Friday, October 11, 2013

Thinking: iPhone 5(s|c) or LG G2 or HTC One or LG Optimus G

I'm still thinking about a new phone.  Next month, will be the end of my two year contract.  I've been eligible to trade up since July.  One thing that keeps me thinking is service, billing, and support.

When I was looking for a mobile hotspot I tried AT&T, Verizon, and finally, decided on Sprint.  Why?

AT&T billing--they charged me for data when the device was being shipped
Verizon service--they had the worst service where I live now
Sprint--it wasn't as bad as Verizon, and I'd been a customer since 2000

Given that Softbank put a lot of money into Sprint, the LTE rollout should be accelerating, if that's even possible.  Also, decommissioning Nextel's network frees up the lower 800 MHz band, plus the 2.5 GHz band will be freed from WiMAX as they replace WiMAX in areas where it's already running.  WiMAX has worked fine for me, and LTE shows promise.

Sprint has started pre-orders for the LG G2, the successor to the LG Optimus G, a phone I really liked.  At a resolution of 1280x768, it was quite capable of showing video clearly.  Since the G2 has a resolution of 1920x1200 (or is it 1080?), it can show media in full HD resolution, which is awesome in a handheld device.  They've also added the Google Nexus 5 to their pre-orders.  It's based on the G2 but with various differences.  I like that it will have priority and a straight path to system updates.  I just wish that Sprint were selling a 32 GB version.  The 32 GB G2 is US$50 more at US$199.99 with 2 year contract and the 16 GB Nexus 5 is US$149.99.  They're US$100.00 cheaper for new customers.

LG has tried to fix Android to work better for their customers, as has HTC and Samsung and even Motorola made some laughter with their attempt.  Having tried the original Nexus 7 tablet, I'm not sure that Android can be fixed, and that's why I'm hesitant to return, having had 3 Android-based products that really didn't work well for me.

Apple is not without their problems.  They want you to like what they like, as with Mercedes-Benz years ago, but guess what?  Mercedes-Benz changed.  Apple won't.  They know better than we do about what we want.

The best thing about Apple is that I know that an app will work for me.  If I'm on a newer operating system on a device with reasonable RAM, an app will work.  My iPhone 4S, and previously my second generation iPod touch, proves that to me every day.

I've been watching developers struggle with 64-bit apps on the iPhone 5s.  I'd probably avoid it, unless there is a point where the mess is resolved.  However, the supplies are constrained and I probably couldn't find one until the new year.

The iPhone 5c felt great, worked quickly, and was better and faster than my current phone, plus it has LTE capabilities.  Since it's almost completely an iPhone 5, the technology has been worked out.  It would be good to have LTE data speeds (where available, disclaimers apply) although I suspect that LTE will be bogged down by all the people switching at once.

I'm still not sure about the HTC One.  I really like the style and the fact that there are two speakers on the front, but I really dislike the fact that the company might not survive.  Who will provide me with software updates, if the company is gone?  Unfortunately, no matter how many colors they have available, I think people know about a sinking boat and are ready to look somewhere else.

Service, software, and more keep me thinking.  I'll probably let my contract run out, something I've not done since 2002.  I used my Star Tac for a total of 4 years, 2 of which were without contract.  Two years after I replaced it, it still was able to power on.  If I went a couple of days without charging a current phone, I bet it would be completely dead.  Of course, software-wise, my iPhone 4S would be completely dead by 2015.

Update 2013.10.30: I've really been giving the iPhone 5c more thought.  It's priced nicely for what's basically year old hardware with extra LTE bands thrown into it.  Besides that, I don't need to learn all new quirks and foibles, as I would with LG or HTC Android-based phones, which work differently.  That's not to say that I've decided, but it does push me in a certain direction.  The HTC One has a lot going for it and so does the LG G2.

One thing may delay my decision: cases.  I checked four different stores for a Ballistic or Otterbox case for the iPhone 5c and found none.  You can order them through the manufacturers' web sites, and Otterbox has a pick your combination selection, but I need to coordinate that carefully.  No case, no phone.

Update 2014.11.14: One year later or so, the iPhone 5c has been good.  The HTC One M7 has been replaced with the M8, both of which are brilliant.  I've also had a 2013 Nexus 7 tablet from about the same time and I don't regret not having an Android-based phone.  The operating system needs work, even at version 4.4.4, though I find iOS 7 and 8 to be rough also.  It feels as though it will be 30 years before things will be really good.  Of course, if Google and Apple actually tested their operating systems with real people, they'd be surprised at how much they'd find to improve.

LG has changed a lot with the G2 being the basic platform for the Nexus 5.  Overall, they feel like a company that you can trust.  The G3 is quite amazing, but as with Samsung, promoting a device through a power-hungry display seems a problem.


  1. I have an iPhone 4 with a cracked screen. I've been debating on what I should switch to... Like, should I cross over and get a Samsung S4? I already have a Samsung tablet and it's been pretty good to me. I just think I'll miss my iPhone and I do own a Macbook *sigh
    Too many choices my friend

    1. It all depends on how many apps you have for your iPhone. I just switched to an iPhone 5c and only had to pay US$57.99 difference, so it was a good deal for me and it's slightly faster and has LTE available.