figmo: (Default)
[personal profile] figmo
I currently have a "dumb" phone that's on its last legs. I'm looking at upgrading to either an iPhone 4S or a Samsung Galaxy. My service provider is AT&T, and yes, I'm way overdue for my upgrade. Here's what I care about:
  • Ease of use.
    I expect there to be a learning curve, especially since I'll no longer be able to dial by feel. Which is easier to use as a phone, including the speaker feature?
  • Searching while talking.
    Can I look up stuff on my smartphone while I'm talking on it? If so, how awkward is it?
  • PDA functionality.
    Let me be blunt: I Miss My Palm Zire 72. I want to be able to use my smartphone as a calendar, alarm clock with customized alarms, and as a list-tracker. Do either have apps that can do this? My iPod Touch's alarm clock is way too soft to wake me up; I've heard the iPhone is way better this way, though. I have no experience with the Android platform.
  • Available apps.
    What's out there for each platform? I know I can run apps on an iPhone that'll save me money (which will help offset the monthly data fee). Do these exist for the Android?
  • Upgradability.
    Can I upgrade the hardware or software at all? The iPhone appears to be software upgradeable but not hardware upgradeable, while the Galaxy appears to be the other way around. Please correct me if I'm wrong here.
  • Battery life.
    How do they compare?
  • Tethering.
    I'm going to have to pay for a measured service plan no matter how I roll it, so how easy is it to use either one as a MiFi hotspot? Yes, this is very important to me.
  • "Regret factor."
    Will I still feel good about this phone a year from now? I like buying tech gear that's going to last me a while and keep me happy, which means I tend to go for the top of the line.
  • Other stuff.
    Since I don't have a smartphone, I don't know what I'm missing or what to look for beyond what I've mentioned.
So...which is better, and why?

Date: 2011-11-26 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can't speak to the use factors on the iPhone, because I never have nor will use one (I have serious issues with Apple's corporate policies, including telling its users what they can and cannot do with their purchased hardware)(this has been somewhat alleviated since the federal ruling that jailbreaking a phone is not a federal offense).

The iPhone will get all the software upgrades that Apple provides (naturally), whereas an Android phone (except for the Galaxy Nexus phones, which are the "native Google" phones) will usually have some delays in OS upgrades (and some may never receive them). That's because manufacturers generally overlay their own skins on Android. You can fix that, if you wish, by rooting your phone and installing your own launcher, including ones that are essentially plain-vanilla Android.

Android is fine in terms of PDA use (I've used it for calendar, clock, alarm, and note taking using native apps). Its variety of apps is adequate (except that there's no decent game of bridge available, especially free) if you want to replace any of these. Not sure what you mean by "save you money" -- do you mean couponing apps, price comparison apps, etc.? If so, Android has them, too. If you mean, make the phone usage less costly, maybe not.

Android's learning curve is fairly shallow, unless you want to poke all the corners and dark places, or develop for it. Several hours is all most users will need to be fully up to speed.

I HAVE looked at the screens on the latest Android phones, and the displays seem to me to be roughly equivalent to the iPhone screens my friends have shown me.

I've heard reports that the iPhone 4S has similar battery issues to prior versions; that is, that it can be problematic. Then again, so can any smartphone.

You CAN tether your Android phone one of two ways that will preclude the tethering fee (although you might have your provider give you grief if they monitor your data use). PDANet is a terrific app that allows you to tether either by USB cable or by BlueTooth. Vice versa, you can root your phone, which has its own complications, but allows you unfettered access to the native hotspot app that is generally available (or is available in the Android Market).

One thing Android is somewhat lacking in at the moment is hardware add-ons. In particular, I envy iPhone users the plug-in stereo mic that allows the phone to be used as a good recording device.

Hope that helps, some.

Date: 2011-11-27 12:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have a Galaxy S. I got it to replace a blackberry because my fingers didn't work well for the blackberry keypad. One of its unwanted features is pocket dialing, which is annoying. The clip on the holster it came with broke in less than 24 hours. The Sprint store gave me a different one, but I never use it because it's a little too tight and I don't like it, and it falls off my belt too much. The battery life is terrible if you actually use features like automatic email checking, or allowing the lightup to stay on for more than 15 seconds. It was lasting about 4-5 hours until I looked up how to shut all that stuff off, and now it usually lasts about 12 hours with normal use. The Blackberry battery life was 24-48 hours. Another annoyance is it gives you repeated messages to plug in when there is still 30-60 minutes of battery life. The reason I don't have an iphone is I'm happy with Sprint service, and they don't seem to do iphone. Also, if you travel outside the US, you have to be very careful, or some of the standard options may run up huge roaming charges. Like $200.00 in the space of 3 or 4 days. On my most recent trip to Canada, for instance, I shut off the international roaming except when I needed to make a call or use the GPS to figure out where I was when I got lost. What I DO like: the pullout keyboard is nice for my stubby fingers.

Date: 2011-11-27 12:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, and you should talk to Howard, in case you hadn't thought of that already. He knows a lot more about this stuff than I do.

The one question I have

Date: 2011-11-27 01:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
is whether or not you REALLY need a smart phone or not. I still have a "dumb" phone (when my Motorola W490 died, I purchased a Samsung T259). The biggest factor you need to consider is COST. I'm still paying about $100 a year for phone service. I don't need it for anything else. The downside to this is that there are very few "dumb" phones available to use unless you get something like the Motorola KRZR or Motorola RAZR (not the Droid RAZR) and are willing to stay with 2G or 3G technology.

As far as a PDA, I don't use the PDA I do have (Sony Clie PEG-NR70V/U).

Re: The one question I have

Date: 2011-11-27 01:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You forget something: My primary $$$ is made in the computing field. I've put IOS on my resume (from using my iPad Touch) just so I can get my foot in the door at companies that develop hardware and software for that market. I may want to get a cheap Android device just to be able to put that on my resume, although I can't figure out what I'd actually use one for if it wasn't a phone. (I have used my iPad Touch at work; it's great for taking photos of whiteboards, recording stuff, and looking stuff up when it's not convenient or proper to have my laptop with me.)

The "tethering" feature is a major win for me because my ability to earn $$$ is directly tied to whether or not I can get to the Internet. If having a device makes the difference between earning or not earning $$$, it's totally worth it.


Date: 2011-11-27 01:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That I did not realize. Then I say you should listen to those who know more about this than I.

Re: The one question I have

Date: 2011-11-27 10:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The color and tablet Nooks from B&N are android devices. (and will run most android apps.)

Just if you wanted an android device which is potentially useful, though not particularly cheap.

Date: 2011-11-27 01:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you already use a Mac for your computer, the iPhone is a natural extension when it comes to contacts, calendar and email.

Date: 2011-11-27 03:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
One thing I'll say for Apple is they never had a commercial where a guy said "I'm creative" and someone replies with "dude, you're a barista" in a mocking tone. I was a barista once, and don't appreciate being mocked for having the gumption to think I could still be creative.

I love my iPhone, and just told the CEO of samsung that I won't be buying any of his junk while he's around, even if he makes a phone that shoots lasers at my enemies and turns their guts into some sort of dessert. Not that he'll ever see it or anything, but that commercial really got under my skin.

Date: 2011-11-27 06:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I never saw that commercial. If I had, it'd have made my decision much easier. The best baristas are creative.

Date: 2011-11-27 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's new. Saw it before The Muppets.

Date: 2011-11-27 06:21 pm (UTC)
ext_12246: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
That took me a moment to figure. When I first saw The Muppets, there were no cell phones or the like.


Date: 2011-11-28 01:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My Android phone by LG is a hunk of junk. Never had to reboot a phone so often just to make it work. I try not to use it for a phone call because it has a bad habit of locking up the screen so you can't hang up at the end of a call. It
Is a good thing i don't pay for minutes.

Re: Yup.

Date: 2011-11-28 01:31 am (UTC)
ext_12246: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
That is a bad thing to happen... but a good thing to know. Thanks.

Date: 2011-11-27 05:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
We love our iPhone and have had it for some time.

Date: 2011-11-27 07:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Before I started working at Apple, I bought an iPhone. I haven't looked back.

I think my friend Splicer's posts about his history with phones may help you out, though:

Most recent. ( He's been through several phones over the years, and it's worth searching for his older posts as you may find them helpful.

Me? I'll stick with my 4S.

Date: 2011-11-27 09:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll try to get back to this post later, since I sell the damned things for a living and am a little opinionated, but for now?

Anything with "galaxy" in the name is going to have an absolutely gorgeous screen, and an absolutely awful battery life. They make portable batteries that you can charge in your computer's USB port and stick into your phone for about an hour of extra juice (for most phones -- figure about a half-hour for galaxy phones). I have two, and for most androids, they are merely occasionally useful -- for galaxy phones, they are vital unless you spend all day at your desk or in your car.

Unless you plan to regularly stroke it lovingly while watching movies on it, I'd recommend a different android.

Date: 2011-11-27 09:50 pm (UTC)
cellio: (avatar-face)
From: [personal profile] cellio
I got my first smartphone two months ago. I was reasonably agnostic about the whole Apple-Android thing; either would have been fine. What settled it for me was that I, like you, keep devices for a long time, which means I care about future-proofing, so I wanted something that would work on the 4G network. No, I'm not using that wide a pipe now, but in a year or two? Who knows? I put off getting the phone because the next iPhone was always "just around the corner"; when they announced the 4S and it didn't have 4G, I was done with that for this time around. I'll re-evaluate in several years.

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