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-   -   Android phones (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16140)

Myrkrel February 5th, 2012 01:12

Android phones
 
Are there any other Android users around here?

I'm eligible for an upgrade (Verizon) on Feb 11th and trying to decide what new phone I'm going to get. I'm coming from the original Motorola Droid - which has served me well but its definitely getting old and creaky now.

In the running are:

- Galaxy Nexus
- Droid Razr Maxx
- Droid 4 (not out yet but should be soon)

I'm heavily leaning toward the Galaxy Nexus because I like the hackability of it and the pure Android experience (no bloatware, etc). It supposedly has the most active development community. The screen is said to be superior to the Razr.

But I do love the Droid brand and having tried my girlfriend's Droid Razr I know it is a great device. It probably won't be as customizable as the Nexus though, and lacks Ice Cream Sandwich (the newest version of Android).

The Droid 4 is tempting because of the hardware keyboard - and it being the continuation of the original Droid line.

Any thoughts on these if you've used them? What would you buy if you were upgrading on Verizon? Any other phones I should be looking at?

Edit: Also feel free to use this thread to talk about Android phones and Android stuff in general - not just the ones I'm thinking of buying.

GothicGothicness February 5th, 2012 12:26

In my humble opinion the Samsing Android phones are superior to the other brands.

Myrkrel February 5th, 2012 21:02

Thanks for replying - Yeah I think I am 95% certain I'm going with the Samsung but still debating it a bit.

I have heard that some people have had problems with connectivity on the Galaxy Nexus - that's the only thing I'm worried about with it. I suppose if I run into troubles I can always return it though.

DArtagnan February 6th, 2012 10:09

Samsung Galaxy S2 is the best phone I've seen, so far.

That said, I'm not into these phones - and I really couldn't care less about 95% of the crap you can do with them.

JDR13 February 6th, 2012 10:57

Quote:

Originally Posted by DArtagnan (Post 1061125574)
Samsung Galaxy S2 is the best phone I've seen, so far.

I just got one about two weeks ago, and I have zero complaints so far.

Very large screen, yet it's extremely thin and light. Much less bulky than the Droid phones I've seen. Takes great photos (for a smart phone) and can do 1080p video.

*Edit* Ah.. just realized it's not available for Verizon.

Pladio February 6th, 2012 13:59

My uncle showed me the Samsung Galaxy and he loved it, while a lot of my friends got HTC's lately.
I'm not an Android user, so I don't have much more to add :)

txa1265 February 6th, 2012 18:33

[Just noticed that JDR just noticed the S2 isn't available on VZW]

I don't like the plasticky feel of Samsung stuff in general - and while their build quality is much better with the S2 and to an extent the Nexus (S2 is better build than Nexus … also better performing) … coming from a 'built like tank' Droid you WILL be disappointed with *anything* from Samsung in terms of Build.

Personally I would hold off until you get hands-on with the Droid 4. That is what I am also doing. I've been up for a new phone for a while, but bought a Droid Pro off contract (eBay) last year and have absolutely loved it - but it is time for a new phone.

Your signal location will also make a big difference - if you don't have solid 4G you are simply getting a 3G phone with the absolutely worst battery life ever (well, you can turn off 4G antenna to help). If you are in a good 4G area you will love the great speeds … depending on what you use the phone for.

The other caveat is that the original Droid was 'crapware lite'. The Droid Razr has full-on MotoBlur and loads of VZW crapware. Since I got the Gingerbread update to my Droid Pro it will never remember my preference and always ask if I want to navigate with Google Nav or VZ Nav (as if!). All of that crap from HTC/Samsung/Moto and carriers *does* slow you down.

The only way to go 'pure vanilla' is with a Nexus phone.

My other thing is that since I also review mobile devices I have had a shot at a number of touch-only devices, and while I can manage, I would *never* go without a physical keyboard on a phone if I had a choice. So I am likely to go Droid 4 regardless. But I know that marks me as an anachronism, as everyone else loves the virtual keyboards and Swype and etc.

Best advice is always to go hands-on when you can.

GothicGothicness February 6th, 2012 18:46

Perhaps the droid is custimized for the US market, I only heard bad things about it in sweden.

The Samsung Galaxy S2 on the other hand, everyone loves. I don't have any bloatware on my samsung galaxy either. It was also named the best phone ever on lots of review sites. I can't do anything but agree all other phones I tried is quite crappy in comparasion, be it windows / iphones / android or whatever else.

Thrasher February 6th, 2012 19:01

My experience with a Samsung phone in the past has made me shy of them. I got one of their very first G3? flip-top phones, and it was buggy experience. It did last for 7 years, though. My iPhone so far is as solid as a rock.

txa1265 February 6th, 2012 19:04

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thrasher (Post 1061125634)
My experience with a Samsung phone in the past has made me shy of them. I got one of their very first G3? flip-top phones, and it was buggy experience. It did last for 7 years, though. My iPhone so far is as solid as a rock.

They are MUCH better now … well, on the high end. If you get a 'freebie' or anything before the S2 expect a cheapie plastic experience.

I am doing a side-by-side review of a Samsung and HTC and the build quality of the HTC is *so* much better it isn't even a real comparison. My kids debated over who got to 'torture test' which, and my younger son 'won' the HTC which he is still playing with until we have to return. The Samsung is sitting in a drawer.

Myrkrel February 6th, 2012 19:19

Thanks for the input all - it is definitely helpful.

Quote:

Originally Posted by txa1265 (Post 1061125626)
I don't like the plasticky feel of Samsung stuff in general - and while their build quality is much better with the S2 and to an extent the Nexus (S2 is better build than Nexus … also better performing) … coming from a 'built like tank' Droid you WILL be disappointed with *anything* from Samsung in terms of Build.

Yeah that is the other reservation I have about the Galaxy Nexus. I do love the solid "metal" feel of my Droid.

I'm definitely on the fence regarding the hardware keyboard. I think I would prefer it but the other specs on the Droid 4 don't seem as impressive as the Samsung. Smaller screen size, lack of ICS, locked bootloader, Motoblur, etc. I don't know if I do enough texting (practically none) to justify needing the hardware keyboard. It would be useful for retro gaming though (like running DosBox).

But yeah, I should definitely try both of them out hands-on in a store before deciding. The Droid 4 is supposed to come out this Friday according to rumors I've read.

Thanks again for the input!

Relayer February 6th, 2012 22:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by txa1265 (Post 1061125626)
[Just noticed that JDR just noticed the S2 isn't available on VZW]
I don't like the plasticky feel of Samsung stuff in general - and while their build quality is much better with the S2 and to an extent the Nexus (S2 is better build than Nexus … also better performing) … coming from a 'built like tank' Droid you WILL be disappointed with *anything* from Samsung in terms of Build.

I don't think the Galaxy S2 feels cheap at all - at least not the T-Mobile version I have, not sure about the others though. The rear cover is a textured, rubbery feeling plastic so that helps, and it's got a very solid Gorilla Glass front that has been highly scratch resistant. And while light and very slim, it still has some heft to it. There's some Youtube video you can find where they drop both a GS2 and an Iphone… not pretty… for the Iphone!

I really love the S2, after having had a Blackberry for the last few years I was reluctant to make such a radical switch but I'm happy I did. The S2/Android is easy to use, has a lot of useful features, a gorgeous 4.5" inch screen, is pretty powerful, has ample storage space and have not had any issues with it whatsoever.

And Amazon has a Free Android App Of The Day, everyday. For the most part, the apps on offer (90% of which are games) aren't that great, but every once in a while there's something pretty good available. I've gotten Jelly Defense, Flick Golf!, Dabble HD and 3D Mini Golf and a few others all free and all worth their regular prices from what I've played (Jelly Defense is awesome).

Battery life seems ok - nowhere as nice as my BB but I guess about average for 4G on this type of phone. Battery life extended quite noticeably if you're on wifi and there was an update in the last month that allows free calls on wi-fi, though not sure if Verizon offers this.

blatantninja February 6th, 2012 22:15

I have a Galaxy, but i think it is the older one. Doesn't feel cheap at all. My only issues with it seem to be related to Android itself. Like most open source software, its never released in a finished state, and it shows at times.

txa1265 February 6th, 2012 22:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by Relayer (Post 1061125701)
I don't think the Galaxy S2 feels cheap at all - at least not the T-Mobile version I have, not sure about the others though. The rear cover is a textured, rubbery feeling plastic so that helps, and it's got a very solid Gorilla Glass front that has been highly scratch resistant. And while light and very slim, it still has some heft to it. There's some Youtube video you can find where they drop both a GS2 and an Iphone… not pretty… for the Iphone!

A few things:
- I said that the S2 is the best built Samsung phone I have ever touched. But please, let's be real here - Samsung has *earned* the reputation they have for making cheap plasticky crap phones. And I also mentioned as a contrast - someone owning a rock-solid Droid and coming to Samsung will definitely notice the difference in build.
- As mentioned, mentioning the S2 is irrelevant to the OP, he is on VZW, and with the usual Android fragmented market, you can't get one there.
- As for theYouTube video … I could drop a Fisher Price phone 1 million times and it would do better. Two exposed glass surfaces compared to a recessed glass and plastic device … is anyone REALLY surprised? Glass isn't indestructible.

badmofo February 6th, 2012 22:57

I have a Galaxy 1 and the hardware is fine but, compared to the iPhone I had previously, the software blows. I'm not a power user and just want simple things like predictive text, taking a photo, etc to work. It constantly frustrates me - things crash, onscreen buttons don't respond, blah blah. I miss my iPhone.

Myrkrel February 6th, 2012 23:04

Quote:

Originally Posted by txa1265 (Post 1061125712)
- As mentioned, mentioning the S2 is irrelevant to the OP, he is on VZW, and with the usual Android fragmented market, you can't get one there.

It is true that I can't get an S2 if on Verizon, but I don't mind people discussing the phone here - it gives me an idea of what kind of quality Samsung is putting out these days. I've never used a phone from Samsung before so the reports are useful.

Also, just a note - I titled the thread the very general "Android phones" so that people can feel free to discuss the platform and Android phones in general. I won't feel the thread was derailed if people want to talk about stuff other than my Verizon choices. :)

JDR13 February 7th, 2012 00:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by txa1265 (Post 1061125712)
- I said that the S2 is the best built Samsung phone I have ever touched. But please, let's be real here - Samsung has *earned* the reputation they have for making cheap plasticky crap phones. And I also mentioned as a contrast - someone owning a rock-solid Droid and coming to Samsung will definitely notice the difference in build.

I had the original Samsung Galaxy S previously, and that phone was also great for its time. Never owned any of their older stuff though.

As far as Droids being more solid, well yeah.. they're also a lot heavier and bulkier which is a negative for most people.

txa1265 February 7th, 2012 00:29

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDR13 (Post 1061125729)
As far as Droids being more solid, well yeah.. they're also a lot heavier and bulkier which is a negative for most people.

Not debating that - but once you've used one for a couple of years it is no longer an issue.

Shagnak February 7th, 2012 02:30

I have no doubt that most Android phones at the top of the pack will please a n00b like me, but my budget won't stretch that far.
Anyone have an opinion/recommendation on phones more around the middle of the pack? e.g. Sony Xperia/Ericsson Live with Walkman or Sony Xperia Active price level.

Myrkrel February 7th, 2012 04:57

Quote:

Originally Posted by Shagnak (Post 1061125756)
I have no doubt that most Android phones at the top of the pack will please a n00b like me, but my budget won't stretch that far.
Anyone have an opinion/recommendation on phones more around the middle of the pack? e.g. Sony Xperia/Ericsson Live with Walkman or Sony Xperia Active price level.

Are you looking to buy a no-contract unlocked phone? And are you tied to a particular carrier or renewing a contract?

If doing a contract is an option you could easily get a high-end phone for free or pretty cheap if you pick phones that are a few months behind the cutting edge. That's what I did to get my original Droid - it was totally free because it had been out for a few months and was deeply discounted with a 2-year contract. I got it through Wirefly - which always has good deals. Amazon is also worth a look for discounts.

On Wirefly right now the Droid Razr is $99, Samsung Galaxy S2 (on Sprint) is $79, and a Droid 3 is Free.

If a contract isn't an option then I'm not sure what to suggest as I haven't been looking into the mid-range much.


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