Thursday, June 17, 2010

Why I'm returning the MyTouch Slide

If I wasn't so obsessed with Tech, there would be no reason to return this well-optimized, refeshingly snappy, android phone, and that is that.

The truth is, when I opened up that thoughtfully sleek carrying case and pulled the MyTouch Slide out from its foam resting spot, I realized at once this mid-range android device was going to impress me. The heft of it in the hand is commanding, but not so much it makes your pocket sag too souvierly. The body, as well designed as any HTC phone, is sleek and I have to admit, looks waay better in person than in photos. The slide-out qwerty keyboard is pretty well-thought out, spacious enough to type confortably, even if some of the 'alt' keys are laid out questionably.

What I noticed right away, is the graphic overlay HTC calls its 'sense user interface' that is basically a skin over the default android one. On the downside, there is no way to take sense away and revert to stock android, but on the plus side - the design is extremely nice and comes loaded with all the home screen widgets HTC is so famous for in its smartphone product lines. Attractive clocks, weather widgets, and stock market tickers are just a few of the goodies you'll find packed into the 'sense' experience. You can also overlay home screen replacement apps from the market if you really miss that classic android feel and need something familiar.

For an 600mhz processor, this thing is quick and responsive, and blazes though homescreen menus, thanks to the excellent optimization of software and hardware. In fact, in some benchmark performance tests, the Slide surpasses the Nexus one due to the fact that it can do more with less - a lower resolution screen needs less polygons to be pushed around. This cell phone in a very real sense triumphs where many other android attempts have failed: to mesh the OEM handset with the parts of technology that suit it to perform well. You will be missing the live wallpapers you might find on other android 2.1 devices, but are given in its place, an almost seamless experience between you and the tech, and if you are a nerd like me, thats a very good thing. No more waiting for apps to open, or laggy homescreen flicks, this thing fast and smooth.

So why then would I retrun a phone that I tout as a success for both T-Mobile and HTC? 3 reasons.

1. The gaming that can be done with this phone right now, is impressive enough, but with 3d rich games like first-person shooters, there is a noticeable lag, that will only get worse as time goes on, and tech goes on. Even though I don't see myself ever really getting into a handheld version of battlefeild BC2 on my MyTouch Slide, the day will come when its possible, and lets be real...I'd love to show that off even if i never played the damn thing. Part of being a tech addict is the idea that you could indulge in the latest and greatest if you wanted to.

2. The video camera recording is pretty friggin' sweet for a cell phone recording, but it is in the end, a cell phone recording. Relativley smooth but not without the occasional hiccup in the picture. I'm thinking that this is where the 600mhz is really being pushed to its limits. The next phone that I carry around for 2 years needs to be the swiss army knife of gadgets that takes all the others away. No more separate cameras, camcorders, gps navigators and mp3 players. My next phone needs to perform, and from what I see coming down the pipes very soon, it will that perfect gadget.

3. The genius button needs to be smarter. One of the only design gripes that I have with this handset is the fact that the genius button is just a re branded version of voice-command. I do give it credit... it can allow you to dictate an action, a person to receive that action and the content of that action all in one string - ie: 'text Tony: remember to get eggs on the way back from the store.' And 80% of the time it works flawlessly. But 80% is still a B, and definitely not worthy of the title 'genius.' Some may argue that I expect too much, but when you dedicate an entire button to an action that is kinda cool, but not accurate enough to depend on, well youkinda blew it. If they at least let me reprogram that button as a launcher for anything I wanted, I might not look so harshly at it as a gimmick.

I took it down to the local UPS store and felt my hand grip the box a little too long as I handed it off to the guy behind the counter. As hard as it is to part with, I now have my sights on the Samsung Galaxy S. And I know deep down inside, it that phone fails me, there will always be another better phone just around the corner to obsess over.

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