I've been an iPhone user since the iPhone 4 – I really admired its simplicity, but also its performance, stability, and camera quality. From there on out, I was all about the iPhone. However, with total transparency, I wasn't super impressed with Apple's newest iPhone 12 lineup, especially coming from an 11 Pro. While Samsung was releasing revolutionary foldable devices like the Galaxy Z Fold2 5G, Apple's newest phone was still a flat slab of glass and steel. Sure, it's a stunning and powerful slab of glass and steel, but it's also more of the same thing we've seen over the years.
That's when I decided it was time to "flip" the script and try something new. My iPhone 11 Pro is still stashed safely away on my desk, but I just had to get my hands on Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 5G.
The Galaxy Z Flip 5G is all-around an incredibly fun smartphone. It folds in half to become a square, which is ultra-pocketable and easy to hold when you're on a walk or run. The hinge allows the top half to stay open, similar to a laptop (what Samsung calls Flex Mode), and is a game-changer for video calls and selfies.
The outside display certainly isn't as useful as the new Motorola Razr's external display, but it does allow you to check your notifications, the time, and even answer calls with speakerphone while the phone remains closed. Pretty cool.
Not only that, but Android is far better than I remember, and Samsung's apps like Good Lock, Keys Cafe, and Theme Park let you customize literally everything you can think of to make your phone look, feel and act just the way you'd like.
This isn't a review of the Z Flip, but it's important to note all of the great things this phone and Android in general can offer. Even with all of these pros, there are still some cons that remind me I'll likely never "switch" to Android, but instead, use both on and off or side-by-side.
Continue reading to learn 6 things I miss about the iPhone.
CarPlay is fantastic. It's quick, easy-to-use, and Siri integrates well to handle your directions, reminders, and everything else. CarPlay is being updated all of the time to run smoother, quicker and provide better (and safer) ways to control your music and more.
Android Auto (pictured above) works well, but it's not as nice looking and quite a bit clunkier. You'll also run into issues if you're using a cheaper USB-C cable – Android Auto likes high-data capabilities, so opt for one that can handle 5Gbps transfer speeds or higher.
Google Assistant is incredibly smart, though, and handles all of my requests with less fuss than Siri would. I do like Android Auto, and Apple Music even works well with it, but I can't deny that I miss CarPlay.
Here's an obvious one: iMessage. iMessage makes communicating with other Apple device owners fast, fun, and easy. Group chats are well organized, and you also have read receipts and a host of effects to play with. You can send friends and family full-sized videos and photos, which I learned that I took for granted - now being required to open up Facebook Messenger to share high-res videos to mom and dad.
Google's Messages app (pictured above) does work well and offers link previews, GIFs and cross-platform messaging too, meaning I can open up Messages on my web browser to send texts using my MacBook.
Overall, Google has produced an iMessage-like experience well. It works, but Google's Messages is not as good as iMessage, and likely won't be for the foreseeable future due to SMS/MMS technical limitations.
HandOff and AirDrop
Reading an article on your iPhone and want to read it on your MacBook? Apple's HandOff feature allows you to do that seamlessly. Of course, that's not the case when you're using an Android.
Want to share a photo to your MacBook or a friend instantly? You can do that with AirDrop, but not with an Android.
With my Galaxy Z Flip, I've resorted to emailing files to myself. I could also upload these files to Google Drive, but old-fashioned email seems to be quicker.
Using an Android feels like I'm taking a step back in time in some areas – areas where Apple's iCloud services have innovated and made life just a bit easier.
The iPhone's Cameras
The Z-Flip's rear-facing camera does produce stunning photos in proper lighting and even features wide-angle capabilities. There's a Night Mode and a host of filters and advanced features to play around with.
However, most low-light images have a smoothing effect that looks a bit off. And images from the front camera look like junk on third-party apps like Snapchat, a common problem across all Android devices due to app development time-saving measures you can read about here.
Overall, I'm impressed with the cameras and photography software on my Galaxy Z Flip 5G, but the entire experience isn't as good as you'd find on an iPhone.
This may seem petty; that's because it is. I don't care for the fonts on Android devices. The stock font looks a bit cheap. Other downloadable fonts are often either too bold, too thin, or just wonky-looking.
Apple has perfected the font used across all of its devices. Apple's implementation of Helvetica-neue is beautiful and easy to read.
Sure, you can change the font on Android, and it's really easy to do so, too. However, I searched high and low for a similar font to the iPhone but didn't have much luck finding a proper one. Just be aware that if you switch to Android, the text might always look just a bit off for one reason or another. Building on Android/Samsung fonts, you won't like their emojis, either.
My AirPods and Apple Watch
AirPods work with Android devices, but of course not as well. They're not designed for Androids, and that's apparent. You'll lose Spatial Audio, seamless pairing, among other features. Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode still work; however.
There has been one larger issue using AirPods Pro with my Z Flip, though. Even on full-blast, music is barely loud enough. Interestingly, regular AirPods work just fine.
On another note, the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch available, period. Apple Watches are fast, painless and accurate at measuring a huge variety of workouts. I've been using the Samsung Fit2, which is a fitness tracker that gets the job done at an incredible price of only $59 and sometimes less. No, the Fit2 is not a direct-competitor to the Apple Watch, but is very good for what it is. Samsung makes great watches, however the company's top-of-the-line watches just still aren't as good as Apple's.
I don't plan to switch back to my iPhone anytime soon, as I'm really enjoying the quirky and revolutionary foldable design of the Z Flip 5G and all of the cool things that Android has to offer.
This phone really takes me back to the days where flip-phones were king (and phones were fun).
However, Android devices are not perfect. If you're an iPhone user interested in foldable phones, and have some patience, just wait for Apple's foldable iPhone, which we may see next year.