I recently updated my Droid Razr Maxx to ICS, or Ice Cream Sandwich, and figured an updated post would be necessary as well. This entry is done from a computer however, unlike the first Razr Maxx post which used the talk-to-text feature for the entire post. After hearing, for what seemed like an eternity, from my buddy Eric that I would be able to update to ICS any day now, I was finally pushed the update by Google a month ago. Most posts here at SportsCortex will still focus on sports and social media, but people keep searching “how to take a screenshot on Razr Maxx” (press power and volume down) so an ICS update post isn’t too off base, plus I really enjoy this phone!
My first impressions were that the user interface was much cleaner, and most of the app icons looked a little smaller while some had been redesigned. The bottom of the screen now held five icons, instead of four, with the contacts or “people” icon being automatically moved down. The phone, apps, and camera icons are different, while the text icon is now green, instead of blue, and the smiley face is turned right side up instead of sideways. Small details, but it does look cleaner, and having the contacts icon readily available comes in handy often.
The notifications up top are smaller as well, and Google has integrated a much needed option, the ability to swipe delete notifications. This was a necessity as those pesky “offers” keep randomly popping up for “local singles” and “a free Iphone”. How Google lets a free Iphone offer pop up is beyond me, but I think these come from mobile app developers of whom I have downloaded an app from, if anyone knows how to opt out or stop them please share!
Another cool feature, that I have messed around with but ultimately decided against, was the new face unlock option. While Google warns, that ”Face Unlock is less secure than a pattern, PIN, or password”, it was very easy to set up and unless you have an identical twin out there, is relatively secure, but who lets their phone out of their sights at all these days anyways? Personally I usually go with the “Slide” unlock option which allows me to unlock directly to the camera, phone, or texts messages over just unlocking to the home screen. When receiving a call you can also slide unlock to answer, ignore, or text a message such as “will call you back later”, or another custom message you have set up.
These features are nice, but my favorite redesigned option is the ability to see what widgets are available, what they look like, and what size they are before selecting them for the home screen allowing you to plan out where you want them. You can view the available widgets easily from the apps icon at the bottom of the screen, and it has caused me to shift around the location of my apps and widgets at least three times already. The go to widgets I use the most are Gmail, Twitter, and the Business Calender, while the calender is the only widget I routinely use without tapping into the full application. It is nice to scroll through your Twitter timeline from the home screen, but you can’t search or switch accounts without tapping in. You can however tweet from the widget, which is very convenient and easy.
None of these changes where earth shattering, but it does seem like the phone runs smoother, is less buggy, and nearly never crashes. It also seems like the Ice Cream Sandwich update has eaten ever so slightly into the awesome battery life of the Droid Razr Maxx. The Razr Maxx has been great during the Olympics, with excellent live streaming via the Live Extra app, and sharing photos and content on various social networks is beyond easy to navigate. Overall I couldn’t be happier with my decision of choosing this device over the Iphone 4S and every time I see someone pull out their Iphone I proudly declare that I am on team droid.
Have you experienced Ice Cream Sandwich yet on your Android device? What are your favorite additions or changes to the user interface?