Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Tale of Two Phones

I am eligible for a cell phone upgrade. I currently use an HTC Evo 3D. I have been semi-happy with this phone. The 3D camera and screen is rather fun. It does a good job overall. 

These are my complaints: 
  • It was from a time before NFC, and I want to play with NFC tags
  • The camera does a poor job in low-light. 
  • HTC is not great about rolling out new versions of Android. 
  • No wireless charging option. (Wireless charging is cool!)

Of those complaints, one that bothered me the most was the lack of updates. I thought there was an easy answer to this. The Google Nexus 4
  • It is made by Google. It runs stock Android. Updates will be immediately available. +++
  • It has NFC. +
  • It has built-in wireless charging capability. +
  • It was given a 7 out of 10 repairability score on ifixit.com. This matters to me since I had to replace the digitizer (front glass) on my Evo 3D on three separate occasions. ++
  • Decent technical specs and a very reasonable price. ++
  • It is not available on Sprint, and doesn't look like it will be. There is really no reason to continue. 

Time to look at phones that will actually be available on the carrier I would like to continue using. That may be a better place to start...

The HTC One seems pretty nice. Let's see what it has to offer.
  • It is made by HTC. There is a good chance it can be rooted to allow for more customization. +
  • The camera is especially designed for good performance in low-light. +++
  • It has NFC. +
  • Decent technical specs and a reasonable price. ++
  • Beautiful and durable aluminum construction. +
  • It is made by HTC. Android updates will be slow. And they will stop altogether after about a year. -
  • It was given a 0 out of 10 repairability score on ifixit.com. Non-removable battery. -----
  • No built-in wireless charging capability. -

How about the Samsung Galaxy S4
  • It has NFC. +
  • It was given an 8 out of 10 repairability score on ifixit.com. ++
  • Potential for a replacement back to enable wireless charging. 
  • Decent technical specs but slightly more expensive price. +
  • Wide variety of interesting sensors including gyro, accelerometer, proximity, ambient light, gesture, barometer, temperature, and humidity. +
  • Normal camera compared to the HTC One's low light version. --
  • Plastic construction. 
  • Samsung has a slightly worse update history than HTC. - 

I think I am leaning toward the Samsung Galaxy S4, but it is not perfect. It may be good enough, though. I will have to think on this further, and see what it is like in person as soon as it shows up at the Sprint store. 

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