T-Mobile G2: His Review | Her Review

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What we want in our new phones

photo by djwudi

The Android world moves very quickly. New devices are being announced on a regular basis, each more impressive than the last. But it often seems like each new phone skimps on something; either it doesn't have a keyboard, or it lacks a camera flash, or it's running an older version of Android. Regardless of what feature is missing, there are always people on both sides of the argument. Some say going without that feature is a deal-killer, others say that feature was never important to begin with.

That's all part of the greatness of Android. There's a huge variety of choice when it comes to devices. From the tiny Aria, to the imposing Droid X, there are devices to fit (almost) everyone's needs.

So what do we want when it comes to new phones? If you read our About page, you will see that (as of now, anyway), we are both still rocking our now 2 year-old G1s. Sure, they've been rooted, and hacked, and improved to extend their lifespan, but it's no secret that the G1 is an old device. It has been so far surpassed by newer models as to be almost laughable. Don't get me wrong, I still love mine, especially with Froyo, but it's definitely time for something new.

The features that are most important to me are a physical keyboard, really fast processor, and a camera flash. There are those decrying the physical keyboard as dead, and that touch-typing is the future, but I firmly disagree. For those who do a lot of typing, especially typing without wanting to look at the screen, a physical keyboard is a must.

The fast processor goes without saying, though I do have my G1 overclocked to 614MHz. A speedy CPU is essential for future-proofing.

The camera flash is a touchy subject for some, who look down upon anyone who uses their phone for serious picture taking. The G1 takes great pictures in daylight, but my 1.3MP BlackBerry camera took better night pictures, since it had a flash. Sure phones won't take pictures as good as real cameras, but it's important to me.

As for me, a lot of my must-have features in a new phone are the same as Ryan's. I also want a physical keyboard, though I'm not completely opposed to a touchscreen only device. I would definitely need to spend some considerable time playing around with the keyboard though (which I usually don't have the patience or inclination to do while at the store). Right now I use Swype for my on-screen typing, and I like it, but when I want to write a lot or write it really quickly, I still whip out the keyboard.

I want a future phone to be fast. As Ryan said, our G1s are pretty much ancient relics by now, compared to the newest Android devices on the market. The lag is killing me. I want my new phone to be the fastest one available. It'll end up rooted and overclocked eventually, but I want to give myself a good head start to be able to make it through the end of my contract without feeling like it's going in slow motion.

Camera flash is a big one for me too. I obviously prefer a real camera for serious picture taking, but if I'm always tweeting and emailing pictures of the Droidlet and it's just so easy to do it all from my phone. I've basically stopped using my phone's camera, though, because the pictures are terrible. It would be nice to tweet a picture from my phone that's good enough to display if I wanted to.

Ideally a new phone will also be running the latest version of Android and stay updated throughout my contract. Pipe dream, I know. Fortunately, that's what rooting is for. (What I mean is, fortunately, I have a husband who knows what that means and can do it for me). Yay for Android being open source. :-)

My last and probably biggest criteria for a new phone is the one that Ryan thinks is the most ridiculous. It has to fit in my pocket. While phone manufacturers are trying to make phones the size of road atlases (remember what those are?), they're forgetting that half of the population wear pants with pockets we can't even fit a whole hand into. If I have a smartphone, I want to be able to have it on my person, easily accessible, throughout the day. Don't tell me that I should keep it in my purse--I want to actually be able to hear it ringing and not have to dig through a purse to get to it. And if you suggest a belt loop thingy, then you probably shouldn't be reading my portion of the blog in the first place.

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