Part One: The Great SuperAbuser Challenge
About 2 months ago, I was challenged by a friend of mine to try an Android device for a month. He was trying to convert me to the Cult of Google by appealing to my curiosity. “Just try it for 4 weeks, I guarantee you’ll love it! Besides, you can’t talk smack about a platform unless you’ve used it.” I had just gotten a free Samsung Galaxy S5 and, although I wanted to sell it off right away, I WAS curious to see what was in the Kool-aid that turned intelligent people into mindless data generators for Google.
So I opened the box, and took out the shiny glass and plastic bar within. Right away, I was struck by how flimsy it felt. Now, I’m 6 foot, 240 lbs, with hands that can literally (not figuratively, I’ve done it) crush an unopened beer can. Every time I picked it up I was tempted to see just how flimsy it was. So I put an Otterbox Defender on it. Better, but not by much. It also fit in my hand better, bringing the size to something that actually fit my hands. I believe this thing was sized for Tyrion Lannister, not a full sized adult.
I popped the back off. Oh look! A water resistant seal! That should keep the water out of everything except the headphone jack, camera housing, charge port, buttons and fingerprint scanner, where it can then get to the mainboard. How clever! Oh, and look! A tiny removable battery. I’m going to be glued to a charger all day, how fun! This little assed L-ion runt gave me between 3 and 4 hours of power on average, with my usual battery saving practices.
What the hell is this? Why does the charge cable look like it came out of an external HDD conversion kit? Is this thing using a 2.5″ sata drive? Just for grins and giggles, I used a BlackBerry USB cable, it charged and connected to my PC just fine. Just another useless cosmetic doodad.
Hmm, headphones. The comfy kind! Wait, the left headset doesn’t work. Dammit! Ah well, I still have the ones I got from my Bold 9900. The comfy kind. That still work. Even though they’re 3 years old.
OK, time to put in my sim and SD card. Ok, boot up. So far so good. Except I spend the next 30 minutes reading the TOS, EULA, and signing into my Google account. Ok, done. Now it’s time to update the software and review the permissions.
Right off I can tell that a lot of apps are going to get nuked. Why does the fingerprint scanner need access to my location? Nuked. Really, Samsung fit needs access to my Google+ profile or it won’t run? Nuked. I nuked a good 15 apps, and I hadn’t even visited the Play store yet. Wait, all my pics are going to be saved to three different cloud locations? Need to fix that, so I spent an hour combing through the apps and settings looking for auto backup processes to nuke. For the record, I don’t think I got em all, my data consumption tripled for the month of April.
Just setting up the device took well over four hours, just getting my social media apps set up took at least an hour. Just finding a decent paid podcatcher that didn’t want to have access to my contacts, location, Google accounts and personal information was a monumental undertaking in and of itself. Finding any apps that didn’t mine data was challenging, to say the least.
OK, device set up, apps downloaded, permissions meticulously scrutinized. On to the UI!
Stay tuned for Part 2: What The Hell Does This Thing Do?
Written, formatted and posted using my BlackBerry Z30.