Considering a new daily driver
I had my current iPhone for close to three years now, and I am still not impressed by or fond of iOS, so I was considering better options for an everyday device.
I use my phone mainly for:
- Text communication (through SMS/MMS, XMPP, and Element)
- Music (via Spotify)
- Browsing the Internet
- Very few tasks and reminders
- Occasional navigation
- Some hobbies, for example, eBird
- No social media applications
- No games
- No biometrics
Some of the devices I considered:
iPhone 12 Pro (current device)
Just keeping my current device.
- I already have it.
- 5G, VoLTE support.
- Mainstream device. Applications, websites etc. are normally optimized to be used with it.
- Great camera(s).
- Microphone and camera usage indicator.
- Blue message bubbles. Just kidding, I don't care, but I'm baffled by people who do.
- Not many simple and useful apps, whether FOSS or not. Many apps require unnecessary accounts and hide basic features behind purchases.
- Horrible notification system. It's too easy to miss something since there is no LED, no top icon row (occupied by the notch), and all notifications are moved "below" the lock screen after the screen is unlocked.
- Unpredictable UI. Still haven't figured out how app switcher get ordered when switching between several applications, or whether it's swipe up or down to close full-screen view.
- No adblocker that works on browsers other than Safari.
- No easy synchronization. AFAIK syncing photos requires using iCloud, because photos are somehow not considered files on iOS, so they cannot be synchronized via Syncthing.
- Creepy automatic photo scanning and facial recognition that cannot be turned off.
PinePhone (beta convergence edition)
PinePhone software is getting pretty robust now, and I was considering it for a while.
- Ideological (hipster) reasons. Linux phone running mostly free and open source software.
- 4G, VoLTE support.
- QWERTY keyboard with customizable firmware.
- Easy integration and synchronization between phone and desktop. Convergence, SSH, Syncthing, etc.
- Possible to run some Android apps via Waydroid.
- Hopefully will motivate me to develop some software for Linux.
- Short battery life. Should be somewhat alleviated by the keyboard case with additional battery.
- Reports of instability. Will get better with time, hopefully.
- No instant notifications except calls and SMS while device is in sleep. Might be possible to change.
- Reports of calls being missed. Not a critical issue for me.
- Poor camera quality. No video support as of right now.
- Unlikely to be supported by any major service provider, application developer, corporation, etc.
Unihertz Titan Slim
An interesing Android smartphone with a physical keyboard very much in spirit of BlackBerry.
- Clean Android 11 OS. Unofficial LineageOS builds are available.
- 4G support.
- QWERTY keyboard. Vertical, too, which makes it a less awkward for calls.
- FOSS software available through F-Droid or sideloading.
- Specific other apps available if I need them.
- Synchronization through Syncthing
- Notification LED
- Google Play Services.
- Lesser known, lesser supported device.
- No mention of VoLTE support. More so for future-proofing than for current need.