As much as I have raved about working with Samsung DeX, unfortunately my heart longed for the iOS ecosystem. As much as I love how customizable and useable Android is, well…it’s just hard to break out of and stay from away from the “walled garden”.
I went to my local Target and Walmart stores to see if anything was on sale. I bought the latest iPad Air, the iPhone SE, the Apple Watch series 3, BeatX headphones, a small backpack for traveling, and some third-party accessories to compliment the ecosystem. (No, not the Pencil; I don’t draw.) Because I was familiar with the ecosystem, it was an easy (re-)learning curve to get (re-)accustomed to. It took me the better part of a day to set up everything, download and sign in to all my apps, transfer my cloud stuff from Google back to iCloud, configure the settings on each device, and so on.
I only bought one adapter: a lightning-to-HDMI cable for when I want to stream video to a TV. I didn’t get an Apple TV; I’ll save that for a house warming gift for when I move out sometime after the pandemic shutdown lifts. Everything else in my life I have already had set up to utilize cloud services, or do wirelessly between devices, so no million dongles like others seem to suffer from.
There were two main problems I had with DeX: messing with cables, lack of (affordable) portable monitor selection, and more importantly lack of app optimization. I could get a portable monitor with a built-in battery, so all I had to use was an HDMI or USB-C cable to port, but those often cost north of $300. (Add touch screen capability, almost $400!) A basic $100 monitor would be no-touch, and require two cables, one for video and one for charging. Whereas with a tablet setup, I can just open up the case and start right away, this kind of setup would take at least a few minutes to assemble every time before I could do anything on my setup. And most of the apps I used on a daily basis (especially Instagram) do not take advantage of larger screen size, or if I resized the windows would crash or horribly lag.
I know tech tubers have shown how it is doable, but it’s ultimately cumbersome, and still just as expensive as just buying a phone and a tablet or laptop for heavier usage. I ultimately want that universal, one-device-for-everything setup. For now…this works.
The best part of my new system? One cable. Even my BeatsX charges with the lightning table. The only reason why I have to also carry a micro-USB cable is for the battery bank I own (which can power one or both my wireless chargers, if I’m traveling and bring them with me). But that same lightning cable charges all my devices.
I ultimately have the best of both worlds. I can still use Google’s services, while being able to use iPhone features like iMessage, AirDrop, and going almost anywhere and getting accessories for my products. I can be a part of iMessage while still text everyone else. I can leave my phone on its charger while accessing notifications and communications on my iPad or Apple Watch in another room. Shopping regrets? Nah. I’m happy to be back. Until Apple releases iMessage for Android to use (which I’d be glad to pay $5-$10/month even!)…I’m stuck. And I don’t mind it. 😇
I say I’m in the iOS ecosystem, not the Apple ecosystem. Why? I never got a MacBook; everything I own is based on iOS or is best optimized for it. Plus, everything I own utilizes the lightning cable to charge, whereas the MacBook doesn’t. There’s also serious differences between macOS and iOS/iPadOS, which is why I didn’t bother. I want one ecosystem and one cable, so my interaction is consistent, and I don’t have to rummage through a million different cables.