Are you in the Android clan?0 posts
Since you’ve gone through considerable effort to splay your essence to the Internet, it’s only fair that you be provided some equally honest advice.
As for myself, I have been in a similar position. I began life with the original iPhone in 2007 and migrated to the iPhone 3G. The iOS 3 update provided such basic amenities as copy and paste, and the iOS 4 update left the device running painfully slow. Now, it was around this time that the Galaxy S was being announced, so I waited SIX SOLID MONTHS before I decided to switch from AT&T to Sprint and get the Samsung Epic 4G. But this decision was far from spontaneous. I watched as the Nexus One launched, and then the other smartphones, and I knew that I had to be patient, do my research, because this device had to last me until the next device that would make me switch, and that could take more than a simple 2-year contract.
Why the Samsung Epic on Sprint and not the Captivate on AT&T? Specs and Support. Knowing that you’re going in for the long haul means taking the long view. The highest specs are going to last you the longest and an unlocked bootloader means that your device is more likely to maintain 3rd party developer support. Yes, this means flashing ROM’s, but if that means better support for your device, whether it be features or smoothness, then so be it. If your device has replaceable parts, then you can live with the device longer (swap out the bad/damaged part, or replace it with a better part). In another 3 1/2 months, I’ll have had my Epic for 3 years, and despite some quirks in speed (though it is worlds further than where it began), it remains the best phone that I have ever owned.
So why stick with this aging device when obviously superior technology has been released? Well, when you take the long view, you try to maintain/cope with what you have so that your next device is exactly what you want. Remember, companies (made and run by humans) learn just like humans: trial and error, coupled with slow iteration. I could foresee even in late 2009 that phone resolutions would reach 1080p and beyond, but I had to wait. The trend of ever larger phone displays, however, was not anticipated. Now that the resolution is correct, the wait is on for a physically smaller display (yes, the 4.3 inches of the Epic, can you blame me?) and perhaps 4K video compatibility (again, long view).
Now, the things that drive me nuts (larger sizes, lack of hardware improvement/replacement) may not affect you, and you may have the resources and the patience to try new devices over and over until one finally works for you. So the only way to sound unbiased is by not telling you what to do, but rather providing you a series of questions to answer at your leisure. Once you’ve totaled your responses for one side or the other, then make your decisions.
1. Do you like how the device feels? – Set aside the debate of metal versus plastic. Clear your mind of how other people perceive your phone’s sex appeal. Put the phone in your hands, take 10 minutes, and just do stuff on it. Type out a message, watch a video, play with the camera, visit some websites. Even roll the phone around in your hand. Then ask yourself again, “Do you like how the device feels?” Do you feel like you’ll drop it? Does the texture bother you when you performed any of the aforementioned tasks? Then ask, if I don’t like the feel of the device, can I change it? I’m not talking about cases, but whether (in the case of a removable back) can something be done to improve your experience with the device? People tout unibody designs all the time, but it also means that you’re stuck with that feeling, that aesthetic for as long as you own the phone, so you better be sure that your potential boredom doesn’t play a factor.
2. Is the device resilient? – In this case, the answer is…similarly un-resilient. If either phone drop on their face, it’s game over. However, one may be more easily repairable than the other. The S4 has an all glass front that can be quickly replaced, and the removable cover can pop off quickly, which can safely dissipate reverberations that impacts will cause. The One, despite its unibody design, has the speaker grills not actually part of the back casing. Bad reverberation? Pop goes the grill. Furthermore, the adhesion sealing process on the One means that repair of the grill is all but impossible, so you’ll likely have to replace the device entirely. This is a design vs longevity argument that must be carefully weighed when purchasing a smartphone.
3. What do you think you’ll do with the device? – Believe it or not, few people actually put thought into this. You mention the great microphones on the One, that they’ll do well when recording a concert. Well, do you attend many concerts? Do you expect yourself to film quiet moments where a quality mic may be necessary? Will you be out experiencing the world very often? Will you be traveling from home to work to friends and back home most days? This can also get into the areas of screen brightness, camera quality, mic quality, and longevity (out in the world means more chances of dropping on hard surfaces).
4. Will your new device meet or exceed the current app and UI experience on your current device? – It’s a legitimate question. We often move through modern life assuming that newer = better. This is not always the case, and when only 3 – 4 phones at any given time are worth consideration, it becomes a valid concern.
5. Can the app and UI experience on my new device be improved over time? – That earlier quip about 3rd party developer support is back. As many of us realize, when the hardware is at parity, then the conversation shifts to support. Devs go where the people are, so the more popular device will have a larger support community. Now, the better spec’d device will often garner support for longer (simply because developers will be able to do more stuff with it), and the more time a developer supports a device, the more likely they are to continue supporting the device. However, this is also where carrier practices may come into play. As you’ve seen, devices with locked bootloaders make more work for devs, and though they do like work (being devs and all), they would prefer to devote that energy to actually building out their features as opposed to tearing down arbitrary barriers to entry. Locked down devices and non-standard technologies made even Google vow to never again develop Nexus devices for the CDMA carriers, and the only Google gives direct support is when they don’t even talk with AT&T.
You mentioned that you like some of TouchWiz’s features. Do you like all of them? If so, then you’ll be stuck with nearly half your advertised internal storage space (still required for apps) and many otherwise unnecessary software. If you can wait until there is a properly sized fanbase, you may be able to flash a ROM that either cherry-picks features or comes with none of the features, but allows you to add those particular features at your leisure. Likewise, enterprising dev may decide to make a third party app that performs that exact feature, and it can be used on any phone with a front camera and a proximity sensor.
I know that this seems long and overly complicated, and in many respects, it is. However, this is the world that we, the consumers, have created. Carriers tell manufacturers what to make, based on what consumers have purchased in the past. If you decide to keep your phone for quite a while, then you’ll have to be smart about what you really want out of your next phone. I spent nearly 2 weeks straight running through this same process, and I came to the conclusion that I’ll just hold off and see what the smaller versions of the One and the S4 provide. I may end up waiting another 1-2 years, if my Epic’s hardware lets me (after all, I’m just waiting until my own set of arbitrary demands are fulfilled). Ultimately, the decision is yours, but hopefully these questions will serve as a guide not only for selecting this phone, but many other long-term devices in the future.
And next week is Xbox unveil, and next month of WWDC. Looks to be a fun summer.
Works on all of iTunes, iOS App Store, and Mac OS App Store. You could buy a lot of professional software with 10K in credit, if you’re into that sort of thing. Otherwise, albums and vids, lots and lots of albums and vids.
If only tech websites published their findings, or linked them to an RSS feed, then we wouldn’t need to sit and wait for a keynote to play out in real time…
For as nice as Sony’s latest hardware is, do they have a thing for placing the buttons on the wrong end of the phone? You have to awkwardly adjust the device in your hand every single time you press a button. Has Samsung somehow patented button placement where your thumb rests?
12 days ago on Sony shrinks the Xperia Z to 4.6 inches with new Xperia ZR 1 reply 1 recommend
12 days ago
I’m going to tell you this as a friend. Regardless of what you do, you’re going to pay at least $199. Now, the iPhone 5 replacement will cost you $229 to replace, BUT your replacement will continue one with your 1 year warranty. This means that although you broke the screen, only the repair payment is outside of warranty. The replacement, however, still carries that original warranty with Apple. So if that one has hardware problems within that year, then Apple is obliged to replace it.
HOWEVER, AT&T is not beholden to this, because AT&T’s plan has nothing to do with Apple. As such, you’re at the mercy of AT&T’s quality control. No AppleCare. No warranty. The extra $30 is overall worth it, especially considering AT&T’s 21 month upgrade plan.
Except that if you need to restore your phone for any reason whatsoever (and constantly updating over WI-FI greatly increases that chance that you do), then you must have iTunes. There is literally no other (warranty-covered) way to fix the device. That said, while iOS may not necessary depend on iTunes for many of its core functions, you still NEED iTunes if you want your phone to maintain long-term dependability (it doesn’t happen all the time, but glitches do arise). That said, anything that can create a more painless experience with iTunes should be welcome. Windows and iTunes have rarely ever gotten along as it is, and Windows 8’s UI changes make the relationship all the more frosty.
15 days ago on Microsoft wants an iTunes app for Windows 8, but it's not coming 'any time soon' 1 reply 1 recommend
Well, so much for that. Just remember to take things with a grain of salt, especially if it seems too good to be true, and even more especially when it’s on the Internet.
Yeah, I got the email about that last night. I remain…cautiously optimistic. We’ll see if this is truly a site run by benevolent admins or….something less friendly.
“Don’t worry, Senator. No one will ever know of our meeting today.”
23 days ago on Google Glass app lets you sneak photos with a wink 1 reply 86 recommends
To be fair, the old displays were still flat, but the viewing angles were so poor that they used convex glass to refract the light toward wider angles. This, by contrast, curves the entire device while maintaining the flat (i.e. evenly distributed) glass. That said, I want the displays to become concave, such as the viewing angle (at least of the partial images) is over 180 degrees. As for these current curved displays, while they are impressive, the bezel once again ruins the look of an extended array. If LG can get 1 mm bezels on its LCD displays, surely it can do the same and better of OLED.
Not really a reader, are you?
The article makes no mention of land usage. Why? Because the studies employ a similar idea to biofuels as studies involving algae: you grow it all in giant tanks. You know, tanks that can be taller than they are wide, thus becoming space efficient. Furthermore, neither algae nor E. Coli require the same resources as crops (besides the overly abundant sunlight).
This has nothing to do with corn and sweet grass. Go away.
28 days ago on New advances with E. coli bacteria could eventually improve biofuel production 1 reply 2 recommends
Recommended samuraipai's comment in Samsung switches to Ativ brand for all its Windows hardware
28 days ago
I had my entire executive board use it at my club in college. It was an amazing tool for project collaboration, and the Playback feature was absurdly powerful. As I recall, it was a precursor to that Versions directive that Steve Jobs wanted for his OS X file system. If there was anything that should have survived, it was that feature. Instead, the other, more socially relevant features found their way into Google’s products (the headline feature being real-time, multi-user document editing).
I do miss Google Wave, but in the end, I knew it was merely an experiment, and I’ve glad some of the features have made it out of the Lab (which incidentally is also gone). Some of the other tools and Playback may find their time in the sun once again (hopefully in Google’s business suite), but until then, Google Drive remains the core for collaboration.