29 Days With Android - Day 2: My First Impressions

[singlepic id=43 w=520 h=470 float=center] On Sunday, September 30th, 2012,  I decided to upgrade from my existing (broken) iPhone 4, and switch over to Android, using the HTC One X handset. Technically, this is Day 2. But before writing about my initial experience, both good and bad, I want to quickly discuss my intentions with this experiment in case I was vague in my previous post:

First, I am not an Android expert, and my knowledge of Google’s OS runs extremely thin. I’m using numerous sources to familiarize myself with Android, (friends, blogs, articles, YouTube, etc) including any great feedback I receive from my blog. So speak up if you think you can help. Your advice and expertise will be greatly appreciated.

Second, there is no hidden agenda here and no one is paying me to do this. This idea spawned from boredom, and the fact that my old iPhone 4 no longer works, hence, I needed to purchase a new mobile device. However, I plan to explore Android extensively, and I will not hypothecate, judge, rule, or assume anything until I feel I have obtained enough information to make a solid decision.

Lastly, this is nothing new. Many people have done this before. I like to think most people are like me, with no true allegiance to any brand or company. Making a switch like this does not mean I have given up on Apple. The best way I could explain it would be if you ate breakfast tacos every morning before you went to work, and one day, you decided to try out steel cut oatmeal for a month. Whoopty-fuckin'-do, right? Right. So let’s get to it.

Day 2

The Good:

I love the bigger screen. This is the best thing the HTC One X has over any iPhone. I love the extra real estate, I love the color saturation, I love the pixel density, I love the color representation. I went back to an iPhone 4 just to play around with it, and I immediately felt underwhelmed.(Also, LTE is amazing, but the iPhone 5 has that as well).

  • The customization is great. Want to customize your ringtones, or make your own personal notification sounds? Easy. Download Zedge. Or grab Audacity, and do it in a few minutes on your home PC. Want widgets? Easy. ICS has a shit ton of them. No jailbreak necessary. And you can always get more.

 

  • The camera is awesome. HTC’s f/2.0 - low aperture lens on the One X is fantastic. Pictures represent true-to-life color, images are sharp, and there are great photo apps in Google Play to edit any photo. I have never used the camera on the iPhone 4S, or the 5, but I have to imagine the picture quality from all 3 phones is comparable.

 

  • HTC Sense is stable. I was very wary of using a non-stock version of Android, but HTC’s Sense 4.0 is pretty clean and stable, considering some of the horror stories I have heard in regards to other Android skins. Granted, it’s only been 2 days.

 

  • The HTC One X body is sleek and sexy. I still prefer the metal and glass finish of the iPhone 5, but the HTC One X is still a very sexy device. It’s unibody, poly-carbonate frame is slick, and smooth, with a nice curved design that makes you feel like you are holding a quality product. Unlike the Galaxy S3.

 

  • Finally, Google integration is simply fantastic. Google Play, Gmail, YouTube, Maps, Music, Chrome, Docs, Calendar....you name it, it’s there. And I had no idea what I was missing, or even how much I used Google products. Simply a pleasant experience.

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The Bad:

  • First and foremost, the battery life: The HTC One X doesn't fare well against its biggest competitors. I used my phone pretty moderately throughout the day, as I did previously with my iPhone 4,  and by 9pm, I was down to 10% battery life. I have experimented with certain battery monitoring applications and I have figured out a few ways to save some juice, but it’s a shame I have to turn off several cool features if I want to legitimately use my phone all day long. Granted I can keep it plugged in while I’m at work, but I fear if I was on my feet for 8 to 10 hours, moving around and using my data services, my phone would be dead in a matter of hours.

 

  • I wish I had gotten the 32GB model. This goes back to the battery issue. I synced my music library to Google Music, and Amazon Cloud, thus I rely heavily on AT&T’s LTE network to stream my favorite tracks and videos. I even used a great app, Pocket Casts to stream my favorite podcasts. However, I feel with more space, I wouldn't have to depend so heavily on LTE, thus saving me precious battery life. Oh, and if anyone knows how to turn off LTE, please let me know. I still can’t find it.

 

  • I miss my iOS apps already. It’s not that Google Play is bad. It’s actually a very slick and robust marketplace with great recommendations, and some quality apps to choose from. However, it’s how the apps perform that bugs me.  My Klipsch headphones that worked extremely well on my iPhone 4 do not have the same functionality on my HTC One X. Music control is somewhat hit and miss, and If I'm listening to Stitcher or Pocket Casts, I have very little control over my device when using my headphones. So if anyone knows of any great Android friendly ear-buds out there, please let me know.  Other than that, I miss some of iOS’s cool unique features, like the “rubber-banding” effect when scrolling, though I know it’s basically all for show. It just feels nice. Not a deal breaker, however.

 

That pretty much wraps up Day 2. So far, I am feeling cautiously optimistic about my change to Android. Moving things over from my phone to my PC, and vice versa is a breeze. The customization options are great. And the Google integration is simply amazing. I will not pass any discernible judgement on the HTC One X’s battery issues, since I have yet to master application management on the Android operating system, however, there is no doubt the phones battery life falls short when compared to my iPhone 4. (iOS 6 not included, since that buggy shit sucked my phone dry).

I’ll report back with more later. Now I’m off to watch Gangnam Style for the 1500th time. It looks so good on the HTC One X’s screen.

Cheers.