Since Pokémon Go launched Raids last month, I've participated in well over a hundred. I've done several solo, but most have been in groups — sometimes up to 30 people at a time.
It's a really great, really cooperative and community-building experience. You see people from all teams working together, and with all phones. iPhone and Android. And you hear a lot of complaints. Mostly about Android.
Battling the battery
Battery life is one of the biggest complaints. It's not uncommon to see a half-dozen or more Android phone owners with cables running to the battery packs in their pockets or yelling for everyone to start because they're at 13% battery life and plummeting.
Sure, Pokémon Go hits all phone batteries hard. It just seems to hurt Android phones the most.
Losing to lag
Lag is another frequent complaint. Raids have countdown timers, and, when they go off, everyone is supposed to start together. It's not atypical for Android phone owners to start a few endless-feeling seconds later. Sometimes they're just delayed and find themselves stuck battling on when iPhone owners have finished. Other times they simply lose the time and don't get to contribute as much as everyone else.
In a large group that's not terminal. In a small group and especially solo, it can be the difference between winning and losing.
You often hear Android owners remind each other to reboot or restart the game before joining a Raid as well.
Driving the decision
More and more often these days, others players have been asking me about iPhone. Especially why I don't seem to be suffering from the same problems they are. And more and more, they're contemplating making the switch.
One player I met the other day was on his newish LG phone and his girlfriend was on her iPhone SE. He kept going on and on about how much faster, more reliable, and long-lasting her tiny phone was compared to his monster.
(It's also not uncommon for the hardcore players to complain about Poké Ball burn-in on their OLED displays — something I hope Apple manages to mitigate if the rumors are true about the upcoming iPhone 8 display.
The difference between winning and losing
None of this might sound like a big deal to some gamers right now, but with Legendary Raids and Player vs. Player on the horizon, it could become one and soon.
Especially for higher-level players. I saw this on Reddit earlier this morning. It's from a level 40 — currently the highest level in the game — player and his attempt to do one of the hardest challenges currently in the game: Solo a Flareon Raid.
It's not just old Android vs. new iPhone, either. Even old iPhone seems to outperform new Android.
To put that in context, Google's current flagship phone can't keep up with Apple's previous generation — or the game.
It's also not just Raid Battles. From a Reddit thread titled PoGo+ behavior is far inferior on Android compared to iOS:
For those not familiar with the game mechanics, 48 is a significant number, working out to a minimum of 144 candy and 4800 stardust — the stuff you need to evolve and power-up your Pokémon.
Time to switch
I tried Pokémon Go on my Pixel briefly and it was annoying after having used it on an iPhone 7 Plus. If I'd never played it on an iPhone, I'd just blame Pokémon Go developer Niantic for all the lag — and, yeah, they're responsible for an enormous amount of bugs and performance issues on both Android and iOS.
But having played it on iOS, both solo and in groups, it's wicked obvious that part of the blame also rests on Android.
And since you have no control over Niantic, all that's left is to exercise the control you do have over the phone you use.
Don't take my word for it, though. If you don't have an iPhone, see if you can borrow one from a friend, log into your Pokémon Go account, and give playing and Raiding a try.
I'm guessing it will more than make you want to switch to iPhone.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.