When a curious iPhone user wants to check out an Android phone for the first time and gauge whether it’s any good, it’s likely that phone is made by companies like Samsung, LG, or HTC.
And that’s unfortunate because those phones aren’t really good examples of Android.
I’m not saying they’re bad phones. Some of them have gorgeous designs and fantastic cameras, and some have great exclusive features. Samsung Pay, for example, is only available on the latest Samsung smartphones. It’s like Apple Pay, but it can be used in way more retail locations.
Yet, a common complaint iPhone users have about Android phones is how cluttered they are. And if they’re trying phones from Samsung, LG, or HTC, they’re totally right! The experience is cluttered, especially when you compare it to iPhone.
And most Android phones come with pre-loaded apps from the phone maker, as well as bloatware from carriers. It results in confusion about which apps to use.
For example, you can have three different email apps on most Android phones. One from Google itself (Gmail), as well as an email app from your carrier and phone maker.
It’s no wonder an iPhone user who doesn’t get any bloatware and a lot less clutter will scoff at Android phones.
And more often than not, an iPhone user checking out an Android phone isn’t really seeing Android. Instead, they’re seeing the phone maker’s “skin,” the layer of software that runs on top of Android, which is what the phone maker thinks Android should look like.
And, quite frankly, the skins rarely look as good, nor do they work as well. It’s especially noticeable in the notification shade, which is like an Android phone’s command center where you can adjust pretty much anything you want.
The pure version of Google (left) looks far cleaner and more mature than the others.
Before iPhone users pass judgment on Android, they need to try Google’s Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P smartphones.
Both phones come only with Google’s own apps, much like the iPhone only comes with Apple’s own apps. No bloatware or carrier apps because you can only buy them unlocked directly from Google.
The experience is just as clean as you’d get on iPhone.
Both phones also get the latest Android updates directly from Google, so they’re always up to date (as long as you updated them). Samsung, LG, or HTC owners need to wait months before they get the latest version of Android. It takes so long for those phones to get updates that Google often has a new update by the time the old one reaches them.
iPhone users can also try Motorola’s Moto X (2015) and the OnePlus 2, as they both run the closest thing to pure Android without being Nexus phones.
But if you haven’t tried Google’s Nexus phone, you haven’t tried Android.
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