OK, real quick one this:
- On a call on my iPhone with Blueant Q2 headset
- Someone else calls – I ignore it
- That call times out… and the next thing I hear from my headset is “Call terminated”, and the line goes dead
I checked.. my phone still had the call – but my headset had picked up the missed call, decided that my primary, live call had been cut, and turned itself into standby.
As it was, I could have probably switched my iphone to speaker and continued the call – it took me a few seconds to figure out what was going on, by which time the person I had been speaking to had hung up.
Headsets. Bring back the days when they just relayed the sound on the handset, rather than second-guessing you or friggin’ try to engage you in conversation.
And I’m disappointed.
After all that waiting for a netbook with built-in 3G (“Mobile Broadband”), that I would be able to open and use anywhere, Tesco finally got the Dell Mini 9 in stock, and I ordered one. It arrived this morning.
So – before even turning it on, I got out the screwdriver, popped off the expansion cover, and…
A big gaping hole, with no soldered socket for an expansion card, and a big ‘WWAN’ stencil just to rub it in.
So, newsflash folks – it seems only the Mobile Operators are getting the 3G-enabled ones.
So I’m now left with a non-3G laptop, that cost #70 more than the equvalent Acer Aspire One. Sure, the battery life is an hour longer, but I can buy a 6-cell battery for less than the difference; and still keep the 3-cell for backup!
Admittedly I haven’t really used it yet, but the AAO still has more of that ‘Apple factor’ when you take it out of the case (it was white; my Dell is black), and the beginner’s UI on the AAO is quicker to boot and use than the tiny Ubuntu icons on the Dell. It seems the user base is bigger and better too.
So I’m torn. The fact is, I bought the Dell because I wanted mobile broadband, and it turns out mine didn’t – only those being sold by the mobile operators have 3G built-in. Given I can get an AAO 8GB Linux for GBP170 at Tesco, where I just bought this Dell 8GB Linux for GBP250, I think the Dell’s going back.
BTW – for a really excellent comparison of these with the eeePC, check here.
This is it – the Maplin N62FX (their stock code). Recommended on another forum to someone who lamented the Touch Pro’s battery life; is this the Nirvana of battery chargers?
I currently have a PowerMonkey Classic battery charger. At the time, I thought it was great – you can charge it from USB, and it has tips for my HTC, iPod, etc. etc. On the downside, the miniUSB tip sticks out almost 2 inches from the bottom of the phone, and is easy to break – I’ve gone through 3 in 5 months, despite taking care. It’s also £40, and a funny tubular shape, with 2200mAH of charge.
The Maplin charger:
– is small (about the width/height of a 10-pack of cigarettes)
– flat and slim (and half the thickness of the 10-pack)
– costs £9.99! So cheap, I bought two!
– claims to store 2000mAH
– comes with USB and even a mains charger – it has one charge in/out port, which is Mini-USB
– comes with lots of tips – although they’re quite bulky, and loose
– has a battery level indicator !!! – 4 green LEDs, which light when you press a button
– has on/off by the same button
– did I say it’s cheap?!?
So? Is it perfect?
It’s certainly convenient. I reach in my bag for both, and press the buttons to see which is charged. I connect one to my Touch Pro, which then sit neatly back-to-back, charging in my pocket. The rubberised coating helps keep them together, too. Back at home, or the hotel, I can use the one MiniUSB cable to charge my phone, then the battery (or batteries), ready for the next day.
However: if this is a 2000mAH battery, then how come it only charges my Touch Pro to 60%, when the Touch Pro is 1350mAH? ie. It should be able to charge it more than once over! So – more like 1000mAH, not 2000mAH. Lucky I bought two!
Also – the tips are a bit clunky. Although both my Touch Pro and the N62FX are mini-USB, I have a folded 30cm cable between the two. No biggie, but a tiny miniUSB-miniUSB would be nice. Can you get one anywhere on the planet? Nope. I’ve tried.
But overall: a good, honest, convenient, cheap portable battery. I love them. So get two!
Even if it gives an ‘Unrecoverable error’ on installation, soft-restart your device, and you should see Voice Command in the settings menu, and also as an application that can be assigned to the Long-Hold Talk Button. It should have installed OK.
Now – if you, like me, have been pressing the main button on your Jawbone New / Jawbone 2….
Read the manual….
Activate Voice Command by long-holding the Voice Assassin (rear) button for 2 seconds
You should see Voice Command activate, and hear a beep-BEEP on your headset. Say “Help”. And you’re away.
So, continuing on my Touch Pro exploration:
In case I didn’t mention it before, you should note that the Touch interface *mostly* works. That means that using the on-screen keyboard or keypad for dialling or typing, is responsive enough that you can use it without thinking – unlike the Kaiser, where you had to allow both for inaccurate tapping, and lag. Here, typing a number in on the screen is a pleasure, and works fine.
Where it doesn’t always work is in swiping – it’s tricky to get it to interpret the movement correctly – such as scrolling down an inbox, and ending up opening an email instead. It can make navigating a pain, when compared to my much-missed jogwheel. Trying to get to a specific point in a document or web page is also a question of endless flicking the screen, or digging the stylus out for the scroll bars. However, it is still slightly better than the Kaiser at this.
Nice Little Feature
If you plug in something to the mini-USB connector, you get this helpful little pane pop up.
It’s genuinely useful -touch Internet Sharing, and that’s all you need to do – it effectively runs a macro that opens the usual Internet Sharing app, and selects Connect for you – and hey presto, your laptop is connected!
I’m just about used to the keyboard after a couple of days. The one major remaining annoyance is the SMS button – accidentally press it while typing, and your email will be saved to drafts, and you’ll be flicked back to the SMS screen. Getting back to your email is a long journey…
There’s also a bug: if you choose to use T9 mode when using the touchscreen (which is actually very usable!), then it’ll also be enabled for the keyboard (which is not at all usable). Want to have the best of both worlds? Tough! You’ll have to manually change the input settings each time you switch from one to the other.
(This bug’s reminscent of the Hermes, where using the keyboard while in a call was impossible because it was locked in DTMF-only mode. It seems HTC just didn’t get to these finishing touches…)
– The stylus makes a return to the right side of the keyboard and phone body – good news for all those righties who had
to reach across for the Kaiser. The magnetic action is also quite nice, but again, the slightly insensitive touchscreen means you have to put a bit of effort behind your prodding
– Speaking of prodding, the slightly insensitive touchscreen (am I too used to the iPod Touch?) makes clicking links in Opera a pain. Stab, stab, and stab again, until you manage to get on the link, and the page opens.
– The Touch Pro defaults to a ‘large font’ for all menus – I assume on the assumption that they expect you to use your finger rather than a stylus. For the most part, it is a good choice – unless the menu is larger than the screen height. In that case, I found that some apps strangely automatically scroll the menu downwards, and you have to grab it and wrestle it back up to the option you wanted (using too-small up and down arrows). Your instinct is to scroll through it by flicking your finger – again, like an iPhone would allow – but it won’t work.
Now, this is the worst one… I learnt the other day that the Touch Pro actually has an Apple-style rotary touch sensor around the D-Pad. Yep – you heard right – you can actually spin your finger around the rim of the button, and it’ll sense that and act accordingly.
Wow! An alternative to the jog dial!! Excellent! So – you can scroll up and down lists, web pages, contact databases, at lightning speed, right?
What you can do… is Zoom In, and Zoom Out.
Zoom In…… and Zoom Out.
On a couple of applications.
Now – if I had to zoom in and out more frequently that I had to scroll – which is every email, web page, screen that I look at – then this would be great. But I don’t. I need to scroll, and HTC seem to have completely wasted this (probably quite expensive) little add-on.
So – I guess that’ll be fixed on the next model…
However – overall, I’ve already grown quite used to having the Raphael around. The responsiveness when typing on the screen or switching Portrait-Landscape is pleasant. The looks and solid feel ARE nice… I’m already wondering if I’ll dislike having a Hermes as my backup phone….
Well, following my Kaiser’s early demise due to a loss of signal problem (something I’ve had with it before), I’m now on an early upgrade to a Touch Pro. So… as I go through the usual “why did they do that?” process of change, what do I think? – WHERE’S THE JOG-DIAL? Well, OK, the clue is in the name. But, still, the absence of a jog-dial, which most great and good PDA phones (P910, Hermes, Kaiser, most Blackberries), causes a hude drop in productivity for me. Particularly for moving emails around my Outlook folders, and using WMNewMenu5 for quickdials and SMSes (an essential tool for those of you who still have Jogdials!) – Lack of buttons. Hermes had 6 buttons configurable in the settings tab; Kaiser had 5… +1 (a long press on button 5 providing the 6th). Touch Pro has… ONE! A long press of the Dial button. All others are non-configurable. Granted, the Hangup button can be long-pressed to give you a menu with four common commands (eg. silent, Flight modes), but they’re fixed. – D-pad – less distinct than the older phones – you find yourself unable to press any button without pressing another by accident, butg after a day you master the changea – Keyboard layout – changed a fair bit, meaning I’m pressing Enter instead of Delete, CAPS instead of A (and all other left-side keys feel shifted by 1 place), and FN is no longer in the bottom-left corner (why?!). Again, after a day, I’m getting used to them. – Lack of Web/Mail buttons. Again, going through the Touch interface is slower than one button press, although dedicated mail and SMS keys on the keyboard do mitigate this, now I’m getting used to them. – No Windows key (anywhere), and down from 3 OK buttons to just 1 (the ‘back’ button). Again, less convenient, but I’m getting used to it. – Other keyboard issues: the keyboard seems fine – a bit smaller than the Kaiser, but I think I’ll get as fast on this as I was on that. Currency keys ($£€) are welcome, and the dedicated number keys are too. I find myself missing the tilt of the Kaiser and the possibility of finger-typing (only really used when my thumbs were tired), but again, you get used to it… More moans coming up 🙂
Well, I put MyMotion through a decent workout on Sunday – tracking my team’s position along a 60 mile bike ride from London to Cambridge. And as you can see, it did pretty well.
I chose to export the routes to KML for now – included in the KMLs are the route – which thanks to my Kaiser’s GPS receiver, seem pretty accurate – and also pushpins for the distance and time intervals I set, which were 0.5km and every 90 seconds. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get more of the instantaneous speed information out by exporting to a more ‘purist’ GPS format, but for now, it’s quite cool being able to retrace the route we took the other day… and it was clear and sunny then, as well.
As for the stability – this has always been a problem, since running reliably for hours on end in the background isn’t something anyone who knows Windows Mobile would expect to happen. For this reason I saved and restarted the logging 3 times. And – two of the runs completed successfully. The middle route stopped half-way through, meaning I lost around 15 miles of the 60 in the middle of the route. Still – not as bad as you would expect. Turning off the Auto-Start/Auto-Stop settings on MyMotion seems to help as well.