Monday, February 27, 2012

My S7 is Family Now

Well, not exactly to everyone but slowly others are getting to hold it, try it and use it. The first was of course Andrew. He caught me using it a few days back and his curiosity arose, tried to touch it and take it. In his mind he was thrilled by a 'baby' iPad although he had been using a even smaller baby, his dad's iPhone, but the S7 is new and easier to use. I had earlier installed a Turn Off app which quickly switch off the screen to standby mode rather than use the hard to locate button. Andrew didn't protest and soon went his way.

It has been nearly a week now so what's with the S7 that I like and dislike?

The start up time is under 30 seconds but it takes another 30-60 seconds for the device to detect the wifi signal. The S7 is less sensitive than the iPad at the same distance from the router. It also have a higher tendency to drop signal but when securely connected it download fast. I have no issue with this department.

What I have issue is the absence of a Google Calendar app. Worse, I could not locate the Calendar and Contacts under my Gmail account to sync to my S7. Only the Picasa Album is visible. Without my calendar detectable I cannot install either the first or third party calendar app to organize my appointments and upcoming events and have them sync to my other devices. Searching for a solution I resort to the Android Forums on the Net and one suggest that perhaps if I carry out a Factory Reset I will cure this problem. I was desperate as I really wanted my Calendar on every device I carry so I FR my S7 knowing that it will remove all the apps I installed from the Market, including data installed or downloaded, especially ebooks. I took the risk and the outcome? The problem did not go away. I took a precaution to write down the installed apps so with time on my hand re-download and installed them. The exercise also give me the chance to tidy up my desktop to make it more pleasant so it wasn't a totally failed effort. My solution to get around this issue is quite simple really. I opened up my Google Calendar from the built-in browser and shortcut the URL to my desktop. Viola! I have my calendar now but not as user friendly as I like. It runs from the browser rather than the app. Better than nothing.

The past few days I searched for ebooks and some games to read and play in my spare time. I installed WattPad which has thousands of free ebooks to download. I also downloaded Kobo and Aldiko which have both free and for purchase ebooks. The collections are quite extensive and varied. For games, how can I exclude the Angry Birds? For Andrew's sake I had all 3 free versions installed, as well as a few other games I tested and like. Frankly the Apple App Store have better selections I think.

The main problem with the S7 is the short battery life, under 5 hours. I suppose it takes getting use to. I had installed Batter Saver to intelligently manage the energy consumption to extend battery life. As long as I don't play too much video and games I think the battery will last longer if the S7 is used mostly for listening to music, reading ebooks and emails. And to introduce a variety to my desktop appearance I have downloaded many nice wallpapers (no I am no fan of live wallpapers, beside being distractive they also drain the batter faster) to fit the screen size.

The S7 is now in a stable state which takes my mind to the next issue, a case/stand to enhance my companionship with the latest family member. Sadly all the cases/stands for 7" tablets are mostly for the Amazon Kindle or Samsung Tab with very few models for lesser known brands. My upcoming US trip will give me a chance to test drive suitable cases/stands with my S7.

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