Top critical review
21 people found this helpful
Could be great, but is way too slow
on December 16, 2010
I've owned smart phones since 2000 - had a Kyocera 6035, Samsung i300, i500, and a few generations of Palm Treo's, so I have some preconceived notions on what to expect from a smartphone. This is my first Android phone, and based on the specs it should be a great phone. Compared to the higher end Samsung Galaxy S Android phones, this pretty much has it all except for a few key differences:
1. slower 800 MHz processor (vs 1000 MHz)
2. smaller RAM size 256MB (vs 512MB)
3. lower resolution 480x320 screen (vs 800x480)
4. lower resolution 3.2 MP camera (vs 5MP)
5. smaller 4.6"x2.4 face size (vs 4.9"x2.5")
6. older OS Android 2.1 (vs Android 2.2) as of 12/21/2010
Besides being watered a down a little on specs, it pretty much has EVERYTHING else - full slide out keyboard, both front and rear cameras, LED camera flash, wifi, etc. If you look at the 6 things above, it is still pretty good - 800MHz isn't much different from 1GHz, plus it consumes less power. 256MB seems enough to run all the apps I've tried. 480x320 is the same resolution as the iPhone 3G, and it still is pretty darn good. Using a tiny lens, pictures captured by the 3.2MP CCD aren't much different in overall quality than ones captured with a 5MP CCD. The smaller form factor was a big plus for me (same size as an iPhone, just a little thicker to accommodate the slide-out keyboard) since the Galaxy S phones feel too bulky in my pocket. This phone also costs a lot less, and with Sprint it doesn't carry that idiotic $10 monthly add-on fee for the "privilege of owning a higher end phone". So why isn't this a 5-star phone!? Well, mainly because of item #6 - the older Android 2.1 OS runs the UI (user interface) so slowly, with so much lag, that it's almost unusable, at least from the point of view of the "power user" who wants to get things done quickly without much fuss.
In addition to the UI performance, there are a few design oversights which may or may not be an issue for other users. The biggest one for me is the lack of an LED indicator to tell you when there is something pending. So to check if you missed a call or if you have a new text, you have to turn on the screen, authenticate (which I have to do slowly so the phone can keep up with my finger movements), and pull down the status bar, and unless there is something pending you did it for nothing. In contrast my old smart phones used to just flash an LED which meant "you need to check something", so you could tell whether or not you needed to turn the screen on at all. Another peeve is that answering/hanging up a call is done via "swiping" your finger across the screen (i.e., with software) as opposed to having a hardware button to push, which means I have to be looking at my phone whenever I answer or silence a call - I can't just reach into my pocket and push a button. Finally, the battery life isn't very good, and it charges slowly (~2 hours). I have to charge my phone every day, and keep a charger in the car to make sure I don't run out of juice, but I suspected this would be the case before I bought the phone based on reviews of other Android phones.