I bought myself a Moto E to use as my reference Android device. It’s a pretty solid phone for the sub-$100 price point. It’s also running a near-stock version of Android Lollipop, and will get updates in a fairly timely manner when Android M rolls out this fall.
I sometimes badmouth Android on this site sometimes for being worse than iOS in many ways. I have a lot of experience using Android phones, but I’d feel more comfortable making statements about them if I was using an Android phone on a regular basis. Thus the Moto E.
After a few days’ use, I feel as confident as ever in saying that Android is NOT as well designed as iOS in many important ways. There are parts of Android that look nicer in screenshots, but in practice, I find the entire OS to have a small level of “jank” in every area. Even compared ot my 2014 adventure into the platform, it’s much improved, but it’s still not totally there.
Third-party apps also still pale in comparison to their iOS counterparts. Twitter, Facebook, Slack, and Flipboard are on both platforms, but are better on iOS. Even the apps like Day One, Tweetbot, Editorial, Dark Sky, and Fantastical are all better than any comparable app on Android. In some cases the difference in quality is small, but in most cases it’s still pretty damn huge.
One app that bucks the trend is Pocket Casts, which is a delight to use on both iOS and Android, but it is much better on Android. The app flat out looks nicer. You really have to see this app in motion, because it is a marvel with awesome animations for everything.
And it functions better than the still-excellent iOS counterpart. The “volume boost” and “remove silence” features are features I love, but have not made their way over to the iOS app yet.
Expect some deeper dives into the status of iOS vs Android in the coming weeks. In the meantime, just know that if you’re a little bored with iOS and think that maybe, just maybe Android has gotten better that iOS, don’t worry. Maybe it will win me over in the coming days, but I feel very good about keeping my SIM card in my iPhone for the foreseeable future.