"Finally Something More Exciting Than The iPhone"4.0 starson by eparkerii
Pros: Can sideload apps (there is a trick, but it can be down without rooting)
Many customization options
Pattern screen lock option
Cons: Stock email app (it's just adequate)
Slight learning curve for android
GPS is slow
Android app market navigation
Summary: I've lived with the Captivate for a few weeks now and nearing the 30 day decision point of if it stays or if it goes. The verdict - It stays.I had to come back for an update. It's been 60 days now since the Captivate arrived, and it has now been relegated to a desk ornament for the time being until I can see if the Froyo update will make it any better. In 60 days, it has wiped out all of my configured email accounts 4 times. The Captivate is listed as compatible with the Blueant Q2, but the functionality to copy the address book to the headset for caller name announce does not work. The Q2 is probably the best bluetooth I have run across, so not having a phone that works well with it is a problem. I would say the call quality is better than the iPhone, and I really like the extra screen real estate.
If anyone has found the perfect smartphone, let me know. Each has trade-offs. I had and still have the iPhone 3gs. I will be keeping it as a back-up and to use it as an iTouch, but I had grown a little tired of it as a phone. The call quality is average, and it kept dropping my bluetooth headset during calls. The iPhone had just become a little ho-hum.
I checked on some upgrade options and AT&T offered me a better deal for me to take the Captivate vs. the iPhone 4g. Besides, my wife has the 4g and despite the nice cover Apple sent, it still drops calls. So, I decided to give the droid a shot which was tough for a self-proclaimed Apple fan. Let's walk through a few key areas to see how the Captivate compares.
The base email app on the Captivate is the pits when compared to the iPhone. Apple has done a much better job integrating with Exchange servers and has better email functionality. The Captivate does survive as a basic email device. You can't file email like on the iPhone, but you can receive and reply to email just fine. So, the Captivate is functional but it does not excel. I have an iPad, so I didn't consider the loss in email functionality to be a huge deal as the Captivate will suffice for phone based email.
I wish there was better support for setting up a meeting and inviting attendees. It really doesn't work too well on the Captivate. You have to forward the meeting as an attachment. Hopefully there will be some improvements in the upcoming versions of Android. Again, the functionality is sufficient and the Exchange sync support is acceptable. But like email, it's not an area where the Captivate excels.
This was one of the areas that tipped the scale in favor of keeping the Captivate. The call quality is definitely better than the iPhone. And in the end, the core purpose is for this to be a phone. So, chaulk one up for the captivate.
There are a lot of options for free apps for the droid. I think the quality and functionality of the free apps for the droid platform is slightly better than the iPhone side. But the droid market does stink. It can be hard to find apps if you are just looking around for ideas, and I wouldn't score it high for being user friendly. But once you know what to look for, there are some great free apps there. In general, I would say that putting the problems of the droid market aside, the app support is on par with the iPhone.
I'm a fan of the live wallpaper. I just like having something that is interesting to look at on the screen when using the phone. The widgets and other options to customize the interface is better than the iPhone. This is another area that tipped the scales to keep the Captivate.
I haven't had the same problems as others with the GPS. Each time I have used it, it has worked fine. The option of having turn by turn directions integrated with the map is outstanding. I do travel some, so having this option was another item that tipped the scales. That being said, the GPS can be slow to sync. The iPhone is much faster there. But you are looking at an app purchase of around $80-$90 for the Garmin or Magellan app or going another route where you have to purchase a subscription to get turn by turn.
When I got the phone, I thought it was going to be a quick return. The battery life was awful. Part of this goes back to the droid learning curve. I downloaded a task killer app and shut down apps that I didn't need running in the background. I adjusted the screen brightness down to the lowest level (you can still see the screen just fine), and ran the phone through a few charge and use cycles. At this point, I would say that the battery life is on par or slightly better than the iPhone 3gs. One tip that I picked up is that you can switch the screen brightness by swiping the top menu bar. So if I am outside and need to see better, just a quick swipe brings up the screen brightness and you can see the phone in sunlight just fine. In the end, I can last the whole day with no problems now.
Despite the shortcomings, there was enough to tip the scales to keeping the Captivate. One thing not mentioned that also came into play can be summed up with three words: options, options, options. I have a lot of options in how I can set-up the phone when compared to the iPhone. If you are considering the droid platform for the first time, be prepared that there is a slight learning curve to discover the best way to get the most out of it for your situation. Once you get through the learning curve, it offers so many app options and customization options, it is actually a pretty exciting platform and phone. I love the display and slightly bigger display. I also think that the form factor fits the hand better.
Updated on Dec 8, 2010
For the time being, I had to turn the iPhone 3gs back on. Funny thing. The stock email client on it is highly functional and stable on the iPhone. And guess what else? The Blueant Q2 works perfectly with it.
If Froyo doesn't make things better, looks like Android was a flash in the pan for me. Extremely frustrated!