cost. Apples are notoriously more expensive. Personally I’d have gone for the Nokia. If I was to move away from IOS it would only be to Windows. I hear you on the app front but I can’t get along with Android. It’s like a not quite as good IOS whereas windows is genuinely different and feels well developed. Also the hook in with Office instantly appeals from a work perspective. I’d be interested to see how you get along having been on IOS for so long albeit on slow hardware, but if you assume the iPhone 5 and 5s will feel as fast as the S4 then I’d be interested whether the usability and app quality is comparable.

  8. Bradley, if you are still having problems with the standard keyboard why not just install an alternative – there are plenty of keyboard apps.

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