T-Mobile Mytouch 3G Impressions
2 days ago, I signed a 2 year contract and got a T-Mobile Mytouch 3G for $99. I Haven't been on a "real" cell phone plan in over 5 years. I purchased my new smart phone and signed the contract through Radioshack. Overall, I am very pleased with my plan and the service I got at Radioshack. Being familiar with Linux, I am enjoying the Android OS. I have some mixed feelings about Android and the phone but overall, I like it.
While looks is subjective, I think most people will find the Mytouch 3G a beautiful smart phone. It's roughly the same size as the Apple IPhone 3GS but slightly thicker in my side by side analysis. Sprint's new flagship smart phone is the bigger brother of the Mytouch, the HTC Hero. Looking almost identical to the Mytouch 3G, the HTC Hero's removes the tactile buttons next to the scroll ball. In terms of looks, the Mytouch 3G is sleek and looks better than the blocky G1 in my opinion. The edges are more rounded and the finish is glossy. The screen is big and bright. In my opinion, the Mytouch 3G looks very professional. Executives businessmen and Blackberries go hand in hand while teens are usually associated with having the Sidekick. Apple's IPhone seem to be geared to the "hip" artsy types and I think the Mytouch is a nice option for someone looking for something different. The black Mytouch looks very cool and professional. By signing this 2 year contract, I'm sure this phone will still be looking great when my plan expires.
Touch Screen Interface
Touch screens are a love hate relationship. Some people love them, some don't. While I think it's cool, I hate a touch screen keyboard. Mistakes are common and it's impossible to get the proper feedback that a physical keypad provides. There is no substitute for dedicated tactile buttons. The Android OS tries to compensate with an option to vibrate on key press but it's still not the same. I guess you have to get used to this keyboard. I find that I make many mistakes even on landscape mode. I will update if I get better at typing.
The touch screen is fast and responsive. I do find that it won't react as quickly but it's definitely not a slowpoke. The one thing that IPhone has over the Mytouch and other Android OS smart phones is multi-touch. While I cannot pinch and zoom with the Mytouch, I can view full html web pages and read and zoom easily. Multi touch is not a deal breaker for me and from what I've been reading, I will not be exclusive to the IPhone in the near future. The home, menu, back, and search buttons are excellent. No complaints there. The trackball is very good. I don't use it often but it comes in handy when I want to click on a link on a web page. It's definitely a nice option to have and it comes in Handy when precision matters most. The interface is excellent. It would be perfect if the on screen keyboard was better.
Android OS And The Marketplace
Android OS is really cool. I have 3 virtual "desktops" much like Gnome and KDE's work spaces on Linux. Mac users know this as "Spaces". I can switch through my desktops by flicking the touch screen left to right. The middle desktop screen is called the "home" screen and you return here anytime you press the dedicated "home" button. Much like KDE, you can add widgets anywhere on the screen. There's many widgets to choose from in the marketplace. When you first get your Mytouch, there is an application on the home screen called "Marketplace". This application bring you to a large selection of free and paid applications. These apps are sorted in many groups. Games, tools, social, entertainment are some examples. I have a few widgets already installed such as Accuweather, battery monitor, and flashlight. There's tons of applications to choose from. What great is that they are rated and you can avoid the bad ones and download the good ones. You can even rate and comment on the application and voice your own opinion.
There is 1 aspect of the marketplace that I have mixed feelings about. The paid apps. Some applications cost money. I've seen them vary from 99 cents to 13 dollars. From what I know, Android is a Linux based OS and Linux has, for the most part, been free and opened. There are pros and cons to this philosophy and I'll briefly go over them.
- open to developers
- open to improvements
- usually slow development
- no accountability
- slow bug fixes
Basically, the pros are self explanatory but lets take a closer look at the cons. Usually, when apps are release for free to the public, the development can be very slow. Updates are slow and bug fixes are slow. This is due to accountability, incentive and drive. Developers are able to do things normal people can't. They have programing skill. If they provide their work for free, there is no incentive for them to make better apps, fix bugs, or update in a timely matter. You can't expect free work to be the best. Dedication and drive is great, but the incentive of money can do great things too. Let's look at the pros and cons of paid apps.
- Fast development
- fast bug fixes
- Cost money
Paid apps can be very good and I will buy them if they are worth it. There is a balance and I hope Android will not favor paid apps over free apps. Since getting my smart phone, I've purchased 1 app for $1.50. I purchased an application called Droidsense to keep track of my adsense earnings. To me, it was worth it. You have to decide if these apps are worth it to you. What I did like about Android is I was allowed to try this app for a full 24 hours and if I didn't like it, I could've received a full refund. That's awesome. Google knows that in order to increase quality, they must open developement to the free market and I completely understand this. There is a fine line Google is walking on. So far, I think Android is doing a good job balancing the two sides. I'm happy, at least for now.
Talking about all these apps and we've deviated from what a phone was meant to do, make calls! How does the Mytouch do in call quality? It does very well! At least in my initial testing. Calling my brother at his dorm, I can hear him clearly and it was fine. Much better than the previous pre-paid cell phones that I used to own. I don't have any complaints with sound quality. No popping and no distortion. Call quality is good so far. Excellent even.
Coverage was not so good. At least for 3G where I live. Going to my local Walmart, sometimes I would look at my phone and see "E" instead of "3G". E meaning the "Edge" network. It's okay but data transfers were not nearly as fast as 3G. If these networks were Internet service providers for your home, Edge would be dial-up and 3G would be cable. This still baffles me. Living in a very populated state, I'd expect 3g coverage would be everywhere. It's not. I talked to my coworkers that own IPhones and they have the same complaints with the 3G coverage so this problem is not exclusive to T-Mobile. Do some research and check if 3G is good in your area. Rhode Island, step up your 3G coverage! This state should have full wifi downtown but it doesn't. I also expected it to have full 3G but it doesn't. I hope it gets better soon.
So far, I'm digging this smart phone. I'm definitely not a smart phone guru, just an average user much like yourself. I do know what I like and I like this phone. I can't stop playing with it. There are some minor quirks but they're nothing big as to turn me off. This phone is gorgeous, slick, and fast. I love the Android OS and support has been great so far. It also was awesome that I was able to purchase this phone for only $99 with a 2 year contract. At T-Mobile's official store, this phone is $149 with a 2 year contract. I asked a Radioshack employee how this was possible and he said Radioshack buys the smart phones in bulk. They do not have the most selection but they carry a few of the most popular. Seeing that the T-Mobile Mytouch 3G just came out in August, I guess they believe it will become very popular. You know what? I agree with them. This smart phone will sell itself. These first impressions will only affirm what you already think. Thanks for reading! I'll post a final review after 3 weeks of usage.
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