06/07/2011, 05:11 AM
Ok, here's the deal - I bought one of the cheap Pre 2s from eBay in the UK because I thought a decently fast webOS phone (and the Pre 2 is easily on par with an iPhone 3GS specs-wise) would be an adequate replacement for my iPhone 4, which I love but hey - I can make £300 profit from selling it *after* paying for the Pre 2. I still have the iPhone 4 as I decided to give the Pre 2 two weeks to see if I was OK with it. My mentality is, if you have something like a mobile phone that you use every day then you HAVE to get along with it. If not - ditch it, and find one you do or you'll be in for a lot of grief for probably a long while! I'm now a week in, and I thought I'd write this thread as it might be of interest to other people looking to try webOS or jump from another platform. So, what do I reckon?
So far, I'd say I'm about 75% happy, and I hope that many of these things will improve with webos3.0. And bear in mind this is coming from arguably the best mobile ecosystem overall and from what is an undeniably outstanding bit of hardware.
Best thing? WebOS itself. It's elegant, well designed and consistent. I also like the Pre 2 physically - it's a good size. Not too big, not too small. It seems pretty well made too. I'd love a screen that was slightly higher resolution, but for that I'd need a Pre 3 which would cost me, and then I'd be back to square one. I have had a few glitches - swipes not being picked up, on one occasion the keyboard stopped responding while I was trying to enter text into a field on a forum, and the occasional general stutter, but no deal-breakers so far.
Apps-wise, I now have a newsreader (Newsroom) I actually like *more* than my favoured iOS newsreader, Pulse. I tried Rhythm which is very similar to pulse superficially but under the hood just isn't quite there, but Newsroom is a genuinely great bit of software. bWeather is a nice free weather app. The Facebook app is OK - I like the fact it's not as messed up as the iOS one that now spams you with "do you know this person?" notifications every time, but it is missing some things (the ability to view and comment on the walls of groups for one) and occasionally seems a little buggy. Carbon is great for Twitter (if only it pulled up an "address book" when you started a tweet "@"...), and I'm really liking the look of Phnx too.
What I flat-out love is preware - there are some awesome tweaks and the beta apps availability is genius. I used to have to jailbreak my phone to get that sort of functionality and it was MUCH more complex to apply/remove. Similarly, I've had experience with Android and the webOS way of allowing tinkering and tweaks is much more preferable. I also love the webOS notification system. To be honest I was pretty impressed with the iOS5 reveal yesterday, but I still like the webOS notification system more - iPhones are going to have very crowded lockscreens pretty soon.
The not so good?
I'm not a massive fan of the native Mail app - I think that needs some work still. It's not *that* fast, and more than once I've deleted a message from it and found it still in my gmail inbox. Messaging is fine, but the browser is only ok - it does seem to struggle with larger pages (esp. forum pages) and I have had it randomly reload a page on me once or twice.
Things I don't like? Battery life. I'm still conditioning it, but with light to moderate use I get 24 hours tops. My iPhone could easily go 2 or 3 days, and I even got 5 days out of it once. I have a touchstone (very cool, as is exhibition), but nice as it is I'd still rather not have to use it *that* often. I've seen wildly varying opinions on higher capacity batteries, so I'm not sure whether to take the plunge on one yet.
Along similar lines, I'd love there to be an app or patch that could let you shut down all automatic notifications for all apps but leave the phone and SMS functionality on between set times (ie, when you're asleep). I don't need to know if someone's updated Twitter at 3am, I certainly don't need the alert noise, and my battery would last longer as a result. Airplane mode doesn't cut it, as that shuts off the phone functionality too.
Also, the lack of games. I really, really hope this picks up with the Touchpad and Pre 3 as HP push webOS more and more, but just now things are pretty sparse and/or old (Gameloft games, for example, seem to have more or less stopped in 2010. Have they given up on webOS development?). It looks like the iOS app store did back in the iPhone 3G early days, and in comparison to where Android and iOS are now, it looks kind of amateurish if most of your games are block puzzles and rehashes of 1980s arcade machines.
Anyway, that's my thoughts. I'm *almost* at the point where I'll be happy to let the iPhone go (and I have an iPad anyway to ease the transition, so I won't be losing my apps), and I think some of it is still just getting used to the change, but I would say it's certainly do-able and for the most part comfortably so - something I don't think would be true if you switched to a cheap Android phone, or from say a Galaxy S2 to an iPhone 3GS. And for someone coming over from a 3G/3GS or similar mid-spec Android phone that change would be much much less of a bump.