"Great phone, with several key programming flaws"3.5 starson by Cephalgia
Pros: - Screen quality is amazing.
- Touchscreen works perfectly
- Picture quality is great, aside from low-light conditions
- Call quality for a touchscreen
- Battery life with extensive media/ internet use
- No expensive required data package
Cons: - Software has it's downsides
- GPS is locked to AT&T Navigator
- No Wifi
- Limited aftermarket software and apps
- Menus and layout not as customizable as would like
Summary: I switched to this phone from a Blackberry Pearl deciding I wanted a touchscreen that wasn't the trendy iPhone. All in all, I debated returning the phone after being spoiled by Blackberry. In the end, I decided for a touchscreen it's the next best phone in functionality and design to the iPhone. I like the fact there is no required data package (i.e iPhone), and in all both monthly cost and out-of-pocket expense for this was much less than the iPhone. As you can tell, the iPhone was my next choice, but I didn't want to be all trendy and spend a monthly fortune at the same time. For comparison, these are some features offered that the iPhone lacks:
- Expandable memory. This is a major selling point as I'd rather spend $40 for 8GB than $100 for internal memory only.
- Removable battery. I like being able to have a backup battery since I work 12 hours shifts and can often drain a full battery web surfing, plus I'm not then limited to an outlet during a recharge since I often have to be on the go on a moment's notice.
- MMS. I know this is going to be addressed with the 3.0 software, but it's nice to not have to wait for it.
- Great battery life. This is a major complaint for the iPhone as it's screen/ OS drain battery life. Without extensive internet use or calling, just texting, I can go through a day with only losing one or two bars of battery. Also, I noticed very little drain after 20-30 minutes calls.
- Dedicated End/Send/Back buttons. I like having the option of simply going back a page or exiting entirely based on which button I use. Also, being able to access the recent call list with the Send button.
- 3mp Camera. This phone has GREAT picture quality, with exception of low-light conditions. A flash and self-portrait mirror would have been very nice to have. I also like the wide-view of the camera with simply changing from portrait to landscape layout. Panoramic is a great feature as well.
Overall there were enough features and price-points to keep me from going to the iPhone, and I like the fact that everyone and their Mom doesn't know what phone mine is. Of course, there are Cons to this as well:
- Many AT&T installed apps are locked, meaning you cannot delete or hide them. Also, most of the apps will make you pay a monthly subscription to use, and become an eye-sore on the menus.
- Limited GPS only works with Navigator (also a monthly cost). I became a huge fan of Google Maps, and found out that on the Eternity it's unable to access the GPS, giving you only the cell tower triangulation to figure out where you are. I tried Navigator and found it to be very visually unpleasing, and the business search is very inaccurate or useless at times.
- Email is limited to a few providers. I've been using Gmail and love their mobile widget, which becomes almost useless on the Eternity thanks to a warning that pops up on any unauthorized application asking permission to use data (happens every time it downloads any data). Also, the preinstalled email program has no option for a Gmail account, which means I have to log on the the browser every time to check if I have email.
- 3rd party software is practically non-existent. Most programs which claims to work with J2ME won't download, prompting "Unsupported Content". Also, I have found next to nothing for apps that use the Accelerometer or touchscreen.
- Lack of customizing. The main menu Widgets are limited to only a few preloaded apps, anything downloaded has to be accessed through the "My Stuff" folder. The preloaded wallpapers can't be deleted, and the screen saver image can't be changed, as well as Themes don't exist for the OS.
- The browser is locked to the preset homepage, and the preloaded bookmarks can't be deleted. While the 3G makes websites very quick to load, drop-down menus are a royal pain to select on particularly when more than a few option are present.
For users who simply want a phone for texting and calling, there isn't a better touchscreen than this. The lack of 3rd party software and apps is frustrating, as well as the inability to delete anything preloaded that clutters up the menus. The transitions between menus is very appealing, as well as the responsiveness the touch and the Haptic feedback to let you know when you press a button. I also like the light bar on the bottom (which can be color changed) for incoming calls/ texts. Also, the adaptive brightness is useful for not having to adjust brightness constantly, although it would be nice if it dimmed a bit more in very dark locations. Overall, I like the phone as a touchscreen, and am more frustrated with the aftermarket availability and locked apps and features on the phone. It is not nearly as user-friendly as Blackberry, but does very well for a touchscreen in terms of overall performance and calling/ texting.