darxus: (June 2012)
darxus ([personal profile] darxus) wrote2013-07-23 12:50 pm
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My latest phone choice

For a lot of people, right now this is going to come down to HTC One vs. Samsung Galaxy S 4 (GS4), so I'll start with that.

In most ways, I prefer the HTC One (love the case). But I don't see how the un-replacable battery is forgivable. I saw one guy say by the time his battery isn't holding a solid charge, there will be ample info for a handy person to replace their own battery. And I did replace an un-replaceable battery in a heart rate monitor. But that person clearly didn't read the ifixit teardown for the HTC One. Just beginning to open it requires horribly mangling that beautiful case.

My reasons for continuing to use Sprint are going to be less common. I have a grandfathered SERO account, which means it costs me less ($50/mo + taxes for unlimited data), and I live in Southeast New Hampshire, where fewer providers have decent signal. And going with Sprint means I'm looking at CDMA phones, while a lot of providers use GSM phones which have some different options.

I don't trust google. I'd rather have nothing to do with them. That's a big part of why I haven't had a terribly modern phone in years. At the moment, I think the advantages outweigh my distrust. Hopefully in two years I will somehow be able to get something like a Sailfish phone. Something more open.

I long for the days when it was common for people to go multiple days without needing to charge their phone. I appreciate the efforts to shrink phones and make them more powerful, but I wish they'd just triple the size of the damn battery. And I really wish somebody would provide some solid stats on actual battery life.

There is an Active version of the GS4 that's water resistant and comes in a pretty blue color, but it doesn't sound like it'll be available for CDMA. The same person recommends waiting until September / October for new phones, but I don't want a brand new phone, I want one that's been tested a bit, so now seems like a great time in the cycle for me.

More than just the replaceable battery issue, the GS4 has a much higher repairability rating (8/10) than the HTC One (1/10).

I definitely prefer the HTC One's camera over the GS4, entirely on lowlight capability. Something I've wished all cameras would focus more on, for years. Ease off the megapixels, let me take photos in the dark.

The GS4 has better (more durable) glass (Gorrilla Glass 3 vs. 2) than the HTC One, and the ability to display two apps at once sounds very nice.

So yeah, I'm enthusiastically going with the crappy plastic case over the sexy as hell, milled from a solid block of aluminum case.

I'm hoping to pick it up tomorrow.

Things I'd like:
  • Replaceable battery
  • High repairability
  • Substantially longer battery life (happy to have a bigger phone for it)
  • Water resistance
  • Lowlight camera sensitivity (don't care so much about megapixels)
  • Physical keyboard
  • Sexy milled case

Edit (2014-04-17): Another feature I'd like is more powerful vibration. After you notice it sucks, you can find lots of people complaining about the weak vibration of the GS4. But no reviewers commented on it? And how much better are the HTC One's speakers?

[identity profile] woodwardiocom.livejournal.com 2013-07-23 09:20 pm (UTC)(link)
My last phone was an HTC Evo 4G, and I never had to replace the battery. I thus picked up an HTC One last week with some confidence. (Not that your concerns aren't reasonable. I may have regrets later.)

[identity profile] darxus.livejournal.com 2013-07-23 09:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I've had problems with phone batteries. If I don't end up ever replacing the battery on my next phone, maybe I'll make a different decision next time.

I replaced the battery in my HTC Mogul. Then the replacement battery stopped holding a charge. Then I switched to an old phone of Zeph's. Now the battery isn't holding a charge....

How long did you have the HTC Evo 4G?

[identity profile] woodwardiocom.livejournal.com 2013-07-23 09:31 pm (UTC)(link)
I had it the full two years. In the past few months, I had the vague impression that it wasn't holding a charge as well, but it was just a vague impression.

[identity profile] darxus.livejournal.com 2013-07-24 04:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, the phones I mentioned were probably used a lot more than two years. And I'd like to have the option again.

[identity profile] darxus.livejournal.com 2013-07-24 05:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, another huge part of this decision was deciding I'm willing to try a phone without a physical keyboard. Which gives me a lot more options. Although it still feels kind of dumb. For years I wanted a phone with a physical keyboard, they started becoming available... but getting one, for some reason, still substantially limits your options.
beowabbit: (Default)

[personal profile] beowabbit 2013-07-25 10:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I haven’t considered phones without a physical keyboard, which at least helps me narrow down my choices. :-) But if you find yourself missing a physical keyboard, it turns out that for a Galaxy S 4 you can do something about that:


(Although of course Bluetooth is a bit of a battery hog.)

I wish mobile phones were modular: you could pick a CPU and an amount of storage (and maybe some other stuff), and snap the screen and front-facing camera you wanted on the front, and the slide-out keyboard and camera you wanted on the back. And radios, too, so switching from Sprint to AT&T or China Telecom would be swapping in a radio module rather than replacing your whole phone.