I’ve never been shy about admitting my Apple fan-boy status. When it comes to mobile phones the iPhone has become my be all end all. The truth is, although I’ve sampled a few other mobile handsets since the release of the first generation iPhone, I’ve not owned anything else for any extended period of time.
As long as I’m being totally truthful here I also have to admit I’ve become a little bored. Not bored with the iPhone hardware as much as the software it’s running. Yes, I’m a little bored with iOS. As stupid as it sounds it’s just too simple.
A few weeks ago I picked up a Sprint EVO. I’ve tried one or two Android phones over the last year, most notably the Nexus One and the Samsung Captivate but quickly returned them in favor of my iPhone.
As my 30-day trial period on the EVO draws to and end I thought I’d share just a few of the reasons why I’ve decided to keep it. No, I’m not getting rid of my iPhone 4. My love affair with the iPhone is still alive and well. The flame just burns a little softer since I picked up what is arguably the Android’s flagship handset.
Before proceeding please know this isn’t meant to be an iOS vs. Android debate. That story has been written and written and written again. I just wanted to share a few of things I think Android does well. I am in no way an expert on Android either so please consider this thoughts on Android from a rookie.
Customization – I’ve almost always jailbroken my iPhone. My iPhone 4 is currently jailbroken. The main reason I do it is to achieve some level of customization. The way Apple has designed the iPhone springboard makes it so that every single iPhone looks exactly the same. Yes, wallpapers can be changed, but the icons, their size and shape and orientation are identical.
The use of Android’s widgets allow me to place a variety of tools that are not only functional but sexy too on any of my home screens (including the lock screen via an add-on application.) I can get battery information, a variety of clocks, toggles for shutting off various services or turning them on, speed dial launchers, calendar and task management, access to my social networks and much, much more. And to top if all off I can place these widgets wherever I want, in any orientation on any screen. This means there’s little chance that any two Android set ups are going to look exactly the same. These widgets also allow me to easily access information without having to actually launch any application.
Notifications - The Android OS features a notification bar the lives at the top of the device. It’s here that the phone alerts you for a variety of reasons. New mail, SMS, updates, events, battery level etc. And you can interact with the alerts too. For example, when a new e-mail comes in you’ll see a little envelope appear in the notification bar. Swipe it and you’ll see details about the message, who it’s from, the subject etc. Don’t care about it? Hit clear and the notification is gone. Want to read it right now? Tap it and you’ll launch right into the message. Unlike the iPhone 4 that requires me to first unlock the device, then find the mail icon, then open it just to see if a pending message is important or not the way the EVO does things just seems to make more sense.
Sounds – I like sounds. I like a lot of different sounds. But not just any old sounds. I like to use my own sounds. On the EVO I can set different sounds for most everything. From setting custom ringtones to the sound that’s played when new mail arrives or what I hear when I receive a SMS. Having a different, custom sound for each and every alert means I know what’s going on with my phone without even having to remove it from my pocket.
Cable Free – The only time I’ve plugged in the EVO to my computer over the last 30 days was the very first day I got it when I synced some music to it. And truthfully I didn’t need to do it that way since the EVO has a micro-SD card and I could have popped it out and used a card reader. The EVO does everything wirelessly. It syncs with all of my Google information (mail, contacts, calendar) downloads and updates apps and even updates its own operation system all over the air. Sure you can do most of this on the iPhone too but I’ve often run into issues updating apps on my iPhone over 3G. Not so with the EVO.
Screen Size – The iPhone 4 has a beautiful display. There’s just no denying how great the retina display looks. But it’s small. The EVO’s screen is big and for a big guy like me this helps in two ways. One, it makes typing easier. I’m a terrible iPhone typer. The large screen real-estate of the EVO seems to make me better typing. I’m also using SlideIT (a Swype style keyboard) which I’m finding makes typing much easier too. Second, it just fits more stuff and that stuff is easier to read. With my iPhone I find I’m often shrinking the text size down to the smallest setting in order to cram as much readable material onto the screen as I can. With the EVO I’m able to keep the text size at a reasonable setting and still view a similar amount.
Mobile Hot Spot – I tried a Sprint Overdrive when it first came out. It’s a great device for wireless internet connectivity, especially if you live in an area that has 4G, which I do. But you’re paying for a device that does only one thing. It connects other devices to the internet. The EVO has a hot spot feature built-in which allows you to connect up to eight devices to the internet. I’m looking at it like an Overdrive that does a lot more – albeit at a much higher price. I’m okay with paying more and getting more.
Hardware – I’m in love with anything HTC produces. Always have been. Back to my Pocket PC days I’ve been a big fan of HTC’s hardware. Most, if not all of the reasons listed above are OS reasons and could be applied to most any Android handset. But I recently tried a Samsung Captivate and it ended up going back so that says something about the EVO’s hardware.
There’s a lot to like about the EVO and Android as a whole. Like anything though it’s not without its faults too. Poor battery life and a lack of accessories are just a few of the reasons why it won’t be permanently replacing my iPhone 4. I do find myself grabbing it more often lately though. Time will tell if the trend continues.
Now when is that iPhone 5 being announced?