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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Confessions of a temporary Android user

9

December

You may have noticed that I post a lot of things about the iPhone. Well, you go with what you know and since I don't normally have access to an Android phone, I really haven't been able to comment on that platform. I've had an HTV Evo 4G on loan from Sprint for awhile though, so I've finally had some time to play. For all you Android folks out there who have been bringing me the heat, here's what I think.

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No question, the Evo is a solid piece of smartphone hardware. The screen is huge and sharp. The buttons are responsive and I love the little vibration feedback you get when you press them. htc-evo-sprint.jpgThe cool kickstand on the back is a great idea and makes watching videos much better. Navigation is pretty straightforward and snappy.

The included applications offer a very comprehensibve set of tools. I was most impressed with the camera app. It absoultely blows the iPhone camera app away! It has a self-timer, quality settings, face detection, geo tags, metering modes, time stamp, photo effects and a lot more. I can achieve all these things on my iPhone 4 but I have to use several apps to do it.

The zoom control on the camera is very nice too. I was glad to see that when you use the video camera the controls do not flip if you go vertical with the video camera. This serves as a deterrent for those who are compelled to shoot vertical video. There is no way to accommodate vertical video in editing software or on various displays, so get over it people! I wish the iPhone did the same.

When in camera mode you have to access a separate menu to get to the video camera and that really doesn't work for me. On the iPhone you access the video camera from the same screen so it's a fast switch.

Photo and video quality with the Evo is excellent in good light but not so good in shadows or low light. I didn't use the light because I find them to be a useless gimmick on all phones including the iPhone 4.

I was in 3G mode most of the time but hit 4G a few times in Tampa. The 4G service is definitely zippier than 3G. I didn't do any formal speed tests but I can tell you although it's faster it didn't approach the "up to 10 times faster" level anywhere I used it.

The ability to use the phone as a shared WIFI hotspot is a cool feature. I can that with my iPhone too but I had to jailbreak it and buy a separate app to do it.

One disappointment was trying to play videos on YouTube. I kept getting error messages saying the video was not available. Using my iPhone in the same spot at the same time, the videos played just fine.

I also was irritated by a number of "system updates" that flashed on the screen. The updates installed fine but having them pushed to me that way while using the phone was annoying. I'd much rather install my updates when I sync my phone, like I dod with the iPhone.

Overall I think the Evo and the Android platform are strong competitors for the iPhone 4 and iOS4. I still prefer the iPhone because it's second nature to me now. If I had started on the Android platform I'm sure I'd be very happy to keep using it.

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P.S. - Sprint has a special page where Evo users have submitted some of the first things they did after getting their phone. It's clever marketing and kinda fun! Almost seems like something Apple would do. Click on each of the phones to see the users and their achievements.

[Last modified: Thursday, December 9, 2010 12:52pm]

    

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