photo added in by Judie during editing
I am now on day 4 of using my redfly/epix combo as my exclusive personal computer, so I thought I’d put an update up of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
-Opera Mobile is excellent in almost all situations (more on that later). It renders pages smoothly, and on WiFi is almost as fast as my Asus EEE 2G Surf. Granted, I think my first computer (a Packard Bell running windows 3.1!) was faster than the EEE, but that’s a different story.
-I found myself pushing off doing things so I could use the Redfly. Not just big things like emails, but little ones like adding tomorrow’s task list, or just balancing my checkbook in Splash Money. The experience on the Redfly is just that smooth, especially over USB. And it is nice to have the bigger screen. Since I wasn’t going to take care of anything on my MacBook, I found that I was better at doing things on the go with the Redfly since I did not have the excuse of “I’ll send that email/update that appointment/check that website later when I am at my laptop.”
-The Epix has been a champ, handling everything I threw at it. Streaming radio, installing apps just to see if they scaled to the Redfly, IM on the go, email…it’s been great. These are all things I use even when I’m not forcing myself into windows-mobile only world, but even more so now. And the battery life has been surprisingly good. I have Flexmail on IMAP IDLE all day, I have exchange set up for Google Calendar and Contacts, I send between 30-50 texts a day and spend around 40-60 minutes on the phone, usually on a Bluetooth headset. And Bluetooth is on all day. At the end of the day, I have on average ~30-40% battery life left. If you’re going to force yourself to use a phone all day for everything, the Epix won’t let you down.
-Lack of video support in the Redfly makes life difficult. I can’t really knock the Redfly for it, since I knew when I bought it that multimedia was not a strong point. It’s still frustrating though. I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve watched a full TV show or movie on my MacBook, but having to rely on the Epix’ tiny screen for YouTube is harder than I thought. YouTube on the Redfly is like watching a slow motion slide show, but the audio is all out of sync.
-There are some strange instabilities that get introduced from this setup, and it took me a few days to find what was causing them. I was testing Today Agenda to see how it did with the Redfly, and things were going smoothly for a day or so. Then I noticed I’d get phone crashes and freezes after disconnecting from the Redfly. Suddenly Today Agenda stopped scaling my Today screen back to 320 x 320, which was problematic. Uninstalling it fixed everything, but it was frustrating to see the domino effect one program had on the whole system.
-Despite the best efforts of Opera Mobile and the 5 (!) other browsers I have on my phone, some websites simply don’t like mobile phones. There’s some mention of this in the “Ugly” section next, but one that wasn’t egregious enough to land there was Google Docs. I can view them, but can’t edit them. And switching Opera Mobile to desktop mode didn’t fix it either. Iris browser does work, the only downside is that Iris doesn’t support cut and paste.
-Which leads me to the last bad…inconsistent cut and paste. On a device, you don’t have the same ability to seamlessly flip between open apps like on the Redfly (you can use the alt-tab trick!). I’ve never been a big user of cut and paste, but the few times I wanted to use it inside browser options I found it was very inconsistent. Frustrating, but minor.
-Skyfire. Hate. It’s passable by itself on the Epix, but nothing I’d go nuts over. It HATES the Redfly. Everything looks jagged and nasty, and it crashed more than once on me. I discovered it can only work (passably) via USB, as Bluetooth isn’t powerful enough. And even then it’s just not fun.
-Trying to post on the Gear Diary WordPress site was a huge pain. Apparently WordPress and Opera Mobile simply don’t get along at all, so there went my default browser. Skyfire had its usual conniption fit and was equally useless. Iris Browser worked great until I arrived at the text entry screen, where it garbled everything. IE Mobile…the less said the better. Finally Netfront came through for me. Special thanks to the Gear Diary Contributors, specifically Spencer and Raymond for suggesting Netfront. Big thanks to Raymond for getting me set up with it! (I will note that WordPress was the only site to give me that degree of problems, but since there are many, many websites out there, I am sure there are other landmines as well.)
-This is probably going to further cement my awful internet addiction. I will never break free of being connected.
So far I am feeling good about my week of immersion. I plan to have a further rundown on websites, along with my final thoughts on how this little experiment worked out and where it might fit in a more normal use pattern over the weekend, so be sure to check back for part 3! And if there’s anything you are curious about that I have not yet mentioned, feel free to post it in the comments and I will do my best to test it out!