On Friday I arrived back home to find my new phone had been delivered (well, it had been delivered next door and I had to pick it up, but still.): a Samsung Galaxy S Advance. This is to replace my HTC Wildfire, which I’ve had for the past couple of years. I bought it on the strength of reading an excellent review of it a couple of weeks ago.
Although I’ve only had the phone for a couple of days now, I decided to post up a quick review, given the pace with which mobiles seem to change and develop (it’s no use me posting a review after using the phone for a few months!). As such, this isn’t really a “how well does the phone cope over time” kind of review, but just my first impressions as well as a comparison with my experiences of an HTC Android for two years.
I’ll look at the pros and cons, starting with the cons:
- It doesn’t use the latest version of Android (Ice Cream Sandwich). Hopefully this will be rectified soon, but it’s only a minor issue for me (my old HTC didn’t have Gingerbread, so it’s still a step up!)
- The power / lock button is on the right hand side of the phone. Again, minor thing, but I’ve been expecting it to be on the top (where it is on the Wildfire). It took a bit of getting used to without changing the volume every time I used it.
- The Samsung UI is definitely not HTC’s Sense. In fact, I’d take a two-year-old HTC UI over the Samsung UI any day of the week. It just doesn’t feel quite as integrated and well put together, it feels more like they’ve cobbled together a bunch of different elements. Case in point: the default Clock, when “clicked”, doesn’t take you through to the Clock app settings. This annoys me. Nothing you can’t work around or get used to, but little things do matter.
- The phone came bundled with a whole bunch of crap – like a new PC, you get a bunch of trial versions and things. It made the phone feel a little bit … complicated to start with.
- I haven’t yet found a way of making the text prediction feature have different settings for different apps. For example, the Guardian Crossword app really needs the text prediction turned off, whereas TweetDeck needs it turned on – but I haven’t found any way to do that yet.
- It doesn’t seem quite as well-built as the HTC, although that’s probably a subjective thing!
- The screen. It’s beautiful. Colours are vibrant, the resolution gives plenty of detail, and the touchscreen seems responsive.
- It’s fast. One of the major reasons I wanted the upgrade was that on the Wildfire, it would take minutes to load up the Bible app and get to the passage I wanted to look at. On the Samsung, it loads up in a few seconds. Much better.
- One of the nice things about Android phones is that, because they do share much in common, much on the new phone is familiar to me. Despite the fact that it’s from a different manufacturer, I’m able to use the phone pretty easily. I was able to export and import my contacts from the old phone with a minimum of fuss. I’ve been able to download and install all my old apps, plus a few I couldn’t on the old Wildfire. Because some info is stored on the Google servers, changing a phone is a fairly painless experience.
The phone does have a few minor niggles with it – but nothing I won’t be able to get used to, or iron out with a bit of time. In general it seems like a good smartphone and does everything I need it to do. I think it was a worthwhile purchase. YMMV.