Experience Android

Its difficult being a technophile. There’s always something to drool over and an empty pocket to go with it. More often than not, you find solace in the fact that you can’t afford most of it(Apple anyone?). But once in a while, comes a device that is affordable, yet which you can’t really buy outright. This is the irritating zone. And Android stood out like a middle finger in this zone.

When I bought my First phone from my hard earned cash, the Nokia 7610 Supernova, in March 2009, Android was an emerging tech on the horizon, not a serious option worth considering. I was hardpressed to find a wi-fi enabled phone within my budget, let alone a smartphone. Cut to 2011 and Android is everywhere. Everyone you know is buying one and every website you surf has an App for Android, iPhone and Blackberry. Features like wifi, accelerometer, GPS are standard issue.My s40 Nokia is a nobody in the tech world. For someone who spends most of the online time reading up tech-website, most articles you read are about how smartphones are making life convenient. It’s a difficult thing for tech-lover.
But my phone was just 2.5yrs old. It did everything it was meant to do. Besides, I hadn’t been able to save enough cash for a new phone and I don’t think the cheaper Androids are worth it. So there I was, silently mocking every ‘via Twitter for Android’ tweet and cursing all the people on my timeline discussing the wonders of Android.
Then came my 21st b’day. A generous gift from my parents and some of my own cash coupled with some coaxing by people around me finally lead to me hitting the Order button on Flipkart for a brand new Motorola Defy+! I placed the order on 6th January 2012. On 9th january 2012, I had the baby in my hand :)

 I had spent hours reading reviews of this phone and seen countless pictures. But the piece i received was completely different. The body was black alright but the top button, volume rockers, and back panel latch were grey. Besides, the exposed screws of the defy were metallic, unlike the  matching colored black screws in the pics. it looked neat!

Why Defy+?

First thing first. Why this phone? To be frank, I didn’t plan on it. It cost me Rs.17,400/- in Jan 2012 and that was way above my budget.I had been looking at the 10 to 14k range and had been drooling over Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini for months. But some reviews about its battery life and some other problems stopped me. Also, Moto Defy which was priced 14.5k was too good to ignore. I mean, when you can buy a water-proof phone with a large screen and above average pixel density, how can you NOT buy it? So I was inclined to the Defy. But Defy was released in 2010 and had been succeeded by Defy+ in 2011. It was priced about 3k higher and on paper, the only improvement was a 1GHz processor, new chipset, 1 GB ROM and a bigger battery. Defy has a huge developer support. But I decided to pay that extra 3k and go for the Defy+ instead.
Why Defy+ over Defy? For a start, I believe it makes sense to invest in the latest when it comes to tech. A year is a long time in tech world and though the difference might not seem much on paper, there is a good chance there are quite a few internal changes. Besides its much more likely to be supported for a longer time by the parent company.

The Pros

About the features, Defy+ came with a 3.7” screen and 265ppi pixel density which are both above average specs at this price point. It also has a 2gb internal memory which even many of the higher priced phones do not. Trust me, internal memory is a blessing when it comes o Androids. All apps cannot be stored on an external storage and 2gb internal storage means you do not have to think before installing an app like owners of most other Androids. The water proof, dust proof  feature works like a charm and is extremely convenient, besides its snob appeal :P The hardware is great. Camera quality is great in external daylight. Audio quality is good. The 3 color status LED is convenient.
The Cons
The single worst part of this phone is its Software. It lags often and can get irritating. At times, ur phone starts ringing and yet you can’t receive the call cause the phone is yet to display the Answer button. There is also some lag while opening Apps at times.This is not always the case, but it happens pretty often. This is due to the faulty MotoBlur UI and its drawing a lot of flak from users. This problem also existed in the older Defy and is a reason why so many users chose to shift to CyanogenMod aftermarket ROM. The hardware is great and CyanogenMod really makes it worth it. But sadly CyanogenMod is not out for the Defy+ yet.
Besides this, the phone lacks a front facing cam which is the only hardware feature missing in this phone. The backside cam suffers in low light conditions. Battery, though bigger than Defy, lasts a day at max. Drain is much faster if GPS is used which is counter-intuitive, as you normally use GPS on journeys, where you may not get to charge very often.

My most used Apps

Owning an Android has fulfilled a lot of my expectations, and more. It has made life a lot better. So its only apt I share my most used apps.

For Twitter and facebook, I use the official apps. Twitter For Android does everything I expect it to, so not using third party clients yet. Facebook for Android  is slow, but it works. I sometimes use the Motoblur Social clients that came with the phone, though they aren’t very usable.

Besides the social apps, the single most used app on the Phone is ‘Read It Later’. I read A LOT. A lot of my online time is spent reading and Read It Later has helped me offload my reading to times when I’m free, like on a bus journey or while waiting somewhere. Read it later is available as a bookmarklet for ur PC browser as well as has excellent integration with most of the apps on the phone including feed reader, social clients, browser etc. so you can literally mark articles from anywhere and save it to ur reading list. It removes all the formatting from your article and saves it in a beautiful, plain text form.

Next comes Any.Do. This app is so beautiful, I look for excuses to use it. It’s a to-do list in a minimalistic form and does what its meant to, in a beautiful way.I use MoneyWise to keep track of my finances. It’s a convenient app and takes care of everything you might need to keep a track of your spending. I use Google Reader to read the feeds of all major websites I regularly surf. I never saw the point of Feed Readers before I got an Android, but now it makes a lot of sense. Browsing happens in Firefox for Android as it helps me sync by bookmarks from the PC.Evernote and Dropbox are used once in a while, but not as much as I thought I would.

Other few notable ones are the default News & Weather app, default music player(Connected music player), Google Maps, the Times Of India App, Skype, Sky.fm, Zinio etc.There are several more apps that I’ve installed but the above ones are most loved and used.

The Android Experience
All said and done, its been a pleasure owning an Android. It feels great when u can finally read all those articles on tech sites as an owner and not just a tech enthusiast. Bus journeys are more productive. Its difficult to get bored. You have your documents at your disposal everywhere. Everything is better connected- your mail, FB account, twitter account…You can do things more efficiently. Read at your leisure, surf at leisure…wifi is a boon, GPS is great. Feels nice to tweet a pic when you want, from anywhere.
In short, Android has been everything that I had expected, and more.The next big thing in tech maybe right around the corner. For now, the geek in me is happy :)