New phone

Picture of Samsung Galaxy S phoneI took delivery of a new phone yesterday — a Samsung Galaxy S. Not the dual-core S II, which was well beyond my price range, but the Galaxy S was pretty much the top of the range until about a month ago as far as Android handsets are concerned. Nice big, bright screen, fast processor, lots of internal storage (8 Gb), and as it turns out, the latest version of the Android operating system. I still have until December remaining on my old handset (a HTC Hero, branded T-Mobile G2 Touch), but that was really showing its age.

Why did I want to replace it several months early? The main reason was that I had installed the Swype keyboard, which means you can draw words on the screen by moving your finger from letter to letter rather than simply touching the screen for each letter, which is supposedly the fastest way to type. Unfortunately, my screen seemed not to have been made for that purpose, or maybe it’s just a bad idea that looks good until you use it for a few weeks. I found that my finger snagged on the glass if it was dry and not greasy, and that it became more and more difficult to get the system to correctly get what I was trying to type. It frequently failed to get frequently-used words, particularly those with double letters and some (but not all) words with apostrophes, as well as the name “Matt” which I type quite a lot, as it’s my name (and it often gave me a list of other names, including May, Mart and Mary, but not Matt). There were also reliability problems, such as a tendency to drop calls while getting it out of my pocket, and bugs in the software which often meant I could press the “Call” button on the touchscreen while viewing a list of contacts or recent calls, and nothing would happen (this would often happen while trying to return a missed call, often missed because I accidentally rejected it while getting it out of my pocket).

I had also installed the SwiftKey keyboard, which I paid for, but I found that it took up too much screen space and left hardly anything for the application, so when choosing this one, a large screen was vital as that’s what I’ve gone back to using (although Swype is installed as standard). I considered both this and the Motorola Defy, which also has a long-ish screen, is light (much lighter than my old phone) and came with Swype as well as the standard Android keyboard. It’s also water- and dust-proof, which really made me consider it over the Samsung, but having just finished a job I needed to save money. I could buy that new for £270 from Amazon, but this unit was a month old and cost £230 (and I seriously considered buying that the day before but thought no, then checked on Wednesday and found that they had reduced it by £10).

The only problems I’ve had so far are a shorter battery life (I had installed a replacement battery for my old phone, which meant it could easily last a full working day, which was vital when working the 12-hour days I was doing until last week) and a Micro-USB socket which seems to have more room than the socket on my old phone (a Mini-USB one), which enables the plug to shift a lot. When I connected my supposedly universal car charger to it yesterday, I found that it would not charge unless I held my finger on the plug to keep it pushed forward which, obviously, you cannot do when driving. The charger that comes with the phone still shifts around but does charge, so I will have to buy yet another charger for this one.

Still, I’m happy with the new phone; it’s light, it’s stylish, it’s much more responsive than the old one and, as far as I can tell with precisely 24 hours of use at the time I post this, much less buggy. I think it’s a keeper, although I’m not sure yet if I will actually forego my upgrade when it comes up in December. That was one of the reasons I decided to get a new handset outright.

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