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i900 vs HTC Raphael (Touch Pro)

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#1
freshmaker

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Great to see the i900 now has its own forum. Anyone else out there having a very hard time deciding between these two phones? I have been on a Hermes/Vario II for the last year and a half. Best phone I've had - the usability of the keyboard and scroll wheel combo together with the zippy HSDPA internet browsing capabilities really fulfilled a degree of usability and easy access to all kinds of online and offline resources that I had never before had in a phone. But time passes, contracts finish, and the new range of phones coming out now finally represent the next major step up from this phone.

Despite all the good points of the Hermes, it certainly had its short-comings, some of which I hope to now address in my next phone. Chief among these was:
- Battery life. As with most high end Phone/PDA hybrids the Hermes battery life is poor. You live with it for the perks you get in return but this will be a big factor in helping me chose my next phone.
- Camera. I've become a fair bit more interested in taking digital snaps since my last upgrade and, while I still put the priority on the phone excelling as a phone and for navigating the web, I'd really warm to being able to take usable shots with something I will always have to hand when out and about.
- Audio/video capabilities. The Hermes can do both but neither particularly well and was always severely hampered by its lack of a regular headphone out port. And then of course it kills the limited battery anyway. I have enough room left in my pockets for a small mp3 player but with the amount of storage now available, either onboard or from micro SD cards, I would like a handset that can really challenge the need for me to bring a separate mp3 player. As the screens on today's phones are becoming very good I'm particularly interested in making use of video capabilities (video podcasts and the occasional films/tv rip). Having access to a good radio on the device, while not essential, would also be an added bonus.
- Losing of the 3G/HSDPA signal whereby you had to close and reopen the Data Connection in the Comms Manager, or even restart the phone signal itself. When travelling on a train this is fair enough, but this is still a fairly regular occurrence even when stationary at my office and I live and work in central London. There may be some kind of help for this in these forums and to be fair high speed internet is still a relatively new technology in phones, but I'd hope my next phone is at least a little better at holding an internet signal straight out of the box.

So back to the main gist of this post, it seems there are two clear contenders for what I want at the moment - the Samsung i900 and the HTC Touch Pro. I'm guessing there are others who are mulling over this one and would be interested to hear what your thoughts are. For those who haven't seen it yet, there are some good videos, previews, and reviews of each phone here: http://www.theunwired.net/?catid=60

For me the pluses and minuses for each camp, listed roughly in order of importance, are:

Samsung i900
+ Appears that it has the edge battery wise. Stronger battery to begin with and I'm guessing the Touch Pro's VGA screen also eats up its battery life quicker over a charge than the i900.
+ By all accounts it has a very capable 5mp camera on it, with a good set of features to play around with.
+ Ships with a connector to plug your everyday headphones into.
+ Haptic feedback. Definitely a bonus when it comes to the touch interface.
+ Judging by reviews out of both devices, it would appear that the i900, while prone to the occasional crash like most Windows Mobile devices, is maybe more stable than the new Touch Flo interface of the Diamond and Touch Pro.
+ Larger screen.
+ 8/16 GB on-board memory.
+ Apparently the speaker on it is pretty good as far as phone speakers go which is nice for playing your call, music, radio out loud.

- No slide-out keyboard. This will be the first thing I test once it is available to try in the shops. I'm hoping the QWERTY input mode when used in landscape mode works well enough. It clearly won't be as good as having a dedicated keyboard but hoping it is fairly quick and reliable to input text. A poor score on this and that's a deal broken right there.
- Only two hardware keys on the front and the navigation pointer on it isn't your usual functional direction pad.
- Uncommon screen dimensions. I'm not a power user like many on here and don't expect to install that many 3rd party apps, but it would be a big disappointment if a large number of WM applications couldn't be run simply because of its unusual screen size.
- No built in stylus. Rarely use the one that sits in my Hermes anyway but doesn't hurt to have one.
- Proprietary charging and data USB cable. Why Samsung, why?!

HTC Raphael
+ The dedicated slide out keyboard. And now with an extra row of number keys. Being able to easily type sms, emails, and word docs on a dedicated QWERTY keyboard is so, so nice.
+ Fresh new Touch Flo interface is undoubtedly 'sexier' and potentially better to use than the i900's.
+ Great VGA screen. Would no doubt chuck over a load of photos taken on my regular camera onto the memory card for viewing on the go on this beauty.
+ Helpful hardware keys on the front together with a good directional pad.
+ Most likely will have better support over its lifespan with HTC's experience in the WM smartphone field and the conserted push by their marketing department to make this one a big seller. The more normal screen dimension should limit any issues like those the i900 might have as a result of its wide screen.

- As mentioned above, battery life seems like it might not be as good as you'd hope for.
- 3mp camera, while better than most other smartphones, is apparently nothing to write home about as far as most mobile phone cameras go.
- Doesn't support your everyday headphones out of the box.
- Current feedback seems to indicate the new Touch Flo interface is more unstable than you would hope for. You can look past the stability of your phone for the first few weeks/month while enjoying the perks of the new and improved interface, but over time this will inevitably become a more and more annoying issue if it can't be EASILY fixed with an update.
- Diamond screen suffers a bit from finger print smearing, assume Raphael will do the same.
- Limited amount of onboard memory.

Have I missed out any other obvious positives or negatives for each phone? These are the main things that come to mind in comparing the two. Obviously they both have lots of shared plus points including powerful CPUs, accelerometer, what looks like good video and audio players, RDS-supported FM radio, good picture viewers, micro-SD support, TV-out, GPS, etc.

So which one to go for. At the moment I'm leaning towards the i900 for its better battery life and camera. But the on-screen keyboard just has to do a decent job of inputting text, otherwise it's adios amigo or whatever the Korean equivalent of that is. On the other hand, the Raphael's interface does look rather special and once you've used one it really has to be said a dedicated keyboard is a great thing to have. It's going to be a wrenching decision in the end but I'm just happy to have two such strong options to chose from (three maybe if I can really hold out for the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 - unlikely!). Curious to hear anybody else's views when it comes to choosing between the two and will post this topic on the HTC Raphael's forum as well.

Edited by freshmaker, 06 August 2008 - 04:02 PM.

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#2
WearTheFoxHat

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Also posted on Raphael section!

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#3
robdenny

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Hey Freshmaker,

Im in exactly the same position as you. We've got the i900 around the corner, and the HTC touch pro coming out on Vodafone this month apparently, BUT WHICH ONE TO CHOOSE!!!? :D

Being a Vario II man myself, I can see your pain, the continuous poor data on the phone, and the poor batt life just makes for a poor experience all round, couple that with T-mobile, where reception is an added extra (in my opinion) and Windows Mobile 6, the phone is now looking really shabby, and its not aged well technology wise.

The interesting thing I think is we'd all be perfectly happy with our poor Windows Mobiles if it wasn't for the Iphone. Now, I wouldn't touch an Iphone with a barge pole, but it has made us all stop and think what a phone operating system "should" be like. Yes, the Touch diamond is a great looking device, but its still got a VERY poor foundation (that being Windows Mobile 6.1). A friend of mine recently brought in his Touch, and said its just "great", but when I took a look at it, it was slow to move around the flo system, and if you want to read more then one SMS at a time, then its rather on the frustraighting side and you end up using the rather naff standard inbox. The worse thing being the "Windows pause", in that I mean the pause whilst windows waits to see what its going to do next. The touch flo system shows this to the extreme, if you look at any youtube video of people demoing the touch flo, they always say "oh, hang on a moment, the phones being a little slow" The touch flo may look REALLY nice, but get past 3 months, and you'll be looking to get rid of it, in favour of something that gives you access to your data and quickly. To put it bluntly, I dont think the touch flo system is that good, its just a very light skinning to a rather naff system slow system.

The thing I like about windows devices are the app developement, unlike Apple (who seem intent on taking profit for EVERYTHING) you can get applications for all windows devices that are quite spectacular and quite often free! So why can't we make a windows device, but have it at Iphone speed where the phone just doesnt think, or crash etc etc, and thats where I think the i900 will be better. When rotating the screen, the i900 just doesn't think about it, when loading applications, it doesn't think about it, all the applications have been re-written (like the contacts, sms, email progs) to be more like the iphone, and when I say more like the iphone, I mean more simple and designed for the device in which it sits and the way its used. Come on Microsoft, I dont want to use a stylus just to make a call, I have a perfectly good thumb! :D

I see what you mean about the keypad, I love the Hermes (Vario II) keyboard, but I am starting to think its a little 1980's. Touch screens on new devices are so much better then the Hermes, and there are so many people out there that use the iphone without a problem, and that doesn't have a landscape keyboard (out of the box) like i900 does.

I have been thinking about this for months, and I am (85%) sure Im going to give the i900 a go, I just can't wait to browse the web with that big screen, having that BIG screen so I can use it as a GPS in my car, having a good camera that is SO much better then anything HTC have produced at the cost of the slide out keyboard, but hey, how hard can it be to learn :angry:

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#4
fursie

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Deffinately the Omnia for me. I currently have the Vario 3 and have been waiting a long time for a phone to come out with all the features I want (HSDPA, WIFI, GPS, decent camera) that doesnt feel like a brick in my pocket. Not to bothered about the lack of a a hard keyboard as with a screens as big as the Omnia the on screen qwerty with hapatic feedback will be fine. Will also download SPB Shell 2 UI onto it when I get it as this is better than both touch flo 3d and the samsung wizz interface. Been very inpressed with SPB Shell as it gives a thumb friendly interface. Dare I say its better than the iphones touch interface.

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#5
freshmaker

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That SPB Shell looks a good alternative. But the Omnia's various interfaces seemed pretty thumb friendly, and looked very quick and nimble in the test videos. Have to say though if the all of the various issues with TouchFlo could be addressed it really does look the best of the lot, by some distance.

Edited by freshmaker, 08 August 2008 - 07:19 AM.

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#6
mobiman2008

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Hello all, I have the i900 and the Touch Pro, both awesome phones. I hate the battery life on the Touch Pro compared to the i900.
Even with the new 1340mAH battery on the Pro its still terrible. :D

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#7
vii_voo

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Hello all, I have the i900 and the Touch Pro, both awesome phones. I hate the battery life on the Touch Pro compared to the i900.
Even with the new 1340mAH battery on the Pro its still terrible. :D

What is the battery life like?

Is it much better than the Diamond/Compact 4? Which I returned due to having to charge it everyday, which light usage.

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#8
PaulOBrien

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i900 DOES seem to have great battery life!

P

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#9
mobiman2008

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What is the battery life like?

Is it much better than the Diamond/Compact 4? Which I returned due to having to charge it everyday, which light usage.


I charged it yesterday, pulled off charger at about 22:00. Had it running whole night and now the time is 12:20 and its sitting on 2 bars
which is about 40%. Still disappointed though as I have only made 3x 5min calls and I don't have push mail activated.

i900 DOES seem to have great battery life!

P


I got maximum of one and a half day battery life on the i900 with a good amount of calls and push mail set.

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