I have switched to a phone running Android from my trusty iPhone SE. The iPhone SE was getting long in the tooth, specifically, the performance of the battery had significantly degraded. An after market battery was certainly an option but I was relucktant to try one because I was unable to find a suitable business who would change the battery for me.
The first thing I had to deal with was choosing the phone. In Apple land, you have a set of narrow options. I would go for the iPhone 11. I believe in buying the latest whenever I posibally can. The iPhone 11 was the only phone that fit my budget. In Android land, I was jolted awake by the sheer number of hardware configurations. None of them were just right and before you ask, it is not easy to assemble your own phone. The Google pixel was the obvious choice but the Google pixel 4 is not coming to India. I did think about the Google pixel 3a and this was my first choice. However, I was advised to wait since at that time, the Google pixel 4 was about to be released in a month. I wanted the following from a phone.
- Stock Android so that I could get a bloat free experience and get updates rapidly.
- A finger print sensor.
- The ability to handle 2 physical SIM cards because in India, e-sims are not well supported.
- Fast charging.
- A good radio and clear call quality.
- A form factor which was like the iPhone SE
- A camera that could handle low light conditions. This may yield better object recognition and OCR results in places like restaurants
- A good GPS receiver
- A good battery.
I went all over the place. I wanted a powerful processor and a large amount of ram. I finally settled on the Nokia 9 pureview.The GPS chip in this phone is good and it can handle 2 physical sim cards without compromising on its internal storage.
For the gps, see the below link.
Does nokia 9 have a super accurate gps chip … | Nokia 9 PureView …
The setup experience
I was somewhat familiar with Android because I was using it on my Moto g-4play phone as well as on my vision 800 glasses. However, these devices ran old versions of Android. I read and asked as many questions as I could and took the plunge.
I was under the impression that inserting the sim cards before first boot was a good idea so that the phone could activate fully. My wife helped me find the sim injector tool and I then pushed it into the hole at the top. I knew that the hole was at the top by reading about the Nokia 9 pureview. The problem was that nothing happened. I read once more and people made references to a sliding sim tray. I then tried pushing harder and out popped the tray. This is where my more dexterous wife came in. She lined up the sim cards and inserted the tray.
I had already charged the phone. I gave it 2 hours to charge fully. When I plugged it in, there was no indication that the phone was charging. I felt the power brick go warm so I knew something was happening.
The phone has a volume button on its right side, a power button below the volume button, a USB type c slot at the back and a speaker slot on the right of the USB C slot. I felt the small vibration as the phone started. I waited for a minute I think or may be less and placed 2 fingers on the screen to start talkback. No speech. I gave the phone a good 3 minutes. I then powered off the phone and this time, pressed down the up and down volume keys. In about a minute and a half, I felt vibrations on the phone. I then released the volume keys and increased the volume. Talkback was on.
I then had to follow the prompts. I thought I would have trouble with entering my wireless key because it has a few special characters but the experience was quite smooth. The phone downloaded a number of updates. One of them was about 1GB. I had difficulty in tracking the progress of updates because the screen would lock and I had no way of instructing talkback to report progress at a given interval.
Text messages from my phone providers also came in leading to additional chatter. I provisioned the settings from both providers without any trouble.
The rest of the process was quite easy except for the language selection when I landed up on a strange screen with only numbers and one button on it. I hit the back button and was back.
The finger print sensor
I continue having difficulties with this sensor. The main problem is finding the sensor. Talkback does not speak the prompts automatically so I had to swipe to find out what to do. i managed to find the sensor due to the additional vibration that the phone makes when the sensor is triggered. I still needed sighted assistance to confirm the sensor’s location. One way I have found to locate the sensor with reasonable approximation is to orient yourself with the power button. The sensor is about one finger width or about an inch below the power button. It is approximately in line with the USB C port.
The face id
The face id was easier to train as compared to the finger print sensor. However, it did not work in situations where there was bright light like sunlight.
A word about applications
I have found equivalents to most of the apps on my iPhone. Moreover, the vOICe which is my primary app for seeing the world around me, works flawlessly.
I continue customizing my phone and becoming familiar with applications. I am better at using the finger print sensor too. Android is looking very promising.
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New android user