Windows Phone 7: Initial Review

This may come as a shock but I recently jumped ship, from Sprint to T-Mobile.  Not because of anything wrong Sprint did.  I was just presented with an offer that I had to take advantage of.

So, that decision being made, the next one was what phone would I chose?  Was I really going to give up my beloved Evo?  After some research, I decided I really didn’t want any of T-Mo’s Android offerings.  What else was there?  Windows Phone.  I hadn’t had a Windows based phone since the beginnings of Windows Mobile (eek!).  So I checked it out.  Looked pretty interesting.  Read ALOT of reviews, both positive and negative.  So I knew what I was getting into… I thought.  The next choice was the phone itself.  It was an easy choice for me.  The HTC HD7.  I already am a fan of HTC phones (…Hero, Evo) and the looks and feel of the HD7 were very similar to my Evo.  Done.

image from everythingwm.com

First the phone.  I love the styling of the HD7.  If a phone can be sexy, this one is.  It’s actually thinner and seems lighter than the Evo.  Probably due to the difference in hardware.  The HD7 dosent have a front facing cam or expandable memory.  The cam it does have is only 5mp, instead of 8.  There’s no wifi hotspot capability.  There is no HDMI out port.

Do I feel like a took a giant tech step backwards?  Not really.  All that stuff I just mentioned are features I rarely used anyway.   Seriously.  I never used the HDMI.  So I don’t miss those features.  The HD7 is snappy quick and the screen is very responsive.  The cam takes great pics. It has a kickstand! (I have to admit I love this lol)

Now to the real reason for this post.  Windows Phone 7.  First of all let me clear something up.  WP7 is NOTHING like Windows Mobile.  It’s not even like Windows Phone 6.5.  So if you are basing your opinion of it on those to OSs you are grossly misinformed.

The first thing that hit me was the interface.  It is all tiles.  Kind of like WebOs in theory but not in approach.  Very minimalist looking and easy to navigate.  I can see it getting kind of un-wieldy though if i apply the same app hoarding mindset to it that I have with my Android phones.   Speaking of Android, the main I miss is the customization ability.  With Android, there is hardly anything you can’t customize.  With WP7, there is hardly anything you CAN customize.  No custom ringtones or alert sounds.  No custom  launchers.  Oh, but I can change the lock screen wallpaper and the “theme” color of the launch page.  Nice.

Deal breaker?  Not really, just disappointing.

The more I use WP7, the more I’m liking it.  Yes, it does have its limitations, just like any ‘new’ OS does.  The potential is what impresses me.  If Microsoft makes the right decisions (which admittedly they don’t have a great record of doing), WP7 could be a serious contender for Android and iOs.  Right now its more of an interesting up-start.

As I spend more time with the phone and OS I will see if my perceptions change.  Either way I will keep you posted!

Ciao!

Like a Phoenix…

Welcome to the re-birth!  I know its been awhile.  Frankly for a bit there I didnt know if I even wanted to continue this blog.  After some serious introspective, I realized that I did, just not the way I had been doing it.  So here’s the skinny -

Instead of only reporting on devices that I actually own, I am expanding my topics to any technology that interests me.  I was feeling a trifle stifled (did i just say that?) by limiting myself to my Evo and iPad.  By expanding the blogs scope, there is so much more that I delve into!  Now before you think things are going to get all willy nilly in here, I will tell you that for the realm of this blog, i will keep the topics to Android, iPod, Ipad, Windows 7, Windows Phone 7, OS, and similar areas.

That being said, you can be sure this will always be your information spot for Android.  I will always be an Android fan.  Just now it will be more than just info about my current phone LOL  So thanks those of you that have patiently waited for my return, and thanks those of you that were bored and clicked the link for the hell of it.  Stay tuned for some good stuff!

Ciao!

Who’s the fairest of them all?

I know.  Its been awhile since my last post.  I havent quit blogging.  In the last month I have had a lot of chaos in my life that is just starting to somewhat normalize, so the blog was a very low priority.  But now things are starting to level out so I’m back!  Did you miss me? [This wold be the opportunity for you to let me know just how indispensable i am to your technology based life… lol)

Still loving my iPad.  Even more so when I jail broke it.  Even MORE so with iOS 4.2!  Although the implementation of the “multitasking” is kind of wonky (everything you use automatically just stays open.  I’d rather have a choice about what does.  Like I did when it was jail broken.), its still very cool and very usable.  Now on to the real subject of this post…

I finally broke down and decided to purchase a screen protector for my iPad.  I’d always been extra super careful with my iPad.  I never let anyone else handle it other than my teen-aged tech oriented daughter.  So I really didnt see the need for a screen protector.  Plus I didnt want anything affecting the gorgeous clarity of the screen.

I finally had to admit to myself that I was fed up with finger prints all over the glass.  It’s embarrassing when someone wants to look at my iPad and its all smudged up and dirty looking.  Plus, after seeing iPad after iPad come in (to my place of work.  No, dont ask.) with broken screens, I was starting to get paranoid about it.  And yes, I know a screen protector wont stop a screen from breaking, but its better than nothing.

I had kind of looked around at different screen protectors but it seemed like more of the same.  Thin sheets of cheap plastic for 9.99 or less, or thin sheets of slightly better plastic for 19.99 or more.  I wasn’t happy with my choices.  Just when I was about to take my chances with one of the cheaper choices on Amazon, a friend gave me one of some samples he received at work.  It was a screen protector of the mirrored variety by BHB, called “Screen Guarder – the greatest guarder for lcd screen” (lol).  No I never heard of them either.  Most likely an Asian distributor.

The first thing that impressed me was the thickness and relative rigidity of the sheet.  Is was very shiny and free of any imperfections.  The packaging said it was made of “Japan PET” material and claimed:

  • scratch-proof – so far so good.
  • dust repelling – didnt really have a dust problem before so…
  • finger print free – false.  becasue its a mirrored surface, you just dont SEE the prints as readily, which I guess achieves the same effect.
  • bubble-free application – your experience may vary.  i was able to get it on with very few bubbles, after a second application.
  • improves handwriting recognition – eh.
  • anti-reflective – what?  its a freaking mirror! lol
  • washable and reusable – umm…

Overall I like it.  When the screen is off it is totally a mirror.  Your mileage will of course vary, but I had to turn up the brightness a bit when the screen was on.  There is also a kind of “rainbow effect” depending on which angle you look at the screen.  Nothing too severe but it is noticeable occasionally.  Was relatively easy to put on.  Few bubbles.

Bottom line – for 9.99 or less, this is very worth the money.  I cant see paying any more than that for a sheet of plastic, I dont care what the claims are!  I mean seriously!

 

Ciao!

 

 

They’re still Angry!!

I haven’t done a lot of reviews about games. Mostly because I get bored with them so fast. Rarely does a mobile game hold my attention for more than a few days. Well I finally found, not one, but two that I have been playing for over a month now (Bejeweled dosent count lol)…

First my addiction…. Angry Birds. For a super simple game, I find myself unable to tear myself away from it frequently! Something about hurling those pissed of pigeons at those smirking pork chops that just sets me off lol. I can’t get enough of it. I have been playing the free android version on my Evo. I also have it on my iPad but I honestly like the smaller form of the android version better. I like how the screen slides back and forth before, during, and after the attack. When I first saw the game, I was like “what are these people talking about? Cant be THIS game lol”. Obviously I was wrong… Definitely a recommended download for both android and the iPad.

Now my obsession…. Pocket Legends! This free little tounge in cheek, rpg is an excellent time killer! Being an rpg fan from way back (yes I know who Gary Gygax is) and both an original Everquest and former World of Warcraft addict, I think I know a thing or two about RPGs. This one fits the bill. Just enough of a rpg to keep yup interested and wanting to level, but casual enough to be played in bits and chunks with no penalty. And it’s cool for all ages. The cutesy graphics initially turned me off, but once I got into the game I see the appeal. I can play this games for a couple hours or for 15 minutes and have a great time either way. Did I mention it’s free? Well almost. The app is free. And yes you can play the game and never spend a dime. BUT…. Most of the really cool stuff is a paid premium. Don’t let that dissuade you from trying out though. Seriously… Download it now LOL

Ok enough blogging, I need to get back to my games! Ciao!

I’m FREE! … Well kinda…

I jail broke my iPad. Seriously. Well actually a friend of mine did, as he has done it before successfully, and he offered. The first time ended in a frozen iPad as we had both neglected to insure that I had updated to the latest iOS version (3.2.2). So a lengthy restore and several hours later (overnight), he tried it again. This time it was a definite success.

Wow. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal as I was perfectly happy with my iPad as it was. I had come to grips with it's limitations and learned to work within their boundaries. But I have to admit, I was getting more and more curious as why to more and more people were jailbreaking, and were very happy with the choice. So when my friend offered, I had the precut excuse to do it. I am so glad I did...

First of all, it was ridiculously easy. I could have/should have done it myself. I didn't even have to restore when it was done. Went right in to playing with it lol

Cydia is amazing. For those that don't know, Cydia is the "alternative" app store for jail broken iPhones, iPods, ipads. 100% legal and legit. Although I'm sure Jobs wishes otherwise. The breadth of categories of apps in Cydia is worth it alone. Way to many to go into in this post, but I'll cover a few that I have installed so far.

SBSettings - must have. Gives you nearly complete control over your iPad. Also adds some useful features that quickly become "can't live withouters".

Backgrounder - multitasking! Of a sort... Forces an active app to the background, still active. Works great! I can truly surf the web, or look through Flipbook, and listen to iheartradio at the same time! This alone was worth jail breaking for me.

Winterboard - gives you even more control over how iOS acts. Not 100% converted for the iPad yet, so not everything works quite yet, but still worth the download.

Activator - adds all kind of gesture control. Swipes, pinches, scrolls, can all be assigned.

I'll delve deeper into Cydia and jail breaking as I learn more. For now my consensus is DO IT! Of course, nothing is without risk and YOU assume the risk if you try jail breaking. Don't make me say I told you so...

Ciao!

My Time is Valuable…

I’ve had my HTC EVO now a few weeks.  Ive done about everything I can think to do with it, really put it through the “paces”.  Tried out several apps and widgets on it.  Took a gazillion pics with it.  I would say that qualifies me to have an “educated” opinion about the device, wouldn’t you agree? [of course you would! c'mon!]

Well my honest opinion is this:  this phone is freaking awesome!  Absolutely the best phone I have ever owned hands down!  I love this phone!.. I know, I sound like a fan boy.  I am aware of that.  Dosent change the fact that this is arguably [only by people who dont have the EVO lol] the best phone on the market today.  But… it does have a fault.  And its a big enough one to be a deal breaker for some folks.

Battery life.  The battery life on the HTC EVO, to put it plainly, sucks.  If I turn off ALL of the cool features, and only use 3G [which isnt a problem since 4G hasnt come to my city as of yet], i still only get about 6, maybe 7 hours with MODERATE use.   Moderate meaning some texting, light net usage, email, some twitter and some Facebook checking.  No video, no streaming music, no gps, no live wallpaper, etc.  Isnt that the reason I got the phone?  To be able to use all that stuff?  Whats up with that HTC?

So I’d been doing some research about extended batteries as that seemed like the most efficient solution. There are several out there, most notably Seidio and Mugen, but seemed overly pricey and huge.  Yes I know you get what you pay for.  I wanted cheap.  This was mostly an experiment.  So anyway I kept searching and found a few more names I’d never heard of.  Some of them seemed kind of obscure or had questionable feedback.  About to get frustrated, I stumbled upon [obvious pun lol] this one by Accessory One on Amazon.  The feedback looked decent, the battery size looked good (2200mAh, the original battery is 1500mAh), and the price was great!  So I ordered it.

Got it last night.  Delivery was fast.  When I unpacked it, the first thing I noticed was that the included battery door looked pretty good.  Even has that soft touch material on it like the original door.  That was a concern of mine.  The EVO is a damn sexy phone and I didnt want to muck it up with a jacked up battery door. [the new battery door is necessary as extended batteries are physically larger than the original battery]  The second thing I noticed was when I installed the new battery, it registered as nearly a full charge on my phone. *Dont let that fool you!  The Evo is setup to read 1500mAh as a full charge so you have to let the new battery charge up to 2 hrs longer to fully charge it* After letting charge at least 10 hours over night, I was eager to see the difference today.  Leaving the settings as I had them with the old battery, with approximately the same amount of activity, I can say its been nearly 12 hours and I still have a smidgen of battery life left.  I assume with further discharging cycles, the battery life will improve… theoretically.

So bottom line is so far, Im getting improved battery life with the extended battery.  If this continues to be the case, I may invest in one of the 3500mAh ones from Seidio.  On a side note, for those thinking of purchasing this battery from AccessoryOne, my battery door did arrive with some minor damage.  A couple of the connector tabs were damaged/snapped off, which prevents the door from connecting securely with the phone, leaving a couple of noticeable gaps on opposite corners of the phone.  Nothing dangerous to the phone or anything, just annoying.  I sent them an email this morning, and received a canned response saying they received it and will be contacting me soon.  Still waiting… more to come.

Ciao!

It’s so…. EVOcative!

So I finally upgraded! I know, I know you’re probably saying “about friggin time!” and you’re right. I probably took the longest time I ever have to decide on a new phone. As you may know from my previous post [Its a Quandry it is - 8/31/2010], I was twisted over my top choices: the HTC EVO or the Samsung Epic. Both are top notch, feature packed phones. Both get high marks from the pundits. Both are priced decently. So which did I choose? Well if you couldn’t tell from my ever so witty title (you know you smiled when you read it lol), I picked the iPhone slayer (yeah i said it) known as the HTC EVO.

Let me tell you why. The EVO just had more features and arguably more tech for the buck than the Epic. The EVO comes with 16gb internal and an 8gb card. It has better cameras, BOTH of them. It looks sharper. The Epic looks like a larger Moment. The EVO hotspot can support 8 devices. Not the Epic. I mean I don’t plan on ever connecting that many, but if for the same money, I can… Why not? Finally, I really like HTC Sense. I know there are a lot of you out there who swear by the “pure” android experience, but I love Sense. It just makes Android flow smoother. Oh and the EVO was $50 cheaper than the Epic. I just couldn’t justify paying that much more for a phone that was less tech wise, and was a slider. I don’t need a physical keyboard and every slider ive ever had eventually developed issues with the slide mechanism. Even with the awesome screen on the Epic (which I have to admit is freaking amazing!), it wasn’t enough to swing me away from the EVO. Did I mention the kickstand? My phone has a kickstand like my old Schwinn did! How cool is that?

So ive had the EVO for about a week. First impressions have been pretty much as expected. The only slight disappointment has been the battery life. Now having been around Android phones since the beginning I knew not to expect stellar usage times. And I’m the type of person that keeps my phone on charge when ever I’m in the car. Still it barely makes it through the day with moderate use. The good news is that is so far the ONLY negative I have found with this phone! Its way fast compared to my retired HTC Hero. even on 3G it’s much faster than the Hero. Next to my friends iPhone 4, web pages seemed to start to load faster on the EVO, but finished loading about the same time. Haven’t tested it on 4g yet as it’s not in my area yet (what’s up with that Sprint?). The cam is very responsive and takes great pics. Love the improvements of v2.2. Live wallpapers is neat for about the first day or so, till you realize it’s a battery killer lol

I am very happy with the upgrade and would recommend the EVO to anyone wanting the latest in Android. Don’t get me wrong, the Samsung is also an awesome phone, if you want a physical keyboard and a crazy clear screen. That’s the beauty of choice right?

Ciao!

Ps. Oh yeah, I made the “iPhone slayer” comment just to rile some of you up lol if you’ve been reading my posts, you know my stance on any one phone being the “best” phone out there ;)

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