Let me talk about my previous smartphones first, then I will mention what I like about my current phone and Android. If you are not interested in my story, please jump to the last sections.
The first smartphone
My first smartphone was a Samsung Galaxy S, which I bought in Turkey. Android phones were not so popular at that time, I could buy an iPhone or a Blackberry as well. Since Android has a modified Linux kernel, as an engineer I could not ignore it. Later I learnt that Galaxy S became the first ever Android phone that was sold more than 10 million units.
As soon as I started to use my Galaxy S, I got a big surprise. Android Market (now Google Play Store) was blocked in Turkey due to taxing issues. They were expecting us to install new apps via Samsung Apps (now Galaxy Apps) only. I remember that I got very angry about it, however I noticed the workarounds shortly.
You can think that the number of units sold is not important for a user. In contrast, it is very important to find information and support on the internet. I could easily find out how to install the Android version I want on my phone. I switched to another country’s version and was able to use Android Market since then.
Continue with the same series
During my first travel abroad, one of the stops was Andorra. There was no VAT in Andorra and phones were cheaper than in Turkey. I bought Samsung’s latest high-end model, which was Galaxy S III. If I did not have that travel, probably I would continue using Galaxy S for a while. Its battery was still in good shape after 2-year use.
Samsung’s new flag carrier just brought official Android 4 support to me and it was also thinner. Previously I had tried out Android 4 via CyanogenMod on my Galaxy S, but it was not efficient in terms of power. I used Galaxy S III mostly with the official Android version until its battery health got worse.
A new experience
While using S III, I changed my job. The new job was more related to the smartphone industry and I started to get interested in Apple’s iPhone. During a travel again, S III’s battery had very bad indications and I bought an iPhone 6 in France. The hardware was good, iOS 10 was very stable. I really enjoyed experiencing it.
I used my iPhone 6 for 3.5 years. It always had pros and cons compared to Android phones, but my experience significantly worsened within the last year. I started to use Linux Mint on my personal laptop, iTunes’ lack of Linux support had a negative impact on my thoughts. I did not like some iOS updates. For example, I became unable to turn off Wi-Fi via control center after iOS 11. It literally made me crazy.
Back to Android
I noticed that two of my colleagues were using OnePlus 5T phones which I have never heard before. One of them was using for longer than six months and he was happy with the phone. Since Turkish Lira was too volatile at that time, I did not buy it immediately, but started to track the prices. After a few weeks, I bought it from one of the internet retailers in Turkey.
When I bought 5T, it was not the latest model. OnePlus 6 was already in the market, but I did not care about it. Actually I liked 5T’s fully rectangular screen more. At first I was biased against the face unlock, but I noticed how fast and smooth it was as soon as I tried it.
OnePlus 5T came with Android 8, then I received an update for 8.1. Public beta of Android 9 was also released recently, I expect to receive the stable release within a few weeks.
What I like about Android
- Easy file transfer: I can use my phone as if a USB stick. No additional software is needed to connect it to Windows or Linux.
- LED notifications: I do not have to wake the screen up to check missed calls, incoming emails/texts, battery status and so on. In addition, each notification can have a different color. For example, I can distinguish a WhatsApp notification from an email by the color.
- Application size: When I turned back to Android, I noticed that Android apps have smaller sizes. Facebook’s iOS app is 522.6 MB while Android app is 68.39 MB. I don’t know if there is a special case, but Facebook has one of the most significant difference between these two operating systems. Twitter is 183.8 MB in iOS and 70.64 MB in Android. The gap is not as big as Facebook, but still the Android app’s size is 38% of the iOS app.
- Partial app update: The updates don’t necessarily require full-size download. For example Uber is 163 MB on my phone and its update is just 28 MB.
- Shortcuts on the notification bar: I can configure the shortcuts and it is not so hard to turn Wi-Fi or Bluetooth off. If you read about my experience with iPhone 6, you know why this is so important for me.
- Widgets everywhere: It is possible to put widgets anywhere on the desktop. In contrast, iOS widgets are available for the notification center only.
- App shortcuts: I don’t have to find a place on the desktop for each app. I already can access all apps by sliding a button, so I only put the most frequent apps on the desktop.
What I like about OnePlus 5T
- Screen-to-body ratio: 80% is a good ratio with a full rectangular screen. However there are many phones with higher ratio, they don’t have rectangular screens in general.
- Face unlock: It is incredibly fast. As I mentioned above, it is more useful than I thought.
- Dual SIM: I am using a dual SIM phone for the first time and I keep asking myself why I haven’t used before. While I was moving from Turkey to the UK, dual SIM was life-saving. I still have two SIMs, one for Turkey and one for the UK. Both are active at the same time and I can disable one of them whenever I want.
- Fast charging: The phone is shipped with a 4-ampere adaptor, thus its 3300 mAh battery gets full in less than one hour.
Of course there are things which I don’t like about Android, but I will not mention them today.