Why I won’t be getting an HTC One S or X

May 19, 2012

htconesWell my friends, the decision time has come and gone. The decision has been made.

I thought long and hard as to whether I should get the HTC One S or X and I’m just not ‘feeling the love’ for the new One series of handsets.

It’s time for a new experience.

Since the Desire range of phones has now hung up its coat I was quite excited in the build up to the new One series. Great previews, impressive performance, lovely displays and ICS out the box. What’s not to like? Well nothing really but what’s to love? Again, nothing.

Having had a rooted Desire S for as long as I can remember having it I’ve had and played with ICS with Sense for a long time. Upon rushing to the shops to try out the latest One series devices I was somewhat underwhelmed. “Oh” I thought. “Well, this is just the same as my Desire S but slightly bigger and minus a removable battery.”

So, I’d like to just list a few reasons I’m not getting one of the new HTC One series phones.

Battery

I must admit the removable battery was a big thing for me. Why haven’t HTC included in their latest line up? I decided to hold out and wait to see what Samsung offered with their new handset and, thankfully, they have included the ability to replace the battery at will. I don’t want to have to worry about where my next power source is coming from. If I have a spare battery to hand I never need to worry.

I often come home and have around 40/50% battery remaining. This is fine to carry me through the night without too much messing around but what if I want to watch a video or listen to some music whilst browsing the web? I would almost definitely have to replace the battery before the night is over. I don’t want to be tethered to a wire whilst doing these things. It’s a lot easier to just swap my battery over when I get in and I’ve got 100% ready to go.

Interface

HTC Sense is great – I have no problem with it (apart from it being a bit slow). It has everything I’ve needed at the touch of a button but it just feels a bit old-hat now. I want to try something new and Samsung’s Touch Whiz interface is likely to be the one I try. I’ve heard plenty of bad things about it but then people have plenty bad to say about HTC’s Sense as well.

Design

There was something about the design of the One S and One X which didn’t really get the juices going.

One S – The One S just looks like my Desire S but with a slightly bigger screen. OK I know the innards are very good but it’s just like the same body on new hardware.

One X – The One X I don’t mind the look of too much. It does look slightly cheap in the white version but the carbon/grey version just looks like a HUGE version of the Desire S. Not pretty really.

The design of the Galaxy S3 just looks nicer. It looks clean, solid and fresh. The ‘pebble like’ smoothness and curves

Camera

Samsung are known for having good lenses in their phones and I trust their new sensor will be better than HTC’s. I have always managed with my Desire S’ camera but it’s never felt quite there in terms of being a great photo producer. The new HTC One series both have great cameras but sadly Samsung’s Galaxy S3 matches this.

Innovation

samsunggalaxys3

I think Samsung really have put more effort into the S3 when compared to HTC with the One series. OK so you can take photos whilst recording a video (big deal – who really wants to do this?) and um.. well you’ve got Sense 4 but what else? What other little software features will make you go ‘wow’ ?

The Galaxy S3 has some really nice sounding features all of which start with the letter ‘S’. The one I’m most interested in is the “Smart Stay” (great translation btw guys) which keeps the screen on if it detects you’re looking at the phone. How many times have you had the screen turn off when you’re reading a web page?

Another nice little feature is the “Smart alert” which will vibrate the phone slightly when you pick it up if you have a missed call/message. How useful would that be? It’d save you constantly unlocking your phone and checking your status bar.

It’s these little innovations that interest me. I’m not bothered about “S Voice” or sharing photos instantly on network sites. Who wants to really stand around and talk to their phone as if it’s quicker than just pressing a single icon on your home screen?

So there are just a few reasons I will be jumping off the lovely and enjoyable HTC ship and joining the Samsung crew. This doesn’t make me a bad person, just someone looking for something a bit new.

happyface

So what does this mean for the Desire Fanatics site? Well I’ll still be here (unless I go under a bus) and am always happy to help out if and when I can. I’ll still post up any new videos I make and if you need someone to chat to just drop me a line. I will be setting up a new Blog which you can find here so do check it out (if you want)

It’s been a great 2 years and I want to thank every one of you for making this a fun and enjoyable experience. Anyone who has ever read one of my articles, commented on a video or sent me some hate mail – I love you all.

Jon

How to ACTUALLY have a baby in The Sims Freeplay (Android HTC Desire S [HD])

April 26, 2012

Hi guys, just a quick tutorial on how to actually have a baby and get married on The Sims Freeplay for Android. I found a few other videos on YouTube which didn’t really explain everything you need to do so thought I’d put one together myself.
Enjoy.

The HTC One X – So close yet so far

April 6, 2012

Well, I’ve been patient enough to wait for the HTC One X to come out and thought I’d go have a look at it seeing as my contract with T-Mobile is now up (has it really been 2 years since I started this blog?!).

I went to my local T-Mobile store to check it out and jesus – it’s huge!

The offer I had from T-Mobile retentions was to stick at my current £10/month tarrif (100 minutes, unlimited texts/Internet) and pay £260 for the handset – not a bad deal at all really considering how much the phone is worth.

Anyway, I went and checked it out in the O2 shop (where they had a non-dummy version) and it was a lovely device but just incredibly big compared to what I’m used to. I’m not saying I wouldn’t get used to the lovely 4.7″ screen but it is quite a big jump up from the Desire S.

I was all ready to buy the handset from T-Mobile and do a HTC One X Vs HTC Desire S comparison review and video but they didn’t have the handset in white sadly. If they had, I would have been writing a very different post.

I know white phones are a bit ‘ooh look at me’ but I felt like I wanted a change from the usual black colour of my Desire S. So anyway, I didn’t go for it in the end. I think I’m going to hold out and see what Samsung have to offer with the Samsung Galaxy S3 handset which will hopefully be officially announced on the 22nd May.

Patience hurts sometimes.

The Sims FreePlay Android Review [HD]

March 18, 2012

The Sims FreePlay is EA’s follow-up to 2010’s Sims 3 for Android. I don’t normally review free apps (and certainly not apps that are free and then ask you to pay later on) but this one caught my Sim-loving heart.

 

As I mentioned in my previous Sims 3 review; I’ve been a big Sims fan from day one. Since its original release there have been lots of spin-offs and expansions – all of which I have avoided. Give me the simple ‘make-your-Sim-happy-and-get-a-better-job’ style gameplay and I’ll quite happily play for hours. Add in stupid dating or magical expansion packs and I’ll look elsewhere.

And this is why I have been playing Sims FreePlay every day for three weeks now. 

You start the game with an empty town map and you’ve got to select your plot to build on. Your initial build will come without a fee (and it’s not a bad house either) just to get you going and then it’s time for the fun part – creating your Sim.

I was quite surprised at how much you can play around with the look of your Sim. When compared with The Sims 3 there must be ten times as many clothes, hairstyles and personalities to choose from. You could quite easily spend twenty minutes just making your Sim look how you want him to.

Once created it’s time to move your Sim into their new home. The tutorial does a great job at introducing you to how the game works and what you should be doing to get your Sim up and running in their new place. This is when you realise that ‘real-time’ really does mean real-time. Events that occur in The Sims FreePlay take as long as they would in the real world. Send your Sim to the toilet and they’ll take 10-15 seconds to perform the action. Washing hands – 10 seconds. Fancy a good night’s sleep? That’ll be 7 hours please.

This real-time gameplay may not be to everyone’s tastes but it does work for people who, like me, have things to do during the day – like work! Send your Sim off to work in the morning and when you get home from work yourself they’ll have finished as well.

Each action your Sim performs earns experience points (or ‘XP’) and in some cases money too. The more XP you earn the more things you unlock in the game and the more money you have means nicer things for your Sims.

If you want your Sim to earn more money and XP then you’ve got to keep your Sim happy just as previous Sims games would have you do. By fulfilling the usual Sims needs (hunger, toilet, cleanliness, fun, social and sleep) you can make your Sim feel fulfilled. A fulfilled Sim earns more XP/money for actions performed and if they perform the action in their own household they get even more still.  This is where the management of your Sims comes in. Keep your Sims fulfilled and doing things in their own home may seem a bit anti-social but it helps you level up a lot quicker. There are some cases however that you may want to have all your Sims in one house and make them fulfilled there – mainly because it means you don’t have to keep switching between houses which will save vital seconds of time.

As you progress through the tutorial you’ll notice you receive ‘Life Points’ for completing goals. Life Points are for the impatient amongst us who don’t want to wait 12 hours for a house to build or can’t wait any longer for their Sim to finish in the bath. Using up a Life Point will instantly complete an action/task and save you having to wait around. This can be useful when you’re building things around town such as new houses or workplaces. Think of Life Point as gold dust because that’s pretty much what they are.

The whole reason The Sims FreePlay is free is because they rely on people getting hooked on the game and also getting impatient. If you run out of Life Points or Simoleons (the Sims’ currency) then you can buy some from the Sims Store – with real money. This is the part of the game that makes me feel a bit sick. A measly 6 Life Points costs £2.37 but you can actually purchase 1000 for £71.39. How they can get away with this I do not know. Patience is a virtue my friends, I’ve only used a few of my Life Points up (one time being when the tutorial forced me to) and another when I needed a new Sim quickly but paying for them is not an option for me – especially at those prices.

As you progress in the game you will then need to build your Sims somewhere to work. After all, they’ve gotta pay the bills sometime. This is the first time I fell over in the game. I built a science lab which was the best-paid job on the town map but what I failed to realise is that the working hours were from 10am ‘til 6pm. Because I go to work at 9am (I’m talking about real life now) I wasn’t around to send my Sims off at 10am. You can send your Sim off around 60 minutes early to work but sadly I wasn’t at home to do so. Well, that was $10,000 wasted. So I had to save up and I built a sports stadium instead. The work hours were much better for me and my Sims as they now work from 8am-12 noon. Your Sims will get promoted and earn more money and experience the more they work so make sure you keep them going. Sending them to work in a fulfilled state is not only amusing but also helps increase the amount of XP and money they bring back at the end of the working day.

Pets! Who doesn’t want their Sim to have a loveable companion? Well you don’t get a choice with your first Sim as they’ll be given a very handy golden retriever. You don’t have to feed or ‘water’ your pets but they do come in handy. If you leave him alone for long enough he’ll find hidden treasures in the garden. These range from $1 to $100 and even Life Points (although these are quite rare). Simply tap on the barking mutt once he’s found something and he’ll dig it up for you. Other than that, pets don’t play a huge part in the game, they’re mainly for show but also help out every now and again with the bills. If you build a pet shop in town then you will be able to purchase different breeds of dog but these can only be purchased by using up some of your Life Points When you see your gold retriever is actually worth 100 Life Points the thought may cross your mind to have him put down and sold but sadly this cannot be done. Fancy a retired greyhound? That’ll be 5 Life Points. 25 Life Points if you want a scary looking a Labrador and there are many others to choose from.

A great source of income is from growing your own fruit and vegetables (try telling that to British farmers). You can quickly, well, every couple of hours, rack up hundreds of XP and Simoleons by growing some potatoes for example. Have a few or more Sims doing that at the same time and you’ll be able to afford that new flat screen TV you wanted. Along with having a job and planting crops you can also bake things in the kitchen. These baked goods are nice but they don’t give you anywhere near as much when compared to farming.

Sims can go for a drive around town to cool off and they can also visit each other’s houses. The lack of free will however means you have to get them to all interact with each other. This is OK in the main but it’s time consuming work for sure. There is also a lack of dignity between Sims. For example: you can quite happily have 4 Sims in the bathroom at any one time. One in the shower, one washing their hands, one in the bath and the other clearing out last night’s curry in the toilet – and they won’t batter an eyelid either. This (however disgusting) is actually quite handy when you’re trying to satisfy multiple Sims’ needs – and it can also make for some quite amusing situations.

Up next: Build Mode is here! That’s right; you can now fully build your Sims home from scratch on your mobile device. It’s one floor only at the moment but it’s a start if nothing else. If you’d rather not select one of the pre-made houses for your Sim to move into then why not just buy the plot and come up with the grand design yourself? The build mode works really well indeed. It’s so easy to create rooms, doorways and windows that you could spend an age just building one lot. Don’t forget however that houses cost money so make sure you’ve got enough in the bank before you start doing so. You don’t want to end up with an unfinished house for your Sim to shelter in do you? Or do you…?

Along with building houses and re-sizing your rooms (at any time in the game) the buy mode lets you add furnishing and items to your house. There are hundreds of objects to choose from ranging from crappy little CRT TVs to beautiful tall fridges with ice making capabilities.  Some of the items are very expensive and some, again, require Life Points to purchase but you can normally get yourself a bargain if you search hard enough. The quality of the item you buy does affect how long actions performed with it last however. For example, if you buy the cheapest possible bed it will take your Sim 7 hours for a good night’s sleep and only 725 XP points. However, upgrade to one of the 3-star beds and your Sim can be up and refreshed in just 6 hours with 825 XP points to boast. This works the same with other object around the house; it’ll even take longer to go to the toilet if you buy one of the cheap ones!

It’s this mixture of pros and cons that make The Sims FreePlay interesting and fun to play. There’s no requirement to ‘add friends’ to be able to progress further as in other real-time games and this is a big plus. As much fun as it would be if you could visit your friend’s towns it’s nice to have FreePlay as a standalone game.

I would highly recommend that all Sims fans give FreePlay a go. It may not be your style but it’s fun to just ‘pick up and play’ when you have a spare moment.

 

GAMEPLAY 8/10

The real-time gameplay of Sims FreePlay isn’t new to me but it’s the first of its type I’ve actually continued playing for more than a few days. The inability of being able to queue up actions for your Sims can be annoying at first but I suppose they can’t have you queuing things up for a day’s worth of actions or you’d just earn stupid amount of money and XP in a very short period of time. I do feel however you should be able to queue up smaller actions such as going to the toilet and washing your hands afterwards. Even with this limitation the game plays out very well. The Goals will keep giving you something to aim for be it to just buy a new coffee machine or to finally do the WooHoo.

 

GRAPHICS 9/10

The graphics have really come a long way since The Sims 3. They’re crisp, clear and smooth and this really helps bring the game alive. The amount of detail was quite surprising when you consider this is just a mobile game. You can zoom in and spin your camera around as much as you like and it doesn’t have any troubles coping.

There is a bit of slowdown every now again when all your Sims are together and fulfilled but this is just a minor glitch.

Flying around your town map just shows the level of detail the developers have gone into here. Traffic lights change colours (and cars even follow the rules!) and trees blow in the wind which give it a more ‘console like’ feel. I would put The Sims FreePlay on-par with The Sims 2 on PC graphics-wise.

CONTROLS 9/10:

The touch controls work incredibly well. They’re responsive and the 360 degree camera allows you to navigate round your Sim’s house with ease. This can be very handy when you have a house full of Sims and you’re trying to select an item that’s behind another one.

SOUND 8/10:

One of my big problems with The Sims 3 on Android was the terrible sound in-game. Where was the build music? Why did it keep glitching? All my worries and sleepless nights have been resolved in Sims FreePlay. There are different musical pieces in each mode just like in a ‘proper’ Sims game. The only annoying factor here is when you’re quickly switching between your Sims’ houses as the ‘house music’ will start from the beginning each time. I can overlook this however as there is variety in the different modes. If you’ve got a spare few minutes you can actually change the in-game music to something more preferable anyway – simply navigate to the location where your Sims game downloaded (normally in /sdcard/Android/data/com.ea.games.simsfreeplay_row/published/music) and you can put something a bit more to your taste in there.

The sound effects in the game are good too. Each action you perform has a different sound so you certainly know the difference between your Sim making a coffee or having a bath. You can even here your Sim typing on their keyboard as they play their own copy of The Sims 3!

OVERALL 85%:

It may be the lure of the Sims and their everyday lives or perhaps I just like watching my Sims shower in their underwear but the easy-to-learn and hard-to-put-down gameplay will keep you coming back for more.

Goodbye Android Market :( Hello Google Play :)

March 7, 2012

Yes my friends, it’s true. It’s over. The Android Market is no more. But wait; Google Play launched today and guess what? It’s pretty much the same as the Android Market. Phew.

Googe Play is here today

Googe Play is here today

image[/caption]

I wasn’t a fan of the name Google Play I must be honest. I think however it’ll probably grow on me.

Apparently, the name Android Market was not descriptive enough for…um…let’s call them simple people… too geeky-sounding perhaps? But either way, Google Play is coming to your handset and there’s nothing you can do about it*

So what will you notice? Well, not much to be honest. A new icon, new name and ‘all your entertainment in one place’. Google Play is to bring in Google Music to the app (not currently available in the UK) and then your Google Play app will be your central hub for entertainment.

Here is is in Google’s own words:

[Google Plus is] a digital entertainment destination where you can find, enjoy and share your favorite music, movies, books and apps on the web and on your Android phone or tablet. Google Play is entirely cloud-based so all your music, movies, books and apps are stored online, always available to you, and you never have to worry about losing them or moving them again.”

Basically it’s the same as before but a bit different – that doesn’t really make sense does it?

I think this lovely video will explain things a bit better:

Google Play released in the UK today! March 2012

So what do you have to do to get it? Well nothing actually. Your phone will update itself and rename things next time you load Android Market up so there’s nothing to do on your behalf. It’s currently rolling out across the US and UK so expect to see it soon.

*unless you throw your phone in a fish tank

Let’s Play! Whale Trail Android App Review [HD]

February 18, 2012

Evening everyone. Today I’ve uploaded my review of Whale Trail for Android.

Absolutely fantastic and addictive game with beautiful graphics and funny music.

Full text review to follow.

Let’s Play! Bloons Tower Defence (TD) 4 Android Review (HD)

February 12, 2012

Evening people. Up today is my little play-through of Bloons Tower Defence (TD) 4. It’s running on my Asus Transformer so I could capture it full screen but it’s available on the HTC Desire S too – don’t worry😉

Full text review to come soon🙂

 

How to S-ON the HTC Desire S, Unroot, remove Revolutionary and Clockwork Mod recovery – a step-by-step tutorial [HD Video]

January 22, 2012

Hello ladies and gentlemen. Today I will be showing you how to get your HTC Desire S to be “S-ON”. You only need to follow this video if you want to revert your phone back from a S-OFF state.

Why would I possibly want to do this?

There are several reasons:

1) If you need to send your phone back to HTC for repair it’s probably a good idea to remove any software you’ve put on the phone — they may no like it

2) If you want to revert to how your phone was when you first purchased it this is the best way to do it (some people call it factory defaults)

3) You’re bored and have 18 minutes and 5 seconds to spare.

What you will need:

1 x HTC Desire S (with at least 50% battery)
1 x USB Sync cable
1 x half-cup of tea
1 x de-stressing device

Firstly, you will want to download an RUU file. RUU stands for “ROM Update Utility” and this file contains the original software/firmware for your phone.

Go to here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1002506 and then click the link to FileFactory which will bring up the list of ROM files. Find the one that matches your phone. If you are in the UK like me you’ll see “UK” in the file name. You also need to select the correct file depending on the phone operator/network you are on. I’m on T-Mobile so went for the “TMO” version.

Whilst that downloads, on XDA Developers again, search for “Revert back to stock (remove revolutionary)” http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1387484 and you can download a lovely package from “giby21” which contains Android Flasher and the HBOOT file you need.

Extract the files and then load Android Flasher. Please note you must have HTC Sync UNINSTALLED, USB Debugging mode enabled (in your phone’s settings) and you also need HTC’s Fastboot drivers installed for your phone to be picked up later. You can get the fastboot drivers from here: http://unrevoked.com/rootwiki/doku.php/public/revolutionary

Now select your device in Android Flasher and the select the Browse button under where it says “Bootloader”. Browse to where you extracted the “Revert to stock” .rar file and then the folder called “FlashENGHBOOT”. Select the .img file in there (named engHBOOToverARX.img) and press OK.

Now power off your Desire S and power back on whilst holding the Vol Down button. Click to select FASTBOOT and then plug it in via USB. Now back to the Android Flasher program and select “I’m already in fastboot” checkbox and press the “Flash!” button. You should now notice the REVOLUTIONARY title at the top has gone — great — it’s been removed.

Once flashed, reboot your phone and leave it plugged into the USB. Now you can right-click the RUU file you downloaded and “Run as Administrator”. This process will take about 10 minutes but after this you will be back with S-ON and to your original T-Mobile (or other operator) software.

Phew! Time for a drink!

GTA III (3) Mobile coming to Android phones next week (HTC Desire S in the future?)

December 7, 2011

image

image

Rockstar Games finally set the date for their gun driving, car wielding (that works both ways) 10th anniversary celebration of Grand Theft Auto. 15th of December is the date and the price tag will be $4.99 in the US which leads me to blieve it will be £4.99 in the UK – hey who needs exchange rates anyway?

The list of supported Android devices is reasonably small at the moment:

Android Phones: HTC Rezound, LG Optimus 2x, Motorola Atrix 4G, Motorola Droid X2, Motorola Photon 4G, Samsung Galaxy R, T-Mobile G2x
Android Tablets: Acer Iconia, Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Dell Streak 7, LG Optimus Pad, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1, Sony Tablet S, Toshiba Thrive

Now, 90% of these devices aren’t even out in the UK unless they just go under different names here so it’s not looking great initially. Rockstar Games have however said they will be bringing it to older Android phones over the coming months so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw it on the popular HTC Desire S. Whether the game would even fit on the original Desire is another question – I’m going to say it probably won’t but we can but hope.

Expect a full review right here once I’ve finished driving around Liberty City pretending I’m a real, every day person.

The 12 Apps of Christmas – The Top 12 Christmas Android Apps/Games 2011

December 2, 2011

Evening fellow humans, I hope you’re enjoying the chocolate from your advent calendars?

Here’s my top 12 Android Christmas apps/games so let me know what you think and if you have any questions then you know where to leave them!

The top 12 are as follows:

1 Angry Birds Seasons
2 Bugs Circle Christmas
3 Penguin Launch
4 Noogra Nuts
5 Zombies Christmas
6 Santa’s Helper
7 iSanta
8 Christmas Presents
9 A Christmas Santa
10 Night of the Living Gingerbread Men
11 Xmas Pinball
12 Santa’s Village


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