Choosing a smartphone - help us figure out options

We’re Veridiots, at present, and have 3 year old LG ENV phones. Great for texting but the battery life on one of the pair is not great, and the sound quality on both is degrading.

If we decide to take the plunge and get smartphones soon, our options are:

Switch to AT&T and get an iPhone.

Stay with Verizon and get an iPhone.

Stay with Verizon and get an Android-based unit.

Stay with Verizon and get new “dumb” phones.

AT&T pros:

  • Dude, it’s an IPHONE!
  • We already have iPod Touches that we use as PDAs so the transition would be seamless
  • Service levels are more of a known thing than if we switch to Verizon

AT&T cons:

  • It’s AT&T and we hear grumblings about availability, dropped calls etc.
  • No unlimited data plan
  • One manufacturer, no “open source”, under Apple’s control, batteries pain to replace etc.

Verizon iPhone pros:

  • Dude, it’s an IPHONE!
  • We already have iPod Touches that we use as PDAs so the transition would be seamless
  • Verizon has great coverage anywhere we’re likely to go
  • Unlimited data (so far, anyway)

Verizon iPhone cons:

  • New technology, new network load, hard to tell what the service will be like, we don’t like being early adopters
  • The Verizon iPhone is not (I gather) quite as capable as the AT&T model
  • One manufacturer, no “open source”, under Apple’s control, batteries pain to replace etc.
  • Smaller memory than we have now on the iPods (64gig iTouches, largest iPhone is 32g I think).

Verizon Android pros:

  • Dude, it’s a DROID!!
  • Address/phone transfer is easy (we sync to a google account)
  • Small but growing supply of apps
  • Cheaper than buying an iPhone
  • Competition among manufacturers
  • Easier maintenance like battery changes (I hope)

Verizon Android cons:

  • All the apps we use would have to be replaced
  • We’d still need to carry a separate unit for music etc. since all our music is in iTunes and it’d be a huge hassle to convert that to play on the Android

Verizon dumbphone pros:

  • Who cares what we’re carrying, it’s just a way to text and talk
  • Cheaper - at 30 bucks a month for 2 phones’ data plans, we’re talking 1400 dollars in a 2 year contract
  • No need to do any transitions, and who knows what we’ll want in 2 years!
  • How often do we need internet on the fly?

verizon dumbphone cons:

  • There are times when it’d be nice to have internet access on the go

Bear in mind that battery life on smartphones is not good. An iPhone with moderate data usage on a 3G network will stretch to a day or two between charges. While I’ve not tested an Android-based phone, I’ve heard similar. If battery life is important, smartphones in general are not great.

Oh, and you can sync your contacts from Google onto an iPhone as well. Not that I’m pushing you to an iPhone; I’m happy with mine, but not blind to it or Apple’s flaws, and I’d seriously consider switching to an Android-based phone once my contract is up.

I chimed in here precisely to make that point, so +1. If you’re not happy with the battery life on your old dumb phone, you’re absolutely going to hate the battery life on a new smartphone. Any new smartphone. There’s just so much more stuff on a smartphone trying to use your battery than there is on a dumb pohne.

We should also point out that if you decide to get an Android-based phone then you should note that Verizon isn’t the only vendor out there that sells them. In particular, AT&T sells them too.

(My wife and I have Android-based smartphones via Verizon. I have a Motorola Droid X, she has an HTC Incredible. We’re both happy with our phones. We’d probably both be just as happy with an iPhone or an AT&T contract.)

Do you roam internationally? If not, ignore this. :slight_smile:

If so, and you wanted an iPhone, I’d go with the AT&T iPhone (GSM) versus the Verizon iPhone (CDMA). There are many more roaming partners for GSM networks than for CDMA. Includeng places like England, Spain, and France. Similarly with Android phones, unless there are Android phones that can do both CDMA and GSM. I know there are Blackberries that can do this, as well as various non-smart phones.

Mind you, if you were a frequent international roamer and still wanted an iPhone, you’d be better to get an unlocked iPhone overseas or in Canada or Mexico and be able to use local SIMs for cheaper calls.

So what? Just carry an extra charged battery or two, and it doesn’t really matter, as long as the battery doesn’t die during a call unexpectedly.

Well, except for an iPhone: With that, you have to send the thing away to change the battery. (Real smart, indeed.)

As for the changing of the aps and the getting your music on iTunes? Well, that was your mistake in the first place. Cut your losses now, before Apple figures out even more ways to bind you to their product line against your better judgment.

I have neither iPhone or Android phone (although I do not claim this makes me entirely neutral). As I understand it, the Android app market is pretty big nowadays, and many of the apps that cost money on iPhone are available for free on the Android Marketplace.

If battery life is important to someone they may prefer a device that offers what they need, rather than one that requires you to carry spare parts around.

As others have said, battery life on any smartphone will not be wonderful. That said, I recently replaced my wife’s ‘dumb’ phone with an HTC Incredible, which she absolutely loves. I also recently chucked my Blackberry Storm for the Droid X, which I also love.

The main reason I’m on Verizon is the coverage. About 30% of my coworkers are on AT&T, and lack of coverage and dropped calls are constant refrains. Just about everyone I know who switched to AT&T from Verizon have either come back or are now coming back to Verizon; some because of the Verizon iPhone, but some simply because they couldn’t take AT&T anymore.

I’m very happy with my Droid X and am glad I didn’t go with the iPhone. Not that there’s anything really wrong with the iPhone, but my wife has an iPod Touch and we’re both simply not as enamored with it as everyone else seems to be.

The iPhone at $50 is hard to ignore, even with it’s weaknesses.

Regarding battery, it just takes the right planning. My wife and I share charging cords at home, so I can keep one at work. She uses her iTouch cord at work. I plan on buying a radio with iPhone dock (that charges the iPhone) for near the bed, possibly near the desk as well.

Sears has a wide selection.

This is true! I also find the Droid apps to be more useful than much of the garbage I see for the iPhone. That could simply be my bias talking, but there certainly seems to be much less crap in the Android Marketplace; perhaps because the selection is less?

Isn’t a charger just as much a “spare part” as a battery? It’s just a spare part that ties you down to a socket, while a battery doesn’t. The point of a mobile phone is to be mobile.

There is no limit to the battery life that someone would like to have. If phones were designed to offer the (single) battery life that people “need” (i.e., what they would like), phones would just be built bigger and bigger. The real issue is being tied to a wall socket. Why reject a phone that otherwise has all the functions you want because the battery might run out, and you’ll have to find a socket? Just get a phone that has a changeable battery, and carry an extra one on long days when you might need it. If you have the space to carry a bulky smartphone, an extra battery isn’t going to inconvenience you much.

My iPhone will go for a couple of days between charges, unless I use some battery-draining app. I haven’t noticed a surfeit of “junk apps” in the App Store, but maybe I’m just looking in the wrong categories or something. I don’t know. I have a lot of useful apps that I’m happy with. Most were free.

Personally, keeping all of my apps from the iTouch would be enough for me to stick with the iPhone vs. switching to Droid. My vote would be Verizon iPhone in the OP’s situation.

I think Crusoe’s point is that one solution to this problem is to use a dumber phone that enjoys better battery life (not an option entirely ruled out by the OP)

Well, while I don’t disagree strongly with what you’ve said, if you want battery life, get something with good battery life and don’t worry about carrying chargers or spare batteries around. It really depends what the OP is looking for. Nobody should get sucked into the cost of owning a smartphone if it’s not right for their needs. And, at least they’d avoid interminable iPhone/Android debates that have become as tedious as PC/Mac battles! (That’s really what motivated my first post; a cautionary warning that the flavour of the month has the potential to be an enormous waste of money.)

If the network load due to iPhone being on Verizon becomes a problem, I would imagine that it will be a problem affecting all smartphones, not just the iPhone.

The rumor mill is saying that the next iPhone (presumably coming out this summer) might be a universal iPhone.
Apple poised to make ‘universal’ iPhone, says analyst By Mark Milian, CNN; February 7, 2011 8:34 p.m. EST

Hey! That’s part of the fun of having one of those phones! One of my golf buddies has owned iPhones since the first day they shipped. I upgraded from a dumb phone to my Droid X last August. We have all kinds of fun pointing out to each other what we can do on our phone and the other can’t - and even more fun demonstrating that no, my phone can do that too (which is the usual conclusion).

I’ll freely admit that those conversations have gotten more than a little tedious to the rest of our golf buddies, though. :smiley:

I hope it will do the AWS 1700-MHz band as well, then. I’m thinking of jumping ship from my current carrier once my contract is up in a few months, and Wind Mobile looks attractive*.

[sub]*Except for that pesky regulatory issue.[/sub]

I take any cell phone prediction that includes the phrase

with a grain of salt.

Being in the cell phone business myself, I can tell you that there are companies that use CDMA/GSM/UMTS capable chipsets without enabling all the technologies on all the phones.

I personally carry an Android device on AT&T. I like the Verizon Android lineup better, but I’m a big fan of voice and data together. That keeps me on AT&T. And there are some new Android offerings that are more attractive than what I currently have.

-D/a

Oh yeah - I know I can sync the contacts onto an iPhone; I sync them to the iTouches now. That’s one of the reasons an iPhone would be so seamless.

Battery life is a concern with anything. I’m playing with the iTouch all the time and I plug it in at least once a day. If I go for an Android, depending on the model I’d hope I could have a spare battery. Not possible with the iphone. The problem with the battery on the dumb phone right now is just the age of the thing (they don’t perform as well after a few years). Plus the one phone is, we think, malfunctioning (my husband’s); my phone is still on its original battery and I only charge it once or twice a week.