Velocity Parenting with HTC and Telstra 4G
Wow, one day a call to say I had won a new phone and the next it was in my hand, ready for the Easter break to put it through its paces and to truly see if the HTC Velocity 4G can keep up with my family and then my work life. Primarily I wanted to see how fast 4G was (results below) and then I wanted to know if I could switch from iOS (I have an iPhone 3GS) to Android.
A smart phone for me is an essential tool in all aspects of my life. I work all over Sydney and having an internet connection is essential in enabling me to deliver value to my customers while having a camera to capture special family moments is paramount to sharing memories with family and friends. Here is what I thought about Telstra’s 4G network and HTC’s Velocity 4G phone.
The 4G network
With my job I am all over Sydney and rely heavily on network connectivity, availability and speed, which gave me a really good insight into what Telstra’s 4G coverage was like. I myself don’t live in a 4G range but not 5 minutes away at Hoxton Park Bunnings I was surprised to find a full 4G connection to test with. As I got the before phone just Easter and as a family we were off to the south coast so I also ran some tests on the way. All my tests were done using the SpeedTest.Net app for Android which runs a brief ping, download and upload test to determine speed. The focus of these tests was to validate what Telstra’s advertised 4G network can achieve:
“Customers using a USB 4G mobile broadband device in 4G coverage areas can enjoy typical download speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 40Mbps”
Congratulations Telstra, the 4G network lived up to its promises and delivered more than I could have ever expected. A small sample of my test results are as follows:
- Location – Download, Upload, Ping
- Pitt Street Mall – 44 Mbps, 18 Mbps, 83ms
- Circular Quay – 17 Mbps, 1.5 Mbps, 121ms
- Hoxton Park – 42 Mbps, 17 Mbps, 41ms
- Mascot – 43 Mbps, 20 Mbps, 104ms
- Merrylands – 22.23, 13.38, 113ms
- Fig Tree (Wollongong) – 36 Mbps, 13Mbps, 90ms
- Nowra – 38 Mbps, 14Mbps, 78ms
These tests were all run when my phone was displaying a 4G symbol on the status bar and at various times of the day, however when outside 4G zone my test results were as high as 8Mbps.
How does this transpose to real world use. My kids loved being able to watch ABC iView on the fly without skipping a beat and my wife and I could watch HD versions of movie trailers which downloaded fully by the time the trailer started playing. While working I didn’t have to wait for emails to download and internet pages were loaded better than I get on my ADSL at home.
Prior to the HTC Velocity I had an iPhone 3GS and had never considered switching from iOS to Android. I have been convinced, the HTC Velocity is fantastic and I can’t put it down.
The first thing you notice is the size and quality of the screen and it dwarves my 3GS, and surprisingly still fits well in my pocket which was a welcome relief. Next was the sheer number of options to customize my phone including backgrounds, apps, widgets and short-cuts. Thirdly and probably the most surprising was the contact management. Being a professional this is possibly the one reason I would not go back to iOS. When I first setup my HTC phone it asked me for Google, Facebook, LinkedIn details (these are the three I use) and various other social logins along with the option to Bluetooth my contacts from my old phone. Not long after importing my contacts did my new phone present me with a long list of duplicates, which it linked together so only one contact would appear in my contact list, good luck doing that on an iPhone. The next surprise was that my contact’s profile photos from Facebook or LinkedIn were attached so that when that contact calls I now see their photo and last status post, what a great touch!
So did the Velocity deliver on the camera? Recently the most advertised feature of a smart phone is the camera and rightly so as we want to catch those family moments right there and then. The camera is available as a direct link from the unlock screen and starts up in what seems around 2-3 seconds which is great. The camera’s ability to take photos quickly did not meet my expectations and the button placement also made it a little awkward, with practice I did improve my results. However results, when I got the timing right, and the kids weren’t running around, were equivalent to our Canon compact camera (see examples below). Video performance and results were also impressive and quick to start recording however the first 1.5 seconds of video are without sound which just takes some getting used to.
Battery life can be a bit tricky to manage, especially when I first got the phone and I was charging twice a day but as the weeks rolled on I found that most days I could make it all the way through without a charge until the typical over night charge. However if I used the WiFi hotspot or GPS features this would drain the phone at a much quicker rate. In order to manage this especially when using the WiFi hotspot, typically for work, I would have the cable plugged into the laptop. For the GPS, which would more be used in the car, I would suggest a car mount and a cable plugged into the 12 volt plug. The HTC did have a great feature that breaks down by percentage what is using the battery, for me the screen was always on top so one big tip on this subject; battery life could also be increased by dimming the screen brightness.
There are lots of other features/apps I discovered that I also liked including FM Radio, Gmail, Mail, Maps & Navigation, Weather Live Desktop, Home Screen, Task Manager, Watch and various widgets all preloaded but to talk about all these would take far too long and I will leave some of that discovery up to those who are lucky enough to own a HTC Velocity 4G.
My Final Thoughts…
I am now a happy Android user and I feel I can have my “Ice-Cream Sandwich” and eat it too. I am in love with the HTC Velocity and at this stage will not be looking back at my iPhone. Telstra’s network is certainly up to the challenge and offering blazing speeds for the mobile user if not quite widespread enough. Thanks Telstra Exchange for this great opportunity.
The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Telstra.