Monday, December 27, 2010


This is a brief comparison between the HTC Desire Z and the Apple iPhone 4.

First is a dimensions comparison:

Length-wise the Desire Z is a bit longer by 4mm.

And is wider by 1.8mm.

In terms of thickness the Desire Z is thicker by 5mm.

Now they both feel to be about the same length and width in the hand, however the 5mm difference in thickness is definitely noticeable.

The first thing you notice is the volume button on the iPhone 4. Sleek.

Then the 'iconic' bands that supposedly will cripple the antennae. Seems they rectified it on the latest build of the iPhone because I cannot reproduce the signal deterioration as seen on videos.

The iPhone 4 has a secondary front-facing 0.3 MPixel camera.

If coz it's only usable in wifi and between iPhone 4s. Some say they can use Fring, but meh, what if the other person doesn't have Fring and a data plan? lol

Both feature 5 Megapixel cameras at the back with AF and single LED flash.

Both feature a button in the bottom middle of the phone, but have totally different functions. lol

Desire Z uses a microUSB port at the side for all the microUSB shenanigans, while the iPhone uses a propriety port at the bottom edge.

I've gotta say the iPhone 4 is a gorgeous thing. Maybe it's the marketing done by Apple that gives you a certain amount of pride when you hold an Apple product.

Physical comparison aside...

Comparatively, the iPhone is a lot more fluid in it's screen movement compared to the Desire Z's occasional jitteryness.

However, the main attraction of the iPhone, it's App Store seem to cripple itself since a big majority of its apps have to be bought. Now in this geographical region the paid apps on the Android Market are filtered from my view so all i get to see are free apps, but still I get a good number of awesome games out of it, for FREE.

A prime example is the full version of Angry Birds, which is a paid app on the App Store and a free app on the Android Market. Awesome?

Now you might say that why wouldn't anyone pay for a game that's so awesome? Well not everyone wants to pay for apps on a phone. My uncle, who bought that iPhone 4 featured in this post, refused to buy any apps from the App Store. His kids were so excited when they saw Angry Birds on my phone because they can play more than the free Lite version of Angry Birds on the iPhone. lol.

Another beauty of the Android platform is that basically every part of the user interface is customizable. Some require a bit more effort to achieve, but even without rooting a lot more can be customised out of the box compared to the iPhone. Don't like the browser? Don't like the icons? Don't like the launcher? Don't like the on-screen keyboard? Don't like the messaging client?

Customise it.

This is in contrast to the dictatorship marketing of Apple. The 'you tak suka you keluar' kind.

So why would you want to buy an iPhone?

1) You're a fanboy.
2) You want a phone that just works
3) You appreciate the shifting effect of the screens that is iconic of iOS
4) You have money to spend on a phone that the innards you cannot customise
5) You are confident you won't want to do any customising on a phone
6) You hate Android phones.

Isn't it very unfair that whatever phone that comes out, it surely is compared to the iPhone? The Nexus One, the Evo, the Droid X, the Galaxy S, the Nexus S, Desire, Desire HD, Desire Z, N8 etc. The iPhone is not even considered a smartphone IMHO, at most a dumb down version of a simple phone, because people don't read prompts that appear on the screen anymore.

But who the hell hides the screen rotation lock toggle within the 'task manager' (double click home button on iPhone)? At least if you put it there have the courtesy to replicate the option in 'settings'. My uncle wanted a landscape keyboard after asking me how to enlarge the keyboard. I had to go to google to locate the toggle. WTF?

/nothing to do post.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010


After years of reading reviews, I guess this is my turn to write one.

This is a review of the HTC Desire Z

Essential specs:

Android 2.2 w/ HTC Sense UI
5 Megapixel w/ Auto focus and single LED flash
Video capture up to 720p @ 30fps
480 X 800 SLCD display
1.5 GB user accessible storage
Expandable external storage MicroSD (non-hotswappable aka slot is underneath the battery)

First up, a hardware overview.

The photo doesn't do the screen justice, seriously.

The screen is gorgeous. I have yet to see a Samsung Galaxy S but I've played with the iPod Touch 3, 4 and iPad. The screen on the Desire Z is on par if not better than the iDevices mentioned. Specifically it's better than the iPod Touch 3.

The pixels are so indistinguishable that I had to use the same macro procedure used to take the 10 sen coin congkak to snap this shot. Full size here (5MB big so gotta wait yeah...).

The phone is a side slider with a 4-row QWERTY physical keyboard. Personally I don't fancy the keyboard. Just don't like it. I primarily use it to key in passwords. I've read reviews that say it's the best keyboard on a phone, but meh, not feeling it.

EDIT: After about 2 months of using it, I LURRRRVVVEEEE the physical keyboard.

Another feature of the phone is the Z-hinge that gives the phone it's name (supposedly). Doubts have been cast on the hinge as to it's durability.

The hinge was known to be loose and the pieces of the phone separate when held in a compromising position. By my experimentations, I've concluded that the tilting angle for the hinge to close on itself is 45 degrees to the vertical. But it isn't really a problem as you gradually learn how to use the phone as intended by the manufacturer. They even issued a statement (scroll to the part where they review the hinge) saying that it is a design intent.

The touch-sensitive trackpad doesn't seem to serve much purpose besides moving the cursor around when you want to correct a typo. Even for that application sometimes I use the iPhone-esque magnifying glass thing to navigate the cursor. Custom ROMs have exploited this and have enabled trackpad wake so you can wake the device by clicking the trackpad. Nice.

EDIT: Only to know it's used to navigate in recovery. Nice.

My iPod friend said the square magnifying class is "cute". Bugger...

The camera sucks. Period. The default settings applied too much noise reduction that made it look like a pile of poo. After some tinkering (thanks to a thread on XDA Developers) I've got the NR disabled and pictures start to look nicer. HTC phones are not known for having a good cameras anyway so I'll leave it at that. I do appreciate the dedicated camera shutter button at the side though.

The loudspeaker is reasonably loud for media purposes. No compaints there.

GPS locks reasonably fast. Indoors (specifically in my room) for GPS Test to obtain the coordinates took about 1 minute 20 secs from a cold start (w/ accuracy to 15 meters). Outdoors it took a mere 20 seconds to obtain a coordinate lock. It was slightly cloudy as the rain has just stopped, but with visible clouds.

WiFi holds on to the signal great. In my room, locking on to my house's WiFi is faster on the Desire Z than my laptop. Sad, isn't it? However at my campus, it does take a while to connect to the WiFi signals there. I checked the signals with WiFi Analyzer and the channels overlap each other like nobody's business. Thing is an iPod connects fine while it takes at least 5 minutes of going 'Connecting' and then 'Disconnected' and repeating itself on this phone to obtain the IP address.

I must say, however that the WiFi channels at my school are as overlapped as *insert something that overlaps a lot*. One SSID will have 3 channels that overlap each other. I totally understand if the phone has problem picking out which channel to connect to. I solved this by connecting using the built-in WiFi connect function in WiFi Analyzer.

In terms of battery life, I say it's pretty standard? 16 hours with moderate GPS and WiFi usage. According to JuicePlotter, the battery drains 20 percent for every hour of WiFi usage.

There's this turn-over-to-silent function that works pretty well. It doesn't un-silent if you turn it over again though,

Now to software overview:

Launcher Pro, yo.

The phone is silky smooth. Scrolling from homescreen to homescreen is buttery smooth. Though sometimes after using the browser or playing games for some time when you return to the homescreen, it does take a while to load it up, but that's about it.

Browser wise, scrolling while fully zoomed out on the stock browser does present jitteryness, but no checkerboard whatsoever. Zoomed in however presents smooth scrolling (though sometimes a bit of jitteryness is felt). Jitteryness is solved by installing an alternative browser like Dolphin HD, and some patience to wait for the page to finish loading.

This is in contrast to an iOS device (this includes iPod touch 3 & 4 and iPad, no privilege to play iPhone yet) where smooth scrolling is available right after the page starts showing up, but you scroll around and checkerboard shows up. Even after the page finishes loading, the moment you scroll too fast for the browser to catch up, you'll see checkerboard.

Stock browser in tab switching mode.

Tabs management of the stock browser sucks. Yes there's the fancy pinch-out-and-see-tabs thing, but that took too many taps. Dolphin HD has the tabs at the beginning of the page and after pressing the menu button, so switching tabs is a better experience on an alternative browser like Dolphin HD.

Dolphin Browser HD. Awesome tabs.

Gaming wise, so far all the games that I've played ran smoothly. No rooting required to install apps from the APK package from the SD card. My iPod friend even said the screen smoothness (this is while playing Angry Birds), I quote, 'comparable' with an iPod.

Not much comments on HTC Sense UI coz I installed LauncherPro right after I got the device. I do particularly like the full-sized Sense Calender and Agenda widgets.

As far as multitouch is concerned, 4 is the maximum number of points the screen can track. Doesn't switch positions like how the Nexus One and original Desire did. They do switch if I place them very very close to each other.

I don't actually know where to place this, but the soft keys work well for me, so far.

The fast boot thing that HTC has advertised for the Desire Z and Desire HD are actually hibernate functions. It's not exactly a full boot. Pretty useful for turning off a phone temporarily. A full boot takes about a minute or so.

RRP now is RM2299 and yes, it's exactly the same RRP as the Desire HD. WTF, right?

That's it for the review. Anything you want to ask just comment below.

EDIT: Added stuff previously not possible to be done by stock phone. Hehe...