I owned an iPhone 3GS for a couple of years, and loved it. But when the time came to replace it, instead of upgrading to an iPhone 4S, I decided to go for Samsung’s new Galaxy S II instead. The S II’s reviews were glowing -- many calling it an iPhone 5 killer (suggesting it was already way better than whatever Apple did next) -- and having played around with it in store, I was sold. Apple was the past, Samsung was the future, and this was the phone for me.
When the S III came out, I duly upgraded to that -- well, why wouldn’t? I’ll be honest, the beefed up size was a little off-putting at first, but the phone was great; a truly worthy successor. Recently though the device has started to misbehave, turning itself off without warning, and requiring constant charging, clear signs it was time to upgrade again. Going for the Galaxy S4 would have been the obvious choice, or maybe -- like many of my colleagues here at BetaNews -- I could have switched to a Windows Phone. The Lumia 925 is certainly appealing. The truth though is there was only one phone I really, really wanted and yesterday it arrived. A shiny new iPhone 5s in Space Gray.
Compared to my Galaxy S III, the iPhone 5s feels tiny. Even smaller than it felt when I played around with it in an Apple store. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to go back to a smaller screen (the iPhone 5s is tall and thin, with a 4-inch display, while the S III is chunkier and has a larger 4.8-inch screen), but actually after 24 hours use, I’m well at home with a phone which fits comfortably in my palm. The iPhone 5s has the solid build quality you expect from Apple, and the fingerprint scanner works beautifully. You press the home button to wake the phone, leave your finger in place for about a second, and bam! -- you’re in.
I own an iPad 4 and so know my way around iOS 7 -- there’s no learning curve to worry about, which is good. However, going back to just one button at the bottom of the phone is weird. I’m constantly trying to press non-existent capacitive buttons to the left and right of it. I’ll soon get used to that I guess.
My iPad is filled to bursting with apps, and installing the same ones on the new iPhone couldn’t be simpler. Open the App Store, go to Updates, select Purchased, tap "Not on this iPhone" and choose the ones to install. Easy. There’s still plenty of space on the 32GB device, so I can buy and install more iPhone specific apps in the future.
Choosing to switch back to the iPhone -- something very few people do these days -- is one of the smartest moves I’ve made when it comes to tech. There’s just something about it I love. Apple builds great hardware and it’s the best phone I’ve personally ever owned -- it’s super quick, the camera is excellent, the fingerprint scanner unlocks the device in a heartbeat and iOS 7 is clean and slick. There are iOS apps I have on the iPad that aren’t available on Android, so it’s good to finally get those on my phone too.
I have no wish to disparage the Galaxy S III or S4. Those are both excellent devices, and there are certainly features on the S III that I’ll miss. If you can’t justify the price of an iPhone, or you just flat out prefer Android, get the S4. I’ll never regret the time I spent as a Samsung smartphone user. The South Korean electronics giant is a worthy rival to Apple, and maybe at some point I will return to owning one of its flagship phones.
But for now, I’m glad to once again have an iPhone in my pocket and promise Apple I’ll be sticking around for a good few years to come.