For those of you that listen to the Coolsmartphone Podcast, you have probably picked up on the less than subtle suggestion that I’m somewhat of an Apple fan boy.
Guilty as Charged.
I’ve been an iPhone user for a long time, and no device in the past has ever made me consider making the switch to an alternative OS.
Aware that this stance has been frustrating some our listeners/readers… and also some of my Coolsmartphone colleagues, I decided to look again at a high-end Android handset to see if there were any features which could potentially turn my head the next time I change my device.
For this exercise, I’m comparing my trusty (although ageing) iPhone 5s with the LG G4, which was lent to me by the guys at Three.
After much playing with the G4, there were some features which as an iPhone user really impressed me. I’ll go through these in detail.
My Experience of the LG G4 Camera.
I take a lot of pictures, and therefore the camera on my device is very important to me. I believe that the iPhone camera provides a consistently very good image, so I was keen to see how the LG G4 compared to it.
My first impressions of the G4’s camera were surprisingly negative. After reading lots of positive reviews, it came as a huge shock to me that the photo quality I was getting was really quite poor, with slightly blurred images and poor detail on zoom.
Fortunately, friend of the site and an all-around top bloke, Gavin from Gavin’s Gadgets, noticed that I was experiencing difficulties and contacted me to explain that my experience didn’t match his.
After much testing between us we realised that the issue wasn’t with the camera, but with the way that the G4 test unit was rendering the images on-screen. Copying the images to my iPad revealed a fantastic image quality, featuring a lot more detail and information than on similar shots from my iPhone.
It looks like the firmware on my test unit is quite old, and on newer versions of the device this isn’t an issue.
A selection of images from the LG G4 can be seen below:
Desktop Widgets are one feature that really shine on Android. Sure iOS has widgets, but they are hidden away in pull down windows. On Android, widgets are always visible on the desktop, always providing useful information, and included in this is the Agenda widget.
Providing a list of your upcoming calendar entries on the desktop quickly gives you a view of which key events are due in the near future. I imagine this widget has saved many lives in reminding husbands about forthcoming anniversaries. That has never happened to me. Ever. Not even that time when… Actually, let’s talk about:
Access to PlayStation Remote Play.
I’m starting to get into gaming again after a 5-year break following the birth of my son, and recently purchased a PS4. One of the reasons I opted for a PS4 was because of the remote play option which I knew I could take advantage of using my underutilised PS Vita.
What was a very pleasant surprise though, was the Android version of the remote play app. You may be aware of the Xperia device version, but if you search around on Google you will find a recompiled version for all Android devices that works very well indeed.
So far, a superb gaming experience, but in an added level of coolness I was able to connect an old Xbox 360 connector via an OTG adapter and control games with a physical controller.
I can’t ever imagine doing this on an iPhone.
Double tap to activate.
I’ve never experienced this feature before, and it sounds such a simple thing. Double tap the screen twice to turn on the device, but it makes such a big difference to quickly activating your device. I became so used to using it that on returning to using my iPhone I found myself tapping my screen in expectation that it do something productive – alas, not.
As mentioned earlier, I take a lot of photos and I like to use DropBox to upload them onto the cloud so that they are ready for manipulation on a different device when I get home.
On iOS, apps which run in the background have a tendency to pause whilst performing tasks, and you manually need to bring them to foreground to kickstart them again. However on Android, apps in the background tend to run as services so that they keep on running. It was a feature that became apparent in DropBox, where photos were uploaded in a truly automated manner without any intervention from myself, This avoids the frustration of getting home only to find that DropBox has paused.
You probably should check the mobile data implications of this, for me I’m on an unlimited data contract with Three, so this wasn’t as issue.
Overall I enjoyed using the LG G4. The device build quality was high and the larger screen compared to the iPhone’s screen helped in this, although of course there are iPhones that do have a larger screen now. My experience was also helped by replacing the standard mail app with the much better Microsoft Outlook.
Was my experience enough to convert me from iOS? Well, not quite. I still find that the overall iOS experience and app quality is better, but I will find myself missing a number of features, primarily the PS Remote play app, the agenda widget and the double tap to activate – sometimes the small things make a difference.