Please welcome guest blogger Brandon Dohman, whom many in Champaign-Urbana already know as an expert on many areas of information technology (see bio below):
Awhile back I had the opportunity to trade my HTC Incredible, for a Motorola Droid X. I spent 2 weeks with the Droid X before deciding to give it up. It’s a great phone, but for me, there were deal breakers. In this post I’m going to concentrate on these “issues” vs. comparing the phones. Many other articles have been written comparing the two phones, and can be found with a simple Google search. If you would like to do some research on the phones, if you are unfamiliar, here are the companies’ information sheets about them.
To give some quick insight into my phone usage, I would consider myself a business user. I don’t use my phone much for video or entertainment purposes. I use my phone to make calls (surprisingly this isn’t everyone’s first use...), texting/e-mail and twitter.
Deal breaker number 1 - No simple way to dial/text a contact:With the HTC Incredible, I could bring the number pad up with one click and use it to search through my contacts. Using letters assigned to the numbers to type in names. Something I’ve enjoyed having as a feature in every mobile phone I’ve had since 1999. With the X, I found no one step contact search. To find the contact I needed, I had to open the contacts, and then search. Searching the contacts this way used the full keyboard. I looked for a setting change so that I could use the number pad to search for contacts, yet could not find a way. When attempting to do this with one hand, I often struggled. It was tough to keep it balanced and type quickly, due to the size of the phone... Which brings me to deal breaker number 2.
Deal breaker number 2 -The phone is huge: If I wanted a tablet, I would get an iPad. The X measures in at 2.6(x) x 5.0(y) x 0.4(z) inches, while the Incredible is at 2.3(x) x 4.63(y) x 0.47(z). When looking at the numbers, they might not seem like that large a difference, but once you hold one in your hand, you can easily tell a size difference.
I have above average size hands and I found it difficult to use the phone with just one hand. With the larger screen you do get much larger keys on the keyboard. This was nice, but I didn’t notice a large difference in typing speed between either phone. I send 60-70% of my daily emails from my phone.
Deal breaker number 3 - No optical joystick/scroll ball: On the HTC Incredible, you have an optical joystick, which allows you to easily navigate through text that has been typed, or navigate windows/screens. This makes for an extremely quick and accurate way to edit text when typing out emails or text messages. The X offers something very similar to the iPhone, where it allows you to touch the screen to place the cursor, then press, where it then displays a magnification of the text, allowing you then to drag the cursor back and forth. For me this option greatly increased my speed and ability to edit text. I found it hard and not very accurate when selecting text. If I didn’t catch it properly, it sometimes would highlight the words and ask me to copy.
Deal breaker number 4 - Having to shift to get characters and numbers: On the HTC keyboard, I was able to press down on certain keys to insert a character or number. On the X, I had to shift to display a new keyboard with characters and numbers. This extra step became rather annoying, because I often included numbers in most of my emails. I did not find a way to manipulate the Motorola keyboard to be used like the HTC design.
These 4 deal breakers were the main reasons I decided to switch back. There were some others; however, I didn’t deem them necessary to be written about. For example, the X seemed to have far less widgets than the HTC and whenever I would come back to my apps screen, it would start at the top, not where I was on the previous review.
Before I end my post, I wanted to give the X a little praise for what it got right.
Overall these phones are both excellent in hardware. However, the HTC Sense UI wins out for me in the end. The little tweaks and options they’ve made available make this phone much more user friendly. I’m sure that I could have found a work around for these deal breakers; however, I wanted to look at this phone as a normal user might, not from the stand point of the computer nerd that I am.
Most importantly, I’m excited to see what the future of smart phones will bring us. The Android OS is quickly evolving and becoming a strong option in both business and personal markets. With more and more companies starting to build phones based on the Android OS, I feel we’re going to continue to see a heated battle to be “top dog” of the mobile phone industry. Right now, in my opinion, the HTC Incredible is that top dog.
Brandon Dohman works as an IT Coordinator and Consultant. He lends his consulting abilities to local small businesses showing them how to harness technology to save them money. He's had a passion for technology and has been a "tinkerer" since the age of 11. When not working with geeky stuff, he enjoys spending his spare time trying new beer and umpiring college baseball. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his personal blog here.