Why I ditched iPhones after 15 years for an Asus Zenfone 9
Back in June 2007, I was one of the first people in Monticello, Arkansas to get the new iPhone.
You can read about my euphoria here.1 Those summer and fall days of 2007 were giddy ones of technological wonder. When I used my iPhone, complete strangers would come up and ask if they could look at it. It was new. Innovative. Industry-changing.
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Before the first iPhone, I loved my Palm Tree 650. I was never a Blackberry fan. When the iPhone was introduced, I was all in. Those were fun days. Each iteration of the iPhone brought new features, and constant improvements of the iOS always made you feel like you had a “new phone” even when it was just a software upgrade.
I love my home button
I’ve written about that before. When the iPhone X was introduced, I got one quickly, thinking I’d love it. I used it for several days and sadly returned it. Since then, I’ve watched in dismay as Apple has moved progressively away from the home button, falling in love with a “because we can do it, it must be a good idea” technological approach with facial ID. I am not a fan.
That’s why I went with the route of the iPhone 6 > iPhone 7 > iPhone 8 > iPhone SE 1 & 2 (2020). I didn’t upgrade to the iPhone SE (2022) because, well… meh. It’s the same body style as the iPhone 6. Just “better camera” and “faster processor.”
Meanwhile the iPhones just kept getting bigger. I don’t want a big phone. I want a small phone. And it’s not just Apple that has gone that route. The iPhone SE is one of the smallest smartphones still on the market today.
I held my breath when Apple announced the iPhone 14s. I hoped that perhaps they’d upgrade the body style of the iPhone SE, keep the home button (or even put a touch ID in the screen or on the side. But no dice. The 14 series was “bigger” and “faster” and “better camera.” Yes, iOS 16 has a lot of great features, but my iPhone SE could run that. (I also don’t like the constant screen swiping that is required with iPhones since the X came out.)
My complaints aren’t new. In Why I think Apple is missing the iPhone mark, I confessed then that Apple was about to lose me in the phone arena. I held on for four more years.
I’ve enjoyed teasing Android users
Some of my favorite people to be snarky to have been Android users. I’ve played with their phones before, and they just felt… like imitations. There were a few nice features here and there, but the screen flow felt jerky, the case builds felt cheap, and etc.
However, within the last two years, I’ve had to take notice of the excellent phones that Samsung, Google, and Motorola have made. Yet none of those could persuade me to change at the time.
Enter 2022 and the iPhone 14 lineup. I was ready to make a switch. What phone could possibly tempt me away from my iPhone SE, knowing I like small and a touch ID? Were there any out there? I eyed the Google Pixel 7. I was intrigued by the foldable Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 and Flip4. However, it was a little-known phone that got my attention:
The Asus Zenfone 9
With a 5.9” screen, this little Android2 packs a powerful punch. It is only a smidgen “taller” than my SE, and its width is about the same. It has a handy dandy touch ID button on the side (and it also features facial ID), and the same button can be used to scroll the screen as well, making it truly one-handed.
Everyone else does an “unboxing” video; here’s mine:
I’m a green bubble guy now
I was so impressed after turning on the phone when it asked me if I wanted to import my data from my previous phone. The iPhone was an option. So I plugged in a lighting cable > USB C cable to both phones, and like magic, the Zenfone sucked my iPhone data in! My contacts, calendars, and all my apps (that were available on the Google Play store) were all downloaded and installed on the new phone! It was a very “Apple-like” experience. It just “worked.”
Getting service wasn’t as simple as plugging my SIM card into the phone. I had to go into the AT&T store and get my SIM card from my iPhone keyed to the IMEI number on the Zenfone. It didn’t “take” immediately, but a few hours later, I finally got service. I spent the better part of an evening “designing” my home screens and attempting to reproduce where my apps were on my SE.
My first text was to my family group which is my kids and their spouses. They knew I’d ordered the phone, but they didn’t know I’d gotten it. My texts were green… and the abuse started. And I loved it.
So I’m a green bubble guy now. I’m out to ruin all the group texts of my Apple friends. (I’m sure I’ll be kicked out of a few.) After 24 hours with the phone, I’m still learning the tricks, but so far so good… I know I’ll be updating you along the way with the pros and any cons I find.
Until then… think different.
You can also read the following posts for context on my old blog:
My iPhone jailbreak saga // January 16, 2008
Six hours after iPhone 2.0 // July 10, 2008 (upon the upgrade of iOS)
iPhone 2.0 officially jailbroken // July 19, 2008
First real iPhone challenger / January 8, 2009 (the Palm Pre)
Going iPhone-less: more thoughts // June 22, 2013 (part of the Digital Life Experiment series)
Hello.. can you hear me now? (back to the iPhone) // August 8, 2013
Why I got rid of my iPhone X // December 16, 2017
Why I think Apple is missing the iPhone mark // September 12, 2018
Why I bought and sold an Apple Watch in 24 hours // February 18, 2020