Well, it happened. I made the switch.
Prior to 2009, I was far from being an Apple fanboy. Growing up, the first computer I used was a 8088 running DOS 5, subsequent computers I had always ran Windows or Linux and I learned how to program on Microsoft based platforms such as Turbo Pascal, InterDev and Visual Studio. Although I had to use a Mac running System 7 for a high school job, Apple products were always a bit foreign and uncomfortable to use when I encountered them. I’ll admit, this attitude was driven by ignorance in many cases but honestly Apple products just worked a bit differently than my brain wanted them to. So, my opinion of Apple was largely negative and I didn’t give buying any of their products a second thought.
Then came the iPhone.
Yes, the iPhone was/is a phenomenal product and a true game changer. Well played, Apple. After my wife got me an iPhone for my birthday in 2009, my opinion of Apple began to change. I tore down some of the ‘ignorance walls’ against their products and began to appreciate the design and quality. I eventually bought a MacBook Air, an iPod Touch, and a few Airport Expresses. And these were all good products I enjoyed using.
After my wife’s iPhone got stolen I decided to try my hand at a Free iPhone setup to save some money. After having this setup for about a year, with some tweaks along the way, I had a few holes which kept frustrating me. The first was the lack of vibrate mode on my iPod Touch. I know, this seems trivial but it was actually a big deal for me since I would constantly have to manage the volume for meetings and miss notifications when I would forget to turn the volume back up. When in my car and connected to Bluetooth, if I wasn’t on the Bluethooth input mode on my radio, I would not hear (or feel) any notification, sound, ring, etc. This was really annoying, to say the least. When I had a proper iPhone, I would just leave it on vibrate mode and put it in my pocket. The other hole with my setup was not always being available to receive calls. Although I had most of my bases covered with wifi at home, work, and in the car, there were still times that I would not receive a call through the Talkatone VOIP app, for various reasons such as my wifi hotspot being out of coverage or the app not running in the background because it had been killed by iOS. 97% of the time, it wasn’t a big deal to miss a call and to just call the person back when I saw the missed call notification. But, the other 3% of the time it was downright unacceptable. Once, I basically got stranded with my daughter just because I couldn’t make a simple call to my wife. Also, it bothered me that my wife would possibly not be able to reach me in an emergency. Something needed to change.
*Then came the Nexus 4. *
A friend of mine told me about the new Nexus 4 that he ended up buying. He gave me all the specs and explained how it was only $299, without a contract. Wow, a full blown Andriod phone with all the bells and whistles I was missing on my iPod Touch (like GPS, vibrate, NFC, GSM radio for calls, etc.), a fast processor, 8MP camera and more for only $299 off-contract? That’s exactly the price I paid for the latest iPod Touch when I bought it. That got me thinking for sure. But, the last time I had played around with Andriod on someone else’s phone I was not that impressed. It seemed subpar and not nearly up to snuff with iOS. But, my wife had recently gotten a Nexus 7 for Christmas and been telling my how much she liked the newer version of Andriod called “Jelly Bean”. After I played around with the tablet a bit I agreed with her. Jelly Bean is quite polished and leaps and bounds better than earlier versions of Andriod.
After considering it for awhile, I decided to make the switch. The appealing thing for me was that I could have a full-blown phone for reachability, all the other perks of a smartphone, and not be bound by a contract with an expensive data plan. I decided to purchase a T-Mobile Pay As You Go SIM card with 1000 minutes for $100 (should last a year with my call usage history) and to use wifi for all of my data. Since I still have the FreedomPop in my car, I will have connectivity there. Also, I still use Google Voice which helps me manage my prepaid minutes because I can just pick up an incoming call on my work phone or wife’s phone when I am able to.
In the end, it came down to cost. If I were to go out and buy a new unlocked iPhone, it would cost me $649. I got the Nexus for $300. That is a significant savings.
Life with the Nexus 4
Cost and biases aside, I have to say that I have really been enjoying my Nexus 4. The best thing about it for me in the seamless Google experience. This phone does a great job of bringing all the Google services together in an integrated offering which really shines. I use so many of Google’s services already and found myself fighting iOS sometimes to be able to do things the Google way. Things feel easy and intuitive in Andriod Jelly Bean. Also, as for the Nexus 4 hardware itself, I like the form factor, the processor is definitely snappy, the camera is impressive, and it fits nicely in my pocket.
So, I have no ill will towards the iPhone or Apple. I think the iPhone is still an amazing product. Such thoughtful design and polish. I didn’t leave because I wasn’t happy with the hardware or software. If I could have gotten a new iPhone for much cheaper than $649 I would still be on iOS. But I must say, I’m becoming more and more fond of my Nexus 4 as I use it more. I am quickly becoming attached. Ask me again in a few months and I just might say I prefer it. I’m not going that far at this point but my opinion is moving in that direction.
Although I don’t have a “free” phone anymore, I do have a full-blown smartphone with call capability and data connectivity for much cheaper than a normal setup. Again, I bought a T-Mobile Pay As You Go SIM card for $100 which gives me 1,000 minutes of talk time and the minutes don’t expire for a full year. I don’t talk that much on the phone and based on my usage history the 1000 minutes should last about a year. That makes the cost about $8/month. Also, I ported my number to Google Voice and my Nexus 4 is just one of the “forwarding phones”. So, when you call my number, it rings on my work phone, the Nexus 4, and my wife’s iPhone (during a specified day/time schedule). Having Google Voice in the mix helps me reduce the number of minutes I need to use on my prepaid 1,000 minute plan since if I am at work, for example, I can just pick up an incoming call on my work phone rather than the Nexus 4 (which would use my minutes). Since it is a prepaid plan, I do not get any 3G/HSPA+ data and must rely solely on wifi for data. But, I already have wifi at home, work and in my car (thanks to FreedomPop device and *free *service). So, my bottom line cost is only about $8/month. Not bad considering my AT&T bill used to be $85 for one phone with basically the same capabilities.