Monday, September 30, 2013

The one where I get a new phone

It's time for me to upgrade my phone.  Yeah!  I got an HTC 8x. 

Full disclosure: I'm politically motivated to get a Windows phone by my employer. 

Previously I had a Samsung Focus and I was relatively happy with it.  It had its "features", but it worked. 

The step up to the new phone and Windows 8 was "not great".  Damnit.  Here's the high points.

Operating System:


GPS/Mapping:

On the Focus, I could punch in an address and then tap the screen and the phone would read the next step in the directions to me.  If I tapped the screen again on t would tell me how far until the next turn.  It worked.  I would have liked to have turn by turn directions, but I adapted.
Windows mobile 8: I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that.
Shat.  Tapping the screen makes the directions disappear.   No voice directions, and the font for the directions is now tiny.  MERDE.

UPDATE: 


I installed the (free) Nokia Drive application.  It gives turn-by-turn directions, Vocally.  Yeah!  I can nail the map to 2-d and force North to always be on top.  Yeah!

Gmail Searching:

Next up, I set up my Gmail account.  That works.  Contacts, Calendar, Email: Check.  Then I searched for a message.  Wait. What? Where did my fracking search more on server button go? DAMMIT!!

Apparently this works properly for others.  Maybe its a bug.  I'll try to figure it out.

Navigation:

One other thing I liked was that I could tap a letter on the  screen and insta-scroll to the app I wanted.  Now I have to click the search box, wait for the screen keyboard, type what I want and then click the app name. Grr.

Hardware:

Protection:

So, lets move off the operating system and gripe about the platform.  I cracked a corner of the screen on my old phone, and I didn't want to do that again.  I swaddled this phone in a SG Maxx Ballistic Case and a Moshi(R) Black Anti-Glare/Anti-Fingerprint Screen Protector.  I'm happy with these.  The little rubber hinge flap for the headset hole cover looks a little flimsy.  It will probably tear off eventually.  It'll last longer if I can stop ADD fiddling with it.  I installed the screen protector a couple millimeters off center.  Oops.

Battery: 

The out-of-the box battery life on this fellow sucks.  Yesterday morning I pulled the fully charged phone off the charger at 7:15.  I used the phone for directions to take Big B to a class.  I got to the class at 8:00 and played hex war and browsed on the internet.  By 10:30 the low battery warning popped up.  Crap.

UPDATE: 

This is apparently a pretty common problem.  Turning off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Near Field Communication is supposed to help.  Today I've done a half dozen or text messages, a couple of pictures, and probably 20 minutes looking at various settings.  I'm at 78% after 6 hours off the cradle.

Headphones:

I was dissappointed that the manufacturer didn't include a set of earbuds with the phone.  It is advertised as "With Beats audio."  As it turns out that refers to a software equalizer that boosts the bass when you have headphones or bluetooth connected.  Suck.

On the subject of suck, my headphone jack doesn't work.  Argh!!!  The internet recommends that I blow in the hole and plug the headphones in and out a bunch of times.  It worked.  But really, on $200 phone that's unacceptable.  I'll probably file a warranty claim on this.

What they got right:

All righty.  Bitchathon all done.  I love the screen on the HTC.  The camera is much faster than the Samsung and you have quick access to it by holding down the camera button.  The maps function allows you to download offline maps, that's convenient for my infrequent trips to BFE.  The new OS has a music search to the bing button, that's cool.  The larger screen is fantastic.  I'm unimpressed with the re-sizable tiles, but that might grow on me over time.  They fixed the text selection, cursor positioning, and you can now copy-paste a phone number into the dialer.  Yeah!

That's it, my new traveling companion: The HTC 8x.


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