After multiple delivery mix-ups, several trips to the Sprint store and only three days with the device in hand, I returned my iPhone 5. As the social media editor at ConsumerSearch, I followed all the hype carefully, making sure we were Tweeting and Facebooking the announcement and that our coverage about "The biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone" was relevant. And I am not gonna lie - I was excited! With a HTC EVO 4G in my pocket for the past two years, I thought I was ready to leave the Android world behind. I was tired of the rapidly diminishing battery life, limited memory capacity for apps, and a phone that crashed repeatedly. I thought the iPhone 5 would, with its taller, slimmer and lighter design, be a godsend. Boy was I wrong.
Where is Google?
The most common criticism of the iPhone 5 is that the maps are atrocious (that is a generous adjective). So I won't beat this dead horse; we already discussed Apple Maps in a previous blog post. But I will sum it up by saying that I feel very lucky to have a good sense of direction. The most frustrating experience: having to use FourSquare to get the address of a bar (in NYC) where my friends were waiting, because Apple's Map's weren't aware that this bar existed. I really missed Google Maps that night.
Then there's my Google Accounts. I have two Gmail addresses and was able to log into both on my Android smartphone. On the iPhone, the Gmail app wouldn't only allow me to log into one account, so I had to use the Mail app, which worked well enough. However, my calendar and contacts didn't sync. Even when I went to the Sprint store to have them set up the Sync via a Microsoft Exchange Account (as directed by Google), it still didn't work because apparently the new iOS 6 doesn't support it. Sad face.
On to the app store
Coming from Google Play, I was eager to have the more expansive iPhone market open for the pickings. (Shameless plug: I, of course, downloaded the ConsumerSearch app, which is only available for iPhone.) Navigating through the app store, I quickly found my must-have apps, but after a while, the app store kept crashing and I got the message "Unable to connect to App Store" on multiple occasions. I found that if I powered the device and on and off, the problem went away, but that got old fast. There are over ten pages of user comments on Apple Support Forums about the same issue.
4G: Thumbs down
While coping without Google organizing my life and a crashing app store, I was becoming less and less enamored with the iPhone 5 as time went on. I hoped my initial issues would work themselves out eventually. Then, I stopped receiving e-mails. Every time I hit the refresh button, the phone informed me I wasn't connected to the Internet. I double-checked to make sure all of my credentials were correct. My service was fine - I had full bars and all my other apps were working; I was also receiving text messages and phone calls without a problem. So, why the error? As Sprint explained to me (I've chatted with them so much on the phone and stopped by the store so many times, we're practically BFFs), the iPhone 5 has a difficult time staying connected to 4G LTE and whenever my phone automatically downgraded back to 3G, my e-mail service would be interrupted. I thought this couldn't possibly be true (it's the iPhone!), but alas, according to Gotta Be Mobile and Slash Gear, it is. After a full 24-hours without a single e-mail coming through, I was losing patience.
I thought about all the things I liked about the phone: it was so light, it was so fast and I loved playing around with Siri and the panoramic camera feature. And the battery lasted me a full day (a vast improvement from plugging in three times a day!). Yes, some things were great; but a lot was bad: I couldn't get directions to where I needed to go; I couldn't sync my Google calendars or contacts; I couldn't use the app store whenever I wanted; I couldn't receive the e-mails I needed. The list of things I couldn't do just didn't seem worth it. All of the hype was just hype. Yeah, the phone is sexy, but for $650 (or $1,800) it wasn't that sexy. And I wasn't the only one having severe buyer's remorse.
Then Samsung hooked me in with this:
I've had my Samsung Galaxy S III for a week; I am happy. I have continuous 4G; Google maps; a working app store; I get all my e-mails; all my contacts and calendars sync and, to boot, I have an extra $250 in my pocket. (In addition to the iPhone, I was also credited for a second Lightning cable and my Apple Care subscription.) Life is good and once again I am an Android. How about you?