Sunday, May 19, 2013

New Phone, New Reviews Part 2

I'm just passing the 6 month mark on this phone, and as promised, here's a more in-depth review on my Samsung Captivate Glide.

Functionality: Sub-par
It looks shiny out of the box, especially since the Droid2 was several android updates behind by the time it finally died, but once I had my preferred launch screen installed (Home++), a lot of that shininess went away. At the beginning, it ran faster than the Droid2, had fewer time-outs and system crashes, but that didn't last long.

With the Glide, the YouTube app just doesn't work. At all. No idea why. I've tried rebooting, uninstalling, reverting to an old version... everything. It won't run. Periodically, when loading a video through the web-browser, the visual of the video doesn't load, but the audio does; sometimes, I can recover with only the browser crashing, sometimes the entire phone goes down. I never had either of these problems on the Droid2.

Camera: Sub-par
Out of the box, the camera had a smudge inside the lens, to one side. Since I didn't purchase the phone for the camera (and would have willingly sacrificed the camera for a lower price-tag) I said nothing. This past month, the smudge has mysteriously vanished.

Also, about one time in five, the phone crashes while loading the camera. When I say crashes, I don't mean the camera functionality crashes, I mean the entire phone goes down. It takes a forced-reboot to bring it back. Immediately after that forced-reboot, the camera has never failed me.

ConnectivitySlightly below par
It's not exceptional. It's not tragic. I can hear and be heard without any noticeable trouble on one bar. I've never seen it reach four bars, except while standing inside an AT&T store (did you know that most of them have not one but several signal boosters in the back room somewhere).

I do seem to get a better signal (or at least, better reception) while within my apartment, which is partially underground, with the Glide than the Droid2.

Also, with my Droid2, I was signed up for the "Unlimited Data Plan." AT&T had discontinued that option by the time I'd switched to the Glide, and even with 3 data-monitoring apps (which all promised to not interfere with the others), I always went over.

When it comes to Wi-fi, it's not as receptive as my Droid2. In my apartment, sitting next to (as in barely one foot from) my modem, it sometimes drops to no signal, and refuses to load the internet. On the Droid2, low signal areas loaded pages slowly, but they loaded, and I could be further away and still get a signal.

Data Storage: Slightly below par
On the Droid2, it was easy to find my way around the file folders. On the Glide, it started out not making any sense, slowly evolved into confusing, and has finally reached it's final form: just-plain-inconvenient. With the Droid2, if I told it to default everything to the SD card, it would and did. On the Glide, it seems to have to be reminded regularly, or it starts to save on the phone again.

Screen: Slightly above par
In comparison to my Droid2, the screen is slightly bigger, slightly brighter, and not noticeably any crisper. The Glide is also more sensitive when I'm using it, yet never seems to dial through my pants (like the Droid2 did).

Keyboard: Sub-par
The keyboards on the two phones are very different, despite both being QWERTY-based. Frequently used symbols appeared in more convenient locations (like @ which had it's own button) on the Droid; on the Glide, they more closely reflect a computer keyboard's location, albeit one row below in the case of shift-number. Special characters (like ^, <. and >) don't even appear on the physical keyboard for the Glide (they did on the Droid), you have to pull up the on-screen keyboard to access them.

The Glide's keyboard however, does seem to be more durable. The buttons have individual covers and are separated by a gridded-frame. The Droid2's were covered by a one-piece rubberized surface, which, after two years, had started to come loose. Although touch-typing with either is damn-near impossible, doing it with the Droid was slightly easier, as it had ridges and bumps; the Glide's is completely flat.

Also, the Glide sometimes pulls up a special-character's menu while typing (special as in umlauts and such) for no discernible reason. Sometimes, I don't notice, and lose the letters that I've typed in since the menu appeared.

I'm still struggling with the Glide's physical keyboard, though I still prefer it over the on-screen keyboard.

Physical Characteristics: Par
Despite the increase in size, the Glide is considerably lighter; I can't say whether that's a good thing or not, since I seem to be dropping it more often, but it takes less damage when falling. However, the Glide's hard case (didn't come in soft, and only came in navy) was considerably less durable than the rubberized one for the Droid2 (yes, was as in the past tense--I broke it fairly quickly).

The Glide also doesn't seem to have the problem of over-heating that the Droid2 did, though that hasn't stopped it from self-rebooting for no visible reason.

The default web-browser crashes about as often on both phones, however, the Glide starts behaving better after cleaning out some files. Less free storage means more browser crashes, though that trend doesn't seem to carry over into any of the other apps.

The power button on the Glide is much more reliable than the Droid2's in terms of turning on and off the phone, as well as performing a forced-reboot. With the Droid, to force-reboot, I had to pop the battery; not so with the Glide. However, with the Glide, I can't even get the back half of the case off, let alone open the battery housing.

Accessory Compatibility: Sub-par
As far as I've been able to find, there aren't any accessories made for the Glide. There are accessories for generic phones that the Glide supposedly can be used with, but there are none, zero, zip made exclusively for the Glide. No car-dashboard mounts, no charging stations, nada.

Customer Service: Above par
Verizon's customer service sucks. AT&T treats me like they want me to continue being a customer. There's really nothing more that needs to be said about it.

Don't get this phone unless you're buying it for your kids and want to teach them patience. Really, it's not worth it. I'd buy another Droid2 before buying another Glide, even though the Droid2 has probably been discontinued and system updates are likely no longer available.