After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

Summary: As a long-time happy Android phone user, it surprises me that it only took using the iPhone 4S for a few days to point out that using Android just feels wrong.

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Like I usually do when new gadgets hit the tool kit, I have been using only the iPhone 4S for the past few days. I still have my Nexus S 4G Android phone running the current version of Gingerbread, but it remained on the charger while I carried the new iPhone everywhere. Last night I decided it was time to pick up the Nexus and get reacquainted with the phone that has served me well. It didn't take me long to realize that after using the smooth, polished iPhone 4S that Android just feels wrong.

See also: iPhone 4S, Day 1 with an Android phone owner

This realization hit me hard, as I found that as I used the Nexus, a phone I absolutely love, the user experience was jangling my nerves. The inconsistencies in the interface between apps and the occasional lag doing simple things like scrolling in windows just screamed at me. I hadn't really noticed it before, but after using the iPhone these things jump out at me.

Don't get me wrong, the Android Gingerbread interface isn't bad, it's just not always smooth. In just a few days with the iPhone 4S and iOS 5 I had come to expect operation to be fluid and consistent system-wide. That's just not the case with Android, and every little interruption in smooth operation now accumulates into a feeling of frustration as I use the phone.

The biggest area of discontent is in web browsing, one of the primary things I do with a smartphone. I have long found stock Android browsers to be lacking, not in a major way but in fluid operation. That never bothered me as the strength of Android is the number of apps available, and third party browsers stepped in and served my needs just fine. Or so I thought.

After the totally flawless operation of Mobile Safari on the iPhone 4S, I realize that the browsing experience in Android just falls short. Sometimes pages stutter while loading, other times a page doesn't load at all. Hitting the X to stop a stalled page and then refreshing the page to get the browser to load the page was something I had gotten used to doing to make it work. Now that seems like a jarring interruption to what I now know can be a fluid experience. And don't get me started on pinching to zoom in or out on web pages and how terrible that is on Android compared to iOS.

The lack of fluid operation in Android may be due to the OS, or perhaps it is hardware related. It might be due to better apps on the iPhone, or tighter control by Apple over them. I really don't care as a user, I want the best user experience I can get. The good one delivered by the iPhone 4S makes it clear to me how wanting the Android experience actually is. It just feels wrong.

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Topics: iPhone, Android, CXO, Google, Mobility

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436 comments
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  • It's true

    After 1.5 years with the Droid X I'm ready for iPhone 5. More often than not now I want to throw the phone at a wall. I don't remember this pre Gingerbread and I'm doubtful Ice Cream Sandwich will make it to the DX.
    itguy10
    • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

      @itguy10 I have thrown mine at the wall....many times!!! Very strong phone (DroidX). Hope my DroidX2 is better.
      SomeJoeOnline
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

        @SomeJoeOnline yeah, that's not something you would be able to do with an iPhone, lol. Throw it once - and its time to get a new one... (they did a test, dropping iPhone 4s and galaxy s II
        corwin1681
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

        @SomeJoeOnline You are joking right?? LOL
        alimuluk
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

        @SomeJoeOnline They won't believe you, coz they don't know that it has a kevlar body.
        And how they wished theirs has android beam-nfs tech inside their phone. can play flash, seamless streaming tv, netflix, 4G, etc.
        aisenmarble
    • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

      @itguy10 My original Droid (A855) had a good run, but the time for a replacement is here. I was fully expecting to get the Prime next month, surely a new phone would no longer have the lags and inferior touch-screen operation that mine has. Reading this piece is really discouraging - Android is STILL doing that?

      Playing Angry Birds can be an infuriating experience on the Droid. How can you time an egg-drop properly with a variable lag? And with a screen that sometimes decides that I want to side-scroll when I try to zoom out? These things never ever happen on my 1st Gen iPod Touch. Is this really a reason to bail on Android? Not necessarily, but these are exactly the things that I convinced myself were wrong with Android only because I had an old model at the end of its lifespan.
      mizerock
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

        @mizerock People are always confusing the shortcomings of their hardware with Android. How many times have I heard "I bought a Schlick XX with Android 1.6 and it didn't work as well as a new iPhone, and never got updated. Stupid Android!"
        radleym
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

        @radleym Surely there is truth to what you say, but the fact that he's noticing the exact same issues that bug me (and that I convinced myself were not Android-wide problems) concerns me. The other thing I hate: many times, it takes up to a minute (!) for the home screen to appear. And I'm always having to do memory-management, as there are many apps that you can't move to the SD card, and the internal memory is very tiny. I would rather not deal with those issues on my next device, and I am no longer going to assume that they are issues related to my ancient hardware that "of course" will never come up on the Prime.
        mizerock
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

        @mizerock Don't take his word for it - go out and look. Many people are reporting great experiences with Android. Look at the OEM's update record, and don't cheap out too much (ie. apples:apples).
        radleym
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

        @radleym That's exactly what I'll do, I'll see for myself. And I fully expect that the dual-core Prime will indeed be a huge step up from my A855. Huge! And it will probably be my next phone if it the system and browser and touch-screen all perform anywhere near as smoothly as the Apple products all seem to.
        mizerock
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

        @mizerock After trying both, you may still decide to go iPhone, but as a happy Droid Bionic user, I would strongly suggest ignoring at least 1/2 the FUD in both directions and play with a new 4G Android phone and the iPhone of your choice before making a decision.<br><br>I see none of the specific problems attributed to Android and I find that the dual core processor and 4G makes some things like voice commands much smoother than they were on my 3G Droid 2.<br><br>I don't doubt that some people prefer the feel of an iPhone. I just suggest you make your decison based on which feels better to you doing the tasks which you find important.
        sbf95070
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

        @mizerock Those two issues alone would kill it for me. There's no excuse for that level of fault these days.
        Graham Ellison
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

        The thing people keep missing is that there always seems to be the next phone, the next hardware bump that will make Android "better". Everything is there, its just the hardware that needs to catch up. Unfortunately, I'd rather not gamble with a two-year contract. If its not good enough in current form, it's not good enough, period.
        eyhk
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

        @mizerock

        While Android might not be as fluid as iOS, there is just no way any 2011 phone feels as sluggish as a old Droid. Don't be believe the FUD.
        cumanzor
    • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

      @itguy10 I have to agree???my Droid X reminds me of my first GM car I ever bought???and I don't buy GM cars anymore
      munkazuncle
      • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

        hot iphone 4s apps free download : http://iphone4s.xstudio.biz
        hpxmas2011
    • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

      @itguy10 ... and James!
      Thanks for putting into words what my own feelings are, though I haven't expressed them well. I am an Android owner/user, but I in no way feel like I'm using the 'cream of the crop' in cell phone interfaces. If anything, it's been a compromise, hit-or-miss venture from day one. iOS looks and feels much better (to me) and even my old-old Wince PDAs seem to do some things better than my little HTC droid. If my carrier were to start offering iOS, I would probably be one to switch.
      camcost@...
    • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

      @itguy10
      I cannot believe there was not one person who mentioned IP lawsuits. the reason the iPhone does those things better, is because Apple has sued anyone else who tries to do anything remotely comparable. don't you remember when they sued because Android was going to allow users to touch their screens with more than one finger?

      there is a simple reason for why one device does a specific thing better, and that is the broken patent system in the USA. If, sitting on my toilet one day I come up with the perfect algorithm to allow fluid motion on the screen and interaction with 15 fingers simultaneously that apple would allow me to utilize it in a touch based user interface? never, they'd sue me back into the stone age, bankrupt my family and even take the copper pipes out of my home. That reason alone is why I will never buy an Apple product.
      aiellenon
    • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

      @itguy10
      I must say that the Flash thing sometimes pisses me off. but other than that - I agree with every word!

      ----------------------------------------------------
      http://blackbox-iphone.com
      alfasin
  • RE: After the iPhone 4S, Android just feels wrong

    I agree, but still can't get over the lack of customization from Apple. I mean, I stare at the Apple screen and think, "What can I do here...ummm...swipe left, swipe right or press the one button!" While it is as smooth as ever, it's still not worth it for me. I want to tailor the phone to my exacting needs.
    SomeJoeOnline