Posts Tagged ‘cell’

iPhone or Android

Those of you who follow me know that I recently moved from AT&T to Verizon and from an iPhone to a Droid X. Well, now that Verizon is selling the iPad, it looks like they will also be having the iPhone soon. Wall Street Journal and others are betting that the iPhone will make its appearance on the Verizon network in the first quarter of 2011.

I made it clear that I am happier with Verizon than I was with AT&T, so several people have asked me if I would want move back to an iPhone when Verizon gets it. Unless the iPhone has some updating, the answer is no. I find the Android phone easier to use and much more customizable.

The one place that the iPhone’s excels is that their dual cameras are better than any Android that I’ve seen. After that, Android phones compare admirably or come out on top.

For instance, the Retina display on the iPhone is fantastic. However, in a side-by-side comparison, the Super OLED screens on the Samsung Galaxy phones are almost equal. The iPhone is very thin and sleek, but it has a glass screen. Being just a tad clutzy sometimes, I would rather have a screen that is a little more drop-proof.

The Android phone’s let you organize things and let multi-task more easily than the iPhone. And for me, the bottom line is that the Android lets you customize everything. With the Andoid operating system you can have 7 home pages and you can put just about anything anywhere. That allows you to create a system of organization that let’s you access what you need quickly and easily.

I sure that Apple is working to improve the iPhone and in the future, it might be better than the Android phones. But for right now. Andoid is my choice!

Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate Cell Phone Review

Samsung has a new line of smart phones call the  Galaxy S mobile phones. These include the Captivate  from AT&T, the Epic 4G from Sprint, the Vibrant from T-Mobile, and the Fascinate from Verizon. These are phones that run the Android Operating System, have fast processors, and fantastic Super-AMOLED screens. They have a good design and sturdy built. All are candy-bar type phones with touch screens.

I took a close look at the Fascinate from Verizon and was blown away by the clarity of the 4″ screen. It was as clear and crisp as the iPhone 4’s Retina display. One big difference, however, is that the iPhone 4’s screen is made of glass while the Fascinate’s is plastic. When dealing with a device that can be easily dropped, I’ll opt for the plastic screen.

The Fascinate has a list of excellent features. The capacitive touch screen is quite responsive and is a joy to use. The battery life is adequate for a day’s normal use. Call quality on the Verizon network was excellent. The Fascinate has WiFi (802.11b/g/n), Stereo Bluetooth 2.1, and an AGPS radio. It can be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot. It takes 720p videos. The camera is especially nice for a cell phone. It has auto focus and an LED back light and you have more control over the settings than I’ve seen in any other cell phone.

I love the Android operating system. Although this is not a deal-breaker, I would have been happier if the Fascinate came with Android 2.2, which is the current version rather than the older 2.1.

So what’s else is not to like? Well, Samsung adds it’s own skin over the Android operating system and I am not a big fan of this interface they call TouchWiz.  It gives you Bing as the default search engine and does not allow you to change that. It has a silly on-screen puzzle-piece that you slide across the screen to unlock it. It also defaults to Verizon navigation instead of Google Navigation, which I like better. I wish that if phone manufacturers were going to add overlays like the TouchWiz, they would allow users to turn them on or off at their discretion, but right now that is not the case.

Bottom Line:

There are many good smart phones to choose from right now. The Fascinate is certainly a quite capable phone. Up against competition like the Droid X, the Droid 2, and the iPhone 4, it can hold its own. All-in-all, with the smart phone arena becoming more and more crowded, it becomes necessary to decide what is important to you and to make a purchasing decision based on that criteria. If you are looking for a cell phone with a great screen and a great camera, and you are using Verizon, this may be the phone for you.

The Good:

  • Excellent screen
  • Good sturdy design
  • Good camera and video capability
  • Speedy
  • Wonderful camera features
  • Adequate battery life
  • Wi-Fi hotspot mode

The Bad:

  • Ships with Android 2.1 instead of 2.2
  • Poorly placed USB port
  • Voice commands through Bluetooth not available
  • Music player lacks sync’ing and playlists
  • Lighted keys turn off too quickly
  • Default search engine is Bing, not Google, and we couldn’t find a way to change that
  • Defaults to Verizon Navigator instead of Google Navigation in all areas

To read my more detailed review with pictures, check out Hardware Secrets.

LG Accolade — A Basic Cell Phone

LG Accolade 5600
LG Accolade 5600

LG Accolade 5600

Smartphones like the iPhone and the Droid are great, but some of us just want a basic phone that can keep our telephone numbers handy and can easily make and receive calls. One such phone is the LG Accolade SX5600, which is sold through Verizon. I say it is sold through Verizon, but the fact of the matter is that if you sign up for a two-year contract, you can get it online through Verizon for free. You can probably also talk the Verizon store into doing the same thing. Oh, and you can get this phone from Verizon on a pre-paid basis, as well.

The LG Accolade VX5600 is a good basic phone. It only has a numeric-type dialing keyboard, so it is not great if you want to text all the time. However, it will do for an occasional text message. The dialing keyboard has big white letters and white backlighting. Pressing each key gives a nice tactile feedback. It’s easy on the eyes. The menus are easy to navigate. I advice going into the Settings & Tools menu and choosing Main Menu Set, then choosing the “Tab” layout for the Menu Display. This makes the phone much easier to navigate and I wish that LG had set it as the default menu setting. The phone itself is pretty easy to use.

This Accolade is small and lightweight and fits easily into your pocket. Although made of plastic, it is a sturdy phone that feels good in the hand. Call quality is excellent and so is battery life. It also has an excellent keypad with good backlighting. It is both easy-to-see and easy-to-use. You can also set the text to a slightly larger than normal size, so it’s a pretty good phone for those of us with aging eyes.  The feature set that focuses on the basics and provides everything you need to make and receive calls including voice dialing, speed dialing, Bluetooth, speakerphone, and a good phone book. While you can use this phone for email, Internet, and texting, other phones may be better for that functionality.

The Accolade has a 3.1 megapixel camera, but the internal memory is so limited that it won’t hold many pictures. You will only want to use it to snap an occasional picture. Also, there is no easy way to get the photos out of the camera. Yet, the camera is there if you happen to need it in a pinch. No music player. No video camera. Yet, this is what you expect from a basic cell phone.

This is an inexpensive phone that gives you all the fundamental features you need to make and receive calls. It’s a good choice for those who don’t need more.

Pros

  • Small and comfortable in the hand
  • Large lighted  numeric keypad
  • Good voice quality
  • Excellent battery life
  • Two screens
  • Configurable menus
  • Easy to navigate
  • Good address book
  • Inexpensive
  • Loud ringer

Cons

  • Very little internal memory
  • Could be easier to open
  • Poorly placed camera button
  • No easy way to transfer photos

If you want to check out another easy-to-use phone simply for making calls, see my review of the Jitterbug phone.

The Droid X and iPhone 4

Tomorrow the Doid X will be on sale at Verizon stores. Verizon couldn’t have chosen a better time to introduce their new Android phone, the Droid X. Consumer Reports, newspapers, and blogs have all been slamming Apple and the iPhone 4 for it’s antenna-reception problems. It seems that if you hold the iPhone 4 in a normal way in your left hand, reception is cut off. Steve Jobs has added to the upset with Apple by indicating that there is nothing wrong with the phone and people just shouldn’t hold it that way. Add that to the fact that everyone seems to be unhappy that the iPhone is only available on AT&T, and  you have a perfect storm. If the Droid X makes a splash it will be a great chance for Verizon to grab many of AT&T’s potential iPhone customers.

I am excited to say that my Droid X just arrived. I have been using an iPhone for two years. But now that my AT&T contract is over, I may actually be one of those who will switch to Verizon. I’ll let you know after I take a good look at the Droid X. My first impression — it looks great. Come back to read my full review.

Verizon Holiday Ads

Yesterday I spoke to a group of PC users at our local community college. When the topic of cell phones came up the crowd became quite animated. They wanted to talk about iPhones and Droids and why their calls get dropped. The thing that really amazed me was that even though some of them didn’t understand the concept of cell towers or how cellular communications work, they were all convinced that Verizon is better than AT&T because Verizon’s blue map has more dots than AT&Ts red map. This is a true testament to power of television advertising and the genius behind the current crop of holiday ads that Verizon is running. If you haven’t seen them yet, just surf over to YouTube and type in “Verizon Holiday Ads”. They each have a great holiday theme. They are not only cute, but, as my recent experience exhibited, they are positively memorable. How many times have you seen a commercial ad and not remembered which product it featured?  Not so with the Verizon ads. Everyone came off with a Verizon is good and AT&T is bad concept.  It doesn’t get much better than that for brand recognition!


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