Are Smartphones Today Really That Smart?

Now that the new craze seemed to have fully set in all over the world, I’m sure the new generation is starting to forget how good the older counterparts not only were, but still are today. I want to compare the new to the old and highlight some key differences between the two based on my daily driving of both phones and their practicality with respect to my daily life.

So, the contenders: Nokia E6 and Samsung Galaxy S2.

I’ll begin with MY needs for a mobile phone-like device- quick and comfortably typing ability for both sms messages as well as web browsing/forum posting/etc; solid and reliable battery life, since I often and easily can end up without the ability to charge for 2-3 days; solid and reliable GPS, preferably with downloadable maps to avoid having to rely on mobile data usage; a good or decent camera to avoid having to carry extra gadgets; lastly, good overall connectivity as far as wifi/gprs/bluetooth goes.

With the above said, it is pretty clear why I prefer and use my Nokia as my daily driver even though it does have its flaws- iffy camera (on E6 anyway); not a portable laptop as far as processing power goes; rather small screen when it comes to looking at anything. In retrospect, Galaxy S2 lacks the exact opposite things like comfortable and quick typing; there’s a battery life in this one? where?; no phone strap slot (in the AT&T USA version anyway), so it gets to be a pain to fish it out and keep it in hands when in bumpy situations.

I notice that almost everyone today is obsessed with these Apps (and why not call them, programs or progs, like we all used to back in the day?) and having something useless always connected to the mobile net ALL the time. Are they really necessary though? Constant data usage tanks the battery life to a point where, you may not even be able to use your phone as a phone because it’s always about to die and you wouldn’t want to be completely stranded. Now, the first biggest flaw that these Android phones have-  they cannot turn the data on and off per need to use it. Here is where I love my nokia- when anything, be it browser, email sync, or MMS message needs to use the net, the phone will turn the net on for the duration of its use and then turn it off, going back to “idle” kind of mode. Saves battery? Like you wouldn’t believe. On the actual App note, they’re really nothing more than silly games or shortcuts to websites, and given the sheer fact that you have java-enabled mobile net, you can’t just open up the browser and check a particular website itself? Is wifi N and HSDPA+ really that slow today that we need “mobile optimized” shortcut apps?

Next up, and I didn’t realize how much I used this feature until I was stranded without it (with the same level of comfort) is the GPS program with downloadable maps. In case of Nokia, unlike various Android apps out there, FREE GPS program with downloadable maps. And maps don’t even weigh that much, North America is only 1.5GB that easily fits on phone’s internal memory. As with everything today, you can sync your saved places to a cloud account and download them in case something happens to your current phone or you upgrade to a new one. Very simple feature, but the key is having reliability vs simple presence of it. Now, no need for data AND a small screen? On an older E72, that meant being able to gps about 10 hours (turning the screen off until you need to look at it) and using the phone on a single charge for a whole weekend. Lets see any Android device top this one. Last point that could have gone without saying, is having downloaded maps doubles your phone as an interactive map no matter where you are instead of being stranded simply due to a lack of internet.

Physical qwerty keyboard would only really matter to heavy typists like me, but there is a rather large lack of qwerty Android handsets on the market with decent overall specs. I don’t know how you guys and gals get used to typing on a touch-screen, but I just cannot let go of the battle-proven tactile keys.

Call me old fashioned, but I really don’t see much of a productive purpose to all these new toys until the manufacturers seriously take some basics into their accounts, like they used to back in the day. If I have a device that has WiFi a/b/g/n, bluetooth 3.0, HSDPA+ with all 5 possible bands, good gps, and most importantly battery life to support all of that properly, I think I can go without some pretty screen sliding animations, beer glass apps, and super-robust CPU speeds that are virtually never used in your pocket.

Bonus round question, so why do I own both of these? To use each one per its intended usage, with Galaxy being my super-thin camera and tablet rather than a shot all-in-one device. It also covers up Nokia’s only real weaknesses- small screen when it comes to viewing something comfortably or showing it to others, and a decent camera (and god only knows why nokia essentially downgraded it from the previous models).

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