Ok, so I’ve only had ICS on my phone for around a day – so it’s hardly the time to be too judgmental about it, but I thought while I have half an hour spare I’d share my thoughts so-far.
Overall, I love it – it is so much faster than Gingerbread was. It really is like getting a brand new phone six months after buying it. The interface is faster than ever, memory management is decent, apps load quickly and power consumption isn’t too bad either. The actual interface design hasn’t actually changed hugely – you get a new homescreen, new menu and new settings interface – but most other things are reasonably similar. The lock screen has barely changed at all – but for the fact that notifications now show a contact image and you can use face unlock, it’s all the same.
In terms of functionality, I’ve found a couple of minor niggles but otherwise it’s pretty decent. My first problem is that I’ve lost HTC’s autocorrect functionality on the keyboard in many third party apps such as Twitter – this is a nightmare and causes a lot of problems when writing half-hearted tweets. There are also a couple of spelling mistakes within the software – and whilst this really isn’t a problem it is something I’m very OCD about. This, for example. Somebody at HTC must have forgotten how to spell.
Put the minor niggles aside and there’s nothing you won’t like about Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s always been a question to me whether the new update would mean better battery life, and whilst I haven’t had the chance to test that out many people are reporting much better standby time. I’ll see how it goes – I’m too much into the habit of leaving the phone on charge for half the day so I’ll need to creep out of that habit a bit.
The update is available now for all unlocked, unbranded HTC Sensation and Sensation XE phones in the UK so grab yourself the download if you’re ready to upgrade. It’s around 300MB and you’ll need to do it OTA so make sure you’re connected to a wi-fi network if you haven’t got unlimited data. The upgrade took me around 20 minutes, but I ended up doing a factory reset after I’d upgraded. I sort-of wish I hadn’t really reset it – many people recommended that you do but after doing so I don’t think it’s actually made much of a difference. Other than the fact I’ve wasted hours of my life putting it all back together, it hasn’t really done me or the phone much good!
Still, go get it if you’re phone can. You won’t regret it – just make sure you do a backup of your phone just incase anything goes wrong.
Well, HTC have told us recently that we should expect Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich for the HTC Sensation XE (as well as many other HTC phones) by the end of this month. This is great news for me as I’ve been looking forward to it since I got my phone back in November last year. But what are you to expect? Here’s a round up.
New(ish) home screen – HTC haven’t really changed it massively themselves, but with ICS some changes have been brought in. The famous rounded bar that shows at the bottom of the screen in Gingerbread (with the big phone button) has been replaced with the ICS equivalent. You can now set four shortcuts on the bottom bar. You can also specifically set how many home screens you want (up to 7), rather than being stuck with empty home screens.
Face unlock – the new software brings in face unlock – so you can use your camera to unlock the phone. Handy, I guess.
Updated web browser – the web browser has got a couple of minor new features – like being able to force websites to load desktop pages.
Other new stock ICS features – Whilst some ICS features aren’t added in (probably for compatibility reasons), there are some new things like data cap settings which could come in handy. You can tell the phone how much data you get per month, and the phone will moderate itself accordingly.
Better app organisation – you now get app folders (finally). In addition, the recent apps feature has been overhauled to give you a much better preview of what is going on in the background.
Access to notifications from the lock screen – pretty self explanatory, but this will be useful.
Updated Google apps – some Google apps like Gmail and Google Maps have been updated somewhat.
Sense 3.6 – An update to HTC’s Sense software.
That’s the main key feature update. I’m looking forward to it – but I would have liked to have seen HTC working on some of their own apps – such as the Music app which, I feel, needs some fixes and updates!
It looks like Apple have been working on their next release of the well known Apple web browser which was released for Windows a couple of years back. Safari 4.0 Beta is their latest release, and I took the courage and downloaded the beta.
The first thing you notice when you download it is that it’s quite a big file – for a web browser anyway. Baring in mind that Google Chrome’s installer is about 3 or 4 MB (including the installer downloads), Safari’s installer size of 25.5 MB is a little bit of a shock. Once it has downloaded and you run the install program, you are presented with the usual terms and optional extra installs (which I proudly unticked – I personally think the Bonjour crap is a waste of time), after which it will spend a couple of minutes installing the program.
Once it’s installed you will find the program immediately fires up, and you are presented with a “Welcome to Safari” video, followed by a very snazzy looking frequently used tabs screen.
As for generally browsing the web, the experience is relatively good. There are a few bugs, but these can be reported with ease via the bug button at the top right.
The new interface has definitely made an improvement to the general feel of Safari since version 3. I still prefer Chrome – despite what Apple says, Safari is not the fastest web browser. It has to be Chrome – by miles. Don’t you agree?
I recommend you go and try it. I don’t think I’ll keep Safari as it’s just unbeatable to Chrome, but maybe in the future when the final release comes around, maybe I’ll do a full review. Head over to apple.com/safari to try the new beta.