Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Just got a iPhone 4S...but what do I really want in a cellphone?

I have owned cellphones since around 1992 (bag phone through Cellular One)...ever since my wife drove home in a snowstorm.

Obviously the cellphone has changed, also (somewhat) my needs in a cellphone have changed.

First one was strictly for emergencies...it was SOOO expensive, roaming fee per call was $2, and all calls were about $0.6 per minute.  But better than having your life in jeopardy.

Time changed and just a couple of years later the mini cell towers emerged with the smaller phones required.

Our next phone (~1994) was a Nokia on the At&t network (they bought out Cellular One).  It was pretty handy and slightly cheaper to use...but still just for emergencies.

A few years after that, Sprint emerged and started to spread it's all digital system throughout the country (~1997)..and they had a great deal with 2 phones sharing minutes and cheaper fees yet.  With the free cell to cell service, we started using those phones quite a bit.

Not much changed for us and cellphones except the phones got smaller...until 2007 when the iPhone (1) was introduced.  Now all of a sudden smart phones appeared everywhere.

Since we still had, and still liked Sprint, we weren't getting an iPhone...but HTC introduced it's touchscreen smartphone...the HTC Touch at the same time the iPhone was introduced.  (only through At&t)

The Touch wasn't as good as the iPhone, but it ran Windows Mobile, and in those days, nothing was compatible with Windows except for it. ie, syncing calendars emails and contacts...and I used Windows at work.

So we stayed with Sprint, and I got the Touch.  It was an ok phone, it did what I wanted, but really slow response...and kinda crummy screen.  However it had the best voice dial I have used up to now...even in my noisy pickup I could voice dial contacts or numbers.

That version of WM had limitations, and so did the phone so a year or so later I picked up a HTC Touch Pro II considered a pocket PC and running WM6.5.  It was a marvelous phone, and very capable.  I happily used it till it died in 2011 (it got to the point where it would be unable to find a cell tower unless I did a hard reboot -back to factory defaults-...a weekly occurrence).

When that phone died I had to get a replacement, Sprint didn't have the iPhone yet, so I settled for what I thought would be a nice phone, the HTC Evo3D. (and picked up a 2 year lock-in)

I couldn't care less about the 3D camera part, but the rest of the phone seemed fine.

Of course when I started to used it, I found the weaknesses...

And that brings us to the title of this entry...what do I really want in a cellphone.

#1 - Make and receive calls.  Every phone I owned till the Evo3D was easy to answer even if the lock screen was on, and easy to hang up after a call was done...not the Evo3D.

#2 - Since they are smart phones, I want to easily see my upcoming appointments...even if the lock screen is on...TP2 did this well, Evo3D does this only with 3rd party widgets, and even then, poorly.  The photo at the top shows my last 3 phones with stock lockscreen on...

#3 - Since text has grown by leaps and bounds, I want to be able to read a text without unlocking the phone...didn't text with TP2, but received texts showed on lockscreen...more widgets with the Evo3D.

#4 - Will work when I need it to work.  TP2 was a rockstar until its last few months...Evo3D luckily has a removable battery ...because about once a month or more I have to pull the battery to bring it back to life.

Well, finally the lock-in expired, and I could get another contract phone through Sprint.

I had been doing my homework since before my TP2 died on iPhones.  I got a 3GS from a buddy, who was going the android route.

 (I have blogged about that phone a lot here...having to do with international calling and jailbreaks and unlocks)

So I know how they operate, and lets face it, they do what they do very well, and very reliably.

But owning that Evo3D really identified what I wanted in a phone, the TP2 did much of it, but the iPhone does it better.  If you read my blogs, you know that I am by no means a fanboy, but I give credit where it is due, and the iPhone is a polished product.

So why did I get a 4S, and not a 5?

For one, I didn't want to spend ANOTHER $200 on a phone.  But my TP2 was $125 used, and the Evo3D was $150 on contract (and they lowered the contract price to $50 about 2 months after I got mine...d'oh)..so $200 isn't out of the realm for what I had spent on phones.

For me, I like the 4S form factor, I already have a bunch of 30 pin connectors, thanks to an iPod, the 3GS, and a company provided iPad.

Speed wise, the 3GS was pretty speedy compared to the iPod2, the 4S is speedy compared to the 3GS...both are speedy compared to my previous phones.

The iPhone 4S added Siri, and I mentioned that the Touch had the best voice dialing I had ever used...

...from what I have seen so far, the iPhone Siri is equal to slightly better...I haven't tried anything other than calling contacts so far, but in my noisy truck it was as good as the Touch.

...btw, I will be jailbreaking it soon...but on a side note, apparently it is already unlocked for international use...we will see.

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