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Vlog: My favorite RV apps on my new Android phone

| Updated May 7, 2016

This week's Vlog is a Q&A from a listener to podcast Episode 86 who wanted to know about why I switched from the iPhone to the Android platform and a new Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone.

It's not an either/or phone for me. I still have and use the iPhone.  I'm a pretty loyal and entrenched Apple user. But as a tech reporter, it's pretty clear all the buzz and all the momentum are towards Android these days and especially Samsung.

So I figured I'd better be familiar with both platforms.

The video above gives my initial impressions and, specifically, my use of the AllStays Camp and RV app as the primary RV app I use. I also mention the Around Me app.

So far, every single app I had on the iPhone has an equivalent app for my S7.

The S7 Edge is a tad shorter and narrower that my iPhone 6+, but a little thicker. It's curved edge makes it easier to hold.

The screens are about the same size. But the S7 Edge is noticeably crisper and much sharper at 2560 x 1440 resolution. It is also QHD, or Quad High Definition, or four times that of 720p standard high definition. The iPhone 6S Plus screen's 1920 x 1080 resolution, period. That makes for a pixel density of 534 ppi for the Samsung and 401 ppi for the Apple.

The QHD difference in sharpness is certainly noticeable, and that's a clear advantage for the Samsung over the iPhone 6+.

But the screen improvements don't end there. Samsung's uses Super AMOLED panel technology, which boasts better contrasts and more accurate colors than the iPhone 6S Plus's LCD.

I like the fact that the S7 lets me store data like photos, videos and music on a microSD expansion card. The iPhone has no such capabilities.

Both phones have the same 12 megapixel camera spec but the Samsung is much better in low light, thanks to an f/1.7 lens. The iPhone lens is f/2.2.

Maybe because I'm so used to the iPhone, it seems smoother and more intuitive to operate than the Samsung and Android.

As far as speed goes in opening apps, my impression is the Android feels faster. Whether it really is, who knows? But it sure feels like it is on my S7.

I also think, however, that the Google Voice search feature (you just say “OK Google” and ask) is faster than Apple's Siri.

And I love the fact that I can mark email as spam on the Samsung, whereas no such feature is on the iPhone. And Verizon's Voice Mail capability also gives me a written transcript of my audio phone messages. I love that feature as there are times when I can't listen to voice messages but a transcript can easily be read.

The new S7 was very easy to set up. The folks at my Verizon retailer switched all my photos, videos and contacts from the iPhone 6+ to the Samsung with ease via a cable and a special adapter iPhone connector that comes with the S7. The music I bought from iTunes on the IPhone, also transfered over.

But it transferred over as one jumbled mess of files, music tracks, audio files, downloaded podcasts. Gone are the elaborate playlists I set up on the iPhone. I suppose there is a similar way to organize them on the S7, but I have yet to discover how. I have over 600  music tracks I use on the iPhone for my workouts and not having them easily accessible as a shuffled playlist on the new Android phone is a big disappointment.   My contacts, calendar, photos and videos, though, moved over just fine.

Here's another big disappointment: I use my iPhone to edit Vlog (video blog) reports. I have yet to find an app for Android that is as easy to use as Apple's iMovie app for the iPhone. Maybe there is, but I've tried three Android video editing apps so far and none come close. The Vlog above, for example, was done on the iPhone in iMovie. I had hoped to edit it on the S7. But the Android video editing apps I tried – Kinemaster, WeVideo and AZ Screen Recorder – were ridiculously cumbersome. Admittedly, I only spent ten or fifteen minutes with each app, trying to figure them out. But still, iMovie is so intuitive that you can be pretty much as soon as you open the app.

The S7 on the wireless a charger next to the Samsung Gear S2 watch

Here's something I like: Samsung offers a very nifty wireless Fast Charging Stand that uses inductive coupling to charge the S7 without the need to connect the phone by cable to a charger. The stand was designed to allow you to still use your device while charging, propping it up so you can navigate music, review notifications and answer calls without having to interrupt charging. Very nice.

And while I'm confessing, let me also note that I picked up the Samsung Gear S2 watch as well. Yes, I know, I have an Apple Watch already. But Verizon offered a nice deal on the watch ($200 if bought with the S7) and I really do like the interoperability between it and the phone. So far, I've found the Gear notifications easier to read than the Apple Watch, though Apple's watch has cooler looking time displays.

For right now, I'm keeping both phones and watches. It will be interesting in a month or two to see what ones I like the most.

At any rate, the RV apps I show in the video work on both platforms.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2016-05-07

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

One Response to “Vlog: My favorite RV apps on my new Android phone”

May 16, 2016at11:21 am, CarmenC said:

Thanks for the review, although I am and Apple fan I appreciate that there is a parallel universe out there that might be as good or better then the one I am in. A couple years ago you suggested an app called Track My Tour that we have been using ever since. In an effort to get some of the non-Apple offspring to use it as well, we discovered it does NOT have an Android version.

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