Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy New Gear!!

My favorite new peice of gear for the new year is my new Phone. I know, it's not exactly photographic but I got a new Nexus One Android powered phone and it is one hot piece of gear. I'm sure I'll be using it in to support photographic assignments like geocacheing locatings of outdoor settings when I scout for places to shoot so it isn't totally out of place here.

The Nexus one is a nice piece of hardware, very solid in construction, elegant in design and feels very good in the hand - a far cry from the orignial Android phone, the G1. In fact both my wife and I agree it makes her iphone 3Gs look a bit long in the tooth. For me, coming from a Blackberry Curve it pure heaven.

The Highs:
The screen is absolutely gorgeous. The higher resolution really makes everything very crisp and readable. Again, compared to the Iphone, this screen is a winner.
If there is one area where the Iphone's screen is better, its color. I have noticed the color is off with over saturation of Red and orange making pictures of people look a like they got a little too much sun.
'Snapdragon' is an appropriate name for the 1GHz beast that powers this phone. and from a UI standpoint, I honestly can't feel a significant difference between it and the Iphone. But, I think it allows the Android OS to really shine in the amount of apps that can be running in the background. Now, I can feel the UI slow a bit when I get crazy and have too many running but I had no problems streaming a podcast over 3G while doing turn by turn navigation AND still had my usual host of Twitter and mail clients loaded.
Andriod 2.1 added voice to the basic keyboard allowing voice entry in practically any field you type. The recognition is pretty accurate - if you've used the google voice search on your phone, I think there the same. It's pretty useful for constructing SMS of entering short phrases. I haven't found that it can take longer passages like writing an email.
I mention Turn-by-Turn voice navigation and it's a pretty sweet implementation on the Nexus one. I think it finally puts true PND functionality in a phone and has killed my desire to get a stand-alone device. Nothing like it on the Iphone unless you want to spend $80.
When it comes to Apps on the Android, I think the Marketplace is well stocked with good versions of ever popular app out there - The Iphone wins when it comes to some niche applications and for the shear number of apps on their store. I look at it this way; what's the difference between 20,000 apps and 100,000 when I only use 10?

The Lows:
One gripe I have is with the use of the virtual keyboard. It's not that is hard to use, actually I like the keyboard itself, its the touch sensitive keys at the bottom of the phone that I unintentionally hit far too often. Seem my fat thumb hits 'home' when I'm wanting the spacebar - argh! that's agravating!
The only other thing I'd hesitate to call a Low is that T-mobile's 3G does seem slower than my wife's ATT 3G's. Her's is noticably faster (when she actually has a signal) But I think it's a wash since in our area I usually have a connection when she doesn't and again, compared to my Blackberry's EDGE connection, this thing smokes!
My final low is one that both the Iphone and the Nexus share and where my old blackberry kicks both their asses - GRMS(?). One of my buildings at work is a huge deadzone for cell coverage, but with my blackberry, once it lost the cell signal, it would automatically connect to the company's WiFi and keep the ability to make and recieve voice calls. Why the Iphone and Nexus can't do this, I have no Idea - but I think that was one if the best features of that blackberry and can't image a modern phone not having this ability.
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