Thursday, September 5, 2013

Phone upgrade

I don't know who picked the magical "two-year" time span that cellular service contracts typically run. But I know I'm usually ready for a new phone about six months before I am eligible. And my current phone is no exception. I have a Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I am exactly six months from being able to upgrade my phone with a subsidy.

But my wife helped me come up with a plan so that I could upgrade now. We decided to add a line of service and get a new subsidized phone with the contract it would require. The idea is that I will transfer my current phone number to the new phone. And my current phone will end up with the new number. Then six months down the road when my contract on the current phone expires we can terminate that line. Yay!

I've had my eye on the smartphone market for awhile. I mean don't all geeks sort of know which are the best phones at any given time? You'd hope so. Of course it changes all the time. Research confirmed... the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One were the two top contenders. But Motorola has just released a whole new line of "Droid" phones for Verizon. One of those is the Droid Maxx. Its main focus is having stellar battery life.

When my wife upgraded her phone about 6 months ago, we chose the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx HD, which is pretty much the previous version of the new Droid Maxx. I was totally impressed by its build quality. Nice heft and very solid with a Kevlar back.

After having the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for 18 months, I had direct experience with three things.

1) The whole Nexus thing. Yes, those devices are easy to root and customize. No bloat or crapware. Great. I rooted and unrooted my phone multiple times and ran several custom ROMs on it. Big whoop. I'm afraid I'm not into it. It just isn't my thing. Which may be somewhat surprising. But I figure the original designers probably sort of know what they're doing. At least as much as "Swibby", "Darklord" or whoever it is that hacks on these custom ROMs. The fact that all these developers have cartooney nicknames does not exactly instill confidence. And there is the whole voiding-the-warranty thing. I concluded that I have no real need or desire to root my phone.

2) Build quality. Samsung makes good phones. But they have a real plastic feel to them. When you drop $600 on a phone, you want it to FEEL like a $600 phone. My Samsung always felt like a toy.

3) Battery life. One of the known issues with my Samsung Galaxy Nexus was battery life. I even sprung for the extended battery ($50). It still sucked.

So... Motorola phones have locked boot loaders and are hard (or impossible) to root. Don't care. The build quality and battery life are important to me. These are the two biggest selling points of the new Motorola Droid Maxx. So I hit the button last night on the purchase.

I have a strange habit. After I make a purchase, I like to surf around a bit more and read reviews and such to "validate" my purchase. At least I suppose that is why I do it.

Well this morning I found a review by a fairly reputable web site. It was not very favorable toward the Droid Maxx. As a matter of fact, they were pretty harsh. But it felt really nice as I was reading the comments made by readers at the bottom of the page. Comment after comment was made by Droid Maxx owners who completely disagreed with the review. They accused the reviewer of having an agenda and obvious bias. They totally loved the phone. Many of them compared the Droid Maxx directly with the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One and chose the Droid Maxx over both of them. A few were still within their return window and said they had no regrets after hands-on experience with the phone and had no reservations sticking with their purchase.

Nice!