Just over a week ago I wrote an article about why I would never switch to Android. Needless to say, response was a little mixed. iPhone lovers enjoyed it, Android lovers hated. The temptation as a fan of one OS over the other is to remain closed-minded, and so, in an effort to try and be open, I’m going to be using the HTC One X as my main device for the next 30 days. (It’s the GSM global version, not AT&T’s LTE one.)
I will still have my iPhone switched on, but it will be used solely for receiving calls from people who don’t have the number for my One X. Since the HTC is locked to T-mobile, it wasn’t as simple as switching over my Vodafone SIM. I will not use it to text, email, play games, listen to music, browse the web or even make calls. Receiving calls only.
The first challenge when switching platforms is finding all your most used apps. So, I hunted in down the Google Play store online and searched. Disappointingly, there are still a few that don’t exist yet in what used to be called the Android Market. It’s mainly the TV catchup services that weren’t there. In the UK, all of the major channels have a service that enables you to watch the shows you missed online, or using a native app. So far, I’ve only found BBC iPlayer.
That being said, I do enjoy using the online Google Play store. Being able to access your apps from your Google home page is a great experience, and if you have more than one Android device, you can pay/download apps and tell the store which phone/tablet you want to send it to. Different to iCloud, since Automatic Downloads in iOS just downloads anything and everything you buy when switched on.
Every work day, I have my iPhone sat in a Sonoro cuboDock speaker system. It’s made for the iPhone and has a 30-pin dock connector. Fortunately it has Bluetooth and an auxiliary 3.5mm input jack too. Hooking up the One X wasn’t a big problem, I just opted for Bluetooth instead. The lack of iCloud hurt me a little here. With my iPhone I have very few albums actually stored on the device. Instead, I use iTunes Match and stream it, or use the Home Sharing feature. Needless to say, I couldn’t do either with the One X. Since HTC Sync Manager for Mac is still non-existent, I had to plug in the phone and drag and drop files in to the relevant folder on the HTC’s drive. A tedious experience for someone who’s used to the seamless nature of iTunes Match. Before anyone jumps down my throat: I don’t have access to Google Music in the UK, and I like having my own collection of music. I gave up on Spotify a long time ago, but this could force me back in.
3. Impressions – Hardware/UI
As I stated in the hardware comparison with the iPhone 4S, the HTC not only has an impressive spec sheet, it translates those in to a great experience. The display truly is first class, and the battery is much better than I expected, easily getting through a day of use.
On the user interface side, I’m really enjoying the redesigned HTC Sense. Previous versions of HTC’s custom skin very unattractive, bulky, messy and drained processing and battery power without adding any real value to the user experience. The most recent one – dare I say it – actually improves on Ice Cream Sandwich. I love the clean lines, thin typeface in the trademark clock UI, and the redesigned icons are all polished and professional. Both are traits which aren’t usually found within the typically “nerdy” Android OS.
There are other aspects I like, such as the ability to customize the home screen with widgets and app shortcuts. It certainly makes a change from the endless sea of square icons on the iPhone. I particularly like the Chrome Beta browser and GMail apps. Both are attractive, fast and laid out in a way that makes sense. Also, you don’t realize how constrictive having only one button is, until you have 3.
All in all, I’m fairly happy. The lack of iCloud support is a big issue for me, but, I’m sure I can do without it for a month. (I hope).
If you have any suggestions or questions you want me to answer during this 30 day challenge, please leave them below, or tweet me: @TiP_Cam