Continuing the disturbing trend I started with the iPad, I pre-ordered the Verizon iPhone once it was available. There was a lot written about whether or not there would be a rush to the Verizon iPhone once it became available. I guess you could say I was part of the rush so I might as well get specific as to why. First, I didn’t leave AT&T. I’ve been a long time Verizon customer and used a Motorola Droid with them. While I don’t view Verizon as a customer focused company when it comes to their policies, I’ve always had a good experience dealing with their customer service and have always found their network reliable. Back when I was an AT&T customer it was a nightmare so going to them for an iPhone was not in the cards, even if they’ve changed.
So comparisons between the AT&T and Verizon network, such as simultaneous calls and data are moot for me. I’ve been happy with the Verizon network. I’ve been less than thrilled with the Motorola Droid. It’s been a solid phone but I’ve never trusted the app environment. So I pretty stuck with apps from companies who’s services already used. I’ve never purchased a paid app or downloaded free ones to experiment. There are a couple free apps I downloaded based on recommendations I trusted but I was still using my iPod Touch for many apps. When it comes to phones I just want something solid that will work so leaving the Android platform wasn’t a hard decision. While I can intellectually discriminate about Apples “we know best” attitude and sometimes find it irksome, in this case it’s better suited to my needs.
So, my next phone was going to be an iPhone once it became available. There was still a reason not to get the hone yet – there will probably be an iPhone 5 in a few months. I’ve always felt that waiting for the latest tech meant waiting forever, although I admit it seems like it will be quick. I’ve never needed the latest phone tech and there’s nothing I’ve heard of related to the iPhone 5 that would make me want one (sure, it will be “better”). A bit of a bigger issue might be iPhone 6. Depending on the upgrade policies I might have to wait until after it’s been out a couple months. Oh well.
I will get a cost savings by buying now. I currently have a Verizon MiFi that I use as a hotspot. I switched that to the iPhone hotspot. While the Droid could do USB tethering (at an additional cost) I wanted WiFi for multiple devices. The MiFi was $60 a month, the iPhone hotspot will be $20 a month. I’ll get less data, but based on my history it will be enough.
The Ordering & Setup Process
Despite some reports of website problems a couple hours into the ordering process I didn’t have any issues. Choosing sleep over gadget I didn’t set my alarm to wake up for the 3AM start time. I woke up about 5AM and had no problem placing the order online. It was smooth and went right through. I ordered the 32GB model.
The phone was delivered by UPS about 11am Monday morning so at lunch I hooked it up to iTunes to activate it. I’ve already had a Verizon account and had the latest version of iTunes on my Mac. Activation was also straight forward. The only hitch was when I accepted the agreement nothing seemed to happen. It took another couple unresponsive clicks to realized the phone itself was saying it was activated. Since I could clear the screen I stopped and started iTunes and the second phase of the setup continued. I don’t think the problem was a capacity thing. Either a poor process design by Apple (unthinkable!) or a problem with my PC. Other than that things were smooth.
I set things up not to sync automatically (my typical setting for iDevices) and went through and picked what I wanted on the phone. I was good to go.
I haven’t done any formal testing, rather I just started using it. As expected it’s replaced my iPod Touch which will either be sold or passed along to relatives. I had though I might need to keep it for music and video since I’m paranoid about my phone battery running low. So far I’ve been impressed with the battery performance. I haven’t done any formal tests, but it’s clearly better than my Droid. To get through a full day I’d often have to manage the wireless, bluetooth and GPS settings so they’d only be used when necessary. A day is from when I walk up to when I go to bed as I only want to charge at night. There were times th Droid didn’t make it, even though rarely used it for audio or video. The iPhone has been stellar, despite being used much more frequently. I haven’t had to manage wireless, bluetooth or GPS.
It’s a subjective impression, but the iPhone feels better in my hand than the Droid so it’s easier to type on. “Easier” is a relative term, it’s still a small keyboard. It also feels like a more solid device but that could be because the Droid has a slide out keyboard. The screen is much easier for me to read than my Droid, but that’s to be expected with newer technology and I’d probably say the same for any new phone.
The one thing I will miss is the Google Turn-by-Turn directions. I don’t need use the GPS routing a lot so I liked that the Droid made it easy and uncomplicated. The screen was clear as was the speech. This was all free and built-in on the Droid. It’s a add-on for the iPhone. I still haven’t looked for a replacement, but browsing the apps store tells me a replacement will be pricey.
As far as the apps, it’s mainly things I already had on my iPad or iPod Touch so there wasn’t much new there. But it’s nice to have them all on the phone which is always with me. I’d often not have the apps with me since carrying the Touch and my phone was cumbersome.
So, overall, I like the iPhone. I was eligible for the upgrade and I didn’t have to jump carriers and don’t even consider another carrier, let alone AT&T. Add to that the $40 a month I’ll save by dropping the MiFi and the upgrade made sense. The iPhone’s not perfect and Verizon isn’t either, but it’s been a step up from my Droid. I don’t need to have the latest phone so I have no problem upgrading now despite the looming iPhone 5.
As for call quality it’s been fine, comparable to my Droid. I’ve never had an issue with dropped calls with Verizon and so far that trend has continued during the short time I’ve had the iPhone. Apparently Consumer Reports says there’s still an antennae problem. Maybe there is, but I’ve used the phone without a case and haven’t had any call quality problems while holding the phone normally.
All-in-all, I’m happy with the Verizon iPhone.