Since its birth in 2007, the iPhone has constantly been referred to as the standard for what a smartphone should be. It brought a large, capacitive touchscreen to consumers, a decent camera (relative to those before it) and a mobile web browsing experience never thought possible before. With time, an another generation down the road, consumers were introduced to mass amounts of easily attainable and affordable applications which changed the smartphone forever. One of the more important changes brought with the iPhone, however, is the most consistent, fluid and smooth performance out of any pocket-sized device.
Not long after, other manufacturers began trying their hand at the “modern smartphone,” removing hardware keyboards and fitting their phones with large, touchscreen displays. The first device dubbed the “iPhone killer” was the BlackBerry Storm – oh, how wrong we were. The keyboard specialists could not let go of tactile feedback for a second and the Storm, equipped with their controversial SurePress technology, was a devastating flop.
Soon to follow RIM and their touchscreen endeavors was the Android platform from Google with the backing of several existing giants in the mobile realm: HTC, Samsung, Motorola, LG, Sony Ericsson, Dell and more.
Until February of this year, if you wanted an iPhone in the US, the only official way to purchase one on contract was through AT&T. With millions of consumers seeking an iPhone-like experience but not wanting to switch carriers, Verizon, with their Droid Does campain, showed consumers that the iPhone was not the only smartphone that could. Millions have bought Android powered phones on the assumption that they are a worthy alternative to the iPhone. And, for all intents and purposes, they are.
Although Android phones may be able to perform many of the same actions as the iPhone and probably much more, even the best Android phones – equipped with the most advanced processor technology – have been victims of lag and other performance issues, until recently.
The first dual-core phone was announced back in December of 2010 by LG: the Optimus 2X (AKA T-Mobile G2x). Since then, a handful of phones and tablets sporting dual-core processors have surfaced. I have had plenty of hands-on time with dual-core Android devices. Sure, they perform better than their single-core counterparts. But take the Atrix, Optimus 3D or G2x for example. No thanks to custom UIs and/or not being on the proper version of Android (2.2 and below), the performance boost is minimal and only noticeable in applications and media playback.
But what happens when you load optimized, unbloated software – like stock Gingerbread or a stable build of CyanogenMod – on a dual-core phone?
Seeing as the T-Mobile G2x is still stuck on Froyo, out of the box, it hardly performs to its fullest potential. I bought one just days ago to toy with the dual-core processor and see what I could make of it. Within 10 minutes of making it home with the G2x, I had it rooted and the latest official build of CyanogenMod (version 7.1 RC1). After four days, I have yet to experience a single slowdown. The app drawer pops and apps launch and load within a blink of an eye after tapping an icon and the camera app (which is notoriously the slowest to launch) loads as fast as I can lift my finger from the screen. The only way I can explain performance is iPhone-like or “buttery smooth.”
Theoretically, other dual-core Android phones should be able to perform just as well, but things like custom UIs and lack of optimization from OEMs make these would-be superphones perform more like their single-core predecessors. Over the past few days, my Twitter feed has been littered with retweets of users complaining about lag on the Sensation. Even Aaron experienced some lag on the EVO 3D and quite a bit with the Sensation, too. These are powerful phones in which lag should never be an issue. But that obviously isn't the case.
This just goes to show that if performance was given a little more attention by OEMs, these high-powered devices could perform like they are supposed to. Instead, performance gets sacrificed for flashy visuals and animations and Android gets tagged by outsiders as buggy, laggy and beta-like. If it weren't for custom ROMs and the ability to tweak my phone to perform as it should, I would have probably left the Android camp long ago.
Do any of you have a dual-core phone that lags? Have you tried a custom ROM on it? If so, was the difference night and day? Did you ever consider returning it for something else?