2009 is here…some mini reviews from 2008

2008 is finito and a new smartphone year is just around the corner.
For myself, 2008 was a back to basics sort of year, littered with duff
purchases and humungous disappointments…step forward the Treo Pro for
example. At the start of the year I had some mad spell where I bought
about 4 from eXpansys in the space of a month and ended up returning
them all. The only one of that bad batch I sort of liked was the HTC
S730, I had owned previously the S710 and had got on well with that so
its successor seemed like a good idea at the time.

You
know how sometimes you read reviews of devices that just put you plain
off a phone or gadget? I remember reading that the HTC S730 had poor
battery life but I found it to be excellent. You wonder at times what
people do with these devices that would make the battery life so poor.
I sent it back grudgingly however as it had terrible memory leak issues
that nobody at xda-developers could fix or showed any remote interest
in it. Twas a pity as I liked it, it was light, speedy, stable and had
great specs but being left with about 6mb of memory and nothing running
caused problems. I also discovered the delights of wifi and super
speedy on board downloads on a windows mobile standard device.

This mad spell also resulted in the Moto Q9h coming my way and again
this was a device I liked. It was however a bit of a slab although this
width allowed it to have the best keyboard on any device I have ever
used. It went back too as I could not get it to sync with ActiveSync.
Drat. Again, this was a device without wifi and by this time I finally
saw the wifi light and realised it was a feature I really really like
to have around.

The HTC Advantage I owned at this time never worked properly and was
returned on that basis, it also arrived from eXpansys without a battery
for some reason. By this time I had sold my Blackberry Curve after a
couple of months of nil use. It was a nice thing though, lovely form
factor and great keyboard let down by a chronic lack of decent 3rd
party apps at that time. You also got the impression RIM hadn't spent a
whole lot of money on the underlying o/s. For some reason, it reminded
me of Pac-Man.

By April, I was persevering with an HTC S630, the updated Dash
model. This one lasted more than a month before it started to really
irritate me with its slowdowns, even with apparantly plenty of memory
left to run apps. Nice form factor though and decent enough keyboard.
Just a bit….bland.

Htc_s630
What else failed to make the grade for me in 2008? Two Nokia's for
starters. This is where y rampant and expanding stupidity really kicked
into gear. Having tried and abandoned the E71 two weeks earlier on the
grounds it was basically pap, (despite what you will read everywhere
else), I then decided that an E66 would do instead. What the heck was I
thinking of? It's basically an even worse version of the E71 without
even its' saving grace, a decent keyboard. Symbian is such an
antiqauted o/s, so clunky and menu driven it will drive people used to
the iPhone and Palm o/s bonkers within days. Well specced for sure but
you pay for those specs with an horrendous user interface. As you can
tell, it's not for me.

And don't get me started on the MDA Compact IV aka HTC Touch
Diamond, I think it was at this point that I started to feel really
sorry for WM users as this was purportedly a "best of breed"
device….it was certainly a dog anyway. Slow, a touchscreen that had a
mind of its own, tiny onscreen keyboard that for some reason decided to
hide the box you were typing in and general all round user awkwardness
left me agog with genuine surprise at how poor an expensive smartphone
could actually be.

So, two thirds of the way through 2008 I was rescued from this
gadgetry mediocrity by the 3g iPhone and through the resurrection of my
trusty Treo 680, two of my all time favourite phones. I think I have
almost finally learnt my lesson but of course still find myself tempted
by one or two things out there, in particular the Blackberry Curve
replacement. I had a wee play with one over the weekend and it looks
and feels very nice but I don't know, I'm not sure it would be the
right phone for me. How RIM can charge £400 plus for a non-touchscreened phone without 3g
is a mystery to me. It makes the first gen iPhone seem like good value in comparison.

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