So, this will be my final installment on my 30 days challenge with the latest and greatest Android phone. My last one was only a few days back, but since tomorrow is Sunday, I decided to end it today. After all, it’s one day short, I never work on Sundays – and you deserved to hear my final thoughts and conclusion.
If I could sum up my thoughts in a sentence, it would sound very similar to almost every other Android experience I’ve had since switching to iOS a few years back (G2, Nexus One and Galaxy Nexus): Although the handset and hardware “wowed” me at first, after a few weeks, I just get bored and frustrated. Why?
1. No Apps
I said this plenty of times during the course of the challenge, and it’s a recurring theme. The Google Play store is loaded with hundreds of thousands of apps, and I still haven’t found a single one that’s better than the same app on the iPhone. Being made to be used on different devices with unique capabilities means that developers often test their software on hundreds of phones and tablets. Not being able to tailor-make it for two device screen sizes like they can with iOS, means that there’ll always be something lacking. Almost every great app appears on iPhone before Android (if it appears on Google’s market at all).
Ever since I got my first iPhone, I’ve never had it randomly restart/reboot itself. That’s 5 iPhones in the space of 3 years. The One X has done it at least 2-3 times a week since new. Sometimes it’s the hardware design and poor button layout that’s caused it, other times it’s just a random occurrence. Not to mention the number of times an app has crashed, or the phone has freezed while trying to open a simple email attachment.
3. Slowing down
Initially, I was amazed at how speedy the phone was. It handled everything I could throw at it and more. Towards the beginning of this past week, it started to get sluggish. So, as anyone would, I opened the task manager in the settings to close down some running apps – only to find there were none apart from the browser, which wasn’t doing anything particularly intensive. And yet, over two thirds of the RAM was being used, for just being on. That’s more RAM than my iPhone has access to, just to have the phone powered up.
I know, so far this article seems like one big complaint against HTC (or to some of you, it may seem like a swipe at Android). It’s neither. These are my experiences, and so now – to the good news and the things I really enjoyed.
1. Chrome Beta and Gmail
Despite being a little buggy and frustrating at times, I love the user interface of Google’s own beta browser. It’s quick, intuitive and much easier to use and better looking than Safari on iOS. That’s why I was so excited when I heard the news that Chrome could be coming to the App Store very soon.
2. The Display
The HTC’s huge Super LCD display makes the iPhone’s seem pale, lifeless and insignificant. However much I love the Retina display, the One X’s 4.7″ panel dwarfs it, and reproduces blacks and colors much more vividly. To me it says that the next iPhone’s screen does need to be larger, and it needs better color vividness and a higher contrast ratio. The One X’s panel also blends seamlessly with the hardware, thanks to the slightly curved edges. And the icons all seem to float on the surface – unlike iDevice’s where the actual display feels a little distant from the touch sensitive panel on the surface.
I love the shape and feel of the One X. Although I still feel like it’s a little on the large size, I really enjoy the design ethos, and the lightness. I’d happily swap my glass and Aluminum iPhone for a unibody polycarbonate one, if it meant that the phone was more comfortable to hold.
Would I live with one?
Short answer: no. My entire digital life revolves around Apple, and, to have anything other than an iOS running smartphone is counterproductive. If I had a windows PC, and didn’t own anything Apple branded, and had to choose a smartphone that wasn’t an iPhone, the One X would definitely be my first choice. It’s easily the best Android phone out now, and will be even when the GSIII is launched. Having spent time with both the One X and the new Galaxy, I’d say that HTC’s device is far superior, and Samsung are approaching insanity when it comes to loading a phone up with non-essential gimmickry.
What are your thoughts on the latest Android handsets? Do any tempt you to switch from iOS, or would you sooner have no phone than a Google powered one? Tweet: @TiP_Cam