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7 days with a Rugged Android Smartphone: Part 2

This article follows on from Part 1.

Day 2

Battery

I was expecting good battery performance from the ST5 based on customer feedback and from direct experience of running the device for 8 hours at exhibitions and seeing 40% remaining battery at the end of the day. However the BB Passport was hailed as possessing a monster of a battery and I had to agree, it ran for longer than anything I had owned and enabled me to relax while others rushed for a charger. But day 1 with the ST5 was tough, lots of screen time, lots of app installing and it had to be charged before the end of the day.

Day 2 was naturally better although I am convinced that my usual flood of emails is handled more efficiently by BB10 than by Android. None the less I was determined to start each day with a full charge and see where I was at come the end of the day. On day 2 this was a close call at 10%.

Day 3

By day 3 I was relatively settled. The world hadn’t ended, I hadn’t missed any emails or appointments and my alarm woke me when promised; all the hallmarks of a useful smartphone at least for me. I realise I hadn’t chosen a particularly taxing week in terms of being primarily office based but none-the-less I wasn’t missing anything critical about my BlackBerry, only the slickness of the OS and the feel of real keys. I proudly finished day 3 with 50% battery.

Kayaking

Unusually for a midweek evening I found myself trying out kayaking on the river Stort with a group of friends. We were able to try progressively narrower boats (meaning they are faster but also less stable) and I volunteered for something a little too narrow and ended up swimming my kayak back to shore. It was only later I realised that I had my phone with me which I had zipped in a trouser pocket. A definite success for the ST5

Dirty work

I had the pleasure of some gardening and DIY jobs including giving the dog a wash and cleaning the barbecue. The sort of work for which you remove your watch and place your phone somewhere safe. I had realised after the kayaking incident that an obvious strength of a rugged smartphone is making it a constant companion. Whether it was in my pocket or next to me on the floor there was a certain comfort in keeping my phone nearby and not having to give any thought to whether it was safe.

All weather

With our shiny smartphones usually we give highest consideration to preventing knocks and scratches but water ingress can be an issue too. On one morning when I walked the dog and it was raining heavily, rather than refrain from checking email I merrily read email and news the whole time with my phone proudly extended out in front of me.

Talking point

What stood out during the week was the number of people, including those I already know, that talked with me about my phone. The ST5 is eye catching and I was surprised at how many people questioned and talked about it given that most who did already know what I do. Clearly having a rugged phone in a bag rather than as my primary phone was not providing the full opportunity to exhibit and talk about what we do at Tablet Technologies.

Summary

I won’t deny that I missed my Blackberry a little bit but this was down to 2 points that are exclusive to me as a long time Blackberry user which are the Blackberry interface and physical keyboard. On the interface this is just familiarity at the end of the day. On the keyboard, it is perhaps time I moved on and in fact the Blackberry keyboard is available for download from Google Play.

On the flip side I thoroughly enjoyed keeping my phone with me at all times without consideration for the environment. The ST5 felt like a multi-tool rather than a fashion accessory, highlighted most when I consciously removed my watch for kayaking and DIY. Admittedly I did not shower with the ST5 but other than that it was kept at my side. This “change in purpose” alone gave me reason to consider keeping the ST5 on as my primary smartphone.

The second major win with the ST5 was showing it to more people. I even used it as a music remote on the weekend for a barbecue just to set up more opportunities to pull it out from my pocket.

So have I been persuaded to switch from Blackberry to a rugged Android phone? For now yes, the pros do out way the cons. I do however have a summer holiday approaching and I have to weigh up the efficiency of keeping in communication mostly via smartphone. The test for the next week or so before I travel is to speed up my efficiency on Android so that I can boldly do the unthinkable and travel with only one ‘Passport’.

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