Posts Tagged ‘verizon’

Droid Incredible Review

Verizon's Droid Incredible
Verizon's Droid Incredible

Verizon's Droid Incredible

When three companies like Google, Verizon, and HTC (an impressive hardware company) get together, the results have got to be good. At first I thought that they were being a little arrogant when they named this phone “Incredible.” After  testing, however, I’ve decided that the name is justly given. This phone really is pretty incredible!

I spent the first few days of testing trying to pry the Incredible out of my husband’s hands. Now you have to understand that he is not at all a geek. In fact, he usually looks at the phones I review, presses a few buttons and hand them over to me. However, the Incredible really got his attention. He thought it was remarkably easy to use. Before I knew it he was checking his email and making phone calls on the Incredible. In fact, he liked it so much that he wants me to look into changing to Verizon so he can get an Incredible.

That said, I also liked the Incredible. The hardware is very good. It is probably not as spectacular as I expect the upcoming iPhone 4 to be, but it was the Incredible’s operating system and interface that impressed me. The Google Android 2.1 operating system is much better than previous versions and Verizon has already announced that the Incredible will get Android 2.2 soon. Add to that the fact that Android is supplemented with the HTC Sense interface and you have a real winner.

Not only can you do voice search on this phone, but it’s voice recognition is good enough to be able to speak your email message and have the phone type it for you. The Sense interface allows you to have 7 home pages and to access each by clicking on a thumbnail rather than scrolling through each one. On top of that, I found the HTC on-screen touch keypad easier to use than the touch keypads on either the iPhone or the regular Droid.

Browsing on this phone is quite pleasurable as screens appear quickly. Also, when you pinch-to-zoom, the text redraws itself automatically so there is a lot less scrolling. The speed of the processor shows up in other tasks as well. I never had to wait for the Incredible to perform a task. This phone also has a good camera with an excellent interface. I could only find one major flaw in the phone. It is difficult to see in bright sunlight. All-in-all though, this is a phone that will appeal to all levels of users.

The Good

  • Responsive touch screen
  • Speedy processor
  • Excellent on-screen keypad
  • Haptic feedback
  • Excellent browsing experience
  • Good email & messaging support
  • Great camera controls and interface
  • Good design
  • Sense overlay makes it easier to use
  • Useful speech-to-text
  • Tethering allowed
  • Pinch-to-zoom auto formats text
  • FM radio

The bad

  • Poor visibility in bright sunlight
  • Battery life could be better
  • No dedicated mute or camera button
  • Plastic parts seem a bit flimsy

Check out my detailed review with pictures at HardwareSecrets.com.

Droid Review

The Verizon Droid
The Verizon Droid

The Verizon Droid

The Droid is a Motorola Cell Phone with an Android operating system by Google and cell phone service by Verizon. Since it has three big companies behind it, it is not surprising that it has a lot going for it.

While I was not crazy about the keyboard layout, just having a keyboard was a big plus for me. I really like the Droid operating system, finding it intuitive and easy-to-use. Although the music player is a bit lacking, the phone has several other nice features. The 5-megapixel camera takes average pictures, but the videos the Droid produced were quite good.  The Android App Store is growing fast and has ample programs to boost the phones functionality. It is certainly a smart phone and it’s an easy phone to get to like. This and other Android phones are sure to give the iPhone a run for its money in the future.


The Good

  • Small & sturdy
  • Speedy
  • Physical keyboard in small frame
  • 16 GM memory card included
  • Excellent web browsing
  • Good App Market that is constantly growing
  • Exchange & other email support
  • Good messaging support
  • Good videos
  • Excellent GPS capabilities
  • Great speaker
  • Very good screen
  • Excellent touch response
  • Adequate battery life

The Bad

  • Some unintuitive functionality
  • No dedicated phone key
  • Scroll pad interferes with thumb typing
  • Music player lack syncing and playlists
  • No voice commands when through BlueTooth

The Bottom Line
The Droid will not transport you to that island paradise for an instant vacation, but it will do most of what you need to do with a smart phone.  The Android app collection is well on its way, and, like the iTunes store, it features many free and inexpensive programs that are quite useful. The Android App Market already puts the BlackBerry app store to shame.

Web browsing with the Droid and Verizon’s service is a real pleasure. It’s speedy and draws accurate web pages.  Because of its open source nature, the Android operating system is developing much more quickly than Windows Mobile or the BlackBerry OS. That said — Android has not yet caught up to the ease of use of Apple’s iPhone OS or Palm Pre’s webOS. Yet, it is close, and we feel the Droid has surpassed the iPhone in web surfing, messaging, and email.

Although the physical keyboard could be better, finding it in such a small frame is a real plus, as is the clarity of the Droid’s high resolution screen. The Droid along with Verizon’s service has a lot going for it.

My more detailed review along with photos can be found at Hardware Secrets.

Verizon MiFi 2200 Review

MiFi 2200
MiFi 2200

MiFi 2200

You may have heard about getting your computer on the Internet with cellular service.  Yes, you can get a cellular card from your mobile phone company and use it in your computer to get on the Internet.  Another way to do it is with a special wireless router that you get from your mobile phone company.

I looked at the Mi Fi 2200 from Verizon. It is called an Intelligent Mobile solution and it is a really fresh way to get on the Internet. The MiFi 2200 is tauted as the world’s smallest wireless router. It is not only small, but it doesn’t look at all like a router. In fact, it looks like a shiny black credit card that is about ½” thick.

The MiFi accesses the Verizon cellular network to get you on the Internet, so you can get online wherever there is Verizon service, which is pretty much across America.

You can use the MiFi just like a modem that provides an Internet connection. Just plug it into a computer with the USB cable, configure the software and you are online. You can also use it as a wifi router, which can let up to 5 computers or other devices within about 30’ hook up to the Internet. It is really cool. Keep the MiFi in your shirt pocket and you are a walking WiFi center.

You get about the same speed as a DSL modem, so the Internet service is good. The MiFi is feature laden. It supports Wi-Fi encryption, port forwarding, port filtering, and other common router options.

In my testing, the MiFi worked seamlessly and gave me Internet access in areas where it would not have been otherwise available. It comes with a wall charger and lasts about 4 hours on a single charge. It can also plug into the USB port on a computer to be recharged.

The MiFi is a great option for anyone who lives or travels to areas where they cannot get good Internet connectivity through other methods.

There are however, two caveats. First, I found the Verizon, VZ Access Manager that helps you manage the MiFi really terrible. If you are used to working with networks, modems, and routers, you will be able to figure it out. If not, you will be at the Verizon store asking for help.  To their credit, Verizon has a video tutorial on their website that will also help get your through the software.  The good news is that once you figure out the software, you can manage the MiFi quite easily.

The second caveat is the price. The cost of the unit itself is not bad. It is $269.99 with a month-to-month Verizon data plan. It gets as cheap as $49.99 with a two-year contract. The service, however, is pricey. You will pay $39.99 for 250 MB of usage. This is good for only very, very  light use. The 5GB plan costs $59.99 a month. The problem is that heavy use can easily bring your usage over that. The Verizon software lets you monitor your usage quite easily, but I would like to see an unlimited plan so you wouldn’t have to worry about how close you are to your limit.

The good:

  • Very small and pocketable
  • Good design
  • Instant Internet almost everywhere
  • Good service and connectivity
  • Can be use for up to five connections
  • The device is inexpensive
  • Month-to-month data plan is available

The bad:

  • Expensive and limited data plans
  • Poor software

The bottom line:

If you don’t mind the costs and you can stay within the data plan limits, this is an excellent product that can get you on the Internet almost anywhere. The Verizon service is very good, but they need to revamp the software to make it easier to use.

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!

Verizon BlackBerry Tour Review

BlackBerry Tour from Verizon
BlackBerry Tour from Verizon

BlackBerry Tour from Verizon

When Verizon sent me the new BlackBerry Tour to review, I was pretty excited. This phone has the traditional excellence of BlackBerry’s email and messaging, a QWERTY keyboard, and a sturdy build, but it is also updated. Although the changes are minor, some make a major difference. For instance, I really liked the new design — not too big and not too small, with rounded corners and a great feel in the hand.

All-in-all, it’s a capable phone. It has a really great screen and a good camera and music player. It even does a great job at playing videos, if you are able to watch them on the small screen. The biggest negatives are that the BlackBerry OS is getting a bit dated, especially when compared to newer smart phones like the iPhone and the Pre and the Tour does not have Wi-Fi. Here are my general conclusions and Pros and Cons:

Conclusions

The BlackBerry Tour is the best CDMA BlackBerry that I’ve tested. Even with an aging operating system, it is quite functional as either a personal or business smart phone. The poor browser is offset by applications like Facebook, Flick3r and MySpace that allow you to access much-used web applications without actually using the browser. Phoning, e-mailing, messaging, and other functions work well as does the visual voicemail. The Tour is an excellent choice and all of the things we found wrong with it are minor, except for the lack of Wi-Fi, which will be a deal-breaker for some.

Pros

  • Excellent screen
  • Good keyboard
  • Very Good Design
  • Great feel in hand
  • Good selection of apps for social networking, instant messaging
  • MicroSD Card
  • Good IM and social networking applications
  • Good camera and video
  • Accessories include a variety of plugs and a 2 GB MicroSD card

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi
  • Small screen
  • Aggravating nested menus
  • Inconsistencies in menu choices across the platform
  • Poor web browser
  • Keyboard needs dedicated @ and period keys

My full review including detailed pictures is at: Hardware Secrets.


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