- I’ve been completely loyal to Apple products since 2007, when the first iPhone launched.
- But I recently tried going a week without using any Apple products to see how I would fare.
- I learned that products from Google, Microsoft, and other companies have plenty of advantages – but I won’t be ditching Apple for good anytime soon.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
I’ve been loyal to Apple products since the first iPhone was launched.
Before the iPhone, I owned cellular devices from a variety of manufacturers. Nokia, Samsung, Blackberry, Motorola – you name it, I’ve probably used it.
But when Apple revolutionised the smartphone in 2007, I became hooked.
My HP laptop was quickly replaced with a MacBook Pro, which was swapped out for a MacBook Air some time ago. As for phones, I’ve used only an iPhone since that momentous year, upgrading nearly every time a new model came out. And except for a few months where I had to switch to a PC for a contract gig – and found myself constantly pressing the “alt” key thinking it was “command” – my iMac was my best friend at work.
So I took on the challenge to ditch my beloved Apple products for a week. To say I was a little apprehensive is an understatement.
I was so concerned about whether non-Apple products would actually work that I kept my iPhone and MacBook Air with me at all times, even while travelling.
My backpack, which also held my DJI Mavic Air drone, weighed over 15 pounds with all the devices and their respective chargers and accessories. While I’m a light traveller, I needed the peace of mind that I still had my trusty gadgets in case anything went awry with the Google Pixel 3 XL or the Microsoft Surface Book 2.
In fact, on what was supposed to be my first day of using the new laptop, the software updates took up so much power and time that it rendered the device unusable. Thankfully, it ran smoothly once everything was downloaded, but it was a rough start, to say the least.
By the end of my week, I could safely say I hadn’t been converted from Apple products. But there were elements that I’ll miss from each of the devices, and there’s even one Apple accessory that I’m now ready to give up.
Here are my nine biggest takeaways from my Apple-less week.
Switching from one brand to another is cumbersome.
The Google Pixel comes with a cord to help you transfer data from your previous device, but it’s not foolproof when it comes to iPhones.
It’s understandable, given that the phones function on two different operating systems, but that doesn’t make it any less inconvenient.
Music files require a separate program. Not all apps are available on both iOS and Android. And as I’m a writer, what hurt the most was that my notes didn’t move over.
Then there were all the files on my laptop. I could manually switch them over with memory sticks or using OneDrive, but both take a lot of time.
There was also the matter of reformatting my external hard drives to pair with a PC, at which point I just let it be for the week.
The Pixel has an incredible camera.
The photo quality on the Pixel is unbelievable. Sunsets are arguably one of the toughest moments to capture on a phone, yet somehow the Pixel manages to do it well.
Plus, when it’s dark, images don’t turn out grainy thanks to the “night sight” mode, and the built-in image stabilisation renders really smooth videos.
The overall widgets experience is better on a Pixel.
While iPhones also offer widgets, they are limited to one space and have a uniform appearance.
The Pixel allows you to drop a widget on any page, adjust the size, and even select different versions for certain apps. I loved being able to easily access my notes, record an interview, view a currency exchange rate, and get a snapshot of my calendar without having to find and click in to the app first.
The detachable screen on the Microsoft Surface Book 2 is brilliant.
My favourite thing about the Surface Book 2 is that it acts as both a laptop and a tablet.
The downside is that it weighed quite a bit more than my MacBook Air, since there’s a battery in both the base and the screen, but that just meant I didn’t need to charge it as frequently.
Being able to easily detach the screen and use it as a tablet was great when I wanted to pass it over to someone or didn’t need to carry the entire device.
Anyone working with graphics will love the Surface Book 2, and it has a bevy of connection options.
That the screen on the Surface Book 2 can be used via touch or pen makes working with graphics significantly easier. I can easily see any sort of designer falling in love with this Microsoft device.
The laptop has two USB-A connectors and one USB-C connector, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, two Surface Connect ports, and a full-size SDXC card reader, so you can plug just about any gadget in to the Surface Book 2, making it incredibly versatile and convenient.
I’m ready to leave my Apple headphones behind.
I’ve never minded the earbuds that come with the iPhone, but I prefer the pair with silicone tips that do a great job of reducing noise and contain two high-performance drivers for excellent sound quality. I also have a pair of wireless Beats that I use on occasion when working out, since I don’t love the design of the AirPods.
But I’m now sold on other options.
For truly wireless earbuds, the Jabra Elite Active 65t are an exemplary pair. They’re comfortable, sweat-resistant, and, surprisingly, don’t fall out mid-burpee. They also come with a reasonably sized charging case that provides an extra 10 hours of battery life. Plus, they sometimes make me feel like an intelligence agent, which I find rather amusing.
But when I’m flying, I prefer something with a cord and a 3.5 mm jack so I can use them with aeroplanes’ entertainment systems. For such scenarios, noise-cancelling headphones are a major game-changer, and the Bose QuietComfort 20s have been the best in-ear ones for years now. The wingtips are soft and secure, and the battery lasts up to 16 hours, which is long enough for my frequent flights to Asia.
Instagram is infinitely better on an iPhone.
I have a bone to pick with Instagram on behalf of Android users.
I immediately noticed that there wasn’t a Paris filter in the app’s Stories feature, and while I don’t use it often, it’s an odd item to not make available to Android owners.
The basic swiping functions are also inconsistent. While I could swipe right on the home screen to go to my camera for Stories, I couldn’t return to a profile page using the same motion after I tapped on an image. And though I could pull up to see who viewed my Stories, I had to tap on the image to collapse the list instead of swiping down.
Videos were also very blurry, and reducing text size in Stories is not as seamless as on iOS devices. But more importantly, where are my guiding grids that let me know whether my text is centered or is going to run into the message bubble?
Given that Instagram is my second-most-used app after mail, this was one of my more disappointing user experiences during the week.
Emojis are unattractive on Android.
I had a friend DM me over Instagram saying that “emojis are so ugly on non-Apple products.” I’ll just leave it at that.
I won’t be giving up Apple for good, but I came to appreciate aspects of non-Apple devices.
While the headphones are a no-brainer, I don’t plan on leaving behind my iPhone and MacBook Air anytime soon.
In terms of a more holistic experience, no one does it better than Apple. Everything seamlessly syncs up from one device to another, iTunes is an incredibly useful piece of software, and AirDrop is a feature I use frequently. And since most of my friends also own iPhones, FaceTime and iMessage are a big part of my life.
If I cared only about photos or constantly had to work with graphics, I’d consider switching over to the Google Pixel or the Microsoft Surface Book 2. No matter how much of an Apple loyalist you are, it’s indisputable that the two devices excel in those ways. And there are certainly smaller details I’ll miss, like the Pixel’s “night light” setting and Windows 10’s do-not-disturb mode.
But that said, and despite my gripes with Apple, I was extremely glad to have my iPhone and MacBook Air back, where the combined experience is easy, the interface is cleaner, and my beloved emojis are more aesthetically pleasing.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.