28 August 2010

I got a smartphone.

I got a Samsung Propel in February 2008. It's not a bad phone, really. I got a data plan on it, and Ben and I split unlimited text messaging. At the time, I was looking at a smartphone of some sort, Blackberries mostly, but the data plans for them were sort of insane, so I went with the 3G phone.

I got a bug about researching Android phones a couple weeks ago, and I looked into the ones from AT&T (since they're my carrier). The only Android phone that got good reviews was the newest one, a Samsung Captivate. (I wish mobile phones didn't have such ridiculous names.)

In the course of my errand-running yesterday, I stopped by the AT&T store to try one out, because all the reading on the internet isn't going to let you know what it feels like in your hands. So I asked at the counter when I was eligible to upgrade, expecting the answer to be December or January. I was already eligible. So I got one.

I like it well enough so far, and I've spent way too much time futzing around with it since yesterday afternoon. I've barely had the thing 24 hours and I've already installed 2 beer-related apps and one that has a live text feed of Bundesliga matches. (Plus facebook and twitter.) And rearranged the icons a bit and sorted things out.

Nifty things:
Haptic feedback (it vibrates) on keypresses, because it's a touchscreen and some people like that. I'll probably try it without the feedback and see how I feel. I kind of like the feedback right now.
Swype. You can drag your finger from key to key on the keyboard and it guesses the word, even if you bugger it up. If there are multiple options, you can select from a box. It guessed "endoscopy" correctly, even when I inverted several letters.
AMOLED display. It's a really fancy LED screen that's wicked bright. There's an option to set your brightness, or to let it sense the ambient light and optimize the display. (This is also a power-saving feature.)
Puzzle lock. If you get a text message (or miss a call), when you go to unlock your phone, there's a puzzle piece out of place, and you drag it over to the hole, and it takes you to the message. It's gimmicky, yes, but it's also nifty.
Seamless integration with google accounts. I have all my gmail contacts, my gcal, my picasaweb, and gchat on my phone. I would expect nothing less from a phone running an operating system written by google.
Built-in wifi. When I'm at home (or in a location with open wifi), I can use that instead of my data plan. This is one of the reasons I went with the 200 MB data plan rather than the 2GB.
The phone looks really nice. It's got a big 4" screen and doesn't weigh any more than my Propel. (A downside of this is that it's too big to fit in the cell phone purse I have; but it's the perfect size for my camera.)

One of the reviews I read mentioned that the design feature of a curved top makes it hard to reach the mini-USB input (aka power cord slot). No shit on that one. I had trouble getting the power cord it came with to stay plugged in so it could charge overnight.
It made me realize how much information of mine Google has. (Annoyance? Kind of.)
A lot of the reviewers talked about the look of the GUI (user interface) and how they hated it; I kind of like it. The UI designers were obviously going for the iPhone look; whether this is a feature or a bug depends on the user in question.

All in all, so far, I like my phone. I'll be signing up for the Boingo Mobile soon, because they have a hotspot at the Marriott in Atlanta, where I'm staying for Dragon*Con. (The Marriott charges $12.95/day for internet access. The math is obvious.)

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