2010
05.29
Samsung Moment

Running "GPS Status" by EclipSim

(This is written as a retrospective, about using a demo of a Sprint-connected  Samsung Moment phone for one week. Since that time with the Moment, I have used a Motorola Droid, full-time, for a month.)

The Situation Here:

When I made the decision to leave iPhone behind in favor of an Android device, I narrowed the field of possible phones to w devices pretty quickly. I wanted a physical keyboard, reasonable performance, battery life and durability. I also wanted community — others with the same device, for the grass roots support and developer focus.  After extensive Googling, I decided that the two viable devices seemed to be Motorola Droid and Samsung Moment.  Right at the same time, I was offered a Moment (Sprint; Android 1.5) to try for one week.  I accepted.

It was something of a stroke of luck, since I was at the point of choosing a new phone without having seen it, and I wanted to try the Moment before simply choosing the Droid. It was also my first experience with Android, and full visibility into the Android Market.

Peppiness:

Coming from an Original  iPhone, I was happy with the performance, for the most part. The Moment seemed responsive enough when executing programs, but less so when using the Sprint Network. The included Sprint-branded turn-by-turn navigation software was a real dog, practically unusable, since one would have to wait a minute or more for the app to start, and then wait several minutes for the route to compute. If you planned ahead and always did it over WiFi, maybe you could minimize the damage, but it’s easy to see that one would just avoid it. Google’s Maps turn-by-turn is much faster and more usable.

Input:

I have had the iPhone for two years, and I’m pretty comfortable with the keyboard, but that on-screen input is just never going to be good. I did Graffiti with my Handspring, and I have experienced the Apple Newton‘s writing system as a favored beer-related activity.  So far, my favorite handheld input system has been my HP iPaq 4355, which I bought on the spur of the moment in the summer of 2004. (When I did a light-pack tour of Italy in March 2007, iPaq was still going, and I got enough incidental WiFi around “The Boot” to blog the trip.)

iPaq pictured in the Moment

I have seen Samsung Moment’s keyboard lauded as a breath of fresh air, compared to the Droid, but I found it hard to use, with the space bar splitting the bottom row, and a little ridge along the bottom edge of the keyboard that makes it hard to depress the bottom row of keys. I find Android’s on-screen less usable than iPhone’s, but I might be brainwashed. I found the Moment less typist-friendly than the iPaq, and subsequently the Droid.

Camera:

The camera was slow, slower than Droid, as well as lower resolution, and not especially good at flash metering and autofocus, but hey, it’s a camera phone, right? Maybe. We are steadily approaching the time when the integration of camera and phone is superceded by decent-or-good camera and phone.  My Original iPhone was simpler and in ways nicer to operate, but it was fixed focus, no flash and no hard button (the pictures in this post were taken with iPhone). I hate edge-buttons, still, it’s nicer when you want to do self portraits, for instance.

Battery:

I would place Moment’s battery endurance somewhere below Droid, and significantly below Original iPhone. Incidentally, I now know how to make your iPhone battery last A LOT longer: cancel your AT&T service. ;^)

The Cherry (not) On Top:

Last but not least, Moment came with a 2GB micro-SD card! Since my 2-year-old iPhone had 16GB (though tainted by an association with iTunes), and the Droid comes with 16GB micro-SD, this really was the deal-breaker.  My not-too-analytical take on Sprint EVDO versus Verizon’s is that Verizon’s is faster and more available, but I did not take measurements. Much has been said about the beauty of the screen on Moment, but it didn’t really stand out as a feature for me.

If you’ve decided to buy a Moment (or you got one for Christmas, and you had no choice), or live somewhere with great Sprint coverage and not so great Verizon coverage, I would not dissuade you from enjoying the Samsung Moment. For me, living in  Hawaii, I chose Droid, and I am satisfied with the choice.

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