Despite my geekist tendencies I have managed to put off owning a “smartphone”. OK for the past few years I have had a Nokia C3-OO, a.k.a “The poor mans Blackberry”, but is still basically a phone using the Nokia S40 OS and a full QWERTY keyboard with wifi access and some (mainly web based) apps bolted on. I’d seen the white-clad storm troopers of the iPhones arrive, and despite my Macist tendencies as an iPod and MacBook owner expensive and well, bulky, for the job in hand.
Many friends had gone to the rebel alliance lead by Samsung and raved about their Galaxy S-class battle cruisers, which still to my eyes look too large to be a phone. After some deliberation and a lot of web-browsing I took the plunge and joined the rebel alliance. Not with an S-class monster but with the Ace (or S5830). It’s length is the distance from my ear to my mouth (the idea length for a phone) and it is neither too wide, nor too heavy to be a burden in the hand.
I have been able to load it up with essentials like the Good Beer Guide to find the pubs, and Memory-Map to find the way home afterwards. Due to an enlightened licensing system I was able to load up my existing 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 scale maps of the UK. The GPS seems sensitive enough to track my route from my pocket, and if the battery life is somewhat short at least there are plenty of options for external battery-pack addons. Using Tweetdeck for twitter is quite painless, the small screen can make the touch-screen keyboard fiddly, but with a stylus & predictive text it’s fine. I had been considering buying a tablet for “second screening” and light email work around the house, but I may hold off that for now.
Still not sure about the data it seems to want to transmit back to the Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Ultraworld, a.k.a. Google. I have turned off or declined as much as I can, but turning off some tracking options seems to completely disable the GPS.
The phone side of things is a bit clunky compared to the Nokia. I’d like options for different phone profiles, the ability to set different notification tones for emails, texts or system messages would be handy, and seem to be lacking. or maybe I just need the appropriate app.
Within 12 hours of buying it I’d downloaded the Android SDK and was fiddling with it via a terminal session Because it takes a micro-SD card it has plenty of potential for storage expansion (I’ve a 16 GB card in it a.t.m)
Camera is a 5 mega pixie device, fine in good light, and if I need a proper camera, I have plenty of those. Interestingly, Android was originally intended as a Camera OS, before it was re-purposed for phones. At least I can now put my rubbish photos onto Instagram (“Making Rubbish Photos acceptable since 2010®©”)
I bought it as a “nearly-new” factory reconditioned item directly from Vodafone for a PAYG tariff. Reconditioned is a great way to buy a bit of kit for a snip, that’s how I got my MacBook, provided you buy from the original manufacturer, you should be assured it’s properly checked out and tested.
OK, time to go and find a cute pussy to instagram to death.