My previous phone, the HTC Hero was once considered high-end for an Android phone. Back then, there wasn't much for choices, the Hero followed the HTC G1, and roughly matched the functionality of the MyTouch.
Today there are a wide variety of phones from junk to super high-end. I envy the owner's of the HTC EVO 4G, but it's difficult for me to justify the $200 up-front + $240 in additional fees over the 2 year contract. RadioShack and Sprint recently offered a promotion for the new low-end LG Optimus S for $0, no rebate required. That's $440 cheaper over 2 years than the EVO.
I took the plunge, and I'm delightfully surprised at just how nice the Optimus S. In many ways it's a big upgrade from my HTC Hero, but with a few caveats. Here's the quick rundown.
- Stock Android 2.2.1 - Froyo tastes great.
- Faster CPU. The 600mhz CPU is a big improvement, even beyond raw numbers.
- GPU. Added acceleration for graphics. I can play Angry Birds now.
- Slightly thinner, smaller.
- More responsive touch screen.
- Dedicated 2-stage camera button.
- Dedicated voice dialer button.
- No blinding notification light while charging
- Proximity Sensor turns phone screen on and off automatically when calling.
- Very fast and accurate GPS
- Swype keyboard included free
- Can be rooted.
- Only Sprint app is SprintID. No junk.
- Wireless hotspot capability
- No notification light for SMS, Email, Missed Calls, etc.
- No trackball. Made text editing a bit easier.
- No light sensor. Screen brightness is fixed to your setting.
- No dedicated dial and hang up button. Not really necessary on this phone.
- Low-resolution 480x320 screen.
- New Phone and Brand - No community for custom ROMs yet.
- SprintID is confusing and an annoying addition.
- The Google first time use wizards have been removed. I found these helpful as an experienced Android user and they were certainly helpful to new Android users.
- I can't tell if the Google Backup facility is there. If I reset, will my apps automatically reinstall?
- Included SD Card randomly mounts/remounts. I replaced mine with an 8GB and this problem has never occurred.
- Can't set voicemail provider in settings. I tried to set it as Google Voice, but there's no option. So far this has had no functional drawbacks, but I like to do it "right".
Coming from a Hero, I can handle those drawbacks and gladly accept the improvements.