I've had my Arc for almost 3 months, and I have waited to review it until now because you can't review something you don't know well, and besides, lots of reported "errors" in any technology are due to user inexperience.
I wonder how I ever did without this phone as it is endlessly useful. I'm a stay-at-home-Granny. The Organiser reminds me of appointments. When using the phone for a call, the caller's voice is clearly audible, and made me realise how I struggled to hear on my last phone. Text messaging and typing emails are especially easy in Landscape mode. The camera is excellent but takes getting used to. I was disappointed in the early shots and then I found out how to use the camera properly, the picture quality is stunning. The Exmor engine is supposed to take good photos in low light settings, and I can report that it does. Last week, I took photos of a building lit up with subtle spotlights, and I snapped the same scene with my Panasonic Lumix camera and with the phone, and they couldn't be compared! The phone won hands down for picture quality, much to my surprise. As this phone is so useful, I always have it with me so I have been able to turn on the camera and get a cute shot of the grandchildren in a jiffy. In the past, I missed scenes I would have liked to have photographed but didn't have a camera to hand, much to my regret. You can also make voice notes and memos.
(My daughter has one of these phones too. She saw her neighbour's Gran trip on loose paving stones and break her hip. After the ambulance left, she photographed the area, and it's just as well because the Council came to repair it pretty smartly after they heard about the accident, but there is photographic evidence of what caused the fall. Before camera phones it wouldn't have been likely someone would have a camera to hand & the evidence would be missed). If you are shopping for someone else, you can photograph the item and send it in a Multimedia Message to the person you are shopping for so they can see if what you are looking at is what they want.
You download Apps on the Android Market, and I will mention a couple of useful ones.
1. Evernote. My recipes are in there, with travel docs, aeroplane boarding passes, shopping lists, photos of ads in shop windows, comparison shopping notes and more besides. So I can see a biscuit recipe and have the phone play music to me while working in the kitchen.
2. Sanity. It can "say" the caller's name so you can hear who it is while you are busy and can decide whether to take the call or phone the caller back. It blocks phone numbers and texts as well as "allowing" only people in your contacts list to get through. Or you can tell it you want "emergency calls only" from selected numbers. It really puts you in charge.
3. Advanced App Killer. It's an instant way of shutting down the battery draining processes when you aren't using them.
4. Quick Settings. A widget to connect to WiFi, Synchronisation, adjust screen brightness and to silence or enable the ringtone.
It's quick and easy to get into your email account, facebook, check train times, use the Calculator function, and access your photos and music. YouTube and BBC iPlayer work very well. The processor is fast and the functions quick and snappy. It can handle Documents and Spreadsheets. It has a timer/stopwatch which has loads of uses from timing how long to leave conditioner in your hair to timing the Christmas turkey. If you use Picasa or Photobucket, you have immediate access to all your online content.
In Spain recently, I depended on Google Translate and no matter where I am I need Maps and Directions. You can "pair" with someone else in Latitude and it shows how to find each other using a map, so no more searching for someone you had arranged to meet. It will show you things like Cash Machines, Petrol Stations, Restaurants and other useful things in a strange city. A Bar Code Reader tells you what a product is and where to buy it and allows Comparison shopping. You might scan a book's barcode, for instance, and you will have all the info you need within seconds.
If you turn off functions you aren't using (like the internet connection when you don't want to look something up) and keep the display brightness low when the phone isn't in use, the battery will last at least two days. Looking after your battery is a habit you just have to get into. It's not difficult, inconvenient or complicated, but it doesn't do it itself - as the User, that's your job.
All of these things work seamlessly in a beautiful handset that is comfortable to hold in the hand. I really don't know how I ever managed without it.
The next bit is not about the phone itself, but about covers. At first I couldn't hear when the phone rang & I took it to a phone shop to find out why. They took the cover off and it worked perfectly. The cover had been specially made for the Arc and is sold on Amazon. It's a great cover but it muffles the sound. So I bought a Krussell case. It fits beautifully and the sound is clear as a bell. But the leather fittings don't allow you to swipe the Notification bar or access the keys to unlock the screen. And as it fits so snugly, it takes a while to get the phone out of the case. You can talk with the cover on, but not text or access any other functions. So I'm going to try the PDAir case now. I had one for my old Nokia and it was fantastic. These Smartphones aren't cheap, so most people would like to use something to protect it from normal day to day mishaps.
To end this review, let me say that my 76 yr old mother loves the phone so much and found it so easy to use and understand that she is determined to have one of her own. Yet at the same time, young people love it too - it enhances their street cred.
I just love it and would buy it again. It's great!