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Author Topic: Looking for opinions on smart phones, what to get.  (Read 1898 times)
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Greenville, IL
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  I am currently using a "text" style cell phone and I am considering moving to a smart phone such as Android. However, I have discovered that there are many "droid" style phones. I need some advice for choosing what is best for me.

 Requirements that I would like:
 1) I use Verizon
 2)  I would like to run bluetooth programs found in Elecktor (sp?) magazine. Basically, be able create       or add an application to control Arudino over bluetooth.
 3) playmovies, music, surf web, text.
 4) I would hope the phone could be somewhat durable.
 5) Looking for other reasons to want a smart phone.

Opinions and thoughts welcome, thanks in advance.
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Rural Arizona
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The #$%*ing forum software ate my long detailed reply because my session timed out while I was writing. Obviously, the SMF developers thinks it's A Bad Idea (tm) to actually take the time to think about what you're writing.  smiley-mad

The most crucial point that got deleted was to check on the particular features of the phone that are most important to you: it's very common for a "top-rated" phone to have one or more functions that are lame (like a camera with a low pixel count, poor autofocus, or weak/missing flash).  I don't care that my Samsung's camera makes a Brownie look like a Hasselblad, because I always carry a decent-quality digicam with me. You might find that that makes it "useless"  because you insist your camera be able to document your trip to the Louvre.
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  Thanks Ran Talbott for your reply! You bring up a good point about missing or weak features that could be a problem. I do have a "real" camera to take on trips that require quality pictures but, it is nice for the phone to be able to take reasonable pictures too.

 I really expected a lot of people to reply to this thread but, maybe people are unsure of their decisions.

 Can anyone say anything about the HTC droid or the Motorola?
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Phoenix, Arizona USA
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I don't care that my Samsung's camera makes a Brownie look like a Hasselblad, because I always carry a decent-quality digicam with me. You might find that that makes it "useless"  because you insist your camera be able to document your trip to the Louvre.

Gravity Smart?

I ended up having to get that phone because my G1 died on me; it was the "closest" one T-Mobile could replace my phone with because I had purchased my G1 outright (with a warranty). The camera is nearly the worst thing on the planet; my G1 had auto-focus, but this POS doesn't, so it is impossible to use for any of the barcode scanning programs.

My only other gripe about it is the lack of memory on the thing, and T-Mobile's insistence on putting every piece of non-necessary software on it that they can, which you can't remove (seriously, I would love to rid myself of the facebook, photobucket, and about 10 other unnecessary apps; the only real way I can do it would be to root the phone - and I know if I did that, and screwed it up, or it broke, then they would find a way to weasel out of the warranty or something).

I don't have any real recommendations for a Android-based phone, other than to carefully shop around (you might also want to look into used "unlocked" phones that can work with any carrier; might be a cheaper route to go, if you don't care about warranties or such).
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Rural Arizona
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Gravity Smart?
Captivate.

It's not that the camera is bad: it's just "feature-deprived". It's got decent resolution, and autofocus that at least works well for barcode scanning (pretty much the only thing I use it for).  But it's got no flash. Not even the cheesey white LED some phones are using now. Sensitiviy is mediocre, there's no white balance, and no user controls for exposure (or anything else except firing the shutter). If you don't have near-ideal lighting, you're screwed.

It reminds me of the Instamatic I got for saving boxtops as a kid.  Bue even that had flash attachment.

I literally carry on my belt more CPU power, more RAM, and more online storage than we had for a multi-campus university with 50,000 students back in the 1970s, and I can't take a picture under fluorescent light that doesn't look like a publicity shot of invading aliens from The Twilight Zone.

To be fair, I'm sure the phone's camera takes better pictures in most situations than my old Instamatic.  But it's also not a patch on what I could do with my 35mm SLRs. Or anywhere near as good as I got from my about-to-be-retired 10 year old digicam with about the same resolution.

It's a long-standing problem with multi-purpose gadgets: unless you pay a real premium price, you're lucky if any of its functions are better than even a mediocre single-purpose device.

Despite my kvetching about the camera, the Captivate works quite well as a phone and as a PDA. So I wouldn't hesitate to reommend it to anyone who also doesn't need yet another camera.
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field road, jupiter creek
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I have a ZTE V9 tablet, it's great for maps!

7" screen, easier to type on, just!

For Phone calls I use a bluetooth earpiece, for music bluetooth headphones.
Only bummer is the radio needs an actual headphone to use the shield as an antenna.

All the "it's a brick" crap I get is funny, most of the time I answer calls with it still in my bag.
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You'll also want to look into the battery life of your phone.  That's one other 'feature' that can vary wildly from phone to phone.  Ask yourself honestly how long your phone needs to be able to last from charge to charge.  This is going to have to be measured in hours, not days.  Be prepared to put your phone on the charger every night.  Some phones won't even make it through a day of moderate usage without being charged.  On the plus side, they all can be charged off a usb port.

My Galaxy Nexus has rather poor battery life, particularly with my usage.  I have a charger in my car and frequently plug into a USB port at work for half an hour at some point during the day to keep it from going dead.  Part of the problem is likely the poor reception I get in the office.  It's not really a problem for me, cause I'm almost always near something that can give it a short charge for a little extra power, but it's an important consideration when buying a smartphone.
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  Thanks for all of the input and interesting thoughts about smart phone features and problems!

 I have for the most part, settled on a Motorola Razr or Razr Maxx but, I am still working out how to get my upgrade applied to get it cheaper...long story.

 I decided I like those phones because of the memory card slot and the looks in general. Of course the ratings were good on sites that review phones.

 I am still open to any thoughts people may like to add.

Thanks!
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Rural Arizona
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I decided I like those phones because of the memory card slot and the looks in general.
That reminds of something else that disappeared when the forum software shafted me: you mentioned watching movies was important, so you need to check on the accessibility of the SD card slot. Some phones (and not just smartphones) require you to disassemble (almost) all the user-removable parts to change the card.  I think the expectation is that most users will just download their music and funny youtube clips from their PCs.  And it can be a plus not to have another port to get gummed up with sand or pocket lint.  But it sucks if your preference is to load up several cards with movies to pass the time on a long trip.
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i'm not sure. i wanted a telephone. it rings i pick it up. i don't really need a pocket computer.


if i don't need it what is it's purpose. what does it do?

they do a lot of things, i have so far found very little use for any.

i got a tablet to check.

it's a computer. just not as good s the one i have at home.

mmmm. ok

 
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 @EVP, I think I understand what you are getting at. I grew up with a dial phone on the wall and generally no contact to through technology anytime I was out of the house. I honestly will be fine if I never get a smartphone. I did get rid of the land line so, I at least have the need for a cell phone. However, I can afford to have a smart phone and all of the advantages that come with one so, why not.

 No offense taken, or intended, to each their own.  smiley
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@ EVP

check this out:http://johnsphones.org/

this is also quite funny: http://youtu.be/bhb6jxGWu-k

and... I can totally relate to what you are saying.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2012, 05:27:54 pm by fkeel » Logged


Rural Arizona
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they do a lot of things, i have so far found very little use for any.
And 99.99% of the PC users are never going to write C code, design circuit boards, run a webserver, forecast the weather, or do more than about 5 of the 100,000 different things you can do with a PC.

But,  in addition to the few common functions that essentially everyone uses (equivalent to making calls on a cellphone), each indvidual gets to pick which 5 apps out of that vast universe are useful to him/her.  And often to choose from among multiple competing versions.

Like the PC, the value of the smartphone is that it can be tailored to the particular needs/wants of its owner.  You're not stuck with the set of capabilities chosen for you by a committee of nerds whose language you don't speak, and whose notion of the "right" way to interact with an app makes no sense to people who don't live on a diet of soda and pizza.  If your phone's designers screwed it up, or left out some function essential to your particular lifestyle, the odds are good that there's someone out there who better understands your way of thinking,  or is eager to fill a market niche that doesn't register on the radar of people who don't care about anything that doesn't sell bajillions of copies.

The fact that there are boatloads of apps out there that are of no interest to you is a benefit, not a drawback.
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i'm not sure. i wanted a telephone. it rings i pick it up. i don't really need a pocket computer.


When talking about need, there are really only 2/3 things we need as humans to survive.  food/water and shelter.  Once those bases are covered, we are just talking about what people want.  People are always debating about what they need and don't need, when in reality it's all nothing more than different wants, which changes the dynamics of the debate completely.

it's a computer. just not as good s the one i have at home.

I guess if you spend the majority of your time at home, then the computer you have at home will suit you just fine.  If, however, you want the convenience of a mobile computer while you are away from home, there are a variety of products available that mix up the qualities of convenience to use versus convenience to carry with you.  Your basic laptop is on the end of easy to use, but not so easy to carry around with you, while the smartphone is on the other end of very easy to carry around with you, but not as easy to use (though still very usable).  Products like tablets, netbooks, ultrabooks, etc all fit in somewhere between those.

Before I got my smartphone, I was basically using 3 separate devices at various times for various purposes.  My old flip phone for communications, a gps unit for navigation, and a digital camera for pictures/videos.  I have quite conveniently replaced all 3 of those with a single device that provides tremendously more benefits than those 3 combined.
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Greenville, IL
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Before I got my smartphone, I was basically using 3 separate devices at various times for various purposes.  My old flip phone for communications, a gps unit for navigation, and a digital camera for pictures/videos.  I have quite conveniently replaced all 3 of those with a single device that provides tremendously more benefits than those 3 combined.

 When I ride motorcycle, bringing lots of devices can be a hassle. My gps is getting out of date when it comes to maps too and the update is not free. I would be happy in most cases to replace them with a single device.

Good point!
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