Phone upgrade: Motorola G (4G)

I've had my iPhone for quite a few years now. It's an iPhone 3GS and for a long time I have not had a compelling reason to change it. But these days I find myself stuck on iOS 6 when lots of Apps now require iOS 7 or later. So I'm getting left out in the cold. It's time to do something about that.

But on the old iPhone I also can't do things like set up a personal wifi hotspot. I can do connection sharing over bluetooth or by a cable, but I find that type of connection is not well supported on non-Apple devices. So I can't use the internet access from my phone on my Andriod tablet (although it works fine with the iPad).

The old iPhone does seem slower than it used to, so getting a new phone with a faster processor would be good too. And it will also be nice to get a better camera. So I've decided to try out one of these phones: Motorola G (the 4G version).

I like the idea of the SD card slot for extra storage and for the price it seems a very good spec. It's a shame there is no way to connect an HDMI cable, but I can live without that. But I was finding it hard to justify the cost of another Apple phone, when I've been quite satisfied with the Android OS recently. I used to feel that the Apple phones were better quality (both in terms of hardware and software). But things have moved on.

After a few days of use, I am very impressed with the Moto G. The only problem I have found so far is with the Android KitKat OS itself. There is a serious bug with the stock e-mail App which has now gone unfixed for nearly a year. That's pretty bad. I'm surprised to see it classified as Priority: small when the effect is that e-mails are deleted from the server when you have told it not to.

So I cannot use the standard e-mail App, and at the moment I'll use the K-9 App instead. It's a shame, because in previous releases of Android the e-mail App was working fine. Even so, I am pretty happy with my choice of phone. I've even started reading some pages on Android development - although it was mainly out of idle curiosity. But you never know...

More hudl notes

So, after fiddling with my Tesco hudl for a reasonable amount of time, here are some more of my thoughts... In fairness I should state that the other tablet I've used a lot is an iPad mini, so that tends to be what I'll naturally compare it to.

So here goes:

  • standby mode on the hudl uses much more battery than I'm used to with the iPad mini. You're much better off shutting down the hudl when you're not using it for a while. It will make a big difference if you shut your hudl down at night, for example.
  • the software feels a little more flaky than the iPad ... the hudl has frozen up a couple of times and needed a reboot.
  • it doesn't always reconnect to wifi automatically if you have been out of range. I've had to manually reconnect to my home wifi a few times.
  • you can hide most of the Tesco stuff quite easily, so you don't need to have Tesco in your face if you don't want it (which is what I've done).
  • some people say the touchscreen is not as responsive as an iPad ... but I've not noticed too much. Although gestures, like swiping across the screen seem slightly more difficult to achieve than on an iOS device. But it hasn't caused me any problems.
  • the on-screen keyboard / predictive text can be annoying sometimes. But maybe I just need to get used to it.
  • the hudl always seems to make a startup sound... even when you've silenced everything else. If you boot up your hudl then be prepared to advertise it :-(
  • overall, I have no major complaints considering the price, I think the hudl is a good value little tablet.

When I have a choice I tend to revert back to the iPad mini, but I am much happier dragging the hudl around Cambridge in my bag. So far, the hudl is doing exactly what I wanted... so I'm generally impressed.

Some apps for the hudl

After owning a hudl (an Andriod tablet made by Tesco) for a little while, I have found a few useful Apps. So here are some of the ones I've found to be quite good (they have all come from the Google play store):

ePub reader: Moon+ Reader

A nice ePub reader, with good abilities for highlighting. So it's useful for study purposes.

Document editor: Kingsoft Office

Quite an impressive document editor for MS Office documents, especially considering it's free. This is what I often use when I'm taking notes.

C/C++ IDE (woo-hoo): C4driod

OK, you have to pay for this one, but it means I'm never too far away from a C compiler. This is the feature I always wanted on my iPad...

I'm still quite impressed by the hudl, and I use it often. I'm planning to post some more of my thoughts on the hudl another time, watch this space.

The Hudl from Tesco

I'm becoming increasingly reliant on having some kind of tablet type computing device with me. My favourite is still the iPad mini, which works brilliantly as far as I'm concerned. It's one of those things that just works. Shame you can't actually do any programming on it though. A decent lightweight C IDE on the iPad would be nice... but I digress.

However, the iPad is not the type of thing I want to chuck in my bag and drag round Cambridge all day. If I damaged my iPad I would be very upset indeed.... they are not cheap to replace.

So I have been looking for a cheaper tablet, something where I would not be quite so upset if I dropped it or scratched it. As long as I can get online and run a couple of apps I'll be OK. But this would be slightly more expendable than an iPad.

So I've decided to try out the Hudl from Tesco. It seems to have a very decent spec for the price, and if you buy it online and use your Clubcard points you can get further discounts.

I went into a Tesco store to try one out... but the demo machine was locked down and would do little more than play some promotional videos. I wanted to fire up the browser, look around in the Google Play store and that kind of thing. Unfortunately, the demo machines don't let you. Boo...

So you need to buy one to have a proper play. I've bought one now, and will report back if there are any important developments.