HTC, I want a divorce!

[fair warning, this is a rant]

Since Summer 2010 I have been rocking an HTC Evo after leaving my iPhone 4 upgrade with AT&T. I went with the Evo 4G and loved it, even bought my brother, wife, and employee one. Sense is an excellent “overlay” for Android and I missed a ton of the issues many people talked about with Android looking ugly, not being smooth, etc. It is a really nice addition but I do have issues with it. My main issue is the battery and it has moving away from the Evo product line but let’s start with a lighter topic first: updates.

Updates 

HTC isn’t overly bad with this, IMHO, and it is somewhat petty but where is the new Android Market? I love app updates and check daily [literally] for them. When I keep seeing and hearing about this new Android Market and can’t touch it…I get annoyed.

Again…pretty petty because I’m still getting to My Apps, finding new apps/games, etc. What I can’t get to are books and movies. I don’t buy those on phones anyway [Kindle books I do] but I want my options open, in case I do buy a movie on my tablet and want to switch to my phone on the go.

The Evo 4G is even more outdated than my Evo 3D. That’s somewhat expected except for the fact it came out last year [15 months ago].  I’m currently running Android 2.3.4 [Gingerbread] so the Evo 3D has the latest Android, which is great, but things like the Market just annoy me.

Battery

This is the bottom line reason for my move. Updates are a minor issue but I’m tired of sacrificing my mobile experience over a lack luster battery. Let me tell you a story.

On Monday, September 26, 2011,  I leaned over, unplugged my Evo 3D, and hopped out of bed around 7:30 to take my son to school. My wife already had him up and moving so I just needed to help with his lunch and do the driving. After dropping him off, I came home, showered, and went to visit my doctor for my yearly visit.

 

On the way I decided to listen to the Mobile Nations podcast. It was ~15 minutes long which is just about the right amount of time for me to arrive at my doctors office. Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish before I made it there because the loading of the mp3 kept failing due to my 4G connection not connecting in my area any longer [even though my wife’s Evo 4G can get a 4G in the same spots I cannot]. I kept telling the Listen app to load so I got most of the way through the podcast, after a few restarts. when I arrived and finished it during the 10 minutes I waited to see the doctor.

 

After finishing with my doctor [clean bill of health, in case you were wondering, but need to get fit], I followed my yearly routine when visiting the doc and grabbed some Denny’s [I’m an outright habit driven creature]. My battery was pretty low [in the yellow] by time I made it to Denny’s but still enough for me to get around the net and do things.

 

While I sat at Denny’s awaiting my favorite chicken fried steak meal, I browsed my emails, responded to some @TiPB comments and started listening to more podcasts [Ruby5 mainly] to catch up to one’s I missed. My food arrived so when the podcast finished [they are short, five minute podcasts] I just finished eating, occasionally checking email.

 

Ahhh…a great meal to start off my day. Time to head home to get to work. It was just after 10:30 when I walked outside and since I focused on my grub I hadn’t seen my battery level just yet but the Evo let me know it was low

[with the Power Savernotification] as soon as I unlocked my phone.

 

Wait…I’m less than 15% [the threshold where Power Saver kicks in] already? I’ve moderately used it for 3 hours with solid breaks between use [while driving son to school, showering, with the doctor and eating]. It wasn’t 15% though…I had 5% battery left!!!!

 

Irritated. I turned Power Saver off. On the way home I wanted to listen for new emails coming in [“interesting” conversation on @TiPB that morning] although I knew it would kill my battery. When I made it home, I was at 1% and reluctantly plugged it in. I was reluctant because I wanted to drain it of its life in an attempt to say “I’ll starve you out!” and win this chess match of sustaining battery life.

 

Bottom line…I received 3.5 hours [being generous here] of use out of my phone before I had to lower my experience [leave the Internet alone, turn off connections (wifi, bluetooth, etc), and just use it as a phone] with my phone to only using it sparingly.

Remember, I came from an iPhone last year where I could leave my iPhone unplugged all day or at least, with moderate use, only charge it once a day [typically 6-8 hours after unplugging]. I used to golf while listening to sermons/music with my iPhone and a bluetooth headset connected. That’s 4 hours [minimum] and still had battery life [at least 60-70%].

I LOVE Android and have no plans on going back to the iPhone [for numerous reasons] but enough is enough. One of my favorite features of Android is the untethered experience. I have NEVER synced my phone w/ my computer to get any content. It is all on Google’s servers, I bluetooth it, or connect it to my laptop as a disk drive and drop something on my SD card. This is awesome but with the Evo, specifically, I’m tethered to a charging port.

When my wife and I leave the house we grab all of the items we need [wallet, purse, kids, etc] and Evo charging wires for our USB plugs in our trucks. We literally will turn around to get a charging wire before leaving if we’re going to be out for a while. Terrible…terrible experience.

You can read Engadget’s review to see their thoughts on the battery as well.

Next Move

Well, some Apple zealots may throw a jab saying I’ll need to leave Android completely to get a good battery. I don’t buy that as I don’t believe it is an inherent issue with Android. At some level I do agree Android is eating battery like the Cookie Monster, 4G will kill any phone, and I’ve seen OK battery life with my Evo at times [had to limit what I did and connections]. I put this on the manufacturers and at this point I’m moving to Samsung.

The Samsung Galaxy S II touts battery claims bold enough to make me believe them:

  • 10.5 Days
    Amount of time available in Sleep mode in which a phone’s display are inactive to save power, but not totally shut down.
  • Continuous Talk Time: up to 8.7 hours
    Battery power consumption depends on factors such as network configuration, signal strength, operating temperature, features selected, vibrate mode, backlight settings, browser use, frequency of calls and voice, data and other application usage patterns.
  • 3.7 Volt, Lithium Ion, 1800mAh

The Evo 3D has a 1730 mAh battery so it concerns me a bit whether or not that extra 70 mAh is enough but with my Galaxy Tab 10.1 being on for 3 days…I’m willing to be sold on the S2 lasting at least 7 hours, which is plenty for me since I’m usually by an area to charge anyway.

Here is what Engadget had to say about the S2 battery:

After 20 hours, half of which were filled with the above tinkering and exploration, we managed to drag the Galaxy S II down to 15 percent of its original charge. This was with our usual push notification suppliers, Gmail and Twitter, running in the background and while constantly connected to our WiFi network.

In summary, we expect you’ll be able to get a decent couple of days’ regular use out of the Galaxy S II

So…that’s my goal. I plan to chunk my Evo 3D and my wife’s Evo 4G in my tech drawer [along with my iPhone] and snag two Galaxy S II phones.

What Will I Miss

The dedicated camera button is a gem! I love it.

Sense. The UI is slick and beautiful.

3D. My son loves it. I rarely use it [TBH] but he likes the idea of 3D pictures. It is a great talking point too. People love asking about it and I enjoy showing them.

This thing starts up really quickly. I hope that is an Android feature and not Sense, seeing as my entire Android phone experience has been with an Evo I don’t know where the lines blur/cross on all features.

A simple name. ;-)

Look for another post once we finally get our S II’s [hopefully Adobe gives them away at MAX next week; lmbo]. I’ll let you know how well it is working out.

  • Jason C

    I have a GSII and a couple of days use is a bit of a stretch. Of course I do far more than moderate usage. I am definitely a power user. And it lasts me all day and if I forget to charge it overnight can get another couple of hours of use in the morning before it dies. My streak was the same way so I really don’t think it is android.

    Very very satisfied with the GSII. The screen is too small but I came from the streak so every screen is too small.

    • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

      Nice! See that’s what I’m talking about Jason. I gotta get down w/ one of those but I’m soooooo amped about getting a Galaxy Nexus.