A new toy

Background

My old Nokia N95 8GB drowned when I rode the SaddleSore a month or so ago, so I figured I’d upgrade. And since I was dead tired of the entire Symbian concept, the serious contenders were, of course, Apple and HTC.

Since the release of the original iPhone just about an eternity ago, Apple’s phones have pretty much been the benchmark against which all other phones have had to compare – and until very recently none have even approached the snappy feeling of the iPhone.
Enter HTC.

Since I’m, perhaps uselessly, a bit concerned about how my expenses look from a company point of view, the iPhone 4 was way out of the question: We buy most of our laptops at about the price they charge for a phone. Alright, it’s supposedly a very good phone, but come on!

That left me effectively with a choice between an effectively last-gen iPhone 3Gs, the HTC Legend – which is pretty but has an “old” processor, or the HTC Desire, which lacks the Legend’s looks, but has a state of the art Snapdragon processor – which tipped the scales to it’s favor.

The queue for it was huge – I got it after a little more than a month.

Comments after the first day

The Desire is fast. No question about it. As just about everybody has said, the speed comes at the price of battery life. Coming from the oldschool Nokia world, it feels a bit weird to see the battery level go down a notch within an hour of normal use.

My gripes, however, are mostly superficial, and you’ll find just about the same comments on every proper review:

Unlocking the device from power save mode should be more configurable. It requires that you reach up around the top of the phone and press the power button, followed by a swipe (and, if you’re paranoid, passing a security test in the form of a password/PIN/shape to be acknowledged). There’s no reason the same function couldn’t be initialized with one of the keys on the front panel, except it might look too “Applish”.

The switch from portrait to landscape orientation takes a moment too long, in my opinion. Half a second is OK. One-and-a-half to two is way too much. I’m fully aware that re-aligning the screen contents is an expensive task, from a processing power point of view, but on the other hand, there’s no reason why the interface part of the phone shouldn’t be prioritized, and the alignment of text in edit fields be corrected “as soon as there’s time for it”.

There’s an obvious bug where, if you put the phone down and it locks itself while writing a mail, the keyboard disappears until you select another edit field and re-aquire the main one.

Summary

I have nothing special to add that other reviews haven’t already said, except that unlike many other reviewers, I’m still not entirely content with the speed of the interface even at 1 GHz, a fact which either says that people still don’t put down enough effort into the optimization of GUIs, or that I’m a whiny little bitch.

Over all, the Desire is a hugely capable phone, though, and I’m sure I’ll return to it in future posts.

Update after another day:
One thing I really enjoy with the desire is that it isn’t obnoxious. Set an alarm, and you can decide specifically for that alarm if the phone should vibrate or not. Also, the volume rocker seems to actually change the sound level of the phone even when not in a call. Add to that the feature that the volume of the ringer drops if you lift the phone when somebody calls, and you have a very, very well-behaved and, actually, “smart” phone.

I’m still not entirely used to the keyboard and its word recognition, but I can see that we’ll be friends in another few days.

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