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I ditched Android for iPhone SE for a month — right here’s the professionals and cons – Tom’s Guide

When the iPhone SE (2021) debuted previous this spring, I argued that the telephone’s spectacular specifications and cheap worth had been sufficient to make an established Android diehard sit down up and take understand. For $400, Apple’s newest telephone will give you a formidable processor, a fantastic display screen and a strong digital camera, together with useful bells and whistles like water resistance and wi-fi charging. 

In impact, you get a flagship telephone for 1/2 of what you’d pay for a top rate instrument. The iPhone SE sounded higher than its closest Android competition on paper, and that were given me questioning: Could it rise up to its Android opponents in actual existence?

In my revel in, no. The iPhone SE is a formidable piece of {hardware} at an excellent worth, however I discovered that the iOS revel in drags the entire product down a number of notches. If you might have $400 to spend on a telephone, you must purchase the Google Pixel 3a (or cling out for the expected free up of the Pixel 4a). There are many explanation why, however major amongst them is the truth that your $400 will purchase you a whole product while you go for an Android instrument, and no longer merely a foot within the door of a far better, dearer ecosystem.

The experiment

After I made the argument in want of the iPhone SE again in April, my editor proposed an odd experiment: If the iPhone SE in reality appeared that excellent to me, would I be prepared to make use of one for a complete month? After all, if the iPhone SE may just in reality bring in a brand new age of midrange smartphones, who can be a greater take a look at topic than an established Android person? I put in my SIM card in an iPhone SE on May 15, and stored it there for the following month.

iPhone SE 2021 (Image credit score: Tom’s Guide)

While Apple admittedly isn’t my cup of tea, I resolved to enter this experiment with an open thoughts. I’ve reviewed Apple units sooner than, and I believe I’ve at all times evaluated their strengths and weaknesses somewhat. I’m additionally no longer a hardcore smartphone person whatsoever. I exploit my telephone for calls, texts, email, social media and the occasional cellular sport. I don’t have a ton of apps, and I’d virtually at all times somewhat use a pc, sport console, pill or e-reader. As such, I figured that the rest I may just do on an Android telephone, I may just most certainly do on an iPhone simply as smartly.My speculation became out to be about half-right. 

What I favored in regards to the iPhone SE

I discovered some issues to love in regards to the iPhone SE, and the Apple revel in generally. First, I used to be ready to download new interface and safety updates the second one they turned into to be had, somewhat than months down the road, every time my wi-fi provider deemed are compatible. The iPhone SE will proceed getting necessary safety updates for years, somewhat than really fizzling out after a 12 months and a 1/2, or much less. Android in reality, in reality must step up its sport on this division.

iPhone SE 2021 (Image credit score: Tom’s Guide)

I additionally concept the photographs it took had been simply stunning. Even indoors, the colour stability used to be spot-on, and the telephone did an implausible activity of distinguishing between other people and gadgets, foregrounds and backgrounds. I don’t suppose it’s significantly higher than the Pixel 3a’s digital camera, but it surely’s without a doubt higher than what maximum mid-range telephones be offering.

I additionally favored the whole thing that the iPhone SE’s very good {hardware} facilitated. The display screen used to be brilliant, brilliant and sharp, specifically because it crams numerous answer right into a small area. Navigation felt snappy and instant, whether or not I used to be taking part in a hard 3-D sport or just scrolling via my picture library. The telephone by no means hangs or chugs; it simply so much the whole thing virtually straight away. Going again to my getting older Moto Z3 felt downright slow compared. The iPhone SE’s wi-fi charging used to be additionally cool, as I’ve by no means owned a telephone with this capacity sooner than.

iPhone SE 2021 (Image credit score: Tom’s Guide)

My very favourite a part of the iOS revel in, alternatively, used to be Apple Arcade. For those that haven’t attempted it, Apple Arcade is a $5-per-month subscription provider that will give you limitless get admission to to various high quality video games that aren’t to be had any place on Android. (They’re incessantly to be had on Steam or Switch, to be honest.)

These video games steer clear of the worst excesses of free-to-play cellular video games, as no longer a unmarried one permits in-app purchases. You get entire stories that you’ll play for so long as you favor with out paying the rest on peak of the subscription rate. I want that Android had a identical provider.

What I didn’t like about iPhone SE

The very first thing I spotted used to be that iOS does not have a unified again button. This might appear to be a small criticism, however on Android, returning to the former display screen in any app is crystal-clear. In iOS, each and every app has a unique again button, and there is not any consistency about the place it is positioned. You may must scroll to the top-left in one app, or the bottom-right in every other, so finding out the way to go out your present display screen via muscle reminiscence is not possible. 

iPhone SE 2021 (Image credit score: Tom’s Guide)

My 2d large realization used to be that there used to be no option to get admission to my textual content messages on a PC. Thanks to Google Messages, I’ve turn out to be extraordinarily used to the usage of my PC to respond to texts so long as I’m at house — which, this present day, is more often than not. I do know that iMessage is to be had on Macs, however Google Messages is to be had on each PCs and Macs, which turns out like a far fairer association.

Then, there used to be the characteristic that began riding me out of my thoughts on Day 1 and didn’t let up till Day 30: There is not any comma or duration at the iOS keyboard’s primary display screen. Instead, if you wish to punctuate your ideas, you need to pass right into a secondary menu. Although Android does not have each and every punctuation mark on its default keyboard, both, you’ll press and cling the duration button to get what you wish to have. Fortunately, you’ll double faucet the gap bar in iOS to go into classes and in addition download third-party keyboards with extra choices.

iPhone SE 2021 (Image credit score: Tom’s Guide)

I bumped into various different little annoyances all through my time with an iPhone. There’s no unified app menu, so you need to scroll via pages of apps or else prepare the whole thing into folders manually. Apple turns out to recognize that it is a downside, as iOS 14 will in any case come with a unified apps menu and a brand new App Library characteristic that mechanically organizes your apps for you.

No iPhone fashion features a microSD card slot, that means you might be caught with no matter quantity of interior garage you purchase — and that garage can get very pricey, as leaping from one capability to every other can upload any place from $50 to $100 to the price of your telephone. The iPhone makes use of a proprietary charger somewhat than a USB-C, like each and every different trendy telephone on the planet.

iPhone SE 2021 (Image credit score: Tom’s Guide)

I additionally could not stand the truth that iOS does not permit you to merely drag and drop media information onto the device. You want to set up iTunes on a pc, create a library, convert a number of information and sync the whole thing manually, which is as time-consuming as it’s tedious. You can not create your individual ringtones, you’ll’t set up apps from non-Apple assets, you’ll’t get admission to the rest on an iPhone via Windows Explorer, and so on. It’s an previous argument, however it is nonetheless true: iOS feels very restrictive if you happen to’ve been with Android for the reason that starting.

To its credit score, the iPhone SE let me do the whole thing I in most cases do with a telephone. But the whole thing used to be just a bit more difficult than it had to be, for no actual reason why.

Accessorizing fashionably

When I let Apple know that I used to be making plans to jot down this text, a spokesman steered I supplement the instrument with AirPods and an Apple Watch Series 5. Since the iPhone SE got here out, shoppers were purchasing the three units in combination, since you’ll construct a mini-Apple ecosystem for not up to the price of a flagship telephone.

Apple Watch Series 5 (Image credit score: Future)

However, neither the Apple Watch nor the AirPods added a lot to the revel in total. I discovered the AirPods profoundly uncomfortable, and at all times at the verge of falling out. (The sound high quality used to be very good, to be honest.) 

Seeing notifications on my wrist with the Apple Watch used to be more or less useful, but it surely did not streamline my virtual actions in any significant sense. Granted, I’d most certainly have identical lawsuits a few Wear OS instrument, however the level is that having two pricey Apple equipment did not do a lot to lift an overly reasonable telephone revel in.

Back to Android

With an iPhone SE, I used to be nonetheless ready to browse the Web, take a look at my electronic mail, learn books, play video games, watch movies and so on. My day by day actions had been just about the similar as on Android. But I nonetheless skilled a profound feeling of reduction after I booted up my previous Moto Z3 once more. The again button made navigation a snap and the open record layout supposed I may just upload the rest media I sought after with a easy drag and drop.

Having given iOS a good shot, I will truthfully say that it isn’t for me. And but, there have been a couple of issues that I want Android would be informed from its competitor. Security and interface updates are necessary, and want to occur ASAP, no longer every time a provider feels find it irresistible. Flagship processors belong in midrange telephones. Mobile gaming does not must be a cesspit, if you’ll draw in confirmed builders with distinctive concepts.

Ultimately, when it’s time to make a choice a brand new telephone, you’re going to have to analyze each programs, then consider your intestine. My intestine will lead me again to a extra open OS.