So it’s nearly 2 years since I got my iPhone 3GS, and I decided I wanted to change. Not because the old 3GS was feeling old – it still felt snappy and the battery lasted 2 days. What made me change was those ever-so-annoying “if you don’t have an iPhone” adverts. The thought of being associated with a brand that came across as self-obsessed and narcissistic had slowly been eating away at me, and when I read this story my decision was made.
Compared to iOS, Android has a very “home brewed” feeling to it. The interface is much more complex and far less intuitive. On the flip side however, that means everything is a lot more configurable. In this respect, Android reminds me of Windows Mobile and Symbian more so than it does iOS, I can schedule my work email to only push new items during work hours for example – something I missed from my Nokia, that the iPhone did not offer. The home screen is far superior to that of the iPhone, but it falls down on simple things: Renaming a folder was surprisingly difficult to work out, it turned out I needed to click and hold on the folder name in the folder’s popup. Dragging widgets is awkward as you can’t seem to have more than one floating at once, so rearranging them when the screen is full is impossible.
While the software does have a “rough and ready” feel to it, this has benefits as there is virtually no vendor lock-in. I managed to stream music from my DLNA NAS box quite easily. Apple will let you do this, but only within their ecosystem. There is free satnav (although the phone doesn’t come with a carkit), voice input and a whole host of good quality apps available from the app store. One really useful feature is HTC Sense Online, which lets you locate your phone, make it ring, and lock it remotely – great when you think you may have lost it.
I am disappointed with the battery life. My iPhone (when new) would be at about 70% at 5:30pm when I left work, with average use. The Desire S was at about 40%. It is doing a lot more however, and just proves how little battery technology has improved in the last few years.
Part 2 of review to come soon.