I have read a lot of reviews and forums about the Desire Z and I am very close to decide on buying it as my first smart phone (going from traditional 'dumb phones'). I need this phone for work, so I am very dependent on the phone capablilities of the unit. But, I am excited about getting started with my smart phone experience even though my (work) life does not depend on it
I have no previous experience with Android or with smart phones, so I have a few questions I hope you can help me with.
Q1: My downtown office is on the ground floor, facing the court yard, in an old building with thick walls. I have had a couple of phones that I had to take back because the GSM unit was too weak to get adequate reception there. Therefore, I need a phone with a GSM unit that is a little above average or better. Compared to other phones you have used, would you say that the Desire Z gets better or worse reception in tricky spots?
Q2: I have downloaded the Desire Z user manual and it seems like there is a lot of focus on integration with Facebook and GMail. I do not have time to clutter my day with Facebook distractions and I will be using a regular email server, so I do not need/want to use GMail. Can these be disabled/uninstalled or will I have to navigate around these unwanted features on a daily basis?
Q3: I do not use an MS Exchange Server, I do not use MS Outlook and, as mentioned, I will not be using GMail address/calendar functionality unless I really have to. I found MyPhoneExplorer recommended in a forum and it seems to meet my needs for managing contacts and calendar. However, MS Exchange, MS Outlook, and GMail seem to be heavily promoted as an important part of Android functionality. Will my work with the phone in any way be handicapped by not using these services or will I have the freedom to do without?
Q4: On an average month I have 20-30 contacts going in/out of my contact list. In addition, my contact list also contains a lot of address info for bars, restaurants, and other venues. On my 'dumb phones' these have been in separate groups, but still put a heavy load on the contact database (in terms of speed). I need to have these in my contact list, so I can give my clients the right address or reserve table for them when needed, but they are not frequently used compared to contact information of clients and friends. Is it possible to separate these into two repositories or use two contact/dialer applications (even if the 'venue list' cannot be synced with my PC it would be nice to have them separated)?
Q5: I write a lot of non-English SMS, so I imagine I will need the software keyboard for a lot of the accented letters that are not part of the English alphabet. Is it possible to configure your own keyboard map for the software or hardware keyboards (to combine special Scandinavian and Central European letters in one keyboard 'profile')?
Thanks for your good answers on the Android Forums. You have already answered a lot of the questions I had and I hope you can help me out with the last ones as well.
Compared to other phones you have used, would you say that the Desire Z gets better or worse reception in tricky spots?
Mine is on a par with my Hero, which bettered the Nokia N95 I had previously. I've never had problems making or taking calls, so I'm unaware of any "tricky spots" unfortunately.
Q2: Can [Facebook/Gmail] be disabled/uninstalled or will I have to navigate around these unwanted features on a daily basis?
Yes, if you don't set up accounts for these services they won't log-in or sync.
Q3: MS Exchange, MS Outlook, and GMail seem to be heavily promoted as an important part of Android functionality. Will my work with the phone in any way be handicapped by not using these services or will I have the freedom to do without?
You don't have to use them, but Gmail especially can really streamline your productivity by acting as an email aggregator, pulling in mail from different accounts to your handset. Replies can be configured to show the original receiving address as the "From" so it remains invisible to your contacts.
Q4: Is it possible to separate [contacts] into two repositories or use two contact/dialer applications (even if the 'venue list' cannot be synced with my PC it would be nice to have them separated)?
This is what I use Gmail's "Groups" feature for, but I suspect that similar functionality exists for the internal (Phone) contacts. Hopefully someone else can clarify.
Q5: Is it possible to configure your own keyboard map for the software or hardware keyboards (to combine special Scandinavian and Central European letters in one keyboard 'profile')?
Not that I'm aware, but you can make multiple k/b languages available and switch between them at will.
I hope you can help me out with the last ones as well.
Congratulations on your purchase! I'll be very interested in your impressions of it, seeing as it's a completely new experience for you. I actually envy you.... I still remember the "wow factor" I felt when I started exploring my first Android handset.
I got the phone and set it for charging. It is the same for all new phones, but it still sucks that you have to wait hours to play with your new gadget
Finally, ready to set up the phone.
Got a couple of steps into the setup wizzard, but had to cancel the setup. I needed the MAC address of the phone for my wireless router, but it is not available from the setup wizzard. Shortcoming of the setup wizzard, but not a serious flaw.
Got the phone's MAC registered on the router after messing around with the WIFI settings for a long while until I realized that I was trying to connect with the wrong password. Hmm, serios flaw in the setupper (me). At least I finally got around to updating the router firmware, so not a total loss
Decided it would be a good move to make sure that the firmware on the phone was up-to-date before more setupping, so I went to 'System software update'. Excellent! An update available. Downloaded it and followed the instructions to have it installed.
WTF! Got a red triangle with an exclamation mark and thought I had already bricked the device! Searched a bit around on the Internet on my PC and found out that pressing 'volume down', 'power button', and then pressing the 'touch pad' might be useful. Phone rebooted, but I still turned it off and turned it on again (thank you, IT Crowd) and I tried the update again. It downloaded the same ~40mb and then the same thing...red triangle and exclamation mark, with the progress bar dissapearing after having moved one third of the way only.
Fortunately, I was now an experienced trouble shooter, so I remained calm and applied the CTRL+ALT+DEL procedure on the phone.
Decided to try out downloading the update through USB by using the Internet connection of the PC (at least using USB instead of WIFI was a variable I could change). Fiddled a bit around with HTC Sync program and set the phone to access the Internet through my PC. WTF! Before I could get started with the update, I realized that the phone would hog my Internet connection and block programs on my PC from going online. Disconnected the phone and deleted the permissions in my firewall...got a Blue Screen of Death and my PC rebooted. Haven't seen that in a while and got a nostalgic feeling about the 'good old days' with the frequent surprises delivered by Windows 95
Lesson learned! No more USB access to the Internet (useless feature for me anyway since I can connect through WIFI). I also figured out that HTC Sync may be usefull at some point in the future if I want to upload music to the phone, but utterly useless in terms of managing address book and calender without MS Exchange and other stuff that I do not use.
I have now done a factory reset on the phone, set up WIFI and a POP mail account again, but I still get the Red Triangle of Death from the software update.
If any of you have any idea what could be the problem, please let me know
I have an old pre-paid SIM card that I put in the phone (no credits, but still live for another month or so), so I can take my time to fiddle around with the HTC until I get it to work. But, I hope I will be able to switch to my new phone soon. I have to get some work done as well, but later tonight or tomorrow I will continue setting up the phone.
PS: Trying to update Build 1.34.405.5 to 1.72.405.2.
Last edited by NoImagination; February 1st, 2011 at 08:24 AM.
Reason: Added build versions.
I don't know if you've already managed to update your phone, but I just wanted to say before you do, that if you have any interest in rooting your phone, then it's probably not a good idea to apply the update anyway.
I made the same mistake and now I'm hoping that someone will find a way of rooting the 1.72 version. It's still a good phone and even works a little better after the update, but certain programs that I used to use (Backup apps & a few other programs) no longer work.. But there are also security implications to having a rooted phone anyway, so I'm just telling you so you can think about it first.
I got the phone Monday night last week. Tuesday I messed around in forums to find a solution. Wednesday and Thursday I did ping-pong with HTC support staff. Friday morning I went to their service partner and had it fixed while I was waiting (one hour).
The problem was probably caused by file corruption somewhere, so I did not have to wait for hardware repair. The service guys updated the device to Android 2.2.1 (1.72.405.2) and told me that everything is OK (I guess I can only check that when the time comes for the next update).
All in all, a very positive experience with HTC support. Quick, polite, and pragmatic. Any idiot can run a company when things are running smoothly, so it is only when you encounter problems that you find out if the company you picked is professional. In my case, HTC passed with flying colors!
My concerns about reception power has shown not to be an issue. It is not the strongest phone I have had, but I do not have a dead spot at the office, and it is definitely not the weakest one either (well above average, I suppose).
I did have a bit of a fight with the device to stay off Google. I had to sign up for a GMail account to get access to Market, but even though I tried to prevent it from sending my contacts to GMail, a few ended up there anyway before I managed to plug all the holes.
The 'native' email software was no good for my needs. I have both an info@ and an office@ going to the same email account on my server and if I set up both addresses (in order to be able to respond from both) then it would download all my mails in duplicate. I found K9 Mail, which can do a lot more than I need, but it has a clean, simple interface and it supports multiple identities for the same account, so no more duplicates.
I also replaced the address book with Youlu Address Book, which is a very nice package. Very user-friendly. Only drawback is that they think SMS functionality is a natural extension of their address book (I didn't have any issue with the 'native' SMS app.). The good thing about Youlu is that it uses the same address list repository as the 'native' app, so I can use it with MyPhoneExplorer. MPE is the first PC phone software I have tried that can measure up to the PC application I used the many years I was a loyal Siemens Mobile user. Since then, I have tried the PC apps from LG, Nokia, Samsung, and HTC, but they are all extremely primitive compared to Siemens Mobile PC Suite and MyPhoneExplorer (easy entry of new contacts and appointments, SMS from PC through phone, and backup/export of important data).
With Sense Analog Small Clock to reduce the footprint of the clock on the home screen and CalWidget to give me a quick overview of my appointments for the day, my HTC Desire Z is now configured to meet all my needs for a business smart phone.
I have had a busy week, but this weekend I will have time to wander off to explore more of the many possibilities beyond the core phone functionality.
At the moment I have no interest in rooting, so by the time it may become relevant then I am sure there is a fix for 1.72. Before going to the HTC service, I used MyBackup to backup the settings and apps that I had already loaded. After the update, MyBackup made a total mess when restoring, so I did a factory reset and started from scratch.
The HTC Desire Z is another phone in HTC's Desire line up. It sports a 3.7 inch screen, a 5 MP camera with autofocus and LED flash, 1.5 GB of internal space for apps, and a full QWERTY slide out keyboard. tt's a Sense device and was the fir... Read More