Welcome to day 4 of my iPhone Free Week. Today I will focus on the Web browser in the HTC Tattoo and how the text input works on the Tattoo as well.
If you missed any of my previous iPhone Free Week posts, you can find them here:
- Introduction To A Week With HTC Tattoo (Android)
- Warm-up To My “iPhone Replaced By Tattoo”-Experiment
- Day 1 & 2: HTC Tattoo, It’s Small & Slow
- Day 3: HTC Tattoo, Camera & Video Recording Quality
HTC Tattoo Web Browser
The web browser in this Android based HTC Tattoo is both great and not so great. Allow me to elaborate: Imagine you come from any java-based device without touchscreen such as a Nokia s40-based or Sony Ericsson mobile phone, you are likely to enjoy the browser in the HTC Tattoo for the following reasons:
- The screen is bigger than your previous phone (most likely).
- It’s touchscreen so you can navigate with your fingers rather than scrolling a mouse pointer around with the joypad.
- It shows pretty much all the websites you can expect from a mobile device.
- It’s likely to be faster than your current built-in mobile browser.
- You can have several windows/tabs open.
- Visual Bookmarks.
If you’re coming from an iPhone and used to the Safari mobile browser, you will dislike the HTC Tattoo for the following reasons:
- The screen is smaller than the iPhone.
- There’s no multi-touch!!
- The zoom doesn’t behave as you’re used to and while “double-tap to zoom” does work, it’s somehow not as good as on the iPhone. There’s no “pinch to zoom” either, due to the lack of multi-touch.
- It’s slower than iPhone Safari.
Other than that, they pretty much do the same. But, I can easily see myself surfing a lot less with the HTC Tattoo than what I do with the iPhone. It’s just not as enjoyable and easy. However, as mentioned, if you’re coming from something less than a HTC Tattoo, I’m quite confident that you will enjoy the browser.
This is often the main concern for current physical keyboard users. How will they be able to cope with a touchscreen keyboard where there’s no physical way of separating the keys so you can “feel your way around”?
In most cases it’s just a matter of giving it a go. It’s best if you can borrow a touchscreen device for a few days to try and get used to it and see if you can live with it. Personally, I’ve enjoyed the iPhone touchscreen keyboard for over 2 years now and I no longer “feel at home”, typing on a regular T9-based keyboard on other phones.
Keep in mind though, there’s a huge difference between touchscreen keyboards in two areas:
- The screen size. Smaller screen means smaller buttons.
- The touchscreen technology used. If the touchscreen technology used is capacitive like on the iPhone, it will be a lot easier to type (in my opinion). If it’s resistive like on the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, HTC Tattoo, HTC Touch HD etc., it will be more difficult as some kind of pressure must be applied, for the device to register the key press.
HTC Tattoo comes with several options for an on-screen keyboard:
- Numeric keyboard (with XT9 capabilities)
- Compact QWERTY keyboard
- QWERTY keyboard
Numeric keyboard is the usual one you have on most non-touchscreen phones. There’s buttons from 0 to 9 and each of them has 3 letters assigned. The buttons are quite big and it’s easy to input text this way if you’re used to use the T9 system (called XT9 on the Tattoo).
Using QWERTY keyboard when the Tattoo is in normal position will require you to either be a child or have plastic surgery to make your fingers small enough to tap the right button. They are small…! Rotate the HTC Tattoo to landscape mode and the QWERTY keyboard buttons become bigger and much easier to use.
HTC/Android also offers another option called Compact QWERTY keyboard. Here you’re getting larger buttons but they will have two letters each so it also depends on the XT9 system to guess the word you’re trying to write.
A normal QWERTY keyboard gives you the capability to type whatever you want to, no matter if the word is in the XT9 vocabulary or not.
I’m not sure about this – but I think the HTC Tattoo is lacking some kind of “didn’t you mean…”-function. Let me explain. If you’re typing certain words on the iPhone and you tap the wrong letter next to it (like “R” instead of “T”), it will automatically select “T” instead of “R” which you actually tapped, if the device believes that’s what you intended to tap. I didn’t notice this behavour with the HTC Tattoo but I can’t say for sure that it’s not there.
Bottom line: The HTC Tattoo offers several options of inputting text so you are likely to find one that you will enjoy and stick with. I would probably prefer the HTC Tattoo’s way of inputting text over a normal physical numeric-based keyboard. But if a phone like the Motorola Droid with a big physical QWERTY keyboard came along, I think I would rather have that.
Hands down – the iPhone is better at inputting text, in my opinion. Why? Easy, I don’t send as many e-mails/SMS’s with the HTC Tattoo as I do with the iPhone. It’s just too cumbersome.