Thursday, September 8, 2016

Time for a Phone Upgrade? (Oops! Did it!)

I dislike when people use "upgrade" when they mean switch.  However, it's become part of common use English, unfortunately.

It's been almost two years since I switched phones.  I was unhappy with Sprint but the Verizon salesperson tried to sell me a more expensive plan, I guess to help his quota.  This upset me and, having done my research, I explained the plan he should have been suggesting, and it was like someone was talking to him in the ear piece--everything he said from that point was robotic.

The iPhone 5c was a good phone and I miss it, but the two band LTE wasn't enough with Sprint and since Sprint offers three band LTE many places I go, the extra bandwidth is useful, especially when their service is bad.  It still doesn't help with those areas where Sprint still hasn't added LTE and, in California, those places are many.  They decided to spend the money to help the area around their Overland Park, Kansas headquarters where almost no one pays.

In any case, seeing 68 Mbps not far from home is great.  Verizon has LTE Advanced service around here, but not here.  I've seen around 40 Mbps at home and it might be even better not far from here.  I wonder if I could see over 100 Mbps with a newer phone in one of those LTE Advanced service areas.  My problem at home is that I'm on the edge of a roaming area for Sprint--about 6 blocks from the center of town.  They have refused to add a tower near the shopping area that would help.  They occasionally turn up the power on the tower near the skate park but they don't have enough capacity to make it work well.

The iPhone 7 Plus is actually faster than some of the latest 12 inch MacBook models using Core M processors.

 Since the iPhone 7 pre-orders will be available in a few hours, I'm wondering if I should consider it.  I looked at the Sprint website a bit earlier and it said that I was eligible for an upgrade.  However, they didn't mention iPhone 7 at all.

I usually stay away from the latest Apple hardware but the iPhone 6 has been good.  I considering the iPhone SE but I remember how I struggled with seeing small details on the display.  The iPhone 6s would be fine, I'm sure, but don't I want the extra power and extra battery life?

I believe that the iPhone 6s is unnecessary and the iPhone SE is too small for my eyes and the iPhone 6s Plus is too big for my pocket.  (If you're wondering, Android 6.x didn't work well on my 2013 Google Nexus 7 tablet, so I doubt I want it on my phone, even though the LG V20 looks desirable.)

Who knows?  If I wait, I'll lose the chance to get an iPhone 7 pre-order.  If Sprint's web site never shows it, I'm thinking that the Apple web site will show Sprint as an option.

Sprint really wants my iPhone-related money.  They changed their Sprint Zone app on iOS, at least, to display whether a person is ready for an iPhone upgrade.

While the desktop web site timed out a bit, the mobile app + mobile web site seemed to be working quite well.  I'm still trying to figure out about my leased phone, since it says that there needs to be a trade-in.  I'm two months from the end of the lease, and after two years, I really don't want to keep the phone, even though it works just fine.  Verizon quoted me something around US$35.00, which is much less than I could get elsewhere, if I put work into it.

I'm still thinking about it.  Pre-orders have been live for more than 1 day.  Supplies are becoming somewhat scarce.  Apple have changed the selections--AT&T and T-Mobile versions cannot be used on Verizon or Sprint because they supposedly don't include CDMA functionality.  You can go the other way with an unlocked phone on Verizon or Sprint.

Update 2016.10.10: Okay, so I looked at the diminishing battery life on my two year old iPhone 6, plus the fact that I'm having occasional trouble charging it and decided that paying around US$1.50 per month for an 18 month lease isn't a bad thing in order to replace the phone.

The 32GB model was a bit short on capacity and the 64GB model now has 128GB, so that's what I ordered.  According to Sprint's information, they had the Gold models ready for immediate shipment.  Compared to two years ago, that's quite the reverse.  The silver was the only easily available model.

I tried one at a Target store the other evening and it was quite powerful on a game I already use and one I have considered buying--namely, Asphalt 8 and Warhammer 40,000 something.  The phone was impressive.

Less impressive was the new, immobile Home button.  Unlike the trackpads on the latest MacBook Pro series, it doesn't feel as though it is moving at all.  I realize that the depth isn't available but then, the haptic feedback is supposed to provide this feeling of depth.

I also ordered a couple of different color cases from Ballistic.  The price for each was only US$19.99, which was incredibly inexpensive, considering I paid US$34.99 for my last Ballistic case.  While I won't see much of the gold, one of the cases is completely black, while the other is gray and white.  Sure, I could get something really colorful but the 6+ feet of drop protection is more important to me.

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