HTC Flyer: Highs and Lows

On October 2, 2011, in General, by Neil Stevens

Today I was working on a new website (more to come on that), and realized that I’d really better be prepared to see whether my websites look good on Android, as that OS really is pretty well established by now. So, this afternoon I went out and picked up an HTC Flyer.

In short: it’s decent for the price, but it’s no iPad.

Plusses: 802.11n support, ability to download apps straight from a website (such as the Amazon app store), ‘widgets’ on the home screen analogue that you can flip between with finger drags.

Minuses: Very clunky interface at times. Mail IMAP support doesn’t handle subfolders well, four modes of plugging the thing into the computer (some of which block off apps) is weird, it can mount as USB drive but many apps can’t see things dropped into My Folders (such as notes), PDF viewer can’t copy text in my test. And incredibly enough, I can’t use any location features at all unless I sign up to have my location tracked by Google even when I’m not using such features. Also, the web browser chokes on SVG embeds, so Swingometer won’t even work!

Also, this is HTC specific, but all these themes and things require HTC accounts to switch around, it seems. And the unlock ring is pretty hokey. Oh, and I can’t seem to organize my app list; even Blackberries can do that.

So in short, this thing is no iPad by any stretch of the imagination. The iPad is smooth, polished, gorgeous physically and seamless in its interface. Android exposes me to awkward internals like the /mnt/ path that something or another is mounted on, and gives me way, way, way too many modal dialogs that I have to hit OK to get past.

Maybe the OS 3 will fix some things, as this thing shipped with OS 2.3. If it does, I’ll say more, I’m sure.

Update: I installed one of my spare MicroSD cards into the thing today. That was the worst. When I say you have to crack open the case to make that installation, I mean it. You have to listen to these cracking noises as you pry it open, and hope you’re not breaking anything. I’m so used to quality Apple engineering that this was just a horrible experience.

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