Monday, 3 August 2009

HTC Magic as a default phone - day one

Magic did wake me up this morning. Good. What I wasn't very impressed about was the battery charge level. From 99% at 11:30pm the night before it went all the way down to 79% in less than 8 hours later, with auto-sync feature turned off (!). What was it doing all night? Don't know, but apparently not sleeping. I need to review the idea of applications like Facebook and/or Twitter clients running constantly in background. However, quite fortunate thing about the power supply in HTC Magic is that re-charging the battery is actually quite fast.

The second thing that needs an extra thought is the custom ROM I mentioned the post earlier. Looks like it's still kinda work-in-progress, as I've been getting loads of hiccups and 'application not responding' notifications while on the way to work on the Tube, featuring typical usage like web browsing, listening to music etc. Really annoying experience and I recall that using the original stock ROM was waaay more pleasant and stable. On the other hand, re-flashing the original ROM means I'd need to reinstall all applications from the scratch and re-set all the necessary settings all over again. Yikes! That's the thing I really hate doing.

Now, let's stop moaning, and say something positive about the phone, as there's a lot to say, actually. First thing, I really love Android's notification system. Perfectly unobtrusive and user-friendly. When a text message pops in, it doesn't immediately overlay the current activity on screen, forcing user to break the flow. It just sits nicely in the notification bar, waiting for further attention. Really, I mean really neat. The only thing that I miss a little here are context shortcuts from the notification bar in regards to all those 'control' icons like battery (that should have a shortcut to power settings), 3G/WiFi (should go to wireless settings), alarm clock (alarm/time/date settings) and so on. But these are very little things, quite likely to be improved with future Android editions to be fair, and all-in-all the notification system is a kind of thing in Android that other platforms could learn from.

User interface of Android in general is pretty damn good - it's very intuitive and easy to use. I've nearly instantly knew how to use it, just a while after switching my Magic on for the very first time (hint: MENU key is the key, don't be afraid to use it). Interface also looks very clean, lightweight and smooth. It just looks sexy, as modern kids would probably say. Obviously there are some oddities, like red 'hang-up' button that puts the device on sleep immediately, instead of going back to previous or home screen like most phones would do. There are also a few inconsistencies in various places, but let's forgive it, as in general Android's UI is pretty damn good.

It's not that perfect, tough.

Dialling numbers from contacts is one of the things I really really need to get used to. On E71 I've had a choice of quick dialling by press-and-hold a digit on numeric keypad or just typing the contact's name on the qwerty keyboard straight off the home screen. Not a chance on the Magic tough - don't forget it's all touchy-style, baby! So, to dial a single number stored in my contacts list, I need to get through few screens; first get to contacts list, then find a person by finger scrolling or clicking Search button and typing it on on-screen keyboard (correcting couple of typos in-between), then getting into a finally-found contact, and then tapping a selected number to finally dial it. Bloody hell, that's frustrating! There's an option to ease the pain by placing Contacts or Starred (aka favourite contacts) icon on the desktop. Also, pressing and holding Menu button on the home screen, brings up the on-screen keyboard, that I could use to search for a contact - seems like a perfect solution, just like on E71, right? But for some odd reason, there's a visible glitch in loading the contacts list while typing, resulting in first or more typed letters just missing, completely wasting the user experience. Doh! Well, all-in-all, dialling a single number is kind of a pain. Oh, and once the call is ended, Android gets me back to the previous screen - a single contact details, that is. Why would I need to be here again, once I've successfully finished my call??? Google knows...

On the plus side, I must admit that sound quality of voice calls is quite impressive. I am not an audiophile-kind-of-guy, but I can surely tell that sound is loud, clear and crisp.

Speaking of voice calls. As I place calls from UK to Poland from time to time (including one today, which brought this thought), I miss a VoIP/SIP integration in my Magic. It's not that doomed after all, as there's a Sipdroid application available free from Android Market. It's designed to place VoIP calls with specified SIP provider, and it does that job well. What it doesn't, is a deep system integration, that would allow me to choose a call type (GSM/VoIP) easily before placing it. A little annoying, but at least it works. What I also miss from E71 in regards to cheap international calling, is Truphone application. There is Truphone Anywhere application on the Market too, which most likely is the exact thing I'm looking for, but I haven't managed to get it working yet (fingers crossed).

I've been listening to music on my Magic this morning on the Tube. Music player is rather basic, no equalizer functionality whatsoever, but the sound quality is good and quite loud - at least while listening via 3.5mm jack adapter, haven't tried with Bluetooth A2DP adapter yet.

Wow, that's quite a lot, as for just day one, but there's still a lot to be said, both good and bad about my little experiment with Android device. Let's save it for later days tough, I will try to post here regularly, so please stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Correction......
    As far as The red button putting to sleep as opposed to bringing it to homescreen.........There is another button exclusively to come back the left hand side - "Home Button".
    So u need to get use to it.