Monday, January 09, 2012

New Phone: 2012 Edition

In December 2009, I decided it was time to a) switch from AT&T to T-Mobile, and b) enter the smartphone market with one of the cheapest smartphones available through T-Mobile, the T-Mobile G1 (a.k.a. HTC Dream). The G1 served me well, but it's pretty outdated now. The G1 doesn't have enough processing speed and/or memory to handle a lot of the Android apps that are coming out these days. The latest version of TweetCaster (my current Twitter app of choice), for example, takes a long time to load and crashes every five minutes or so on the G1. And Twitter apps are supposed to be simple, right? And, the G1 only has enough internal memory for a few big apps. I had been up against the G1's internal storage limit for quite a while, to the point where I had pretty much given up trying to download new apps.

So, I've been eagerly anticipating the time when I could reset the two-year contract and upgrade at a discount. Well, it's been two years, and it looks like the planned AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile fell through (thanks, FCC!), so it's time to upgrade!

Introducing my new phone: a T-Mobile G2x (also known as the LG Optimus 2X). Other Android options considered and recommeded by fellow T-Mobile customer James were the HTC Sensation and Samsung Galaxy S II; the G2X was by far the cheapest of the three ($100 vs. $200 vs. $230 with a two-year contract). Compared to what I had, this is a massive upgrade. Processing speed was something I had never even thought about when I got the G1, but these things are just miniature computers with phone-calling capabilities, after all. I've been jealous of the ease other people have with their smartphones doing simple tasks that took me several minutes on the G1. Not anymore! It reminds me of when my parents upgraded from a 386 to a Pentium, whenever that was. (1996?)

Also something to get excited about: the camera. I take a decent number of photos with my phone, so this is important. The G1 has a 3.2 megapixel camera, which is fine, except when you're trying to take a picture of a license plate from a distance, for example. And you can forget about taking pictures at night. But the G2x has an 8 megapixel camera, and features like variable light settings, a flash (yay!), and "zoom" (which I'm sure is nothing more than a crop, but still). At what point was that the leading edge of digital camera technology, let alone phone camera technology? Either way, the quality of my picture taking should improve from now on. I tried taking a couple of pictures at a stoplight at night the other day with the G2x to see how they would come out:

I'm not yet sure how a license plate would come out at night, though, which is important on the oft chance that I spot the ABC-1234 license plate at night, for instance.

I'm a big fan of the Android platform, and I had no intentions to switch to something else. What else is there for T-Mobile customers, anyway? Blackberry? Windows Mobile? Please. Even if T-Mobile carried iPhones, I would stick with Android, and not just because I'm already familiar with the operating system.

One thing I did like about the G1 was the pullout keyboard. I guess they don't make phones with these things anymore, do they? Would phone manufacturers rather make their phones as skinny as possible? Instead, I use something called "Swype" to type, in which you trace the path of your intended word on a QWERTY keyboard and Swype tries to guess the word you intended. I think I still prefer the pullout keyboard, but Swype isn't a huge downgrade. I'm already getting the hang of it. It's not so bad. The bigger adjustemnt is not having that LED notification light at the top of the phone. (There is an app called "NoLED" that serves as a substitute, but I tried it and didn't particularly like it.)

So, I like my new phone, a lot, but I knew I would. Now, let's fast-forward to January 2014. Will the G2x be as outdated then as the G1 is now? Hopefully not, but given how quickly smartphone technology is advancing, we'll have to see.


James Allen said...

Much like desktop processors, I think phones will get more processors at the same maximum clock speed (which seems to be about 1.5Ghz). The problem is going to be heat dissipation.

James Allen said...

By the way, I bet the new phone is blazingly fast compared to the G1. I assume you are filing it up with new apps.

James Allen said...

Oh, and make sure you turn WiFi calling will have issues getting calls and receiving text messages when on WiFi if you don't.