This weekend, I switched from using an iPhone 3Gs running iOS 4.1 to a brand new Samsung Captivate running Android 2.1.
It was an experience, to say the least.
First, I had to relearn the most basic of things, such as answering the damn phone. When someone calls, by default, one does not just press a button and start speaking. Oh, no, that’d be too simple: One must drag the button one way to answer, and another to ignore.
I also had to learn how to display running apps: Holding down the home button. Yes, it’s not all that different from iOS, but it’s enough of a difference that it took me two days to figure it out. I’m still not sure it’s totally doing what I expect it to, either. I get a list of things that were recently opened/accessed… But not all of the things still running show up. For that, I get to delve into the phones labyrinth of menus and settings to find what I’m looking for.
That said, I rather enjoy being an Android user. It’s probably because I’m still in the first week of ownership, but I’m having quite a bit of fun. I really enjoy just how damn customizable the thing is, right out of the box. I don’t like the complete lack of documentation – which compounded by things not quite working as expected. I’m not saying that anything is wrong, per se, just different. Different enough from what I’m used to that it is going to take a bit of time to get into the swing of things.
Of the (few) tweaks I’ve done so far, replacing the launcher is the one I would most recommend to any potential Captivate users. The default (TWLauncher) is nice, but the bottom bar is completely locked down in terms of which icons you can have there. Not a fan, as it’s got stuff I don’t really care about. I was able to swap it out easily enough (once I read that it could actually be done) by simply downloading ADW Launcher from the Android Market.
It was pretty neat, but I settled on LauncherPro, because it felt a bit more solid and offered a couple of nice Widgets.
The camera has a bit of lag between shots, but that might be user error. I didn’t really play with it all that much, as the camera on a phone is one of my least used features. Still, after it’s done thinking, the pictures it takes are really nice, both crisp and clear.
Really a big fan of the Live Wallpaper. I’m currently using one that constantly scrolls the system event log, using the same font and color scheme of the Commodore 64. Geeky? Hell yes, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
All said, it’s a nice little device. Not quite as polished as the iPhone – in most ways, the iPhone is still the king of consumer devices. But what it lacks in polish, it makes up for in number of additional features, and end user customization. I don’t think Android OS is quite ready for the mass market, just yet, but for the few power users looking into getting a new handset, I highly recommend it.