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Blackberry to HTC Evo: My First Impressions
After all of this time lurking around the forums, I thought I'd finally say hello. I've been a long time Blackberry user, and was due for an upgrade. It was either the HTC Evo or the Bold 9650, so since I knew what Blackberry was all about, I decided to give the Evo a try.
Well so far it's been working out great. The first round of a fully charged battery lasted around 7 hours or so. (I never let it run out completely, but the low battery indicator began flashing at me) The capabilities of this device are just amazing. I'm slowly getting used to the touch screen, and the sense ui/android os.
For those Blackberry users that are thinking about switching, I thought I’d give you an insight to the differences that I've noticed, and what I’ve experienced.
Email - I actually prefer the way Blackberry has their emails listed out, and hardly used the Gmail app for blackberry. In order to have push email, you will need to use the Gmail application on the Evo, which works similar to the web based Gmail. It gets me my email quickly, which really is all that matters to me.
Screen – AMAZING. No contest here
Unlocking the Screen – With the blackberry, I just had that top button to access the phone. With the Evo, I have to press a similar unlock button on top, and then slide the bar down on screen. Yeah it’s not hard to do, but just one of those little things that caught my attention when using it. No biggie, I can get used to it.
Battery – I haven't done any performance tweaking, and it lasted from 6:15am till almost 1:00pm until the 15% low battery message appeared. Which is close to 7 hours. This included listening to Pandora for the 30 minute ride to work, constantly talking on gchat, using facebook updates, twitter updates, checking and receiving gmail, lots of changing to the scene, a few downloads, youtube, some 4G usage, web usage, and probably some others. ALL without being plugged in. So I guess it's on par with what everyone has been experiencing. Although I was really hoping it would last me until I got home from work. I do sit at a computer all day, so charging won't be a problem. It's the weekends that I am worried about. This coming weekend will be the big test!
Phone Size – This phone definitely doesn’t feel that big, No problem holding on to it or storing in the front pocket.
Message light – Doesn’t catch my eye like the Blackberry, it’s a small green light hidden behind the mesh ear piece compared to a bright red light on the Blackberry. I find myself missing messages often. But maybe my eyes will adjust soon, I’m still seeing red lights everywhere!
Notifications/Messages – I really do miss the Messages list that contains everything. I had the side button programmed to quickly view them all. There doesn't seem to be this master list of all messages on the Evo. New messages will be displayed in the shade which you pull down to access. Once that notification is viewed, the entry in the shade disappears, so only the unread notifications will remain. But after using for 24 hours, I haven't felt like I really needed this master list of messages. The preview of the message at the top of the screen is very cool! And I get gmail, facebook, and twitter notifications.
Icons – Very easy to move around on the screen, and can even drag them to each adjacent screen. You’ll have plenty of screen real estate to configure all of your frequently used applications.
Typing – This should be no surprise that there is a learning curve when coming from a physical keyboard and then using a touch screen. I find myself correcting mistakes more often, which again is normal when learning. And also feel like I have to look at my keyboard to see what keys I’m pressing instead of looking at the text field and see what is being typed.
Notepad – There isn’t a notepad like what’s on the Blackberry, but there is a sticky note Widget you can download from HTC called “Notes” which allows you to jot/draw down notes. Simply place this on one of the screens and you’re ready
Calendar – If Google Sync actually synced my calendar, then I wouldn’t have had a problem. I ended up going through the agenda view of my Blackberry and entering everything online. The one thing I did notice is that the phone does not let you set an end point for recurring events. You can go online in google calendar to accomplish this. Maybe just make a note on the event that will remind you to do so.
Applications - too many to list, but it seems like there are some quality applications that will help accomplish things you did on the Blackberry. I don’t think we’ll have any problems in this area.
Camera - It takes pictures, don't have a problem with the quality since it is a phone. My only concern is the lens, which sticks out a bit. This can be alleviated by putting a case on that has the lens recessed a bit.
MMS - The default picture size is too large, so you have to resize it somehow. I just lowered the resolution for the pictures I'd want to send, and that seems to do the trick. There is probably a way to not lower the resolution, but I have yet to figure that out.
Contacts – If you use Google Sync, you’re golden. If you’re like me and never did this, you might have two separate lists of contacts. Your blackberry contacts, and your gmail contacts. You will need to somehow merge these lists, whichever way you feel is best.
Here is what I did to merge the two. There are probably other ways to do this, but I wanted to ensure I had a backup of both lists. So to get my Blackberry and my Gmail contacts in sync, without worrying about losing data, I did the following:
1. Create a new temporary Gmail account
2. Download Google Sync for your Blackberry, and set it up with this new temporary Gmail account
3. Synchronize your Blackberry with this temporary account.
4. Sign into your main Gmail account
5. Go to your Contacts, export all contacts into a Google supported file
6. Save this file somewhere, which will be used as a backup of your Gmail contacts
7. Sign into your temporary Gmail account
8. Go to your Contacts, import the backup of your main Gmail accounts contacts.
9. If there are duplicates, select the checkbox on the similar contacts, and then select merge.
10. Possibly rename contacts or modify other fields.
11. When completed, export this list. This should contain both your Blackberry and main Gmail contacts merged and updated.
12. Sign into your main gmail. Delete all your contacts (this will be okay since you backed them up in the prior steps)
13. Import the merged contacts file that was exported from your temporary account.
14. At this point, your main Gmail account will have all of its existing contacts PLUS your Blackberry’s contacts.
Well I guess that’s it for now. Other than Blackberry Messenger, this phone does just about everything I need it to do. So if I can get this battery life somewhat better, then I'll be keeping the phone. I actually think I'd miss this phone if I switched back to the Blackberry. So I guess it really does depend on user preference, and what you want out of a phone. I’m sure I’ll come back here and add some more details as I spend more time with the phone.
I'm no expert, but if you have any questions on anything feel free to ask. Hope my take on the Evo helped someone out there!