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 Raphael. 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:
+ 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.
- Going on the Diamond's battery performance, it 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 seem to indicate the Touch FLo interface is a 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.
+ 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?!
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 new 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 have also posted this same thread in the i900 forum.
Edited by freshmaker, 06 August 2008 - 04:02 PM.