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Diehard iPhone, iOS user switches to Android, OnePlus 6T



A diehard iPhone user switches to the Google Pixel 3 XL
switched from iPhone to Android and I’m not looking


  • I’ve been a diehard Apple user for as long as I can remember,
    and I’ve exclusively used iPhones since I got the original
    shortly after it came out in 2007.
  • When it came time to retire my iPhone 6S this year, I was
    frustrated by the high price of Apple’s newest phones, the XS and
    the XR.
  • After reading about the highly-reviewed OnePlus 6T, I decided
    to give it — and Google’s Android operating system — a try.
  • After three weeks, I’m in love with the the OnePlus’s
    high-end feel for an affordable price and Android’s
    customizability and intuitiveness. It feels fresh in a way that
    Apple hasn’t in years — for me, at least.

I’m what you might call a Day One Apple user.

I’ve used Apple products and Mac computers for as long as I
can remember, from the Power Macintosh my parents had in the
family room, to my first iBook, to multiple iterations of

When the first iPhone came out in 2007, I was dazzled. I
saved up my earnings from my summer job at a swim club and bought
it a few weeks after it hit stores. Like just about everyone else
whose ever had an iPhone, I loved it.

Throughout the years, I’ve upgraded with semi-regularity
every other year — 3GS, 4S, 5S, 6S. Each time, I toyed with the
idea of trying out Android. I played with the top-of-the-line
Android phones at the AT&T store, read a bit about how much
more “open” the ecosystem was, and then ultimately went ahead and
stuck with the iPhone.

On this last cycle, though, I held out for as long as
possible. My 6S was still intact after 3 years, operating with
adequate speed for what I needed out of it. The new bells and
whistles out of the newest generations of iPhones were rarely
that astounding — 3D Touch, Face ID, a missing headphone jack —
why bother upgrading?

Then my battery stopped being able to hold anything
resembling a reasonable charge even after I used Apple’s
battery replacement program
. Calls and service started
dropping regularly for seemingly no reason.

In October, I had to admit, it was time for a new

Apple’s newest phones feel like they provide less
bang for your buck

iPhone XSSpencer Platt/Getty

As I looked at Apple’s options, I had the creeping feeling
that there just wasn’t a lot of value to be had. The
top-of-the-line options —  the iPhone X and its successor,
the XS — felt ridiculously priced at $999.

As I
travel constantly for work
, I needed an unlocked phone that
works with any carrier. This meant I wasn’t going to be using a
carrier’s locked-in upgrade program to pay off the phone in
pieces. I’d be paying the full price upfront, so I could use it
with any carrier, just about anywhere in the world. 

Regardless of the fact that smartphones these days are more
akin to mini-computers with cameras-attached, $900 or $1000 for a
phone seemed absurd. Particularly so, when it feels like they
rarely last more than two years. My digital cameras, at least,
stay relevant for five years or more.

Apple’s cheaper option at $599, the iPhone 8, was
more or less a marginal improvement over my then-current phone,
the 6S. The XR, the option right below the XS, still cost $750
minimum, which is still a lot of money. 

My choices seemed to be pay an arm-and-a-leg for a great
phone, or pay $599 for a slightly newer version of the phone I
already owned.

I felt like Apple had forced my hand. I can’t be the only

First, I tried a budget Android phone and found
that even a $300 phone can do just about everything an average
person wants

moto g6
The Moto

Antonio Villas-Boas/Business

I started looking at other options from — gasp! — Android
phone manufacturers.

At first, I looked at the budget options and settled on the

Moto G6 for $230
, which many say is the top
budget phone right now.
I ordered the phone on Amazon thanks
to its easy return policy, and switched over when the phone
arrived two days later.

It took a few hours to get my phone operating how I like,
with the requisite apps and settings tweaked, but truthfully it
was easier than I thought it would be. I’d already been using
Google Photos for backup for the last year or so, my email runs
through Gmail, and just about every other major app I use
operates in the cloud (Lightroom, Instagram, WeChat, WhatsApp,
Spotify, etc). All I had to do was re-download all my apps and
log in.

Even at $230, the phone was way faster than my 6S and could
handle every app I threw at it. The reality is, unless you are
trying to run graphics-intensive games, just about any smartphone
you pick these days will run just fine.

barely noticed a difference while I was using this $250
smartphone after using $800 phones for years

As I used the phone over the course of a week, I kept
finding little things that I loved about Android.

Double-tapping the power-button to open the camera app is a
game-changer for me as a street photographer. It makes getting
elusive shots that much more possible.

The operating system’s app launcher (i.e. the home-screen)
is changeable into any configuration you choose, with the ability
to drop in widgets for weather, multiple time zones, and a Google
search bar.

Any Android user is going to laugh at this, but for an
iPhone user used to the endless grids of apps, it’s a huge
improvement. Apple hasn’t really updated the look of iOS in
years. You can say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but
there’s something to be said for trying out new ideas.

I’ve noticed other helpful tweaks.

Notifications feel more customizable and AI-powered. If you
keep dismissing a notification, Google picks up on that and will
give you the option to stop showing them. That saves me the time
of going in directly into my settings and individually
configuring each app’s notifications.

I’m sure iOS users can sympathize: at a certain point in my
iPhone use, I never even looked at the notifications screen
anymore because it was so cluttered with information I didn’t
need and never asked for.

And that’s without getting into how useful and accurate
Google Assistant is. While it’s not quite at the level of
accuracy as Amazon’s Alexa, it’s much better than Siri, though I
admit that I’m still getting used to the Google

But the budget phone’s camera was lackluster so I
decided to try out the ‘best kept secret’ in smartphones — the
OnePlus 6T

moto g6 low light camera
A photo taken by the Moto
G6 in low light.

Villas-Boas/Business Insider

The Achilles’ Heel for the Moto G6 was the camera. There
was no way around it.

The phone’s camera was not even comparable with my
3-year-old 6S’s camera, let alone one of Apple’s newer phones.
It’s hard to be mad about that for a $230 phone, but, as an avid
photographer, I wasn’t going to be happy long term.

That’s when I heard about OnePlus from my colleague on the
tech desk, Antonio Villas-Boas, who called the Chinese company’s
wares “the
best smartphones you’ve never heard of

While I had never heard of the company, OnePlus has been
building up a loyal base of fervent customers for its high-end,
but affordable phones over the last five years. The company has
just released its latest iteration, the OnePlus 6T, in October,
to rave reviews, including from my colleague. 

At $580, it was more expensive than the G6, but still
cheaper than just about every iPhone. And, reviews were saying
that despite the phone’s price, it  could compete

with flagship smartphones like the iPhone X or the Google

I feel like I’m cheating with a smartphone
that costs $550 at its base and does everything I want it to do
just as well as the other top phones I’ve tried this year,”
Villas-Boas wrote
in October

I decided to give it a try.

The OnePlus performs like a $900 phone at a
fraction of the price

OnePlus 6T bokeh
The OnePlus

Antonio Villas-Boas/Business

After about three weeks of using the phone, I have to agree
with the reviewers. The OnePlus 6T is that good. It’s fast, has
most of the premium features as pricier phones like the iPhone X
and the Pixel, and even carries some spiffy new tech like its
in-display fingerprint sensor.

Read More: The
$550 OnePlus 6T makes me feel like I’m cheating in a world where
top smartphones cost $750 or more

Still, I was worried about was how the camera would

Around the same time I bought the 6T, my girlfriend
purchased the iPhone XR. As we’ve been traveling over the last
month, we’ve been comparing shots as we go. While I wouldn’t say
the 6T is clearly better than the XR’s camera, it is a very
competitive race. There are lighting situations where the XR
outperforms the 6T and other times where the 6T outperforms the

Most of the time, it’s a matter of taste. The 6T’s images
tend to be more saturated and with deeper blacks, whereas shots
from the XR tends to have more detail.

But then I discovered one of the joys of using Android: the
openness of the platform and its community of super-fans. On the
OnePlus subreddit, I discovered that some crafty developers
brought over Google’s proprietary GCam app
that, on the
Pixel, has been said to be
the best smartphone camera around

night shot oneplus 6t
A shot taken at night in
Dubai with the OnePlus 6T using GCam. That’s the moon in the

Jacobs/Business Insider

While I don’t use GCam all or most of the time due to the
fact that the app isn’t exactly stable — complications of not
being an official, Google-sanctioned version of the app  —
I’ve been using it for special situations like at night. The
GCam’s night-mode combined with the OnePlus 6T’s camera blows the
XR out of the water. It’s crazy good.

And just the act of tweaking the phone to my needs felt fun
in a way my iPhone hadn’t in years.

I’ve found one big problem with switching from iOS
to Android — giving up iMessage

iMessage iOS 11Apple

For an iOS user switching over, the biggest hurdle that I
have found is iMessage. Apple did a sneaky, smart thing embedding
its locked-in messaging system into the default SMS app.

With most of my friends and family on iOS — and everyone
seemingly allergic to the “green bubbles” — I suddenly found
myself in the unenviable position of trying to convince my
immediate circle to use WhatsApp.

The more I use Android, the more I am convinced that
iMessage is the only major difference between the operating
systems. Of course, there are others, ranging from the Apple
iCloud service to the generally better security of Apple’s OS,
but the most visible barrier for most iOS users is having to give
up iMessage.

And I won’t lie: it’s a pain. While I don’t mind WhatsApp,
iMessage definitely feels like a smoother and cleaner messaging
service. At this point, if there is something that’s going to
drag me back to iOS in a few years, it will probably be

But, for right now, I have no regrets about switching. It’s
been delightful.

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