As was stated in our recent article covering the things the iPhone still does better than Android phones, the Android platform has come really far in just the last couple of years. There are still some areas where the iPhone is stronger, but it’s no longer at a point where you’d have to overlook serious technical shortcomings in order to get the obvious strengths of the Android platform.
Today, you’ll find a handful of Android smartphones that are every bit as beautiful, capable, reliable, and well-designed as the iPhone. In fact, there are plenty of reasons why people should be choosing Android phones over the iPhone.
The biggest strength of Android has always been customization. Because of the way Android is designed, pretty much every piece of it can be skinned, switched out for a different piece, or taken out altogether. Most commonly, a lot of Android users enjoy swapping things like their launchers and lock screens, which can really change the way using your smartphone feels.
A great example of how this can really affect users on a day-to-day basis is the ability to choose default apps. It’s yet another huge thing that Apple has been putting off for a long time that users have been asking for. Android has had a way of handling this that’s quite intuitive for some quite time now, and really gives users more flexibility in what apps they use.
I’ve been using Android devices for years now and the biggest single thing I miss when I go back iPhones is Google Now. With the Google Now Launcher installed, Google Now is always right there, just left of the homescreen. New is what Google is calling Google Now on Tap, which lets Google Now talk to third party apps for even deeper connections that I’m excited to see more of.
Ultimately, it’s one of the smartest apps ever made—and it’s one that really only Google could really make, thanks to all the information about you it has. Normally I’d hate that sort of thing, but when I can track packages and upcoming flights, see the weather, check out my upcoming calendar events, discover some articles related to my recent searches, and even where I parked my car, all in the same view, it’s pretty much irreplaceable.
Apple may have two new iPhones available to buy each year, but there are upwards of a dozen new flagship smartphones on the Android platform each year to choose from. More than that, these smartphones each have their own strengths, software features, price tags, sizes, and just about every other kind of variable possible.
Some have crazy long battery life, some have amazing displays, some can do wireless charging, and some have awesome build quality. What that means is that you’re more likely to find a phone that matches what you want and need in your specific situation. You’ll even find a handful of really great smartphones that you can buy unlocked off contract for under $400.
The UI and software design of Android was never something I really cared for until Google revealed its Material Design look back in 2014. The emphasis on this new design language was flat shapes, responsive animations, simple grid layouts and bright colors.
For the first time, I liked what Google was doing with its software design more than what Apple was doing in iOS 7. Today, Google has pretty much streamlined Material Design across all its various apps and services, even those that live in the browser. If you have a phone like a Galaxy S6 or an LG G4, you’ll need to install the Google Now launcher and a few other things to retain the stock Android feel to get the full effect of Material Design.
Some people are happy to just use the stock Apple apps that come pre-loaded on their iPhones. When it comes to Android though, it’s all about the deep integration of the Google services, which are undoubtedly the best out there. When it comes to cloud services, email, browsers, and universal search (of course), there is company quite like Google—and having all those so intimately tied to the functions of your smartphone is pretty great.