Tempted by the Google Side

I was recording the latest episode of the Curious Tech Podcast with my co-host Devynn Rizo and as we talked about the Google event the longer the episode went the most tempted I got to switch to team Google. It’s been a few days and I can’t quiet shakeaq\ the feeling. I have a Galaxy S7 and Moto360 Sport that I tinker with from time to time and I find that I really do enjoy Android. I’ve gotten to the point with Nova Launcher that I’ve gotten the phone into a state I want it to with custom icons and a nice, clean layout with the information-dense Google Now pane just to the left of my homescreen. I already use a lot of Google services such as Gmail, Maps, Photos, Calendar, Chrome, etc. and I do like how I can use 3rd party services on Android like 1st class services such as Spotify or OneNote instead of Google’s own offerings since they fit my wants and needs better than Google Play Music and Keep. I like my Apple stuff a lot, but Android has really grown a lot on me the last year and I like Android Wear as much as I do WatchOS and their philosophy of being a tiny Google Now on your wrist instead of a mobile computer that the Apple Watch started off as. I’m really in love with Android Auto and Chromecast on my TV as well as Google Assistant. My mother got a Google Home recently and I really liked the device a lot, especially since it has a competent digital assistant powering it compared to the HomePod’s Siri and its 1/3 of the price of a single Homepod. I love my Echobee and Hue lights, but Google’s open nature and more comprehensive Nest ecosystem makes me want to switch to that as well…I particularly like the Nest Cam and thermostats that I have seen at Best Buy. I would like to get more into IOT’ing my apartment, but I tire of constantly waiting on HomeKit to advance.

While I love my Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch integration…Android works so well now for significantly less that it leads me to question whether or not I should switch. I really love the look of the Google Pixel XL 2 with its great camera and horn-less design that the iPhone X is sporting these days. The phone feels Swedish like Ikea furniture….down to Earth and practical with its design instead of leaning into technology limits to make itself standout more. I’ve come to terms with the iPhone X’s notch, but I kind of get tired of having to study the realities of the technology and understand why Apple decided to do something. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t too thrilled by Apple’s embrace of the notch….I found it rather offensive and the opposite of what I thought they would do by hiding it with Software like they do on the Apple Watch to blur the border between the watch’s display and the black bezels.

My aging MacBook Pro has also been another point nagging me lately. I can get a perfectly functional Dell XPS 15 on B&H for roughly $1200 cheaper than a MacBook Pro and still get 2x as much RAM as Apple offers on the 15” MacBook Pro. Yeah, the Dell XPS 15 is not thin and sexy like the 2017 MacBook Pro, but I’m an IT guy who’s an aspiring computer scientist….I’m fine with my laptop being a little thicker because I know that I’m an outlier who needs more ports, RAM, processor, GPU, and screen than the average person using a web browser, Microsoft Office, and the Spotify desktop app and that’s fine. It just insults me when Apple can’t deliver a professional-grade laptop in the thinness profile they want so they slap a Touchbar on the laptop and raise the price $200–300 to add insult to injury not even offer a 32GB of RAM option. I run VMWare Fusion for work and labs…that EATS RAM and if I’m going to drop $2000+ in computer is damn well better do exactly what I need it to. That’s a lot of money and I can’t afford to do that every 2–3 years. I often ride out a laptop for 3–5 years instead. And yeah, before somebody replies with that fact that I could build a desktop, I live about 35–40 minutes away from work and the university so I do need a portable workhorse.

So…I don’t know where that leaves me. I really love my Apple gear, my iPhone 7, iPad Pro, MacBook Pro, AirPods, and Apple Watch are just awesome, but I’m just finding that because of my wants and needs as a geek I end up leaning towards the high end of all of Apple’s product lines and I don’t know if I can justify it anymore. The iPhone X and Touchbar MacBook Pro may be the straws that break this geek’s back. Android is excellent now and Windows 10 really has become a wonderful operating system again after that stray into Windows. 8 wilderness with some actual hardware choice. I feel really torn because I do really like Apple’s stuff and I can still recommend it without hesitation, but for my own personal geekier needs I don’t know if I can justify the price difference anymore. I’m going to have to do some more geek soul-searching and maybe break my Apple Watch move-streak and use Android as my primary devices for a week or so and see if I can really live the Google life. So, that’s where I am right now. I’d welcome thoughts or recommendations -HH

IT Support Specialist V and Spring Hill College graduate who loves all things tech. If it has a flashing LED it has my immediate attention.