My Moto X is working fine but over time, like all Android phones, it became slow. Instead of performing a factory reset, I decided to install CyanogenMod.
For those unfamiliar, Cyanogen is a small software company that makes a fork of Android called CyanogenMod. It’s completely customizable and has a ton of innovative features not found in stock or skinned Android variants like TouchWiz.
Although I’m not new to modifying Android phones, installing CyanogenMod on my Moto X was an absolute pain in the ass. First, I had to contact Motorola to get a code to unlock my bootloader. Then I had to download the Android software development kit to get my computer to talk to the phone. Then I had to download a custom recovery and CyanogenMod. Then I had to flash both to the phone using the command prompt in Windows, which if you haven’t done it before, is pretty nerve-wracking.
After several hours of troubleshooting errors, I finally had CyanogenMod on my phone. Poking around the operating system reminded me why I liked Cyanogen so much. Everything is customizable and the whole operating system is snappy.
I was loving the new operating system on my Moto X until it came time to run some errands. I pulled up Google Maps but couldn’t get a GPS lock. Weird. I defaulted to using the GPS in my car to navigate me instead.
Back home, I began troubleshooting the GPS issue. Apparently the GPS radio didn’t flash over correctly so I spent several hours looking for the proper radio. I flash and re-flashed CyanogenMod and the proper radios several times but to no avail. I couldn’t get the GPS to work.
Fine. I give up. I’ll just go back to stock Android. That’s when shit really hit the fan.
To download the stock Motorola Android OS, you have to fill out a request and wait for a person to send you a link to download it. It was 10PM and I was exhausted. I wasn’t about to wait until the next day for someone to send me the files so I went on Google to look for them.
Eventually I found the correct files and started the restore procedure. A couple of failed tries later, I finally restored my phone to its stock state before any of this mess happened. Now it was 3AM and I was pissed at myself for wasting so much time. I was left wondering why I went down this path in the first place.
My phone is mission critical and not having it work properly brought upon an immense feeling of anxiety. I was fed up with Android and fed up with my Moto X. It was my fault for using “unauthorized” software but it came out of a frustration with Android.
A couple of weeks later, Apple announced the iPhone 6s and that’s when I started wondering if I should just switch to the iPhone. As much as I like the flexibility of Android, I just wanted a phone that worked and iOS has been historically more stable than Android. Even today, Android 5.0 Lollipop exhibits some quirks and feels less optimized than iOS. How can an iPhone 6 with its 1820 mAh battery last longer than my Moto X with its 2300 mAh?
Multitasking also works a lot better in iOS. I can jump between a myriad of apps on my iPad without having it stutter. Android 5.0 is overly aggressive with killing apps, killing apps that I was using just a minute ago. Android phones pack impressive specs but those numbers don’t mean anything in real world use. The iPhone works and works really well, which is why people love it.
The iPhone 6s is a minor upgrade from the 6 but is compelling enough for me to consider switching. 3D Touch looks like an interesting way to interact with the operating system and after living with TouchID on my iPad Air 2, I really want a fingerprint sensor on my phone too.
Just as I was ready to put down a pre-order for the iPhone 6s, I remembered all the things I don’t like about Apple’s ecosystem. To get music onto the phone, I’d have to use iTunes, one of the worst apps Apple makes. A majority of my music is in FLAC, a format which iTunes and the iPhone doesn’t support. I’d also be stuck using the default Apple apps like Mail and Calendar because iOS doesn’t allow you to replace them like you can on Android. Sure you can download other apps but they won’t be integrated into the OS.
After going back and forth about pre-ordering the iPhone, I decided to put my wallet down and to stick with Android. I really thought about what I wanted and came up with this list:
- Great design
- A great camera
- Fingerprint reader
I started researching which Android phone has everything on this list and came to the conclusion that the Samsung Galaxy S6 is probably the phone I should get. But then again, do I really want to deal with TouchWiz, bloatware, and slow updates? There’s the OnePlus 2 but it doesn’t come with NFC, quick charging, wireless charging, and you need an invite to buy one. The new Moto X Pure Edition is simply too big at 5.7”.
In conclusion, there’s no ideal phone out there for me just yet. If Apple opened up their ecosystem a bit more, I’d be completely happy using an iPhone. If Android could just be a bit more stable, I’d be happy as well. As of now, no phone is perfect so I’ll just have to wait and see what’s coming next.