New Android user - the first 48 hours


Oct 2, 2010
Hello everyone,

Last weekend, a friend of mine showed me his brand new HTC smartphone running Android - and I was instantly hooked. As a long time gadget freak, I've owned and played around with devices running every mobile OS except Blackberry, and since last week, I'm convinced that Android is going to beat them all. I'd tell you why, but I don't want to make this introduction post too long.

So I sold my Acer netbook and ordered an Android tablet from Amazon UK to replace it. It's a model X5A tablet running Android 2.1 with HDMI out and USB host support. I don't know who the manufacturer is as most of the information printed on the back is in Chinese. Other than that, it just says MIDX5 and the serial number.

First impression: solid and dependable. Most of the casing is metal, so the tablet feels quite heavy while still having a sleek look and feel. I like that. It's why I decided not to opt for a much cheaper plastic alternative such as Rockpad.

Firing the device up, I was pleasantly surprised by the short time it took to boot. It actually boots faster than my N900, which is a mobile phone for god's sake. Android 1 - Maemo 0.

I'd read about problems connecting to and installing from Android Market, so that's the first thing I tried after setting up a connection to my wireless router. No problem there. Slipped in a 16 GB SD card and the file manager instantly recognized and played the media files that I'd previously loaded it with. It even recognized MS Office files, but generated an error on accessing them. So I looked for Abiword or OpenOffice in the Market, found neither and ended up installing Quickoffice. This works fine for opening and editing existing documents, but the formatting in newly created Word documents is all wrong. Bit of a dispappoinment there after paying around 7 euros.

Gmail is pre-installed, and the email client had no trouble at all synching with my other webmail accounts - even Hotmail worked on first attempt after just entering my email address and password. I've never seen any mail client on any platform manage that before. Other stuff that works right out of the box: Google Calendar, Maps, Kindle, YouTube and Google Talk. I plugged in the USB connector for my wireless mouse & keyboard, and those worked too - mostly. Any button that's not there on the tablet's virtual keyboard will not work on the wireless one. It shouldn't be too hard to fix that, but I've only had my tablet for two days now, so this is still just first impressions.

Problems? I thought the G sensor might be defective, but after a little forum-searching I found out it simply doesn't have one. So I installed rotateD to at least enable switching from Portrait to Landscape. Also, after connecting the device's HDMI port to my LCD TV, it didn't show video anymore, only the sound would play. This turned out te be a setting: switching video output back from HDMI to None took care of that.

It took a while for me to realize that my USB memory stick was mounted at /scsi while the card is simply /sdcard, and I've had no luck so far using a USB harddisk. Also, battery management is flaky.

In all, I'm happy with the stuff that works and maybe even happier that there's some tweaking left to do. Which I'm going to do right now.

good weekend all,