Why I bought the iPhone 5

UPDATE: Read my final say on which device is better!

I’ll start this piece off with a cliche (notice that I’m too ignorantly American to find out how to put an accent on that letter, another cliche):

“Back when I was a boy, cell phones used to last all day!”

So yesterday I went out and purchased an old standby: the iPhone 5 for Verizon, on contract. I got the cheapest one they made, the 16 GB in black. Most of you who know me would note my long-held hatred of Apple in general. And this is true. I used Windows for the longest time. I further appreciate open source software (if not primarily because I fall into the category of people who are paid to make open source software work properly). I had a dumb phone up until my senior year, when I finally upgraded to a smartphone, the then-fancy-shmancy-new Verizon Droid Charge. It was in fact one of the first phones that worked on Verizon’s not-actually-4G LTE network, giving me speeds faster than most home wired connections from my telephone.

That was awesome. My phone was 10 times as fast as my Grandmother’s DSL. What could possibly be bad about this?

One word: Battery Life. On my first day the Charge had dramatically discharged by the end of the day and died. Suddenly I went from having a smart phone, straight through having a dumb phone, all the way to a paper weight. Many people joked about it’s name being the action which it was doomed to function most of the time.

Problems:

  1. Verizon, are you inept? Stupid? Well…
  2. Why would anybody sell a phone that didn’t last all day? That defies the point of being a phone… Phones are used to make calls when we need to make calls, not only for the first few hours of the day until it dies.

So after a great bit of hemming and hawing and rooting and de-bloating and buying a huge 3.5 amp-hour battery, I finally had a phone that could last nearly two days. It looked hideous. Then one of my friends advised me to the fact that VZW had since abandoned the Charge and I would be forever stuck on Android 2.3. My friend showed my Stock Jelly Bean on the Galaxy Nexus and I was hooked. I bought one used off of craigslist. Why was the man selling it, you ask? “Poor battery life.”

How I love the Galaxy Nexus. The GSM version has beautiful battery life, HSPA+, completely stock un-VZWucked up Android, a thin profile and a nice screen. The VZW version is similar, excepting of course the fact that Google Wallet has been tragically disabled. And one other thing: the 4G modem current draw is sufficient to drain the standard battery in less than 6 hours. Turn on the screen and download a web page and you could cook something on the top half of the phone.

So I got the long life battery. Finally my phone would last 12-14 hours (at best). And I truly loved the phone…but it always seemed to die at inconvenient times.

It was mostly anger. The imbeciles who would release a phone to the open market where the LTE modem current draw was >150 ma. The battery would dip below 80% before lunch. So after many months (and a rogue glass of water on the Nexus) I purchased an iPhone yesterday.

Pros:

  1. Excellent network integration — visual voicemail without monthly stipends to VZW, text messages received exponentially faster than the Nexus (why???).
  2. Battery been unplugged for six hours. Current battery status: 91%. Will it be dead at the end of the day? Nope.
  3. Thin. No screwing around (did get the otter box for safety).
  4. Built in Quad-Band GSM modem. Phone ships GSM unlocked!!!

Cons:

  1. Poor Google account integration.
  2. Interface is worse than stock Android 4.2. Still feels like Android 2.3.
  3. Apple meow meow bullshit

To me, a phone should be, first and foremost, a phone. While we may not see smartphones approach the power efficiency of the dumb phones for some time, the iPhone is a step in the right direction. (Ah the days when we could just not bring our charger on a weekend outing…)

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