The Decision

Back in late June I publicly mused on what my next phone will be and the constant state of indecision I find myself in as I consider that question. My upgrade eligibility began in early July and recently ended as I finally came to a conclusion on how I’ll be mobile going forward. As a result, yesterday I retired the BlackBerry in favor of iPhone 4. (Or, as LeBron James might say, “I’m taking my mobile talents to Cupertino.”) And thus begins the most critical 30 days since I first hooked on with AT&T (then Cingular) back in 2005.So far, a few observations:

  • The Retina Display is as excellent as advertised and was one of the factors in going to the iPhone over an Android model. The contrast between it and the iPod touch is striking. It’s even hard for me to look at my computer monitor now — this display is that good. Additionally, I’m so happy to have a touchscreen — really, I’m happy to have anything but that bloody trackball. My error rate with the keyboard is surprisingly low so far (which I attribute to having had an iPod touch).
  • Build quality is scary good. It’s much heavier than my Bold, which was on the high end of heavy phones. I’m still getting used to holding it, though…
  • I’m in a marginal AT&T area, so I can kill a call just by moving my fingers over the strip. I don’t even need to Death Grip the phone. Any speculation that Apple may have made an adjustment later in production to help ward off the Death Grip issue should be put to rest now, because this is still a problem. I had a feeling this would happen, especially since I had similar issues with my Bold when I held it a certain way. My free bumper case is on order, but we’ll see if this becomes a dealbreaker within my 30 days.
  • BlackBerry e-mail is functionally excellent, but one glaring deficiency was that it did not mark e-mail as read in Gmail very reliably as I read it on the phone. RIM and Google made headway on this feature with recent releases of BlackBerry Internet Service, but it’s never been quite right (even after reintegrating Gmail with my BlackBerry account). Using Gmail via ActiveSync (something I haven’t used since 2007!) e-mails are marked read instantly. This is extremely important to me, as I live in both inboxes. Push performance, so far, is right on par with the BB. I’m pleasantly surprised here.
  • Where the BB is likely to reign supreme, though, is battery life. I can’t accurately judge battery life just yet as I’m still in that “oooh, shiny!” phase in which battery drains very quickly. Also, being in a marginal area for AT&T, the phone will burn up battery faster. I’ll have more of a judgement on that later, but so far, it looks to be draining faster than the BB. This is with push e-mail for two accounts and push notifications enabled.
  • I’ve not yet tried FaceTime, the new Apple video call feature. Looking forward to trying it, though — hopefully Apple can make good on delivering FaceTime to other devices so I have a broader base to try it with.
  • I’ll be sure to try my next Skype call with the iPhone; it should be pretty reliable over Wi-Fi.
  • I run the iPhone on Wi-Fi whenever feasible. This should help at least alleviate the elevated radio usage from weaker signal at home.
  • The weakest link in iOS: Notifications. BlackBerry was much better at showing me an overview of just how many notifications I had everywhere at a glance. I also keep looking for a blinking red light. Notification management (or lack thereof) is the one thing that may drive me nuts about this phone.

I have 29 days now to put the phone through its paces. So far, so good, but we’ll see if the potential dealbreakers come to a head as such. Later I’ll talk about why, despite Android’s momentum, I’m with the iPhone.

Published by

Jared Smith

Jared Smith, 30, is a web developer and weather enthusiast living in Charleston, SC.

  • Meredith

    Looking forward to hearing more. My contract with Sprint just ended and I’m now entering the great phone (service provider) debate myself.

  • Kenneth Andrews

    As time goes on I look forward to hearing how your opinion morphs about the phone. On the notifications front, if you think the BB was good you would LOVE the Android notification bar, best out there and with interactivity to boot.

  • http://twitter.com/samwithans samwithans

    So… to jailbreak or not to jailbreak?