Friday, August 7, 2015

Phone Comparison

About four months ago, my old phone started to not work very well, and I took the plunge into the fully modern world by getting my first truly smart phone. I'm not a technology nerd, and I still don't know what model I have specifically; all I know is that I have a Droid of some sort that's about 5 1/2 inches long. A few weeks ago, after many years of resistance, I finally had to get rid of my flip phone that was issued to me by my job six years ago, and as a mark of my seniority and status, I was issued an iPhone for my job--an iPhone 5, to be exact. I've had both long enough to be able to compare them intelligently.
And there's a clear winner. I'm not sure I would say I "love" my Droid, but it's easy to use in so many ways that I very much like it. The actual telephone keypad, when punched up, is designed to be used by the fingers of actual human beings, not munchkins and midgets. The internal microphones actually put out enough sound that you can hear the other party speaking. I don't use a lot of apps, but they are easy to find, download, install, and use. The volume controls are easy to use. The sounds that come with it are OK; I haven't changed the ringtone yet, for example, even though I downloaded the app to use songs and/or portions of songs for that purpose, because I actually like the tones it has. The text messaging took me about two days to figure out, and now that's easy to use, too. Honestly, even the size has turned out to be an advantage; it doesn't get lost easily, but it still fits in my pocket when it has to.
The iPhone, on the other hand, I do not like. One, I think it's too small; the home screen is just way too busy, and most of that stuff I'll never use (to be fair to Apple, it's not my phone, it's my agency's, so I can't delete stuff that probably would alleviate the issue somewhat). The keypad numbers are too close together. The phone sounds like a toy phone when one is actually using as a phone, and the sounds that come with it are more like the annoying chirps your carbon monoxide detector gives off when its battery is low than sounds you would associate with a phone. Most annoying of all, it seems to take an act of Congress to get yourself out of a place, especially with reading emails, that you get to by mistake. And texting is, frankly, a nightmare for someone that uses normal punctuation like me. You have to change screens in order to use periods and commas, and petty as that is, it annoys the shit out of me. I write in English, not kid English or pidgin English, and I would like to send text messages that look like sentences. Is that too much to ask for? And especially compared to my Droid, the keyboard letters are tiny. It's like sighting a target through a scope to try to get the right letter typed.
And as for the accessories, there's only one that matters at present--I don't use either phone as a music player at present, although that may change in the future. The phone protector that I put on my Droid the day I bought is practical and effective--it's a nice black rubber thing that covers the entire phone except for the screen without blocking the charger port. I have dropped the Droid four or five times with not even a bit of damage. The iPhone, on the other hand, is encased in this rubber casket that is about 3/4 of an inch thick; I haven't dropped it yet, but I'm pretty sure it would bounce if it did. What's really annoying about it is that there are little tabs that cover the ports for the charger and buds, and they tend to get in the way even when the charger is plugged in. Also, the iPhone, should you actually use it, uses power at a greater rate. I've already drained it to 20% of battery once, and I barely used it and only didn't charge it one night. The Droid, on the other hand, has yet to drain below 60% (I do charge it every morning, and sometimes when I get home from work, too), and there have been days when I have used it constantly, for six or seven hours without more than brief respites or pauses.
So to my mind, there's a clear winner here, especially since iPhones are much more expensive. Droid forever! My daughter swears by her iPhone, but then I look at her watching Netflix on a two-inch screen, and when she tries to show me some of her Tumbler posts, I seriously have to get a magnifying glass. You want to get $600 retail for this? And I was forever scarred by the hassle it was to get the iPhone running, too; I couldn't believe that a phone tech from one of the world's biggest technology companies told me to use a paper clip to pop the Sim Card out. A...paper...clip. I have not had to talk to any tech from Droid for any reason, and the guy at Verizon, the day I bought it, had it in my hands and ready to use about four minutes after I chose it. And I have always, always been one of those wind-it-up-and-go type of consumers. Save your bells and whistles; I'm a practical man. It's a phone, and I am primarily interested in making phone calls and texting, not Siri and organizing my life and watching movies and having half the music ever recorded available to me at a moment's notice. And if that's your primary purpose in having a phone--Droid is for you.
And this isn't necessarily a phone-brand thing--but am I the last guy in America that can actually read a map? I have heard a dozen people, if I have heard one, tell me tales of getting hopelessly lost or driving themselves into huge traffic jams because their freaking phone was telling them where to drive and they have no clue where they're going or have no concept of the alternate route. My agency's upper management travels a lot, and my last two supervisors have been based in Buffalo--and every time, every time, they come to Binghamton, they go to Syracuse first and then down 81, when coming down 63 and then 390 to 17 at Corning is at least 45 minutes to an hour shorter. Why do they do this? Because their damn phone tells them to...If I listened to my phone--which is actually Google Maps, I think, but I'm not sure--about how to go see the Queen where she is, it would have me taking an extra 40 miles out of my way just to stay on 4-lane highways the entire trip. I did that, the first time I went, and I ended up not only using a lot more gas, but also having to go over a bridge that gives me panic attacks twice. I got out my trusty old atlas after that, found an alternate route, and have since refined that route to the point where I can get where I am going, on weekends, in about two hours and forty minutes--a full forty minutes less than Google Maps' route. I just do not understand why people make the decision to allow their "devices" or technology to make decisions for them that they should be making for themselves. The "devices" are a freaking tool, not a master or Ultimate Authority. And few things will get me to do a slow burn than someone that blindly drives into traffic jams and has no idea of how to extricate themselves, and thus meetings and gatherings are delayed for many minutes or even hours. For God's sake, it takes three minutes to look at a route on a map before you leave home. You're too freaking busy to do that much?
End of rant.

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