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Decent iPod Touch alternative
on November 22, 2011
With Apple selling so many iPod Touches, I'd think the options for Android equivalents would be larger. Well, Philips has entered the arena. If you are not a fan of Apple this is an adequate alternative.
When I opened the packaging, I was surprised at the size of the Connect. It's a bit over twice as thick as my iPod Touch and a bit longer. It seemed heavier but I weighed both of the devices and the Connect is 112 grams vs. 105 for the iPod Touch. That's probably not enough to truly tell by holding the two players. Call it a wash. The screen on this is 3.2 inches vs. the 3.5 of the Touch. That is noticeable. The Connect has an FM radio receiver built in, which works fine. The Touch doesn't. The big omission is cameras. The Connect doesn't have any, so no video conferencing or snapshots.
While the screen of the Connect is a bit smaller, it's bright and crisp. The Connect comes with a couple of demo movies. They look good. The screen is nicely sensitive to touch. I added my own MP4 movie by side loading and it played perfectly.
Android ran quickly. Apps started up fast. The screen changed orientation quickly. The keyboard is responsive. The Connect walked me through setting up Wi-Fi and connecting to Google services. Wi-Fi reception seems about the same as with the Touch, not spectacular, not terrible. The Connect has a lot of apps preloaded, including Songbird for music, Audible, Rhapsody, YouTube, Android Market and so on. Songbird is an adequate music player, though it lacks touch volume control. I had the same frustrating half hour with the connect to that as I experienced with my LG phone when trying to connect to the Android store. I got it done, but it isn't the seamless/painless experience that Apple delivers.
Unfortunately, like the iPod Touch, the Connect has the headset jack on the bottom. The micro-USB connect jack is there, too. Volume buttons are on the right. The stick out just enough to work with thin gloves on and are separated enough to handle the controls totally by touch without having to first orient whether my finger is on the up or down control. Excellent. The power button is on the right side, near the bottom. Not excellent. It's fits right where the pad beneath the thumb pushes when holding the Connect right handed. I turned the Connect off while holding it with my gloved hand. Poor ergonomics.
A micro-USB cable is included but, its only 12 inches long. I have one from my phone that works better. The include cable is just too short. Charging the Connect from a wall socket charger (not included-I use my Kindle charger) caused the device to hang from the wall. Connecting it to a laptop requires setting the Connect on the computer. The earphones also have a short cord. It will reach a shirt pocket but you won't get the Connect in a jacket hand warmer pocket, let alone your pants. One saving grace is that the in-ear phones are much more comfortable that the awful Apple version, though the look much cheaper than Apple's. Sound quality seems equally mediocre.
Continuing with fit and finish, this thing lacks the polish of the iPod Touch. The Connect is well enough constructed and seems solid, but it also looks cheaper than the touch. One advantage of using an iPod Touch is that there are many after market cases and holders available. You may have trouble finding one. Also the micro-USB connector works fine but won't sit in a dock, which all iPods, iPads and iPhones do. You'll need to get a double male cable to plug into external speakers or other devices. It works but isn't elegant. You can probably use Micro-USB connector to HDMI cable for TV viewing. You can with other Android players. As with many Android devices, you can add a Micro-SD card to increase the 8 GB of built in storage. That's a nice cost savings over the Touch.
The Connect works adequately as a PDA. Standard Android calendar and notes applications work. If you're on a budget, the Philips Connect is a decent alternative to the iPod Touch or the more expensive Samsung options