Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Smart Phone Update

I Want My String & Soup Cans!

OK, I've had the "smart" phone for a month now, and it hasn't managed to slurp out my soul through a nether orifice.

Not for lack of trying...

Overall, I'm pretty pleased. While I do have several gripes, they're not all that big a deal, and when you compare overall functionality with the old phone, they pretty much fade into irrelevance.

So, the details:

It's an LG Optimus Slider, (Android 2.3.4, 3.2-inch HVGA display, 3.2MP camera, 1,500mAh battery, EV-DO Rev. A (850/1900 MHz), 802.11b/g/n WiFi) on the Virgin Mobile (Sprint) network. If you've got a top-tier phone from a major carrier, then this is not the phone to switch to. OTOH, if you're like me and still poking along with a non-Android/iOS archaeo-phone, you could do a lot worse.

The Good:

The phone itself is pretty slick. The construction is solid, and the slide-out keyboard is easy to manipulate. The Search & Back buttons on the front of the phone are duplicated on the keypad, so you don't have to move your fingers from the keys.

Speaker volume is loud and the sound via earbuds is nice & clear. The touchscreen is fairly easy to use, and you have 5 "home" screens to fill up with App or Widget shortcuts. I haven't counted, but it looks like you can put 9-12 per screen.

Phone call quality is good. The method of adding contacts is a little twisted & bass-ackward, but after you've entered 50+ contacts manually from the crypto-phone, it becomes second nature.

I'm pleased with the unlimited data plan, and the WiFi is pretty robust. I like the auto-recall of the previous hotspots you've been to.

I haven't ventured into Bluetooth or voice commands yet, so how well those work remains to be seen.

The Not So Good:

Micro SD Card - The included 2GB card is just too darned small. I've ordered a 32 GB card ($35 via New Egg) for my iTunes library and possibly a few movies.

Battery Suckage - This thing sucks power like a newly-elected Democrat Congresscritter on an earmark bender. Turning on WiFi only exacerbates the process. I'd charge the battery overnight, then plug it in at the office from 3-6 p just to have enough juice to get through the evening.

That got old real quick, so I splurged on a 3000 mAh battery and a modified back panel to hold it ($24 via Amazon). Now I can go a whole day with hard usage, and the lowest the battery level has gotten was around 58%. It makes the phone a bit bulky, but I can live with that.

App Trouble - Not all apps work as well as I'd like. Some are great (eBay, banking app, Android Market) some are OK (Amazon, newsfeed, Redbox, YouTube), and some just piss me off (Facebook, Pandora) This isn't the phone's fault, but still...

Ring Tones - You can pay for some through Virgin Mobile (Um, no thanks...) or you can get 10000's of free ones through Zedge. Problem is, the quality sucks, and the selection isn't aimed at 43 year olds. I searched for "Mozart" and got zero results. I need to learn how to make my own ringtones...

Camera - Ignore it. It sucks in a major way. Carry a pocket camera instead.

Screen glitches - For some reason, the upper right quadrant of the touchscreen can be problematic. You have to be very firm and precise with your touch to get a response.

3G Network - Currently this is VM's top-of-the-line phone, but I can see myself dropping it like a hot rock when they get a 4G phone. 3G and an app like Facebook is like being back on a 14.4 modem after years on broadband. Still, it beats dragging around kilometers of network cable...

So, overall I'm going to give the phone a thumbs-up.