Android: A one year review6 min read

I know that I am a bit late to the party and that there are a million tech reviews about Android, Android Nougat and Oreo and about my phone, the HTC 10 already out there, but still, this is my blog and I want to share my honest opinion about stuff here. So here we go.

Almost exactly one year ago, I decided to quit Windows Phone for Android. That said, I must admit that I actually don’t use Android for a year. It took me some time to get the HTC after that blogpost and shortly after I got the phone, I managed to drop it and break the screen. Also, the main camera was broken from the beginning, so I had to send it to repair anyway. So, effectively, I probably used Android for half a year or so. But anyway, let’s get started.

HTC Customer Service

As I said, I had to send my phone to repair to change the screen and the camera. I was used to Microsoft’s customer service and I could name one thing that Microsoft is good at is customer care. When I had an issue with my surface or with my Microsoft Band, Microsoft’s customer service was not only polite but also very friendly, even if they could not actually help me. When I had the touch screen issue with my surface, I was on the line with Microsoft’s tech support for over two hours and when we were done, I even screenshotted the chat history with him because he was so friendly.

Not the case with HTC. First of all, they outsourced their entire customer service for phones. When I chatted with the guys from HTC, they barely even tried to understand my problems. Granted that they probably have a script to follow, I didn’t have the impression that they even listened to me. Then, once I had my repair arranged, I sent my phone. But not to HTC (obviously) but to some strange polish repair company that performed the repair for HTC.

Because the drop was my fault, I obviously had to pay for the repair, so, they sent me the price that I would have to pay and asked if I was ok with that price. But when I looked at the estimate, I saw that they only estimated the cost to repair the screen. They forgot about the camera! So, I wrote an email to that polish company reminding them about the camera. The answer was the exact same estimate sent one more time. So, I wrote HTC. After some days, they found out that the estimate actually included both, the screen and the camera, even though they didn’t mention the camera on it.

Finally, they repaired the screen and the camera. But there was another issue: On HTC’s repair tracking website, they reported that they didn’t receive my phone yet, which was obviously wrong, since they sent me that estimate. After some weeks, I called them to check in on the status of my phone when they told me that it was already on the way to me and I should receive it that day or the day after.

So, over all speaking, they repaired what I wanted them to repair for the price that they estimated. But still, I did not feel well in their hands. I never knew what was actually happening with my phone and one staff member said different things than others.

The HTC 10: A very fragile phone

But still, the reason why I had to repair my phone in the first place was, that the HTC 10 is a very fragile phone. With the back made out of Aluminium, every slight drop even when falling on carpet can leave traces. When I broke the screen, I dropped my phone from a height of literally 50 cm.

My kwmobile wooden cover

To counteract that issue, I bought myself a case for my phone. But I didn’t want to have that plastic look that most cases have. After some research, I found this wooden case from kwmobile. The case is made out of real wood (many people were asking) which has some advantages and some disadvantages. Some time after I bought the first case, I bought a second one. The reason: The case breaks very frequently. But here comes the advantage: Since it is made out of real wood, you can easily repair it yourself. But while I repair one case, I don’t want to be without a case, hence the second case.

But I must say: Although the case makes any phone a lot thicker (which is a very big disadvantage in many person’s eyes), it gives the phone a very elegant look.

HTC bloatware

Fortunately, HTC does not include a lot of bloatware on its phones. But the few bloatware that they include is awful in my opinion. While I can “disable” HTC apps so that they don’t show up in the launcher, they still take up precious memory on my phone even if I never use them. For instance, the HTC Mail app (which is trash in my opinion) still tries to sync emails even if I removed all email accounts from it and disabled the app in my launcher.

The reason why I don’t like the HTC apps is customizability. Take the lockscreen as an example. It’s not that awful, but I can’t change the city of the weather clock on it. I searched my entire phone, even a friend of mine searched my phone as he couldn’t believe, and he too was unable to find the setting. I could install one of the many lockscreens from the app store, but they don’t replace the factory lockscreen, they just add another lockscreen on top.

To summarize: 90% of the software on my phone is great (that’s the vanilla Android part) and 10% (the bloatware) is rubbish.

The battery of my HTC: Does it even exist?

I don’t know if it’s due to the repair gone wrong or if that’s normal for the HTC 10, but my battery dies incredibly fast. When I use my phone (i. e. to play games), I can view the battery percentage going down in real time.

Android’s graphical language: Material design

On the positive side of things, I must mention: Android! Everything that HTC left the vanilla way is great, first and foremost Material Design. I simply love the idea behind it and also that so many things have animations that are so well done. They didn’t overuse animations, but nothing looks rough or unpolished.

My appeal to Material Design even goes that far that I resist to install apps that don’t have material design.

Will I switch to anything else?

In terms of OS, no. Because what alternatives could I choose? Windows Phone? No thanks, I just quit Windows Phone for good reasons. iOS? No thanks, either. I can’t stand the authoritative philosophy that apple has. If HTC decides to abandon the HTC 10 and stop updates for it, I can craft my own version of Android end flash it on my device. Sure, it takes some effort to do so and there is the danger of bricking the phone, but I can do it. Not the case on iOS. If apple decides to drop support for my iPhone, I’m done.

Ok, so if I am not going to switch the OS, am I going to switch my phone model then? Probably yes. Again, just like with my Windows Phone, I am going to use my HTC 10 for as long as it works. But once it dies, I am going to get a different Android brand.


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