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The New Phone [Jun. 1st, 2012|05:05 pm]

I've had the new phone, a Samsung Galaxy Ace, for over a month now, and I've had some time to get used to its little peculiarities and figure out whether I like it or not. The general result is that it's not great, but it's OK, and it's been a useful introduction to the world of smart-phones and apps.

As a phone, it's a bit worse than my previous phone. The text entry is a bit crap, the call/contacts system isn't as intuitive and it's harder to move from the phone to the messaging and back again. The speaker-phone isn't particularly loud either and not great to use.

As a smart phone, it's much better. The camera is at that threshold of quality where you can actually use the camera to take photos and not notice that it was taken on a low resolution device. My previous Nokia 5800 was really slow in loading anything, whereas while this phone isn't fast, it's not slow either. I also don't get out of memory errors when I have my contacts, texts and phone apps all open, which was a bug that sometimes cropped up on the Nokia. The phone also does email correctly, checking for email every so often and updating you if it happens, which the Nokia didn't do. The maps system works much better, faster and more accurately than my Nokia's ever did, and the gestures you can use (to zoom in and out) make it much easier to navigate.

Then there are all the cool apps on the Google Play store (used to be the Android Marketplace) which, take a while to load but all seem to run smoothly. My phone has an 800MHz processor, and I'm struggling to figure out why you'd need more, which is what all the modern phones offer. I'm told it's to do with gaming. I've downloaded a couple of simple games, and they run beautifully, so I don't really know what that's about. Maybe the later versions of Android are much more intensive? I have 2.3, and the current one is 4.

The one flaw is the battery. I was used to having a phone that lasts three days before it needed recharging. This phone is lucky if it lasts through the day. I'm learning to try to switch things like GPS and Wifi off, because of the draw on battery they take, but that's another thing to remember and they're all the things that make my phone better than my previous phone, so it's not very good. I have had the phone last for about two days when I got it, but most of the advanced features were switched off then. This is definitely the kind of phone where, when I get stressed and start rushing around, I pull it out to help me and it beeps at me that it needs a charge before switching off. So definitely not conducive for an unstressed me.

I have tried using the phone as a SatNav system in the car and it actually worked! The problem with that is the battery really wouldn't last through any kind of journey, and it's impossible to hear the bloody thing over the engine noise. Even on top volume, the phone is hard to hear.

Today, through, I tried to get the phone working with the in-car Bluetooth system. It was tricky: I had to push a lot of buttons which I didn't really understand, but I eventually got it paired up. I have to see if I can take a call in the car, which would make my life so much easier. But the absolutely most awesomest thing ever was discovering that I could play the music on my phone over the car stereo. Yey! It could also fix the SatNav volume issue, although it drains the battery even faster.

An in-car charger could solve a lot of things. I wonder how much an in-car charger would cost? The one thing I don't want to do, though, is get like dad. Look, I can play music from my phone to the radio! I only needed fifty cables to do it! *facepalm*

[User Picture]From: pplfichi
2012-06-02 12:38 pm (UTC)
In car charger should be dirt cheap - the advantage of standardising ports on microusb. I've found in car bluetooth to work well for calls, but playing music occasionally seems to need bluetooth switching on and off a few times before starts playing. But this could just be my phone or the particular car system I've used.

I like an app called juice defender for stretching out my battery life. I originally got it (the pro version of it) as the brightness on my screen couldn't be turned down low enough for reading in the dark and it claimed to allow that. Side effect it does mean my phone now lasts 2-3 days if I don't charge it whereas before it would manage about a day and a half.
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[User Picture]From: synergetic
2012-06-02 01:01 pm (UTC)
Ooh, thanks for that. Juice defender sounds really useful and I'm going to check into that.

I checked out an in-car charger, and a USB charging plug cost me £3 on ebay!
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