Android is the most popular mobile operating system around the world. It has changed beyond recognition since its launch in 2008, and is now powering some of the best phones ever made.
But what makes it so popular, and what problems still need to be fixed? We take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of Android.
Top 5 Advantages of an Android Smartphone
The benefits of using an Android smartphone are mostly subjective to an individual’s needs, but the general ones are as follows.
1. You Can Sideload Apps From Outside the Play Store
If you can't find the app that you're looking for in the Google Play Store, you can bypass it with just a few taps on your phone settings, depending on your device.
Having an Android smartphone gives you the liberty to install non-Play Store apps. You are not limited to installing only the best Android applications on Play Store but rather from third parties as well.
The iOS system inhibits you from installing unknown sources, so you're always limited to what Apple does and doesn't want you to use.
2. Lots of Hardware Innovations
Devices with Android systems have numerous hardware configurations to offer to consumers. You get your choice of processors, battery sizes, amounts of RAM or storage, and support for removable storage like the use of memory cards.
There are options that cover a wide range of sizes, shapes, and feature sets. Most hardware innovations come from Android, too, including bendy phones, in-screen fingerprint scanners, and pop-up selfie cameras.
3. Expandable Memory
Filling up your storage is not a problem for many Android phones with its support for expandable memory. Through removable storage such as memory cards, Android users can conveniently put additional memory storage to support their needs. You can save your favorite apps to a memory card, as well as photos and videos.
Not all phones support extra memory, though, like the Samsung Galaxy S21. If your chosen model doesn't, make sure it has enough storage for your needs when you buy it.
Widgets are for those apps or information you want to know right away, such as a calendar and its reminders, weather forecasts, relevant news headlines, and a lot more. Some are for grabbing info quickly; others offer convenient controls, such as for your media apps.
Although iOS smartphones have widgets, Android's are a lot more complex and capable. They allow you to access important information with the least amount of scrolling and tapping.
5. Diverse Phone Options
As you know, Android is an operating system that caters to a broad range of smartphone brands across the globe. This means that there are a wide variety of devices to choose from.
Each brand offers distinct hardware and features to reflect its brand and target markets. Android smartphones vary in size, phone storage, camera pixels, battery life, style, and more. No matter what your budget, or how big a screen you need, you'll find an Android device that suits.
Top 5 Disadvantages of an Android Smartphone
Knowing the disadvantages of using Android smartphones may take you on a different side of the road. The following are the most unlikeable characteristics of an Android system.
1. Hardware Quality is Mixed
You may think "the more the merrier" when it comes to choices; however, it may cost you a lot to find a compact and solid Android smartphone where all the features and hardware you want are already there.
With Android’s vast partnerships with different smartphone brands, it's hard to maintain quality control. There are lots of brands you've never heard, often with good reason.
Some Android smartphones may look like a bargain deal, but may not be all that great. Many cheaper phones don't last much more than a year, either because of limitations with the hardware or because the software is no longer being updated.
2. You Need a Google Account
If you have no Google account, why use an Android smartphone? You can’t make the most of your phone without a Google account. It requires the usage of your account, most especially in installing applications, downloading content, or other activities you do—it needs to be backed up by your Google account.
The iOS phone system uses the Apple ID to authenticate activities on the smartphone. As the Android operating system is made by Google, its services are pretty much tied into it thoroughly. And true, most people are fine with this. But some people would prefer to use a phone without Google.
3. Updates Are Patchy
While Apple supports its iPhones for years, most Android devices will get just one or two new operating system updates at the most. Many cheaper models will not get any at all.
While OS updates are nice to have, a bigger problem is when phones stop getting—or never receive—security updates. Android officially receives monthly security patches to fix any vulnerabilities in the system. Some phone makers roll these out every month or two, but once your phone no longer gets updates it could quickly become a security risk.
4. Many Ads in Apps
Another thing that annoys users is the popup advertisements on Android, most especially on low-cost ones. Whenever you open the Play Store, there are ads everywhere. A few cheaper phones might even display ads in the notifications.
It's a trade off. iOS apps often have less ads, but also more of a culture where paying for apps is accepted. On Android, the trend is much more towards getting apps for free.
5. They Have Bloatware
Most Android device manufacturers install their own set of apps on their phones. Sometimes these duplicate functions that already exist. For example, some Android brands like Samsung have their own mail app where they also have the Gmail app upon purchase, or a different browser when Chrome is the standard.
You can't uninstall these apps in most cases, either, though you can disable built-in apps that you don't need. It won't reclaim any storage space, but will help to clear up any clutter from your apps drawer.
Android's Pros and Cons
Android is the most popular mobile operating system for a good reason. It's easy to use, has millions of apps, and is packed with innovation. And with prices ranging from $100 to $1000 or more, it's accessible to anyone on any budget.
It isn't perfect, of course, and has flaws that we'd love to see fixed in future. But the platform's flexibility means that even if you do have problems in the meantime, they're easy to fix.
This comprehensive Android troubleshooting guide will help you solve the most common Android phone problems.