Monday, November 02, 2009

Paused For a Moment, Then Went On

Stopped by the local Sprint Shoppe on the way to/from work today. I decided to try out the Samsung Moment and see how it compared to my Hero.

The reviews of the Moment are pretty much on target. Most people noted that the Moment feels more "plastic-y" than the Hero, and I now see what they are talking about. There are a number of open seams, creases and joints that join several plastic components that comprise its shell. Even the rubber covers over the headphone and USB jacks add to the effect, making it seem like you're holding an enclosure that's a composite of several black, plastic slabs.

Aesthetics aside, the OS itself isn't much. I never really appreciated all that HTC did with its SenseUI; I kinda forgot about its revamped dialer, lock screen or music player. The Hero's Android "extras" integrate so well you tend to delude yourself into believing that it represents a stock Android 1.5 experience. Quite a shock to pick up the Moment's Android 1.5 build - it has the same awkward lock screen, dialer and window components that come default. Not a killer, but it makes you less likely to show off your phone to the nearest nerdcore.

The AMOLED display is nice, but not NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE like everyone else seems to exude. Contrast is spectacular and images are vivid (especially with video), but it's not a huge improvement for day-to-day operations. True, this should theoretically help battery life, but given the stats it seems the 800MHz sips on the saved juice. I had no problem with the touch screen's sensitivity - it was just as responsive as the Hero's screen.

A fold-out keyboard is very nice and is something I've really wanted, especially since I've been using a Nokia n810 for the past 18 months. I didn't have any issues with the Moment's keypad, and I didn't find the layout the least bit cumbersome. The space bar, even though it is two individual buttons "glued together" under a single piece of plastic, was just fine. Breaking apart the alpha keys so they straddle the space bar didn't bug me a bit; I was quickly typing things out rapidly after only a few seconds.

Samsung's 800MHz SoC is what really saves the day. By upping the clock speed and putting the cellular modem on a separate piece of silicon multi-tasked applications ran much faster on the Moment. This seems to be its crowning achievement - I could run several apps, side-by-side, with very little lag. Screen transitions even went off without a hitch.

One thing I was confused about was how the integrated Moxier Mail was going to work with Exchange. After dorking around with it a bit it seems to work much in the same way that HTC's Exchange client works; the calendar syncs with the native Android calendar, mail is a completely separate app from the GMail app, contacts are imported directly onto the handset. The big difference is that Moxier appears to support many more server-side Exchange options, such as remote searches and tasks. For what I would want to accomplish, it appears Moxier has the best solution until native support appears in Android 2.0.

Speaking of Android 2.0, I asked the manager of said Sprint Store if Samsung was going to offer an Android 2.0 update with the Moment. The manager was very gracious and spent nearly 30 minutes researching the answer and delving into the secret Sprint-only archives, but it was for naught. She could find no sign of Samsung offering an upcoming Android update for the Moment, never mind an Android 2.0 update.

Ultimately the Android 2.0 update was the clincher. HTC has gone on record that it will offer an Android 2.0 update, but Samsung has remained mum. One has to wonder if they'll push out an obligatory 1.6 update then cease Moment support. Many forums (such as XDA and phandroid) appear to anecdotally support this; several users (albeit perhaps fanboys) claim poor support of legacy handsets on Samsung's part, while HTC is still even updating its legacy, flagship Android handset.

The Hero does lag something fierce at times, but at least HTC is tantalizing everyone with promises of an Android 2.0 update. With Samsung remaining quiet about Android 2.0 coming to the Moment anytime soon, one has to wonder if a 50% faster CPU, marginally better Exchange support and somewhat prettier screen is worth it. Let's face it - I'm a sucker for frequent desktop updates and revamps. I simply can't turn down the super-happy funtimes that HTC is promising.

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