Smartphone Shopping: Ed’s Daily Note for September 20th   8 comments

The news is light today, so there is only one story, but I will milk it for all it is worth…

Bloomberg: Apple’s New IPhone Poised for Record Debut as Sales Begin

Apple Inc. (AAPL) attracted long lines of shoppers at its retail stores today for the global debut of its latest iPhones, in the company’s biggest move this year to stoke new growth.

In Munich about 2,000 people lined up and at the Louvre in Paris about 300 people waited ahead of the 8 a.m. opening. At Tokyo’s Ginza area store there were about 800 people, including some dressed as Batman and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in a face mask, jeans and black turtleneck. A Beijing store attracted a crowd of only about 50 because buyers had to register online for an appointment to collect their devices.

The iPhone 5s and 5c handsets also go on sale today in Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, France, U.K. and the U.S. It’s the first time Apple is rolling out its flagship product for sale in China on the same day as elsewhere, rescinding the usual three-month delay, as the company seeks to lure new customers in the world’s largest mobile-phone market.

It is ironic that Apple is releasing its new phones today, just as I was planning to go shopping for a new smartphone (my 2-year contract is up). And I have no interest in the new Apple phones whatsoever. Don’t read too much into that, because I am not interested in the Samsung Galaxy S4 either. Both companies make nice smartphones, but my needs don’t extend to living my life through my phone.

My needs from a smartphone are (in order of priority):

1. Phone calls, of course. Nearly any smartphone can handle this one. I have read good and bad things about every phone, but I think this comes down to your provider more than the phone itself. For this, I am a loyal Verizon customer. (On a side note, Verizon is on my stock watchlist.)
2. Internet access. This is the main reason I am upgrading to a 4G smartphone. 3G is nice, but it is slow. But my main reason for this is I need it for my Interactive Brokers stock-trading app. If I am going to trade during work hours, this is a must for me.
3. Battery life. I am not a heavy smartphone user, trying to run 5 programs while chatting on the phone and watching a movie at the same time for 10 hours at a time. No, I may use the phone at most 10 times during a busy day. However, I want my charge to last all day long. I don’t care if the phone only has 20% of its charge left 24 hours after charging, as long as it has some charge left. The LG cellphone I had several years ago couldn’t last the whole day, and I ended up turning it off during the day unless I needed to make a call (which meant nobody could call me). On the other hand, my current LG smartphone maintains its charge well, usually having about 40% or more charge left 24 hours later, even after heavy usage. On the other hand, a smartphone like the Droid Maxx, with a 48 hour battery pack, is overkill to me. I only need a 24 hour charge.
4. Text messages. My family does occasionally text me, so this is a consideration. (Whoever expected the word “text” would become a verb?)
5. The keyboard. I need a functional keyboard. I have a Qwerty keyboard on my current LG smartphone, and it works fine. But the touchscreen keyboard on my smartphone is worthless. So if I go to a straight touchscreen smartphone, that touchscreen keyboard will have to work well with my big clumsy thumbs.
6. Specific apps. For me, aside from the IB app mentioned in #2 above, the only other “must have” apps are Yahoo Finance and Google Maps.

With these considerations in mind, I have it narrowed down to three smartphones: Either the Moto X or the LG Enact. Admittedly, my investment in Google played a part (Moto X is by Google-owned Motorola), although I was willing to consider an LG smartphone because my current one has been good for 2 years.

There was one thing I especially liked about the Moto X: Not as much of the “bloatware” that comes with most smartphones. When I got my current smartphone, I spent hours getting rid of all the apps I never used, because they were sucking up the phone’s memory. As for the LG Enact, it may be the best Qwerty keyboard smartphone available from Verizon (surprisingly, Verizon’s website search for smartphones doesn’t show the Enact under the “physical keyboard” criteria), at least since BlackBerry is looking like it may not survive as a company. The only other Qwerty keyboard smartphone I considered was the Droid 4, and there are too many complaints on Verizon’s website about the Droid 4’s battery life.

What about the other smartphones? I don’t have any need for Apple’s “ecosystem” (otherwise known as “pay too much for stuff so you can transfer it between various overpriced Apple devices”). Samsung makes good smartphones, but the Moto X performs comparably to the Galaxy S4 (see this article from Ars Technica), but without the S4’s bloatware. The HTC One lost to the Galaxy S4 in Ars Technica’s performance tests, so I didn’t even consider them. The LG G2 is too buggy from what I have read.

I will “test drive” my choices today and let you know what I choose in the Weekend Open Thread.

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Posted September 20, 2013 by edmcgon in News, Technology

8 responses to “Smartphone Shopping: Ed’s Daily Note for September 20th

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  1. Hey Ed,

    If you are considering the Moto X, Republic Wireless will be offering them in November and the monthly costs are significantly less than other providers. Around here (the Bay Area), service is quite good…

  2. You forgot to mention price. Moto 200 vs LG 20

  3. I’ve had good luck with the Motorola phones. High quality and good battery life. Not so with the Samsung and HTC phones I’ve owned. No where near the quality control of Motorola.

    However, I switched to the iphone 5 about 6months ago and I love it! I have no emotional attachments to any company including Apple (I do not own a Mac or an ipad) but this is by far the best phone I’ve ever owned.

    FYI, I dictate all my notes using Siri, I do not and have not used a phone keyboard since I got the phone and while this was extremely reliable before IOS 7 it appears to have improved significantly with the new IOS.

    Ed, try the 5c, I bet you will like it. A lot.

    • Jeff…

      I have the Iphone 4G, guess it has the S too??? Great phone, so maybe I’ll just bite the bullet in Dec. Could have upgraded back in July but thought about looking into a non-contract plan…thanks for your review on the Iphone 5.

  4. I have the S4 and highly recommend it.

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