Reviews

The Droid has landed …

14

Since our resident Stunt Blogger, Nuthin, is hard at work on a new blogging event, I’ll take a few moments to go ahead and post a useless little update that I don’t mind getting lost in the shuffle.

My first inclination this morning was to take a picture of my Droid using its fancy pants built-in camera, but then the technical challenges got too overwhelming. It wasn’t a matter of not having enough mirrors; it was more a matter of the convoluted contortions and too many body parts getting in the way. So, I Googled myself a pic instead. I mean, that’s not really cheating if you consider the fact that the Android software is being overseen by Google, right?

Anyhow … this Droid ROCKS!!!! Sorry, but there are simply no two ways about it. I’ve been in regular contact with a dear friend of mine who is — believe it or not — a semi-domesticated marsupial, and when I’ve relayed to him some of the things I’d been reading about the Moto Droid he has regularly smirked and said things along the lines of, “You just go right ahead and believe what you want …”

Well, it’s in my hot little hands now and after a few days of keeping the battery on the verge of melting all I can say is: “WOW!”

This thing is, perhaps arguably, the coolest invention since the LFL (the Lingerie Football League)

Those who have claimed this device to be a potential iPhone killer were not far off the mark. Quite frankly, the Android OS (operating system) is orders of magnitude superior to the Apple OS. But that’s one of the major potential benefits of Open Source software (although, I think it’s safe to say that Sun’s “Open Office” product was a complete debacle!)

But alas, I’m already digressing …

After having lived with TWO lemons over the course of the past — shit, what’s it been. over 3 years now? — it is refreshingto have something that the inverse Love versus Hate relationship is equally as intense. To put it simply, I do not believe I have been this excited about an electronic device … ever! This includes the totally badass media player I picked up just before the Spousal Unit and I went to Jamaica for our belated honeymoon.

As I understand it, the Google phone (Nexus One) is supposed to be a fantastic device, but dudes, come on … it’s an HTC product! I’d rather felch a dead animal on the side of the road during rush hour than ever own anything manufactured by HTC.

Okay, that might have been a bit of a stretch, but it’s all beside the point anyhow: I’m here to giggle and blather about my happy little phone!

If the iPhone once epitomized the concept of a Smart Phone, then the Droid is the True Genius of the litter.

I’ve seen people bitch about the “industrial” look and feel, but that’s what it’s ALL ABOUT, morons!

Droid … THINK ABOUT, you idiot denziens of iPhone fluffage. Droid … as in an android … a @#%$ing ROBOT, okay?

Of course, some of them might be the really creepy anime types that are so into everything Japanese that they’re even into those new-fangled life-like sex robots the Japanese are becoming so infamous over.

Funny how Apple seems to attract the most childishly hysteric adherents and devotees … of course, look at what a spazzy little bitch Steve Jobs is …

But anyhow, I’m not here to denigrate Apple: the marriage of Motorola and Google took care of that!

(Possum, my friend,  I do envy your Zippo app, but I already have a collection of real Zippo lighters)

(yeah, that’s the first app a friend of mine has that I was not able to locate for my new phone)

Okay, I hate this faux king phone now.

All of the Faux King’s horses and all of the Faux King’s men could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Alright, I’m over the whole Zippoapp thing now. The only purpose of that app was to demonstrate how sensitive the iPhone is. Well, I tend to find sensitive men are real pussies, so put that in your crack pipe and smoke it, ok?

So, I get the whole, “we have over 100,000 apps to your, what? 20,000 or so?” I have to ask, how many of those 100,000+ apps are worth a damn? How many of them are so poorly written that they cause stability issues with your previous little Apple device? Heck, I was listening to my dad this morning talking about how he had to uninstall all of the apps he has purchased / downloaded since he got his iPhone last September. Yeah, lock-ups happen, plain and simple. It sure must be a pain in the ass not being able to remove your battery, huh?

Oh, speaking of removable batteries, it’s pretty cool being able to buy replacement batteries for my Droid … and for UNDER $20 (US) a piece! As a longboarderwho loves to listen to music while I’m cruising the roads, it will be nice this summer to simply pop out a dying battery and replace it with a freshly recharged one.

The screen, apart from the Droid’s impressive display resolution of 854×480 pixels (compared to the antiquated 480×320-display on the iPhone),is also exceptionally durable. I defy you to try this with your iPhone, Palm Pre or Crackberry whatever!

I definitely dig the slide-out keyboard. Some of the docile, bleating sheep of the Apple devotees denigrate it, but that’s because they’ve not grown accustomed to QWERTY keyboards.  Hey,when iPhoners go to landscape mode, your “virtual keyboard” suddenly takes up a big piece of real estate, doesn’t it?

And here’s the part that killed me, folks …

When I opened the package containing my Droid, there was this return envelope:

click to enlarge

Yeah, get that … not only do they want me to send back that detestable P.O.S. Touch Pro, but they intend that return to somehow help victims of domestic violence? How ironic is THAT?!?!?! The fact that this phone didn’t INSTIGATE any domestic violence in my house is a miracle (well, if you don’t take into account the fact that the Spousal Unit isn’t playfully referred to as “a six foot tal Scandinavian she-devil” for nothing).

Well, looks like our stunt blogger Nuthin beat me to the punch. Take a few minutes to go check out his latest blogging … it’s simply delicious!

CHOW DOWN, HOGS!

and until next time …

PEACE OFF!

… and don’t forget to leave a comment because …

(tech review) HTC Touch Pro (Verizon)

8

As a freak-turned-geek of over 20 years now, I thought it was about time I start taking some of my tech’spertise and put it out there for the betterment of mankind.

Yay me!

So, let’s just dive right in, shall we?

As the title states, this is a review of the HTC Touch Pro, as provided by Verizon Wireless …

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Notice anything odd about that picture? (apart from the wrinky hand …)

Actually, hold on to that thought … we’ll get back to that shortly.

Product summary

The good: Hmmm, the “good”? Tough call … there’s a full QWERTY keyboard and a touch screen. Wait, I have one! It’s heavy enough to double as a personal defense device.

The bad: To call it buggy and incredibly slow would be a compliment. It has less onboard RAM than a 1970’s calculator, the battery drains more rapidly that an infant with dysentery, there is no standard headphone jack, and it arbitrarily locks up more frequently than Hillary Clinton comes unglued at uncomfortable questions.

The bottom line: Billed as a “full-featured smartphone for business users”, it is painfully slow and not worth the frustration or money. Unless, of course, you want a conveniently sized weapon (of the blunt variety) that won’t be confiscated by airport security.

Full review below …

For the past couple years, my life has been plagued by the electronic debacle — er, I mean: device — known as the 1st generation LG Chocolate.  I was, quite frankly, utterly convinced that mankind had reached its pinnacle of design debauchery … that this industry had, in fact, created the most miserable, useless piece of shit … EVER.

Until I “upgraded” to this “latest and greatest” offering from Verizon: the HTC Touch Pro.

As fate would have it, I was the “lucky” bastard who purchased the very last unit in stock at the local Verizon Wireless store. Unbeknownst to me, the Pro2 was set to hit stores any day and — luckier still — plans were already under way to remove this satanic device from their product line-up. Luckier still, Verizon Wireless had a queue of hundreds of negative customer reviews “pending approval” [cough].[cough] on their website.

So … and I’m sure you must be wondering by now … what is it about this phone that has me regularly spitting up bile?

Beyond the fact that this thing burns through battery juice like a lonely woman jacked up on near-fatal doses of Ecstasy and Spanish Fly, it rarely even works as advertised.

Design

Quite frankly, I’d have to say that this little black brick was designed by a drooling, brain damaged marsupial. The mere fact that Verizon abandoned the sleeker, smoother lines of the same product being offered by Sprint and AT&T, should have been my first clue. Verizon chose to do away the rounded edges and, instead, decided to go with a sharper, harsher brick-like motif.  At a hefty 4.9 ounces, this stately monolith of a phone is a full 4.1 by 2 inches of technological fail guaranteed to subject its hapless user to countless hours of torment and rage.

On its front, you’ll find a diminutive 2.8-inch touch screen with an altogether unimpressive VGA resolution of 480×640 pixels. According to its manufacturer, HTC (which stands for “Hi Tech Computer Corp.” … it just rolls right off the tongue with sheer elegance, does it not?), you’ll enjoy sharper text and images. In my personal experience, the only “sharpness” you’re likely to encounter with this electronic demon seed is the sharp edges of the device itself … or the sharp pangs in your brain as you talk yourself down from the urge to hurl this thing towards a concrete surface with all of your might.

HTC’s TouchFlo 3D interface is nothing short of tragic. Not only does the toolbar along the bottom of the screen border on impossible to use, you are lead to believe that you can launch applications with a single touch. What they failed to tell us was that virtually any and every thing that is accessible via the screen can (and will) be inadvertently pressed and opened as you pull the device from its carrying case. Well, to be honest, that only happens when there was an incoming text message. There is no option to disable this: the phone fully unlocks upon receipt of a text or pix message, but alas … I’m getting ahead of myself.

The four-way, touch-sensitive “navigation toggle” is not merely a joke … it is a tormenting example of complete and utter Design Fail. To compare it to an attempt by the Washington Redskins to get into the end-zone would actually be complimentary. From a functionality stand-point, this thing is the equivalent of putting braces on the teeth of a recently deceased victim of an automobile accident.

To further my opinion that this device is better suited as a weapon than a phone, it includes not one … but TWO … stylus pens. Yeah, you read that right … this thing actually has a f#$%ing STYLUS! This is the evolutionary equivalent of putting webbed feet on a spider. I mean, what the f*&%? Did I just get teleported back to the early-to-mid 1990’s?

Features

According to the media fanfare, “The HTC Touch Pro is built for business users and comes with the features to handle the workload. The smartphone runs Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional Edition with the full Microsoft Office Mobile Suite and Direct Push Technology for real-time e-mail delivery and automatic synchronization with your Outlook calendar, tasks, and contacts via Exchange Server.

[cough] …. uh, yeah. Right.

For starters, “Windows Mobile” and “Professional Edition” is about as oxymoronic as “Gay Nazi’s for Christ.”

The promise of Direct Push is not only an empty one, it also comes at the expense of already-precious battery life. Again, the terms “battery” and “life” are yet another painful oxymoron here.

And if by “real time e-mail delivery” they mean anywhere from 2 minutes to 12 hours, then they’re definitely spot on!

On the matter of synchronization … after several days of failed attempts, and several calls to Verizon’s so-called “customer support”, I finally had to resign myself to the fact that this so-called “smart phone” could only hope to sync up with Outlook via a USB CABLE … not wireless via my Exchange Server. I’ve stepped on finer messes while visiting my late grandfather’s farm.

Insofar as web browsing … forget about it. As will be discussed below, the slowness of this device is so far beyond glacial that the mere notion of web browsing is enough to give me an annuerism. Oh, but for the true techy-masochist in all of us, they were goodly enough to offer not just Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as the default browser, but Opera as well … for those who simply cannot get enough bugs and frustration.

The Touch Pro’s 3.2-megapixel camera is about as useful as a video operator in the midst of a full-blown grand-mal seizure … and that without image stabilization technology. Every image I’ve attempted to capture on this device turned out blurry, washed-out, and in many cases, completely undecipherable. This includes shots taken on bright, sunny afternoons with the phone being “bench-rested” on a non-moving surface.

Voice dial? Yeah … and I have a family of flying monkeys that have built a condominium complex inside of my ass. If you need to make a call while behind the wheel of your car or truck, PULL OVER FIRST. You will injure/kill yourself or some other poor, unsuspecting schmuck if you even think about originating a call from this phone while in motion.

Performance

Ah … “performance.”

Nothing … and I DO mean NOTHING in my short 45 years on this funky rock we call Earth … I have ever encountered could ever hope to compare to the perfectly miserable and unbearable lags and delays that occur whenever virtually any of the countless, useless “features” of this phone are selected.

As mentioned earlier, an incoming text message automatically unlocks the screen and buttons on this device. If, like most people, you occasionally receive text messages AND intend to keep this phone in a carry case, you’re screwed. Sorry, but there are just no two ways about it. Even IF you don’t have it in a case, merely picking the phone up off the table or bar upon receipt of a text message is almost guaranteed to take you on a psychotic journey of frustration the likes of which you’ve never known. Not only were the makers of this phone “savvy” enough to buffer all keyboard and touch-screen input so you can actually type/select things faster than the phone can react, it provides no means of telling it to STOP.

What does this mean to you? Well, but the time you get the phone out of its case and oriented so you see it, you’ll have moments of sheer “joy” as you watch it flip from one screen to another, sometimes even making random settings changes.

Remember my pointing out how the phone was being handled in the photo above?

33408745-2-440-PALM-3

Yeah … that’s about the ONLY way to handle this phone if you ever receive any text messages.

You might think yourself moderately bright and want to ask, “Buck, why not leave it in the carry case until it goes back to sleep before removing it to check on an incoming text message?”

Because the damnable touchscreen on this thing is so spastically hyper-sensitive that ANY movement or pressure whatsoever will initiate a random series of selections that will not cease until the phone is pulled out and manually shot off.

As if being slow wasn’t enough, you also have instability issues that are so monumental that it is impossible to believe that this thing was EVER released to the public. The operating system is actually less stable than Windows ME, a feat in and of itself!

So, this leaves us with voice calls. Even here we experience something known as “EPIC FAIL.”

I cannot count the number of incoming calls that were immediately terminated when I tapped “Answer” on the touchscreen. In fact, I JUST MISSED a call from my friend Dan who just tried dialing me AS I WROTE THIS SENTENCE!

BUT WAIT … THERE’s MORE!

If that is not frustrating enough, you also get the unmitigated pleasure of having connected calls terminated for no reason whatsoever … and in areas of supreme coverage. The phone sometimes just cuts a call off for no reason and without warning. In fact, I was standing outside of my favorite watering hole one afternoon dealing with what appeared to be a personal situation of extreme gravity and severity (in all seriousness, it bordered on literally being a “life & death” situation) and I have this damned thing terminate TWO back-to-back calls.

Oh yes, please be patient because there IS more …

And when I am lucky enough to have conducted a conversation that is actually brought to a voluntary end, I’ve discovered yet another secret, special “feature”: the device occasionally locks up when after tapping “End Call” on the touchscreen. When I say “locks up” I mean that in the most terminal sense of the word imaginable. This damned thing regularly just “dies” on me … and I don’t mean that in the sense of shutting itself down. Oh no … god forbid something as simple as holding the power button down for a few seconds to turn the phone back on would work. Nossir, when this fucker decides to die, it does so completely. The only hope of recovery is to remove the battery, wait … re-insert it, and wait for a full 2 minutes for the phone to completely reboot.

And even then, it very well may die immediately after re-starting.

Seriously … it did that TWICE yesterday while I was waiting to hear from my wife who was on the road.

In short, there is nothing short that can be said about this phone that can even begin to convey my disgust, anger, and downright hatred …

to be continued (maybe)

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