I recently switched to Android. I got a Pixel 7a on contract for a steal - I couldn’t get any new iPhone anywhere near the price. I say switched, but I’m not a die-hard iPhone user. I was coming from an original iPhone SE (after switching back to that from a iPhone 8).

Things I miss from iOS:

  • No easy scroll to top by touching the status bar.
  • No unread count badge indicator on apps.
  • No shortcuts app. But I was mostly using this for running some scripts via ssh and changing my watch faces based on sunset and sunrise (more on that later). Maybe I could use Tasker for the ssh stuff?
  • There is no keyboard shortcut popup for adding “.co.uk”, when entering URLs, just “.com”, etc.
  • Audio transcription doesn’t seem to be as accurate. Has not got my daughter’s name right yet when setting reminders.
  • Notification and vibration settings felt somewhat hidden on Android - took me ages to figure out why Tasks reminders weren’t vibrating. It wasn’t clear from the settings page that I could click/touch on an entry for further settings (I thought it was just a title for a toggle), but that could just be learning Android vs iOS.
  • Not found a good SFTP client yet. But also Panic discontinued Transmit so that was unlikely to remain working forever on iOS. I’m using Ghost Commander which works, is free (and open-source), but isn’t pretty. Definitely had some issues getting ssh keys working.

Things I like:

  • Whoop, I get to use K-9 mail which is great.
  • The Google migration from iPhone is really good.
  • Firefox is better on Android.
  • The Pixel hardware design (camera bump) is my favourite of all phones since the original iPhone SE. All other phones look shite in my professional opinion.
  • 1Password integration seems much better, especially with apps, which is bizarre for an app that started on macOS and iOS.
  • Airmessage is really good. I’m able to use our family desktop iMac for that and I have continued messaging family (all on iOS) via that; I thought I’d have to “meet half way” and use WhatsApp, but nope.
  • I read lots of bad things about the under screen Touch ID, but for me it’s brilliant and way more reliable than the iPhone 8 or iPhoneSE. I am not bothering with the Face ID, maybe I would if I had a Pixel 8.
  • Predictive text seems better (it automatically predicts Gaelic when I’m doing Scottish Gaelic in Duolingo, etc).

Things I am indifferent about:

  • Navigating the UI is mostly the same (despite coming from a ye-olde button iPhone, I’m aware of iOS’s gesture navigation because of A’s iPhone).
  • Most apps are the same. The only unique to iOS apps I used were Panic’s Prompt and Transmit (which as mentioned they discontinued).
  • Siri / Reminders. I now just use Google Assistant and Google Tasks for ad-hoc reminders. This is literally the only thing I ever used Siri for.
  • Connectbot is “good enough”. Had some issues creating ssh keys when I wanted to share those with Ghost Commander. Basically ended up creating a key elsewhere and copying to the phone.

I think basically, nowadays, everything is gravy. Android and iOS are both great. Pixel and iPhone are both great. You are basically being a dick if you hate one over the other.

Apple Watch

Having an Apple Watch did make me think twice about switching, but the main two things I’ve used it for are:

  1. Pagerduty alerts and being able to ack in the shower.
  2. WorkOutDoors (still superb).

Thankfully 1 is no longer a requirement: I have saner on-call rotations now. And for 2 I can carry on using it as I always have, which is mostly using it as a sports watch instead of a smart watch.

I still have my iPhone SE plugged in as a “desktop” phone (with headphones taking advantage of that headphone socket) so whilst at home (which is most of the time) my watch still works exactly as it did before, giving me double the iMessage/Airmessage notifications.

And actually, when out and about, connecting my watch to the Pixel’s hotspot works pretty well and means my watch mostly just works as it did before. The only issue is that sometimes it randomly disconnects and then the hotspot turns off.

My thoughts were that my watch is four years old now. It’s stuck on WatchOS 8 and so abandoned by Apple. The battery is still pretty good though and I can see it lasting another year, but I’d be surprised if it lasts much longer than that. And this Pixel I can use until 2028. So when my watch dies I plan on getting a cheap running watch (Garmin Forerunner 55, Coros Pace 2, Polar Pacer, etc), especially as I don’t do that much running anymore anyway. As long as I undercut the Apple Watch SE price I’m winning (for my needs); I still think the Apple Watch SE is superb value especially when coupled with WorkOutDoors (also superb value); The watch is Apple’s best product in my opinion. But I can do Pixel plus Garmin, etc cheaper.

And the Pixel 7a is really a superb bit of kit for the price.