I did it. I quit my BlackBerry Curve 8300. Gone are emails piped through an Enterprise server, the hard qwerty keyboard, a guaranteed sturdiness. I’m not an unsatisfied BlackBerry user at all, and breaking up with RIM was very much “it’s not you, its me”. The chance to upgrade to HTC’s G2 Touch (also known as the Hero) for T-Mobile was too good to pass up.
The G2 is sleeker than its previous G1 incarnation, with a large touchscreen that takes up most of the front of the phone and a distinctive slight kink at the bottom which definitely helps avoid the screen getting scratched. The back of the phone is covered in soft plastic, is very comfortable to hold and is a nice weight. The phone has a proper headphone port as well as a 5 megapixel camera (but sadly no flash). All other mod cons are included – GPS, gyroscope, wifi connectivity.
Its my first time to play around with Google’s Android OS – the user interface is simple & customisable, the navigation smooth and it has decent processing power (you can have many multiple apps running at once, with no noticeable affect on performance). The touchscreen functionality is very intuitive, but the virtual keypad is frustrating and has me wishing for actual keys. That said, anything is better than the fiddly, and frankly rubbish, trackball.
What I am loving is the full integration with Google – the Gmail interface on my phone is seamless, my phone contacts are my Gmail contacts, Google Talk is preinstalled and Google Maps is better than ever. The only downside is that Google contacts create a contact for every email that comes into your inbox, whether you want it to or not. Surfing the web is almost desktop quality, has the capability to run full sites rather than just cut down mobile versions, and adjusts the text to the size of the screen where it can. The data connection leaves a lot to be desired in terms of reliability – but I’m not sure whether its the phone or T-Mobile’s network.
Android has its own app store, Marketplace, which comes pre-embedded in the G2. Once you get past T-Mobile’s delightfully annoying content lock, there’s a good selection of free and paid-for apps – although app search is poor, especially considering the people behind it. Once I got a good selection of apps up and running, I found it all comes at a cost – one working day’s heavy usage (especially of Twitter, browsing and using the GPS) and the battery is completely spent. There are a few things you can do to combat this, foremost amongst which is installing apps such as TasKiller, which does what it says on the tin and allows you to turn off any and all apps that are running but you’re not using.
The G2 isn’t perfect, but the raft of features and great UI means I’m not going to get back together with BlackBerry – although I hope we can still be friends.