The Nokia N900 or HTC Magic?

Thanks Cyanogen!

My HTC Magic lay in a drawer until I could upgrade it to Android 2.1 or 2.2. I found 1.5 a little too primitive. As far as I know HTC hasn’t released an update to Froyo yet. So I took the plunge. I must say that this is by far the most stable mod I’ve done so far. I have yet to find something that’s broken.

Now I have to say that I see little difference between 1.5 and 2.2. Google Navigation isn’t available in South Africa yet.

Out with the old

As 2010 started I was ready for a new OS. The Nokia 5800 and N97 did little to keep my allegiance to Nokia. S60 fifth edition is like driving a replica of a Porsche. It may look like the real thing (i.e. a touch screen UI) but the minute you start driving you realize it is definitely not. Even though I understand the rationale behind double tapping and single tapping it still confused me.

Here’s the thing. Fire up an old Nokia 3650 and you will notice that in all that time the S60 UI has made very little progress. It looks boring and dull. OK so here’s hoping Symbian^3 can blow some life into a tired ol’ UI.

Some new Magic.

I saw an HTC Magic in a shop and thought to myself that I should at least get some hands-on idea of what Android was about. I like the form factor. It feels solid, not too thin or too thick. I was however reminded of why I dislike HTC: battery life. Even after turning off background data my phone would hardly last two days with very little use. On one particular day the phone shut down in as little as thirteen hours. This was at home where signal quality is poor throughout the house but my Nokias have never done that. It was back to the boring old 5800.

Enter the Nokia N900

This time around I waited a few months for a phone to be in circulation before I got it. No MMS. Something I forgot about. Yes you can use fMMS  but I’m not sure it works all the time. I have to admit though I probably receive about 1 MMS per year.

I do miss Shazam. Commercial applications aren’t supported that well and Ovi’s shelves are quite bare when it comes to Maemo apps. It’s the open source community that keeps the N900 alive.

The N900 vs. the Magic

OK this is no  real head to head showdown kind of thing. I’ll summarize:

  • I want a physical keyboard. The N900 wins here – barely. It’s not the world’s best keyboard but it works.
  • Typing on the capacitive touch screen of the Magic drives me nuts. I hit the wrong keys. It can be difficult to get the characters on the right hand edge of the screen.
  • I want Shazam. There is a video of Shazam running on the N900 but there is no Shazam now. The Magic wins here
  • The screen of the Magic seems brighter.
  • No multi page tiff format reader available for Android. Evince on the N900 does this for me.
  • Web browsing. MicroB (on the N900) rulez! And of course you can use Firefox, Opera and Chrome on the N900. Mind you I haven’t tried Skyfire yet.
  • No navigation solution for the N900 for South Africa. On the Magic I can use NDrive although it’s not free. (The app is free. You pay for the maps)

So its back to the N900.