Tuesday, 4 August 2009

HTC Magic as a default phone - day two

Yet another day with HTC Magic as my default mobile phone, as I must admit I'm starting to get used to it. Even battery was behaving rather well overnight this time (99% to just 90%). Overall, Magic is very pleasant device, and quite frankly I really enjoy using it on daily basis. It has very nice look & feel, clean, crisp and sensitive, yet not over-sensitive, touch screen, and generally that is a quite appealing piece of hardware. However, there's one thing I really really hate. Text input. Oh, yes...

As I mentioned already, I am a huge fan of full qwerty, hardware keyboards - especially in Blackberry-style form factor, with keyboard straight on the front of device, just under the main screen (phones with side-sliding keyboards are OK, but tend to be a bit heavy and clunky, and I'm just too old to carry clunky devices around). Having said that, I'm probably not the most objective person on this case, but let me try. :)

Huge fans of on-screen touchy-style keyboards will certainly admire the predictive text and spell correction features of Android's keypad. I must admit, it's pretty damn good, most automated word predictions and on-the-fly corrections are spot-on, also adding missing words to the dictionary is easy-peasy. There's also that vibrating feedback at each keypress which adds an extra value to the pack. The whole keypad works even better in landscape mode, and to be honest, it's actually quite accurate even for fat fingers. So, it's not that bad after all, right?

Well, yes - typing on the keyboard that only exists on the screen works pretty nice, even for hardcore qwerty-junkies like me. But there's only one condition - I must sit-/standstill and pay the full attention to the phone while typing. When I try to type something quickly while on the move, say a text message or a calendar entry - it's just plain rubbish. Writing a single sentence usually takes ages, and is simply unbearable for me. On top of that, as I often type in Polish, I can't always use benefits of predictive text, as my Magic doesn't speak Polish very well, however quite fortunately keypad supports Polish-specific characters (although the way to input those is a little weird). I wonder whether I would get more attracted to on-screen keyboard if I could use the benefits of Polish dictionary and spell correction? Hmm...

It's a bit shame that text input is so rubbish for me, as text messaging application is very nice and it shouts 'please use me, use me' all the time. Seriously, handling messages in Android is very good. Threaded conversations with a single contact (yes, plain and old for iPhone people out there, but still nice feature for me!), seamless integration between SMS and MMS type of messages, and beautifully implemented delivery reports. Yet another example of Android's sleek user interface of typical feature. Well done. Just that text input is so wrong. :)

Following yesterday's post, I've tried to set-up a Truphone Anywhere application, but no luck - seems like Truphone doesn't let to re-use the existing account on different device, which is a bit of shame, as I don't want to be hassled with setting up a different account and possibly topping it up just for a sole purpose of testing it with Android. Well, that's life I guess.

Anyway, that's about it for day two. I truly tried to get friends with on-screen keyboard, but well - no luck so far. Stay tuned for more very personal impressions of Android & me experiment.

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