I Almost Bought an HTC Flyer Yesterday. Here’s Why I Didn’t

HTC FlyerI had a couple of hours or so to kill yesterday so I thought I’d hop over to the local Best Buy and go hands on with the HTC Flyer. I’ve been intrigued with Sumocat’s live coverage as he uses a review unit while on a road trip for business. You know how these sorts of things go. You say you’re just going to look, but before you go you make sure you check your credit card balance just in case.

Well, I got to Best Buy found the device and (surprise) a very friendly sales person who quickly responded to my request to hand over a stylus to check out the Flyer. They left me a lone to play research for some time. Of course I was most interested in checking out the Inking features and I have to say I was more than pleasantly surprised at how well it works for note taking. The integration with Evernote is well done and there is no problem with the digitizer and stray marks from your palm or hand resting on the screen.

I had to take a breath as I was feeling a purchase coming on, so I hiked around the store a bit and came back to the device. After working with it for about another 20 minutes I decided not to make the purchase. Here’s why.

  • While it is easy to lay down Ink there are some problems for me. First, I don’t like the click clack sound of the stylus on the screen. I find it annoying after using Tablet PCs that didn’t give me that issue or an iPad that doesn’t either. Second, I like to Ink in portrait mode. It works on the Flyer but I felt more cramped than I wanted to.
  • While you can get the pen cheaper elsewhere, the $80 bucks that Best Buy is charging is just wrong. That is just a poor marketing decision on both HTC and Best Buy’s part. If you’re going to create a device that uses Inking as its differentiator, include the damn stylus for no extra cost. It’s like calling yourself a baseball player and not having a bat.
  • The device feels cheap to me. Between the feel of the device’s material in my hand and the color scheme it increasingly felt like a toy the more I worked with it.
  • Why spend money (besides gadget lust) on a device that will theoretically have the Honeycomb update in the future (not a sure thing) or be surpassed by a Honeycomb version either before or after the update may or may not be available?
  • I looked at some eBooks and did not like how it felt reading. That’s crazy I know given the size of the screen compared to a Kindle (yeah, I still use one of those in addition to an iPad) but something just did not feel right in the experience. I can’t pin it down but it was a visceral dislike.
  • Three flash videos I tried to play responded well. Seven others crashed. I want my tablet to hit better than .300 if I’m going to take advantage of FLASH. Actually, I want it to work all the time. The sales person’s reasoning why the crashing occurred blamed it on everything but FlASH, and some of that could be true. But when she said that FLASH also crashed on the iPad (it can’t crash if it isn’t a capability) and every other device, well…. yeah, that’s a winning sales pitch.

So, in the end I decided against the purchase. I think I’m glad I did. Keep in mind that you may find my objections to the HTC Flyer not objectionable at all. But these kind of purchases are very personal ones. At least you can go try the device out for yourself and see how it feels for you.