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switch to verizon's iphone or stick with droid?
January 11, 2011 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Verizon is getting iPhone this Feb. Should I switch from Droid?

I have a Droid Eris from Verizon. I also have an upgrade. The iPhone is coming to my carrier on 2/10.

I've been told the Eris is like a first gen iPhone, and if I like it (which I do), I'd like an iPhone. But I'm not sure about switching.

I mostly use my phone to surf the net, taking pictures,texting, e-mail, e-book reading (nook), and games like Bakery Story and Jewels.

I want to take advantage of the new 4G network. I am clumsy with the touch keyboard and find the keys on Eris to be kinda small.

I need in call amplifying for hard of hearing, and a screen lock that's easy for me to undo, but baffle my kids. A nice camera and a forward facing cam would be awesome.

Should I switch or try one of the new Droid 4G phones popping up?
posted by FunkyHelix to Technology (23 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
The iPhone 4 that'll be available on Verizon on February will not be 4G. It'll be 3G. So if you want the faster network, you'll have to either stick to Droid, or wait for iPhone 5 and hope it supports 4G.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:20 AM on January 11, 2011


The iPhone 4 is not a 4G phone, so if you want to take advantage of the new network, you're better off waiting for a Droid 4G (or maybe for the new iPhone, which I think is rumored to be announced this summer? Not sure if it'll come out concurrently for Verizon and AT&T or not, but might be worth waiting to find out)
posted by Grither at 9:21 AM on January 11, 2011


Well there will be a new iPhone out in June just like there is every year. So you may not want to start a new 2 year contract right now.

On the other hand, most people have good luck selling their iPhones on eBay and paying nothing\almost nothing to purchase the new hardware.
posted by zephyr_words at 9:25 AM on January 11, 2011


Apple will update the iPhone in mid-summer, like they do every year. You probably don't want to be six months into a two-year contract when they introduce the new phone.
posted by mhoye at 9:26 AM on January 11, 2011


Okay. Say I don't mind forgoing 4G. Worth it then?
posted by FunkyHelix at 9:35 AM on January 11, 2011


There's no guarantee that the new iPhone this summer will be on both networks. Six month life for the Revision A Verizon iPhone? Possible, but I'd doubt it. Get the iPhone; the experience cannot be beat.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:46 AM on January 11, 2011


Any smartphone, can do what you want to use it for. It will not be 4g, and while I think the touch keyboard is something that can be learned, it's definitely easier for some than others.

The camera is nice, but it still needs decent (outdoor in the sun) lighting to get decent images, as most cellphones do.

Lockscreen isn't an issue, especially if you jailbreak it.

If you're so into the idea that you want to get a 3g model in Feb. instead of waiting a few more months to get the newest version, then you are probably just looking for some of us to say "go for it".

I have an iPhone 4, jailbroken, and I love it. Only wish I had gotten the larger storage option.

So: go for it, provided you wait until the latest iteration comes out this summer and you have the knowledge and willingness to jailbreak it. Really. Wait. Let other people find the pitfalls of the phone on Verizon's networks for you, and let Apple tweak it some more.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 9:46 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do your homework - play around with an iPhone. Figure out if you like Apple's way of doing things. Try loading some music from iTunes onto it. Decide if the lack of multitasking is okay with you. You may like it, but just be sure that you're okay with the differences.

I had an iPhone 3G. A year ago it broke, and so I took the opportunity to break my contract and go to Verizon to get a Droid. For me, it was a wonderful move and I will never go back. To me, it's much easier to manage files, load music, and manage apps. And if I don't like the way Google does something, I can usually find a way around it - with Apple that's harder to do.

As usual, this is not a place for an Apple vs Google argument. But you definitely need to learn some of the ins and outs before shelling out for the iPhone, because there's a reason that some people strongly prefer Android.

Regarding your specific concerns:

Email: I like the email apps on Android much more than on iPhone. Personal preference, but you should try them out.

Texting: I like Android's text prediction (where you can choose from a list of words instead of whatever they give you) much better. Personal preference, but you should try it out.

Surfing the net: I've had more luck getting websites to work on my Droid, but that's subjective.

Taking pictures: probably a wash, but I can directly grab the picture files off of my Droid. I believe you have to use iTunes or a replacement to get them off the iPhone, which I disliked.

If you listen to music on your phone, Android will free you from iTunes, whereas an iPhone makes it tough to deal with music without dealing with iTunes. You may like iTunes, but know that it comes with getting an iPhone.

Games: the iPhone's screen is somewhat more sensitive than my Droid. I can't speak for other Android phones.
posted by Tehhund at 9:49 AM on January 11, 2011


Hey there. To specifically address your questions:
I've been told the Eris is like a first gen iPhone, and if I like it (which I do), I'd like an iPhone.
I'm not sure who told you that or why. It is similar in that neither has a hardware keyboard. Android OS and iPhone OS are similar in many ways, but they are different in many ways as well. If you are not a power user, you may not notice too many differences. Some differences you may notice:
- The notification system is different. On the iPhone, for each notification you get a pop up that you can view or dismiss. It's not like Android where you have the list in the drawer that you can pull down from the top.
- There is only 1 hardware button on the iPhone. It does two things: brings you to the home screen and brings up the app switcher controls.
- iPhone is generally smoother, like when scrolling lists and zooming things like maps and photos
I'd like I mostly use my phone to surf the net, taking pictures,texting, e-mail, e-book reading (nook), and games like Bakery Story and Jewels.
The iPhone should do all of those things excellently.
I am clumsy with the touch keyboard and find the keys on Eris to be kinda small.
I think the screens of the Eris and the iPhone are similar. However, I find the iOS keyboard to be a lot easier to type on.
I need in call amplifying for hard of hearing
I don't know whether the iPhone supports this. It gets pretty loud, but not abnormally so.
screen lock that's easy for me to undo, but baffle my kids.
With the iPhone you can put a lock code on the phone. I think this would meet your requirements.
A nice camera and a forward facing cam would be awesome.
iPhone's got that.

I really recommend that you go try out either an iPhone or iPod touch. If you go to an Apple store, they'll let you play around with them for as long as you like and not hassle you. Before I got an iPhone I probably tried the phone out for a few hours over the course of a month.

On Preview, to comment on Tehhund's comment, I've found that most of the issues you've raised are really only things that power users care about. I also have a Droid v1 on Verizon. Also, you can grab photos directly from the Windows Explorer on Windows without iTunes, so if you wanted, you could set up something like Picasa or Kodak software to grab your photos each time you connect your iPhone. A friend of mine find's Android touch screens too sensitive, so YMMV.
posted by reddot at 9:54 AM on January 11, 2011


As far as Android vs iOS, unless you're a power user you're probably best off going with the one that you already have a connection to. Mac/ITunes user? Go with iOS. Heavy Google User? Go with Android. But my wife has been very happy with her LG Ally which has a physical keyboard and runs Android. I believe it was free (with contract/plan/etc./etc).
posted by Morydd at 10:10 AM on January 11, 2011


i hate my iPhone. I feel like Apple is excited you are a customer right up until they put out a new OS, then it's "well you should upgrade to the new version of the hardware, then you wouldn't have that problem". My iPhone 3GS is clunky, slow and freezes on a lot of websites since last June when they put out the OS 4. I will never buy an apple product ever again. EVER.
posted by zombieApoc at 10:57 AM on January 11, 2011


(Disclaimer: Android fanboy and a happy Droid owner since day one)

I agree with Morydd. I would definitely take a look at what services you want best-integrated with your smartphone's OS and keep that in consideration when making your choice. At this point, iOS and Android are both pretty great, and I would imagine you'd be sitting pretty with either the iPhone or a contemporary Android phone in your pocket.

Every now and then I get a chance to mess around on a friend's iPhone, and the one thing that really stands out for me is how much better iPhone's third-party apps are than Android apps. For whatever reason, iOS apps just consistently seem to be nicer to use. It pains me to say that, and there are plenty of great Android apps to be sure, but I don't think there's any comparison on that front.

Other than that though (and that is admittedly a potential dealbreakers, depending on what you want out of the phone), I just don't find myself enjoying using an iPhone as much as I do an Android device. Android feels more utilitarian to me, and I like that in software. It feels more like a "real" OS. I love the way Android handles notifications, and I love Google's first-party apps.

Again, at the end of the day I don't think there's necessarily a bad choice to make here. If you've been happy with your Droid Eris, I would imagine you'd be happy (happier, even) with a new Android device. There'd be no learning curve, too. Just food for thought. And if you do lean towards getting another Android, consider taking a look at the Droid Bionic. It's an upcoming 4G LTE phone for Verizon and all indications point to it being a serious beast.

One last bit of confusion to add to the mix: If you want some more viable options besides iOS or Android, consider that HP is hosting a mobile device event next month. As much as I love Android, if HP can get the lead out and release some killer hardware to complement (the excellent) WebOS, I may be tempted to get one this year.
posted by kryptondog at 11:12 AM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you don't like the Eris keyboard, try downloading the Gingerbread Keyboard, which has been back-ported from Android 2.3.

It's a *huge* improvement over the default keyboard that switched with the older Droids, and on par (if not better than) the one on the iPhone. Apple's touchscreens are still a bit better, but in the interim, it's not a bad bet.

My next phone will probably be an iPhone, although I'm in no rush to replace my Droid Incredible. It does a lot of things really well that the iPhone can't touch. (GPS navigation being a huge one).
posted by schmod at 11:17 AM on January 11, 2011


*shipped, not switched
posted by schmod at 11:18 AM on January 11, 2011


This is a well-thought piece discussing this issue.



zombieApoc: "I feel like Apple is excited you are a customer right up until they put out a new OS, then it's "well you should upgrade to the new version of the hardware, then you wouldn't have that problem". My iPhone 3GS is clunky, slow and freezes on a lot of websites since last June when they put out the OS 4."

It's no better in the Android arena. Depending on the phone you get, you may not even have the option to upgrade your Android OS. I think this is a basic problem of the rapid pace of mobile innovation that's happening right now.

(FWIW, My 3GS is fine on iOS4, even junked up with a bunch of jailbreak apps)
posted by mkultra at 11:35 AM on January 11, 2011


I would suggest getting the Droid Incredible instead. If you like the Eris, the Incredible has the exact same interface as the Eris, and it'll be much easier porting your content over. The Incredible will be cheaper than the iPhone, but just as fast. If you want 4G, you can also wait for the HTC Droid ThunderBolt, which is basically an oversized Incredible with 4G. The only thing the iPhone has over the Incredible (hardware wise, that is) is a front-facing camera (and the ThunderBolt has one of those).

If you still want the iPhone, though, I'd suggesting waiting until the end of the summer. Every year Apple has announced a new iPhone/iOS over the summer, and you don't want to be stuck with outdated hardware/software.

As far as the Keyboard is concerned, there are tons of different options in the Android market until you get a new phone. I personally use SwiftKey; it's a $5 purchase, IIRC, but it's totally worth it. It has a great text prediction algorithm which scans all of the texts you send (all of the data is kept locally, so no privacy problems) and analyzes how you use your words. It'll then suggest words as you type based on your writing style in the past. It's incredibly accurate, and I've often "typed" entire sentences just by using the suggestions it gives. There are also options like Scrybe, Swype and the aforementioned Gingerbread Keyboard. I don't have experience with those, but I've heard that they're all better than the HTC keyboard that comes with the Eris. (Also, for upgrading, you might consider a phone like the Droid 2 which has a physical keyboard built in.)
posted by shabaabk at 11:46 AM on January 11, 2011


The only 4G you can get now is with a data stick for your laptop and only in certain markets. But apparently it's as fast as advertised. They did say that the new Verizon iPhone would be compatible with 4G when it rolls out for phones. And even at 3G, can Verizon be any worse than AT&T?

I've got an iPod Touch...no 3G....just WiFi, but I love it. The apps available are just amazing.

Good luck!
posted by Gerard Sorme at 12:00 PM on January 11, 2011


Just go to your local Apple store and try an iPhone out. Being able to drop by an Apple store and have friendly, helpful people willing to answer any questions you might have or help you with any problems you encounter is one of the best things about the phone. Employees at the telco stores are notoriously inept and unfriendly.

I went with the iPhone mainly because of a hefty company discount, but I might have gone that way anyway. The resolution of the screen, the quality of the third-party apps, the sensitivity of the touch screen, and the long battery life were hard to beat when I was on the market (about the same time the HTC Incredible came out).
posted by Thoughtcrime at 12:28 PM on January 11, 2011


The Eris actually isn't a very good phone. It's also stuck on an older version of Android.

I'm psyched about the Droid Bionic - it'll be on the LTE (4G, faster) network, it has a front-facing camera, and it has two processors - so it'll be fast. Some people have worried that the battery life of a dual-core phone might be too short, but I have to imagine that they've ironed that out. I hope. It's due out second quarter, and I suspect that it'll be sooner in that window, rather than later.

Definitely try everything, and see what speaks to you. You're in a good place, in that you have a lot of options.
posted by Citrus at 1:19 PM on January 11, 2011


Thanks everyone! I think I'll stick with droid then.
posted by FunkyHelix at 3:12 PM on January 11, 2011


You won't be able to talk on the phone and use the web at the same time on the first Verizon iPhone. Stick with the droid.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 4:21 PM on January 11, 2011


I feel like Apple is excited you are a customer right up until they put out a new OS, then it's "well you should upgrade to the new version of the hardware, then you wouldn't have that problem". My iPhone 3GS is clunky, slow and freezes on a lot of websites since last June when they put out the OS 4. I will never buy an apple product ever again. EVER.

My 3G had this problem even worse after ios 4.0. It got a lot better with 4.1, and a bit better still with 4.2. If you or anyone else hasn't upgraded it's very worth your while (though it's still somewhat slower than 3.x). It's now tolerable (but annoying) for me, your mileage may vary.

I personally thought it was rather nice of them to fix the problems with a product they no longer sold (but I thought that the earlier problems were rather inexcusable and out of character given Apple's usual attention to detail).
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 4:45 PM on January 11, 2011


Just to clarify, never.was.and.never.will.be., you can't talk and use data on ANY Verizon phone. Verizon uses a CDMA network which utilizes its entire bandwidth for voice calls; as such, it's impossible to use a data connection (browsing, etc.) while in a call. The same goes for Sprint, which also uses CDMA.
posted by shabaabk at 8:07 PM on January 11, 2011


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