I am a lover of gadgets, and like to consider myself an early adopter, but the truth is I might only really be an early adopter in my head. My gadget obsession is fed daily by tech blogs, and I’m usually up to par on the latest specs and new technolgies coming out. The only problem is these newest items are usually too expensive for me to justify why I really need them, and that money is probably better spent somewhere else.
You may remember a post from just over two years ago where I wrote about purchasing a new phone here in the UK. At that time, I picked up the HTC Tattoo, which was running Android 1.6. In fact, I remember the sales clerk trying to talk me out of it because “nobody is buying that one, and Android isn’t that big of a deal”. Well two years and thirteen eaten words later, Android has exploded and there are many flavors of both operating system and handsets running it. In that two years, the technology has improved dramatically over my poor little Tattoo, so when my battery started to die I decided the money to replace it would go toward a new phone instead.
Enter the HTC Incredible S. As with any purchase, I did my due diligence looking for a new phone. This time around, I have a minimal phone plan that I pay for 30 days at a time and just needed to upgrade the handset, so no long term contracts are involved. This means buying a phone outright without the discount given when you sign away your bank account for one or two years. Apple’s iPhone is a fantastic device, but I easily ruled it out because out of contract the phone is £500, and I am on the Android boat. Samsung also offers two top of the line Android phones, but again I wasn’t ready to spend £500 on them.
So how did I settle on the HTC Incredible S? Well, it was a combination of build, features, and price. I have been happy with my current HTC, and this one felt solid instead of cheap and plasticky. It has a standard sized super-LCD screen that produces really sharp images, an 8MP dual-flash camera as well as a front facing camera, and a processor fast enough to handle anything I could ever want to use it for. Basically, this phone has all the bells and whistles I need, plus I will be getting the newest Android update Ice Cream Sandwich sometime in the next few months. It is priced between the cheap and the best Android phones, but actually the specs are closer to the top.
And as a testament to HTC, I think I bought this phone because it is familiar. Above you can see my new and old phones, and they are pretty similar, especially once you just look at what is on the screen. I happen to like the Sense user interface that HTC skins on top of the stock Android, so it was easy to get used to the newest Sense UI. My old phone made it two years before the battery got really bad, but it still works fine and I would be happy to continue using it if I didn’t enjoy what the newest phones have to offer so much.
And this brings me to my last point. Do you still call these phones? At what point are they no longer a phone, but more of a mobile device? I barely use mine at all anymore for actual phone calls, but this may be because most of my friends and family aren’t within reasonable calling distance. Mostly I text, email, and surf the web, which makes this thing a portable computer much more than a phone. It cost about $100 less than my laptop at home, so I certainly hope that it would be able to do many of the same things my computer does, and indeed I’m very happy with the performance so far. Actually, I’m willing to bet that this device is more powerful than my first laptop, (and maybe even the desktop my parents still use!) which says a lot for the progress of technology. I’m very happy with my new toy.