I recently wrote a detailed post on what’s in my laptop bag and the focus is predominantly on travel technology.

Thanks to reader input, I updated my camera (to Canon S95) and my laptop (to a Lenovo u300s), and months later I’m thrilled with both decisions.

But at the time I punted on the phone. And so now I’m coming back to y’all again for help.

I’m still working off a Blackberry Bold 9700, it’s long been out of contract. I’ve been a Blackberry guy for years because my primary use is e-mail. Ever since 2006 I’ve found it to be a workable enough phone, so I condensed that way, I haven’t had a land line in about 10 years either.

I know that Blackberry has been supposedly working on their next generation operating system, to compete with iPhone and Android, but it’s been delayed and I don’t have high hopes for it. I feel like it’s a dying platform, and the world is passing me by. I’m ready to make the switch, but I need advice, because I don’t know the best device for my situation.

I live off the thing, so I’m not scared of buying a top-end device. Put a different way, I’m not looking to sacrifice quality or performance for $100.

On the other hand, if it’s more likely that the ‘right’ device will appear in the next few months if only I wait, my Blackberry still works fine, I don’t have to pull the trigger immediately.

  • I’m looking for an Android, not an iPhone.
  • It has to work well as my primary phone, not just as a handheld computer.
  • The #1 use is e-mail, far more than media or social networking.
  • Currently the only app I use is with Twitter, though I’d love to be able to upload photos to Photobucket (where I store my photos and host them for my blog) and also post here from my phone.

Battery life is important. Weight matters. I’d love a big screen and comfortable browsing experience, I hate the browser on the Blackberry and do anything I can to avoid using it for anything but the simplest tasks.

Mostly though I don’t know what I don’t know, don’t know what I’m missing, since it seems as though I’ve missed out on generations of functionality. Hence the need for a consensus answer among my travel savvy readers. What do I want?

Thanks in advance!

  1. Ben said,

    Samsung Galaxy S3, or S2 4G (LTE) version.

  2. Gary Krausz said,

    IPhone. I had Bb for decade; thought it would be like cutting my arm off to make switch. Not so. W has Droid phone; nothing but grief and weird problems. Buy the iPhone; take 3 minutes to learn how to use it.

  3. Ron Schnell said,

    You left out the most important thing, imo:

    Do you want a physical keyboard? Most former BB users do.

  4. Ken said,

    Who is your mobile carrier?

  5. mowogo said,

    Personally, it depends on which manufacturer’s skin you perfer best. I am partial to HTC Sense, but Samsung has a decent one as well.

  6. gabe said,

    Samsung galaxy nexus. It’s a game changer

  7. Abbas said,

    I would wait for the Samsung Galaxy S3 to come out (some time this summer)

  8. Phil said,

    You may not want it but what you need is the iPhone :-)

    Dropped my crapberry several months ago in favor of the apple device and never looked back since, and like you my primary use is email.

  9. Gary said,

    @Ken my carrier since 2006 has been AT&T, for 10 years before that it was Sprint, I use Verizon for my MiFI.

  10. Gary said,

    @Ron Schnell – i think I want a keyboard. It’s hard to imagine not having one. But increasingly I’m becoming open to the idea that it isn’t necessary, truth is I do not know.

  11. A. S. said,

    As a long-time Android user, I’m a huge fan of HTC. I’ve had many of their models and my current one, the Sensation, has been hands-down the best phone I’ve ever owned. I am now looking for my next handset also and will be either buying the HTC One X or the Samsung S3. I’m waiting for the latter to appear on the market to get a better feel for it before pulling the trigger. My suggestion to you is to do the same.

    For the record, I also had an iPhone 3GS and 4S. I never liked the iPhone’s functionality, due to many things other phones do that iPhone would “block” just to have something to offer in the next model (like syncing over Wi-Fi, for example). However, in return for being an Apple puppet, you do get a phone that “just works.” So that’s the trade-off. I do like the design as well, but that angle is getting old now as others like HTC and Samsung are making theirs much sexier and with far larger screens.

    As for BB, anyone who uses one is really losing out. It’s a terrible phone — always has been. The only reason bankers use it is to send secret messages about their clients’ illegal transaction over BB Messenger. I get the hardware keyboard, but one week with the software one and you’ll by typing away very quickly. You don’t have to do it key-by-key. You can swipe and do funky things that will speed you up even more than BB’s keyboard. My gut feeling is that BB won’t exist (at least in its current form) for much longer.

  12. Andrew said,

    Honestly, for 95% of casual users out there, the iPhone works better for almost every task than the Android. The phone just works. My friends that have Androids complain about weird issues that are hard to solve, something that I never face as an iPhone user.

    If it’s a political statement, fine, but be aware that you’re buying a phone that is likely to cause you more trouble and overall be less functional than the competing model. If you’re a huge tech nerd who can really push the envelope in terms of making use of functionality and really value integration with Google services, then it makes sense to get an Android. But you don’t seem like that person.

  13. Byron said,

    Have you considered windows phone? A lot of people just dismiss it as an irrelevant third ecosystem but i’m really a big fan. The software is really very good if you don’twant to be dealing with stuff on your phone all the time and want to just be able to glance and go. Since all windows phones are on one standard platform, you also don’t have to deal with the weird fragmentation problems that android devices sometimes have.

  14. c29flier said,

    Here are some thoughts from someone who it seems may have been in a similar position as you are today about a year ago, or so. I’m a bit of a gadget guy, but I think I have now resigned myself to perhaps having become a “technological curmudgeon.” In other words, I like what I like because I have found it WORKS for me.

    Before getting to my suggestion, here’s what’s in my bag and why:

    BB 9930 (VzW’s version of 9900) – Battery life, battery life, battery life yet much faster than the 9650/9700 series, physical keyboard – very similar in design and size to what seems to be considered the best BB keyboard ever – the original Bold 9000 – which makes replying to e-mails super easy and quick, battery life, durable design and construction – $19.99 for Otter Box Commuter case worth every penny as I’ve dropped the phone countless times and it’s never been damaged, best BB display yet (MUCH better – bigger, sharper, brighter, more responsive than 9650/9700 that it replaced), it’s also a touch screen – useful when navigating some sites/phone options, did I mention battery life? :) and finally, it’s a world phone that cost me $10 to unlock with code from n4bb.com – took less than 10 minutes all-in.

    Lenovo T420s – Lenovo has done an good job of sticking to the ThinkPad tradition; still the best keyboards in the business and most durable, in my opinion, and even with optional UltraBay aux battery it weighs less than 4 lbs but returns over 8 hours runtime. ‘Nuff said.

    New VzW Jetpack 4620L 4G LTE/Global Capable. I had VzW’s Sammy 4G LTE hotspot and it was good – it’s for sale now, if you’re interested – but this one does seem to be a bit better; cost me $250 retail/no contract. VzW’s LTE system is far more widespread than AT&T’s.

    I have tried the following gadgets and while I have found that they do some things well, they’ve ultimately gone back because they’re not good at what I need – production is far more important than consumption for me: iPad 2 and new iPad (even with keyboard folio); Sammy Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Droid Charge (amazing phones, terrible battery life, neither world capable), iPhone 4S 64GB (amazing phone, OK battery life but still nothing close to BB 9930 which easily lasts me from 0700 to bedtime with typical use).

    I’m sure you’ll be stunned to hear that I suggest that you give the BlackBerry 9900 (AT&T/T-Mobile)/9930 (VzW) a try. While I understand that many reviewers/analysts/the public may be down on BB, you still cannot beat a BB phone for battery life, physical keyboard, e-mail, etc. The upside for you is that, as a result of BB’s tough times, most carriers are selling the phones at reasonable prices – either on contract or retail – and with a little cajoling you might get your carrier to concede the BB 9900 to you in exchange for extending your contract for two years if you threaten to leave them for VzW or another carrier.

    Since you own a 9700, you’re likely either an AT&T or T-Mobile customer. If so, another upside of the 9900 is that it uses either carrier’s HSPA+ network (branded by AT&T and T-Mobile as 4G in the US – but NOT LTE/and known as 3.5G in Europe, I believe) in addition to typical 3G; the 9930 can’t do that in the US as it will work only on CDMA here, but apparently can use HSPA+ overseas.

    As to the BB software I, too, used to hate the browser on the BB 9650 but in my view RIM has largely solved the issue with BB OS 7.0. Most sites I visit load quickly and are fine – check out the NYTimes.com site, for example. And everything else just works, of course, especially anything involving e-mail or BBM.

    I believe all 3 major US cell carriers have a 14-day return policy. Typically, I have tried to time the purchase of a new phone for just before a trip so I can really see whether it works for me. If not, back it goes when I return home.

    Good luck with your search!

  15. AS said,

    Congratulations on choosing Android over iPhone. The functionality you’re looking for is easily handled with Android.

    For phone selection, my view is there are 4 key factors:

    1. Carrier and International capability (esp. if you are Verizon)

    If you want Version you have to be careful about which phone you pick if you go overseas. Many Verizon phones don’t have GSM chips, and unfortunately their best ones currently don’t. Supposedly most of the phones released the last six months (think Droid RAZR and Droid 4 and newer) have the chip but its inactive due to Verizon working out software issues. They gave an ETA of end of Q2. Can you afford to wait 2 months to let it shake out?

    With AT+T and TMobile its less of an issue, but AT+T’s frequencies are more compatible internationally than TMobile in case you decide to roam with data, or pick up a local data card you’ll get faster speeds with an AT+T phone.

    2. Network Speed.

    If you are buying now, or soon, go 4G LTE if you can. It’s the next generation network, and you don’t get a subsidized upgrade for another 2 years so 3G or fake-4G will lag.

    That puts you in the Verizon or AT+T camp; Sprint is in catchup mode. TMobile tends to have great phones and great prices but network compatibility and speed (for data) should be studied further.

    3. Screen Size.

    The driving factor here is how you use the phone. In particular if you’re on the move.

    When walking through an airport, pulling a rollerbag in the other hand, you need to be able to use the phone (and touchscreen) with one hand. You also want it not to be unbalanced or unwieldy. It’s the only reason not to automatically go with one of the huge 4.7″ or 5″ devices. So pick a screen that feels comfortable with one hand.

    4. Physical Keyboard

    I saw you said you think you need one. Before you lock in that decision, ask a friend if they have Swype or one of the other custom Android sofware keyboards. You may find you are perfectly happy without the keyboard and the extra bulk.

    The one reason to keep a physical keyboard is that in landscape mode, you’ll get more screen real estate because you won’t use up display space on the soft keyboard. So if you send lots of long emails and texts you may benefit.

    There are plenty of really strong phones available today, mid-range or high-end. You said you’re also willing to wait a few months. Samsung and HTC are introducing a new line of phones (HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy III) which will set the bar for the next 12-18 months. The only question is how long before they launch them in the US, and with which carrier?

    PhoneArena is a good website to consult if you want to do some more research.

    Good luck!

  16. mark said,

    If email is important, I think a physical keyboard is important. I use the Droid 4 (VZW). Great keyboard. Decent screen. Decent battery life since the most recent software update. Phone supports 4G/LTE.

  17. Chirag said,

    I am also going to throw out a shout to windows phone ( lumia 900). The email integration is fantastic and I really like their touch keyboard over the iOS. If you primary email usage is with Microsoft exchange and you like outlook, then windows phone is a fantastic choice

  18. Ryan said,

    I would go with Verizon and motos droid razr maxx. Can’t beat the 4g coverage and the 21 hr battery life. Everything is playing catchup to that. I know AT&T is Known for the international coverage but since 99% of the use is domestic nothing can beat Verizon

  19. dwils said,

    Droid razr max. Great battery life, bells, and whistles. Great phone.

  20. Rob said,

    Get an iPhone (unless you have an irrational hatred of all things made by Apple, and even then, you should consider an iPhone). I have an iPhone and love it. All my friends with iPhones love them. But a lot of my friends with Android phones wish they had bought an iPhone instead — particularly the two or three friends whose Android phones have died on them (one of whom was an Apple-hater and swore he’d never buy an iPhone — and then had to eat his words).

  21. Phil Gold said,

    I was in your exact situation a few months back and followed everyones advice about getting an android, so i ditched the blackberry and gor an android, big mistake.

    you, like me, need it for email mainly. the touch screen on the droid is not great and not useful for even a normal email.
    the apps are cool, sure, and can do bunch of stuff on web and etc, but for me it is not worth the sacrifice of the email and now im stuck.

  22. thomas said,

    Parroting some other comments, you should really check out a Windows Phone. To me, it’s the best of iphone and android. You have solid battery life, a great email system, the tiles are all custom, and it has your photobucket app.

    You should go for the Nokia Lumia 900 – best in show at CES this year. http://www.att.com/lumia/?wtSlotClick=1-007HCK!903000-1-1&rel=nofollow#fbid=Dq9f4apt2KI

  23. Paul Robichaux said,

    You didn’t mention which cell phone carrier you were using, but both Verizon and AT&T offer trial periods. (t-Mobile probably does too, come to think of it.) If you have decided not to get an iPhone, then as Byron suggests, I would strongly recommend that you give Windows Phone a good solid look. I think you will be happier with its stability and ease of use than with an Android device.

  24. Frenchman said,

    When considering Android phones today, three key things I consider are:

    1) Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (Android versions are named after sweets and go alphabetically, Gingerbread and Honeycomb were the previous versions and Jelly Bean will be the next) – Since you will probably using this phone for the next year or two at least, you will want the latest version of the OS, or at the least, a phone that is upgradeable to 4.0 ICS (such as the Droid Razr and Razr Maxx for Verizon). All things being equal, it is more convenient to just buy a phone with the new OS.

    2) 4G LTE – This has more to do with your wireless carrier, but if you are on Verizon or AT&T, absolutely buy a phone with LTE support, the speeds are as fast as wired broadband. Sprint is rolling out their 4G LTE network now and T-Mobile has yet to, so this is less of an issue with those two.

    3) Screen – Obviously screen size matters, and some of the new Android phones have very large, gorgeous screens, but you should also consider the type of panel. Generally the best panels right now are Super LCD2 and Super AMOLED Plus. As such, the HTC One X and its variants have probably the best screen on any smartphone right now with its 4.7″ laminated Super LCD2 screen. The Super AMOLED (no Plus) panels on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S III are a notch below because they use what’s called a Pentile matrix for their pixels which can be not as sharp.

    With that, the top of the line phones on each carrier right now are:

    Sprint – Samsung Galaxy Nexus (the HTC Evo 4G LTE, their version of the HTC One X is available for pre-order now and shipping later this month)
    Verizon – Samsung Galaxy Nexus
    AT&T – HTC One X
    T-Mobile – HTC One S

    Keep in mind the Samsung Galaxy Nexus S III was just announced this past week, so it’s not yet known when it will start shipping, but even so it is not world’s different from the Galaxy Nexus, so if you need a phone now, I would not wait around for it.

    Caveats

    – If battery life is of utmost importance, consider the Motorla Droid Razr Maxx. Might be useful with all your travels and potentially not having an outlet.

    – I’ve been using the new BlackBerry Bold 9930 (also 9900 depending on carrier), and I have been pleasantly surprised with it. It’s not as good as my iPhone or Android devices I’ve used in the past, but the keyboard is far and away the best mobile typing experience I’ve used (this is now my 5th BlackBerry). Also, the new design is slim enough where it’s not terrible to carry around.

  25. gek said,

    The one thing you will miss the most going from BB to either Android or iPhone will not be the physical keyboard (SwiftKey, Swype, are great, Apple’s is good), but the battery life. You can count on a BB, even with reasonably heavy use, to make it through a full 24 hours and more, and you hardly ever need to worry about charging it. You’ll be lucky to get 12 hours from most of the others, and under heavy use or bad reception, you’ll will see 4 or 5 hours. This isn’t such a big deal if you’re deskbound, but it matters a lot if you’re traveling.

  26. Stephan said,

    If you are set on the Android platform, I would concur with the Samsung Galaxy recommendations, but personally, I would get an unlocked Sony Experia Arc S world phone. My wife has one and I will be switching to it based on what I’ve seen. (I am a BB 9830 user and picked up the Sony for her B-Day). The Sony product is great, it is super thin and does everything you need. It is new in N America, but already well known in the rest of the world. Get the Arc S version which is an improvement over the Arc being peddled in N. America. Don’t become an Apple drone…

  27. ramon said,

    the iphone looks like (and is) a cheap trendy piece of junk. unfortunately, because of its popularity, other companies have tried to imitate it in terms of appearance and design. the development of “apps” is far more important than the enhancement of what is normal use (emails, etc)…

    the real business user is out of luck for the most part, especially in regard to a sophisticated looking phone with basic functions AND a keyboard

  28. michael wiggins said,

    I’d go with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Pure Android (no manufacturer skins), latest Android OS and updates, huge screen, lightweight.

  29. Joediver said,

    Gary, the one thing I do not see mentioned here is battery. You say you have no land line. If you use your phone a lot the one thing I can’t do without is a spare battery. With the iPhone there is no such thing. Once your battery goes bad you are either tied to a cord or if you have a real problem you need to send the whole phone in to replace the battery. Your first impression is best. Stick with android and I would suggest Verizon for best coverage everywhere I travel. Go to the store and see what fits best in your hand.

  30. Istvan Sz. said,

    I would highly recommend the Windows Phone. After using several Android phones and having returned the new Ipad as they did not quite offer the user experience I needed. Even for a tablet I am using Windows 8 Consumer Preview on an Acer Iconia W500. It just works like the IOs, but offers more flexibility.

  31. Sunrise089 said,

    Gary,

    Many of your other choices, including your former and current laptops and camera and the fact that you kept your blackberry for so long suggest you’re a power user, but one who values an efficient platform that works versus losing productivity chasing the next hot feature. As a person with the exact same needs as you (valuing battery life, using the phone primarily for email, not wanting to carry extra devices, etc.) I can’t recommend the iPhone enough and I feel you’re perhaps writing it off too quickly. An iPhone is NOT equivalent to choosing a MacBook as your computer or, in the early days when competitors were superior, an iPod as your media player. That said…

    1) If you truly need a physical keyboard then of course an iPhone is out.

    2) Android is good enough where you’ll probably be happy with it. The danger is feature fragmentation and very spotty support a year down the road, but just about any phone, running Apple, Android, or Windows platforms, will blow that old blackberry away.

  32. Dmitri said,

    I have an iPhone and i love it. What an amazing piece of craftsmanship and uncompromising quality. With the iPhone you do get full support at any Apple store. With Android phones, you are truly on your own. Same goes for software updates. Apple provides software updates up to four years since the phone purchase – it is important because you get new functionally on your phone years after you bought it. It does not happen on Android at all. 87% of all Android phones are sold with the system that is two years old. Less than 3% of Android phones use the current system.

    It is important to understand that iPhone and Android are two completely different business models. Apple owns both hardware and software and they make money on both (e.g., when you buy an app on your 2 year old iPhone, Apple takes 30% cut). Which is why they are focused on customer loyalty: provide first class tech support service, free software updates, etc – after all they will make money off their customers throughout the relationship. Think of Apple model as Marriage – emphasis on the long term relationship model with customer.

    Android handset manufacturers do not own the software. They only make money on the sale of the phone. Google owns the software but even they don’t make money on it (they make on ads). The model of incentives is completely broken. Which is why software upgrades are never provided. Tech support is unheard of (where would you go if your HTC phone breaks? Local T-mobile store? Fly to Taoyuan? Calling Google? There is no support phone number. Good luck! you are on your own). Basically it is in financial interest of HTC, Samsung, etc to encourage you to replace your existing Android phone with a new phone as soon as possible. This is why the moment you buy a phone with them, the relationship changes (deal is closed, not more money is to be made). This is why they introduce new phones every two weeks – the idea to make your phone obsolete ASAP so you buy a new one. This is why there is a huge fragmentation in Android – you don’t want old phones to be able to run new apps, you want to encourage customers to buy new phones. For example, Flipboard, one of the most popular mobile news apps, is released exclusively for Galaxy 3 – you will not be able to use it on any other Android phone. Same is true about many other apps – they often come exclusive to a particular Android phone. Just to compare Flipboard is accessible on all iPhone models, even the ones released in 2008. Think of Android as a one night stand – money only made at the point of sale; emphasis on pre-sale courtship of the customers; no relationship post-sale whatsoever. Sort of like Jetsetter’s approach – lot’s of promises but nothing good get’s ever delivered.

  33. Yev said,

    Galaxy Nexus on Verizon. The phone is excellent – large screen, fast and lightweight.
    Verizon’s 4G coverage is even better – works everywhere and fast.

  34. chitownflyer said,

    Check out the Nokia N8. It has a 12 MP camera and built in GPS which lets one download and store maps onto the phone and access them without an internet connection. The maps are for almost every country in the world, from Australia to Germany, you can pipoint your location.

    The maps and camera features are worth the price of the phone alone, and it is unlocked freeing you from any ties to a particular carrier. You can use the phone with ATT, TMobile, or Simple Mobile which offers prepaid unlimited plans from $50 a month.

    You can buy the phone at Amazon here. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003ZX7RNC/ref=noref?ie=UTF8&s=wireless&psc=1

  35. Albert said,

    Can you elaborate on why you don’t want an iPhone? In many cases it really is the best choice.

    That being said, carrier is important and limits your choices. Even though the “nexus” name means increasingly little (see Verizon meddling and delayed updates on sprint), it is still the most reliable choice for an android phone today. That experience is as close as to “real” android as one gets.

    The HTC one series looks pretty good as well. Verizon is skipping that, so the droid razr might be the best choice there.

  36. Jeffery said,

    I think you should wait for BB10, QNX is the best embedded OS there is. It is fully capable of running Android apps (as soon as RIMM decides to allow it). As soon as RIMM decides to stop building their own app universe and open their devices up to Android, Blackberries will be some of the best android devices on the market.

    I’m an Android user myself and I’m seriously considering switching to blackberry when they open it up to Android apps.

  37. UnitedEF said,

    I currently use the GSM Galaxy Nexus with the factory extended battery on T-mobile and it is by far the best phone I’ve had.

    Answers to your concerns:

    Battery Life: With heavy use I can get 14 hours moderate use I can go all day with 20% left at the end of the day. One of the great features of Android and Windows phones is the removable battery. If your phone runs out of power pop in a new battery and you are good to go. No need to tether yourself to a wall socket like the iPhone users you see at the airports.

    Web Browser: All Android phones provide a full browsing experience. Some sites will default to a mobile site but there is always a setting in the Android browsers to switch to a desktop view. Like a desktop you can install several different web browsers onto your phone unlike the iPhone where you are stuck with safari. You will see Flash and HTML 5 content.

    Screen size: The Galaxy Nexus is 4.65” and is full 720p HD resolution. It’s awesome for watching movies or browsing the web.

    Email: I would switch to Gmail if you don’t already use it. Gmail can be setup to pickup mail from other mail services such as yahoo. Gmail fully syncs so you don’t have to worry about having different versions of your inbox contents between your phone, laptop, and desktop.

    Light weight: The Galaxy Nexus is made of plastic so even with the extended battery it is still lightweight. The extended battery provides a nice bump in battery life and doesn’t really increase the size of the phone.

    Features useful for travelers:

    Navigation: Google maps with street view provides real time turn by turn navigation with voice very important for those times that you are driving and need directions. The iPhone does not have that functionality built in.

    Carrier Unlocked : The Galaxy Nexus is factory unlocked and pentaband HSPA+ which means you are not tied down to any carrier and you can get 3g speeds on any carrier worldwide. In the US you will get high speed data on both T-Mobile and ATT. It was really awesome when I traveled abroad and able to pop in a local SIM which saved a ton of money calling back to the US and not to mention getting online at 3g speeds while in another country without paying ridiculous roaming data prices. With google voice you can have your US number forwarded to the foreign number.

    Mobile Hotspot: All Android phones have tethering capability which allows your other wifi devices to connect to the internet using the data connection on the phone. My friend who was with me abroad turned on the wifi on his ATT locked iPhone to get online while we were abroad because the roaming data rates for ATT are crazy.

    Phone Stability: All phones crash even the iPhone the only difference is that the Android phones will let you know when it crashes while the iPhone just kicks you back to the home screen without warning. The Galaxy Nexus is a reference device which means all developers use that phone to write apps so it is the most stable of all Android phones. The hardware is now considered mid-tier but is more than adequate if you are not playing games that require a lot of processing power. I can watch movies and Netflix in HD resolution just fine.

    LTE: LTE is faster than HSPA+ data connectivity but I would stay away from LTE until next year at the earliest. Right now the LTE modems haven’t been fully integrated onto the chip which will take a toll on battery life.

    Google Services: If you use any Google services you can’t beat the integration that an Android phone provides. It just works with everything. I have used an Android phone now for two years and there are still new features that I am just learning about or starting to use. The possibilities are endless.

    Customization: You can customize your phone to be as boring or busy as you like. You can set it up as a boring phone with a bunch of icons like the iPhone or you can install widgets and 3D wall papers.

    Obviously I recommend the Galaxy Nexus but the new top end devices are great too like the HTC One X and the Samsung S3 that was just announced. The only downfall of the HTC One X is the non-removable battery. Both these phones have manufacturer designed custom UI’s which will slow the speed in which you get updates. But if you don’t mind waiting a while for the newest software update it’s not that big of a deal. They both will run on ATT’s LTE network and battery life is still a mystery. Also if you leave the US you will be back down to HSPA+ speeds. If you want ultra battery life right now nothing beats the Droid Razr Maxx because they essentially squeezed two batteries into phone.

    I too started with blackberry, then switched to an iPhone and then finally settled on Android. Windows phone is still not mature. No flash support and HTML 5 support is in its infancy which means there are a lot of sites that will not display properly or slowly. Yes Adobe will no longer support mobile flash but that doesn’t mean it’s not everywhere. The iPhone was amazing at first when I switched from a blackberry but after a months worth of use I noticed the battery life was terrible if I want to have email constantly sent to my phone like I did with my blackberry. Plus the browser still does not support flash and you are limited to what Apple wants you to have on your phone unless you are willing to hack your phone. The battery is non-removable and the screen is a tiny 3.5″ and a pain to type on if you have hands that are average size or larger. Coming from a blackberry you will probably want a bigger screen as you transition to an onscreen keyboard.

    Sorry if my post was a little longer and more technical than the others but like you I live off of my phone and to date this is the best phone I have used.

  38. Acker said,

    Samsung Galaxy S2 (S3) and download Foxfi as your 1st app. I switched from an iphone and never looked back.

  39. Ron Schnell said,

    I tried a phone without a physical keyboard for a year, and was miserable. Right now, it’s tough to find a good phone with a physical keyboard. I am using a T-Mobile G2 from HTC, but they aren’t making new ones anymore. I’m very happy with it, as it is running pure Android, and the physical keyboard is good. I’m just waiting for a newer good Android with a keyboard that is running pure Android, but there is not one currently being made AT ALL. Since you said you can wait a bit, I suggest doing so, and getting whatever I get next.

    Stay away from MS and iPhones, because you want to go with the OS that has the most phones out there, because they will always have the most apps.

  40. Manny said,

    “Stay away from MS and iPhones, because you want to go with the OS that has the most phones out there, because they will always have the most apps”

    Ron – you are wrong. Iphone has considerably more apps than Android as reported in official numbers from Apple and Google. Not only Android has less apps, there is also quality and fragmentation on top of that. Every iPhone app was throughly screened by a team of engineers and testers at Apple, while Google just lets anyone submit apps with no quality control (every 2nd app on Android does not work).

    I had the Droid 2 but now I have an iPhone 4s and I absolutely love my iPhone. I gave my 5-year-old my Droid and he is always asking me when I am going to upgrade so he can have my “old” iPhone. Even he knows what is better!

    You want top tier applications get an iPhone. You want to choose from thousands of cases, 3rd party hardware peripherals, docks, car mounts, bike mounts, waterproof cases, dockable stereo systems, car steering wheel integration, GPS adapters, audio mixer docks, etc etc, get an iPhone.
    Just go into any shop and what do you see? Shelves and shelves and shelves FULL of iPod/iPhone dock compatible sound systems, clock radios, audio mixer sleeve/docks, GPS amplifier car docks, handsfree car kit docks, insulin pump docks, oscilloscope dock adapters etc etc.

    Because Android phones are all different shapes and sizes and there is no dock standard or standard location on the phone for such, you don’t see any of this rich hardware peripheral and accessory ecosystem for Android phones.

    And don’t get me started on the vast number of cases for looks, protection, waterproofing or for mounting on vehicles, bikes, arm straps, holsters etc.

    Juniper reported recently that Android malware and malicious exploits have surged to 13,000 with McAfee reporting that 100% of all malware last quarter targeted Android. Un-jailbroken iPhones have zero.
    You want malware, get Android. :-)
    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/report-android-malware-up-3325-in-2011/18449

  41. UnitedEF said,

    @Manny So funny because Gary specifically mentioned he didn’t want an iPhone and there you and everyone are trying to convince him to get one. Gary is not going to get malware running the twitter, UA or AA app. All of the mainstream apps that are favorites on iOS are available on Android. You will only run into problems if you install random apps from developers you never heard of. Facebook, United, AA and all of the financial apps work on the Galaxy Nexus along with Angry Birds Space which Android users get for free ;-)

  42. Julia said,

    Gary:

    Huge fan of your blog. Not sure if you used Priceonomics before – highly recommend them for researching economic/value facts on any desision, not just cell phone selection but even travel choices. See this for cell phones for example:

    http://priceonomics.com/phones/#cell-phone-depreciation

    This is a pure, non-emotional view on the economic value of different smartphone systems / models.

    By the way, I use an iPhone 4s and I love it.

  43. Manny said,

    @UnitedEF I have been reading Gary’s blog for many years now and I have received countless helpful travel advice from him. I think it is only for me to jump in and share my experience on the iPhone with Gary.

    “Gary is not going to get malware running the twitter, UA or AA app. All of the mainstream apps that are favorites on iOS are available on Android”.

    Well, not true actually. Android has no mechanism for screening apps meaning anyone can submit an app. There is 15 Disney apps on Android, but none of them actually are from Disney. You have shady developers all over the world submitting apps to Android under Disney, Twitter, Facebook, etc names. On Android just because something sounds mainstream, does’t mean it is. You could be downloading an app for AA but in fact it could be just a fake copy intended to collect your data. It happens all the time on Android. And most mainstream apps are not available on Android. Take Amtrak for example. There is an app on iPhone but nothing on Android.

  44. James said,

    Just my .02

    If you are good at technology and can handle a phone that goes crazy sometimes but is more customizable and less nanny-state like go with the Android (Galaxy S3 which comes out in a few months gets my vote)

    If you want something that just works get the iPhone 4S.

    Both are great phones for what they are good at they just have 2 different users in mind.

    Apple for the people who just want a smart phone that works and are willing to trade features e.g. screen size, physical keyboard etc…

    Android for people who value choice and advanced features but are willing to deal with the small “issues” android can have.

    Anecdotally, I love my droid and my mother hates hers.

  45. Mike Jenks said,

    Today’s issue of WSJ had a good article on this:

    http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2012/05/06/android-malware-could-infiltrate-corporate-networks/?mod=yahoo_hs

  46. Stvr said,

    Gary, by ruling out an iPhone, you are being irresponsible to yourself. Maybe you have a weird 1990s Apple-hate fetish, but that’s just negligent. Frankly, it’s rather annoying that you ask for advice when you really basically already know what you want. A piece of junk.

    iPhones have way better battery life than 4G Androids.

  47. Stvr said,

    Gary, by ruling out an iPhone, you are being irresponsible to yourself. Maybe you have a weird 1990s Apple-hate fetish, but that’s just negligent. Frankly, it’s rather annoying that you ask for advice when you really basically already know what you want. A piece of junk.

    iPhones have way better battery life than 4G Androids.

  48. Dmitri said,

    @ James Actually surveys show that most CIOs choose iPhones over Android. Anecdotally, my brother-in-law who went MIT undergrad /Stanford GSB swears by his iPhone and iPad. He is probably the smartest person I know and is a technology genius (three startups, including Sidestep).

    BTW – I love my iPhone. LOVE IT! The glass and metal ensures that it feels like a quality product – not cheap and plasticky. It’s just feels like an awesome slab of solid high technology…The Retina display is gorgeous – I still haven’t seen a screen that can compare in clarity or resolution. Some reviewers have commented that it almost looks as if the image is painted onto the glass and that sounds about right to me.

    Having been a veteran user of PDAs in the days before the iPhone, I can appreciate just how incredible the iPhone’s App Store is. Yes, I actually used to purchase and install applications onto my Palm Pilot and let me tell you, it wasn’t much fun. I think I bought more apps in the week after the App Store opened than I had in the previous 5 years…

    Now everybody has an App Store (or an Android Store, Ovi Store or whatever). It’s been copied but never bettered – nobody has yet quite nailed the ease of use that Apple got so right.

    There’s a lot of talk about the iPhone being ‘closed’ whereas Android is ‘open’ but what does this actually mean? Well for a start you have to pay to become an Apple developer and you have to agree to the rules and regulations. You also run the risk of them not liking the app that you’ve worked on and refusing to release it until you’ve made changes to bring it in line. In contrast, anybody can develop for Android and release their app with no approval process whatsoever – which in theory sounds great.

    Call me a fascist, but I’d rather have a closed, controlled environment with a fantastic choice of apps that I know have been tested to meet at least some basic standards of functionality and safety, than an unregulated free-for-all where I wasn’t quite sure if what I was downloading might have a virus or be stealing my personal data.

    There’s also dozens of apps which I now rely on on an almost daily basis that simply don’t exist on Android and I’m too ‘invested’ in the App Store ecosystem to want to change.

    It’s the perfect mix of hardware, software and all encompassing eco-system that keep me a happy iPhone user. Although I see some handsets from other manufacturers that I think look great, I honestly can’t ever imagine owning a phone other than an iPhone. Apple have got me hooked and I’m quite happy to live with that.

  49. Dmitri said,

    BTW: This is from today’s NY Times issue: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/07/technology/amtrak-to-use-iphones-to-streamline-service.html?partner=yahoofinance

    There is no Amtrak app on Android. And this is just one example.

  50. dan said,

    LOL why not galaxy note as it has a big screen though weight and size would be a problem… battery life would be solve if u get a spare battery…

    and wht about wait to get the galaxy s3 from uk later in june?

    htc one x or one xl arn’t bad for speed and screen

  51. Albert said,

    This is why I was asking him to elaborate on his reasons. If he wants a 4.3+” screen and a hardware keyboard, those will simply not happen with an iPhone and no one should bug him on it :) To be fair though, hardware keyboards are a dying breed. Anecdotally, I’ve heard many remark that the iPhone keyboard is the best, and the android soft keyboard is fine.

    For android, I think my recommendation will boil down to simply get a Galaxy Nexus. It will be the least adulterated android experience you can have, though you have to buy the GSM version at full price unlocked.

  52. David said,

    Gary — add me to the list of those who are confused as to why you ruled out the iPhone. Not that there might not be reasons to pick an Android phone over the iPhone, just that given the general demeanor that comes across in your blog, it’s just surprising that you’ve ruled out the iPhone.

  53. aznprzn said,

    Samsung Galaxy 2, google account sync is the best even if you lose your phone you will always have your contacts and that is the most important.

  54. Dmitri said,

    @ Julia Awesome link! Thanks for posting. I think Priceonomics methodology is the most objective at measuring the true value.

    “At Priceonomics, we firmly believe that resale value is the best objective indicator of product quality. If you wanted to figure out the best cell phone, you could look at all the reviews, test out all the phones, talk to all the experts, but still your assessment will be subjective. Or you could let the market tell you which phones are the highest quality by seeing which ones best retain their value over time”.

    http://priceonomics.com/phones/#cell-phone-depreciation

  55. Hill Rider said,

    +1 on the Galaxy Nexus from the Google Play Store. Best phone ever.
    1. Unlocked. Very important to a frequent international traveler (pick up a cheap local SIM for data & voice–this alone saves you $100s over AT&T/T-Mobile predatory “roaming” rates)
    2. Pure Android. None of the cr@pware that US carriers install on the phones, which destabilizes them, eat up battery, and make the experience awful
    3. Latest version of Android, updated directly by Google.

    I switched to it from an iPhone; best decision ever. Your decision is spot on.

  56. George said,

    Wow- Gary, think you started a religious war, with in particular all the Apple fanboys flocking to post the latest comments.

    I was in the cell phone business for 7 years, and actually carry an iPhone4S myself, but would put the resale value of the handset near the bottom of any criteria I use to buy- when do any of us sell off our used handset?!

    I think you have a good idea of what you want out of your phone-
    – mainly email, so strong preferance for a physical keyboard,
    – long battery life because of all the travel

    So those factors combined with your current familiarity with the BB platform basically leads to a clear conclusion for you- stick with the BB. It does what you want and use a phone for, quickly and easily, and you are already familiar with the form and function.

    Have you thought about adding a Playbook to your travelling portfolio, to have a bigger screen for surfing, etc? They’ve dropped to $150 – $200 at discount sites now.

  57. ramon said,

    it is strange to read about all the love for apple products. i wasn’t so in love when my computer conked out on me a week after the three year warranty date expired, and i was out of luck.

    people should understand the limitations of all products, and also the veil that is created that makes trendiness and the fact that people around you have it is no indication whatsoever of its real value.

    if only blackberry used aesthetics as their driving force…., but the unfortunate part is that it is made for businesspeople and is probably run by businesspeople, and this is where apple has them by the nuts.

  58. plarsenviking1 said,

    Avoid the Samsung Charge (Verizon). Didn’t realize that the model name meant that you needed to charge it all the time. Absolutely horrific battery life – and basic email crashes all the time. The screen is big and beautiful but that doesn’t compensate for all of the negative issues.

  59. Biggles209 said,

    I went from a keyboard to a touch screen (Samsung Focus, Windows Phone 7) just over a year ago. It took a bit of getting used to, but with the new predictive “spelling” in 7.5 (it looks at the context and suggests words with surprising accuracy), I realized the other day that I am now faster than I was on the keyboard.

  60. Alessio said,

    Gary – I think you should at least consider iPhone. Is this the best phone ever made? That’s debatable. But I can tell you this: If you do get an iPhone, you WILL FALL IN LOVE WITH IT. It certainly is the best phone in the world for me. There is a somewhat arrogant saying “it’s probably hard for a BMW owner to describe to a Honda owner how attention to detail makes their driving experience better”. It sounds supercilious but it is quite true. There is a level of attention to detail which is paid to some products that some people simply do not care about, and for other people it absolutely MAKES the product. For instance, BMW engineers the sound of the closing car door. This is something that subtly affects the experience of driving a BMW. Unfortunately, Android and Windows Phone still lacks much of the fine polish that iOS users enjoy.

    These are some of the things that make iPhone special to me (many other things were already addressed by other iPhone users above):

    Camera: The latest and greatest iPhone yet has the best camera ever seen on a smartphone. The results are incredible. Its backlit sensor ensure that the 8MP snapper captures great quality images. In fact, if you’ve got an iPhone 4S you probably don’t need a regular point-and-shoot. It may have some pretty close rivals in daylight, outdoors. But, indoors and in low light conditions it shines brighter than anything I’ve seen.

    Ease of Use: iOS is intuitively easy to use. It’s a software that requires no explaining or tutorials. Since all the programs are right there on the home screen, the only thing that you have to discover is what the physical buttons do. Even my daughter could figure that out before she turned two.

    It just works: It may sound cheesy, but that doesn’t make it untrue. It really does work, pretty much all the time. Think about installing apps for a second. Back in the olden days, installing programs on to a computer usually meant having to reboot. The same can be said of BlackBerry. My Bold 9700 running OS6 still asks me to restart the phone every time I install an update or download a new app. My iPhone? Hit “buy” and it installs and is ready to work as soon as it’s done downloading. Syncing is also breeze, whether you do it via iCloud backup, or using iTunes on your Mac/PC. It kind of just takes care of everything for you. This great feature is mostly down to Apple’s ecosystem. Having designed all the software and hardware to run together, and tie them together in iCloud, or iTunes, means you can have one harmonious network of iDevices without stress.

    Reliability: Battery lasts a day, and you rarely get major software performance issues. Crashing rarely ever happens. In fact, the last time my iPhone crashed was when I was running a beta version of iOS 5 in the first week after beta 1 was launched.

    App Store/Developer Support: There are hundreds of thousands of apps in the App Store. All of them have to meet Apple’s guidelines, all of them vetted and checked by Cupertino staff. Granted, the odd slippery eel gets through the net every once in a while, but no where near the number that gets in to any of its competitors’ markets. Most great apps find their way on to iPhone first, and get updates pretty quickly if there are any issues. Most of the top professional apps are still missing from Android. Also according to my very close friend who works at Microsoft software group, Microsoft is actively developing iOS versions of the their flagship programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, even Age of Empires!). Both iPhone and iPad versions are being developed and will be released in the early summer. There is no chance in hell these applications will ever be released on Android according to my friend, since they feel Android is designed to kill Windows franchise vs. iOS more of premium boutique product to them.

  61. Alessio said,

    Gary –

    I believe you are using yahoo email. Yahoo is FULLY supported on the iPhone, including push email which I am sure something you expect as Blackberry user. Android does not support push mail with Yahoo mail. iPhone is Yahoo’s platform of choice – Yahoo even promotes exclusively iPhone in their ads. Remember Google and Yahoo are fierce competitors and Yahoo is doing everything to devalue user experience on Android. Just like Microsoft is doing with hotmail for Android users but to be fair Google is doing the same thing with Gmail on Windows Phone (iPhone is neutral territory to them so gmail works just as well on iPhone as it is on Android).

    Here is a quote from wikipedia:

    “Yahoo Mail is not pushed to an Android device as android is still lacking in imap idle. An alternate to lack of native support for Yahoo Mail is to install the free Yahoo Mail app which provides instant push email. The Yahoo Mail app is now overloaded with ads, using up precious space on small screens”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Push_email#Google_Android

  62. Gary said,

    @Alessio I use Yahoo as my ‘throwaway’ account that I don’t want to download via mobile, I check it once a day or so, it gets tons of spam but also reader comments, I admit I don’t look at those in real time :)

  63. Alessio said,

    @Gary Got it. Just trying to be helpful the same way your advice have been helpful to me in the last three years:)

    In case of Android, it is important to keep in mind that there will be compatibility issues not just with Yahoo but also Microsoft (exchange, hotmail, outlook integration and apps in general). It’s life vs. death battle for Microsoft when it comes to Android.

  64. Glen said,

    Gary,

    I’m a little biased. I’m definitely in the iPhone camp. I’ve lived with both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android—and the experience is revealing.  I spent the past eight months using an HTC Inspire running Android 2.2 (Froyo), with HTC’s Sense layered on top of it. Previously I had an iPhone 3G but I had grown tired of the Apple universe and I was initially excited by both Sense and Android. Android initially seemed refreshing.
     
    But it didn’t take long to get annoying.  My problems with Android were manifold, I could never get the Microsoft Exchange client to sync with my calendar (which caused me to miss meetings and appointments—not cool), there was too much inconsistent logic with core OS functions such as the back button (in some apps it brings you back to the home screen—that’s what the home button is for!), and it seemed crashy as hell.
     
    But the thing that really damned Android for me in the long run was this general feeling that I had moved into a technological ghetto. The apps in the Android market were almost uniformly cheap and low-quality. Visually Android seems like a patchwork of scavenged design ideas. And despite the fact that HTC’s hardware was pretty nice, that company doesn’t produce the jewel-like objects that Apple does.
     
    This is particulary relevant when it comes to travel apps.  Most of them are exlusive to iPhone. SPG app, W app, Mandarin Orienta, Hilton app and many many more are available only on the iPhone.  My favorite travel app Expedia is not available. A lot of airlines are iPhone exlusive too and those that have apps available on Android tend to have very limited funcitonality compared to iPhone. FlightTrack, Kayak and TripAdvisor are also available on Android but the functionality is crippled compared to iPhone versions. I also find that the iPhone’s push notifications are particularly suited to flight updates.
     
    So now I’ve moved back to the iPhone 4S, which I like a lot. Fantastic phone, really can’t recommend highly enough!

  65. Jim said,

    A BB 9700 – man, that’s painful. The world HAS passed you by. As for waiting for BB10, that must have been said by a Cubs fan. As for a Windows phone, it is in a tenuous position at the bottom of the marketplace. I strongly recommend the iPhone as well. I have a 4g and a Mophie Juice Pack Plus for double battery life – very nice. I bought my wife an Android (Motorola Atrix) last year (it was the absolute best out there) and she could not figure it out. I took it back within 30 days (AT&T policy) and she is now very happy with her iPhone. Apple periodically updates their OS, which means new features and bug fixes are made available to existing users – forget that on Android. This really is a VERY big issue. Apple has corrected a number of issues as well as added new features 2x since I bought the phone last year. As for a keyboard, you can learn the screen keyboard – I am not as fast as I was on the BB, but in total the usability of the device more than makes up for it. The iPhone works around the world, although I did have some issues in Nigeria (go figure).

    Not sure why you don’t like Apple – it’s your decision, but I think you are hurting yourself. I don’t worship the place, nor do I Google or Microsoft. All three have their warts.

  66. Alessio said,

    @Jim “Apple periodically updates their OS, which means new features and bug fixes are made available to existing users – forget that on Android. This really is a VERY big issue. Apple has corrected a number of issues as well as added new features 2x since I bought the phone last year”.

    Kind of demonstrating your point, Apple just released a new iOS update 2 hours ago with new features and security updates. Even 4 year old iPhones are qualified for an upgrade.

    This never happens on Android: http://theunderstatement.com/post/11982112928/android-orphans-visualizing-a-sad-history-of-support

  67. Dax said,

    I’m in the market for a new phone as well. Like many folks my first smart phone was the original iPhone from 2007. I upgraded that to 3G when that came out and enjoyed both of those. Then when 4G came out (originally in the form of WiMax) I switched to an HTC Evo on Sprint. People say that’s much too slow to be called 4G today but back then it was the fastest thing I’d ever seen in a mobile by any carrier. It was great. The only thing I didn’t like was the battery life, so I ended up having to replace it with an extended battery.

    Everything was fine for a couple years but now it’s starting to experience some issues related to wear and tear. It still does 90% of what it always did, but sometimes it gets sluggish or confused. I’m currently waiting to see what the next iPhone 5 will be like. Not so much because I expect to buy an iPhone but rather because I want to know how far they’ll raise the bar.

    The nice thing about Android is that it is always improving so even when Apple gets ahead chances are there will be similar improvements for Android in a few months as they work to catch up. I have no idea why iPhone owners are so anti-android even to this day. Both markets push each other to improve faster and to a higher level. Seems like a win-win to me, but what do I know.

    HERE’S A QUESTION FOR ANYONE: Are there any features and/or applications on Android (or iPhone for that matter) that provide trusted and stable encryption for storage and communication like Blackberry was famous for?

    Seems like something a lot of people who are still with RIM might want but I’ve never heard anyone ever talk about it.

  68. Alessio said,

    @Dax You are right that Android is always improving, just like iOS and WebOS and Windows Phone and Blackberry. But the question is do you see these improvements on your existing phone or are they only available if you buy a new phone? Android phones don’t get software updates. Zero. None. But why? Obviously a big part of the problem is that Android has to go from Google to the phone manufacturers to the carriers to the devices, whereas iOS just goes from Apple directly to devices. But there is also no incentive for smartphone manufacturers to update Android because manufacturers don’t make any money after the hardware sale, they want you to buy another phone as soon as possible. In other words, Apple’s way of getting you to buy a new phone is to make you really happy with your current one, whereas apparently Android phone makers think they can get you to buy a new phone by making you really unhappy with your current one.

  69. Lise said,

    I have the same travel, e-mail needs, but prefer a smaller pocketable device. I’m looking at the
    Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini for its keyboard, small size and android system. Its also unlocked standard for easier international use.

  70. MIke said,

    Gary – iPhone wins my vote. The strongest selling point of the iPhone for me has always been the plethora of apps available, especially in the world of photography. The iPhone 4s takes a phenomenal photograph even without any fancy apps. I have the iPhone 4, and while it holds its own with photos, the new 4s happens to have all-new optics (a custom lens with 5 new elements), a larger aperture (f/2.4), and a new 8-megapixel sensor.

    What really makes this camera shine though, is the back-illuminated sensor – a refined version of the one they stuck in the iPhone 4. Without going into all the technical jargon, it simply means that the sensor is able to capture photons of light far better than with conventional sensors, and as a result, you’re able to take photographs in much lower levels of light – a really epic feat for mobile phones.

    What’s really awesome however, is that not only can you take great photos with the iPhone, you can also edit them straight away, really easily, and of course share them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc, all within a few minutes of taking the shot – you show me a DSLR that can do that! Convinced yet?

  71. Ted Ryerson said,

    When Motorola releases a new version of its Droid Pro (probably this summer), get that one.

    It has a physical keyboard that’s a dead ringer for a blackberry.

    Great for former blackberry users looking for an easy transition.

  72. AS said,

    Alessio – you are so far off base. “Android phones don’t get software updates.” That’s a ridiculous, and false, assertion. To the contrary, since Android phones are open source, even when the manufacturer deprecates support for a device there is a community able to update or customize the code if they want to. You can port Android 4.0 to nearly the oldest Android devices and certainly all the one released in the last 2 years. Can you port the latest iOS to older iphones?

    Why is it so hard for iphone owners to accept that there are credible, strong alternatives to their beloved brand? Which in some cases are far superior… I haven’t seen much discussion about what you can do on an iphone that you can’t do on Android or Windows Phone.

  73. eponymous coward said,

    “You can port Android 4.0 to nearly the oldest Android devices and certainly all the one released in the last 2 years.”

    Yes, if you’re sufficiently technically inclined, you can do this. Most people are not- they expect supported upgrades, which Apple delivers to their customers, and carriers selling Android generally do not.

    Your argument is like saying “I know your dealer decided not to make any repairs on your car model after 18 months, but you can always fix your own car!”

    “Can you port the latest iOS to older iphones?”

    Yes. Though you do not have to “port” it.

    For the record, every device that Apple is selling today is an iOS 5 device. The majority of Android phones being sold TODAY are Gingerbread (2.3).

  74. AS said,

    eponymous coward – My argument is nothing of the sort. It is a direct refutation of the false statement by Alesio that “Android phones don’t get upgrades. Zero. None.” I don’t know if it’s an uninformed or deliberate fabrication. But it’s still a ridiculous, and false, claim.

    What is the point you’re trying to make? Apple can keep the 2 phones they are selling on the newest platform? What does that prove? I could easily counter that there are dozens of phones that are being sold with Android 4.0 compared to 2 on IOS 5. Doesn’t matte.r

    I repeat my earlier questions. Why do iphone owners have so much trouble accepting that there is a compelling, competitive and credible alternative to their beloved platform? And what exactly can you do on iphone that you can’t do on Android or Windows Phone?

  75. Mike said,

    @AS Alessio is right – there are no upgrades in the Android. This is not an option but a fact. Take a look at the official numbers from Google. Less than 3% of the Android phones use the latest version of Android – 97% of Android phones have not been upgraded and use 2 year old system.

    Official Google distribution:

    http://thenextweb.com/google/2012/04/03/android-ice-cream-sandwich-gets-biggest-gain-yet-growing-from-1-6-adoption-to-2-9-since-march-5th/

    Compare these stats with the iPhone where 95% of all iPhone use the latest system and only 5% use older operating systems.

    On iPhone upgrade is easy and automated. Android is a different story. In order to update to a newer version of Android, your manufacturer or would have to release a firmware update specifically for your model phone. But this never happens in the Android world. Android manufacturers don’t make any money after the hardware sale, they want you to buy another phone as soon as possible. Google makes money on advertisement, so they don’t care if your phone never gets upgraded as long as you keep on clicking on all the ads and there are A LOT OF THEM in Android. The only way to upgrade to the latest Android version is what you suggested – to root the phone or effectively hack it. Theoretically you could do it yourself, if you had all the necessary development tools and have the programing experience, but it’s not like installing a Windows or even Linux upgrade. The moment you root your Android phone, the warranty is out of the window. You will also have stability and compatibility issues since the system you rooted your phone with was never intended nor tested on your phone.

  76. UnitedEF said,

    @Manny I have read Gary’s blog for years as well as listen to him on UPGRD. I have learned quite a few things from him as well and as someone who is a 1k and has used his current platform as well as iOS and Android I thought I would give him my experiences since I have learned from his blogs. I am a best tech person and right now Android is best tech. I carry the Galaxy Nexus after I made the mistake of going with a HTC non-stock device and I also have the iPad 2 because it has the best hardware sans the screen from the iPad 3. Like so many iOS die hards you have not kept up with Android development. Google has dealt with the malware issue
    http://www.infoworld.com/d/security/google-finally-scans-malware-ridden-android-market-185654
    They also check developer accounts to prevent malicious developers from uploading apps into the market place. It does not happen all the time as you assert. Also iOS fans and Anti-Virus companies blow the malware threat way out of proportion.
    http://www.informationweek.com/byte/news/personal-tech/mobile-apps/232500746
    @Mike Jenks is that why the military chose Android over iOS?
    http://www.bit9.com/blog/2012/01/04/u-s-military-approves-android-devices-not-iphone/

  77. UnitedEF said,

    @Alessio the new Nexus absolutely has the same amount of polish as iOS and it is only getting better with Matias Duarte onboard. If you haven’t played with the new Nexus you should at least check it out. Google did a complete overhaul with 4.0 and it is leaps and bounds above all previous versions of Android. None of the crashing issues that you talk about because it is a stock Android phone. The only time apps crash is when the app hasn’t been updated to support 4.0 which also happens on my iPad. When iOS 5 came out I had plenty of apps that crashed because they hadn’t been updated to support the new operating system. Thanks for linking to the chart on Android updates. You will notice that the Nexus is the one continually supported with software updates which would be equivalent to the iPhone. Not exactly fair to compare top of the line phones with the Motorola Cliq or Motorola Devour the midrange BOGO phones. The high end Androids of the day like the Droid Incredible or Nexus One of Evo 4g are the ones that should be compared with the iPhone. They have a manufacturer skin and they were being updated. Morale of the story is get the best money can buy or get a Nexus.
    Speaking of updates the difference between Android and iOS is that Android phone get faster as the software gets updated while iPhones get slower. Just do a search on the number of complaints that people had with their iPhone 4 after they upgraded to iOS 5. My previous Android phone got the update from 2.2 to 2.3 and the battery life as well as speed improved noticeable. Whereas my iPhone 3g that was updated to iOS 4 was completely unusable after the update and sits as a paper weight on my desk barely able to serve as an internet radio. I say barely because sometimes it crashes when streaming music so I just stopped using it. I am going to trade it in to T-Mobile because they are offering $200 for any iPhone when the highest price on eBay is $200! I love a good deal :-) My friend’s Nexus One still fast as ever and will finally retire it this week only because he wants a new phone. Buy a $10 battery on ebay and his old phone will still be a great backup phone or music player for going to the gym for years. Even tech stalwarts like Leo Laporte were complaining about how slow iOS 4 made the iPhone 3g openly on his weekly tech radio show. He used to have an iPhone as well but switched to a Nexus phone and now he uses the Android powered Samsung Galaxy Note. Same thing happened to my iPad 1 it was fine on iOS 4 but once I upgraded to iOS 5 it crashed a lot more frequently and things would take forever to load. Apps would crash while I was in the middle of using them which is horrible when you are in the middle of reading a travel blog or playing a game and the only way to get credit for the level was to finish the level! Not to mention battery life took a 30% hit. Quite a slap in the face for an early adopter who bought the iPad and paid nearly $1000 for it! I was so happy that ebay had an instant sale and took it off my hands for $219. I lost about 80% of what I paid for it in about a year and a half so according to that priceonomics site that iPad was a real piece of junk.

  78. UnitedEF said,

    The Galaxy Nexus just works. When I got it I turned it on and it upgraded its system files automatically over the mobile data connection! I never had to mess with iTunes to activate it, just popped in the SIM card turned it on, signed in and the phone started to automatically download all of my apps, contacts and settings without ever connecting to the computer. Much easier than plugging the iDevice into the computer the first time and waiting for it to sync.
    @Dax Apple is actually playing catch up at this point. iPhones will hopefully finally get 4g which android has had for a years now. Larger full HD displays have already been released by Android phones. Their “new” notification shade was ripped from Android and their “wireless” sync was finally added that Android has had for years now. It has an inefficient archaic GUI interface. Want to check the weather? On Android unlock and bam weather widget displays the weather. On iOS? Unlock, tap the weather app wait for it to load. Want to check email? On Android unlock and your scrollable email widget has the newest emails right there for you to look at on the home screen. On iOS? Unlock launch the mail app, and if you don’t have full sync on to save battery hit refresh and wait for the email to load. Rinse and repeat for all basic functions. Sure it’s only 20 – 30 seconds here or there but at the end of the day 20 – 30 minutes or more wasted? It’s like that conversation between Ryan Bingham in Up in the Air and Natalie Keener “I really like my luggage. That’s exactly what it is – luggage. Know how much time you lose checking in? I don’t know. Five. 10 minutes?- 35 minutes a flight. I travel 270 days a year. That’s 157 hours. That makes seven days. You willing to throw away an entire week on that?” Except replace luggage with iPhone and you get the idea of how much time is wasted.
    @eponymous coward – Galaxy Nexus no technical expertise required. $399 off contract. Just tap the install button when you get notified of timely updates from Google ;-)

  79. UnitedEF said,

    @AS Don’t get upset that’s just the way the Apple fanboys are they claim to be about the best tech available: as long as it’s an iPhone. No amount of factual, rationale argument can persuade them otherwise. Some people are just too emotionally invested in their “team” to accept that something else might be better when it comes along. Thank goodness for them or else Apple would be out of business. I have the Galaxy Nexus and the iPad 2. I bought the iPad 2 when the 3 came out because I did not want to fully support Apple but wanted an upgrade and at this moment the iPad 2 is the best available. If / when Samsung releases a tablet with quad core Exynos than I will be dumping the iPad because it will be the best available. Yes the iPhone was a huge innovation in 2007 but it’s now 2012 and technology has passed Apple by. Notice all of the tech blogs are saying the next iPhone has to have LTE and at least a 4” screen to compete with the Android phones. Nobody is writing that the Android phones have to shrink their screens to 3.5” and throttle their internet speeds to 3g in order to compete with the iPhone. Who “upgrades” their TV from 42” to 32”? Nobody. It’s always funny to hear people say that 3.5” is the perfect size unless the next iPhone comes out with 4” then that changes everything… again.
    Side note Gary, got the match to EXP finally today! They took the full 10 days to match me after I took the trouble of sending it in while I was in China, no evips I have to fly 30k for that but I will finally give the dAArkside a try! It’s enticing because they have showers at the AC at LAX!

  80. sw said,

    I switched from BB to a Verizon Droid (w/ keyboard). It works pretty well for me. As I read more emails those days and write less, I’d say my next phone would be a latest model Samsung Galaxy (w/o keyboard), which many of my friends use and like (some of them moved from iphone to it).

  81. Glen said,

    @UnitedEF You don’t have to go through all of the steps that you described to check weather, email, etc on the iPhone. New email for example is right there under notifications. You swipe the finger down and you are there. Just one movement. Not 20 seconds as you described it. It seems that a lot iPhone functions that you are describing are referred to the original iPhone released 5+ years ago. Of course as with any technology iPhone evolved a lot in 5 years.

    The screen size is a personal choice. IPhone has smaller screen but much higher resolution/more pixels than Android phones. The only phone ou tthere to have a Retina display. I like more compact screen size on my cellphone since I travel a lot and comfort is important to me. If you like larger screen sizes than Android is a right choice for you or you could just get an iPad or Kindle.

    BTW you are the first person I’ve met who owned an iPad and didn’t like it. Strange. There is a reason why 68% of tablets sold worldwide are iPads as of numbers reported last week. Which iPad did you own btw? You mentioned that you owned original iPad 1 in your post above and in the next post you say it was iPad 2?

  82. Ray said,

    Not sure if the Galaxy Note was mentioned, but the initial response was that the thing is so big. But going hands-on, you realize it isn’t as bad as you may think. I have an iPhone and iPad and have found that I don’t use the iPhone for anything but the basics (email, calendar, phone) and the Note would replace both.

    I have not made the switch yet. I like the consistency of Apple products. You know what you are getting and it is hard to beat their support. But Android has a great rep too, but it makes me nervous that there are sooooo many different versions out there. And carrier’s seem to still have more control over non-Apple products (what bloatware is loaded, when updates are released, etc…).

    If you like to do more than just “use” your phone, go with Android.

  83. Tom Bright said,

    @Gary I’ve switched from Blackberry to Android 4G phone last month only to return it three weeks later and have it replaced with a new Blackberry Bold 9930 model. Why? I had to charge my Droid 4 twice a day. They replaced my Android phone four times before I finally gave up. This wasn’t the hardware problem – I think it has something to do with the way 4G is implemented in Android. Ask anybody, including the people working for your wireless provider – why does 4G drain the battery so fast?, and you’ll most likely get a response like, it’s more powerful, so of course it uses more power. But having to charge your phone twice a day is just not acceptable!! You also don’t get the full benefit of 4G because it is still not available in most locations. Not to mention that the rest of the world uses a different type of 4G technology. Wireless providers such as Verizon Wireless have setup their 4G/LTE enabled Android devices to connect to both the 3G and 4G networks simultaneously. That means your phone is working twice as hard to maintain a connection, and therefore using twice as much power to maintain a connection. Whenever you make calls or send and receive a text messages, the 3G radio has to pause. This changing of radio states causes an extreme strain on the battery. When you are traveling, your wireless device has to constantly switch 4G towers to keep you connected to the network, which also drains your battery.

    So my strong recommendation would be to stay away from any 4G phone at least for another three years. It is still half backed technology at best. Stay with Blackberry platform, if battery is important to you.

    I can’t speak of the iPhone experience since I’ve never used it. My boss uses iPhone and he like it. The battery seems to be better than on Android phones but he still has to charge his iPhone every other day. I charge my Blackberry once a week.

  84. Jon said,

    I have had an Android phone for about a year. Before that I had an iPhone. But switched after hearing about how much better Android phones are. Since then I have severely regretted the decision in almost every aspect except that I am no longer paying AT&T for service.

    Admittedly, my phone is a cheap model (HTC Hero) but my iPhone which I bought 3 years earlier was no more expensive than this hunk of junk.

    Here are my top and most recent complaints.

    1) Making calls can take a long time. Sometimes when I press “call” nothing happens for 10 seconds or more, so I hit “call” again and end up with 2 live calls. This never happened on iphone. This sucks.

    2) When I look on the map and want to see “my location”, 9 times out of 10 i get the message “your current location is not available”. If I reboot the phone (see 3) then the location works after the reboot. What’s up with that?

    3) Rebooting the phone takes about 4 minutes. What is this, windows 3.1? My cheapy 4 year old iphone takes about half the time.

    4) if i type in a number but don’t hit “call”, by the time i walk outside, the phone has gone into “sleep” mode. Fine, but the number I typed in is gone. Now I have to go back inside and look up the number again so I can go outside and make a call. I don’t want to store this number permanently, just keep it in the buffer when you go to sleep mode, phone!

    Ugh… very much looking forward to getting back on the iPhone full time… Sorry android people.

  85. Jessica Fradono said,

    I’m always a late adopter when it comes to technology, and have long disrespected smart phones, favoring a plain phone. Six months or so ago I had to get a new phone (ran over the old one, lol) and figured I’d try the iPhone. I’m hooked, it’s excellent!  Now I’m obsessed with my iPhone. Don’t know how I ever lived without it…
     
    Gary, if you do get an iPhone as your new phone, you will change your Relationship Status on Facebook to “in a relationship” with Siri and your new iPhone! And I am only half joking. The phone is that good!

  86. DBest said,

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-57428484-266/ditch-the-iphone-for-an-ice-cream-sandwich-phone

  87. Zoobie said,

    @DBest And? The author of the article basically said to wait until a new iPhone released this summer.

    The worst thing about Android is that it’s a crapshoot if you’ll ever get an update because the carriers have no interest in giving you an update. At least with iOS, Apple has been good about pushing features out to all iPhone owners at the same time.

    I have three Android phones in my house and all three have different flavors of Android depending on our carriers and phone models. Android is a fragmented joke that Google needs to control better if they hope to maintain customer loyalty and not just be the cheap option for people who can’t afford an iPhone.

  88. reeder said,

    I’m a phone geek and admit that I stopped reading the comments about halfway through. Both have dedicated users and make good points.

    Some info you might be interested in:
    I prefer the iPhone’s native email app for exchange over the HTC Sense version. And HTC Sense version over the way touchdown app looks (though it works fine, just terribly ugly).

    Gmail app on android is nice enough.

    As for battery wars, assume that one day, you’ll be delayed somewhere and away from an outlet with 2% charge no matter how fast/slow your phone uses power. Buy a backup battery from monoprice, ebay, amazon, etc and be done with the battery debate. I’m told iPhones don’t call out on < 5% charge and I just keep a backup swappable battery for my HTC Evo so haven't run into that yet. There are iPhone and microusb battery extenders for < $20.

    This year, I'm looking for the 2012 OS version (no upgrade to ICS capable and wait forever game) + Verizon LTE. And not Samsung because I've never forgiven them for crappy build quality and keypad that overheated 7+ years ago. Not Sprint LTE because I waited over 8 months for my area to get 4g WiMax the first time. Above all, I want reception. All this before Christmas please.

    I agree that IRL, the iPhone 4S camera produces amazing results and samples of reviews of the newer Android cameras results leave me thinking that HTC, Samsung, Motorola need to step up the engineering and not the PR.

  89. Alessio said,

    @UnitedEF you said: “Same thing happened to my iPad 1 it was fine on iOS 4 but once I upgraded…”

    and in the next post you said: “I have the Galaxy Nexus and the iPad 2. I bought the iPad 2 when the 3 came out because I did not want to fully support Apple but wanted an upgrade and at this moment the iPad 2 is the best available.”

    So which iPad version do you own? iPad 1? iPad2? Which one? I have only heard very positive comments from actual iPad owners and was naturally surprised to read your feedback.

    By the way, British Parliament made an announcement today that they will fully transition to iPads. They literally will be running the country off the iPad which is pretty amazing technical accomplishment:
    http://obamapacman.com/2012/05/british-parliament-buys-650-ipads-for-all-members/

  90. Neil said,

    @Greg get an iPhone, it is the best and most reliable phone on the market. It is a standard phone nowadays in the corporate world along with the Blackberry. I used to own the ordinal iPhone and now have the droid 2. I am upgrading my phone in the end of the May to an iPhone 4S because my Droid 2 lags, and weird things happen to the look of the graphics that I don’t know how to explain. I didn’t get an iPhone 4 the last time and I am not making the same mistake again.

  91. Neil said,

    Sorry I’meant to say Gary! Long day at work

  92. Neil said,

    @UnitedEF: while in theory it might appear that Android is more flexible than iPhone… in implementation, it’s not even close. I’ve owned both, and iPhone’s UI is so much more intuitive, smoother and easier to use than Android. Yes, you can customize Android endlessly, but as much as you try, you will not be able to customize it to work as well as the iOS interface.

  93. Nicco said,

    Gary, I don’t think you should rule out the iPhone which is the best phone in my opinion. I have used Droid 2, HTC T-bolt and Droid Razr over the last four years. As much as I wanted all of the Android phones to be the best, they ALL failed in terms of user experience, convenience battery life and overall usage. In my expereince, iPhone clearly wins on functionality, quality, stability and durability. I have returned to it time after time.

    You choice really comes down to what you value most in a smartphone. If it’s ease of use, good battery life, best email system and biggest selection of high-quality apps you’re after—as well as reliability of the phone and a great camera—the iPhone 4S can’t be beat. Siri takes smartphones to the next level by serving your needs with real intelligence – it can help you with everything from scheduling appointments to sending messages. You’ll also find that apps either come to the iPhone first (such as Netflix) or exclusively (such as Microsoft, Flipboard, iPhoto, iMovie) and just look more polished (Twitter, Facebook). Other advantages unique to the iPhone 4S include iCloud, which does a better job than Google of keeping all of your content in sync across multiple devices. iPhone’s multitouch keyboard is second to none. Both in portrait mode and landscape mode, I can type quickly and accurately. Last but not least is the iPhone’s vast number of available accessories. Having a single standard connector makes things a lot easier on makers of add-ons.

    You really can’t go wrong with the iPhone 4S.

  94. Jason said,

    I love my Galaxy S2. Can’t wait to get the Galaxy S3. Battery has been good for me, but if it’s a huge deal to you, buy a double battery from seidio.com and I’m sure you won’t run out.

  95. Jim said,

    @Gary I have an iPhone and Blackberry. iPhone was my personal purchase and Blackberry was giving to me at work. There are many reasons why I like my iPhone 4S more than my Blackberry. I will share my top three:

    High quality of phone reception: iPhone 4S has two antennas — one on the bottom and one at the top of the handset. Apple has given the iPhone the ability to intelligently switch between the antennas to ensure better call quality. The technology also allows this switching to go on during a phone call, so you won’t even notice that the switch has taken place. To be perfectly clear — this is an Apple-only technology. While other companies can receive on dual antennas, no other company can transmit and receive on dual GSM or CDMA antennas. The dual antennas are at work when you’re not on a call too. I have noticed that my iPhone signal is stronger in places where my Blackberry is getting a weak reception.

    Fantastic camera: the iPhone has not only been my primary communications device for the past few months, it has also been my only camera. I have taken my iPhone to Europe, all over the US, and countless other places, never worrying about how it would perform for me. Not only did Apple include an 8-megapixel camera, they also improved many of the other elements needed to take a great picture. From a larger aperture, an improved backside illumination sensor, auto white balance, color accuracy, face detection, and reduced motion blur, to a custom lens, everything to make your pictures look the best, has been put into the iPhone 4S. Of course, the ability to take great still pictures isn’t the only improvement in the iPhone 4S. Apple also included 1080p HD video recording. Like my use of the iPhone as a still camera, the device has also been my video camera. The ability to record in 1080p just makes a great camera even better.

    Siri: After using Siri for a few months, I can tell you it works just as good in real life situations as it does in Apple commercials. The important thing to remember about Siri is that it’s not just another voice technology. Siri understands the context of what you are asking it and responds appropriately. For instance, if you receive a text message, you can ask Siri to read your last text. It will tell you who it is from, read the text and then ask you if you would like to respond. You say yes, and then give it your response. Siri will acknowledge the response and ask you if you’re ready to send the message. You say yes and it’s sent. I did this today in the car. The iPhone 4S was sitting in the console and I just spoke like I normally would in a conversation. Siri got every word right and sent the text back. Siri can do other things too. I asked it to play specific songs in my iTunes library, schedule appointments in iCal, and asked what Apple’s current stock price is. Every time, Siri carried out the task. You don’t dictate to Siri, you interact and have a conversation with Siri.

    These are other reasons why I think an iPhone is the best replacement to Blackberry, but these are the main ones. When you put all of these together in one product like the iPhone 4S, you have the best product in the market that other companies just can’t compete with. You really have to actually have an iPhone to truly appreciate how good it is.

    I hope this post offers some value to you, Gary. And I apologize if my post is a bit long. I just wanted to say, albeit in a verbose style, that you should really consider getting an iPhone.

  96. Jim (not post 95) said,

    Two Jim’s on here – go figure…. I’m the first one in this thread. I’d use Jim L but I think there is another one of those as well….

    @Gary – whatever you do, find someone who is pretty familiar with the phone you select and have them teach you a few things so you get the most out of it. You may need “training” initially and then again later after you have become familiar with the device. For example, how do you *really* end apps that are running so they won’t continue to run in the background and eat up your data plan? Turning off wifi if you can’t use it when other wifi networks are detected will significantly save battery life and improve data performance. How to switch back and forth between apps on the device, etc. I’m not talking about the nerdy stuff here, just the tricks that let an average user get the most out of whatever phone they buy. Whatever device you buy, you will probably be happy with it and be very productive (compared to the Fred Flintstone device you have now). Just make sure you maximize your investment.

  97. Julia said,

    @Nicco “You’ll also find that apps either come to the iPhone first (such as Netflix) or exclusively (such as Microsoft, Flipboard, iPhoto, iMovie) and just look more polished (Twitter, Facebook)”. Very true. In fact even Google often releases its flagship applications on iPhone first. For example, Google just released an impressive update of Google Plus that is iPhone exclusive. Android version is coming in a few weeks according to Google’s official blog. Think about it. Even Google gives iPhone preferential treatment.

    Source: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/05/google-mobile-app-with-sense-and-soul.html#!/2012/05/google-mobile-app-with-sense-and-soul.html

  98. Kyle said,

    Wow! The iCult and the android fanboys are certainly out in full force.

    My advice: ignore all comments that praise one phone or system without also giving the drawbacks. We all know that both systems have opportunities to improve without the need to resort to propaganda.

    Battery life sucks for BOTH Android and iOS. I can’t speak for the 4S but the 4 definitely does. As someone mentioned, buying an extended battery does help with the Android handsets without voiding warranties but it can alter your phone’s appearance for the worse.

    Regardless of how adept others are at their device’s virtual keyboard, let me tell you that that will be your biggest challenge coming from a Blackberry. I still miss my keyboard.

    Regarding apps, don’t let the numbers mislead you. Half a million on iOS versus 200K or whatever on Android is almost a non-issue for most people as many people have a core # of apps totaling less than 100. You might first check whether specific apps that you want are available on each respective system.

  99. Chris said,

    Hi Gary, I want to preface by saying that I will try to remain as unbiased as possible in my advice to you, but I felt compelled to write that I generally enjoy using Apple products, but by no means am I a fanboy.

    I have gotten myself the latest Samsung Galaxy Nexus three months ago. I have only ever used Android devices in passing, and have never owned one before this. After spending a few minutes with the device, I decided to shell out the GBP 530 for an unlocked device to try it out for myself.

    Alas, the honeymoon with Android was short-lived. Having used the silky-smooth iPhone for several years now, I really couldn’t believe that the Android device that had a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor was still lagging and locking up! Even swiping between homescreens was not a lag-free experience, which I found to be very annoying in practice. It was by no means as crisp and smooth as the iPhone. This is true in many of the tasks on the phone, from scrolling, pinch-to-zoom, and even typing on the keyboard.

    The camera was a problem too on Android – I found that many of the pictures I was taking were very slightly out of focus and lacked the level of clarity that the iPhone’s camera has garnered much praise for. Also, after the initial wow-factor of the 720p screen, I still found the iPhone screen to be crisper and sharper. Although you can’t necessarily see individual pixels on the Galaxy Nexus display, it just didn’t seem to have the same level of clarity I have gotten used to in the iPhone.

    I could go on and on about other seemingly little things that bugged me about the software, but I suppose it really depends on your level of comfort with Android. I just prefer the seamless and smooth experience of the iPhone, with hardware and software designed top to bottom to just work.

    This next part was really the deal-breaker for me, and the reason I won’t be keeping the Android Phone. I went in to this experiment really looking forward to having a larger screen, and while I definitely appreciated the extra size, I really found the device in general to simply be too big. I found myself constantly having to operate the device with two hands. I had gotten used to being able to effectively operate the iPhone using one hand, but I nearly dropped the Galaxy on several occasions because I was trying to reach that extra half-inch to access a menu or tap an icon. Granted, I don’t have huge hands, but by no means would I consider myself to have below-average sized hands, so I would imagine this would be a problem for many out there. This, in conjunction with the multitude of small annoyances with the software, has been enough to convince me that Android is just not quite ready to earn my money.

    I hope this was helpful Gary! Now that I’ve written a book about my experience, I will be switching back to the iPhone and the level of comfort I have developed with that device. iPhone is still, overall, the best device in its class.

  100. UnitedEF said,

    @Tom Bright the Verizon setup does drain more battery. The new HTC one X on ATT’s LTE network actually lasts just as long as an iPhone on LTE. If Gary goes with a non-stock device on ATT I would go with this one. Here is a chart from a very reputable review site. Overall the One X has longer battery life when browsing over 3G than the iPhone 9.65 hours vs. 6.65 hours. IPhone beats the One X, 11 hours vs. 10.35 for One X when browsing over wifi. 4G LTE mode 5.517 hours for the One X and no data for iPhone because it doesn’t do 4g despite what ATT wants you to believe. Cellular talk time 10.73 hours for the One X and 9.269 hours for the iPhone. It’s a bit more technical but that’s what we want right? Overall battery life is still terrible compared to the last Blackberry that I had but you get so much more functionality in return on either platform.
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5779/htc-one-x-for-att-review/3
    @Jon Why are you comparing a cheapo Android to an iPhone with much better specs?
    @Zoobie the Nexus will always get updates. If you go non-Nexus get a higher end phone and you will get updates. Generally speaking having had the iPhone 3G iPad 1, iPad 2 the Mytouch 4g and Galaxy Nexus updates are only really needed if something is broken. The core apps within Android update themselves automatically now with the latest version of the Google play store. If your cell loses signal or if something doesn’t work properly the Android manufacturers have learned they need to fix it fast. HTC is pretty good about that.

  101. UnitedEF said,

    @ Reeder you should check out the new cameras on the HTC one series and the new Galaxy S3.
    “I think with the HTC One series it’s time to add HTC to the short list (Nokia, Apple) of smartphone vendors doing more than just integrating a module into their smartphone platforms.” Full review here:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/5779/htc-one-x-for-att-review/5
    @Alessio I have had the iPad 1 got it a couple of weeks after launch, sold it when eBay offered the instant buy for $219 (suckers!) then upgraded to iPad 2 used off of eBay but still under warranty. Dad got the iPad 3 on launch day he played with it for 5 days and had me return and stuck with his HTC Flyer 7” tab from last year. I mainly use the iPad to watch movies or to shoot off emails if I am in the lounge and don’t need the full laptop. I could do that on my phone but bigger screen is better to read and type on. Trying not to go blind since I just got LASIK a few years ago. The iPad is the best out there in the tabletsphere so I got it. That may change when Android tablets come out later on but who knows. I always have my phone next to me though because there are some pages that don’t render right on the iPad but come out right on the Android stock browser. Plus it is deceptively heavy so if you are going to use it for a while find a table to set it on. Good for the British Parliament I guess. But I wouldn’t want to run a government with a closed system like iOS especially since the source code is not transparent. The US Army adopted Android.
    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/05/12/army-stronger-with-droids/

  102. UnitedEF said,

    @Neil it is not theory. Can you watch flash content on the iPhone? Can you scroll through your email list without having to launch the mail app on the iPhone right after you unlock the phone? The iPhone UI is the same grid of icons launched in 2007. If that’s your cup of tea you can set it up that way on Android as well. More intuitive? Will someone using iOS for the first time know that you can Morse code your way into the “open” apps menu? On Android you hit the app switcher button and all the recent apps pop up. Tap to open or swipe away to close. There is a learning curve for each platform and the one for iOS may be shorter but that corresponds with the number of features. No widgets on the iPhone because Apple doesn’t allow it. I don’t customize my phone like most people. I just want to do what I need to do in the quickest way possible. I might get crazy and put on the live Christmas wall paper come December. The wall paper app is really cool because there is a fireplace burning and you can put pictures of your family in it along with stockings with the names of your family members on it above the fireplace with a nice big tree and snow falling in the window! Love that app which is not available in the App Store. I have my email widget on the home screen, flashlight app, facebook app and calendar shortcut. In my dock I have a phone folder with the dialer app and three direct dial shortcuts of the three numbers I call the most. Iphone does not have that. One touch to open the phone folder and another touch of the shortcut and the phone dials that number. The AA app comes with their widget which will display at a glance the current conditions of your flight unlike iOS where you have to open the app to get the info. Can’t wait to use it now that I have been matched to EXP! I will occasionally swap one out for another base on need but I don’t really use more than the home screen. Text, phone and email, everything I need on one screen.

  103. UnitedEF said,

    @Chris totally agree they should have put a better processor in the Nexus but did you close all the programs that you opened? If not they run in the background and eat up system resources. Android does real multi-tasking whereas iOS freezes apps in the background when you switch to a new one. That’s why there is always that delay when you switch between apps on iOS. The last known state on iOS has to be loaded into the memory first before you can use it. Only exception is the streaming radio in the background. It seems though with the introduction of the S4 Snapdragon chip that is shipping with the One X and US version of the Samsung S3 that the hardware has finally caught up with the Android software. My brother just got the One S, the baby brother of the One X, and that thing is literally two times faster than my Galaxy Nexus! In order for it to lag he had to install 5 programs at the same time while downloading and setting up his screens and widgets and only then there was slight lag. Awesome! Finally as smooth as the iPhone but with more features. The camera has a good sensor, but 5 megapixels is not enough sometimes. It doesn’t do well in low light. You have to tap the picture to focus. Was the one you got on 4.0.2? Mine was updated to 4.0.4 a few weeks ago and it is running much better now. That’s another flaw of the pentile HD display they used in the Nexus, it can look grainy if you turn down the brightness. The One X doesn’t have that problem because it is using a RGB HD display which is the same as the iPhone 4S except on a bigger screen.
    Lastly has anyone thought that maybe Gary doesn’t want the iPhone because of the way people are perceived with the iPhone? When I see people with blackberry I think professional corporate. Just a thought.

  104. Mike said,

    @UnitedEF, you said “Lastly has anyone thought that maybe Gary doesn’t want the iPhone because of the way people are perceived with the iPhone? When I see people with blackberry I think professional corporate.”

    I work for one of the largest banks on Wall Street. Everyone here uses an iPhone. Every employee is given a choice between Blackberry or iPhone and most choose iPhone these days. No Android in sight – our IT department doesn’t allow use of Android for corporate email due to security reasons. I am not saying this is right or wrong. I am just saying that iPhone has became the standard corporate phone in financial services industry. Same goes for an iPad.

  105. Tenmoc said,

    First off I truly can’t believe all the iphone fanboy hate of android when most of you have never used it andare only going by what the dead man tells you about andorid.

    To Gary: those recommending the galaxy nexus are spot on. I have the vz version but the gsm is my goal for a travel phone. google is selling it 100% unlocked and no contract required for 399 now. no need to spend more on it. if you choose, get a contract model with att for less. it will do all you ask and more. milepoint has a section where android apps are discussed and you can get answers to your questions.

    any one telling you to get an iphone when you said screen size is important simply didn’t listen. ios has its place. but what you want there is no need for having your power of choice removed.

    googd luck with what ever you choose.

  106. Nel said,

    Tenmoc – I had previously purchased an Android when my iPhone 3G started showing it’s age, but alas, after two weeks with the Android I was longing for my iPhone, and therefore, switched back. The Android was pallid in comparison, and the reception was terrible. It dropped a lot of calls. My brother also recently purchased an Android as his first smart phone, and has had nothing good to say about it. At times, he sends texts and they don’t even show up on the receiving phone. Once in a great while I can see this happening, but not once a day. He too will be making the switch after tinkering with my iPhone to get a feel for what it’s all about.

  107. Nel said,

    Gary – my vote goes for an iPhone. It is a sleek, unfussy piece of brilliance that makes our lives much easier. It is packed with some amazing technology. And some of it feels like magic. Apple has earned its fiercely loyal following.

    UnitedEF – this FoxNews article you posted does not reflect my own experience. Military personnel and their spouses are literally in love with their iPhones. At the moments that my husband was deployed or even gone on training expeditions, I never left the house without my iPhone, or at least not very often. If I did happen to walk out without it, or leave it at the bottom of my purse while in the grocery store I would panic for a minute, worried that I had missed his call. Even though they had explained to us at a briefing to not stress if we miss a call, they stated that the reality is there would be more. But in the situation that we were in I was worried that we may not get another call.

    So I would say that for those times that my husband is away, especially the past 12 months, I was truly in love with my iPhone. I was in love with the voice I heard on the other end, I was in love with the FaceTime feature where I could see his face, I was in love with the emails I would get to read on the go, and I was in love that for a moment that phone reassured me that he was safe for right then. So thank you iPhone, you were a great love affair to have for a short time in my life.

  108. Jay said,

    Gary – You should at least consider iPhone as an option. In my view iPhone is the best phone in the market. If you need a reliable phone, get an iPhone. Apple’s attention to detail and obsession with quality is legendary. Daraius Dubash from Million Mile Secrets had a good post on this:
    http://millionmilesecrets.com/2011/08/28/a-sunday-miles-points-lesson-from-steve-jobs/

  109. Tyler said,

    @Gary My advice. Get an iPhone.

    Even TSA is planning to complete transition to iOS platform over the next three years. According to TSA “Apple hardware and software are deemed critical to meet a variety of TSA operational, programmatic, and mission specific requirements.”

    Interestingly, TSA said that nearly every government organization focuses all efforts exclusively on Apple’s iOS. According to TSA statement, many of the 106 publicly available government-written apps, like Smartraveler, FBI, FCC and EPA, are only available on iDevices.

    With the iPhone you will get more than just a good phone but largest ecosystem of apps available in the mobile space. My vote goes for an iPhone.

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