The trouble with smartphones

September 18th, 2010 in .Handhelds & Smartphones .Products
Mrs Mario
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I love smartphones, I do. I hate the name – it’s cheesy and banal – it would have been nice if the powers that be could have come up with something a bit more dramatic like, Brainmachine or touchtech, or something. Look, I didn’t say I could come up with name…

The thing is, as much as I adore them and their brilliance at keeping me in touch with the world, they come with a world of pain. Well, they usually come with a world of pain. I recently had the chance to play around with the new Garmin-ASUS M10 – a windows-based smartphone that includes Garmin’s legendary GPS system.

Problem: Battery life

My current smartphone has the battery life of a peanut. I turn it on, I use an app, it dies.  It’s very annoying and makes me wish someone would invent an adaptor that could channel human energy (Matrix, anyone) so I can charge my phone on the move.

Now, the M10 doesn’t suffer from this problem as badly as most of the other models I’ve played with. It goes and goes and goes. I took it through its paces for hours before it quietly announced it was too tired to go on.  It may seem like only a small difference but it really makes a difference to me.

Problem: Dropped signal

There you are, driving along a tiny road that looks the same as the last five tiny roads when, suddenly, your signal goes and so do your directions. Yeah. Not great. I’ve spent so long on the side of a country road I’ve actually made friends with a cow.

The M10 has some clever bits and pieces that do clever things which means that if your signal does drop, you still have your directions. The system doesn’t need to update from the server constantly so you can get where you’re going without having to resort to bovine conversation.

Problem: Faintly terrifying directions

I’ve used several applications to get myself from point A to point B before. I need GPS. If I was given a car and told to get somewhere without GPS (or a map – I can use maps) I would probably just give up and go and have a beer. One application directed me to (and I am not joking) the back of someone’s garden when I was on-route to an interview. I asked the nice person at the house where the address was and they told me that it was on the other road running parallel. Needless to say, that application and I now have trust issues.

I adore Garmin-related GPS. I am biased. Yes, I am a big fat bias. So sue me. It is fast, it is responsive and it has all the UK AND western European maps included with the M10 phone. It has yet to direct me into a garden, a dead end (true! True, I tell you), and a field (not true, but sounds brilliantly funny).

Overall, the M10 has enchanted me with its efficiency, battery life and navigational accuracy. Although, personally, I’m going to wait for the A10 and buy that. I have a weakness for Android.

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