The New Phone, March 2014 Edition
Posted on March 22, 2014 Posted by John Scalzi 30 Comments
Today was the day my two year contract on my last phone ran out, and not a moment too soon, because after two years, the previous phone had seriously begun to chug. That one has now been retired with thanks for its service; here’s the new one, the latest Droid Maxx. Its primary selling point (for me, anyway): A massive battery that theoretically at least can last up for two days. Given how much I travel (a lot), that’s a heck of a selling point. It also has a hands-free thing that allows you to talk to it, and it calls and texts people. That’s pretty nifty.
I also signed up for Verizon’s “Edge” program, which will allow me to upgrade my phone every few months if I want. I am aware that it’s not necessarily the most financially responsible option, but I get annoyed with phones pretty quickly and also I can afford the relatively minor additional expense to avoid annoyance. Plus then I get shiny new technology on an accelerated schedule! Seemed reasonably prudent, all things considered.
So yes: New techno toy. I hope I like it.
Chug? I’m unfamiliar with that word in a tech-gear context.
At any rate, new device is indeed very shiny.
My contract is up in May, and the Droid Razr has been struggling to keep up for the last year. I think I want a Samsung Galaxy S4, but I’m not sure of the battery life. Thank you for doing the research on the Droid Maxx for me! ;-)
Two whole days? Without looking, I’m assuming that’s “with heavy usage”, most of my phones still have batteries that last a week unless I get silly with a game.
Looks pretty nice! I have the Note 3 on Verizon. It is the best phone I have ever had bar none. Battery life is ~3 days with moderate use.
Colin Hinz– “Chug”=”Slow to a crawl with obvious signs that it’s because the device doesn’t have enough power to deal with the load being placed on it.” It comes from internal combustion engines chugging– as in, literally making “chugga chugga” noises– when their load exceeds their horsepower.
Yesterday was the end of my contract with Verizon–and I got a Droid Maxx, too. I guess that makes us phone buddies!
I picked it for the battery life because a couple of weeks ago my phone (a Galaxy Stratosphere, one of those 1 cent deals) almost died on me while I was at urgent care (nothing serious). I couldn’t drive and almost didn’t have enough power to call a cab. Just because I spent 15 minutes playing Angry Birds Star Wars while in the waiting room.
I also picked it because it has a good camera. The old phone’s camera was awful.
The Droid Razr Maxx HD. Nice phone, I have had mine since July. My battery doesn’t last 2 days, and didn’t when it was new. But then I routinely listen to podcasts on my phone (up to 10 hours a day), play massive amounts of games, and read ebooks. Never mind the time I spend on Twitter and watching videos. I am hoping it lasts another 6 or 7 months at least, I need to get a new computer before spending more on a phone.
I just got a text a few days ago from my carrier with the news that I can also get a new phone. Sweet. My current phone is a MyTouchQ. I guess its somewhat dated in the phone tech world, but I like it because of the slide out keypad. Before my current phone, I had an HTC phone with a much larger screen than my current one. With the HTC, I found that I was touch screen challenged. I am a lot faster firing off a text with the keypad than with the on-screen keys. Plus, with the HTC the autocorrect had a mind of its own. I would turn off autocorrect, and it re-enabled itself. It was extremely frustrating. I will probably end up getting a touch screen phone again since they are far more cutting edge than ones with slide-out keyboards. Am I the only one out there that is touch screen challenged? Are some touch screens better than others?
A smartphone with a 3.5 Ah battery and 48 hours of “mixed use?” Wow.
My dumb phone has three hours talk and a week of standby (and four spare batteries I can swap out (not standard equipment)).
I also have a “flashlight.” An 8.8Ah flashlight that is USB charged and has a 2A USB out. — My understanding is you can’t take batteries on a plane, but can take a flashlight.
Was the picture of the new phone the last dying act of the old phone? Seem very appropriate somehow if it is…
Kyle: I bought a pullout keyboard for my iPhone. Lasted all of two weeks before it died on me, and I can’t figure out how to remove it (maybe if I removed/reattached it, it might reboot the kb somehow, I dunno, but I can’t, so it’s a moot point). So now I’m stuck with the onscreen kb. I have neuro issues, so my fine motor control isn’t wonderful, which is why I prefer the pullout kb with real keys. Oh well.
I got an iPhone 5S – well, we got one for Tammy around the holidays because she’d been using a Blackberry Curve since… ::waves hand vaguely:: whenever they first came out. I originally suggested a 5C for her since it was close to her iPod Touch at the time, but she wanted the thumbprint recognition and didn’t like the pastel backs, so a 5S it was! After a week with it, she decided our niece (who lives nearby and works for Tammy) and I should have ones for the holidays as well. So I have a gold iPhone 5S, Tammy has a black one, and our niece has a silver one.
I’ve had smartphones since the Treo 270, including the Blackberry Pearl, the Android G1 and the G4 – all of which were pretty great given the available technology at the time. But none of them have been quite as friction-free or intuitive as the 5S – I feel like I’m communing with The Machine when I use it….
@Kyle – that’s the problem with the iPhone and a lot of Android phones, actually. If you need a keyboard or prefer one, they don’t provide – and while I understand why Apple didn’t build one in, it’s a pain for people who need one.
Tammy preferred a keyboard, but between Siri voice recognition software and the iPhone’s virtual keyboard she got over it. Have you tried the voice recognition software with Android or the iPhone as an alternative to a keyboard?
You’ll love it once you get used to some of its quirks. But fist, don’t expect 48 hours… 36 is more likely. And practice saying, “OK Google” and adding cool modifiers like “did Baltimore win?” , or “OK Google, what is Cleopatra’s full name?”. Then use it for dialing, “OK Google, call home”, which is way cool and rather useful since it works very well.
I upgraded to that same phone a few weeks ago when my trusty old dumb-phone died. I still haven’t figured it out yet. I can still make/answer calls, but texting and emailing is a pain in the ass because I guess I have fat fingers or something.
I have a Droid Maxx myself – On the few occasions that I haven’t plugged it in at night, I usually start running out of power at around the 43 hour mark. Still, 43 hours of battery on fairly regular usage is pretty good. I also got the Motorola Sliver Elite bluetooth headset to go with it, because the battery in that thing also last far in excess of any other bluetooth headset I have had – I charge it about once a month. Now, I only use it for hands free in the car, so I it’s not like I put a ton of talk time through it, but I usually get 5-6 hours of actual talk time between charges.
@timeliebe You know I have not messed with the voice recognition for texting, and that is something I need to investigate. My wife uses that all the time. I have used Google translate a lot, and that is out of this world fantastic. You can even take a pic of a sign in a foreign language, and it will read it back to you in English.
I picked up a Moto X last month, which shares many of the same features with the current Droids, and I couldn’t be happier. It is hard to change to using voice activation, but I’m slowly getting in the habit of using it in the car at least. It may not be the fanciest, biggest, highest spec’d phone out there, but there are so many little things that make the user experience excellent… I think you’ll like it.
“Edge” = the black box. I read “Redshirts” just last month, great stuff and really funny. Now, I will have to catch up on your other books.
I think smart phones are a bit over-rated, its getting quite silly how big these things are getting. Seriously if you want a tablet, get a tablet. The actual phone component is pretty small and combined with the density of modern solid state memory there is no reason why modern cell phones cannot be the size of something like a hearing aid. Except then people wouldn’t be able to visit their facebook page and laugh at funny pictures of cats, no great loss in any case.
Ooh, I also got the Droid Maxx back in December and love it. Runs Android 4.4/KitKat and will easily get 48 hours, except it’s better for your battery life if you a) don’t let it run down to zero and b) don’t charge it all the way to 100% (see batteryuniversity.com for all the scientific details). If you get the App Ops app it will tell you all sorts of things about your battery usage, like which app is sucking the life out of your phone without you quite realizing it.
My routine: turn off wi-fi and updater at bedtime, along with turning off network data access. Still works as a phone (and gets text messages), but saves battery. Hey, I’m asleep, my phone doesn’t need to be on the interwebs without me!
(Also also it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out that those circles in the Droid Command Center there on the main screen spin around when you flip them with a finger….)
Kyle: absolutely you are NOT the only touchscreen-challenged person out there. Most touchscreens only notice I’m touching them intermittently, and Apple products almost NEVER deign to acknowlege my existence.
I don’t know about the Android phones, but if you turn the iPhone to landscape when texting, the virtual keyboard is larger, and easier to deal with for people with large fingers. That might work on Droid phones, too.
I bought the Droid Maxx in mid-February and I like it immensely. I do get 48 hours on the battery easily.
I travel more than you and have dealt with battery problems for years. Final solution is a galaxy s3 with zero lemon extended battery case from Amazon. Phone is twice as thick (was thin to start with) but I get solid 3 sometimes 4 days between charges. Use the phone as his in various cities around the country, email, audible, etc.
Darn spelling correction, use phone as gps in various cities….
Ed Norton got a battery that lasted 48 hours and he woke up in a morgue. If the opportunity to play “connect four” with some Russian mobsters presents itself, I recommend you pass. just saying.
My wife and I go through a bunch of phones too… have you reached a point of “new phone fatigue” where there’s not really any joy in the new device? We sure have. I wouldn’t have even gotten a new phone except the old one had a cracked screen.