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Old 12-17-2011, 04:22 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 1, '02
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Motorola Admiral (Android 2.3)

I'm a long-time Sprint customer, from the text-based "Wireless Web" days before Vision was launched. But I will acknowlege that I'm not the most high-tech savvy person when it comes to smart phones. My most recent phone before this was a Treo Pro, and before that a Motorola Q - in other words, my previous smart phone experience has been Windows Mobile-based, though I also have a Galaxy Tab (7") and my wife has an iPhone 4S. There is currently no 4G in my area, and since I live in a smaller market I imagine we won't be a high priority for LTE over the next year.

The main reason I decided to get an Admiral was because it was one of the few phones with a built-in QWERTY keyboard without a slider. It has a higher resolution screen than the Motorola Xpert (480x640 vs 320x480), and a few other specs that are higher given that it is a newer phone. I don't use Direct Connect so can't comment on that.

There are several things that are very good about this phone:
- The keyboard is excellent. Far better than either of my two previous smart phones. I have had a very poor experience with touch-screen keyboards, which I find to be much less accurate. I find the one on my wife's iPhone 4S to be just too tiny, and others I've used I also make mistakes on. The keys on the Admiral are good, and the auto-correct suggestions are usually very good.
- The interface is zippy, though there are some issues (see below). Occasionally there is quite a delay getting a response from the "home" button.
- Sound quality for phone calls seems good. I've never dropped a call with this phone.
- The ringer is good and loud, though I'd appreciate a few "normal" ringer sounds to come standard.
- The camera seems perfectly good for my purposes, and it is very easy to send photos via email or MMS.
- No problems running the basic apps that I've downloaded, though the small screen and low screen resolution makes some of them look cramped (the app for example leaves very little room in the middle of the screen to show buttons).
- Obviously there are vast numbers of Apps out there which I haven't taken advantage of.
- Battery life seems fine - though I can run down the battery below 20% by early evening with normal (not heavy) use. On my Treo (with an extended battery) I can go a few days without worrying about recharging.
- I like that the Admiral (unlike the iPhone) uses a standard USB plug which means my car chargers, etc. still work.

However, while this phone is a big step up from the Treo Pro in many ways, for now I'm going to return to my old phone for a little while, at least until my employer moves to Office 365 in the Spring. At that point there will surely be more new phones out to choose from, Sprint may have more clarity about their 4G roll-out plans for this area, and I'll be able to upgrade then.

The reasons I'll be returning it:
- I dislike having to use the touch screen for navigation while editing text in an email or document. This isn't specific to just the Admiral, but applies to most Android phones and the iPhone. The thing is that, compared to those other devices, on the Admiral the screen itself is small which makes selecting text to edit or placing a cursor in the middle of a word to be difficult. I hate having to get it in approximately the right place and then deleting using the back-space key and retyping. Somehow I find this a lot easier on the Treo, especially using the rocker button for up-down-left-right navigation.
- The screen is bigger and brighter than my Treo, to be sure, but at 480x640 it is problematic reading a lot of webpages, and some apps that work fine on my Galaxy Tablet just get too crunched up on the Admiral. Given that many sites seem to be optimized for the 960x640 resolution of the iPhone and other Android phones I can't imagine this is going to get better. Some webpages that don't have "mobile" versions require far too much zooming and scrolling for me to deal with.
- I find the eMail app to be kludgy. It won't integrate Gmail with my other accounts, and switching between accounts is annoying: select the "options" button, select "choose account", select the account. Switching to GMail means pressing the Home key, then opening the GMail app, then selecting the right account. This as opposed to the drop-down menu at the top of the screen on the Tablet (which I find much more intuitive).
- Similarly, switching between webpages takes an extra "press" than on the Galaxy Tab. (Granted: no multiple web sessions available on the Treo.)
- No apparent way to get an integrated inbox with messages from my various email accounts together. (Again, this is part of the Galaxy Tab's email client.)
- I find when selecting auto-correct suggestions while typing an email that I will often accidentally brush one of the buttons below (options, home, back, etc.) Sometimes I really do mean to type something that won't come up on the auto-correct list and it seems that the phone really won't want to let me keep my text as typed. I don't want to turn off auto correct, but I want to only use it when I want to on a case-by-case basis.
- Although Google's calendar sync application that I loaded on my laptop works pretty well for syncing Outlook calendar, I get errors about 25% of the time (usually resolved by reinitiating a sync a few times, sometimes requires me to close Outlook). Sometimes specific calendar items don't sync for some reason that I can't figure out. This would no doubt get better when my employer moves to Office 365.
- Google's lack of an easy method to sync contacts to Outlook seems like a massive omission. This was super easy on my wife's iPhone - but it took a while for me to figure out how to do it on the Admiral using 3rd party software, and I ended up with lots of duplicates (and triplicates!) in some cases and address information stripped out of some records. Annoyingly the missing information got synched to Outlook, so is gone unless I restore a back-up. Again, this will improve when my employer moves to Office 365.
- There doesn't appear to be an upgrade path to Ice Cream Sandwich on this device. Motorola Mobility (in the process of being bought by Google, I might add) hasn't promised anything, and while Sprint has launched Gingerbread updates for many of its devices I don't like not knowing if ICS will ever make it to the Admiral. I hated getting locked into Windows Mobile 6.1 with my Treo, and I don't like the idea of the same thing happening with an Admiral forever stuck on Gingerbread. Sure, there is a large installed base of Gingerbread devices, but I don't have faith that future apps will all be backward compatible.

So there you have it! Most of the above reasons are a matter of taste, but enough to sour me on this phone for now.

I think the Admiral is a good phone in terms of hardware (screen resolution could be more), but I find there are a lot of issues with the specific iteration Gingerbread on this phone that I find annoying.

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