26 September 2009

Smartphone conundrum

I have been mildly interested in purchasing a smartphone for over a year now. The ability to consolidate a phone, music/video player and contacts/calendar manager into one device is very attractive.

During the last 18 months or so, I've looked at Blackberry, Apple, Palm and Google, but none of them are perfect for me and it's kinda driving me crazy. I did have an iPod Touch for a few months (before breaking it to the point that it's now just a music player), and gained some insight into how Apple does its thing. Mandi has owned a Blackberry Pearl for over a year, so that's given me a look at Blackberry's style (though in fairness, the Pearl in a couple years old).

Here's the rundown of my criteria:

1. I am on T-Mobile. Technically, my contract is up and I can bail whenever I want, but we're on a family plan and Mandi's contract isn't done until next summer. Hence, I'd like to stick on T-Mobile, but if I can get a hacked phone to work on their network, I might be okay with that.

2. I think I prefer a physical keyboard, even though my thumbs are fat and it's hard. The touch keyboard on the iPod was difficult to manage and I didn't like having to look at the screen while typing.

3. The phone needs wifi capability, a headphone jack and room for music and movies -- say, 8GB minimum.

4. An intuitive OS is pretty important. Not a deal-breaker, but important.

5. Battery life? Are any of these phones able to go a full day without a charge?

6. Price. I'm guessing I can get a phone cheaper if I switch carriers.

Let's get to it:

  • Blackberry: There are several offerings from Blackberry that interest me. I really like the physical keyboard, so the latest Tour or Curve might work for me. They do have the touchscreen concept with the Storm. I'm not sold on their operating system, but to be honest I don't have much experience with it. The Tour and Curve are available on T-Mobile. Battery life a problem?
  • Apple: I loved my iPod Touch while it was working. The lack of multi-tasking is a small concern, but nothing major. Only available on AT&T. Meh. Also, battery life is apparently a problem, and you cannot swap in a new battery, like you can with the Pre. Physical memory is fine. As the above image indicates, I'm worried about certain lacking features on the iPhone.
  • Palm: I like what I've seen from the Pre. Intuitive OS and multitasking are good. 8GB of memory. Physical keyboard, and on Sprint. Headphone jack present. Battery life a concern here as well... as little as three hours with heavy use? Oh, and it's $79 at Walmart. The app store has very few programs at this time.
  • Google: Right off the bat, Google makes me roll my eyes by not including a 3.5mm headphone jack. There's an all-in-one USB port at the bottom, which you must use for power, audio and USB syncing to a desktop. Lame. I am also annoyed that Google named their latest phone the MyTouch. Really, guys? However, the phone is on T-Mobile and has a nice OS with multitasking. The lMyTouch does not have a physical keyboard, and apparently the battery life is impressive.
Bottom line, none of these phones are perfect for me, and none of them are clearly better than the rest of the pack. If Google had a 3.5mm headphone jack, I'd probably go there, but as it is, that's a dealbreaker.

So for now it's my Razr and a mildly-functioning iPod. Come on, capitalism! Create a phone for me!


*Liese said...

I have a Blackberry Curve and I LOVE it. Seriously. It's amazing. I have movies and music, I can get online, and I could (and do) play BrickBreaker for hours on end. I haven't had a problem with the battery at all. In fact, I can go at LEAST two full days without charging it. When I purchased it, they told me I'd hate it for a couple of weeks until I got to hang of it, but to be honest--it was WAY less confusing than the smart phone I had before it (a Motorola Q9M).

Jessie said...

And I have an iPhone, and love it. The keyboard did take some getting used to, but the smart text is nice now that I'm adjusted to it. I don't know about all of your other requirements, but I can tell you that I only charge it maybe every other day, often every third. I don't sit and play games constantly, or make massive amounts of phone calls, but I do use it regularly. Good luck figuring out what you want, you picky people make me crazy. :)

Jessie said...

Oh, and the 3G (2008) now supports mms, for what that's worth. If you were to get a newer model, though, you could also have the video recording.

themookoojoe said...

HTC. Check 'em out. I've heard nothing but good stuff about any HTC phone. They run Windows Mobile 6.5, which I've also heard lots of good stuff about. My last smartphone was a Windows Mobile phone, Motorola Q9c. Solid OS, but the browser of course was lame. Skyfire is the way to go if you end up getting a Windows Mobile based Smartphone. I was able to fiddle around with an HTC Hero a while back. Snappy, great feel, and the salesman said he was really impressed with the battery life. He could just be talkin' the salesman talk too though.

I've heard nothing but good about them though, so I'd definitely see what they have to offer with T-Mobile. If they don't have much, I'm sure you can get an unlocked one for a fairly reasonable price.

Best of luck man!