Disclaimer: In order to make sure I comply with the completely ridiculous new FTC guidelines about stating my own opinion on my own website: I’m writing this because my phone is awesome. Also, you are reading this because I am awesome.
First off, let me say that I love all things gadgety. Unfortunately I also spend the majority of my life flat broke and unable to purchase all the lovely gadgets that I want to play with. You can imagine my excitement, then, when I saw that LetsTalk.com was offering the HTC Droid Eris for free w/ a new contract. For those not in the know, the Droid Eris is HTC’s newest phone running Google’s Android phone OS. It’s a completely touchscreen smart phone that syncs with various Google services like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Contacts, etc.
Overall, this is probably the best phone I’ve ever used. The on-screen keyboard is fantastic. The predictive text is without a doubt the best I’ve ever seen. As long as I basically hit somewhere in the general vicinity of the keys that I’m looking for, I don’t have to worry too much about typing errors. Also, any time you find yourself typing a word that isn’t in the predictive text dictionary (torgorama for example) just click the ‘+’ next to the word you’re typing and it’ll be saved for future use. HTC also replaced the standard Android user interface with their own proprietary Sense UI, which I love. There 7 customizable panels on your homescreen that you can fill with a vast array of widgets, apps, and shortcuts. If there’s something that the phone doesn’t do out of the box that you need, chances are good that you can find something in the App Market. There are thousands of apps available that you can browse and download straight from your phone. A few of my current favorite apps are:
- Google Voice
- ShopSavvy (scan a barcode with the phone camera and get comparative pricing)
- Amazon (this one is so good I’m reviewing it separately tomorrow)
- Twidroid (Twitter client)
In addition to all of that, the general specs on the phone are just overall impressive: 3.2 inch touchscreen, 5 megapixel camera (w/ video), 8GB MicroSD card included, GPS, digital compass, blah blah blah blah (full specs can be found here). Basically, it has most of the stuff that you need.
Now that I’ve finished gushing about how awesome this phone is, let’s talk about the weak points. There are a few things that are kind of disappointing and a few others that flat out suck. The battery life is abysmal. I keep Wi-Fi turned off and under moderate use (some web browsing, text messaging, checking email and keeping up with Twitter) the battery lasts about four hours before it needs to be recharged. With the Wi-Fi enabled, you can knock about another hour off of that time. Other annoyances include:
- The camera has no flash and doesn’t function well in low-light (5MP doesn’t do you much good if you can’t see anything)
- The phone is running Android 1.5 instead of the newer 2.0 release
- No native multi-touch even though it’s supported by the hardware (HTC added support in the photo albums app for pinch-to-zoom goodness)
- No turn-by-turn Google Maps navigation (only availble for Android 1.6 and higher)
- Verizon’s data plans are confusing (the $29.99 plan is good for most everyone and does include unlimited data. It’s just limited to 10 email accounts)
After having the phone for a couple of days and playing with it almost non-stop, I’d definitely recommend it to just about anyone. I’m not sure how long the free deal is going to last, so you might want to jump on it soon.