I loved my original Motorola Razr phone. So when Verizon announced the new Motorola Droid Razr, I was anxious to take a look.
The HTC Thunderbolt is, without a doubt, one of the best smartphones in the market today. It is the first 4G phone that runs on the new Verizon LTE network. If you don’t know wat 4G LTE is, it can be summed up in one word — FAST. With download speeds of 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 Mbps to 5 Mbps is the fastest smartphone that we’ve reviewed. No waiting for web pages or directions…everything appears quickly and easily.
At 4.75 x 2.44 x 0.56 inches, the Thunderbolt is on the large size for a cell phone. That size, however, gives you a large 4.3-inch TFT LCDscreen. The Thunderbolt also has an FM radio and a kickstand that holds it upright. It runs the 2.1 Android operating system, which is excellent and very customizable.
If you like a big phone with a large screen, the HTC Thunderbolt is the best device of this type in Verizon’s current lineup. The clear and responsive screen, good storage capabilities, useful email interface, excellent music player, and FM radio make it hard to beat. The kickstand adds even more functionality. It is blazingly fast on Verizon’s new 4G LTE network and has the ability to perform voice and data tasks simultaneously.
Although battery life could be better, most average users will find it adequate. Verizon will be releasing several new 4G phones in the near future, so you may want to see what these phones will offer, but my guess is that the HTC Thunderbolt will be able to hold its own against upcoming competition. If the Verizon 4G service is available in your area, this is a great phone.
Check out my full review with pictures at the Hardware Secrets website.
There was a backlog of Verizon customers waiting for the iPhone 4 and now it is here. I took a look at the Verizon version and I liked what I saw.
The iPhone 4 is a design dream. It is small and sleek, yet very durable. The phone has everything that you have come to expect from a smart phone including two great cameras and a very responsive screen. And the Apps — oh the Apps. There are hundreds of thousands of Apps to choose from and many are free. Whether you want to use your phone to play games, get organized, or read books, there is an App for you.
The Verizon iPhone is very similar to the AT&T iPhone with only a few small differences. The one thing that you should remember is that if you buy an iPhone from Verizon, it will won’t only on the Verizon network and won’t be useable on the AT&T network.
Also, remember that the iPhone 5 will be available pretty soon. iPhones are traditionally released every year in July. This year’s release may be a bit delayed, but a few months is not too long to wait to see what Apple has in store for its next version.
With the best industrial design of any smartphone, an amazing Retina display, a great camera, and useful updates to the operating system, the iPhone 4 is working hard to stay on top of the fray. Yet, others are moving ahead with fresher operating systems, dual processors, and 4G and NFR support. Although iOS is useable, the Android and Windows 7 Phone operating systems have moved ahead with the use of widgets, improved notifications, and customization options.
While the AT&T iPhone offers better world-wide support, the Verizon performance was better in the areas of the US where we tested. AT&T also offers the ability to access voice and data simultaneously, but Verizon’s hot-spot feature seems better implemented.
Apple’s iPhone started a revolution in smart phones with everyone wanting one. Now, however, the competition has finally caught up with Apple. Even though the iPhone operating system has gotten a little old, the design of this phone is so good that if you buy one, you probably won’t care about that at all. All-in-all, this smartphone has some wonderful features and although it has some weak points, it won’t disappoint.
My full review with pictures can be found at Hardware Secrets.
If you watch technology, you know that last week’s big news was Apple’s release of the iPad 2. During the iPad’s announcement, Steve Jobs said that almost 15 million iPads had been sold in the original iPad’s first nine months on the market. Obviously, none of those people took my advice to wait for the second version of the iPad.
But those who did will be happy to find that the iPad 2 is lighter, a third thinner, and twice as fast. It has a more powerful dual core main processor and a faster video processer. It also has dual facing cameras, a gyroscope, and an HDMI port. Other specs, like the display, are the same as the iPad 1. The pricing is also the same: $499 to $699 for the Wi-Fi only versions and $629 to$829 for the Wi-Fi plus 3G, depending on the amount of memory. The 3G version will now have GPS and will work with service from AT&T and Verizon where the older iPad only worked on the AT&T network.
These changes give the iPad the ability to take pictures, do video conferencing, surf faster, and display movies and television shows more smoothly. The HDMI port will let you easily hook the iPad 2 up to a TV to display whatever you see on the iPad screen on the television. Most importantly, the new dual core processor, gyroscope, and GPS will allow developers to create better games and new Apps that will only run on the iPad 2 and future versions.
So perhaps now is the time to buy an iPad. But then, you need to consider that the competition in this tablet computer area is really heating up. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, no less than 80 manufacturers announced that they were working on tablets. I thought that some of these manufacturers would have good, inexpensive tablets out by now, but most have not yet appeared, giving Apple a real leg up in the marketplace.
The few tablets that have appeared don’t seem to compare favorably to the iPad 2. Samsung has already released their Galaxy Tab. It is smaller and runs an older Android operating system so the whole tablet turns out to be inferior when compared to the iPad 2. Motorola has just released their Xoom tablet which is running a new Android operating system made for tablet PCs. The hardware and the new operating system are getting good reviews, but the Xoom only comes in one model with extra memory and 3G and 4G support. It sells for $800 without a Verizon contract or $600 with a two-year contract. While it may be popular, Motorola has cut out the lower end of the market where Apple is making a killing. Apple smartly responded by cutting the price of the iPad 1 by $100. So you can now get an original iPad for $400.
While the launch of the iPad 2 will put more pressure on competitors to get their products to market in a timely way with a less expensive price tag, how they fair remains to be seen. In the iPod music area, Apple got such a strong hold on the market that no one has ever been able to catch up. Yet in the mobile phone arena even though Apple had a big lead with their iPhone, the Android operating system has become a good solid competitor. It’s too soon to tell how things will go with the tablet PC market, but one thing is for sure. These tablets are extremely useful as they augment the average lifestyle.
A tablet like the iPad can be used to easily read the morning, afternoon and evening news. It can be turned into a book reader, a magazine reader, a gaming machine, or a photo display gallery. You can use it to create and/or play music and to watch television and movies. Best of all, it is always handy. With a 10-hour battery life, you don’t have to worry about plugging it in as you do a laptop. Just pick it up when you need to look up a word, recipe, or news story. Use it as a baby-sitter to keep the kids entertained. Use it in the bathroom to catch up on email or in the garage to catch the game while you putter. It can quickly become an integral part of your everyday family life.
All you have to do is decide if you want to buy one now or later. The next version of the iPad will be available at this time next year. It is almost sure to have a better display and other goodies that Apple is already working on. And there may be some competitor that comes on strong. In the meantime, the iPad 2 is a worthwhile purchase. In fact, I’ve got a birthday coming up and I just put it on my wish list – make that a Verizon 3G model, please.
Since its inception in 2007, the iPhone has been exclusive to AT&T. So it is not surprising that recent news of the iPhone becoming available on the Verizon network piqued the interest of many. So many, in fact, that Verizon Wireless announced that the number of iPhones it sold in the first two hours of availability exceeded the one-day total for any other device’s debut in the carrier’s history.
Now AT&T is fighting back. Ric Whitman, the AT&T Area Retail Sales Manager, gave me a list of reasons why the iPhone on AT&T is better than the iPhone on Verizon:
1. On the AT&T iPhone you can do simultaneous voice and data. On the Verizon iPhone you cannot.
2. The AT&T iPhone has an International advantage. It can be used in 220 different countries. The Verizon iPhone cannot.
3. AT&T has over 23,000 hot spots where AT&T subscribers can get free wireless access.
4. AT&T has the lowest priced iPhone offering the 8GB 3GS for $49.
5. AT&T has the nation’s fastest mobile broadband
So let’s look at these in depth to help those of you who want an iPhone decide which carrier to use.
The first point is well taken. Only the AT&T iPhone will allow you to surf the web or get directions while talking on the phone. If you are a heavy data user, this might be a big drawback, but most average users will only encounter an occasional situation of this type.
The second point is also very valid. The AT&T iPhone is a GSM phone which can be used internationally. The Verizon iPhone is a CDMA phone that will not be able to be used in most overseas countries. So if you plan to travel internationally, AT&T will be a better choice. Again, however, this will be important to only a small number of users.
AT&T hot spots are certainly a plus for AT&T users. They can not only give you faster data access, but they take some of the burden off the mobile network. AT&T has set them up in Starbuck’s and other establishments and also has many in a variety of Metro areas.
The cost of the current iPhone is the same at both AT&T and Verizon. $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32 GB model, along with a two-year contract. So to be able to get an iPhone for $49 with a two-year contract is a big savings. This is sure to appeal to users who want to get in cheaply. But by purchasing this older model, they will be giving up the iPhone 4’s retina display, dual cameras, HD video, and other perks. Although this older 3GS can run iOS 4, the latest operating system, some capabilities like the improved accessibility options will not be available.
Now we get to the last point. While AT&T may have the nation’s fastest access, it doesn’t do you much good if you don’t have good or fast coverage in the area where you live. This is the situation in this area of North Carolina. When I purchased my first iPhone in 2008, our area was on AT&T’s slower EDGE network. Although promises of an upgrade to the faster 3G network were made, AT&T never delivered. We are still on the slower EDGE network. So if you compare an AT&T iPhone to a Verizon iPhone in our area, the data access will be currently be much slower on the AT&T iPhone. AT&T again promises 3G in our area soon. And for the first time they have stated this in writing. Crystal Prince, AT&T’s public relations representative, writes in an email, “I’ve checked with our Network team regarding plans for 3G in Pinehurst-Southern Pines-Aberdeen. Rest assured it’s on the way. The team is working very hard to get everything in place for a launch soon so we expect that it will in fact be up by EOY (end of year) 2011.”
Both Ric and Crystal also say that AT&T is working on covering “dead spots” that they now have in our area including many in the Pinehurst-to-Raleigh corridor. I know this to be a fact as they are constantly adding new equipment and towers, but again, “when” this will all be accomplished is an important question.
Two other recent offerings and announcements show that AT&T is really trying to get your business. This week, they announced that AT&T customers will now get free calls to any cellphone in America. The only requirement is that you have certain voice plans that include AT&T’s unlimited texting plan. That texting plan is $20 a month for individuals or $30 for families.
AT&T is also offering free microcells to current customers. These are small $199 devices that hook up to the broadband in a home or office and pull the 3G signal from the Internet. If you don’t get good cell reception indoors, this is the answer to your problem. Although, not highly publicized, these free microcells are available to most AT&T customers with an additional year on their contract.
If you are ready to move into the iPhone world, you have to make a decision between AT&T and Verizon. You cannot use a Verizon iPhone at AT&T or vice versa, so you will be making a sizeable investment. While Verizon has much better and faster coverage in our area, some are worried that the high sales of the iPhone at Verizon may put a strain on the Verizon network. So this decision is not as easy as it may seem.
To give you one more thing to think about, Apple traditionally announces new iPhones in June, so this summer there may be a better and more capable iPhone available on one or both networks. For me, the choice is easy….Just wait to see if AT&T delivers on their promises, to see if the Verizon network can handle that additional users, and to see if the next version of the iPhone is the one I can’t live without.