Thursday, November 20, 2014

quick Motorola Droid Turbo review

In my prior post I was complaining about Android but I've since resolved those complaints by buying the most powerful Android phone out there. I'm still astounded that Android doesn't assist in dialing a number with extension suffix. But otherwise, for me, it's the best operating system. Perhaps this is fixed in the new version, Lollipop.

There are lots of reviews out about the Motorola Droid Turbo. This phone, currently only available on Verizon but launching on other services under another name, is essentially a jumped up Moto X. It has a higher definition screen, wireless charging, a higher megapixel camera and a much bigger battery. It also lacks the 560 something variations of the Moto X that you can get through the MotoMaker online customization system. There are two glass fiber colors and a unit with a ballistic nylon back. That's the version I've got.

I bought it for one reason: bigger battery. The device on contract is $100 more than the Moto X but it comes with the $35 Turbo Charger, so in a sense it's only $65 more as this Turbo Charger will also work with the Moto X.

After two weeks of use (I bought it the day it was released) I'm very happy with my purchase but its only real value over the Moto X is the larger battery. Because the Droid Turbo also has a higher def screen, I'm guessing that the bigger battery doesn't provide as much extended use as it would if the same battery were in the Moto X. Apparently it's impossible to really tell the difference between the screen resolutions. But it comfortably gets me into the next day and that's more than I've ever been able to say for any other phone. Under very heavy use, I've had it fail me once at the very end of a long day, so the claimed 48 hour battery is certainly a "your mileage will vary" situation. It's not as nice a device in your hand as the Moto X, but it feels great to me. It's certainly quite heavy but this doesn't bother me.

Overall, I've never had a phone I've liked as much. The Motorola features added into what is essentially stock Android are all welcome extra value. All of the Verizon apps are worthless to me and annoying that they can't be deleted.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Back to BlackBerry or how anyone uses Android as a phone is beyond me

I gave up my BlackBerry Q10 a few months ago. The keyboard started double typing, producing multiple letters for certain keystrokes. I replaced the keyboard myself and was very proud of the mixed black and white look I created by installing a white keyboard. But then the headset jack starting failing periodically and I shoved the device in a drawer and picked up a Moto X.

How anyone uses the Moto X or any Android phone in business is beyond me.

The address book is slow. Once you've found the contact, clicking the correct part of the screen to initiate a phone call isn't a sure thing. And conference calls! The operating system simply can't handle extensions. If you have to dial into a conference call you have to toggle back and forth between your calendar item and the phone dialer, an exercise in extreme frustration. I resort to either looking at my computer or writing down the extension. I tried the app MobileDay which is supposed to fix this. I doesn't. It never leaves enough time for Free Conference, which connects very slowly, before it auto dials the extension and messes everything up. The idea that you have to get an app to make conference calls when BlackBerry has had this built-in for a decade is beyond me. And I continue to click the Android screen in the hopes it will recognize a string of characters that looks like and is a phone number, just as BlackBerry has for a decade. Nope. Doesn't work.

I pulled my Q10 out of the drawer last night, fiddled with the headset jack, and perhaps it's working now. I sure hope BlackBerry can get their build quality together for either Classic or Windemere in the fall. I'll use my Moto X as a nice little pocket computer because that's what it really is.

PS: I sure will miss the Moto X feature that knows when I'm driving and will read my texts to me, and allow me to answer them flawlessly by voice.

Addendum: iOS does have the feature that allows one to seamlessly dial extensions with a second click. An iPhone will properly recognize a number in a calendar item such as (123) 456-7890 x12345. That Android does not is bizarre but as far as I can ascertain, it does not. So, I'll wait for the new iPhone.

Monday, April 14, 2014

things I miss now that I've turned off my BlackBerry

I recently switched to Android (Moto X) from BlackBerry (Q10).

I'd used a Nexus 4 for a while as a back-up phone so nothing was new to me but I'd always also used a BlackBerry. Now I'm sensibly down to just one phone. I don't regret the consolidation but here are a three really big things that BlackBerry, amazingly, still wins on:

  • Sound profiles. Incredible that you need an extra app to manage sound profiles and that all that's baked into the OS is Silent, Vibrate and Sound. On a BlackBerry it's been easy, for years and years, to customize and create custom sound profiles so that you can manage exact what notifications of what you get and in what form (flashing light, sound, vibration). The app that seems to be the top provider of this functionality for Android is called Sound Profile. It seems to work fine but features icons that make even the old BlackBerry OS7 look modern in comparison. I cringe every time I use it.
  • Unified InBox. I know that there are apps like Dropbox's Mailbox that provide unification of different e-mail addresses and some great additional functionality. But my BlackBerry 10 also integrated Facebook, Linkin, Whatsap, text messages, and other messaging into one, single interface and stream of messages.
  • Phone calls. BlackBerry is still so much better at making phone calls (as long as the physical device works--which is why I threw mine away in frustration). The integration with the address book and calendar is so far superior. Hyperlinks to do one click phone calls are so much better, including most especially connecting into a conference call with a dial-in code.
And a smaller thing:
  • BlackBerry Travel. I know that there are lots of other Android options, but the BlackBerry Travel app is just so perfect.
BlackBerry 10 is very hard to figure out at first and truly wonderful for one handed use once you get the hang of it. Android feels old and simple in comparison. But hey, now I can use beautiful apps like VSCO Cam.

BlackBerry can truly make the claim that it's the device that helps you get things done. Unfortunately, that's not enough anymore.


My Moto X has a nice little app that allows set-up of automatic profile changing for Work, Driving, and Sleep. The Work profile is particularly helpful, scanning your calendar for meetings and putting your phone into a silent mode during meetings with auto-texting options for important contacts. But this is still not a replacement for the centralized notification and profile management system that BlackBerry has had forever.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Will the last BlackBerry user please turn out the lights?

I just couldn't take it anymore. After replacing my keyboard on my BlackBerry Q10, the headphone jack failed. I'm done.