The Zimbabwean Perspective

A look at our lives and the tech we use in them

Editorial Lifestyle Tech

It’s easier to choose an iPhone, though it might be better to choose an Android device.

Think about it….

An old Apple Ad from back when it launched the iPhone 6. While the ad itself isn’t completely accurate, it’s at least right in that it’s often easier to pick an iPhone.

 

Buying a smartphone is always a big deal. It’s a device you might use for years, and your experience of the internet, social media, or real-life events can hinge very much on which smartphone you have and how well it does what you want it to. Which is why while I was making a guide to understanding and picking a smartphone, I thought about a very common scenario my friends tend to ask me: whether they should buy an iPhone, or a certain android phone. Now this isn’t an uncommon question, after all it’s basically the first choice you make while choosing a smartphone. But the answer to that question is always a little interesting, because we’ve found that it’s a lot easier to choose a new iPhone, even if it’s better to buy an Android device instead.

 

The differences between these two worlds are what make their phones great or not.
Now in the past month or so I’ve actually had three people ask me over which phone to buy, usually between two choices. Two were iOS users, while the android user had a low end 2014 Samsung device. If you hadn’t guessed it already, these parties definitely had very different perspectives on smartphone experiences, especially the iOS users and the Samsung one. One iOS user and the Samsung user also had very similar requests; buying a newer, much more capable Android device (namely the Galaxy S8 and Huawei P20 PRO), or the iPhone 7 because even in South Africa where they were buying, the devices where similarly priced.. If you’re an Android fan, you would easily know why both these phones where leagues better than the iPhone 7. After all, the iPhone 7 is three years old now, and about four generations behind Apple’s current iPhone offerings , while both the S8 and P20 pro actually do keep up with their current offerings and offer much better features (the S8 still has one of the most stunning designs on a smartphone, while the P20 still qualifies as one of the top 5 smartphone cameras on the market).
This is the iPhone 8 compared to the Galaxy S8, this doesn’t even seem like a fair fight. Yet someone wanted to buy an iPhone 7 over the S8. Crazy? Probably. But there’s a reason Apple fans or general consumers act that way.

 

So why would both people see the iPhone as a worthwhile alternative? And why do people keep buying much older iPhones against newer, perhaps better Android devices? Well, to be honest, unless you’re a tech nerd, the iPhone is a much easier device to choose, even if that choice might be the wrong one. This is because of a number of factors, but the first one I’ll talk about, while a little odd in a sense, is that there’s actually very few iPhones to choose from. Apple has only made a total of 16 iPhones and only 1-3 are released per year.
This is basically the total number of phones Apple has ever released. Compare that to the total number Samsung and Huawei alone have released and u might have a headache.

 

This is a huge contrast to the literal hundreds of Android phones released each year, and thousands to choose from if we’re counting earlier years. Unless you’re a big tech fan who knows exactly what they’re looking for, it can become exhausting to try and pick an Android device even if it’s for the top of the line flagship devices that outnumber the latest iPhone almost 20 to 1. Simply put, you only have one iPhone to choose per year, while you have 20 Android phones to choose from and picking the iPhone is a much easier choice for any non-techy user, which is most people in general. Another huge factor which I eluded to earlier is Apple’s brand and marketing. Apple doesn’t even like to call iPhones smartphones in the same way that it doesn’t like to call Macs PCs , yet fundamentally, those devices are just the same as their counterparts. It sounds like a dumb marketing gimmick but here’s the thing; it actually works. A lot of people, Apple customers or otherwise tend to think Apple products are different from and often better than the rest of they’re competition. And while that may not be true it does the job pretty well as Apple products then carry a certain “halo” effect with them, one that makes almost every new iPhone be treated with a crazy amount of attention and mind share. This is why even now, when people are waiting for the iPhone 11, some people are okay with buying an iPhone 6S. Apparently even if they couldn’t get it back in 2014 , they can finally buy it now and that may be satisfactory for them.  This is actually also why Apple products attain a higher price for a longer period. I mean even going online to check, the iPhone 6 can actually be found for around $150-200 used on amazon, while the competing and similarly (if not better) specced LG G3 from the same year goes for $50 now. It’s why that iPhone 7 plus was going for a similar price to the newer and better Galaxy S8, which for many is a crime, but one could argue it adds to an iPhone’s resale value when you finally let go of it. And the final reason buying an iPhone is easier, customer service, doesn’t exactly apply here in Zim. After all we don’t have Apple stores here so you wouldn’t be buying any service plans or warranty’s that come exclusively with iPhones. Chances are any accredited reseller you buy them from offers the same for the Android products too. But there is great value in Apple’s software support. After all iPhones get software updates for up to five years, which can provide some pretty great features as we’ve recently been reminded. However, this again isn’t really a big thing for most people, hence why they don’t even notice what a new iOS update brings. But again, this all adds to an iPhone’s value and for many it makes it the better purchase, so it shouldn’t be totally discredited.
This is from around the past six months alone. How can you not want a piece of it? All these phones work better in Zim than an iPhone too!

 

So all these factors really just make an iPhone an easier purchase. After all you’ll have a recognizable and respected brand on a device you or your friends would’ve wanted at one point or another that’s easier to pick out from the legion of Android competitors and could offer a few software benefits in future. So why might picking an Android device be better? Well, because a good smartphone is like a good clothing item: nothing feels as good as the one meant just for you. Apple makes phones meant to make you conform to what their idea of a great smartphone is. This often tends to come with limitations on flexibility and freedom which is why a lot of great iPhone features simply don’t work as intended here in Zim, let alone the frustrations some iPhone users have with their devices not being able to do “simple tasks” that other people can do on their Android devices due to Apple’s “walled garden” approach to it’s apps, operating system and even music and file management. But even with the software aside, the iPhone itself has always been an elegant, but quite conservative device. Apple has never made the iPhone a stage for crazy, earth-shattering new features (despite their multiple claims that they have). The iPhone got wireless charging five years after Windows Phone made it mainstream, got water resistance/waterproofing another five after Android made it popular and facial biometric scanning tech three years after it existed in one form or another on other devices. Simply put, the iPhone is not the phone you go to for the latest crazy features, or just a huge sense of variety in general. While Android certainly has its iPhone clones, it also has tons of variety in phones that basically try to be as unlike the iPhone as possible.
We’re not the biggest OnePlus 7 Pro fans due to it’s price. But let’s face it this thing is a beast that easily outperforms the iPhone.
The Razer Phone or Essential Phone both come to mind as great examples of this, and there’s plenty more examples to choose from because variety is pretty much the name of Android’s game. As scary as picking from potentially thousands of phones can be, it means you can definitely find the right one for you in particular. This can be based on price, preference, brand, special features, specs or any other number of things. After all this is the same ecosystem that has allowed Nokia and Blackberry to revive themselves, and both the new Nokia and Blackberry phones have been doing well at scratching the itch customers of those old brands had. 
Nokia’s whole M.O. is basically making powerful premium looking and performing phones for a fraction of the price of the latest iPhone or Galaxy
This comes along with Android having multiple cheap but capable alternatives to the iPhone, or multiple feature heavy beasts that put the iPhone’s conservative approach to shame. The world of Android is only getting crazier too with devices like foldables entering the fray(though we would advise you wait a bit before deciding to buy any of those) and we would gladly assure you that it will probably always remain an exciting landscape unlike what you get from Apple some years (especially the “S” years). Hence when it comes down to it, we will gladly admit what we already wrote in the title; it’s always easier to buy an iPhone, and that’s a good thing too. But if you’re willing to look a little deeper, you might find the device that will blow you away or just keep you happy is waiting on Android’s side of the fence.
It’s a crazy, interesting, varied world out there. Might be a little scary at first, but try it out for a second.
Choose wisely.

 

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