If I were buying a new phone today, I’d lean heavily toward this phone. It’s not perfect, but it is pretty good at a lot of the things we now expect from phones.
The more you want a phone that will do what your computer will do, the more you want this phone. It’s not a laptop, but if you want to check e-mail, update Facebook, share photos, and be able to get online virtually wherever you are, the X will do that for you.
So will lots of other phones, including the now-basic Droid, and just as natively. A friend, after anticipating the arrival of his and her Droids recently, sent both back in short order and last I heard was awaiting the arrival of two iPhones. (He had a great line: “These Aren't The Droids We're Looking For. May The 4's Be With Us.")
The two biggest pluses of the X, in my view, are its multimedia capabilities, especially with video, and the capability to act as a mobile wifi hotspot. I also like that it doesn’t have a slider; if you want a hardware keyboard, this is not the phone for you.
I can’t say enough about the video; the X has a beautiful screen that makes it easy to watch movies, especially those in widescreen format. The quality is really astonishing. (And the sound through headphones is equally good.)
The biggest minuses: it’s a big phone, and that wifi hotspot capability will cost you extra. You'll have a data plan regardless, which will set you back about 30 bucks, and the hotspot fee will be about $20 on top of that.
Still, while the phone’s height will make it stick out of shirt pockets, it’s a relatively thin device and actually weighs less than the Droid. And I could make an argument for getting rid of my home Internet provider and use the X’s hotspot instead, actually saving me money. With the hotspot running, I downloaded a 100-MB software update on my laptop – in a room that isn’t terribly friendly to cell phone reception – while colleagues had two iPod Touches connected; the speed of my download seemed perfectly normal to me.
The battery on my Droid flakes out about once a week – telling me I have 5 percent of the capacity left and I better get it on a charger immediately and, when I do, it has nearly all its capacity left in a matter of minutes. I haven’t used the X as much, but I had one flake-out with it that was very much like my Droid.
Because I’m way into redundancy, this would almost never be a serious problem with me; I always have a charger cable in my laptop bag and one in my glove box – nothing new with this phone, I just think it’s a good idea. But it ticks me off that this should be a problem at all, especially because the best uses of the Droid – any of these portable devices, really – also eat battery life in a major way.
I think the next great technological leap in my lifetime will have to do with battery power/life.
I’ve read there are no capabilities for hacking the X as there are for getting into the Droid. If that sort of thing matters to you, you already know far more than I about it. I don’t really want to get into my phone that much. To my taste, there are plenty of apps that are free already available and that already work with the phone. I have found apps that play blackjack, chess and backgammon – my favorite time-killers – in the market, all for free. The blackjack app is just as good as any I have found for my iPod Touch; the backgammon app is the best portable version I’ve found, going back to Palm and Windows Mobile as well as iPod Touch; and I’m pretty rusty on chess, so evaluating that one will take some time. (Still, no one has made a desktop personal information manager, in my view, that tops Palm Desktop.)