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  • Choosing a smartphone

    Hi everyone.

    My parents are about to get a smartphone, and have asked me for advice. Living in the boonies as I do, I know very little about the comparative advantages of the various offerings (AT&T's website laughed at me when I went looking for an iPhone). So I come to you.

    The main two purpose of the phones will be to serve as phones and in-car GPS units. Pretty much everything else is secondary. The choice list is whatever VZW offers in the Atlanta area (see below). 4G is neat and all, but not worth enough to them to pay extra for.

    Also, if GPS functionality is provided by a non-native app, or there's one that offers massively better user experience, I'd love to hear what it is.

    Anyway, here's the list.

    Apple:
    iPhone 4

    HTC:
    Rhyme
    Trophy
    Droid Incredible 2
    ThunderBolt

    LG:
    Enlighten
    Revolution
    Vortex
    Ally (refurb only)

    Motorola:
    Droid Bionic
    Droid 3
    Droid X2
    Droid Pro
    Citrus

    Samsung:
    Droid Charge
    Continuum
    Fascinate (refurb only)

    Sony Ericsson:
    Xperia Play

    Pantech:
    Breakout

    Casio:
    G'zOne Commando

    Palm:
    Pre 2

    Various Blackberry offerings, not really in the running




    Who needs a life when you can have a heavy bolter?
    --BlackMirror
    <23:03:38> "|TG|Smachin<BF Admin>" was kicked from the server by "|TG-70th| Zhohar" (UNDERAGE ban.)
    Anything over $600, and it would be pointless to try and reason with Grandma
    --Blackraven93

  • #2
    Re: Choosing a smartphone

    What's their technology proficiency?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Choosing a smartphone

      Excellent question.
      (not-so-excellent answer) It depends.

      Will they be able to figure out the full functionality of the phone? Sure. Plus, I visit.
      Will they be able to install apps from the app market? Sure. Will they be able to figure out how to use a new app? More than likely.

      Are they likely to go out looking for new app reviews if they're unhappy with the experience of the current one? Not at all.

      That last one is why I'm trying to solicit app suggestions along with phone recommendations :)




      Who needs a life when you can have a heavy bolter?
      --BlackMirror
      <23:03:38> "|TG|Smachin<BF Admin>" was kicked from the server by "|TG-70th| Zhohar" (UNDERAGE ban.)
      Anything over $600, and it would be pointless to try and reason with Grandma
      --Blackraven93

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Choosing a smartphone

        Do your parents need a big screen or keyboard? That would eliminate half the choices. I think a big screen would serve you well for GPS.
        I personally prefer HTC and Samsung for my Android phones. I like HTC's Sense UI and Samsung's new TouchWiz UI. I love Samsung's samoled screens.

        VZW should be releasing a new Samsung phone this month or next called the Droid Prime or Nexus Prime. This is the phone I will be getting to replace my HTC Droid Incredible. http://www.gottabemobile.com/2011/09...date-carriers/

        |TG-12th| Troublesome4u

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Choosing a smartphone

          My wife (not a technophile) just got her first smartphone. Went with the HTC Incredible 2.


          Why an android phone? I like Android better because A) you can replace the batteries in the phones B) Flash is supported in the web-browser, and C) I know my way around the OS, so I can help them when they inevitably need it.

          Why the Inc2? Sure it's It's fast, and comes with Gingerbread (newest version of android), but the real kicker was that it was the smallest of the smart-phones. Mrs.Six has dainty hands and all the other phones were to big and man'ish :icon_lol:

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Choosing a smartphone

            I'm with trouble-- I'm waiting to replace my Droid X for the Nexus Prime. I was thinking about the Bionic, but I decided against it because I heard it felt kind of cheap, and well, I don't want to miss out on the Ice Cream Sandwich action a month or two later. Even though my DX's screen is pretty messed up.

            I would sometimes recommend iPhone for older folks who aren't that great with technology. From my experience, Android can be buggy. And I've never owned an i-Device, but I gather that it's just more stable. Definitely don't go with a Pre or HP webOS device. That OS's fate has pretty well be sealed. And obviously not a Blackberry.

            So, yeah, I think an Android phone would do them well. Go ahead and go with a 4G device if you/ they can manage it (they tend to run for $300). Atlanta has 4G coverage, and the service doesn't cost any more than 3G. So, you might as well.

            My dad is a contractor (as in construction) and he got the G'zOne Commando a couple of months ago. For the most part, he likes it. But it's still buggy. I pretty much tell him that if it's acting weird, or non responsive, or won't receive or send out voice while on a phone call (mine does that occasionally, too) to just take the battery out and put it back in.

            Past that, I think it depends on their taste on the different manufacturers' UI, keyboard, and if they can afford the higher end 4G phones.

            I will say that I've heard the Thunderbolt is a battery hog. My Droid X always makes it through the day (it has an extended battery, but even before then, it made it through a day).

            Google Maps/ Navigation is really awesome on an Android phone. As long as the phone isn't having an issue that it needs to be rebooted over (which happens occasionally when I need to use the GPS immediately)-- it's very quick and responsive and has a great interface. It does need a data connection, which shouldn't be an issue. I think the newer versions of the application will cache your route that is set and possible detours, just in case data is lost temporarily. There are other softwares out there that can be bought and all the information needed is on the memory card-- but it's not necessary and they probably aren't as good as Google's free solution.

            Edit: Good point on the size, Whiskey. I love my big screen'ed Droid X, but a lady with small hands may not.
            Last edited by SuperDudeBT; 09-30-2011, 06:05 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Choosing a smartphone

              I have the bionic, and while 4G is ridiculously fast, I leave the 4G radio off most of the time to save battery. 3G is fast enough for most - I wouldn't decide based on that. :)

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Choosing a smartphone

                Originally posted by WhiskeySix View Post
                I have the bionic, and while 4G is ridiculously fast, I leave the 4G radio off most of the time to save battery. 3G is fast enough for most - I wouldn't decide based on that. :)
                How do you like it, overall? Is the hardware nice and solid or a bit cheap feeling? I haven't seen one in the store yet, so I don't know for myself.

                And I'll probably end up doing the same (we don't have 4G here yet, about an hour south of Atlanta). But if you're looking at it as a 1.5 to 2 year investment.. it might be something they'd miss when it's the normal thing and has coverage for most of the US. At least that's how I'm looking at it, and only considering 4G phones.

                Btw, nice to hear from ya, Whiskey! I've been away for a bit, but have headed back for BF3. :)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Choosing a smartphone

                  Thanks for the awesome input, guys! Am on the tabet at the moment, so I'll do a single, massive reply.

                  As far as screen size, Trouble hits the nail on the head -- that's actually a top priority requirement. My parents' eyesight isn't great, and this is going to be regularly used as a GPS. The keyboard, on the other hand, is of little to no importance. In fact, given that having one introduces more risk of mechanical breakdown, having it is probably a point against that particular handset.

                  Whiskey, I hear you on the Android. That's also my preference (see my TF101 review :), but I'm trying to not let my dislike of closed systems blind me to the advantages of iOS. Whether or not I like to admit it, the Honeycomb experience isn't as smooth and finely tuned as that of iOS. I don't know about Gingerbread as I've no experience with it, and who knows when VZW will roll out Ice Cream Sandwich...

                  Size isn't so much of an issue, whereas screen size is. The bigger the better, even if that means the phone as a whole is larger to allow for it. Are there any out there that have a larger screen than the iPhone...?

                  And finally, waiting for the new release isn't an option, sadly. My dad's current phone is well on the way to being dead and they've delayed getting a replacement as much as they could have already. I expect a decision will be made sometime tomorrow.
                  Sounds like my main choices are the HTC and/or Samsung offerings without a keyboard, and with the largest possible screen size.

                  Still undecided on the 4G point, since I know the phones will never see intensive data usage except for GPS and traffic updates. What do you guys think; is that enough to justify the extra handset cost?

                  Again, thank you for all the input; it's really helping me narrow down the problem space and focus on the most important questions.




                  Who needs a life when you can have a heavy bolter?
                  --BlackMirror
                  <23:03:38> "|TG|Smachin<BF Admin>" was kicked from the server by "|TG-70th| Zhohar" (UNDERAGE ban.)
                  Anything over $600, and it would be pointless to try and reason with Grandma
                  --Blackraven93

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Choosing a smartphone

                    Originally posted by SuperDudeBT View Post

                    I would sometimes recommend iPhone for older folks who aren't that great with technology.
                    I resemble that remark!!


                    As for recommendation, I would really try and get them into the store for 5 minutes to let them play with the phone choices. They may like the look or feel of one phone over another that has nothing to do with technology. Phones are really one of those personal items where people love them or hate em.

                    Another thing to be cautious of is the price. Some of them might scare off your parents when they see the price tag. Parents tend to be more frugal, regardless of who is paying.
                    "The chief foundations of all states, new as well as old or composite, are good laws and good arms; and as there cannot be good laws where the state is not well armed, it follows that where they are well armed they have good laws." -Machiavelli

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Choosing a smartphone

                      Originally posted by TheBigC View Post
                      I resemble that remark!!


                      As for recommendation, I would really try and get them into the store for 5 minutes to let them play with the phone choices. They may like the look or feel of one phone over another that has nothing to do with technology. Phones are really one of those personal items where people love them or hate em.

                      Another thing to be cautious of is the price. Some of them might scare off your parents when they see the price tag. Parents tend to be more frugal, regardless of who is paying.
                      Resemble or resent? lol. Yeah, I agree with saying that they really need to handle it themselves. The physical characteristics (not just looks, but how it "feels") are important.

                      As far as justifying the extra phone cost for 4G-- I see your point. And yeah, it's probably not worth it for them since they won't needing the faster data. For me, it's just about future proofing.

                      I believe my Droid X's screen size is 4.3 inches. And I think that's the current standard for the larger sized Android phones. Anything bigger and it starts being a tablet. But I love the size of it. Everything else looks small now. And it fits in my pocket fine. I think the iPhone is a lot smaller. Phonearena.com is the best place to go and look at all kinds of cell phone specs, including size/ dimensions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Choosing a smartphone

                        I just got the iPhone 4, which is just great. HOWEVER, AT&T no longer offer unlimited data plans. I am currently using the 2GB for $25, which is affordable and offers plenty of data, as long as you don't download too many apps over 3G, which racks up your usage quickly. The phone itself is great of course, retina display, runs any app perfectly, and fairly decent cameras. I know I'm leaving out a lot, but if you want a great smart phone, definitely go for the iPhone 4.

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