Let me start by making it quite clear, that this isn’t a review. It isn’t a dig at the various products. It is just my opinion as a user who is stuck trying to find a useful phone. One that doesn’t go out of its way to make my life difficult.
I have been a Note fan since my first Note. I have had in my possession a Note 2, Note 3, Note 4, Note 10 (1st Gen) and Note Pro 12.2. The Note 5 was never made available in the UK, and even if it was, I had no intention of trading in a perfectly good Note 4 for something with a limited battery capacity.
What I look for in a phone are:
- Navigation buttons (Home, Back) that are always visible and available.
- Camera that is easily accessible and takes good pictures.
- Earphone socket so that I can listen to music in airports, on planes and on trains.
- Battery with an extremely large capacity (even when using Pokemon Go). Or one that I can replace the battery with a large capacity battery.
- Stylus so that I can write some of my notes in Evernote and draw images.
- Quick and easy to take notes.
- Ability to hold the phone on the edges without touching the screen. This is so that I can hold it securely without dropping it.
The first thing I do with my phone is buy a large capacity battery. With the Note 2, Note 3 and Note 4, this was very easy. I travel and when travelling I find that I spend more time than usual on my phone. I keep it in my pocket with earphones plugged in so that I can listen to my music without being hindered or damaging my phone. I don’t plug it into the USB charging sockets that are available on aircraft as they tend to get in my way and when I move, I sometimes damage the cable. This also makes it difficult to put the phone down and do some drawing as the cable gets in the way.
I like the offscreen navigation buttons as they allow me to do things quickly without interfering with what is on the screen. For me this is quick, easy and frustration free. I know that there are people out there that believe that I am an idiot for liking the offscreen buttons. But that isn’t true. The phone/tablet is there to support me. I am not there to work around it’s peculiarities. Please keep in mind that onscreen keyboards are hard to see when the battery on the phone is running low.
I do a lot of hand writing and drawing. I find this to be the fastest way for me to take notes on phones and tablets. I can easily express my ideas without being stuck in a line by line format. With a keyboard that keeps changing what I am trying to write.
My plan was to buy a Note 7 as my last Note and hope that the rumors about the next Note’s weren’t true. But as you all know, the Note 7’s were recalled leaving me with nothing as the Note 4’s stopped being produced.
The first Note replacement that I bought was a Sony Xperia XZ. This was the biggest purchase mistake that I have made in decades. I found the pictures to not be very good, the onscreen keyboard would display when I swiped from the bottom of the screen. But when I pressed the home or back icon quite often the application behind the navigation area also received the click event. I started many a game and have taken may a picture trying to click the back button to get out of it. This is very frustrating to me. All I want is something where I can click and it is done. Simple and pain free. The battery life on this phone also doesn’t get close to my needs. Overall I found this phone to be very frustrating to use. I did not like it at all.
I then bought an LG V20. This is not available in Europe. Something to do with the LG marketing department not having a clue when the biggest competitor in the Android market was recalling their Note 7’s. I had to buy it from Hong Kong. It came with dual sim card and 64GB flash. I also bought a battery kit which includes a spare battery and charger. This has been working brilliantly for me. The photos and videos are clear and in focus. I have set the onscreen navigation keys to always show (where possible). And for the most part they work as expected for a device without proper navigation buttons. When I bring them up and click the back or home buttons, the background application doesn’t suddenly start a game or take a photo. It has a quick note facility that is available from the second screen. There is one frustrating flaw with this phone though. It doesn’t have a Stylus, or natively support a stylus. This is making it difficult for me to take notes and draw pictures. Otherwise this phone would be perfect for my needs.