Not so smartphone
March 15, 2010 6:07 PM   Subscribe

I am getting my first smartphone in about a week on Verizon. It has to be Verizon. I don't know if I should get a Blackberry or a Droid, so I go into the store to take a look. Then I see the Eris. And now I find out the Nexus One is coming to Verizon. Uh...? Help me out here.

I have an LG ENV 2 as of now.
What am I going to do with the new phone? Just the usual get email/answer email and browse. I like the Google Maps thing. I hardly ever have used my phones for pictures or music, so I have no idea if that would change or if I would do this on a new phone. I have no idea if the virtual keyboard would be a pain, as I have no experience with that. Any ideas as to which phone might be the best choice would be appreciated-- I have no real idea where to start.
posted by oflinkey to Technology (25 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The virtual keyboard was always a deal breaker for me. My wife loves her iPhone but I can't use it. I looked hard at the Droid when I was phone shopping a couple of months ago. It is a serious computer for your pocket. I ended up with the AT&T equivalent of what Verizon calls the Touch Pro2. The keyboard is the best in the business, and I like Win Mobile.
posted by Crotalus at 6:15 PM on March 15, 2010

Don't forget the Palm Pre Plus.
posted by zsazsa at 6:17 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

My sister manages the mobile phone department at the local outpost of a large US big box electronics retailer. I asked her a similar question recently, because I am also in the market for a new phone. Her comment was that Verizon had the best network, and with that in mind, she would go for the Eris if you didn't need a physical keyboard, or a Droid if you did. They do not sell the Nexus One at her store yet, but she has spent some time with one and said that the Droid is the better phone.
posted by ralan at 6:32 PM on March 15, 2010

Seconding Palm Pre plus. I've got the older non-plus version on Sprint and I still really like it. I like the physical keyboard, the comfortable, slightly curved shape of the phone, and the ability to multitask. I confess that I also like being a little outside the corporate empires of both Apple and Google.
posted by washburn at 6:34 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Touch Pro2, same as Crotalus. I looked hard at the droid but the keyboard was deal breaker - it wasn't comfortable for me. My advice - spend some time playing with the hardware in the store before committing. My TouchPro2 has a good keyboard and because it's a Windows Mobile phone, there's actually a ton of software out there for it, if you're in to that sort of thing and a fairly robust hacking community (custom firmware, tweaks, etc), again, if you're in to that sort of thing.
posted by macfly at 6:43 PM on March 15, 2010

Believe it or not, I am very happy with my Blackberry Storm. It does have a virtual keyboard, but that does not bother me. I can use it in either portrait or landscape mode. I like the email interface. But, I am an old guy so I can be easily placated.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:50 PM on March 15, 2010

3rding touch pro 2. I f you really want android check out xda developers. I'm currently running android 2.1 and loving it, the most recent build i found is super easy and has everything working except camera and gps. I also like the windows side but the ability to do both is great.
posted by dstopps at 6:58 PM on March 15, 2010

I have a Droid, which I love, but if I was buying now, I might wait for the Nexus. My wife has the GSM Nexus and it's a pretty wonderful piece of equipment. I find that I almost never use the Droid's physical keyboard and usually use the soft keyboard.
posted by octothorpe at 7:00 PM on March 15, 2010

I'm a Nexus One user so I'm biased but I will say that regardless of the phone you get, you need to try out the screen and input mechanisms. Because you will be navigating and inputing text far more than you would with a plain "feature" phone you need to be comfortable with the phone's means of performing these functions. If I were you, I'd even go to a T-Mobile store so that you can play with a live working Nexus One. Just ask an attendant, they will give you a real working model to play with that actually works on the network.

IMHO, you'd be foolish to buy one of these without seriously trying it out first.
posted by mmascolino at 7:05 PM on March 15, 2010

FYI, I just got a new phone from Verizon (what you already have) and they have a 30 day trial period, so if you hate it you can return it; however, they will charge you a handling fee (around $20).
posted by desjardins at 7:19 PM on March 15, 2010

I tested the Droid for work when it first came out and loved it. Add me to the chorus of people who hate touch-screen keyboards. Since I'm not a Verizon customer, when it came time for me to choose a phone I got Tmobile's equivalent of the Droid (Motorola Cliq) and haven't had a single complaint.
posted by chez shoes at 7:20 PM on March 15, 2010

I have an Eris and love it. It's my first smart phone, and I use it all the time. All sorts of things I used to fire up a laptop for are just as easy or easier on a smart phone. I had no idea how much I would use it until I got one.

The Droid has Android 2.0, while the Eris is still running 1.5, but Verizon is supporting an Eris upgrade to 2.0 in the very near future, which will make it almost the equivalent of the Droid for less money. That seemed like the smart move to me.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:26 PM on March 15, 2010

If you want to browse the Internet, don't get a Blackberry (the browser sucks). If you want to get an Android, don't get the Eris (the technology is 3 years old). You're left with a Palm Pre (cheaper), a Droid (great keyboard) or the Nexus (basically the Eris with a superfast processor).

I have an Eris and I like it. If I could, I would upgrade to a Nexus, if only because I find the Droid's sliding keyboard kind of clunky and inelegant.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:02 PM on March 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I recently got a Droid, with which I am very happy. It comes with a 16gb sd card, which I've loaded up with music to become my portable mp3 player. Google Maps and the navigation is wonderful and one of the main reasons why I wanted an Android phone.

When I was purchasing my phone, I faux-composed some messages using the different onscreen portrait/landscape keyboards as well as the Droid's physical keyboard in store before deciding. Now, I find myself tapping away in portrait mode for most casual messaging (the spell check is pretty accurate), and sliding out the keyboard when I have the need. If I wanted to switch, I might consider the Nexus because I don't find myself using the physical keyboard as often as I anticipated.
posted by joydivasian at 8:14 PM on March 15, 2010

Best answer: Happy Droid owner here, looked at a bunch of the same options and found the Droid interface and keyboard to be the best and most natural for me.
Blackberries are only really great for email and only just ok at everything else.
I really like that the Droid has the option of the keyboard but also having the on-screen one if I want to go one-handed.
When I looked at the Eris, it just wasn't as easy and wasn't the same.
posted by rmless at 8:18 PM on March 15, 2010

If you want to browse the Internet, don't get a Blackberry (the browser sucks).

The stock browser sucks, yes. But Considering you can download Opera Browser, I'm not sure if that should be a deciding factor on getting a Blackberry. My bb pearl browses the Internet just fine with Opera.
posted by jmd82 at 9:02 PM on March 15, 2010

One thing to consider with Android phones is the version of Android that the phone comes with. Wired lays it out for you.

I don't understand why anyone would want a Crackberry unless you were using it for business.

I would go with the Motorola Droid. It has the almost-latest Android release, and tons of applications. Plus, Matt Haughey likes it!
posted by radioamy at 9:07 PM on March 15, 2010

I'd wait for the Nexus One, unless having a physical keyboard is absolutelypositively necessary. Then it'd be close between the Pre and Droid, but I think Droid comes out on top. Android is definitely sticking around. Will webOS? who knows.
posted by ofthestrait at 9:50 PM on March 15, 2010

Really, the Droid is the best on Verizon right now easily. If you want a keyboard, go with it (though the keyboard isn't the greatest). If you want something a bit smaller, the Pre Plus is a great phone with a keyboard as well. If you don't want a keyboard, wait for the Nexus.
posted by alaijmw at 4:30 AM on March 16, 2010

Another happy Droid owner with one other comment I thought I'd toss out there- a big deciding factor for me was the physical keyboard, since I thought I really wanted/needed it. Then, I found out about Swype (currently in a limited beta), and now I hardly open the physical keyboard. That having been said, the superior processor of the Moto Droid (vs. the Eris) and the 2.0 vs. 1.5 OS really make it a much better phone as far as I'm concerned.

The Nexus One is awfully nice, though.... I would certainly want to get it on Verizon, but if you can wait for "Spring," that might be worth considering.
posted by JMOZ at 6:33 AM on March 16, 2010

Best answer: I'm another happy Droid owner who has been helping loads of people at work pick out new phones in the last few weeks.

I have been encouraging people to look at the Eris. It's really light and a little more elegant compared to the Droid and it will be upgraded to 2.1, probably before the summer is out. It's going to be phased out in the coming months, so you should be seeing some massive sales on it.

Droid is wonderful, of course, for all the reasons listed above. And I emphatically nth anyone who recommends Swype. A number of people saw me using it in a meeting and it seems to have convinced them that they need a Droid now too. As far as I know, it's also available on the Eris.

The rumor is that the Nexus One will not be sold in Verizon stores, although it will be available on Verizon. If you need to go to the store and play with the phone before a purchase, this might matter to you.

And of course, there is always going to be something bigger and better around the corner, and I don't know how long you'd have to wait (rumor is April 1st), but the HTC Incredible looks, well...pretty incredible.

Oh, and forget the Blackberrys. Everyone who has one in my office can't wait to ditch theirs for an Android phone.
posted by bristolcat at 8:06 AM on March 16, 2010

I really really like the Palm Pre. It is an excellent phone, with an excellent GUI and i wholeheartedly recommend it on the Verizon network.
posted by The1andonly at 9:54 AM on March 16, 2010

I'm in the market for a new phone, and I'm in the camp that strongly prefers a physical keyboard. I played with a Droid for a bit yesterday and was not very impressed by its keyboard - so much so that I am thinking that the Nexus One may be a better route to go. (I concur that the HTC Touch Pro 2 has the best keyboard for a phone.) The Eris is still a good option, though it's screen is a bit on the small side.
posted by puritycontrol at 10:45 AM on March 16, 2010

we love our enV2's but we're changing to the chocolate touch. not just because i love chocolate, either. the nice lady at the store let us play with one and the virtual keypad seemed quite easy to get used to. plus, the chocolate touch and the HTC pro2 are the only ones with more than 4 star ratings. most of the reviews for the phones with mere 4 star ratings complained consistantly of short battery life and wonky touchpads. lots of happy users here on meta though, so....
posted by Redhush at 8:11 PM on March 16, 2010

Response by poster: UPDATE: Settled on the Droid and I love it. Thanks all!
posted by oflinkey at 3:31 PM on March 24, 2010

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