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This is the last in a series I have been doing over the past week. In this closing post, I just want to hit on a few points that have come up through use, that I haven't covered previously.




Click through the break for the exciting conclusion!

Landscape Slider on a Portrait OS

The HTC Arrive has an amazing keyboard. I love having a physical keyboard when typing long texts, and responses in forums. But as of this time, it feels like the Windows Phone OS is not prepared for a landscape slider. As of right now, it feels like a portrait keyboard, like that of the Dell Venue Pro would work better. Example: Using Internet Explorer. If there is a way to open and close tabs in landscape mode, I sure can't figure it out. There are third party browsers that support landscape tab management, but frankly this is something the default browser should support on a landscape slider. Adding pain to injury, to get the screen to rotate into portrait so that I can manage tabs, I must first close the keyboard. So if you do chose to get an HTC Arrive and plan to use it in portrait mode, plan to spend a few dollars on a third party browser until IE9 comes out later this year.

The rest of WP7 is hit and miss in its landscape support. As a general rule, if only text is being displayed, it supports landscape. If there are pictures/icons, it doesn't support landscape. That is the general rule I have found so far. Apps where landscape would be nice is also hit and miss. The official Twitter app supports landscape, but the official Facebook app does not. If you use Office, you are in luck, as it supports landscape. There are plenty of other apps that support landscape, but don't require much, if any typing, and on the flip side, there are plenty of apps out there that do require typing that do not support landscape.

I have found some uses for the keyboard beyond typing. When watching TED Talks, it is nice to slide the screen up and then set my phone down on a table. While the viewing angle isn't perfect, I prefer it over simply holding the device. Also there are games where I like to hold onto the keyboard and have the screen extended out. One game in particular is i Love Katamari - where you are required to hunch over the screen in order to keep your phone flat. Not the case with my Arrive. Since the g-sensors are in the base of the device, I can hold the keyboard portion flat, and still have the screen propped up in a nice viewing angle.

Battery Life

Since my Samsung Focus does not have service, I can't really compare battery life to my HTC Arrive. But speaking on battery life for the HTC Arrive, I can say that it is easily going to get you through a typical day. Up until yesterday I was unsuccessful in draining the battery after a day of use. Finally yesterday I tried my best to drain the battery while going through my day, and I finally succeeded. I unplugged the HTC Arrive from the power at 7am. Most of the morning was just a few texts back and forth. Then for several hours I listened to music, browsed the web (still listening to music), and played 3D intensive games like Assassins Creed, and i Love Katamari. It was an unusual set of circumstances that gave me this much free time (12:30am to 3:15pm) in the middle of my day, to just play on my phone, but luckily the Arrive was able to handle it. Throughout the day I also checked my voice mail a few times, made some phone calls, and had my email accounts refreshing every thirty minutes. I used both wifi and my data connection. I updated two apps. I also downloaded and installed at-least one app. Finally I got a critical battery warning around 8pm and the phone shut down sometime after that. Once I realized my phone had died, I put it on the charger for a few minutes and it was fine the rest of the night.

I personally had previously never used a phone this much in a day, and I can't say it would be particularly healthy for anyone else to use a phone that much on a regular basis. But it was very refreshing to see a smart phone that can do all it's smart stuff and make it through a day. From everything I have read, the HTC Arrive is at the top of the pile when it comes to battery life, only a few current smartphones on the market surpassing it, and I believe it.    

Direct Sunlight

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Not much to say here. In the most direct sunlight I could find, screens on both the HTC and Samsung were usable. Both had a mirroring effect (you can see me), as one would expect when bright sun hits a glass screen. 

Speaker Volume

The Samsung and HTC phones take a different approach to speaker volume. When blasting a song over the on board speaker, the Samsung Focus has a little deeper, but also muddy sound. At its highest level, the speaker fails to handle the lows, and you get distortion (crackling). The HTC Arrive is a little cleaner in the mids and highs, but does not offer as deep of lows. This allows for the volume to be maxed without any distortion. The Focus does get slightly louder, but whether this is worth the added distortion has to be decided by the user. All the people who I tested this with preferred the sound coming from the Arrive. The Arrive also comes free with a sound enhancer app, which allows for SRS. When this is enabled, the lows are made on par with the Focus, but again, distortion at higher volume levels does occur. So I recommend having SRS disabled if you plan on turning the volume up.

Conclusion

Both phones are good at what they are trying to do. I prefer the sleek form factor of the Samsung Focus, and I also like the slightly larger screen - It just makes on screen typing ever so slightly easy for those times when it is not convenient to slide out a keyboard. I prefer the materials and how they feel in my hand on the HTC Arrive. When landscape keyboarding does make sense, the keyboard is amazing. The dedicated number keys, and the other easily accessible symbols make typing so much easier and faster on the Arrive.

For many, there will not be a choice between these two phones. You will likely chose the phone which your carrier offers. My purpose in doing this comparison was to simply compare how these two different form factors from two different manufacturers fared against each other. What I have found is that both phones are comparable, and offer compelling arguments for their purchase. I honestly don't think anyone can go wrong with either phone. Both the HTC Arrive and Samsung Focus are model phones for what Windows Phone has to offer.


If you have any questions on either of the two devices, feel free to leave your question in the comments, where I will be quick to reply. 
 


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