My Search For the Holy Grail of Android Devices
Those who know me in real life and in the digital world know that I change my mobile phone on more than a regular basis. In fact in 2012 I change phones 15 times!! I had everything from HTC One X, SGS3, Note 2 and anything in between. Now some would say I have a problem others would say I am just crazy. I could agree in some respects as it's not normal behaviour to go through that many devices in one year alone.
Now there is a reason for it, a justification you could say for this torrent purchasing of mobile phones. To explain or maybe justify my actions I will define what I use my android device for. I am a freelance IT Solutions Architect (I design computer systems basically) I blog and write. Being self-employed I have adopted a two phone policy. One for work stuff and the other as my personal phone. This works great as I can turn my business device off at night but still be contactable for friends and family on my other phone.
My personal device I will say only gets upgraded once a year and is and has always been an iPhone. I've tried using the iPhone for work and the Apple ecosystem just doesn't work for me that well. For social networking, music, calls and text its fine anything above that and no it fails but as my personal phone it does the job. My business phone has always been Android based, there has been the odd Win7/8 in there along the way but for me Android fits with what I need it for. So if I like Android so much the question is 'Why do I not settle with one device?'
Before writing this article I thought long and hard about this question and made a list of all the devices I've purchased in the last 12 months and my reasons for the short ownership. I wont list every device but give a few examples:
SGS 3 - Touchwiz for me is a terrible layer over Android, always has been since the original Galaxy and it really doesn't get any better. The device itself is great (bit plastic looking) but I don't buy a £500 device to then install a custom launcher or ROM over the top.
Motorola Razr I - Almost a vanilla Android OS on this device and the processor is snappy enough but even though the device is a 4.3" it felt tiny compared to other devices I've been using. Battery life was truly amazing.
Galaxy Note 2 - Marmite phone really. Great phone if you ignore Touchwiz but the size was a little much for me. I like to have two devices not one that acts as a both. Shame as I wanted this to be the keeper as the screen estate was fantastic.
Sony Xperia - Terrible to hold and to use and shocking battery life. Bond may love this phone but for me it was a no.
What I noticed when making this list was that two things stuck out, the screen size and how the device felt in my hand when being used (I remember when I had my HTC Incredible S ok it was a small screen but to use the device felt great and in fact was in my possession the longest of all the phones looking back). Battery life is of course important but it is for all of us regardless of what type of user we are but carrying a charger around isn't the end of the world and with the amount of time I spend using my phone there isn't a device out there that will last a full day.
Every handset I own gets configured the same, with the same shortcuts, widgets, keyboards, notifications etc so putting launchers aside it really is down to form factor and feel ability.This may sound odd to some reading this article but when you spend as much time using a device as I do for email, lync, webex, texts and calls during a day it becomes very important.
I am sure some reading this will comment about custom ROMs to remove Touchwiz or Sense (which I don't mind as much) but because I use the device for business I don't want to be running custom ROMs as I need my phone to operated correctly all the time and let's be honest while there are some great ROMs out there they aren't always a good idea to run on your daily driver.
So over the Christmas break I took a look at a number of devices and nothing was really working for me. Sitting at my desk I opened my file draw where the Nexus 7 is always stored and notice a phone in there that I don't actually remember putting there in the first place. I popped my SIM in configured the default 'Me' setup and have been using it ever since and it is working a treat for me and I don't see me replacing any time soon. What is this device you ask?.....
Well its the Samsung Galaxy Nexus! Not a new device and lower spec than the devices I have been using recently but it just works for me and that's what's important I need a device I feel comfortable with and as I am only using this as my business phone it doesn't need to be Quad Core as no game playing takes place. I do actually think I have found the device I will keep for a while now. Of course I just hope Googles next Nexus phone hits the spot as the Nexus 4 left me disappointed.