It’s been a couple of years since I thoroughly tested Android (the last version I reviewed was Android 5, I think – recently Android 9 was released).
I’ve been a very happy iPhone user since the first one was released (I had a friend bring me one from the USA), and there’s a good reason the iPhones win consumer awards for friendliness and usability every year.
But, I wanted to try something new, and some of the features of Android (and the Note 9 specifically) were very enticing: better photo quality than the iPhone, more flexibility in the software, expandable memory (up to 1Tb!), double the battery size of the iPhone X, a built-in stylus, and so on.
Also, it’s about time I get up to speed on Android again – people always ask me questions about it that I can’t answer. So, a few weeks ago I went ahead and ordered a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (one of the flagship Android phones – my first choice was a Google Pixel 3 but that isn’t available in South Africa) instead of the iPhone X.
In this video I highlight some of my likes & dislikes after a week of using the Note 9. In particular:
– Dislike: A lack of multitouch gestures for rotating things, navigating left or right, etc.
– Dislike: Notification centre is messy and “do not disturb” mode still lets message & call notifications appear on-screen, they just don’t make sounds.
– Dislike: The Photo Gallery doesn’t indicate which items you’ve marked as favourites.
– Dislike: Google Dictation doesn’t let you insert punctuation (probably the only thing Siri does better than Google Assistant).
– Dislike: You can’t save photos from WhatsApp, to your photo gallery one-by-one. It’s either save everything automatically, or save nothing.
– Dislike: Deleted photos are immediately deleted forever, there’s no “Deleted Items” folder that automatically removes them 30 days later like on iPhone.
– Dislike: Copying & Pasting as well as text editing in general feels very “clunky”.
– Dislike: No physical “mute” button.
– Like: Larger, higher quality screen than my old iPhone 7+.
– Like: A huge battery, 4000mAh.
– Like: Splitscreen apps, slices of apps, and the ability to concurrently run multiple apps on-screen in windows (not stripped-down “background” versions like the iPhone does).
– Like: Better Google Assistant integration.
– Like: Phone calls that appear as notifications and don’t fill the whole screen, leaving you to continue doing what you were doing if you don’t want to answer.
– Like: Better file management & sharing features.
– Like: Samsung Dex, which allows you to connect the phone to a computer screen and run a desktop operating system.
– Like: A built-in stylus, which is a killer feature for someone like me who takes a lot of notes and often have to explain things on screenshots / photos to people.
Overall, I’m very happy with the Note 9. In my opinion, if you like the extra features, extra flexibility, and better camera that this phone has, it’s worth getting it rather than the iPhone X.
Whether I will get an iPhone again next time my contract renews remains to be seen – it’ll depend on whether Apple innovates with some new features I really need, and how the next two years of using the Note 9 goes. (Worst case I can always just sell the Note 9 and my old iPhone 7+ and get the iPhone X earlier if I have to).
But, I still wouldn’t recommend that you have your parents / grandparents / non-techy friends get Android phones – iPhones are simpler to use, have less things that can go wrong, and will work just fine for them.