This really isn’t a review because I won’t be comparing it to other products.  It’s more of a hands-on report and my rational for picking this model which is available in Thailand and what it offers you.

 

Introduction

This really isn’t a review because I won’t be comparing it to other products.  It’s more of a hands-on report and my rational for picking this model which is available in Thailand and what it offers you.

My Motorola L7i candy bar phone has worked flawlessly for the last five years and it continues to work well.  It makes phone calls, holds my contact list, doubles as an alarm clock, and connects my laptop to my phone carriers (AIS) internet services either through a USB cable or Bluetooth.  The battery only needs to be recharged once a week.  I’ve dropped it countless times, sat on it routinely (I carry it in my back pocket), and once even dropped it in the toilet.  I fished it out, removed the battery, let it dry out for a few days, and years later it works fine.  Heck, even the 2.1mp camera and video camera isn’t bad.  Why would a guy want more than this functional beauty?

In a word real time email and internet access.  And the more time I own my HTC Desire the more functions and aps (shorthand for applications) I’m finding I can’t live without.  I need to provide my customers real time email and voice access during business hours.  They expect it and they should.  Often when in the field I need a file from my FTP, to check my website, access a PDF users manual for a camera, or any number of reasons which previously required a laptop.  The HTC Desire can do all of that and more, and in a package just a hair bigger than my old Moto.  It still rides in my rear jeans pocket, it still makes calls, but it does much more.

 

Which Model?

 

The Smartphone battle has come down to either the IPhone or the Android system.  Industry analysts predict that within 6 months there will be more Android systems simply because many more manufacturers sell and support them.  Android is also open source and it’s applications are growing and will soon be more than the IPhone.  Both are great, but to me Android was the future.

 

The Smartphone battle has come down to either the IPhone or the Android system.  Industry analysts predict that within 6 months there will be more Android systems simply because many more manufacturers sell and support them.  Android is also open source and it’s applications are growing and will soon be more than the IPhone.  Both are great, but to me Android was the future.

So.. I shopped around MBK, Fashion Mall, and the usual suspect malls.  At one store they had a HTC Desire mockup dummy available it and just felt right.  Very solid, very nice texture, not too big, not too small, and the most beautiful 800x480 LED LCD screen you can imagine.  This store didn’t have one, but my trusty assistant found me one that day and had it in my hands that evening.

Before deciding on the Desire I did my due diligence and scoured the internet for reviews and opinions.  It turns out the HTC Desire is to date, the best HTC Android system available in Asia.  It’s the equivalent to the HTC Hero or Legend in the states and then some.  Plus, it didn’t have the Jay Leno ‘chin’ I find distasteful (sorry Jay).. If I remember right the cost was 21,000 baht.  Ouch!!!

 

My Data Plan

 

I’ve been an AIS customer for years and overall I enjoy their service because they have coverage in parts of Thailand DTAC and the others don’t.  My normal plan was baht 600 per month which included all the talk time I can personally use and 300 SMS messages and 30 hours of internet usage.  Not bad for the US equivalent of $15 a month!  Adding “unlimited data” and computer usage bumped me up to baht 1300 per month.

 

I’ve been an AIS customer for years and overall I enjoy their service because they have coverage in parts of Thailand DTAC and the others don’t.  My normal plan was baht 600 per month which included all the talk time I can personally use and 300 SMS messages and 30 hours of internet usage.  Not bad for the US equivalent of $15 a month!  Adding “unlimited data” and computer usage bumped me up to baht 1300 per month.

There were other plans available but I wanted to leave my data on all the time without worry, update often without worry, and use it as much as I wanted without worrying I’d get a zillion baht bill at the end of the month.  I might downgrade the plan after using it for six months or so, but for now I’m paying less than $38 USD per month for unlimited everything.  I can live with that for now.

 

The Dreaded Learning Curve

 

It took me 20 minutes to transfer my Outlook contact list into the new phone, install my SIM card, install a 16gb 30mbps MicroSD card, and plug it into the charger.  I figured I had everything set up the way I needed at this point and I was satisfied.  In reality I only had it duplicating my Moto.. but it certainly wasn’t using the new features.

 

It took me 20 minutes to transfer my Outlook contact list into the new phone, install my SIM card, install a 16gb 30mbps MicroSD card, and plug it into the charger.  I figured I had everything set up the way I needed at this point and I was satisfied.  In reality I only had it duplicating my Moto.. but it certainly wasn’t using the new features.

To be honest it’s been a month and I’m still learning.  Every time I get a few free moments, which hasn’t been often, I pull out the phone and the instruction manual and possible Google functions on the internet, and learn something new.  I’d guess I’ll continue learning new things about this phone and new ways to use it for months to come.  Expect that kind of learning curve.

And I still don’t have my email activated!  Maybe next week.. ;o)

Instead of email I’ve found the Android Market Place Application Store with all the free and fee based aps.  So far I’ve installed a carpenters level (very handy, but not sure why), a guitar tuner, tuning fork, Yahoo Messenger ap, some news and weather widgets and much more.  Even a bartenders guide on how to mix any drink possible and a BAC analyzer and I don’t even drink!  And it’s fun pretending to use these aps in silly ways that make people laugh.. like blowing into the microphone to activate a pitch pipe.. J

 

Actual Use

 

It works great.  Reception is wonderful, it picks up wi-fi networks automatically and seamlessly, and if it can’t find one then it uses AIS albeit a bit slower.  The weather and my favorite news areas are always updated and ready for me to read, using the internet is easy, the screen is big and beautiful (for a Smartphone), it’s very easy to type with and it’s self-correction and spelling features are the easiest I’ve ever used.  I think once I get better with this it will be better than a Blackberry.  You can also use voice and dictates your emails and text messages.

 

It works great.  Reception is wonderful, it picks up wi-fi networks automatically and seamlessly, and if it can’t find one then it uses AIS albeit a bit slower.  The weather and my favorite news areas are always updated and ready for me to read, using the internet is easy, the screen is big and beautiful (for a Smartphone), it’s very easy to type with and it’s self-correction and spelling features are the easiest I’ve ever used.  I think once I get better with this it will be better than a Blackberry.  You can also use voice and dictates your emails and text messages.

Simply put, it will do just about anything a computer, phone, fax, or Blackberry will do, but I often have to sit down for a few minutes and learn how to do these functions, install an ap, or figure out how it does it.  It uses Android 2.1 with HTC’s “Sense” which  makes the user experience that much nicer and we’re supposed to get the new 2.2 update before the end of the month which promises huge speed increases and the little odds and ends of function that were missing from 2.1.

One thing is doesn’t do is connect the internet to my laptop via Bluetooth.  It does connect to my laptop via Bluetooth for 7 different functions, but connecting to the internet isn’t yet one of them.  I need to use a USB cable to do that.  Android 2.2 will allow me to turn my HTC Desire into a Bluetooth internet hotspot for up to ten computers.  I can hardly wait.

So far though, I’m still climbing that learning curve so I don’t really miss any single function.

I did find a talking parrot application.  A picture of a parrot comes up on the screen and you teach it to say things.. and then it repeats them to others for their amusement.. or annoyance.. depends.  It’s easy to spend way too much time showing your friends the neat new features of your new toy that they really don’t care about.  No worries, they’ll be assimilated soon and have their new phone (a newer model than yours of course) and they’ll talk your ear off about how great it is.. payback!

 

Summary

 

I’ve really enjoyed using this phone.  The battery needs to be charged daily, that seems to be the nature of all smartphones and Blackberry’s, and it’s a tad bigger though not as big as some of the monster smart phones out there.  It works great with my Bluetooth headset and my Bluetooth GPS… it’s all seamless and automatic.  I was really surprised when my GPS started ringing and someone started talking to me on my GPS before I realized what was happening.

 

I’ve really enjoyed using this phone.  The battery needs to be charged daily, that seems to be the nature of all smartphones and Blackberry’s, and it’s a tad bigger though not as big as some of the monster smart phones out there.  It works great with my Bluetooth headset and my Bluetooth GPS… it’s all seamless and automatic.  I was really surprised when my GPS started ringing and someone started talking to me on my GPS before I realized what was happening.

I bought a car charger to keep it topped up while driving, a silicone case which hasn’t arrived yet, and a spare battery.  Google maps with voice prompt navigation  doesn’t work in Thailand yet, but it soon will.

There’s like a zillion aps out there, so if you want to grow a vertical garden, practice origami, watch Hulu TV (btw, it works great with my Slingbox in the states via the new Android Slingplayer!), Utube, or otherwise entertain you while waiting in all the places Thai society has you waiting.. then there’s an ap for that too.  There’s even a couple Thai cookbooks, Facebook, twitter, MySpace, and much more.  Caller ID shows you the callers social networking site picture automatically, or optionally a picture you designate.  You can even make it bark like a dog.  It does everything!

Expensive yes.  Useful immensely.  Intrusive on your life certainly! (if you let it)  But in today’s business world it’s expected you have email handy all the time, be able to read Puff's, spreadsheets, Word docs, etc, wherever you are.  Not keeping up makes you look a bit like a dinosaur and frankly, I don’t try twice to get in touch with anyone.  If they can’t be bothered then they don’t want to be bothered and I won’t be bothering them.

Are there better smart phones out there?  Perhaps.  The new Iphone4 is having some issues, Blackberry’s are really dated, Windows based units are very slow to catch on, and Android is storming the market and HTC is the best Android based device out there.. has been for a while.  In Asia, the Desire or the new lesser expensive “Wildfire” are the two devices to have.