Upgrading my phone...

wayliff

Lifer
Nov 28, 2002
11,718
9
81
Yesterday my AT&T contract expired and I'm very happy about that.
Coverage in my area is a disaster.

I'll be switching to Verizon...yesterday I went to the store but I can't make up my mind.

I currently have a Nokia Lumia 900 which I've been happy with. It can do everything I've needed, so far.

This is what I use my phone for: Naturally voice, email, calendar, pictures\video here and there, podcast listening, look up something quickly on the browser, study other languages apps...and probably some other thing I can't remember.

1. Nokia Lumia Icon looks great but nothing really overly excited me about it, other than it is a newer phone. I've read very good things about the new Windows Phone OS.
2. Samsung Galaxy S5. I've been told this is a fantastic phone but the more I read there's a lot of dislike for Touchwiz and the HTC M8 seems to get an edge over it. I looked at it and it looked nice but I was not like uberimpressed.
3. HTC M8 sounds great. The UI apparently blows the SG5, based on what I've read.
4. Finally, I've noticed the Sony Xperia Z2 is likely around the corner and I've read nothing but fantastic praise for it. If I knew for sure this was coming on May, I may actually bite on this one...but I can't find any solid data on the release date(s).

What is important?
1. A decent camera. (Lumia and Z2)?
2. Extra storage option is preferred but not a must.
3. Waterproof is nice but is also not a must. (SG5 and Z2)
4. Least modified OS, if possible. I prefer a cleaner UI or as close to stock as possible.
5. I don't care about Facebook and its relatives.
6. A decent keyboard, windows' keyboard so far has been fine. Other languages were built into the OS and easy to change.

I'm hoping someone here will sway me in a single direction with either a good sales, feature, or specs pitch. :)
I've been reading several Phone vs Phone articles and I still can't seem to make up my mind.

Any pointers are appreciated.
 
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gorcorps

aka Brandon
Jul 18, 2004
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The S5 made some decent improvements to the UI, so it doesn't look as childish as it used to. Even still, I've never had much of a problem with my Samsung devices. You need to look at it yourself to make that call... Don't go by what random Internet posts say.

If you've never had an android before it's worth mentioning that what most people don't like about their stock phone UI is the launcher (which is your main screen that displays your apps and such). That launcher is just an app and you can download any one you want. You're not forced into TouchWiz.
 

crashtestdummy

Platinum Member
Feb 18, 2010
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What are you looking for when you say "decent camera"? If you're going to be just taking snapshots to show friends and put up on instagram, almost any phone you mention will do. If you're looking for something that can make prints you hang on your wall, then maybe it's worth looking at the Z2 (the 1020 isn't available on Verizon).

As for the OS, if you want "unmodified", your best bets are iOS, Windows Phone, the Nexus 5, and the Moto X/G. All other Android models have been altered, and will also be slower to get updates. If you liked WP7, you'll be thrilled with 8.1, but iOS or Android will work perfectly well for you, too.

I think part of the reason you can't make up your mind is that despite what the marketing will tell you, there's never been less differentiating the capabilities of top-of-the-line phones than there is now. Given the needs you outline, almost any phone (and any of the ones I list above) will do you just fine. I recommend just going to the store, playing around with a few devices, and finding one that's the right size for you and has an interface you find appealing.
 

wayliff

Lifer
Nov 28, 2002
11,718
9
81
Good to know about the Launcher app being a replaceable layer.
Yes, definitely not going by any random post.
=================
A decent camera means something equal or better than what the Lumia 900 has, I suppose that is a given on any of these models.

When I say least modified if possible, I'm referring to heavy customization which I've read some carriers do, some customization is probably fine.

I've been to the store and nothing made me think "I have to have this one right now or else". I think this is where the indecision came from.

Thanks for the feedback! Keep it coming.
 

gorcorps

aka Brandon
Jul 18, 2004
30,736
447
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What are you looking for when you say "decent camera"? If you're going to be just taking snapshots to show friends and put up on instagram, almost any phone you mention will do. If you're looking for something that can make prints you hang on your wall, then maybe it's worth looking at the Z2 (the 1020 isn't available on Verizon).

As for the OS, if you want "unmodified", your best bets are iOS, Windows Phone, the Nexus 5, and the Moto X/G. All other Android models have been altered, and will also be slower to get updates. If you liked WP7, you'll be thrilled with 8.1, but iOS or Android will work perfectly well for you, too.

I think part of the reason you can't make up your mind is that despite what the marketing will tell you, there's never been less differentiating the capabilities of top-of-the-line phones than there is now. Given the needs you outline, almost any phone (and any of the ones I list above) will do you just fine. I recommend just going to the store, playing around with a few devices, and finding one that's the right size for you and has an interface you find appealing.

Good points

All of the phones you mentioned OP are top tier phones, so they're all quite good. Really the only things that differentiate them are feel/size of the phone. Reviews indicate the Z2 is big and tough to handle because of its shape. You really need to get your hands on each of them to know how they'll work out for you. Most stores have security devices on the phones which make them tough to judge, but if you go to a Verizon store and work with a sales rep they may have some untethered ones for you just to hold.

I have avoided HTC in the past because they had poor battery life and limited storage, but the m8 added the SD card slot and usually gets top ratings in battery life despite having a slightly smaller size battery than the 5S. I picked up the Galaxy S4 Active because at the time it was my only choice for expandable memory. These days I'd pick HTC over Samsung now that they both have the same features.
 

paperwastage

Golden Member
May 25, 2010
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i really like the Z2...

but it's only a rumor that Verizon will carry this phone

are you buying phones outright, or with the subsidy?
 

Revolution 11

Senior member
Jun 2, 2011
952
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Judging by your requirements, I would recommend you stay as far away from Samsung phones as possible.

I have spent a moderate amount of time with the Galaxy S4 and I was not impressed. The S5 will be better but Samsung is still making the mistake of throwing everything at the kitchen sink and not bothering to figure out the long-term vision of what their UI should look like. Samsung in this is the exact opposite of Apple in fact. Too many features, not all that are useful, and just a kludge experience compared to other phones.

Try some Android phones. If you like the UI/OS, a Moto G is good enough. The experience is close to that of the Moto X. One step up, I would recommend the Nexus 5, a older model but very good. I don't know when the next Nexus model is being released so you may want to wait if you like the Android ecosystem. And I agree with crashtestdummy, stock Android usually is the best.

Have not tried any Windows phones but have heard good things about 8.1. The problem for Microsoft is that they are facing a uphill battle and only have a few years before they are as relevant as RIM.
 
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blairharrington

Senior member
Jan 1, 2009
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It's a shame you need to leave AT&T. I absolutely love my Nexus 5 and you probably would too. If T-Mobile is an option for you I would suggest the N5.

M8 and S5 should both be fine for your needs. Go to Verizon and handle each one to see which you prefer. Maybe the water resistance of the S5 will sell you. But that USB flap is a PITA.

I'll vote against the Z2. First, we don't know if/when it's coming to VZ. Second, it's ergonomically terrible. Go handle a Z1 at T-Mobile to see what I mean. Z2 is equally as awkward in hand.

Others will have to chime in about WP options. I'd only consider Android or iOS for my needs.
 

gorcorps

aka Brandon
Jul 18, 2004
30,736
447
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It's a shame you need to leave AT&T. I absolutely love my Nexus 5 and you probably would too. If T-Mobile is an option for you I would suggest the N5.

M8 and S5 should both be fine for your needs. Go to Verizon and handle each one to see which you prefer. Maybe the water resistance of the S5 will sell you. But that USB flap is a PITA.

I'll vote against the Z2. First, we don't know if/when it's coming to VZ. Second, it's ergonomically terrible. Go handle a Z1 at T-Mobile to see what I mean. Z2 is equally as awkward in hand.

Others will have to chime in about WP options. I'd only consider Android or iOS for my needs.

My buddy has the Icon and it's a nice phone. It's very well built, but IMO it's a bit too blocky which makes it hard to hold for me. The OS is much more tailored to the hardware, so it seems to be more efficient. He's getting excellent battery life out of it compared to his older android he replaced
 

Belegost

Golden Member
Feb 20, 2001
1,807
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So as an L920 user I will pipe up on the WP8.1 option.

The Lumia Icon is gorgeous, my friend at work recently got one and it's beautiful - if you can find a local VZW store with one definitely check the feel. Having spent a little time with it, the camera is definitely an improvement on my 920(which is already pretty good), the shots I tried were really good.

I have WP8.1 on my phone, and if you were doing well with WP 7.5 you will like the upgrade a lot. There's a whole thread on it in the forum here, which you may or may not have read, definitely do if you haven't. Overall I have found the new features to really work well, and surprisingly gotten more usage out of Cortana than I expected.
 

wayliff

Lifer
Nov 28, 2002
11,718
9
81
My buddy has the Icon and it's a nice phone. It's very well built, but IMO it's a bit too blocky which makes it hard to hold for me. The OS is much more tailored to the hardware, so it seems to be more efficient. He's getting excellent battery life out of it compared to his older android he replaced

That is good to know. Thanks.
 

wayliff

Lifer
Nov 28, 2002
11,718
9
81
It's a shame you need to leave AT&T. I absolutely love my Nexus 5 and you probably would too. If T-Mobile is an option for you I would suggest the N5.

M8 and S5 should both be fine for your needs. Go to Verizon and handle each one to see which you prefer. Maybe the water resistance of the S5 will sell you. But that USB flap is a PITA.

I'll vote against the Z2. First, we don't know if/when it's coming to VZ. Second, it's ergonomically terrible. Go handle a Z1 at T-Mobile to see what I mean. Z2 is equally as awkward in hand.

Others will have to chime in about WP options. I'd only consider Android or iOS for my needs.

I had T-Mobile a few years back and Customer Service was fantastic.
Coverage was not so fantastic, perhaps that has changed. I don't believe it was horrible, it was just not great.

I've had Alltel\Verizon and that has been the only carrier that has provided excellent coverage in my area. I've now tried T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon.

With Sprint, at least I knew I had no coverage.
With AT&T, I'd have 3 or 4 bars and the call would just go dead or skip, people complained they could not hear me...and the works. This has happened on my Lumia and also two Pantech phones. AT&T told me there was nothing they could do...I called them three times to try to figure out the problem...I had to suck it up.

Trying T-Mobile, i suppose would be fine, but since I know verizon works...I'd like to avoid having to spent so much time at a carrier's store doing a setup, port, payment...blah blah blah. It is too time consuming for my taste.
 

crashtestdummy

Platinum Member
Feb 18, 2010
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Given your preferences, I'd go to the store and look at these ones specifically:

Windows Phone:
Lumia 928 (older, but still more than capable)
Lumia Icon
Samsung ATIV SE (different shape, in case you don't like the Icon's feel)
iOS:
iPhone 5C
iPhone 5S
Android:
Moto X
LG G2
The Android phones have the advantage of being $100-200 cheaper than the iPhone 5S and Icon/ATIV. All of the above are more than capable of accomplishing what you want. The only way to decide between them is a completely subjective evaluation of screen size, feel, and UI preference.
 

wayliff

Lifer
Nov 28, 2002
11,718
9
81
Given your preferences, I'd go to the store and look at these ones specifically:

Windows Phone:
Lumia 928 (older, but still more than capable)
Lumia Icon
Samsung ATIV SE (different shape, in case you don't like the Icon's feel)
iOS:
iPhone 5C
iPhone 5S
Android:
Moto X
LG G2
The Android phones have the advantage of being $100-200 cheaper than the iPhone 5S and Icon/ATIV. All of the above are more than capable of accomplishing what you want. The only way to decide between them is a completely subjective evaluation of screen size, feel, and UI preference.

Thanks! I'll be doing this. I hardly looked at the G2 or the Moto X.
I'll be skipping any iOS device.
 

Red Storm

Lifer
Oct 2, 2005
14,233
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Just FYI we should be hearing about or seeing the successor to the Moto X this summer, which is not very far away.
 

AHamick

Senior member
Nov 3, 2008
252
3
81
Both the Moto X+1 ("Moto X2") and the LG G3 are expected to be announced this summer
 

paperwastage

Golden Member
May 25, 2010
1,848
2
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Trying T-Mobile, i suppose would be fine, but since I know verizon works...I'd like to avoid having to spent so much time at a carrier's store doing a setup, port, payment...blah blah blah. It is too time consuming for my taste.

if your at&t phone is unlocked... and don't mind trying out t-mobile service right now...

Buy a prepaid T-mobile sim card for $10-$15 (online / tmobile store / best buy). for online, these simcards go onsale @ $0 regularly (i have a couple of spares that I stock up during these sales)

pay for a month of service ($30 1 month, 5GB LTE data, 100 min, unlimited text) without porting your number. see if you like the service
 

wayliff

Lifer
Nov 28, 2002
11,718
9
81
Thanks to everyone.

Yesterday, I went to the verizon store for the second time. I tried the SG5, HTC M8, Moto X, LG G2 and the Nokia Icon...back and forth many times.

I could not find any reasons to ditch Windows Phone, nor I found any enticing reasons to move to Android. Unfortunately, there was no Sony to try.

I'll be getting the Icon by Monday.

Thanks again!
 

wayliff

Lifer
Nov 28, 2002
11,718
9
81
if your at&t phone is unlocked... and don't mind trying out t-mobile service right now...

Buy a prepaid T-mobile sim card for $10-$15 (online / tmobile store / best buy). for online, these simcards go onsale @ $0 regularly (i have a couple of spares that I stock up during these sales)

pay for a month of service ($30 1 month, 5GB LTE data, 100 min, unlimited text) without porting your number. see if you like the service

I'll try to get my Lumia 900 unlocked.
As an experiment, I may actually do this later, after I've setup my new service.
 

notposting

Diamond Member
Jul 22, 2005
3,485
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Though you did make your pick already, was just going to chime in that to me, decent camera rules out the HTC. They can call em SuperMegaUberPixels for all I care, but it's still just a 4mp shooter without even optical stabilization at this point.

Enjoy the Icon! :)
 

Duraz0rz

Junior Member
Jan 13, 2006
12
0
0
Welcome to the Icon family! :) I love mine...awesome battery life, gorgeous screen, and WP 8.1 is great!
 

zerogear

Diamond Member
Jun 4, 2000
5,611
9
81
I'll try to get my Lumia 900 unlocked.
As an experiment, I may actually do this later, after I've setup my new service.

You may want to get the Lumia 900 unlocked before you cancel AT&T, since they will provide the unlock code for free if you are a current AT&T customer. (They don't if you're not)