Friday, 11 April 2014

From Torch 9800 to Xperia Z1

My experiences and opinions from learning to use a Sony Xperia Z1 after using a Blackberry Torch 9800 for three years.

The Xperia Z1 cannot turn off the mobile signal without turning off Wi-Fi.  There is a workaround though.  Airplane mode turns off everything, but you can turn on Wi-Fi again while in airplane mode.  Dodgy, but it works.

On the plus side, the Xperia Z1 can turn off mobile data independent of Wi-Fi.  This is something that the Torch 9800 could not do.

The Sony PC Companion software can sync calendar and contacts via USB cable to Outlook.  There is an option whether you want to sync with Google as well.  Unfortunately it cannot sync notes, which I also need.  Although I do not use it, I have noticed it cannot sync tasks either.

Since I need notes to sync to Outlook, I tried out MyPhoneExplorer and discovered that it can sync everything via USB Cable.  MyPhoneExplorer does install its own notes app and tasks app on the phone, but they are fully functional.

I type much faster with the Torch keyboard.  The Torch trackpad also helps me edit text faster.  No need to wait for the magnifying glass to show up to place the cursor in the correct spot for editing.  The on screen keyboard of the Z1 is much better than the Torch's on screen keyboard, but I find the actual physical keyboard of the Torch much quicker to use than the Z1's touch screen.

The Xperia Z1 has a larger screen than the Torch 9800.  This is good for looking at information, but the larger size means it is more difficult to fit in a pocket.  I did get use to the larger size after a while.

The Xperia Z1 cannot schedule auto power off/on without rooting Android.  This is one built-in functionality that I really like in the Torch 9800. Good for saving power and preventing calls from coming in while I am sleeping.  I am not prepared to root Android just yet, so it's manually turning on and off airplane mode for me.

The camera in the Xperia Z1 is far better than the Torch 9800, although this really does not say much because my old Dopod 818 Pro camera was better than the Torch 9800 as well.  A better comparison would be to the Canon PowerShot SX1.  The macro shots with the Xperia Z1 are not as good as the PowerShot SX1, but it comes very close.  For scenery and other shots that do not require zoom, I would say the Z1 is as good as the SX1.  The Z1 has no optical zoom, so there is no comparison with the SX1 in this department.

PowerShot SX1

Xperia Z1
The above two photos were taken at the same time with the Z1 to the left and the SX1 to the right.  The Z1 was set to multi auto focus, 20 megapixels manual mode.  The SX1 was set to full auto mode.

PowerShot SX1
Xperia Z1
The above two photos were taken at the same time with the Z1 to the left and the SX1 to the right.  The Z1 was set to Superior Auto mode.  In this mode the Z1 shoots in 16:9 ratio and in 8 megapixels.  The SX1 was set to full auto mode.

The GPS in the Xperia Z1 works much faster than the one in the Torch 9800.  This is without using location aiding from Wi-Fi and mobile networks.  Mobile GMaps is not available on Android so I have to find an alternative offline maps app.  Currently, Google Maps just does not have a good enough offline map functionality.

There are no sound profiles on the Xperia Z1, other than sound on, vibrate and complete silence.  There are a few apps available, but I have not tried any yet.  Until I find an app that works the same as the Torch 9800, I have to manually adjust the ring volume in different situations.

The Xperia Z1 comes pre-installed with OfficeSuite 7 Free, but it cannot edit files.  Time to find a new app or purchase the paid version of OfficeSuite 7.  I guess I have been spoilt by Documents to Go on the Torch 9800, which can edit Word and Excel files.  Add BeamExplorer to the mix and I can also create Word and Excel files on the Torch 9800.

On the plus side, OfficeSuite 7 Free does enable the Xperia Z1 to view PDF files, which was something  the Torch 9800 could not do out of the box.

The calendar reminder alert on the Xperia Z1 is horrible.  When it is reminder time for an event, everything is fine and the Z1 will sound an alert.  The bad point is when I snooze the event, whether it be snooze all or snooze for 5, 15, 30 minutes, the alert will not sound again.  Instead, the alert will only sound when I turn on the phone again.  So, if I forget about the event and do not use my phone, the reminder will completely fail me.  It looks like there are apps that fixes this problem, but I have not had the time to try them out.  The Torch 9800 and every smartphone and PDA before it always sounded the reminder alert when I snooze them.

Overall the Xperia Z1 is more customisable than the Torch 9800 even though some things cannot be customised.

The Xperia Z1 is waterproof, but I have never submerged it in water.  I have used wet hands with it and so far so good.

I have been using PDAs since 2002 and moved to smartphones.  I use personal information management(PIM) functionality more than the phone functionality.

I prize being able to USB sync PIM data between my device and Outlook on my PC and this is a necessity as Wi-Fi is not always available to me.

The Xperia Z1 is the only Android device I have used.  There may be many similarities between the Z1 and other Android devices, but I do not know what they are.

I started using the Xperia Z1 on February 2014.