So after A long wait from Sony Ericsson android 2.1 has finally landed but, was it worth the wait?
I picked up my X10 roughly six months ago. I have been running 1.6 since that time and things seemed fine and dandy. I liked the way the phone functioned as a whole and while not perfect it certainly was a nice change from my previous phone. I can go on and on about what I liked and disliked about that firmware and about the phone but today I want to tell you all about my experience with the long-awaited and highly anticipated 2.1 update!
First off, My phone never alerted me about a new update being available. I went into settings>about phone>software update at which point my phone told me an update is available however, I needed to connect my phone to a computer before anything can begin. SO, I plugged my phone in, mounted my phone and PC companion popped up like it did any other day. On the top it still said My X10 was up to date. This isn’t true because my phone just told me something different. I quickly discovered that I had to go into the PC Companion settings and switch “phone updates“ to Next time I connect my phone in the drag down menu. I disconnected my phone and remounted it, instantly a pop-up appeared and guided me through the update procedure. I should also note that I used the backup and restore app that was pre-installed on my phone. I will get into this later.
Here are my thoughts after 24 hours of use,
I really dig the new unlock screen, its got a new snappy unlock bar which also doubles as silent mode if you swipe from right to left. I’ve been use to using the widget in 1.6 to silence my phone. This new feature will definitely make it much faster for you to put your phone on silent mode. The Lock screen also displays battery life in percentage, this is really handy because I find my phone tends to drain more battery after the half mark so now I know a more accurate reading on my battery. Previously I used a battery app for this reason alone so Im loving this new feature.
Upon unlocking the screen you’re taken to your new home screen. It looks more or less the same as 1.6, the default background is exactly the same although the blue looks a tad bit darker than before. The notification bar up top is a good 25% larger. This is not an advantage for me, I actually liked the smaller bar better. It made the screen look bigger and higher res.
Im still getting used to the 5 home screens. At the present time I don’t even have enough stuff to fill it up so there is lots of space for you to organize your apps and widgets. Since 1.6 there have only been a couple of widgets I use on a regular basis. One of them is the power control widget, in 2.1 it looks more modern and now has brightness control added to it. It replaced the slot that the vibrate function use to take up. There is also a little button which looks like a refresh symbol. This little button seems to sync your entire phone. It fetches emails, contacts etc… im not sure whether it syncs with twitter or FB. I hope so.
I have only tested the camera indoors and from what im seeing the new continuous autofocus is phenomenal. I definitely give props to SE for including this feature. The focusing is pretty quick when you switch from one subject to another. The video quality is also very good for a phone.
Timescape and Mediascape functions pretty well the same as before. I think Timescape loads marginally quicker.. the images seem to pop up faster. I would also like to think the music sounds better too. Mediascape looks and functions the same to me.
Angry birds now works on 2.1. I tried running it on 1.6 and I was left disappointed with a black screen.. So I can confirm that it works without problems on 2.1. Some cool apps opened up themselves to me after the update! A few worth mentioning are Google Earth, My Market, Winamp and Skype! oh and twitter for you tweeters out there.
Battery Life I find has improved! I used my phone for the entire day and it usually drains out on me at around 6-7pm from heavy usage. Today however, its already 11pm and my phone still has 5% !! I know this because of the percentage indicator
So after A full day of use, I have come across some small annoyances. which I knew was going to be inevitable. The first one I noticed was LAG. yes, quite a bit of it too. I tried turning animations on and off in settings with little to no change. Navigation by scrubbing through the home screens can get you stuck in the middle. What I mean by this is it’s getting stuck in between screens. When this happens I have to slide my finger left or right again to get it unstuck. I have also experienced the phone taking its time loading up some options screens in the settings menu. It would get stuck on a blue screen before finally loading up all the information. I’ve noticed delays when going into a call. The phonebook has a bit of slowdown aswell when going through your contacts. The phone seems to be “thinking” a lot more and takes its time to do these types of tasks. A big bummer for me is I used RockPlayer a lot for my videos, now with 2.1 the frame rate appears to have dropped quite significantly.. video is not as smooth as it was with 1.6. This could mean one of two things. Rockplayer needs a new update or 2.1 is slowing down my phone! I’ve tried rebooting my phone several times throughout the day in hopes to remedy these issues. No luck :(
BTW, backup and restore app is a bit sketchy.. It backed up my stuff ok..but when it came time for me to restore. The thing failed on me at around the 20% mark. I tried this about 3 times with the same result. I gave up after the 3rd attempt and was NOT looking forward to entering all my contacts again. I was pretty peeved and at this point was just randomly touching my phone and browsing around when I hit the phonebook just to see what was inside….to my surprise all my contacts were there and better yet they all had pictures!(the phone automatically figured out who was who on Facebook and linked their profile pictures in my phonebook!) …well most of them. I released a sigh of relief, smiled and said to myself “I love my phone” the darn thing pulled through and it did work! So a little heads up, I would backup 2 or 3 profiles before doing the update just to be safe.
So my feelings for day 1 is a bit mixed. While there are a lot of things I do like, there are some things that hinder this update. I hope this is not A widespread problem and that maybe my phone is just getting familiar with the newly loaded firmware. In any case, the interface is very slick, theres A handful of useful new features, 5 home screens, awesome camera with continuous autofocus, live wallpapers and much more. It is a worthy update and SE did a very good job with it. So is the long wait worth it? I would say yes, but it still needs a bit of polish.
my phone indicates this firmware as 2.1.update1. so my fingers are crossed for an update 2 to be due out soon :)
I’ll do a follow-up in a week or so after I spend more time with it.