An Apple fanboy goes Android / by Callum Lamont

For those that know me well, the words above may come as a shock. Yes, it has happened. My dilapidating iPhone 4S has forced my hand and I've updated my handset. My initial inclination was to, of course, look into which iPhone options were available to me. Considering I don't use my phone for media editing, gaming, video streaming, or any other computationally expensive applications, I decided to forego the most recent release, as it felt like an unnecessary expenditure of £700. Well what about the iPhone 6S… hmm iPhone 6?.. ok a secondhand 5S. Regardless of how much I lowered my standards, I was unable to square this purchase with my budget. I've always known Apple products aren't the best value, but of course you're also paying for the streamlined operating system, quality build, and so forth. However, this was the first time I've genuinely been affected by this premium. So I begrudgingly turned my gaze towards alternatives (i.e. Android). The range of choice is wider, naturally, and in more recent years a number of Chinese manufacturers having been turning up the heat on Samsung and Apple. Oblivious to me until recently, these companies are creating genuinely comparative flagship smartphones at half the cost. And though I noted I do not need top-of-the-line specs, with such prices it seemed like a reasonable investment (if only for the sake of future proofing my phone so it may run relatively smooth years down the line). I ended up going for the Honor 8.

You have a choice with Android. I chose to turn my phone into the one on the right.

You have a choice with Android. I chose to turn my phone into the one on the right.

Mind you, I still wasn't entirely sold on Android, hence the begrudgement. But reading into one of this platform’s benefits convinced me entirely: it's customisability. I already knew you could make simple adjustments to the user interface to make it more "you", but I never appreciated just how powerful this aspect really was. You can load custom “launchers”, which allow you to manipulate the icon design, gestures for interaction and further automation. For example, by simply swiping up on my maps app icon in the home screen, it will automatically provide me with directions on how to get home (as opposed to opening the app and then inputing this query myself). Building on this, the entire Android project is open source, providing the keys for apps to gain deeper access and control over the system. Automation apps, such as Tasker, bestow an almost unlimited potential with how you can interact with your phone. Some good examples include turning off password locks when you arrive home, opening your music app when headphones are plugged into the device, or switching off 4G when the phone isn't in use. It honestly turns the phone into a mini computer. When I think to the rigid, uncompromising interface of iOS, I see a great opportunity foregone by Apple devices. Though perhaps I am overestimating the general public's inclination to delve into these geeky optimisations. A benefit of iOS is its previously mentioned streamlined design, available to one right out of the box. I was very off put by the clunky, cluttered and ugly interface put forth on the majority of android devices around me. But again, it’s superior customisability means this was only an issue for the first morning of owning the phone. 

Now if you’ve been wondering how I have attained such sharp images of my recent purchase, with a nice shallow depth of field, I will confess here was a reason why my phone budget was rather restricted. I have finally attained a genuine, proper, legitimate, real-life camera to document my meanderings around London and Europe. Much thought was put towards this purchase, not wanting to skimp out and get something hardly better than a phone (which have improved markedly since the days of the iPhone 4S), but not wanting to be lugged down with a bulky DSLR. I have reached a happy medium with my micro 4/3 Olympus OM-D EM10 (secondhand). An unfortunate effect of this purchase is the requirement to invest in at least one other lens, the price of which is on par with the camera itself (and then some). Needless to say, this new equipment will allow me to better recapture my experiences and memories, and who can put a price on that (rhetorical question, please don’t answer).