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Attack of the Monster Phones

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Posted on Sep 12, 2010
Truthdig

By Peter Z. Scheer

(Page 4)

The people of Visalia struck me as pleasant and it is perhaps for their uncomplaining nature that Sprint chose to set up a 4G network there. If Sprint brings this level of performance to San Francisco and Los Angeles, as planned, it had better give the customer service department a pep talk. And God help the carrier when it rolls out to New York.

Having gotten that off my chest, it’s only fair to confess that out of pure stubbornness I ended up surfing on Sprint’s 4G all night, using the Evo as a WiFi hotspot, and the browsing experience was without frustration, even when streaming videos on Netflix and YouTube. I briefly switched to the Droid X, which also worked well and, again, rivaled the Evo’s 4G network for speed, but it cut out inexplicably and I had to restart the hotspot—twice in an hour of use—something that never happened with the Evo. Apparently “Droid Does” 20 minutes of hotspot before it gets bored and quits on you.

Jump to:
Looks
Sense
Droid X Skin
Camera
Wait, It’s a Phone?
4G and WiFi Hotspot
There Can Be Only One (Unless You Can Afford Two)
Photo and Video Samples

While we’re on the subject of annoyances that make the Droid X less of a doer than advertised, one really got me. The Droid X would accept only one Gmail account from me. Native Gmail, including support for multiple accounts, is possibly the top-selling point of any Android phone (it certainly isn’t the media experience, which has been so bad for so long it leads me to wonder whether Google has enough employees).

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I left Visalia disheartened. I had expected 4G to be a revelation and instead I was revolted. I hit the freeway, heading north, determined to put the whole thing behind me. And then something remarkable happened. Passing Modesto, I remembered that it, too, has 4G. I glanced at the Evo and saw that it was indeed connected. Irresponsibly running a speed test or two while driving up the 99, I was pleasantly surprised. A much stronger 4G connection (as indicated by the phone’s display) meant download speeds of well over 3 Mbps. And then Modesto was gone. But in little bursts for the rest of my journey to Berkeley, passing Fresno and even in the middle of nowhere on the 580, I pulled down the same incredible speeds. Including a few dud readings, I averaged 2.73-Mbps downloads on 4G (I also got much faster Sprint 3G speeds and slower Verizon 3G speeds).

To put this in perspective, the Evo was getting faster Internet data on a freeway than your average DSL connection plugged into a wall.

There Can Be Only One (Unless You Can Afford Two)

I intended this to be a fight. I got ahold of these two phones not just to discover which was the bigger monster, but which, regardless of size, was the better Android phone.

The Droid X is an awesome phone, and in many ways both obvious and surprising it is superior to the Evo. Sure, the Evo has 4G, but does that make up for the Droid’s looks and more reliable network? If you asked me that question in Visalia, I’d say no. But my experience on the freeways tells a different story. If and when 4G hits your hometown, it will be worth every grievance to own an Evo.

Speaking of which, the worst grievance, by far, is the Evo’s battery life. This is the Hummer of phones. It’s big, impractical and more power-hungry than Vladimir Putin. But I love it. Not just for its speed, either.

The Evo is more practical than the Droid X. It may not be as attractive, but it gets shit done. Don’t get me wrong—the Droid X is perfectly capable and the Evo is not some office phone for the humdrum accountant. But it is, for reasons that can be elusive, useful. It also tickles the nerd G spot in a way that the Droid X doesn’t, and anyone who is attracted to Android over the iPhone is either crazy or a nerd.

I’m madly in love with both these phones, and I would happily have either over just about anything else out there. In the end, the Droid X is the phone you have a torrid affair with, but the Evo is the phone you marry.


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By Inherit The Wind, September 15, 2010 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

moonraven, September 15 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

Inherit:

You made my point, despite your schmaltzy family goo goo.  You don’t need a high tech phone to call a doctor or to talk with your siblings about your mother’s care.

You’d rather have gadgets and gizmos than get off your butt and DO something about the disaster bearing down on all of us like SUPER Godzilla.

You enormous ecological footprint folks are the problem.  Not the solution.

Into the bargain you are insufferably rude.
**************************

“The person you have dialed is not accepting your calls.  Please try your calls again later.  We suggest after the next millennium.”

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moonraven's avatar

By moonraven, September 15, 2010 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

Inherit:

You made my point, despite your schmaltzy family goo goo.  You don’t need a high tech phone to call a doctor or to talk with your siblings about your mother’s care.

You’d rather have gadgets and gizmos than get off your butt and DO something about the disaster bearing down on all of us like SUPER Godzilla.

You enormous ecological footprint folks are the problem.  Not the solution.

Into the bargain you are insufferably rude.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, September 15, 2010 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

ofersince72:

Then take the battery out.  That absolutely powers down the phone.

PS: That’s one reason I don’t have an iPhone—but even then you can pull out the SIM.

Or wrap it in tin-foil—works better than wrapping your head in tin-foil.

Report this

By Inherit The Wind, September 15, 2010 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

“Not that it’s any of your business.”

If it’s none of my business then DON’T POST IT ON THE INTERNET!  You get what you deserve if you post it for the world to see.

“You probably have an ecological footprint the size of Godzilla’s.  And absolutely nothing to say.”

Yup, that’s me, boring Godzilla.  I should just stop talking to my Mom’s doctors, or using the private time when the kids aren’t around to talk to my wife about private matters.  And I shouldn’t bother talking to my sibs about Mom’s care.

In fact, I should even stop using the Internet to communicate with Luddites like you….now

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By ofersince72, September 14, 2010 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

Inherit______________The__________________Wind________

I wish we had more Luddites.

The first two cell sites in America were installed in
Chicago and D.C. area.  I was in on the D.C. installation,
and know a bit about the Cell Phone technology. When you
power your phone down, the only thing you do is take the
power voltage away from, the lights and ringer. Your phone
can still be activated without you knowing it, every word
that you say can be monitored and you have no idea. It
can be activated right from the cell site, this always has
been the case, today most phones have GPS, so they can
tell exactly where you are. Of course even without the GPS
it wasn’t hard to determine since they could establish
just what cell site was talking to your phone. I don’t
have anything to hide , but it is good to know.

  I agree with moonraven.  When you look at our ecology
and the decadent shape of our society, there isn’t much
worthwhile or neccessary communication going on. I have
seen way to many examples of this.  The texting is really
disgusting.
  I can’t stand them and few understand the drain on our
power grid that they impose.
We are stuck with them.  Our airwaves are polluted and all
studies into what damage this causes has always been
supervised by the industry.
We will remain a backwards society as long as their is
television and cell phones.
This could be a very meaningful discussion, but few
understand or will admit that our society is backwards
and decadent.

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By moonraven, September 14, 2010 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

Inherit:

I am not a luddite.  I undoubtedly know a lot more about technology than you do.  But that doesn’t mean I have to build hydrogen bombs at Los Alamos National Lab or masturbate myself with a plastic telephone every 15 minutes.

I do not like phones.  I don’t like people bothering me.  What’s the point of paying for phone service if it’s always turned off?  If I want to talk with someone I go to their house—or arrange by email to meet them someplace.  Sending an occasional email in an internet cafe beats having a phone ring.

Not that it’s any of your business.  You probably have an ecological footprint the size of Godzilla’s.  And absolutely nothing to say.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 14, 2010 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

moonraven, September 13 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment

ofer72:

I could not agree more.

The phone crazy is worldwide now, and NOBODY—and I mean NOBODY—has anything worthwhile to say!

I had a cellphone back in the 90s before they became a craze—and I hated it.  It always rang at the MOST inconvenient times.  I gave it away.  Then I decided I didn’t want a land phone either.

I do not regret being phoneless.
**************************

How about clueless?  Truly a Luddite.

If you don’t want the phone to ring at an “inconvenient time” you simply turn if off. Every phone since the 60’s can be turned off by unplugging the RJ-11 cord from either the phone or the wall.

Every cell phone can be turned off, too.

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moonraven's avatar

By moonraven, September 13, 2010 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

ofer72:

I could not agree more.

The phone crazy is worldwide now, and NOBODY—and I mean NOBODY—has anything worthwhile to say!

I had a cellphone back in the 90s before they became a craze—and I hated it.  It always rang at the MOST inconvenient times.  I gave it away.  Then I decided I didn’t want a land phone either.

I do not regret being phoneless.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 13, 2010 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

These new giant phones remind me of the era of the giant boom boxes.  Remember when Danny Aiello as “Sal” smashed Bill (“Radio Raheem”) Nunn’s giant boombox in “Do The Right Thing”?  Tempting!

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By res, September 13, 2010 at 10:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m an evo user (who is typing this on his evo) and when it comes to
description of the sense interface, I have no idea what the author is talking
about. All rounded edges and gloss? Chat screens that give you a
headache? Are we even using the same phone? My chats and texts all show
as threads with black text on a white background. It couldn’t be easier to
read. Also I live in Baltimore and the 4g speeds are pretty consistent and
extremely fast. I agree on the author’s other points though. And I should
probably point out that I’ve never touched any Verizon Android phone.

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Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 13, 2010 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

My favorite phone was the RAZR 2, but none of the major carriers offer it. You now have to buy it direct from Motorola at full price.

The Droid X and HTC Evo are way too big for my tastes. I have a Moto Droid (1) which is fine. I mostly use it as a phone (duh) and Google Maps. I suppose if I ever get stuck at DMV or something I’ll use to watch videos or surf. The nice thing about the Android OS, is many of the apps are free, you just have to deal with banner ads, which doesn’t bother me. And, now that there’s a flash player, I can stream porn. That’s always a positive. However, the Skyfire browser is much better for flash than the Google browser with Adobe. I also like the internet radio apps which I can run directly into my car’s aftermarket sound system via the 1/8” TRS mini-jack. No dongle needed.


I’m sorry, but we are currently out of the iPhone 4. Would you like the HTC Evo?

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By Inherit The Wind, September 13, 2010 at 4:02 am Link to this comment

(yawn!)
Nothing new here.  Find the iPhone and amplify its problems without improving on its assets.  Everything that I despise about the iPhone these phones have (other than Jobs “owning” you).  I’ve toyed with the idea of a Vibrant which is not TOO big, but I keep coming back to my beat-up old Omnia, which still has 32g and takes great 5mpx pics and video.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, September 13, 2010 at 2:37 am Link to this comment

As a person close to the bottom of the human food chain, I would like my cell phone to be just a phone, none of the other crap that many other people seem to want or need. I mean, there are things I sort of would like to have, so they are wants fortunately or unfortunately I cannot afford them.  My point is I would also like to pay less, for some reason I may find myself alone in this concept of a….. cell just a phone? 

For me a cellphone is like a piece of silverware,  each utensil serves its different purpose,....... I may be wrong in this, after all there is chop sticks!

After reading about the Kindle compared to other devices, I would still prefer for the time being anyway, to read a book, after all ... if one runs out of tissue,.... try blowing your nose on a kindle!

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By ofersince72, September 13, 2010 at 12:15 am Link to this comment

America…......get rid of your cell phones and

turn your damn TV off.  Sooner or later the power grid

is going to make this decision for you anyway.

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