I’ve had my new (black) 4G S3 for around 9 hours but can at least provide a break down of initial impressions and how easy migrating ‘my life’ over to it has gone..
Although the phone is big I was expecting this and the first thing I noticed was the high quality of the 720 x 1280 screen – handy for watching a quick episode of something on the train without lugging a tablet around. The language/time etc took a few minutes and something nice was setting up all the ‘main’ accounts straight away like Gmail, Dropbox, Facebook and Twitter.
Wasn’t really sure what to do next as I was at work so I just charged the phone and waited for the real setup at home!
The full setup answers most of the concerns I had before the phone arrived:
Will all my apps be available on Android?
It took me around 45 minutes to download and configure every application that I have on my iPhone 4 over to Android. What’s more I ended up only paying for one of them again so it would appear that more apps are free on the Google Play store for some reason. I ended up choosing a few alternatives due to some being unavailable but also to try something new. It was a good opportunity to clear out some old ones I didn’t want as well! The summary of the apps in case you’re interested are
Total number of Apps: 33
Integrated / No download required:
iFitness – Not keeping
Chirp – Not available on Android
The (Western) Force – Not Available on Android
Traffic rush – Not Available on Android (sad times)
EPL Live – Swapped with Premier League Live
Currency+ – Swapped with Xe
iTranslate – Swapped with Google Translate
Kept / Re-downloaded:
Tech Support (Cisco)
Words with friends
Will purchasing all my apps again be expensive?
Nope! As mentioned I only paid for one of the apps and that’s only because there aren’t many in that particular area. There are generally good quality free alternatives to any app you might pay for.
Will Jelly Bean be difficult to get used to?
It’s definitely a lot different from using an iPhone which is pretty simplistic – not a bad thing at all. What iOS does lack is the flexibility to do what you want and this is immediately highlighted with Jellybean’s customisation of apps and widgets which lets you setup everything the way you want it. I’m not sure if Apple were the originators of the whole notifications-showing-at-the-top-of-the-screen technology but Jelly Bean nailed it where you can pull down the top of your screen to show notifications across all apps and quickly enable/disable features such as Wireless, GPS, 4G, Bluetooth and, most importantly, Power Saver mode.
The OS has so far been fairly intuitive and although I’ve had a few hiccups I really like the way the keyboard has predictive text that will only get better with time and there are on screen hints and tips as you open each new area of the phone that will explain particular gestures and motions to you.
The worst feature I have tried so far is the voice activated stuff. I tried to send a text message to someone in my contacts list and after three attempts I gave up. I’m not too deterred by this as I’ve never seen anyone use Siri or any other voice activation (imagine how you’d look doing that on the train!) but if I had a car that supported hands free Bluetooth I’d probably be more keen to have this working.
How long will ‘the switch’ take?
Well overall I’d say I’ve invested 2-3 hours at the most with setting everything up from start to finish and it was pretty damn easy. I had been thinking about the best way to approach things and my advice to anyone going through the process is:
- Have your Dropbox/Twitter/Facebook/Gmail account details handy for instant setup
- Write down / audit your current iPhone apps so you know what to download
- Export your contacts from your current iPhone using the free MCBackup app and ideally load them into a Gmail account for instant synching with your phone
Will the phone be too big for my pocket?
I had the phone in my pocket when I went for lunch and also walking home from work and didn’t notice the difference at all. The S3 is bigger but also lighter than my iPhone 4 so I guess that balanced them out. I might notice more of a difference if I had some tighter jeans on though.
- 4G is insanely fast – I was hitting rates of 24 mbps down / 11 mbps up in a congested work area and have just hit 60 down / 21 up sitting at my computer in a residential area. This compares to an average of around 4 mbps down / 2 mbps up on 3G. Wow. The same would apply for the iPhone 5 however.
- Gmail Integration makes life a lot easier
- The camera is the same hardware as iPhone 5 and I’d like to see how it performs under low light as Apple did well in that area but the software is so much better even after a quick glance and you can (surprise) customise the menu to have the features you want coming up first
- Google Maps is available as an app
- Support for 5Ghz Wireless networks (finally!). iPhone 5 also comes with this support.
- The voice software hasn’t been great so far
- I had setup a quick contact on my home screen but it started flickering – looks like a little bug in the OS that will be fixed in the near future I guess.
- I have been thrashing the 4G a bit today but the battery has still gone down quicker than expected
- A couple of minor apps weren’t available on the app store
I got to have that new toy feeling all over again and it feels good. The S3 is awesome and I’m looking forward to a couple of years minimum on the Android platform. I initially thought I’d get this phone as a temporary until Apple up their game with the iPhone 6/7 but already I’m wondering how they’re going to manage to tear me away from the seamless integration between all my third party apps and this fast, slick phone.