Maybe it’s my love of all things tech, but for some reason I seem to know way too much about cell phones, carriers, data plans and mobile operating systems. I have some kind of weird proclivity to useless knowledge about phones. I think it’s because the smart phone world is so iterative. There’s a new and better smart phone coming out every couple of weeks, and in between those debuts there are rumors, pictures and diagrams of newer, even better phones in the works. It never ends!
This endless parade of new phones creates in me, the potential buyer, a weird tech anxiety. The past five years I’ve always been the guy that gets the free phone with the plan. That worked great until I transitioned into the smart phone world. I picked up the Droid Eris almost two years ago because they had a special: buy one for $49 and get one free, perfect for me and Brooke. I got what I paid for.
In terms of speed, OS upgrades and features, the Droid Eris isn’t a great smart phone. It’s also not a great regular phone. The whole calling system lags like a 15 year old computer running Windows 95. There’s a three second delay between when I push the call button and when the phone actually starts to dial. Same goes for text messages, ending calls, and adding contacts.
My contract with Verizon ends on September 29, which means it’s time for an upgrade. This is where the anxiety comes in. There are always rumors of better phones on the horizon. I don’t want another Droid Eris lemon, but I have to pull the trigger on something. Here are my options:
I’m going to stick with Verizon because I want to get an LTE phone and if I renew my contract I get grandfathered in to my current unlimited data plan. I just recently canceled my texting plan because the mark up on text messages is outrageous. I use my Google Voice number for free texts.
I’ll split these into phones that I can buy as of right now, and phones that are rumored to be coming out soon. When it comes to LTE phones, there aren’t a ton to choose from.
This is the first LTE phone, and as I’ve learned from Apple, and more recently Nintendo, being an early adopter isn’t always a good thing. This phone was rumored to have a terrible battery life and it’s super thick compared to other smart phones. Also, HTC made my Droid Eris, so I think I want to try a different manufacturer.
This Samsung phone has a unique look and real physical buttons at the bottom. It’s marginally better than the Thunderbolt, but it’s also a bit of a battery hog. The specs have been overshadowed by Samsung phones on other carriers, and for the same price I can get the Bionic.
The latest LTE phone for Verizon comes from Motorola. It’s big with a 4.3 inch screen, sports a better battery and some decent guts. Unfortunately the 1 ghz dual core processor inside is already dated. Samsung released a 1.2 ghz phone, the Galaxy S II, on other carriers a few weeks ago. Of course that phone didn’t come to Verizon, which is lame because it would have been an instant buy for me. So as of right now, this is the best phone I can get.
The Droid Prime is the rumored name of the next Nexus phone. The Nexus series of phones are built by different manufacturers each year in partnership with Google. They are the flagship Android phone, usually sporting the newest OS features and the fastest tech. The rumor mill has this one coming out in October or November. I’m not sure if I can wait that long, I assume I’ll need to sign a new contract before then. Also, this phone has not be confirmed to be on Verizon or be LTE. Still, it’s supposed to have a stupidly fast 1.5 ghz processor inside, plus the latest and greatest version of Android.
Details are starting to trickle out about Apple’s new phone, and rumor is it will launch in early October. I absolutely love the tight Google integration of Android, but I’m also very tired of all the bugs (though that could be from my budget phone, which did not get an OS upgrade). I like that Apple products just work. So if the iPhone 5 is on Verizon’s LTE network, I might consider getting it.
The thing is, I know that every single one of these phones is better than my Droid Eris. The gadget lover in me wants the latest and greatest, but my extremely vocal frugal side doesn’t want to pay for it! But my frugal side won last time and the “free with a plan” phone just doesn’t cut it. I need something fast, a phone that’s actually reliable, and something that will be supported for at least nine months after release.
Anyone have one of the phones above and care to share your experiences?
Scary tidbit: I wrote this entire post without going online. Phone names, manufacturers, processor speeds, these are things I know that I probably shouldn’t.