Friday, November 19, 2010

Push sync or customised sync : which do you use?

I am using Exchange ActiveSync on my Samsung Wave, running BADA OS. I set up my hotmail and gmail accounts without any problem, but over months of usage, I am noticing some differences in the way the two work.

To start with, here are my settings for sync. I get several options in sync schedule, allowing me to tweak the sync settings for peak and off-peak periods.

Enter into the peak schedule menu and I get an option to set the frequency of sync - either push (instant) or with varying degrees of infrequency (5 minutes or less frequently)

I like having these options. As per my understanding, push sync is instant ie. the mail server pushes the mail to my phone as soon as it arrives. When I set a 'sync' option,  my phone checks the server and retrieves my mail, at pre-defined intervals that I can customise. Do note that in both cases, I can sync all settings like contacts, calendar, email etc. It is only the frequency of sync that we are discussing here.

Both options have their merits and de-merits. Push sync means instant delivery, and that is critical when I receive work-related mails, and when I am travelling. However, since I get a huge volume of mails, I have also observed that this can drain the battery life faster. And sometimes, it can distract me from work that I need to concentrate on. You know, the syndrome of constantly checking mail :)

Customised sync intervals give me more flexibility. If I set a sync schedule of 5 minutes, it should mean that delivery is almost as instant as push mail. And if I set a greater interval, mail delivery is less frequent. So for example, at night, I can set an off-peak schedule of 12 hours to sync my mail less frequently, as in any case I won't be checking mail till I get up. I  would do the same when I want to save battery life.

So initially I set up varying sync schedules for both my mail accounts.

But I soon ran into problems. Since the last 3 weeks, I have been travelling a lot. On flights, I obviously have to switch off my phone. And in at least 3 instances I found after switching on the phone again, that gmail would not sync, despite repeated attempts. I had to give up and put it back onto push sync (where it works perfectly). Hotmail on the other hand, syncs perfectly with any settings. Of course, I am able to sync my hotmail only because Microsoft has implemented this feature since August 2010.

So at this stage, I have fixed my problem, but I am unable to identify the reason why I have problems with my gmail account alone. I thought it would be interesting to ask other users of ActiveSync what settings they are using for gmail and for other accounts.