iPhone-class RAZR replacement for Verizon service?
March 6, 2009 3:30 PM   Subscribe

What's the best current Verizon phone for me?

So I'm dropping my Alltel service and switching to Verizon to share a plan with my wife. (Oddly enough, though they merged, I can't just have them move me over, I have to cancel the one and sign up with the other.) They also say I will need a new phone.

I currently have a Motorola RAZR, as does my wife. I love mine's interface, especially the speed - the wife's is stupid slow, and kind of ugly besides. (My software version reports as GATW_04.06.00R, hers I don't know and don't have access to at the moment.) I'd like to find a phone with a similar look and feel to my current one, particularly the speed - hers seriously takes like a few seconds after a keypress to display menus or switch screens.

Alternately, I might like to go big and get something I can at least get email on, maybe even browse web pages. Streaming media capability (aka Pandora) would be more icing. The Verizon rep I spoke to says they'll give me a deal on the new phone, and I can spend a little anyway, so I'm not looking for crazy cheap - but not made of platinum either. I dream of an iPhone or even just an iPod Touch so I can use wi-fi - of course that's not an option on Verizon, but I think at least some of the BlackBerrys have wi-fi? I am not interested in paying extra for a data plan to do any of this.

You probably need more info from me, feel free to ask away and I'll try to watch closely and answer quickly. Give me your experiences and thoughts, please!
posted by attercoppe to Technology (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Get out of your wife's Verizon contract and sign up with AT&T for your iPhone.
posted by rhizome at 3:39 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

There are rumors that the iphone will make it to verizon this year.

posted by bitdamaged at 3:52 PM on March 6, 2009

Response by poster: @rhizome: I guess I should stress that what I like about the iDevices is not them in themselves, but their functionality, especially wi-fi, also the large screen. I do not like the price for the iPhone or the fact that it's shackled to AT&T service (and rates).
posted by attercoppe at 3:54 PM on March 6, 2009

I see. Well, I just went through the "which is the best phone?" with my mom about a year ago and it involved about a weekend day's worth of reading phone reviews on howardforums.com. At the end of the day, though, it sounds like it's gonna be pretty much a screen size issue for you. Pretty much all phones (at least the ones you would consider) have the capability to browse webpages and such. Music is iffy, but you'll at least be able to put your own files on it (we should hope, double check this since Verizon is famous for removing functionality to force you to use their pay-transfer services). So, go to the Verizon site and plop your zipcode in and select one or more features along the left column. There's some smaller media phones there as well as large-screen ones, but you really have to do a bit of clicking and reading.
posted by rhizome at 4:03 PM on March 6, 2009

Best answer: i just dumped my RAZR (which i hated with a fire laden hate) and got an omnia (which i'm giddy as a goose about).

iirc, you have to have a data plan for any of the verizon ppcs. you can do a pay as you go plan, but you have to sign up for one. the omnia does have wi-fi, but i think you have to do some tweaking to make the phone use the wifi instead of the data plan connection.

what the omnia has - large screen (WQVGA), touch interface (not even a place to put your stylus, unless you could the stupid lanyard), internet (opera mobile), email, ms office, a 5 megapixel phone that can double as an OCR (and with a tweak, as a barcode scanner), and a ton of other goodies

what it lacks - pick up and play sort of functionality. i've spent that last few days tweaking my phone (we're loving the Spb suite of products-you can even install a shell and some skins to make it look like an iphone), getting frustrated, learning things about windows mobile 6.1, and generally nerding out. i'm having a great time, but it's certainly not easy.

for the price and the features, i felt the omnia was the best pocket pc available on verizon. if you just want a phone, this isn't the device for you.
posted by nadawi at 4:37 PM on March 6, 2009

Nothing Verizon sells has wifi (the BlackBerries with wifi are sold by TMobile and are wholly incompatible with Verizon's technology). They want you to use their network for everything.
Also, chances are if you want anything streaming, unless you roll the server yourself, will cost $x a month as a service.

Most phone browsers are absolute shite and not even worth paying for the data you load into it.

I say go for the free phone (any will do, do they still sell Nokia?) and use your $200 to get an iPod touch.
posted by ijoyner at 4:44 PM on March 6, 2009

Best answer: Oh, phonescoop.com is a great resource for real-life phone reviews. You can narrow down by carrier/brand.

And I stand corrected about VZW not offering wifi on devices. If you have unlimited data, the wifi will be about the same speed. I've found on my BlackBerry, it is not the data that is slow, it is the browser rendering the pages that takes so long. The Curve & Pearl have faster browsers than than the 8830 (World Edition).
posted by ijoyner at 4:47 PM on March 6, 2009

Best answer: for whatever phone you pick, if you go for a windows mobile device, check out howardforums (as rhizome suggests), pdaphonehome.com, and ppcgeeks.com. either find the sub-category, or jsut hit the search function, and spend an hour or so reading about phones. cnet also has some good reviews.

ijoyner - opera mobile seems to be doing a good job at everything besides flash (which there's a tweak for) and skyfire takes care of the flash video sites. my fav features about opera mobile so far - the full screen option, the tabs, the zoom features, and the quick access to favorites. i can browse this page, kotaku (not the mobile site, the full site), slate, and a whole host of others. i actually haven't loaded a page yet that my phone just utterly choked on.
posted by nadawi at 5:11 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I got an LG Voyager from Verizon about a month ago, and it has exceeded expectations (to be fair, they weren't extremely high). It has all the features you want, and the web browser is decent, maybe a little bit better than the Blackberry's (I switched from an 8830).
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 5:43 PM on March 6, 2009

Best answer: like nadawi, i recently got the samsung omnia on verizon and absolutely love it. i haven't gotten the spb mobile shell for it yet, but i plan to after reading up on it here. i especially love that after the current sale price, a discount for ordering online, and my new every two discount, i got it for free. for new customers online they are going for $100 from vzw.

If you don't want to go the smartphone route, or decide you really don't feel like paying for data or hacking a phone to enable the wifi for free, a phone similar to your razr would be the chocolate 3. I'd recommend any of the lg or nokia flip phones on verizon. they're all fairly similar in quality and reliability.
posted by ashabanapal at 6:03 PM on March 6, 2009

If you are within four months of your contract end date with Alltel you can port to Verizon with no ETF or penalties. You will have to get a new phone though. I suggest returning to the Verizon store and trying to find someone who is willing to help you sort that out. I suspect that soon you will be able to change from Alltel to Verizon with no problems or penalties regardless of contact end date as they will be wanting customers to adopt VZW handsets. Pandora will stream on the VX6900 from Verizon, but that would require a date plan; It's a cool looking phone, but not amazing. You should get at least the $15 a month data package if you plan on doing any web browsing from a phone with a full html browser like the Dare, Versa, or Voyager.
posted by Phoenix42 at 6:03 PM on March 6, 2009

You should be eligible for a free phone. Take it; if you stay w/Verizon, it's useful to have a backup in case somebody drops a phone in a puddle.
posted by theora55 at 9:40 PM on March 6, 2009

Mr. gudrun just got an LG Dare through Verizon, and so far so good, but he has not had it long.
posted by gudrun at 9:54 PM on March 6, 2009

The htc touch pro is a good phone :) I have the att version (the att fuze)
posted by majortom1981 at 4:53 AM on March 7, 2009

Response by poster: Woah, I went to work and you all went to town! Thanks for the tips, all. I've marked some bests, and don't expect any more repsonses, but I'll check back.
posted by attercoppe at 7:19 AM on March 7, 2009

majortom has a good point. the omnia and the htc are often talked about in the same breath.
posted by nadawi at 9:02 AM on March 7, 2009

And the HTC touch diamond is coming out on Verizon this month probably.
posted by barnone at 9:48 AM on March 7, 2009

Just noticed you don't want to pay the data plan. I think the HTC and Omnia both require it...anyone know for sure? I think the Dare doesn't...does the new Versa?
posted by barnone at 9:50 AM on March 7, 2009

If you decide you want to preserve the status quo for now, and you're willing to do a fair bit of hacking, you can always get a Verizon Razr and flash it to the Alltel software; hardware-wise they're probably exactly the same. This looks like a good guide, but if you end up with a diferent model or something you should be able to find instructions elsewhere on howardforums.com.
posted by closetpacifist at 11:47 AM on March 7, 2009

Response by poster: Just in case this helps anyone still reading...

I just did the whole thing, ported from Alltel to Verizon, got the new phone on the way, etc. The very knowledgeable and helpful Verizon rep that I (finally) got to told me that because of recent larger discounts for data phones (including the Omnia), a data plan is required to even put in an order for new service that includes a purchase of those phones. (He mentioned just one other data phone, I don't recall which one.) This is not what I recall the rep at a Verizon store telling me...although he may have actually just said that the Omnia, since it has wi-fi, doesn't have to use the data plan to get online. He also wasn't prepared to assure me that I could sign up with the data plan, then immediately cancel it...though it sounded feasible to him.

Summary: The Omnia does require a data plan, at least with new service.

So I've ordered the Motorola Krave, which I think I'll like, and if I can find an Omnia cheap, I'll switch, otherwise I might just get an iPod Touch after all.
posted by attercoppe at 8:49 PM on April 3, 2009

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