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  Reply # 1870564 21-Sep-2017 23:39
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FWIW

 

 

 

I used iPhones right up to the introduction of the 7. Then I moved to Android. I have a Mac desktop and used to have a Mac laptop (had a detour to the Surface Pro 4 - which will soon be rectified with a new MacBook..!).

 

I have found that I simply don't much care what system my phone runs but I do care a great deal what system my computers run. I find Windows to be truly the spawn of Satan (as my Windows 10 Surface has reminded me) and simply cannot live with it when compared to the bliss of OS X.

 

However I have not noticed any such issues with the phone. I can get Apple Music, iCloud and so on on Android, I can get my mail. I can play games, I can use Google apps like photos and so on, I can use Dropbox etc etc etc.

 

My wife has an iPhone 7+ and she hates it. Her complaints are a bit vague but seem to generally involve the home 'button' which is not a button and the 3 D force touch on the screen that opens things she does not want to open. 

 

Wearable wise I have a Samsung Gear Frontier. It's not bad, but I do not really see the advantage in wearables. I have almost all the notifications off (as I do on my phone, with only email and SMS turned on there) otherwise it just irritates me. It's occasionally useful - turning the phone alarm off in bed, answering calls sometimes if the phone is too far away - but really just a gimmick in my view.

 

Presently have a Galaxy S8+ which I like; might swap it for a Note 8 if the reviews are good. Probably won't.








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  Reply # 1870890 22-Sep-2017 11:48
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I'm busily setting up my Note8 (more on that later), but one thing has me stumped - how to bring across my contacts.  On my iPhone, I added my outlook.com account, and was able to choose to sync contacts to my phone, and that worked well.  However, I can't see how to get the same outcome on the Note8.  I have installed Outlook, and added my Outlook.com account, but Contacts doesn't show my contacts.  My quick googling only gave suggestions for how to export contacts as a CSV file from the Outlook desktop app (which I don't use) - nothing about syncing from the Cloud Outlook.com account.

 

Any ideas?


 
 
 
 




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  Reply # 1872313 25-Sep-2017 10:09
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So, day three: first impressions

 

Hardware

 

I have been super impressed with the handset in terms of build quality.  It is a phenomenally attractive slab of metal and glass.  There's no question that this is a premium device.  I like the heft of it, and in most situations the size doesn't feel ungainly.  I am invariably using it one-handed, and some movements do stretch the tendons in my hand to breaking point, but for about 80% of the time it's not an issue.  The ability to reorganise the screen icons far more readily than in iOS alleviates this somewhat, though the reachability function on iOS seems a little more elegant than the one-handed mode in Android.  While shrinking the screen means I can access everything, the scaling effect makes accurate tapping difficult.  But that's straying into software territory - more on that later.

 

The position of the fingerprint sensor isn't as annoying as I worried it might be.  I'm not using it all that often (been experimenting with Face Detection and Trusted Places more), but when I do use it it's generally good.  I'm certainly finding it faster than TouchID on my iPhone 6.

 

The S-Pen is fantastic.  I was a little worried that my short nails (nail biter here) would make it difficult to extract the pen from it's holder, but the push button eject method is great, and makes it easy to get.  I did the grocery shopping on Sunday and trialled using the pen in OneNote for my shopping list.  It made it easier to tick items off my list, but I then realised I was one hand short to push the trolley.  Not really an issue, just a practicality of the inherent two-handed mode of using a stylus.

 

The OLED display is incredible.  It's my first ever OLED display, and it really does have to be seen to be believed.  My wife, who is also a lifelong iPhone user, was blown away by the display, and I could tell she was a little jealous.  One thing I need to solve is the brightness in dim conditions.  I'm sure there's something I can configure, but some apps/screens are just blindingly white in dim conditions.  I'm pretty sure I've got auto-brightness turned on, but if it has dimmed the display then it's still way too bright in some apps.

 

The speed and performance is great.  Just doing simple things like downloading and installing apps happens so quickly, I barely have time to register it's happened.  Even with 802.11ac on my iPhone, downloading and installing similar apps took a lot longer.  It definitely feels like a fast device.

 

My only real gripe is the placement of the buttons on the left hand side, for volume control and Bixby.  On the iPhone there was a switch to mute the phone, and then the volume rocker.  It made it very clear which button you were pressing.  On the Note, the volume rocker is a single, unbroken line, and the button below it activated Bixby.  On many occasions I went to hurriedly turn the volume down, only to aggravate matters by summoning Bixby who would then start talking at me during setup.  I discovered later that I can individually mute Bixby, which I have done until I can get around to deciding whether to bother with it or not.  If I don't bother with it, I will look into reassigning the key to something more useful.

 

Software

 

Starting with setup, out of the box, my main observation is the deluge of information I was presented with.  It was a bit of a blur, with many EULA/Privacy policies to "read" and accept, permissions to confirm, and many of the services were Samsung branded making it hard to be sure (for a complete Android newbie like me) what was important/necessary/useful, and what could be safely ignored.  I accepted a bunch of things I could probably have rejected, but I figured most of those things could be rectified when I had more time to dig through settings and permissions.  Compared to the Apple experience though, this wasn't ideal.  I can imagine many others going through this process, and being completely flummoxed.  Apple do a much better job in this area, in my opinion, though there are still many things to deal with when setting up a new phone.  I have to accept that I have far more experience with Apple, and have gone through that setup process dozens of times, so it's probably not fair to make comparisons based on one setup of Android.  I don't doubt I'll have more experiences in the future.

 

The OS/interface is pretty good, overall.  I don't have any other Android experiences to compare it with, but I found the Samsung version to be pretty easy to use, for the most part.  A lot of stuff I picked up just by having a play around.  For instance, the combined notification/control centre swiping down from the top edge expands when you swipe down a second time, and there are more toggles when you swipe to the left as well.  I like the greater customisation of the different screens, being able to fix icons into specific slots rather than have them fill from the top (as Apple does).  It meant I was able to put frequently used apps in easier-to-reach locations around the edge of the display, which made one-handed use a little easier.

 

Basic things like the keyboard were a little trickier, especially one-handed.  I discovered I could resize the keyboard (cool!) but it stayed that way and I had to go back into settings to restore it when I went back to two-handed use.  That was too clunky for my liking, so I just stuck with the full size keyboard.  I will experiment with different keyboards to see what works best - at the moment I am struggling with muscle memory for certain symbols, especially punctuation.

 

Notifications are proving to be the trickiest thing so far.  There's far greater customisation than I'm used to in iOS, which is both a positive and a negative.  I like being able to set things up how I like it, but the downside is the inconsistency of that setup.  For instance, I'm using Outlook for Android for my email app, and it doesn't show "badges" on the icon to indicate the number of unread messages, like it does in the iOS Mail app.  However, Viber and Telegram do.  It may just be a case of finding the right app, or making the necessary customisation, but for now it's a minor nuisance that I often don't register that I have unread emails.

 

The persistence of notifications is another gripe.  On iOS, notifications appeared on the lock screen and would vanish when I unlocked my phone, but the "badges" on app icons served as a reminder for things like unread messages.  With the way I have things set up so far, I get small icons on the Always On Display to indicate a notification, but no further information.  If I turn on the phone, I can see the notifications, but with Face Detection on I often don't see what the notifications are before it unlocks the phone.  I then have to swipe down to see the notifications, especially as there are many apps that don't make use of badges.  I have noticed that there is a small row of icons on the top left of the display that indicates unread notifications, but it's almost too subtle to be noticed.  I'm sure that I can tweak things to be better (or possibly just more familiar to my iOS experience), but for now I find I'm not always registering a missed message.  This is complicated by the fact of having the Gear S3 receive notifications, and that adds another layer of notification to configure and get right - some things I don't really need to know, while others I would like to know about all the time.

 

Speaking of the Gear S3, I like being able to reply to messages from Telegram and Viber on my watch, and even used the free writing function to handwrite a brief custom response.  It would be nice to find a Telegram/Viber app for the watch itself, rather than just responding to notifications, with hopefully greater functionality.  I think there is an app called ChatHub which might offer than kind of function, but it's a paid app, and I'm still working out the different app stores and don't want to have to manage payments across them just yet.  

 

There's a lot still to work through, understand, and configure.  I've already solved a few problems (like my Contacts problem above, and syncing notebooks from OneNote - which turns out to be a problem I created months ago, and had nothing to do with the Note).  So far, I'm quite enjoying the experience.  Already, I'm getting used to the size of the handset.  My brother in law visited from Auckland this week and I saw his iPhone and was puzzled why he was still using an iPhone 5S.  Turns out it was an iPhone 6, but it looked puny compared to my Note8.  The larger size feels normal, while the "ordinary" iPhones now look quite small.  If for some reason I had to go back to a regular iPhone (as opposed to the + range), I think I might feel a bit cramped.


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  Reply # 1872591 25-Sep-2017 16:48
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Lizard1977:

 

I'm busily setting up my Note8 (more on that later), but one thing has me stumped - how to bring across my contacts.  On my iPhone, I added my outlook.com account, and was able to choose to sync contacts to my phone, and that worked well.  However, I can't see how to get the same outcome on the Note8.  I have installed Outlook, and added my Outlook.com account, but Contacts doesn't show my contacts.  My quick googling only gave suggestions for how to export contacts as a CSV file from the Outlook desktop app (which I don't use) - nothing about syncing from the Cloud Outlook.com account.

 

Any ideas?

 

 

I personally have been using Gmail to sync all my contacts across all my devices. But i thought Outlook would be very similar. When I go into Accounts under Settings, I click on the Outlook account I had added, it gives me the toggle to sync Contacts. 

 

What do you see when you click Account>Outlook account?


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  Reply # 1872730 25-Sep-2017 21:28
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Keyboard - check out SwiftKey - you can easily switch between compact and full-sized versions and also switch sides without having to go into the full settings. Besides that, SwiftKey’s word prediction is second to none and it has a ton of useful features not found in other keyboards.

 

Notifications - I’d recommend installing Nova Launcher with the Tesla Unread add-on. Basically this re-implements iOS’s notification badges feature on your home screen. Nova Launcher is also arguably the best home screen for Android and besides notification badges, it has a lot of useful features such as customisable gestures controls, Google Now integration, icon packs/themes ssupport, Sesame Shortcuts…

 

>  I find I'm not always registering a missed message.

 

I’d recommend hiding persistent/junk notifications and reducing the priority of less-important notifications so you can focus on the important ones. To hide notifications from an app, simply long-press the notification and select “Block all notifications”. If you tap on “more settings” in that same panel, you can further fine-tune your notification options for that app, e.g., you can choose whether or not that notification appears on your lock screen, whether or not it can interrupt you, whether or not the icon appears on the taskbar etc.

 

Basically if you’re finding that you’re missing notifications, I’d suggest that you turn off notifications for those apps or make them lower priority so you don’t get pinged unnecessarily. Also, certain apps like Gmail or Inbox have options to notify you only for specific labels or important emails, so do check those options for apps which generate a lot of notifications. 

 

Also, check out PushBullet - PushBullet can sync notifications between all your devices (has clients for various OSes, including browser plugins). You can set up PushBullet to sync notifications from only specific apps so you’ll never miss a notification from that app no matter which device you’re on.

 

Finally, you can also use third-party apps like Tasker to perform extra actions on notifications containing specific keywords or from specific apps, e.g. you can make your phone vibrate in a special pattern.

 

Android’s notification system is infinitely more customisable than iOS - there should be absolutely no excuse at all for missing notifications.




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  Reply # 1872928 26-Sep-2017 10:12
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Krishant007:

 

Lizard1977:

 

I'm busily setting up my Note8 (more on that later), but one thing has me stumped - how to bring across my contacts.  On my iPhone, I added my outlook.com account, and was able to choose to sync contacts to my phone, and that worked well.  However, I can't see how to get the same outcome on the Note8.  I have installed Outlook, and added my Outlook.com account, but Contacts doesn't show my contacts.  My quick googling only gave suggestions for how to export contacts as a CSV file from the Outlook desktop app (which I don't use) - nothing about syncing from the Cloud Outlook.com account.

 

Any ideas?

 

 

I personally have been using Gmail to sync all my contacts across all my devices. But i thought Outlook would be very similar. When I go into Accounts under Settings, I click on the Outlook account I had added, it gives me the toggle to sync Contacts. 

 

What do you see when you click Account>Outlook account?

 

 

It's all sorted now.  I forgot exactly what I did, but I needed to enable something elsewhere before it would let me turn on Sync Contacts in the Outlook Account page.




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  Reply # 1872943 26-Sep-2017 10:39
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d3Xt3r:

 

Keyboard - check out SwiftKey - you can easily switch between compact and full-sized versions and also switch sides without having to go into the full settings. Besides that, SwiftKey’s word prediction is second to none and it has a ton of useful features not found in other keyboards.

 

Notifications - I’d recommend installing Nova Launcher with the Tesla Unread add-on. Basically this re-implements iOS’s notification badges feature on your home screen. Nova Launcher is also arguably the best home screen for Android and besides notification badges, it has a lot of useful features such as customisable gestures controls, Google Now integration, icon packs/themes ssupport, Sesame Shortcuts…

 

>  I find I'm not always registering a missed message.

 

I’d recommend hiding persistent/junk notifications and reducing the priority of less-important notifications so you can focus on the important ones. To hide notifications from an app, simply long-press the notification and select “Block all notifications”. If you tap on “more settings” in that same panel, you can further fine-tune your notification options for that app, e.g., you can choose whether or not that notification appears on your lock screen, whether or not it can interrupt you, whether or not the icon appears on the taskbar etc.

 

Basically if you’re finding that you’re missing notifications, I’d suggest that you turn off notifications for those apps or make them lower priority so you don’t get pinged unnecessarily. Also, certain apps like Gmail or Inbox have options to notify you only for specific labels or important emails, so do check those options for apps which generate a lot of notifications. 

 

Also, check out PushBullet - PushBullet can sync notifications between all your devices (has clients for various OSes, including browser plugins). You can set up PushBullet to sync notifications from only specific apps so you’ll never miss a notification from that app no matter which device you’re on.

 

Finally, you can also use third-party apps like Tasker to perform extra actions on notifications containing specific keywords or from specific apps, e.g. you can make your phone vibrate in a special pattern.

 

Android’s notification system is infinitely more customisable than iOS - there should be absolutely no excuse at all for missing notifications.

 

 

Thanks for that.  I installed Swiftkey just now - man, that's amazing!  I think I tried it when it was released for iOS a while ago and couldn't see what the fuss was all about, but it makes a huge difference on the Note8.  I'm very impressed by the flow function, which I'd read about but hadn't used before.  The accuracy is fantastic - so often tech promises something cool but never really delivers.  This isn't one of those times, very impressed to see such a quality product (especially a free product!)

 

Will look into Nova launcher later.  I've heard about it from others, and sounds like it will be another good addition.


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  Reply # 1873065 26-Sep-2017 13:44
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Fyi:

The Samsung keyboard 'continuous input' setting allows you to swipe (flow) on the inbuilt keyboard.



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  Reply # 1876048 2-Oct-2017 12:19
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Day 10 - second impressions

 

Hardware

 

I continue to be impressed by the quality of the hardware.  Battery life has been pretty good, especially considering I'm "playing" with it a lot more than I did with my iPhone 6.  I get to the end of the day (~10pm) with anything between 15-25% battery left, having picked it up off the charger around 6am.  So that's a solid 16 hours of use.  My demands aren't probably that onerous - web browsing, messaging, Spotify, some video casting - but I'm using it in much the same way as my old iPhone 6, which often was getting dangerously low (~10%) by the late evening, and occasionally I would top it off before it got that bad.  The Note has a larger battery, but also a larger, brighter screen, so I'd call this a small win.

 

I do find the phone to be slightly slippery.  The supplied plastic case probably doesn't help, but it's okay for now.  I've ordered some alternatives from Aliexpress - a "leather" case with a card slot on the back - the same design as I had for my iPhone 6 - but I'm thinking that might actually be a bad idea given that I'm also using a wireless charger.  That can't be a good combination.  Also, I'm using Android Pay, so if I have my Paywave Visa card in the slot on the back of the case I can see the card reader getting confused if I try and use Android Pay.  Which, by the way, is awesome.  Even though it's functionally the same as Paywave, it's indescribably more exciting to pay with my phone.  Also cool to get notifications for my purchases, making it a little easier to work out where all my money has gone.  Back to the cases though - the card slot cover is probably not a good option, so I'm looking at the Alacantra cover as a way of providing a bit more grip.  Also giving some thought to the Whitestone Dome protector.  I've never used a phone without a screen protector, but the curved display of the Note is going to make a traditional protector tricky to use.  The Whitestone looks comprehensive, but the "permanence" of the application worries me a little, as is the apparent thickness of the protector, which I can see collecting a lot of dust and pocket lint along the edges, which could ruin the otherwise neat lines of the device.  The counterpoint is the risk of damaging the screen.  I haven't decided yet, so the question of screen protection remains up in the air.

 

My SD Card arrived on Wednesday.  This is one of the most unfamiliar aspects for me, coming from iOS - expandable storage.  I had to do a bit of googling to discover that there is a difference between internal storage and portable storage as Android describes it, and depending on how I format the card determines how it will work with the OS.  It looks like I only have the choice to format as portable storage, and it's not clear why.  With only 64GB of onboard storage I'm expecting that it would make sense to shift as many things over to the SD card as possible.  What puzzled me was moving the "app" over as well.  Not sure how this actually works, and why only some apps have this option, and others don't.  If I do this, and the SD card fails or is removed, does the app fail to work?  Is it better to keep those apps on the internal storage and just have camera photos (probably the biggest user of space I'm likely to encounter) stored on the SD card?  I'm not sure what the best approach is yet, so I'm experimenting a little bit.

 

Software

 

As noted above, Swiftkey is amazing.  I still forget sometimes and start pecking away rather than swiping over the keys, so it may take a little longer for my muscle memory to embed; occasionally I try and two-hand swipe, but that doesn't work.  

 

I did download Nova and have briefly tried it.  I had a minor panic moment when my home screen layout completely changed, but discovered that I could switch back to the TouchWiz layout and everything was preserved.  That reassured me, and will let me experiment with Nova (and Apex, which I've also downloaded) and test them side by side.  It's a shame that the one feature I'm really craving at the moment is a badge notification for unread emails in Outlook, and that's only available in the premium version of those launchers.  I managed for many years on Apple with mostly free apps, but I suspect I may have to crack open the wallet and stump up for some paid apps with Android.  I note that some apps have a badge notification function built in (e.g. Textra, Telegram, Viber), so maybe there is a good email app out there that already does the badge notification?  I haven't had a chance to explore yet.

 

I'm getting more used to the overall style and feel of Android, and after just over a week I don't especially find myself pining for Apple's more familiar interface.  I had to use my old iPhone a few times to check what stuff I still need to extract from the handset, and it felt old and simple compared to a very fast and exciting new handset.  What has been interesting to me, as something of a social observer, is how people react when I tell them I've changed from Apple to Android.  I'm known amongst my friends, family and work colleagues as a technophile, and often has new gadgets before everyone else.  I had an iPod Touch when most people had never seen a touchscreen before, and I got an iPhone 4 before anyone got an iPhone for a work phone.  I'm often people's first port of call as the resident tech geek when there are problems, even though I'm more of a tinkerer with an interest than a professional geek.  So people tend to pay attention to what gadget I'm carrying around.  Almost without exception, everyone who has seen my Note and my Gear S3 has raised their eyebrows, surprised that I've moved away from Apple.  One colleague who is more immersed in tech (and principally uses Apple hardware) seemed shocked, and asked if I had thought about the security issues.  A lot of people seem almost appalled that I have shacked up with Android, maybe even disgusted.  I find this interesting for the social dynamic - it's almost as if using Android makes me a second class citizen!  This is really an eye opener, as when I used Apple I never had any strong views on people who used Android, though I often declared how unimpressed I was with the handset and OS it offered (and then touted how great was my iPhone).  Having experienced things from the other side, I now wonder whether others felt the same way when I didn't ooh and ahh over their Android device.  I don't think I've ever been a zealot for a particular brand or OS - I like to think I evaluate things on their merits - but I can certainly see how the Apple vs Android fanboy issue arises, when these devices can elicit such strong emotions, even unconsciously.  Maybe my experience is an outlier, and most people don't go through this.  But if they do, then it poses a really interesting sociological idea around tribalism and people's connection to technology.

 

Ultimately, though, after 10 days of use I'm very happy with my purchase.  It's not 100% perfect, probably not even 95% perfect, but I'm really enjoying the little extras that Android has offered.  Even with the Gear S3, there are some little niggles that I haven't quite worked out.  Like when I get a notification and twist to the left on the dial, I get the notification, but have to press back, then twist left again to be able to swipe up to dismiss the notification.  However, I'm sure it's just a matter of working through them all over time. 

 

 


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  Reply # 1878129 5-Oct-2017 21:06
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I would advise against moving your apps to the SD card - it's a LOT slower than your phone's internal storage, and unreliable - removing the card will almost certainly freak out your phone if you have apps installed on it. Best to leave your SD for stuff that doesn't require speed and is non-essential to your phone, like large media files, downloads etc.

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