iPhone 7: first impressions from an Android user viewpoint


After my introduction to the iPhone SE, I took some time to also test the iPhone 7. With this project, I am working from the perspective of a smartphone user with Android experience and will behave as if I am switching over. One thing I would like to say in advance: If I really was switching, I would quickly want to switch back to the Nexus.

What I like about the iPhone…

The backup feature is still unmatched

After unpacking the iPhone 7 and inserting the SIM card, I turned on the smartphone. The setup wizard asked me if I wanted to restore all data and apps. This is how I restored the SMS, apps, background, contacts, conversation history, and all settings, just as I had set them up four months earlier on the iPhone SE.

If I were to upgrade from my Nexus 6P to, say, a Google Pixel, this would not be possible. The wizard reinstalled the apps I had on the old phone. But I still needed to set up each app completely from scratch – user name, password, settings. So with 50 apps, it takes so long that you have to spread the work out over several days. Usually, I start completely from zero and install the apps as needed. I often don’t bother to transfer SMS or WhatsApp messages to new devices as it is really not worth the effort.

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Once again, the camera on the iPhone 7 is classy. / © AndroidPIT

The camera is classy

Two strong arguments for purchasing an iPhone have always been its classy design and excellent quality of the camera. It reliably takes good pictures, works with minimal delay, and can also be started from the lock screen without the PIN.

The Photos app, however, is not quite as attractive as its Android counterpart. I’m just now trying to figure out how to rename an album, or how to edit the permissions. It seems to me that not everything is well-integrated. And then we come to the next point.

What I like less…

The apps are not that much better

App developers now have a clear understanding that Android is important. Many apps are still better on the iPhone than on Android devices, but some recent examples show that something is finally being done about this.

Last time I was frustrated by an app it was for the car-sharing provider Multicity, but the latest version has resolved this and, thanks to Material Design, an app was designed which met all the commandments of Android app art. This is just one of several success stories.

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Finally at eye level: The quality of the Android apps is increasing thanks to Material Design. / © AndroidPIT

Google apps are still second-class apps

The iPhone integrates your Twitter and Facebook accounts directly into the main settings. This is not the case with a Google account. You must register the apps of the big competitors individually, so the whole integration of their services doesn’t quite work. Here a gentle transition for someone who previously used an Android device to iPhone is almost impossible.

The switch from Google/Android to Apple/iOS will mean a complete break. It’s best to just back up your data and leave your Google account behind. Apple has its own closed ecosystem; the transition only becomes a smooth experience if you surrender completely to the Apple world. Then, services such as AirPlay, iMessage, iCloud, Home and TV become more practical, instilling in customers a childlike acceptance of the “It just works” effect.

The new Home “button” makes the iPhone operation even more comical

With the iPhone 7 Apple’s Home button no longer functions mechanically, instead it relies on a Touch ID sensor. The setup wizard lets you choose how strong it should be. Everyone I showed this to found it weird.

The one-button navigation is not for me.

What do you think?

Completely apart from this, the operation of a smartphone without a back button is totally impractical from my point of view. Fortunately, iOS apps adhere to Apple’s design template, which has placed the “back” function in the upper left corner of the app. With the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 you can only reach the button by using your other hand, because you do not want to drop such an expensive device.

Additionally, the Recents button on the Android 7.x update was a great help compared to the inefficient iPhone operation. If you want to switch to the previous app on the iPhone, you have to tap the Home button twice within 300 milliseconds, and then select the screen for the other app. On Android 7 devices, all you need to do is press twice on the button for an overview of recently opened apps (recents). The active app then folds under and the previous one comes to the foreground.

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The Lightning jack adapter is a bad joke. / © AndroidPIT

Headphones only with adapter whip

The included adapter whip, which is to be plugged between the headsets and the Lightning connection for the iPhone, is much too thin. I predict that it will breaks after six months of continuous use. As I am testing Bluetooth headsets galore, it was not much use to me. But, I would not like to have to rely on the adapter; especially since a replacement costs 10 euros and you cannot charge the iPhone while you’re using it.

The battery life is too low
I don’t like the battery life in the iPhone 7. The Galaxy S7 or the Xperia XZ hold out much longer. Especially since the half-as-expensive Honor 8 proves itself to be a cheeky good competitor in this respect. Thanks to the Powerbank from Tronsmart, this didn’t matter much to me because I was always able to recharge on the road. But new customers will be surprised by how regularly the iPhone dies in the evening simply because the battery was empty.

Conclusion of the First Impression

I’m still not warming up to the Apple ecosystem. The operation, from my point of view, is more complicated than with an Android device. The battery life is too weak. The integration of Google’s services is too shabby and makes for a slow, painful transition from system to system.

The iPhone’s biggest strength is, of course, when you go completely over to the iCloud. But I’m not ready for that, especially since I’m then stuck in that ecosystem. Android devices may not work perfectly, but there are more options for modification, a larger selection of apps, MicroSD cards, cheap accessories, and you can copy MP3s from the computer to your smartphone and listen to them later with headphones connected directly into the jack. Why would I give up those freedoms?

In the coming days, I will test the iPhone further. Write to me in the comments about what you think I should try out.

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