Decision review: Mid-range phone (Moto G), and thinking about how to get even more out of it

My Samsung Galaxy S3 started uncontrollably turning off in February. Even after I cleaned the switches and contacts, it wouldn’t reliably stay on.

On W-‘s recommendation, I switched to a Moto G (2nd gen) a few days after my old phone died. I bought the mid-range Android phone from Staples instead of getting it through a phone contract.

I was a little nervous about my Moto G’s storage limits (16GB, no external storage), but surprisingly enough, it’s been fine. I subscribe to a handful of podcasts, and I’ve given up on the desire to keep an offline copy of my sketches for easy flipping. I’ve picked a few Evernote notebooks and Dropbox folders to synchronize offline, and I leave the rest for online or desktop use.

W- recommended the Otter Commuter case, so I got that too. His is black and mine is purple. Since the phones and cases are identical, sometimes I accidentally pick up his instead of mine if I’m not looking. The case has been working out nicely as well. It’s nice not having to worry so much about dropping my phone (which I’ve done more than a few times) or cracking the screen (which I haven’t).

It’s been almost eight months with the phone. I’m happy with the decision to go with the Moto G instead of splurging on a higher-end phone or choosing something more basic. I mostly use it for alarms, activity tracking, reading, mail, calls, weather forecasts, timers, tethering, remote cheque deposits, and the occasional app or game.

I still haven’t gotten around to Android development, even though that was one of the things I was curious about. Web development is easier for me and more generally useful. I did get around to learning more about Tasker and Javascript, and the quick activity tracker I put together for my most frequently-used categories has been handy. I haven’t played around much with NFC either, since that activity tracker’s been convenient enough for quick interactions and it’s always available.

The recent Android OS update improved the power use. I’ve been okay in terms of battery life – enough to feel comfortable listening to podcasts or leave the pedometer app running in the background.

I’ll probably use my phone even more over the next year, so it might be good to think about how I can get even more value out of it.

  • I haven’t quite gotten into the habit of reading e-books on my phone, even though I have the Kindle and Overdrive apps installed. I think it’s a combination of being impatient with the low information-density-per-page-turn of non-fiction books and not building up a fiction backlog instead. I read a bit of fanfiction from time to time. Hmm, maybe I can slowly work my way through classic literature.
  • In terms of podcasts, I like listening to CBC’s Ideas program, and W- and I sometimes chat about the episodes. I also listen to podcasts about philosophy, and Stoicism in particular. I can look around for tech shows, like the one that Daniel Gopar is starting up around Emacs.
  • It would probably be good to take more pictures, too. Sewing, maybe?
  • If I trim my Feedly blog subscriptions a bit more and then add feeds in line with my current interests, that would help me get more out of blog reading.
  • Jotting quick ideas in Evernote worked well before, but I haven’t been doing it lately because I’ve been casually browsing the web instead. Since browsing has diminishing returns, perhaps I’ll shift more attention towards writing.
  • I wonder if the performance and accuracy of speech recognition has improved enough for it to be mostly usable. Hmm…
  • Time to get back to doing flashcards, too!

I’ve settled into comfortable routines, but there’s so much I haven’t explored yet. Looking forward to taking advantage of the phone’s capabilities!