After using Google's new Pixel 3 for the last several weeks, it's hard not to want one of my own. One problem: it's hard to give up my iPhone.
After using Google's new Pixel 3 for the last several weeks, it's hard not to want one of my own. The camera is sensational, I like the size and the design, and the newest Android 9.0 operating system feels intuitive and fast.
There's only one problem: I'm having a really hard time giving up my iPhone.
Listen, I'm not an Apple superfan. I like Apple products a lot, and I use them in several different areas of my life. But I currently use an iPhone 6S, not the latest iPhone you can buy, and it's only the second iPhone I've ever owned — before that, I used Android phones.
So it's not an Apple obsession that keeps me loyal, and it's not because I think iPhones are superior to their competitors in every single way. In fact, there are other phones on the market that do some things better than an iPhone.
But there are a few key reasons I've stuck with Apple the last few years…reasons that are making it quite difficult to make the switch.
Here are the four factors making it tough to give up my iPhone for a Pixel 3:
1. The Pixel 3 charges over USB-C. That's great, but it still hasn't become standard.
While USB-C is steadily gaining in popularity, it's not ubiquitous yet — and that makes it harder to choose the Pixel 3.
USB-C is generally considered superior to other connection methods, including Apple's Lightning port, because it's sort of a jack-of-all-trades: Not only can a USB-C cable charge supported smartphones, tablets, and laptops alike, but it's also a standard connector for a new breed of accessories like monitors and headphones.
Smartphone makers are beginning to adopt USB-C, but it's been a slow process, and it can make things tricky if you have a phone with a USB-C port. For example: say you're at a friend's house for a party and you need to charge your phone. It's almost guaranteed that among a group of people, someone will have an iPhone charger. But try asking for a USB-C charger, and you're likely to be met with blank stares.
This can be an issue in public spaces, too. Thankfully, in the case of the Pixel 3, it now supports wireless charging, and you can increasingly find supported charging pads in spaces like airports and Starbucks.
It's hard to find a USB-C port, too
There's one more issue that I've found with USB-C charging: in the case of Apple's Lightning charging cables, the end that connects to the charging brick is the old-school USB-A connector. At this point, USB-A is everywhere, like most laptops and even your car; if you need to charge your phone in a hurry, you have options.
But the cable included with the Pixel 3 is USB-C on both ends, which means if you don't have access to a wall outlet connector, you need to find a USB-C port to plug the cable into.
For me personally, this means I can't charge the Pixel 3 using my MacBook Air, or using the USB-A ports that are built into my desk at work. It's a super-specific problem, to be sure, but a problem for me nonetheless.
2. I love using Apple's iMessage too much to give it up.
If you ask any iPhone user what's keeping them on iPhone, a lot of them will tell you that it's iMessage.
What makes iMessage so special for me is two-fold. For one, I love that it works even when I'm out of the country. I don't travel internationally often, but having the option to message, uninterrupted, with friends and family — the majority of whom are iPhone users — is a huge perk. I don't need to download a second app or force all of my friends to switch over to Facebook Messenger while I'm in Canada or Europe.
The other reason I love iMessage is because of how it seamlessly integrates with my other devices, like my laptop and iPad. I can get my messages on my laptop at work, or enable them on my iPad at home. This can be overkill sometimes, no doubt, but it's a great backup in case anything happens to your iPhone (trust me, I know this from experience).
It's worth noting that Google created something called "Messages for web," which lets you send and receive text messages from any web browser. It's not quite the same as what Apple has, but it's a start.
3. Apple products work so well together, and I'm pretty embedded in the Apple ecosystem.
The incredible thing, the thing that no other company has really mastered yet, is how well Apple products work together.
I don't even own that many Apple products, but I test and use a lot of them, and it's easy to be seduced by how seamlessly everything works. Setting up a new iPhone using your old iPhone only takes a minute, connecting AirPods or a HomePod to your iOS device is quick and easy, and Apple Watch and the iPhone work together beautifully. I don't want to be impressed by it, but I am.
That same smooth, seamless transition between products doesn't work quite as well when it comes to other hardware companies. While Google's software works beautifully across every app, its hardware products don't always work perfectly together. I have four Google Home devices in my house, and it can be a struggle to get them to work together as a family.
4. Gestures are subtly different on the Pixel 3 (and Android in general) and that's tough to adapt to as an iPhone user.
When you've been using any phone for long enough, switching to a totally new interface is going to be a challenge. As an iPhone user, I don't quite feel comfortable or natural using an Android device, even one as straightforward as the Pixel 3.
I've been using the Pixel 3 for a few weeks now, and I still can't get used to the app switcher or the way you pull up the app drawer. Plus, I always struggle with the fact that you can't swipe in and out of pages the way you can on an iPhone — for example, when I'm looking at an Instagram photo, I have to physically press the back button to get back to the person's account, rather than just swiping out of the image.
This is a really small problem to have, I know, and it's certainly one I could get over with time. But if it's such a challenge to get used to — and I switch between Android and iOS fairly often as part of my job — it makes me wonder if iOS really is just more natural and more intuitive to use.
So until I can get over these hurdles, however minor, I won't be switching to the Pixel 3 — but it's such an incredible phone, I'm open to being convinced otherwise.