Thursday, April 8, 2010

You Get What You Pay For

I'm a firm believer in splurging on great products and I truly believe that, for the most part, you get what you pay for. There are plenty of articles out there about what you should never skimp on and I don't think that technology is something to be skimped on.

This is the Motorola SLVR L7, circa 2005.

How I came to own one is a little bit of an interesting story. I had originally gotten the ROKR, which is the first ever phone to have iTunes on it. MP3's were the hottest new technology thing at the time and this is right around when the iPod was a huge status symbol rather than something just as routine as your socks. So, at the time this was the most technologically advanced phone on the market.

My parents couldn't see why I didn't just want to get the free phone offered with the new plan but I insisted. The ROKR was the one I wanted. Just one month later, the SLVR came out. It was thinner than the RAZR and had all the same capabilities as the ROKR. It was basically a ROKR-RAZR brainchild, and it came in a sleek shade of black. I was not happy.

But then my ROKR had a ringtone issue. One particular ringtone would never actually make any sound. It played just fine from "My Sounds" but never actually rang. I called customer service and they agreed to send me a replacement. Only, the ROKR was out of stock. So they sent me a SLVR instead. I was happy.

Fast forward 5 years and I'm still using the SLVR.

My only real complaint about it is that the center button of the navigation pad has broken off. (It really just means I have to move my thumb over 2 cm to hit "confirm" rather than pushing the center button.)

As you can see, it's still in great shape. Keys are never sticky and the usability is as good as ever. It has an impressive speaker for such a tiny phone and I can still occasionally go for 3-4 days without charging it.

Most impressive of all is that I've been using it nonstop for the last five years. Other people have gone through free phones like crazy but I haven't needed an upgrade yet. In fact, I could probably go on using this one for another 5 years if smart phones weren't completely taking over the cell phone market.

The real reason I'm bragging about the SLVR and how enduring it's been is because I'm thinking about a new phone. I don't want to leave AT&T, both because the customer service is great and because it will kill our minutes if Clement and I were on different carriers. So this essentially boils my choices down to the iPhone or the Nexus One. (Previously, the Blackberry Pearl was also on this list but touch screen is clearly the way of the future so I dropped the option.)

The iPhone has been recently rated by users as the number 1 smart phone according to a survey by JD Power, hurting only in the category of battery life. This survey, however, hasn't covered the highly anticipated Nexus One, which has been opened up to AT&T as of March 16, 2010.

Even in my quest to invest in a great piece of technology, with my first-hand experience in understanding that you get what you pay for, should I spring for the $200 iPhone or can I really justify a $530 phone? iPhone or Nexus One -- will it take a 5-year beating the way that my last investment did? Which one will I be bragging about in 5 years and happy I had made an invested choice in?

Technophiles want to weigh in?


  1. Wow, 5 years???? That's impressive!

    Btw....I hate touch screens. I know that they are the "future" but I don't like them.

  2. Ya know where I stand. :) My phone has survived my 2 year old for almost a year, I can see it lasting for a few years longer. I also got my iPhone for $99, they have good deals when you sign a new contact.

    But knowing your issues with touch screens, go with the nexus.

  3. uh, Tammi? How does the Nexus One combat "touch screen issues"?

  4. Some questions:
    Do you "archive" e-mail in gmail or keep everything in the inbox?
    Do you often search your e-mail or wish you could search your e-mail on the go?
    Do you use iTunes?

    There's a lot of tradeoffs between the devices. I'm actually a little torn on what I'll do when my contract runs out in October. There are some features I feel that I would really miss when moving from an Android phone to the iPhone.

    It's worth noting though, an iPhone refresh should be coming soon:

    Regarding the cost -- you'll want to see if the iPhone plan costs more than a data plan for the Nexus One. Over a 2 year plus time period, that could matter more than the initial phone cost.

  5. I don't "archive," but I probably should. Right now I just leave everything in my inbox. Being able to search email on the go will probably be something I'll want to have.

    I don't use iTunes a whole lot and don't think I'll be planning to either.

    I did see the announcements that they are working on a new iPhone OS. This topic right now is more of an Android vs Others kind of thing, especially since I think it makes more sense for me to get an Android phone because I use so many Google things.

    It's already been calculated that a Nexus plan on T-Mobile runs cheaper than an iPhone plan on AT&T over a 2-year contract agreement, but being on a different carrier than Clement would be too costly.

  6. Hmm, I meant to ask, is there a difference in price between the AT&T plan that you would use for the Nexus and the AT&T iPhone plan? I'm under the impression that the iPhone plan was specific to that phone.

  7. i really like my nexus :) the app market has been improving with lots of useful apps now to finally compete with the apple app store. and the integration with google apps is pretty cool too.

  8. I've been used an iPod touch for awhile, so my opinions of the iPhone come from that. For Android, I've been using a G1 for a year and a half. I've also played with Android 2.1 (Eclair) on a Nexus.

    I think you'd prefer an iPhone for Facebook integration, better (+more) apps, the music player, and the overall pretty/flashy factor. Facebook developed the iPhone app themselves and it has access to APIs that the Android app does not. This makes messaging, chat, and photos possible on the iPhone app while it is absent on Android. For Android, you have to jump to the clunky web interface for those features. The music app on the iPhone has a much better user interface. It beats the native Android music app hands down and I haven't found any apps on the market that are better than the native one. All around, the iPhone is prettier and flashier - it has a polished feel that you rarely find on Android.

    There are a couple areas that the Nexus One / Android wins. Unlike some of the previous Android phones, I think the design is sleek and it's hardware surpasses the iPhone 3GS (But, wait for the next iPhone rev). Eclair definitely evened the game out, for example, the camera / photo apps are finally on par. The Google app integration is better. The gmail app is better than the mail app you get from the iPhone and the maps application gives turn directions (for free). Android also has turn-by-turn directions on Google Maps. But, you don't really need turn-by-turn directions that often and iPhones mail app is useable. But, it's also worth noting that you aren't forced into using iTunes. It's really a freer device.

    I think you would be happy with either one, but I suspect that you would prefer an iPhone.


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