The end of my year-long experiment with Android*
I sold it yesterday morning. My Nexus 7. Turned it over to the buyer at a Starbucks in Trinoma.
I had mixed feelings about selling it. It was nice, it was convenient, it worked well. But to be honest about it, it really wasn’t for me.
I got the Nexus 7 on a whim a year ago, almost to the day. A first gen, 32GB wifi-only unit. Bought it cheap and second-hand off a guy on an online selling site, and took it home (no sense in getting it brand-new, it was relatively “old”, and there were a lot of previously-owned units for sale).
I was held in thrall for several months, and forgot about my iPad. Me, Apple’s Number One Fan.
The Android system worked great! I liked the freedom it gave me, the ease of use, the portability—I could just slip the Nexus 7 in the back pocket of my jeans and go on my merry way.
I spent endless hours with that Nexus 7. I had to get used to the app menu screen and the software-based Home button and controls, but I eventually did. I liked how I could tailor and personalize it any way I wanted, from the interface to the way things loaded. I couldn’t do that on my iPad.
I loved the Google Play Store and its many apps, and I bought a lot of them. Try as I might, I couldn’t really max out the storage on the thing—I loaded it up with many, many apps, but was surprised that they barely ate a third of the way through the 32GB storage. I had 64GB on my iPad, and I was looking for even more space.
I also like how I could sideload many things I’d just torrent off the net, like free e-books, comic books, magazines… or programs. I strongly recommend against doing this, but I even downloaded apps on torrent, so that I could “evaluate“ them, and then erase them after. Heh. (You couldn’t do that on the iPad.)
In fact, I got to know Android really well. I knew all the latest apps and updates. I watched and listened to Android video and podcasts online, and read up on it. For instance, I got to know that you don’t have to install torrent-downloaded apps, they automatically do that when you upload them to your device from a cloud service like Dropbox. As opposed to legally sourced apps. That sort of thing.
Like any normal Androidhead, I’d eagerly wait for updates to the OS, and endlessly puzzle over how to maximize my Android experience. It was great that Google made the thing; it meant I got the cutting edge OS updates first. I liked it so much I even bought an expensive leather case for it.
But my Nexus 7 broke on me halfway through the year—somehow the glass screen shattered while it was in my pocket. To this day I don’t know how it happened; I always carried my Nexus that way and I was always aware of that fact, so I was careful. I tried to get it fixed at the Asus service center in SM Megamall, but the damn screen cost almost as much as the unit itself. (That busted Nexus 7 is still with me, languishing in a drawer.)
Instead, I got another “new” previously-owned Nexus 7, which turned out to be way cheaper to buy than it was to have the old one repaired. Yes, I got a second one.
My honeymoon with Android lasted about six months.
I liked the freedom the Nexus 7 gave me, but hated how some of the apps were often wonky and unstable. Some of them worked great, but some of the others were simply crap-in-an-app.
Also, there was a lot of garbage floating around in the Android app world, and I certainly caught some in my sojourn with the OS. Suffice it to say they were a headache. The Google Play Store was apparently a crazy-quilt crapshoot thing: sometimes you luck out, sometimes you don’t.
I also hated how slow the OS was sometimes, and how long it took to start up from zero. That was one hell of a boot-up time! Also, the Nexus would inexplicably get stuck on an app and go flying off into the wild blue yonder, or just hang just as inexplicably for no reason whatsoever. Other times it would be dog-slow, again for no real reason.
The battery life was also quicker to go than I expected; I’d use it for a couple of hours with a full charge, and get surprised when the indicator said it had eaten through around 40% already (at least before Kitkat came along; with 4.4 the battery life improved some). I hesitated to keep it on the whole time like I did my iPad. The battery just wasn’t up to snuff.
Slowly, I drifted back to using my iPad. I missed that thing, I realized.
I missed how I could just put my iPad to sleep and bring it back to life anytime quickly. (My Nexus 7 burned through its battery, even while it was asleep. I’d often wake up in the morning and see it was hovering close to death, and had to recharge it right away.)
I missed the reliability of the iPad and its apps. True, there were some lemons in the Apple App Store, but so far I haven’t come across a lot. Apple was damn strict about its OS, and ruled that world with an Iron Hand, but at least it was reliable. And the apps were full-featured monsters that I loved using, unlike the often shoddily put together applications of Android.
Most of all, I missed its… steadiness.
My iPad was as steady as a rock, and you could count on it every time. Sure, it was big and bulky, and a slightly heavy bastard, but it got the job done without any trouble, especially when I paired it with my bluetooth keyboard case. I used my iPad to surf and check my Twitter feed and email again. I used it to write articles and blog entries, something I tried doing on the Nexus 7, but after a while I had to squarely face the reality: the Nexus 7 was just too small to be that useful, at least for writing.
Over the weeks, I slowly quit using the Nexus 7 regularly. I put it in a drawer and took it out only once in a while. Usually just to update the apps and OS, and bring out to Starbucks and surf a bit, just so I could say I was still using it. But the honeymoon was over.
I hemmed and hawed for a couple of months, and early this year I decided, reluctantly, to sell my Nexus 7. After all, I wasn’t really using it. Someone else might put it to good use. So I put it up on the online sale block, and I got a buyer within minutes. (Boy, there are a lot of Android users out there, lemme tell you.)
I haven’t shut the door completely on Android. I still have my original (damaged) Nexus 7, and I still got an Android phone as a backup to my iPhone 5s, but for now, my year-long experiment with Android was done. In the end, I went back to the Apple fold.
Say what you will. At least I tried it out. For a whole year. I leapt into it with both feet and immersed myself in the Android environment.
I put my money where my mouth was, and I can safely say, at least for this user, whose OS was really the better one: Apple’s.
Sorry, Google. Maybe next time.
And I’ll tell you one more thing.
You’re still never going to catch me using Windows for anything—desktop, laptop, tablet or phone.
*Reprinted from Technoodling