Choosing Phones on Verizon
September 20, 2011 9:22 PM   Subscribe

Best Verizon Smartphone? IPhone vs Droid 3?

I'm looking for a smartphone on Verizon. I'm debating between the iPhone 4 and the Droid 3(Mainly because it has the dual GSM/CDMA). Are there any other suggestions or comments about these two? I've used iOS and Windows Phone 7 which I like. How is the Droid 3?
posted by touareg to Technology (23 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I chose an iPhone, because while the iPhone isn't the majority of the market, it's the largest single market segment. Plus, because of the walled garden that Apple runs, every iphone is basically the same. If an app doesn't work, there's no this phone with this version of android and these whatnots and those kabobbles, it's just an iPhone -- and if it doesn't work on MY iphone, then it doesn't work on THE iPhone, and the app developer will be all over that.

I deal with computers all the time, less so that I'm working as a parent and not a software tester or a laptop engineer. I don't want my phone to be a computer. I want it to just work, or else NOT work in a way that is catastrophic enough that other engineers will care.
posted by KathrynT at 9:40 PM on September 20, 2011 [5 favorites]

If you go with the iPhone (and wait until the new ones are out in almost certainly a few weeks) you don't have to worry about it being obsoleted by a new model for fully a year, and you're also guaranteed that any software for it will work for it (and that updates will be available for at least a year or two). You also don't have to worry about malware or fake ripoff apps, which are fast becoming a problem on the Android Marketplace.

And if you do anything with audio or music, you'd basically be out of luck on the Droid simply because the audio implementation is lousy and laggy from square one on Android.

tl;dr get the iPhone. iPhone commercials don't mention competitors because they know they're king of the hill.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:56 PM on September 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

I couldn't be happier with my droid 2 (yes I know it isn't the droid3). I have had the opportunity to use and play with a droid 3 and it is awesome from an android perspective.

It depends on what your expectations are for a device. I don't play games, and use it primarily for school, work and (free) mobile hotspot. In addition, it can be tweaked and hacked to your hearts content. Now I've used the iphone, and had to deal with them at work, I am not sold on the device. I've had to replace several for no reason, costing me (my company) time, it has a lockdown environment and lacks a physical keyboard. If your aim is simplicity (not that android is complicated by any means, it just isn't as intuitive outta the box) go with the iphone. If you want a beast of a mobile device plus full 5 row keyboard, go rock a droid.
posted by handbanana at 10:11 PM on September 20, 2011

Is your primary computing device a Windows machine or a Mac? I got an Android phone because I just hate using iTunes on my Windows machines, and I also like the seamless integration with my Google account on Android. I am not satisfied with Android's music player, and the Internet browser is merely satisfactory. It is possible to download 3rd-party Mp3 players and browsers, but none of them are *excellent*. That said, I will be purchasing a new Android phone in January. I'll be sticking with HTC, for Sense UI.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:12 PM on September 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

And if you do anything with audio or music, you'd basically be out of luck on the Droid simply because the audio implementation is lousy and laggy from square one on Android.

This above statement is bullshit. My droid is my main music program, podcaster, and it not at all bad. Not as gussied up as idevice interphase, but it can do anything an iphone can. Even better, you can replace it with multiple different music players to your hearts content.
posted by handbanana at 10:14 PM on September 20, 2011 [4 favorites]

I've used and developed on both. If you value UI snappiness, clean interface design, and fewer surprises in the configuration, then iPhone. If you like to really personalize your configuration and don't care so much about stability, then Android.

And if you do anything with audio or music, you'd basically be out of luck on the Droid simply because the audio implementation is lousy and laggy from square one on Android.

This above statement is bullshit.

To be fair, Android has had shit audio support internally in the past, forcing developers to jump through hoops to get proper timing. If the developer did a good job, you got a usable app. This has improved a lot in the past year or so.
posted by hanoixan at 10:41 PM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


That did seem to be a problem with early droids from my experiences, but not so much in the more polished devices. As far as app stability goes, you make a point. Sloppy coding can drag down an android app, but I have rarely encountered it. The walled garden apple has in place makes apps a bit easier. My experience with the iphones has lead me to believe that its for either kids to play games, or people who desire limited choices. As a power user coming from Blackberry, a very closed environment, I was happy to trade somewhat dependability to complete ease of customizing my device to fit my particular needs.
posted by handbanana at 10:48 PM on September 20, 2011

we looked at iphones and droids. we went with droids (him a droid x, me a droid 2). it came down to hating itunes and liking the google integration. sometimes the iphone gets games first. sometimes they have a spiffy cool app first. but i've never regretted my choice and wished for an iphone.
posted by nadawi at 11:04 PM on September 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

The iPhone 5 will be out very soon, and its specs will likely blow away any competition until Droid 4 or 5. The fact is that app selection is superior in iOS, and with iOS 5, you will never have to use iTunes ever again to sync or upgrade, if you don't want to use iTunes. I'd wait for the best option, if it was my money, and that would still mean an iPhone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:12 PM on September 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Unfortunately I can't wait, but I assume if it's coming out in a few weeks I can always exchange when it comes out.
posted by touareg at 11:39 PM on September 20, 2011

This is probably just anecdotal, but I have an HTC Incredible Andriod and my wife has an iPhone; both with Verizon. When our cruise ship was returning toward the Chesapeake Bay last week, her iPhone picked up the 3G network around 10 PM Saturday, but my Android phone didn't recognize it until around 6:30 AM Sunday when we were almost to Baltimore.

I was really surprised over this.
posted by imjustsaying at 12:32 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Samsung Galaxy S2 should be there sooner, all the reviews say it's the best phone around now. I'm pretty sure I'll be dumping my iphone for that one.
posted by Blake at 3:18 AM on September 21, 2011

Is your primary computing device a Windows machine or a Mac? I got an Android phone because I just hate using iTunes on my Windows machines, and I also like the seamless integration with my Google account on Android.

This really gets at the biggest question - are you prepared to buy into the Apple way of doing things? Because Apple products tend to work really well if you do things the way Apple says, and not work / barely work any other way.

I'm a former iPhone owner, now very happily on my second Droid. The iPhone is a great device and I've been recommending it to friends who are not particularly techie - the crowd who wants something that *just works* even if it doesn't do everything you want it to.

But for me, I just couldn't deal with all the insane restrictions. iTunes is a royal mess, particularly on Windows. I lost at least 24 hours of my life fighting with iTunes to get music on my phone in the 6 months I had an iPhone. I accomplished the same task in 15 minutes with a Droid, because I could just hook it up to my computer and dump files onto it. Why the hell can't I just manage my files on an iPhone? Because Apple says I can't. But my friend who was already a happy iTunes user is now a very happy iPhone user because they work together very well. Moreover, on Android I can open Facebook, Twitter, Google+, music, and navigation, and they all stay open and keep working and I can quickly hop between them. On my iPhone, it was basically 1 thing at a time (well, 2 things if music was the second thing) and if you switch applications, it's arduous to jump between them. But some people don't need the ability to switch that quickly. iPhones tend to get the latest and greatest apps faster since companies tend to focus on iPhones first. But there are some things you just can't do on an iPhone without hacking it - for example, on my phone I can drastically change my keyboard (e.g., use Swype) or use Google's built in speech recognition. Apple doesn't allow this, full stop.

So you should consider how you're going to use the phone - music? podcasts? driving directions? Many apps at once, or just one? Once you've thought it through, go play with each phone at the Verizon store and get a feel for how they work. That will tell you which one works for you.

On a side note, I think it's great that we have competing platforms that work well for different users, and as a result I really encourage you to go play with the devices at the store to get a feel for the differences and what you prefer.
posted by Tehhund at 3:43 AM on September 21, 2011 [3 favorites]

Where are you located? Does Verizon have 4G/LTE coverage where you are? If so, you may want to consider the Droid Bionic instead of the Droid 3. It is also dual band, so will work internationally. Neither the iPhone nor the Droid 3 are 4G devices, so they won't be able to take advantage of the alleged 10x faster download speeds.
posted by Grither at 5:07 AM on September 21, 2011

I have the Droid 3 and I love it. I love the Google integration where all contacts and all of your paid apps are synced with your account so when you upgrade its easy to get everything up and running again. I also like how it comes with 16 GB internal storage along with support for micro SD. The camera/HD video camera is great as well. Number one reason why I love the phone is because of its slide out keyboard. It slides out and its very easy to type on and has a separate line for just numbers. Number one reason I love the Android OS is because of the widgets. Its nice to be able to see recent text messages, weather, mail, calendar, mint, all on the home screen and not having to open up any apps. Oh and the fact that you don't need to use iTunes is a huge plus as well.

The only downside of the Droid 3 with Verizon is that it comes bundled with a bunch of crap that you can't delete unless you root. All the Verizon apps, Blockbuster, Citrix, City ID, GoToMeeting, Slacker, Zumo Cast are the apps that it comes with that you can't get rid of.
posted by lilkeith07 at 5:47 AM on September 21, 2011

Hardware specs are very similar between phones like the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy S2 and even the upcoming Nexus Prime.

Google integration is OK on iPhone but stellar on android. If you're like me and you use google gmail, calendar, maps, contacts, etc you'll be amazed. You can factory reset your phone and be back up and running by just logging into your google account.

Finally, the deal killer: a year ago I bought a standalone wall charger with two extra batteries on eBay for $12. When my battery gets low, I grab a fresh one. The concept of having an iPhone and actually having to attach it to a computer or an outlet for a period of time to recharge just seems so foreign to me these days. Deal killer.

Oh, and if you're willing to root (takes 3 minutes) you can turn on tethering and share your internet connection with other devices.
posted by PSB at 5:56 AM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just a word of warning - you won't be able to return a phone you buy now for the iPhone 5. The return window for Verizon (and most major carriers I believe) is 14 days. Rumor today is showing an announcement date for the iPhone 5 on October 5, and unknown when it will ship. If there is any chance at all that you want an iPhone, I would find a way to wait for the announcement. Prepaid phones are relatively cheap, and it is nice to have a backup phone in case your new phone is out of commission for any reason.
posted by shinynewnick at 7:48 AM on September 21, 2011

Response by poster: @shinynewnick: CA gets a 30 day return period because of state laws.

Thanks everyone!
posted by touareg at 8:24 AM on September 21, 2011

I had to make the same decision a couple of months ago, and I agonized over it for several weeks, perusing the web for opinions and reviews (including here, although I was still lurking then). After collecting all the data I could, it really came down to what KathrynT and hanoixan said. If you value stability over control of your interface, I suggest the iPhone. If you plan to configure the phone yourself, go for the Android.

One of the things that originally concerned me with the iPhone was the actual sound quality of the phone. I have several friends with iPhones and I hated calling them because their voices were so garbled. As it turns out, that was more a feature of AT&T than their phones.

I ended up getting the iPhone on Verizon, and I have been nothing but happy with it.
posted by blurker at 8:40 AM on September 21, 2011

Droid (original) + Verizon fan here. Google integration! Camera! Yay!
posted by Lynsey at 10:57 AM on September 21, 2011

Apple’s Next Event to Be Held on October 4

While Apple could certainly change its plans anytime, sources said that the Oct. 4 date has been selected by the company to showcase the iPhone 5. Sources added that the plan is now to make the new device available for purchase within a few weeks after the announcement.

iOS 5 should be released around the same time — so no more iTunes tethering, for people who don't like iTunes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:23 PM on September 21, 2011

Will the no-iTunes tethering mean that something like Grooveshark would be allowed on the iPhone?
posted by imalaowai at 6:09 PM on September 21, 2011

Not sure. There's a little more information here, if you're interested.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:28 PM on September 21, 2011

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