Saturday, December 18, 2010

Finally got my HTC Surround!!!

Finally got my HTC Surround!!! Since Telus' 3G network is a bit "iffy" (Telus does not have GSM network so if you are out of 3G coverage, you are pretty much screwed), I decided to get the HTC Surround off Telus off contract, get an unlock code from and use the phone on Fido instead.

Note that I am do not know the seller but I found them pretty quick to respond to my stupid questions (i.e. will the phone remain unlock after a WP7 update, etc - you iPhone users would know what i mean). They are very quick to respond and I got my unlock code pretty quickly from them.

The unlocking process was painless, the only thing I had to look up was Fido's APN connection information. Leave me a comment if you need this kind of information.

Now, onto my impression of the HTC Surround.
The build of the phone is solid. The touchscreen is responsive, the screen is quite nice. It is a heavy phone (which I do like.. feels like something solid in my hand). The heaviness of the phone comes from the slide out speaker. I do watch a lot of movies/anime/tv shows on my phone and this speaker is loud and the kickstand is a definitely bonus. Of the 4 current wp7 phones out right now in Canada, I believe the HTC surround is the only one with a kickstand.

Battery life could be better but it is already outgunning my old (non jailbroken 3G - running on iOS 4.2) by a mile.

The Wp7 OS is incredibly polish for a 1.0 release. You can probably find reviews of the OS in other more well established gadget websites.

In my 10 days of usage, I have noticed several bugs (known to MS already) and hopefully they'll fix it in the next update. They are:

  • incoming SMS timestamp is 5 hours behind. Something wrong with the UTC/timezone calculations
  • the Zune Marketplace sometimes does get into some state in which you cannot start it again.. Starting will bring you to a black screen and then back to your start menu. Once this happens, Zune Video&Music hub stops working as well... a problem that can be easily fixed by a quick reboot
  • Deleting email from say your hotmail account does not delete immediately.. have to wait for the next "sync". This means that if you read/delete your emails off your phone and immediately check your hotmail account on a web browser, those emails will still be around until the next "sync" - i have my settings on 30 minute sync polling so I guess they did that to conserve battery. Haven't tried it with push but I imagine that would delete/mark as read right away.
  • There are probably more but so far I have noticed these 2 major things and 1 minor thing with the email.. not too bad for a 1st release of a brand new OS.
So what's so cool about WP7?
  • A lot of the major apps that are built in are incredibly well integrated with Windows Live and Facebook. Even the picture hub is integrated with Facebook and Windows Live such that when you navigate to that application, you will see updates on new pictures your friends have uploaded recently. Selecting All will yield you entire collection of photo albums.. not just on your phone, but Windows Live, and all your albums on Facebook as well.
  • Word suggestions and correction - being an former iPhone user, the biggest thing that pisses me off was of course the auto correct. As you type, Wp7 will continously suggest words that could complete your partial typing. But the absolutely cool feature is that say you want to type "For your information" but instead you typed in "Fir your information". You do not have to put the cursor next to it "i", delete it and then type "o". All you have to do is tap on your "Fir" word, the entire word is selected and a list of word suggestions comes up and all you have to do is pick "For" and voila! you word is corrected.
  • Live Tiles - weather app doesn't tell me it's sunny and 23 degrees outside continously :)
  • Wireless Sync with Zune - took me literally 10 seconds to get the device paired up with the Zune software. There are some conditions prior to the wireless sync will work on it's own but it worked great. Leave me a comment if you are interested in knowing these "criteria" for wireless sync to start working.
Looking forward to the minor update "rumoured" to be released in Feb.. and of course the rumoured "Mango" release.
Oh yeah, hopefully now I am less busy at work I can continue on my quest to get something published on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

*Update* Just did a 2.5 months ownership review

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