Desire S Review (part 2)

Having been using the phone over a month now (nearly 2), I have a good idea of what I think of it and how it compares to the iPhone.

User Experience

The user experience is no where near as good as the iPhone. A good example of this is when I enter the contacts app and press the Search key. The search field does not automatically get focus so I have to tap at the top of the screen (having just pressed the search key right at the bottom), and then move back down again to begin typing. It feels awkward and unpolished. Then there’s the bundled apps. Like a new laptop, the phone was bundled with lots of OEM crapware, it seems HTC want me to use their Twitter client and there’s no way to delete it (or even remove the icon). What is it with hardware manufactures being wannabe software companies? Just like those pointless Wifi utilities or Launcher bars the likes of Acer and HP used to bundle in with their laptops (HP even made their own Media Centre, the  Me Too Edition). Anyway, it’s a small annoyance but the abundance of so many icons is sure to confuse a lot of people.

Battery Life

The battery life is abysmal. It will last a day if you don’t use it much, but if you do use it frequently then you’ll need to take a charger around with you. The iPhone wasn’t great, but the battery would always last a day and have plenty left over. On the other hand, this is the price you pay for having a much more powerful device in your pocket, one that actually can multitask (The iPhone currently just pretend to, save for a few limited tasks) and once you get used to that, I think it would be hard to go back to a single-task based system. Being able to have the phone download new podcasts automatically every night, update Google Reader on schedule is a breath of fresh air for anyone who used to do that 5 years ago on their Symbian or PocketPC based phone – and then (like me) switched to the iPhone when it was the big thing. There are numerous ways to improve battery life, the best is to turn off background data – which kind of defeats the point of having such a phone, but it’s nice to know you could i theory get a couple of days out of it if needed, great if you ever go camping at a festival (although the camera sucks the battery a lot too).

Missing iOS?

For all it’s UX faults, I prefer Android. You want Wifi Music Sync? There’s an app for that. Free SatNav? There’s an app for that. Tethering over Wifi? There’s an app for that. Want to download the latest albums? Guess what, you can do that too. In fact, there’s an app for almost anything there is on the iPhone, and the Android version is nearly always less restricted and cheaper. The exception here is games, but I’ve still found a number quality gems, just less of the big names. So I can’t say I miss iOS much, except for the eye-candy. Maybe iOS 5 will sway me next time.

A highly recommended phone.