Maybe I should start by explaining the title. In the UK we have a saying ‘Fur Coat no Knickers’, it is used to describe something that looks impressive, but in reality is nothing special. This term for me, pretty much sums up the new iPhone X. Many of the ‘ground breaking’ features, have been available on other phones for almost two years and for a much lower price. The entry model costs £999 in the UK. For many people, a substantial part of their salary!
I am disappointed in Apple, for years it has been the choice of creative people all over the world. The company under Steve Jobs was truly innovative. Their products and software changed the way people worked, in a revolutionary way. However the focus now seems to be on creating fashion/status items and to extract as much money from people as possible. My frustrations started, when they dropped the 3.5mm jack with the introduction of the iPhone 7. Half my sound accessories became redundant, and I had multiple sound sync issues. So I have decided to jump ship and try an Android phone.
During the Black Friday sales I picked up a Samsung Edge S7. With the trade in deal I got for my old beat up iPhone 6s, it cost me £140. From a hardware perspective I have been really impressed. It has a headphone/microphone jack and expandable storage, using a micro SD card (No more paying Apples exorbitant prices for memory). The build quality seems as good as anything I have had from Apple (I have been using Apple phones since the iPhone 2). The 12 Megapixel camera is excellent. So far so good.
The phone comes loaded with a variation of Android 6, with a few Samsung tweaks. Whilst it is a little different to iOS, it doesn’t take long to get used to. Lots of Apps are the same on both platforms, so my first downloads were all pretty familiar. My go to video app is Filmic Pro, which seems to work fine on the new phone. Unfortunately non of the straight camera apps I used on the iPhone are available on Android, so I have had to try a few new ones. As I photographer I prefer apps that give me manual controls when I am taking stills. Actually the Samsung stock camera app is very good, but defaults to idiot mode every time I close it down, so can’t be used in a hurry. This is where things have begun to get tricky. Because Android is an open platform, designed to be used on a variety of devices, not everything works as smoothly as one would hope.
My first download was Camera FV-5 (£2.45). It has a nice clear interface and was pretty intuitive to use. However not everything worked as expected. Exposure compensation in Shutter Priority mode didn’t seem to do anything and some controls including exposure mode seemed to be greyed out. So I reluctantly deleted it.
My next choice was Proshot (£3.36). I fired it up and was immediately impressed, it even gave me the option of shooting DNG raw! Unfortunately as soon as I tried to select a storage folder on my SD card, the app crashed and would not open up again! Thankfully getting a refund involved nothing more than clicking a refund button in the Google Play app store.
So my experience has been a little mixed. The strength of the Apple store is that most things will work, on any device out of the box. It would appear that the same cannot be said about the Android Google Play Store. It seems that you have experiment with a few options to find one that works for your specific phone. Is it a deal breaker? Well at this stage I have to say no. It is a small price to pay for getting a much wider hardware choice and not being held to the whims of one manufacturer, who can change specifications and prices over night.
Over the next few weeks I will be posting more about my experiences with Android for mobile Journalism. Including my App choices. If you have any suggestions please feel free to share them.