It never fails. Thursday night, exactly one minute after I boarded the bus to Tai Po, I got the SMS alert from SmarTone that I could go to the Wanchai shop to pick up the Samsung Galaxy S4. Later I got an email with all sorts of instructions about how I could go to the store, get a ticket, and then they’d notify me 30 minutes before my ticket number would be called – obviously to help deal with the massive numbers of people they expected to be lining up outside the shop to collect the latest marvelous electronic dingus.
I spent the evening second guessing myself.
Do I really need a second phone dedicated to business? “Need” is relative but it would make my life easier.
And should it be the Samsung or the HTC One? That night I came across a few more reviews of The One, all of them claiming it was so much better than the S4. But based on what, exactly? Its looks. End of story. Aluminum instead of plastic. The S4 has the faster processor, more intriguing software, possibly a better screen and camera, accepts cards to expand storage, you can pop off the back.
So Friday at noon I went to the SmarTone shop in Wanchai expecting massive lines. Instead there were 3 staff standing around looking bored. Even so, it took almost 30 minutes for the deal to be done. It’s a new contract and new number and SmarTone also makes you choose a package of crapware and I was stumped trying to figure out which of the options would annoy me the least.
But finally, done, the Samsung Galaxy S4 was mine. The screen is gorgeous. 1080p resolution. The camera is disappointing – images seemed kind of flat and bland, though I haven’t spent any time trying to figure out all the various software options for photo processing they include there, except for the one that lets you take a picture with the front and back cameras simultaneously. I presume some clever people will come up with some fun stuff based on this but for me it’s just a gimmick.
Next I added on the apps I knew I’d need – stuff like Dropbox and Evernote. Then it appeared that even though the phone was brand spanking new, half the apps there had updates available.
Then I spent a very long time indeed getting rid of all the crapware that SmarTone puts on the phone – an app to get the latest golf scores?
Next I’m going to have to find a better email app. I get a torrent of emails at work – somewhere between 300 and 500 a day and only about 20 are actually for me. Our email at work is hosted by Gmail and we use Outlook on our desktop – I may not be a fan of Outlook but at least I can create all sorts of rules (more than 50 at last count) to sort through and prioritize all the gunk coming in. I need something on my phone that will let me do the same. Any recommendations?
After one day, I appreciate the customizability of Android, but I find some aspects of it annoying. The 5 or 6 page “home screen” that’s different from the 5 or 6 page screens of apps installed. And all the confirmations!!!! Even I’d go to make a call, even though I pressed the phone icon, it then asked if I wanted to use the phone or use Skype, and then asked if I wanted to do it that time or every time, then there was some warning screen or other, and finally I got to make the call.
Simply put, for all its power, Android is not as intuitive or easy to use as iOS. There will be a learning curve.
Finally, I noticed that this sucker runs HOT. I mean really hot. I mean if I don’t put the screen to sleep and put this in my pocket, it’s burn-a-hole-in-your-leg hot after a few minutes.
I do like it, I suppose. I think it’s come a long way since the Galaxy S2 that I had for two weeks and hated. I’ll spend more time trying to figure it out and get the screens set up the way I like.
Probably more to come later. Until then, recommendations on Android email clients and any other programs you think are must-haves gratefully appreciated.