Which one is better? This iPhone 11 Pro Max? Or the OnePlus 9 Pro?
Welcome back to the channel and welcome back to the THIRD post in this series of 'Lifelong iPhone user switches to Android'
This post follows up my first video around switching to a Pixel 4a, which was my first taste of Android ever after owning pretty much every iPhone Apple has ever released, as well as almost every Apple product...
My second video was switching to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra to get a taste for Android running on Flagship Hardware where I suffered a few issues, mainly around Notifications, and a few other minor things like a physical mute switch. But one of the most common comments on that video was that I should be testing the OnePlus 9 Pro next.
So I did!
I've fully switched over to the OnePlus 9 Pro for a few weeks now and I have some thoughts and most of them...Spoiler Alert! Are actually kinda good!
So without further ado, let's unwrap this ... oooh, a gem of a puzzle of Apple vs Android.
First up, for those of you reading for the first time - Hi my name is Pete, and on this website, you can find posts around tech, business, and some stuff around money. I upload videos on my YouTube channel twice a week, so if you want more of that then please head over to the channel and subscribe for more.
One of the biggest debates in the tech universe is the whole Android vs Apple Debate. I've been using an iPhone and the whole Apple ecosystem world for the last decade, so I thought I would make one video/post around trying to switch to Android.
That one video, led to another video, which leads to this post and video because the biggest thing with Android is that there is just SO much you can do with it.
It's nearly impossible to learn in just a few weeks what it's capable of, and I'm finding the more handsets I try, the more comfortable I am with it all.
So in this post, I'm going to run through MY OPINION, on the Pros and Cons of this phone and Android... from the perspective of a solid iPhone user.
I feel the need to point out the whole 'my opinion' thing because there was a tonne of comments on the last 2 videos about how much of an idiot I am around not knowing that you fix that problem by doing this, and that other problem by installing that other app and.... guys...
I'm new to Android. It literally says iPhone user switches to Android.
That said, to the majority of those who have commented nicely to explain how I fix some of the issues I raised in my last video - huge thank you.
Oh also, If you are thinking of buying your own then do please consider using the links below which get you £10 to spend on accessories and gear or just find you the cheapest price. It really does help me out and means I can continue to make these sorts of posts and videos, whilst I'm on my journey to get to a size where I'll actually be able to get proper review samples. Right now, I'm buying all of these phones myself. Which is really expensive, if you haven't gathered already. Yeah.
THE GOOD STUFF
So let's get into the good stuff with the OnePlus 9 Pro and Android as a whole because, shock horror to those iPhone users. It's actually pretty damn good!
Firstly - Notifications.
You can customise SO much of the notifications it's unreal. I get a LOT of notifications, like, a lot. Social media apps, slack, and teams for chatting to various work colleagues, calendar, todo's, messages - there's just a lot OK?
So it's really important to me that I can go in and customise exactly what notifications I see from within each app. It's not just a fairly generic on or off that you get on the iPhone. You can really dig into the details.
The Screen is also incredible, and this is something I loved on the S21 which I forgot to mention in my last video. It's so bright and clear, the curved edge is also a nice finish, and the 120Hz refresh rate makes it just so smooth to use. Something which is probably coming to the iPhone 13, as always a few years after Android - but it's a really nice feature for those who haven't experienced it yet.
When to comes to Charging, this thing is absolutely magic. If you are someone who has to charge their phone multiple times a day because you're such a heavy user - then this will be a BIG plus for you. This thing comes with something called 'Warp Charge' And Damn does it warp charge!
From 0 to 100% in 30 minutes when wired. That is insane. And the power brick comes with the phone! Are you listening Apple?!
Even on a wireless charger, which you do have to buy separately - that does 0 to 100% in 40 minutes!
I wish that kinda tech was on the iPhone and all the Android phones actually! But also I wonder if this will kill the battery over time since I know with the likes of my Tesla, it's not recommended to supercharge them every day - which essentially is warp charge for an electric car. The more power you put in in the shortest time, it is suggested that it shortens the life span of the battery, and over time it will have less and less capacity.
So, I'm not sure how that plays out here - but again, LOVE the charging speeds. Maybe just do some digging into the battery if you plan on buying this phone and keeping it for anything longer than 1-2 years though, just to be sure.
Next, we have Bluetooth and, weirdly Airpod Pros.
I know this won't apply to most Android users - but my Airpod Pro's paired effortlessly with the OnePlus 9 Pro, and I'd argue are actually more reliable. I find the Apple intelligent switching to be really flakey at best, and always, ALWAYS when I'm jumping onto a video call at just the right time, is the moment the AirPods won't connect to my Mac.
I've never had any issues connecting these to this phone. So there's a plus! And the noise reduction stuff works still by holding down the stalk, so yeah - really great experience there too.
Physical Mute Switch - Big plus which seems to be missing from quite a few other Android phones. It makes it so much easier than swiping down and finding the right button. When you're in a meeting or hopping onto a call then anybody who has a phone with a mute switch will attest to the fact that it's so much easier to just flip that switch to silence everything. Something which it's a shame the S21 didn't have actually.
Something I missed from my iPhone was a quick tap to get to the camera and a quick tap to get to the torch.
There was a tonne of comments that came in on how to fix this, including remapping various buttons - but those wouldn't work for me as remapping the power button, for example, then means you can't get to the camera.
On the OnePlus 9 Pro, I LOVE their implementation of Gestures. Simply draw a pattern on the screen, and you can get it to do something.
For me, I set this up so that when I draw a v, it turns on or off the torch.
Screenshots - A worthy mention because this was an issue I had on the S21, because on the S21, the default shortcut to take a screenshot is to hold the 2 side buttons down. Except the 2 buttons are next to each other so it involves a weird crab grip on the phone, or using 2 hands.
Good news on the OnePlus 9 is that it is the same as the iPhone. Just grab the power and volume button and it all works the same way to then crop and stuff. So that makes it a really easy transition from iPhone.
I love how you can customise the keyboard.
Show the number row, don't show the number row. Show a dedicated emoji key, stickers, height, haptic feedback, long press, themes, text correction - there are just SO. MANY. SETTINGS! You get none of this on your iPhone.
You can install different keyboards - I kinda switch between the Google Gboard and Microsoft Swiftkey keyboards, as there are things I like about both of them. But being able to customise your keyboard, and install new keyboards - is again, another incredible thing you can do.
And finally, the launcher.
The launcher is basically like, the overall skin or theme for the phone. You don't get this on iPhone beyond choosing light or dark mode.
On Android you can install custom launchers.
On the Pixel 4a, I used the stock Pixel launcher, as that is the most Android version of Android that exists.
On the S21, I used the Samsung Launcher and had issues. I used Nova Launcher, had issues, and settled on the Microsoft Launcher - which actually worked really well for me.
Now, on the OnePlus 9 - I'm using Nova Launcher, and this time I've paid a few quid to upgrade to the pro version which unlocks some extra features, gestures, and such - and... hot damn is it good!?
Now there is kind of too many things to talk about here, but let me just talk about my favourites.
You can configure swipe up actions on any icon or folder on your home screen, and you can trigger various system things like launching the first app in a folder or searching, google assistant, showing notifications, you can launch a completely different app, or run a shortcut.
This is SO good, as it essentially doubles what you can do with your home screen, without it being really messy.
For example, I have my YouTube Studio app but if I swipe up, it launches YouTube. I've got my Tesla App, which if I swipe up, launches my Garage Door Opener.
My Todoist App also launches my note-taking app Notion.
The second is again in Notifications, you can choose the size of the notification badge, but you can also change them between showing a generic dot. Numeric Dots, or Dynamic Badges - which I love. As to say on Facebook you can see the profile pic of whoever has messaged you, without even opening the app. Simple things, simple pleasures.
THE BAD STUFF
Good stuff out of the way - now onto the bad stuff. So prep yourself, strap in, and again a final reminder, these are my OPINIONS.... be kind down there in the comments eh.
First up, it's actually... Notifications!
Yes, notifications are actually one of the best and worst things about this phone, and kind of Android in general. Yeah - I know I'll get flamed for saying this.
But for those of you who watched my S21 review might know that I suffered a pretty big issue with notifications, and without lingering on those too long - I'm pretty sure it was actually a fault with my own phone and not a reflection on Android in general.
Buuuuuut, notifications, on the OnePlus 9. I'm just going to reel these off.
Firstly, my phone makes a noise, but I have ZERO clue what for.
I said earlier that I get a load of notifications, and it's great you can customise them. However, if I'm using the phone and something comes in - a message, social media, email - whatever, the phone makes a noise, yet I have no clue which app it's come from - UNLESS I pull down the notifications, or hunt through the home screen to see which one has a badge on it.
There's probably a way to fix that, but I'm so far yet to find any settings to show a notification on screen when something comes in whilst I'm using the phone.
Number 2 - and this is where my Android usage is maturing over time... but even through all the issues I had with the Samsung Galaxy S21, I am missing one specific feature.
With the S21, you can get the screen to flash the colour of the app which has a notification. I actually REALLY, like this feature. Get a WhatsApp, it glows green. Facebook Message, it's Blue.
It sounds gimmicky, but actually, it's really practical as when you get a notification, you can just glance over and see what type of message it is. Awesome.
This feature isn't on the OnePlus 9. So I guess that's a Samsung feature rather than Android? It's kinda weird how these phones can be so different - but I guess that's what a decade of iPhone does to you. Pretty much the same features across all phones.
Lastly with notifications - I saw a huge amount of comments around this on my last few videos. Some praising notifications on Android and calling me an idiot for saying they're anything but amazing. But then there were also tonnes of comments from the other side saying Android notifications are awful.
I'm sat between both camps.
Yes, it's great you can customise them. But also, once I get a notification, fire up the app to check the notification, realise it's not something I care for so go back, well, the notification is still there until I tap and hold, then swipe away the notifications.
Then there's also another issue, take email or slack or teams for example. Something where I do actually want to know if I have any unread messages that I need to deal with.
I see the notification, go into the app, and realise I don't want to deal with the notification now. But now THAT notification has gone. So now it's on me to remember to go back into that app to deal with it later, which I never do... yeah that's not good.
On iPhone, if you have a social media notification then you fire up the app, swipe down to refresh, close the app. Notification is Gone.
On email, it shows you the actual number of unread emails in your inbox. If you mark emails as unread, that number goes up!
Again I think this might be something that can be fixed with a setting or software since kind of everything seems to be fixable on Android in general. But I haven't found it yet. Maybe the long-time Androiders can tell me how that works in the comments?
Notifications. Really good - but also, Eh!
My experience of Password Managers on Android is definitely mixed.
I'm currently in the middle of testing out several Password Managers and none of them seem to be as reliable and easy to use as on iPhone.
On iPhone, I visit a website, and the password is either just a tap away, or 2 taps away.
On Android, it seems to be hit and miss as to whether it will actually trigger the thing that lets me fire up the password manager, and when it does - it just requires more work than on iPhone.
I've tried different browsers including Chrome and DuckDuckGo, and had a slightly better experience on DuckDuckGo - but maybe again, let me know how all of you Android people are getting on with password managers?
It's difficult to compare as those hardcore Android people will just be like, you do this stupid!
But yeah, the genuine question again - what should I be expecting here?
Next up on the list of downsides, is Face Unlock. There doesn't seem to be a way of just picking up the phone and unlocking the screen. You have to wake the phone by hitting the side button, by which point you may as well pick up the phone and unlock it right away with the fingerprint reader instead. On the iPhone it's just pick up, it's unlocked so you can read any notifications, then swipe up to get to the home screen. I guess you could argue that neither is perfect as you still need to physically hit a button or swipe up on both of the devices though.
I'm yet to find a replacement for Fantastical from the Apple world. This basically brings all my calendars together from Apple, Google, Microsoft - all the places, and lets me see, manage, invite, all from one place. I've tried a few free ones, a few paid-for ones, but nothing quite works as nice or looks as nice, as Fantastical.
Lastly in the negative department, is actually the Keyboard.
This might be something that I still need to get used to, but I have tried several different keyboards on Android and none of them seem to be as accurate as on iPhone.
I think the iPhone's predictive typing thing must actually be pretty incredible because I can type away and it will get the right words or at least correct them to the right words most of the time.
On Android, this isn't the case. I find myself having to go back and manually correct mistakes more than I ever did on my iPhone. I thought this might go over time as I adjusted to the different keyboard layout, but so far - these fat thumbs just aren't accurate enough on Android as they are on an iPhone.
That pretty much sums up all of the negatives - really, not that many in all honesty. Like I said, the more and more I use Android, the more I'm getting used to it, the more I'm liking it.
Would I recommend the OnePlus 9 Pro?
Absolutely, 100% Yes. It is a great phone. Great battery life, great cameras, it's water-resistant it just checks all the boxes.
So my recommendation if you are looking to get your first Android phone - Would be to get a OnePlus 9, as it's got so many similarities with an iPhone, that it will make that transition really smooth for you.
How smooth, depends on how tied in you are with the Apple Ecosystem. I'm still waiting for the OnePlus Watch to ship so I'm hoping to make a video on that when it does finally get here but if you are full-on Apple like I am, Macs, iPads, Watches, Buds - then it becomes difficult to switch, because, of that ecosystem.
I have to say that this is definitely the closest I've been to actually switch, and I'm also kinda not looking forward to going back to iPhone, which is a first for me.
For me, it's just those nifty things like the swiping up shortcuts that make using this an absolute pleasure.
I think now I'm used to Android a little more, I'm actually going to go and try the S21 once more. Since lots of the issues I had with it, I think I can now actually solve it.
To answer that question of all questions, am I switching? I think I am, just not to this OnePlus 9...
Don't get me wrong, this is an incredible phone - I just did like the S21 Hardware, the better notifications, as long as they actually work this time, and the Galaxy Watch as well was really nice.
Let me know down in the comments below if you are switching, or thinking of switching - What phone are you looking at?
This Android thing has kind of opened up a whole new world to me of devices. Previously it was 'What phone have you got? The iPhone 11, or the 12?'.
Now there is just so much more to explore out there - and I'm excited, like, really excited to get a taste of all the different flavours of Android and all the hardware.
If you are going to buy your own then consider using the links below which get you £10 to spend on accessories and gear, Head over to the channel and like this video if you did, subscribe if you're not already - and I'll see you in the next one! Thanks.