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are iPhones *really* worth it, or is there a droid/google alternative that's better?

$tinkle

Expert on blowing
Feb 12, 2003
14,591
5
my requirements:
- intuitive
- relevant for at least 2 yrs
- plan must be economical (none of this $80/mo b.s. for a dial tone & a few dozen texts)
- camera function easy to access w/ high quality snaps/vids
- iPhone size (so it can fit in my front pocket on a ride w/o annoying hip flexor)

nice to haves:
- remain w/ att
- no more than a minor tweak to existing contract

doesn't matter
- 4g
- brand name
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,663
411
NC
Android seems to have migrated away from iPhone-sized devices. There are a few good ones - the HTC Incredible 4G is excellent, but it's on Verizon. I just took a look at AT&T's phones and all of their good Android phones are of the large-screened variety.

I don't carry my phone in my pocket when riding or really doing anything athletic, so I really like my Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It's significantly larger than the iPhone, though, so if that's your size cut-off... Aside from the Incredible, I really can't think of too many.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
Also iPhone 4S is slated to be succeeded this Fall. Apple intentionally obsoletes their hardware even if there is no reason the hardware can't handle new features - for example DARPA's SIRI technology was a third party application before Apple bought the spin-off developing it and it runs (even in the Apple version via unofficial workaround) on hardware as old as the 3GS.
 

Jeremy R

<b>x</b>
Nov 15, 2001
9,508
522
behind you with a snap pop
IMO, your two best options have already been mentioned. If you are going to get a 2 year contract, then get the Samsung SIII. If I was buying a phone straight up I would get the Galaxy Nexus straight from Google for $350. The newer phones have nicer hardware specs, but with the Nexus, you get the newest software updates directly from Google for years to come. Getting the updates from the carriers takes so long I am pretty sure God had to sign off on it first.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
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You can buy the Galaxy SIII from an ATT store for $550 w/o a contract if you decided to try Straight Talk and wanted another option besides the Nexus (obviously the ATT One X or the smaller Tmobile One S is another option).
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
Sure, the current phones won't be upgraded to the next version coming this fall. I would also make the argument that a 1-1.5 year old phone isn't going to recieve an update very well if the current hardware trends continue.
Microsoft really ****ed that up and it was a decent effort. No way in hell should he buy one now.

iOS 6 will be supported on the iPhone 3GS but not Siri (no Siri for iPhone 4 either). Artificial feature upgrade barrier FTW! The 3GS is 3 years old.
 

$tinkle

Expert on blowing
Feb 12, 2003
14,591
5
oops forgot to add:

would really like to get a phone that has a widely available harness for recording rides (chest strap seems most sensible mount). didn't someone post a ride recorded w/ their iPhone in the lounge...? i think i'll feel very silly having a gopro on my helmet, looking like one of those mst3k characters
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
Unless your smartphone isn't very important you, most people prefer using a $150-300 dedicated and optimized device that only serves that purpose to strapping a $350-600+ smartphone to the bike and hoping they don't damage it. If you break the camera its no big deal and you don't have to rush to buy a replacement for the numerous uses you'd probably have a smartphone for...

BTW Squaretrade is a good third-party warranty service and if you sign-up for their newsletter you can get coupons for 25-30% off a warranty.
 
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$tinkle

Expert on blowing
Feb 12, 2003
14,591
5
while that is a valid consideration, i'd like also to have it for recording everyday life-in-general. additionally, the ease with which i can share it will directly correlate to its usefulness for me. i don't normally ride spines in utah, but when i do, i then wake myself up.

i have some decent video of pirate trails i shot w/ a video camera years ago that is still on tape.
probably degraded by now, too.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
Smartphones are for general use video though. They have small lens w/o the wide angle suitable for riding videos and lack the various special application mounts needed to achieve good results from vibration etc... It just makes more sense to go dedicated if its for a special use like that.

If you are going to stop and pull it out and film from standing position its fine.
 
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Jeremy R

<b>x</b>
Nov 15, 2001
9,508
522
behind you with a snap pop
Yeah, unless you like videos filmed by muhammed ali, I would not use a smart phone to record a mtb ride.
That is almost as bad of an idea as buying a current windows phone. Almost. Ha, they are trying to give those turds away for $49 though.
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,971
20
I have the Galaxy SII on T-mobile and I love it. Big, reliable and fast. I bought the D3O case for it and it's perfect. Many drops and general rough handling, no issues.

The camera is quite good.
20120605_194813.jpg


The T-mobile "4G" speed is sometimes better than most wifi connections.

Bonus, and this RULED while I was away in Europe last month, is the T-mobile wifi calling feature. Basically it's like Skype, but it goes over T-mobile servers and is more reliable and better quality. It counts against your normal calling minutes but you can call California from Poland just like you were making a local call, no roaming. Oh and the wifi calling also lets you text normally as if you were back home as well.

I have yet to find an app for iPhone that does not have a counterpart on this droid, except for some obscure ones that most people don't give a fvck about anyway.
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,971
20
Oh and for trail vids, you can get a GoPro (or similar clones) fully loaded for less than $200 these days and you won't have to jerry-rig it and still get half-ass results like a phone.
 

norbar

Turbo Monkey
Jun 7, 2007
9,645
380
Warsaw :/
Android seems to have migrated away from iPhone-sized devices. There are a few good ones - the HTC Incredible 4G is excellent, but it's on Verizon. I just took a look at AT&T's phones and all of their good Android phones are of the large-screened variety.

I don't carry my phone in my pocket when riding or really doing anything athletic, so I really like my Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It's significantly larger than the iPhone, though, so if that's your size cut-off... Aside from the Incredible, I really can't think of too many.
Is incredible 4g the same processor as my incredible s - single core ? Because if yes do not upgrade to new sense since it lags the crap out of the phone. I think I will go Cyanogen.


As for Iphone vs other phones - Iphone has better/more apps (yes still) and a very good camera. Less soft upgrades but also less stupid upgrades like my incredible s.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
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Is incredible 4g the same processor as my incredible s - single core ? Because if yes do not upgrade to new sense since it lags the crap out of the phone. I think I will go Cyanogen.

As for Iphone vs other phones - Iphone has better/more apps (yes still) and a very good camera. Less soft upgrades but also less stupid upgrades like my incredible s.
Again making false assumptions. The phone he mentioned is almost as good the One series and shares similar features. The camera in the 4G is on par with the 4S but isn't as good as the One series with the new ImageSense processor.

As H8R mentions there is not a significant difference in useful applications. Developers aren't going to ignore the largest smartphone OS user base on the market by a significant margin. BV owned an iPhone and he works in IT, he isn't just making it up.

We've good news and bad news to share with respect to the camera in the Droid Incredible 4G LTE. First, the bad: this phone's camera isn't the same as you'll find on the One X and One S. It's inferior. On the upside, however, the camera is still quite excellent in its own right. While the One X features an f/2.0 lens, you'll find an f/2.2, 28mm setup here. Both 8-megapixel cameras contain backside illuminated sensors and are rather comparable with respect to daylight and indoor photography, but the One X is noticeably better when it comes to low-light scenes.

All told, the camera captures an impressive amount of detail with admirable color reproduction and delivers fantastic results at the press of a button. Most users will be rightfully thrilled by this camera, and our only nitpick is an excessive amount of sharpness that's discernible when images are viewed at full size.

The greatest differentiator between the camera of the Droid Incredible 4G LTE and the One lineup is the exclusion of HTC's ImageSense processor. While you'll find roughly the same set of software features, the real magic of HTC's imaging capabilities happen on the processing level, and it's absent on the latest Incredible. Not only does ImageSense affect overall image quality, but it has a bearing on the camera's real-world functionality as well. For example, while the Droid Incredible 4G LTE can capture roughly three images per second, the HTC One series can process twice this in the same amount of time -- all thanks to its hardware. In terms of software, you'll find the same set of shooting modes, which include the ability to capture HDR imagery, gyroscope-assisted panoramas, close-up and low light scenes, along with landscape, portrait and a few others. You'll also find the ability to apply Instagram-like filters to images, along with basic crop and rotation tools.

The Droid Incredible 4G LTE once again impresses with its 1080p video capture, which records at a smooth 30fps with stereo sound. We would like to see more refinement with respect to the image stabilization feature, however, and while the auto-focus during recording is a nice feature, you'll likely need to tap-to-focus during the clip in situations where you transition between close-up and distant subjects. Similarly, we found that even when tap-to-focus is utilized, the auto-focus feature will often quickly override your input. Like with the One X and One S, you'll find the ability to easily capture widescreen (3,264 x 1,840) images while recording 1080p video.
http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/06/droid-incredible-4g-lte-review/
 
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dante

Unabomber
Feb 13, 2004
8,815
8
looking for classic NE singletrack
Whatever you do don't get an Andriod phone. Unless you like:

-Memory Leaks
-Malware
-Background task managment (some tasks are invisable and/or come back right after you close them).
-Frequent (monthly, weekly, and yes sometimes even daily) crashes and/or reboots
-Call latency
-Jerky scrolling
-Decreased performance over time and the more apps you have.
-Having to "customize" it because the native os is so terrible and laking of features.
-Poor battery life and/or a huge battery because the os needs multiple high speed cores and gobs of memory to run basic tasks.
-Poor update rollouts (less than 10% are on ICS which is almost a year old.)
-Poor app compatibility due to fragmentation
The only two of those that I have are poor battery performance and lack of updates... Of course, with a larger screen and 4g LTE connectivity it's going to use more power regardless than a 3g 3.5" iPhone.

My main complaint about the iPhone (aside from the fact that it's overpriced, *and* that Apple seems to want to sue it's competitors into oblivion as opposed to developing superior products) is that new products are few and far between, and a few months after the new iPHone whatever is released it's already outdated. The 4S in particular was outdated practically even before it was released, and the hardware has certainly been eclipsed by many other Android phones by now even though there isn't a replacement due for another couple months. Buying an outdated iPhone near the end of it's life-cycle would just be idiotic, in my opinion.

By the way, anyone want to bet that: the next iPhone will have a bigger screen than 3.5" *and* that all the Apple fans will suddenly switch their tune about small form-factor being better and start fawning over the benefits of a larger screen? Kinda like how Flash was the source of all evil on the internet, at least until Apple caved and started offering Flash compatibility on it's iPhone/iPad?
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,663
411
NC
Time to fire back.
Fire back? syadasti is saying that you shouldn't get a Windows Phone right now. Nothing bad about Windows Phone, just that this isn't the time to buy one.

I'd agree - WP8 will be out in not too long, and NONE of the existing phones are going to get upgraded, plus WP8 is going to break a lot of app compatibility. I don't see why you'd buy a Windows Phone right now.

WP8 might be a great platform in a year. I will be watching it closely.

Whatever you do don't get an Andriod phone. Unless you like
I started to piecemeal reply to this, but got through several of your points before I realized that it was futile. You're completely incorrect on most of the points, only partially accurate on a couple, and a couple are addressed with the current iterations of the OS, which would come on any current phone.
 

norbar

Turbo Monkey
Jun 7, 2007
9,645
380
Warsaw :/
Again making false assumptions. The phone he mentioned is almost as good the One series and shares similar features. The camera in the 4G is on par with the 4S but isn't as good as the One series with the new ImageSense processor.

As H8R mentions there is not a significant difference in useful applications. Developers aren't going to ignore the largest smartphone OS user base on the market by a significant margin. BV owned an iPhone and he works in IT, he isn't just making it up.



http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/06/droid-incredible-4g-lte-review/
Are you still angry I didn't agree with you on apple stuff ? I'm not making false assumptions I'm asking if it's the same phone as my incredible s WHICH I OWN. I was asking If it is the same as Incredible S, Looking at your arcticle it isn't. Maybe instead of googling review articles you should read other peoples posts more carefully.


Also a very good camera on the 4S is not equal to me saying all hail apple, everything else is work. Instead of looking at reviews I actually used it and it produced quality photos. It amazes me how you can be butthurt over a polite discussion and me just not agreeing with you to the point you can't read my posts clearly.



As for apps - Almost every new app comes first on iPhone and I still can't find many apps on Android that exist on iPhone. Again MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. It bugged me, it may bug someone else. I'm not using apple or a fan of the company so please stop the hate.
 
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syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
You made a false assumption and offered useless advice instead of taking two seconds to google why BV made his recommendation. You don't see any clueless fools talking about the iPhone 3GS as if its the same thing as the iPhone 4S, do you?

And specifically you said:

As for Iphone vs other phones - Iphone has better/more apps (yes still) and a very good camera.
The mainstream apps are on par with each other and for power users android is far better coming from professional users in this thread who have used the iPhone and other phones. The 4S camera is clearly no longer the best.
 
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norbar

Turbo Monkey
Jun 7, 2007
9,645
380
Warsaw :/
You made a false assumption and offered useless advice instead of taking two seconds to google why BV made his recommendation. And specifically you said:



The mainstream apps are on par with each other and for power users android is far better coming from professional users in this thread who have used the iPhone and other phones. The 4S camera is clearly no longer the best.
What is a false assumption? iPhone has more apps. Doesn't it? I don't care about your hand selected group it doesn't apply to. It applies to me and it bugged me not having some apps. Your BFF group is not 99% of the smartphone market. Get over it. Though I'm seeing a strange pattern here - you can't find a use for someone so no one else can because your needs = everyone else needs?


Also a very good camera doesn't mean the best. So which assumption is really false? I spoke from experience. I liked the 4S camera which I tried and it was a pleasant experience. God I'm glad you don't post too much in the DH forum though to make you happy I can agree with you - I'm have special needs that no one else on earth has and for every other person droid is better.
 
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$tinkle

Expert on blowing
Feb 12, 2003
14,591
5
a buddy just called telling me there's 1 last slot for friday's monarch DH shuttle, so after that i just pulled the trigger:

" HD Helmet HERO Camera Kit with 16GB Class 10 Memory Card $199.00
Sold by : Buydig
"


yeah, have to agree if i ever got an iPhone, it would have to be 2nd hand, or heavily subsidized.
once again, the cruel mistress that is the free market has rebuffed my desires
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
yeah, have to agree if i ever got an iPhone, it would have to be 2nd hand, or heavily subsidized.
once again, the cruel mistress that is the free market has rebuffed my desires
Unsubsidized is cheaper in the long run regardless of platform (note this does not include the Straight Talk option which is even cheaper than Sprint's Virgin Mobile option). Virgin's unlimited option is only $50/month on auto-pay and Straight Talk unlimited is $45 month to month or $41.25/month if you prepay for a year of service - cheaper than the subsidized carriers with their minmum plans:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/257210/virgin_mobile_iphone_4s_vs_carrier_deals_comparison_chart.html

 
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dante

Unabomber
Feb 13, 2004
8,815
8
looking for classic NE singletrack
Those amounts are a bit outdated since Verizon announced their "we're going to bend you over and you're going to like it" Shared Data plans... *Minimum* cost for Verizon for voice and data is $90 for 1GB, $110 for 4GB. Plus taxes and fees.

When my contract is up I'm bidding adieu to Verizon/AT&T, especially since Verizon won't subsidize any more smartphones unless I give up my current unlimited data contract that I only pay $70/month for.


(And Verizon's "best network coverage anywhere actually SUCKS at my house. AT&T's was far better.)
 

binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,663
411
NC
Those amounts are a bit outdated since Verizon announced their "we're going to bend you over and you're going to like it" Shared Data plans...
Yep, I burned my last upgrade right before Verizon switched to the new plans, so that I could lock myself into my current plan.

My girlfriend and I don't use many voice minutes and I subscribe to the lowest ($5) texting tier. Consequently, the "benefit" of upgrading to the new plan - unlimited talk and text - is useless to me, but is going to cause the plan to be 30-40% more expensive.

What a crock.
 

dante

Unabomber
Feb 13, 2004
8,815
8
looking for classic NE singletrack
Yep, I burned my last upgrade right before Verizon switched to the new plans, so that I could lock myself into my current plan.

My girlfriend and I don't use many voice minutes and I subscribe to the lowest ($5) texting tier. Consequently, the "benefit" of upgrading to the new plan - unlimited talk and text - is useless to me, but is going to cause the plan to be 30-40% more expensive.

What a crock.
*Exactly* the same deal here, but I didn't even have a texting plan since it's all handled through Google Voice. My $70/month already subsidizes my smartphone, and if I'm going to have to pay a couple hundred for a new phone in 9 months I might as well go with a lower-cost plan from someone else.

Ah Verizon. What happened to "where your problem is our problem".
"Where your problem is our 40% net profit margin"


Edit: Sorry, 30.8% NET operating income margin... (page 12)
 
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binary visions

The voice of reason
Jun 13, 2002
21,663
411
NC
I figure another 2 years might be enough time for the various big wireless providers to pull their heads out of their collective asses in regards to plan costs, since the little pay-as-you-go carriers seem to be making a pretty big splash.

If not, Google seems to be pricing their Nexus phones pretty aggressively off-contract. I mean, the Galaxy Nexus has been available unlocked straight from Google for like 6 months now, for $350. So maybe I'll go that route.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
As BV says much of what you say is wrong. For example the SIII has one of the longer lasting batteries out there.

PC Mag tested talk time:
Verizon S3 10 hours, 43 minutes
Verizon Razr Maxx 16 hours, 45 minutes
ATT One X 9 hours and 9 minutes
Sprint 4S 7 hours, 33 minutes
Sprint Nexus 7 hours, 33 minutes
Sprint EVO 4G LTE 6 hours and 22 minutes

Anandtech actual:

Overall, in my time with the SGS3 I would subjectively describe battery life as above average. With AMOLED, 200 nits is actually pretty bright, and you see Samsung and other OEMs clamping display brightness well below the physical limits to both save power and prevent burn-in.

Obviously the other interesting question is how the SGS3 fares on its battery saving mode with the CPU clock capped at 1.0 GHz. That&#8217;s also next in line for testing. [the graphs below are normal operating mode]








In reality Nokia's WPs blow in comparison:









 
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H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,971
20
As for firing back, I was responding to the person that said something like it would be really dumb to by a WP. I think it is really dumb to by an Andriod phone unless you are one of those types that MUST spend hours tinkering and "customizing" your phone and enjoy task managing and resets (they probably also defrag their pc drives every week and clean install every couple months). WP is beautiful and works right out of the box. If I sound pissed I am.
You're pissed off about PHONE OPERATING SYSTEMS???

Get a fvcking grip.
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
36,621
3,441
Sleazattle
Smart phones are ****ing commodity products. Arguing over brands and types is similar to declaring that your brand of toilet paper is the best. Get the phone whose coverage and contract match your needs the best.
 

$tinkle

Expert on blowing
Feb 12, 2003
14,591
5
Also iPhone 4S is slated to be succeeded this Fall. Apple intentionally obsoletes their hardware even if there is no reason the hardware can't handle new features - for example DARPA's SIRI technology was a third party application before Apple bought the spin-off developing it and it runs (even in the Apple version via unofficial workaround) on hardware as old as the 3GS.
http://www.businessinsider.com/if-the-iphone-5-really-looks-like-this-apple-may-be-screwed-2012-7

so i can get a subsidized 4s for $100 & 300m data is $20/mo atop my current voice plan...hmmm....
 

dante

Unabomber
Feb 13, 2004
8,815
8
looking for classic NE singletrack
^^^^^I saw supposed "spy pictures" and thought the *exact* same thing as that post by BI... The S3 has almost twice the screen size (I *think* it's ~10.6" square for the S3, and 5.6" square for the iPhoen4S, but my math could be wrong). If Apple continues on with their "small form factor" I see them getting *crushed* as more and more people are expecting their phone to do things.

The other thing about Apple is that they really only have *one* product, their flagship phone. Sure, they'll continue selling the older ones to use up supply and to get a few customers who don't want to pony up the full $300+ for a new one, but they come out with one product per year (or so), and even if it's groundbreaking when it comes out, by the time the next one comes out it's considered *ancient*. HTC/Samsung have several releases per year and offer choices like bigger screen (more money, bigger form factor) or smaller screen, and so on.

I'm betting there'll be a bunch of Apple fans lining up for the new one, but if that's it I bet sales will drop off precipitously after that first month.
 

IH8Rice

I'm Mr. Negative! I Fail!
Aug 2, 2008
24,554
488
Im over here now
^^^^^I saw supposed "spy pictures" and thought the *exact* same thing as that post by BI... The S3 has almost twice the screen size (I *think* it's ~10.6" square for the S3, and 5.6" square for the iPhoen4S, but my math could be wrong). If Apple continues on with their "small form factor" I see them getting *crushed* as more and more people are expecting their phone to do things.

The other thing about Apple is that they really only have *one* product, their flagship phone.
not everyone wants to carry around a tablet sized phone in their pocket.granted a larger screened iphone would be nice but having something that might be 10.6" square probably doesnt do it for most people. plus, to help cut down on weight, they put a paper thin back plate on it which i see myself destroying.

i do agree that they should have their IOS on other styles of phones. id love a rugged phone like the Casio JizzedOne Commando running on IOS