Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.
… don’t buy them!
I was tweeted something to the effect of this last week.
Seems to be a fairly obvious solution to my problem - but the point is - i LIKE apple products. I love how they get some stuff so very right, and as a direct result of that love, I completely hate when there is something so wrong.
Im just talking about my day-to-day experiences with my mac. Unlike most Mac owners, i still use other computers regularly both linux and osx, so id like to think this gives me a real-time perspective of what works well and what doesn’t.
I guess what I’m saying is… I’m not just moaning. I’m just trying to be a realist of my experiences. As I referenced in my Just because I have criticisms of apple products, it doesn’t mean i don’t like them.
If you don’t know, or didn’t previously care im a developer by trade.
Recently I’ve been working on a few Flex and AIR projects that required me to build up my own SDK’s. To do this, i simply had to merge two folders which had ALMOST the same files, but not quite.
In windows, or linux gui, if you want to merge folders, you just drop one on top of the other and agree to replace all existing files that are the same.
This does a file-by-file comparison and copies files over the top of the existing ones.
OSX, with its USP being that its supremely user friendly, does the same doesn’t it.
Terminal > ditto -v.
As it happens, im totally happy with command line interfaces, especially ones based on *nix. I find it kind of geeky cool, and have even installed the Visor plugin (for additional geek coolness).
I got my SDK merged ok and managed to move on, but it took a while to realise that it was OSX’s fault.
My reason for whining about it (and it is full-on whining) is that I can’t believe that was how i HAD to do it. Not so much for me, but what about anyone who isn’t as comfortable with a unix command line?
Whats with the Huge Paws?
Well, it’s been some days since the last post.
I paused for a few days more because i went back to my iPhone to see if I missed anything from the Desire. The unfortunate truth is - I did.
I wanted to be definative, and honestly, up until last week, I was resolute that the iPhone was still the way to go - the question is, has that changed?
There are so many positives and negatives, I’ve broken down the obvious parts already, but how do they sum up as a whole? Ok. First, lets look at…
The Tie Breakers
In my mind, these are the tie breakers (in no particular order), where the Desire proves itself as a legitimate iPhone killer. These things I wish my iPhone did.
- Flash Support. Sorry Jobs, sorry fanboys, but i’m with adobe. The HTML5 tests i’ve personally done on the device show that flash outperforms HTML by orders of some magnitude.
- A far, far better camera than the iPhone’s. I always knew the iPhone camera was bad, but perhaps i didn’t want to acknowledge how bad it was.
- Customisation. Apps, widgets, homescreens, scenes, all these on Sense UI is wonderful.
- Multitasking. I know its coming in OS4, but its not here yet, so how it will work in practise, remains to be seen.
- Aggregated contact info. Linking email accounts to phone numbers, contacts to facebook and flickr accounts is wonderful.
- Emailing. If you want to email more than one photo, you can. (Try this on your iPhone, write email, attach photo. It doesn’t work. Try sending two photos on one email, it doesn’t work either).
- Ability to use phone as hard disk. A minor, but im carrying 8gig of storage. It being accessible on the other end of a USB lead, is great. No proprietary apple nonsense here.
- Speed. Its faster. Loads faster. Not even in the same league type faster.
Thats a fairly big list… leading me to my conclusion, and my decision.
It’s all about buying a HTC desire instead of an iPhone, obviously!
Look, here’s something that only people who have lived with an iPhone will understand. It just works. Its elegant in function. Everything it does do, it does with more flair and polish than any competing device. Yes, it has feature holes, yes, its a flawed device at times, but 90% of the time, you don’t care, because you’re loving playing with it too much.
The Desire doesn’t give you the same experience. It relieves you from the annoyances, and gives you a great alternative, but even with the ropey will-it-work-or-wont-it-work bluetooth that they have in the 3GS, its STILL the nicer device to use.
Even with the auto-rotate when you’re replying to a message in bed (the MOST infruriating thing on the iPhone)
iPhone achieves such a nice experience the other 90% of the time, that you are willing to put up with the 10% of annoyance.
My Mum is getting a new phone soon, and she doesn’t know what to get. Me, I know that the iPhone will do everything she wants, without her having to read a manual. She’ll try and do something, and it’ll do what she wants right out of the box. My suggestion, even after all the Desire reviewing, is that she needs an iPhone.
Apple’s strength, lies in user experience. Apple’s logo has a bite missing out of it. I figure that bite represents the bits they haven’t bothered to put in (fairly ubiquitous statement this, the more I think about it). However, the rest of the fruit is the sweetest most satisfying fruit you will ever eat.
Once you’ve lived with an iPhone, you want at least the same experience, and you don’t get it with the Desire.
I’m sure for people who care less about how nice a phone is to use, and care more about functions (at any cost), will always side with the Desire, but me, i use my phone a lot. I use it for a lot, and expect a lot of it.
I couldn’t in clear conscience tell everyone reading this that they should buy a HTC Desire because its an out-and-out iPhone killer. The truth is, it isn’t.
For someone like me, it just has to be iPhone.
Ok. Somehow we’ve gotten to part 6 before talking about what the devices are actually supposed to be. This is probably an indication of what we’ve come to expect from a ‘Phone’.
Anyway, this one is nice and easy - er, not.
You press the call button on the iPhone, and it calls the number you tapped. Sound quality is great, and it just works. Visual voicemail, as an extension of calls, is a huge bonus for iPhone, and something I really missed even in the 10 days I did without it.
Under certain circumstances on the HTC, you get some odd results. If you just missed a call, or just made a call for example, it can take a few moments to refresh the list, meaning if you just tap the top number, sometimes you can find yourself calling a different number than what you intended.
You get USED to it, but you shouldn’t have to. Its a truly infuriating bug. Combine it with the old-skool voicemail, and you’re onto a loser already.
There is one important way in which it claws it back tho. Bluetooth handsfree works properly.
For some reason, there are issues with the iPhone bluetooth which means that it wont work with my in-car bluetooth system. It will ‘work’ but a call lasts 30 seconds or so before the sound quality goes all squelchy. Sure, iPhone works on bluetooth for other devices just fine, but the HTC worked with ALL the bluetooth handsfree devices I tried it on (3 in total, including my pioneer head unit in my car)
However, add the wired handsfree kit on the iPhone, combined with the voice recognition (easily triggered by holding the home button, or centre button on the wired handsfree kit), which is the best voice recognition I have ever used, and you have a case for the iPhone all anew.
So… who wins this round?
Well if you strip away all the fancy features, they are phones, and they should just work. In this way, the iPhone scores, for the sole reason of the HTC bug.
Feature to feature – neither are perfect. Both have issues or omissions. If the Desire had voice commands like the iPhone, or if the iPhone bluetooth worked properly, it would be more clear cut.
Anyway, the iPhone scrapes a point here.
HTC Desire 3 – iPhone 3
The HTC Desire wins.
Both need a dedicated hardware camera button, the iPhone needs one more.
These photos were taken either side-by-side, or consecutively (seconds apart).
To me - its clear cut. More megapixels, and a better lens. Sky over-exposes often on iphone, but not on the desire. (you can even see an eyelash on the c on my keyboard)
Plus, the desire has an LED flash.
HTC Desire 4 - iPhone 3
Contacts management on the HTC Desire is a dream.
You can sync your contacts with google easily - which is how I got my contacts to my phone initially. It just worked. Getting contacts on if you don’t use google contacts, if you are on a mac – could be a chore, ill concede. I can’t comment on the HTC Sync app, as there isn’t an OSX equivalent – and any Mac owners thinking about a HTC phone should bear that in mind.
You can group contacts, you can assign custom ringtones, you can send a contact to voicemail (quite cool, if a little sinister!).
But that’s not even the best bit – the best bit is the contact card. You have a series of icons on the bottom of the screen. You can see the sms messages from that contact (and send one directly from that screen), you can see the emails (and send, like sms), you can link that contact to a facebook profile and aggregate all their status updates in there. You can see their photos from facebook, and link in their flickr account and see those too. You can even see a call history.
The iPhone cannot compete with this functionality. Not even close. Its in a totally different ballpark.
However, there is a shadow looming over the HTC, like the Toruk to the Omaticaya people. iPhone OS4. I refuse to look into ‘leaked’ info; I want to see what is announced next month. I would suspect that Apple will implement these great ideas (part of HTC Sense for a while now), because they are great ideas.
Still, for what we have now… iPhone loses this - somewhat important - round.
HTC Desire 3 – iPhone 2
As anyone who owns an iPhone will be able to tell you - the battery life is rubbish. Even if you don’t think it’s rubbish, at the very least, it’s disappointing.
Well, as it turns out, its actually about average when you compare it to devices that do similar things. It’s not great, but then, you wont find a device that accomplishes everything the iPhone that does while having much better battery performance.
That said, I’m convinced that the HTC desire battery performs better, but not by much. If you use your phone often, you still need to charge it every day… and to be honest, I doubt any users in that group (me included) would notice any additional performance of a phone battery until we get to the stage of it lasting two full days with use.
However, all this in mind - the HTC wins the battery war still, in one important way. You can remove it.
I understand the reasoning behind Apple’s non-removable battery, the same as the MacBook, less space for mechanism equals more space for battery. I appreciate this approach with my macbook, the life is decent as a result. It’s really sound reasoning, but they are forsaking the fact that if you have a removable battery, you can carry a charged spare.
This flexibility, alongside with the likelihood of a higher performance battery upgrade in the near future (which you can swap in yourself), is one thing I really miss with my iPhone.
Sorry iPhone, but the Desire, with its better performance (marginal tho it may be), and removable battery, wins this round.
HTC Desire 2 – iPhone 2
It really annoys me how Apple seems to have - at times – an arbitrary app approval process.
The market is open, and some developers may love this. I’ll admit, the whole thing just seems easier to me (as a developer). The idea of bundling an application for as many mobile devices as possible – attracts me more, but Apple may well be doing all they can to prevent this at the moment – I guess time will tell if great ideas like Appcelerator will really suffer or not.
Anyway, I’m not getting into #331, but here’s a what I have perceived from use of both.
The android market has lots of crap apps. However, there are just as many crap apps for iPhone as there are for Android. iPhone evangelists love to band around ‘the quality of the applications’ when referencing the App Store, but there are some really shocking apps out there, just because they LOOK ok, doesn’t mean they are ok.
The trend iv noticed is that a great iPhone app, is better than a great Android app. The iPhone app tends to be nicer to use, it tends to be smoother, and it tends to be slicker. I’m sure there are exceptions to this, but I’m just speaking generally. As a sidepoint, I noted one example where an iPhone app I use a lot, was hugely expensive for Android (iSilo).
I think the idea of having an open market is great, but there really does need to be some quality control. Some sites do a great job of pointing at good android apps, but just browsing for apps on the iPhone can be fun in itself… the fact is, there are some apps I use on the iPhone regularly that I sorely missed on android.
iPhone 2 – HTC Desire 1