Top Phones Compared: The Struggle is Real

Okay, so maybe it's a first-world problem, but I digress. 

When Apple announced their big iPhone in September, I knew that was it. I had to have it. It would solve my self-prescribed multi-device problem - meaning I personally wanted a phone big enough to preach and teach from where I could just have it with me all the time and not worry about a tablet. 

So I ordered an iPhone 6 Plus over a month ago, and it's just now being shipped. But I have a 14-day window to take it back. And that month has given me a long time to think about what else is out there. 

In my opinion, iOS 8 is a disappointment. Lots of people would be surprised to hear me say that, but I'm bored with iOS. I've been an iPhone user since 2008. iOS 7 was a nice redesign, but I was hoping for more customization and hackability, because, well, I'm a nerd. And I've never once said that I'm a fan of Apple - I'm a fan of what's the best. I will continue to use a Mac because it is the best. I'm not so sure that's true with iOS and devices anymore. 

So I've taken it upon myself to do lots of research and looking around to find the perfect phablet smartphone for my needs. My wish list:

  • The biggest, hi-res screen I could find close to 6 inches
  • Has to have the apps I use the most (Plain text apps, productivity apps, 1Password, etc.)
  • Can't be too big to fit in my pocket (with a case on it)

The only phones I found to meet this criteria are the iPhone 6 Plus, the Google Nexus 6 built by Motorola, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. All these phones are brand new. 

When comparing specs on paper, the iPhone lags in several categories, especially in processor speed, RAM, and camera size. While those things don't mean a better phone, I don't want an iPhone slowing down greatly on the next version of iOS. I know Apple makes the hardware and the software, so it's probably okay, but I still look at those numbers and cringe. 

The clear winner on this list is the Samsung Note 4, but is it the winner all the way around? How hard will it be for me to move to Android after all these years? 

One of the biggest factors for me has actually been the apps that I use on iOS. Apps like Drafts, Reeder, Calendars 5, and Instacast are not available on Android. But there are great alternatives to those apps on Android, some of them with nifty widgets you can place on the screen.

It all comes down to this question: which device will make me more productive and efficient? 

I look at the Samsung Note 4 and see a productivity powerhouse. I can retain my plain text writing with Draft (not to be confused with Drafts on iOS), I can get rid of the TouchWiz interface by installing Google Launcher, and I can have a big, beautiful screen in front of me to teach and preach from. 

Like anything, it comes down to personal preference. I love the upgradable storage options and swappable battery on the Note 4, but I love the Apple App Store. I love the nice big screen of the Nexus 6 and stock "pure" Android 5.0, but that device won't be available on Verizon for who knows how long. I love the way that iPhones interact and work with Macs, but lots of people have written Chrome add-ons for interactivity for Android phones now as well. 

There's positives and negatives on both sides and between these three phones, but I just thought I'd share what a longtime iOS user is thinking about when looking at Android as a real possibility.