September 30, 2014

My First Android Phone is an "Incredible" Experience

From the day I ordered it, to the day I received the e-mail from Verizon with the shipping info, to the day I sat at my desk at work praying that FedEx wouldn’t deliver the phone until after 1:00pm, it has been an “Incredible” experience.

Incredibly, FedEx did try to deliver the phone before 1:00 p.m. even after I called and pleaded with them to wait.  I had to wait until 5:30 p.m. (I know, what a horror), drive over to the FedEx store, anxiously wait in line,  and pick the phone up with my “Government Issued Id” and my “Door Tag.”

Back in the car, I tore open the box and heard a collective “aaahhhhh” from the two teenagers in the back seat (and no, you cannot touch it until I have had it for at least 24 hrs).  I proceeded to call and activate the phone using my husband’s Blackberry as we drove down the Garden State Parkway on the way to have dinner with my in-laws.

The first word that come to mind was "cool!"

More giggles and “duh Ma” as I tried to turn it on before putting in the battery. I was just so excited I lost my head!! But they were forced into silent awe as it finally booted up and we were mesmerized by the beautiful 3.7 inch AMOLED screen.

Initial set-up of the Incredible was very easy.  With just a few on-screen prompts, the phone was synced with my Gmail, Google contacts and Google calendar.  With a few more prompts, I had my Facebook, Twitter and Verizon e-mail accounts set up and syncing.  I was ready to really see what Android is all about.

The first word that came to mind was “cool!”  With seven home screens, personalization of this phone is very easy.  The hard part is trying to pick which one of the exciting widgets and wallpapers to choose.  The touch screen is extremely responsive and accurate, so moving items around on the screen was easy.  This is my first HTC phone so it was also my first encounter with their Sense User Interface (UI).

One very interesting feature of the Sense UI is the use of scenes.  Scenes allow the user to change the seven home screens for different purposes.  There are six options such as Social, Work, Play or Travel and even a clean slate for those of us who like the freedom to choose our own.  But if you are anything like me, you are a creature of habit and once you get your phone to the way you like it, you rarely switch it up.

Of course I can’t say that I wasn’t without some frustrations.  My first hardship was trying to get used to a touch only keyboard.  Having long manicured finger nails makes it impossible to type using the tips of your fingers so you have to rely on your finger pads which are bigger and seem to always hit the wrong keys.  Fortunately, using the default HTC Keyboard you can increase your accuracy by calibrating the keyboard to be more suited to your tapping habits.

From the Home screen tap Menu > Settings > Language & keyboard > Touch input > Text input > Calibration tool. Tap the given phrase and after you have completed the calibration, the keyboard should be more attuned to your touch screen habits.  Believe me, it works very well.

The phone features an 8 mega pixel camera with duel flash which takes incredibly sharp pictures.  A great feature of the camera is the ability to change settings on the fly with a swipe of your finger at a small tab that appears at the top or to the left of the screen depending on if you are taking the picture landscape or portrait.  You can choose to take pictures in black and white or sepia quickly and easily.  Unfortunately the only way you can snap the picture is by depressing the optical joystick on the bottom of the phone.  There is no icon to tap on the screen to take the photo.

The Music application on the Incredible also has a very “cool” feature.  Not only does it give you the ability to set any of the Mp3′s you load onto your phone as ring tone, it also gives the user the ability to trim a specific section the song it to a specific contact as a personal tone.

The optical joystick can be used to scroll through menu items, home screen pages and links on web pages with the slightest touch. Although I found I use it very little during the day, it is great when you want to move the cursor around a text box for editing purposes.

Some of my favorite HTC Widgets include:

  • Clock/Weather which uses location services to automatically update the weather based on your current location and which also uses some pretty cute weather animations to illustrate the current weather conditions.
  • Power Control which allows the user to turn on and off such services at WiFi, Bluetooth, Location Services, Sync and Screen Brightness with just a tap.
  • Favorites which gives the user one touch access to call, e-mail or text the people they communicate with most often. Unfortunately, it only allows you to pick one access method per person.
  • Calendar which puts your day at your fingertips.
  • Photo which allows the user to quickly flick through their pictures like a deck of cards.

Overall I am really enjoying this phone.  Though the battery life is much shorter than I expected (not lasting an entire day in my over eager hands) and the screen is a bit hard to see on a very sunny day, the 1 ghz Snapdragon processor is quite “snappy” and the Android OS is everything I hoped it would be and more.  $199.00 on Verizon with a two year contract and I was sold.  Move over iPhone, Android is coming up.

BTW: I did actually us this phone to make a call.  It works great too!! Crisp, clear and reliable so far.

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