Can a week living with Android convince an iOS die-hard to make the switch?

Could you ditch iOS for Android?
Can TechRadar's official top phone convince Gary to leave iOS forever?

Hello. My name's Gary, and I have given Apple a lot of money. I've owned first, second and fourth generation iPads and the iPad mini, and between us my wife and I have owned every iPhone.

I've amassed an enormous library of apps and a few accessories, and I'm perfectly happy with all of it - most of the time. But there's a little voice that nags. Are iOS devices really the best devices for me?

Until fairly recently, the answer was yes: before Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Android won on the customisation front and lost on hardware, apps and media.

However, that's changed: Android phones have topped our Best phones in the world list for some time now, and devices such as Google's Nexus 10 are genuinely good - and aggressively priced - bits of kit.

So is the grass now greener on the Google side? If it is, will it cost me a fortune to change platforms? There's only one way to find out. Lock up the Apples!

Hardware and software

The brief is simple: swap my iOS devices for Android ones and get on with my life. I've swapped them for an HTC One, our current favourite phone, and a Google Nexus 7, and I'll use them for all the things I normally use iOS for.

I have mixed feelings about the Nexus 7. It's well made and represents excellent value for money, but coming to it from an iPad mini feels like a massive downgrade. Where the iPad mini feels like a small tablet, the Nexus feels like a really big and heavy phone - and its proportions don't really work in landscape orientation, which is how I prefer to hold my tablets.

Could you ditch iOS for Android?

The Nexus feels small, especially in landscape mode

The screen isn't as nice, text is sometimes blurry in the browser and the device feels rather underpowered: there's a noticeable lag between tapping something and the Nexus responding.

It feels surly, heaving a silicon sigh as if it doesn't really approve of my choices, and in some apps, such as Twitter, choppy scrolling gave me motion sickness. I grabbed a Nexus 4 to see if it's similarly afflicted and it isn't, so perhaps it's worth waiting for the imminent second generation tablet.

Could you ditch iOS for Android?

Shooting black dogs is hard, but the HTC copes admirably

I've got no reservations about the HTC One, though: I'm completely sold. The latest Sense UI is really nice, the large size doesn't feel any odder than the iPhone 5 and the screen is superb for text, photos and videos.

Performance is silky smooth, the multi-shot camera is great (although I think the iPhone takes better photos in daylight) and - hurrah! - the headphone output is much, much louder than the latest iPhone, which doesn't adequately power my stupidly expensive headphones. At last I can hear quiet acoustic tracks on the bus.

It's not a bad-looking beast either. It's much prettier and more desirable than a Samsung Galaxy, and its finish doesn't look like it'll suffer from the terrible scarring my iPhone 5's anodised aluminium back managed to pick up, despite being ensconced inside a protective case.

Could you ditch iOS for Android?

This happened inside a protective case. The HTC's back isn't as scratch-prone

The HTC's micro USB port means it won't play nice with my car charger or speaker dock. Replacing those would set me back around £40 all-in, since both the charger and dock are currently cheapies. I'd also need to replace my Apple TV box with an Android-compatible streamer such as the WD TV Play, which would set me back around £70.

I didn't particularly like Android Gingerbread or Honeycomb, but Android Jelly Bean is great - especially in its HTC-infused flavour, although stock Jelly Bean is friendly enough too. I particularly like multiple accounts on tablets, data sharing between apps, the Music app, notifications and the easy access to key settings such as Bluetooth and Airplane mode - something that iOS 7 has adopted.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.