I have been using an iPhone for quite sometime. While I love iOS for the optimised software and applications, the camera has always been the standout reason, why I choose to stay with an iPhone. As smartphones evolved, there has been some great Android based Smartphones in the market, which were worth trying.
More than anything, I look for a great camera and software experience when I buy a phone. People, who aren’t aware, I am a photographer and run my gig called iclickd. Every-time I wanted to use an Android, I had challenges with the quality of software regardless how great the hardware and the cameras on some of the phones were. Apps have also been a great concern on Android for me. If you do not agree, try the same game on an Android phone and iOS, the performance, ads and the experience are totally different.
This year, Although many people loved the Samsung S7’s camera, I wasn’t all that impressed with the image processing and the contrasts which the software adds to the photos; This makes the pictures look great on the phones, but very unrealistic when you move then to your computer. The HTC10 was a brilliant phone as well, however, the display was a let down. The LG G5 was very close to being my favourite, mostly for the Wide Angle lens.
In the past couple of months, I have been using the Huawei P9 as my primary phone, and to be honest, I am very impressed with it. Not too great in terms of specs or latest of greatest tech; but it offered a great experience and images were pretty good. They weren’t too saturated and even the colours and details felt very natural (almost as good as an iPhone did). I like to process the images my way, so prefer the tones to be at a normal level.
The twin camera was worth looking at. The Leica branding made it even more compelling to try the phone as a photographer. Read our camera review if you would like to know more about how this works.
Anyways, Now that I have started using this device as a primary phone, I was on a look out for some great UX apps to solve my other problem.
Having most of my work stuff on Google, using an Android made more a logical sense for me. The Google Suite of apps works the best on Android. Other than the usual Social and messaging apps like Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Google+ etc, Here are some apps I loved on my phone.
My Favourite list of Apps:
- Solid Explorer Its by far one of the best file and Cloud manager app in Android. With the all new material design, It’s better, faster and solid when compared to the competition. Dual pane file browsing also helps. Solid Explorer is also a great file manager for viewing your media. It has a built in music player and image viewer, which even allow you to play remote content stored for example on your PC, Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive.
- I personally like the keyboard from Google, however if you are looking for an alternative one, you should consider the Swiftkey Keyboard. This keyboard uses Artificial Intelligence to automatically learn your writing style, including the emoji you love. Most importantly, it also supports 100+ languages.
- Wunderlist is one of the best productivity apps on Android for maintaining To-Do List & Tasks on your phone. Makes it easy to share your lists and collaborate with everyone in your life. This app instantly syncs between your phone, tablet and computer, so you can access your lists from anywhere.
- If you enjoy listening to Podcasts, the Pocket Casts is a great app. This is very stable and has a great user experience as well. It allows you to download or stream various podcasts.
- Pocket works great as a Bookmark. This is great when you’re browsing the news or some interesting stories on your social sites; be it Facebook or Google+ or even Twitter feed that you want to read later. The app is very simple to use. You can share from Pocket to other apps as well. The app also supports browser extensions so you can use it on a computer as well.
- As you must’ve already figured out, I click a lot of pictures. The Google Photos is very interesting and the most useful app for me. The photos are automatically organised and searchable. Automatically backup all your photos and videos. The app also creates montage movies, interactive stories, collages, animations, panoramas, and more from your photos. You could also instantly share pictures with anyone regardless of the smartphone they’re using.
- With so many social and online accounts, remembering passwords is always a challenge. LastPass is a password manager and password generator that locks your passwords and personal information in a secure vault. LastPass autofills web browser and app logins for you, and generates new, secure passwords instantly.
- 1Weather is a nifty weather application. The app helps track current conditions and forecasts for your location and also up to 12 additional locations you choose from.
- If you like to automate tasks and settings on your phone, Tasker is the one application worth considering to buy. This is one of the most powerful android app. This allow users to create custom made commands & actions; and use them in various places based on NFC tags. You can even use Tasker to create very complex commands based on your use-cases.
- Drive Agent is a neat app to automatically respond to messages when driving. If you like to have more customisable lock screen notifications, I would recommend you try DashClock or NiLS. If you want to customise the LED colour, Light Flow is a great tool. for the Moto X style notifications that light up your screen when notifications arrive, you can try ActiveNotifications.
Summing up, the experience with Android as a primary phone has so far been good. The Android ecosystem is definitely more powerful than the iOS one. With so many variety of devices in the market, android has more challenges in screen dimensions as well.
Android does give users a lot of options to customise. That is one reason, why most of the geeks do love playing with it. However, I just wish Google had a more strict policies to verify apps before it loads it up on the Play store. That would ensure good quality applications. And yea, companies should talk beyond the spec war and emphasise on experiences. These things will make the entire experience on this ecosystem even better.