Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An Update to My Impressions of the Motorola XT701

I have been using my new Android phone for a couple of weeks and I am generally happy with it.

From my perspective, the pros are:

  • There is a large amount of software available, it seems to be of generally good quality and it is easy to install.
  • The phone feels very responsive to my newbish fingerings, even though my phone does not seem to have a processor that is fast by current standards.
The cons are:
  • The battery life is easily the largest complaint that I have with the phone. Even with background sync disabled, GPS and WiFi and Bluetooth turned off, the screen backlight turned down to zero and curtailed web browsing, I can about 1 day of life out of the battery. (I do leave the HSDPA turned on, rather than falling back to just 2G. There no quick way to toggle the 3G on and off, like there is for the WiFi, GPS and background sync, and surfing on 2G is painful.) I can easily run the battery down with an hour or two of web browsing. I easily could get several days of battery life from my E71, including perhaps six to eight hours of web browsing with a battery that was nearly two years old. That meant that I never really had to worry about power management or where I could recharge the phone during a workday. I have seen some people claim that battery life improves a bit after going through a few charge/discharge cycles, but I haven't seen that yet. Judging from the battery management applet, the screen is the biggest power hog. Being able to charge the phone with a mini-USB cable is very helpful, but I feel like I am constantly plugging and unplugging the phone. A desktop cradle might help, but I don't seem to be able to find anything that supports my XT701. Everything I can find on Amazon is aimed at Droids.
  • I am still getting used to the soft-keyboard. I keep kicking it into Chinese mode, which takes a moment to recover from. I've been lead to be believe that this keyboard is a little clunkier than some others. I know that there are other soft-keyboards available from the Android app store. I presume that I should try them out, particularly the one that understands Palms' Graffiti. (I was very proficient in Graffiti in 1999, and I still miss my Palm IIIX.) To be fair, I was never very good with the real keyboard on my E71, only passable.
  • I would like to have Froyo rather than Eclair. From what I have read, this is scheduled to happen on the XT701 in late 2010 or sometime in the first half of 2011, depending on what part of the planet we are talking about. I am a little unsure of how the normal Android update process works. Since I am in North America and using a phone that isn't officially supported here, I am guessing that I will have to perform the installation myself at some point.
I haven't fiddled with the camera very much, but I have started experimenting with EverNote.

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