14 Days ago I went to Verizon and purchased a Droid Charge to replace my 3 year old iPhone 3G.  I debated getting the iPhone 4 but I really wanted to try the Charge since I wanted a more open platform, tight Google Apps integration and the blazing 4G (LTE) speeds.  
In the 14 days I had the phone I found that the Android platform had some really nice features that were better than comparable offerings found on the iPhone:

  • The built in navigation app was fantastic and I loved how easy it was to set a destination via voice.
  • The integration with Google search was very useful and again the voice integration was excellent.
  • The Android Marketplace actually has a refund policy where you can get your money back if you don’t like an app.
  • As a Google Apps user I loved the contacts, email and calendar applications.  I felt each of these applications was significantly better than the iPhone equivalents.
  • Unlike the Verizon iPhone 4, one can talk on the Charge and use the data connection at the same time.

Today I returned the Charge to Verizon, paid a $35 restocking fee and purchased an iPhone 4.  While I loved all of the above features, the Android phone and operating system was (in my opinion) nowhere near as refined as the iPhone.  Why?

  • The battery life of the (ironically named) Charge was horrible.  If mobile data was on battery life was about 6 hours with minimal usage.  If wireless or GPS was on it went down from there.  I even tried using a 3rd party app to help manage the power with little results (and lots of crashes).
  • The phone would have to be restarted at least 1-2 times per day for various reasons.
  • The user interface was superior on the iPhone.  Navigating between applications, configuring applications and just plain using applications was easier.  Android was often clunky and I had to think about which of the 4 buttons to push to access some features.
  • The iPhone hardware is ergonomically perfect and felt like an extension of my hand.  Conversely the Charge felt a little too big and the controls did not have the same precision feel nor perfect placement of the iPhone.

In the end my decision was less about the technology and more about the user experience.  I felt that having a phone (even with some features that were not as powerful) that was stable and easy to use was more important.  When using the iPhone I am not thinking of how to operate it – it is really just an extension of me and that really is the beauty of it.

The decision is similar to what we at NimbleUser strive to deliver every day – powerful, intuitive and nimble solutions that help the user do their jobs without getting bogged down in the technical minutia.  Apple has kept its focus on the user experience and that made all the difference to me.