Android

The search for a new phone begins!

Evo v gs31 - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

This past week I got an unexpected text message from Best Buy. It was of course at its heart a plea for me to come in and spend more money, but I didn’t really care about that. It stated simply that I was now eligible for an upgrade for my cell phone. Then began the joyous heart palpitations of a true tech lover. I get a new phone!

I currently have an HTC EVO 4G. I have typically not been an early adopter of new technology. This is usually due to a lack of money to spend on it. I got my EVO in December of 2010. December 26th to be exact. I know this because the only thing I really asked to receive for Christmas was either money or a Best Buy gift card so I could get my new phone. I had enough money and gift cards to completely cover my new phone, as well as my Otterbox case and Zagg screen protector. For the previous couple months after I had decided to buy an EVO I had spent a ton of time learning everything I could about my soon to be new phone from Good & EVO. I knew how to root it and install a custom ROM before ever owning an Android device.

Because of the last two years of learning so much about smartphones and tablets, I feel like the decision to buy a new phone should be very easy for me. Heck some of you are probably saying that if you were so happy with the original EVO that you should immediately just buy the new EVO 4G LTE. Well if I did that without even thinking then maybe I should just switch to the iPhone and buy the new one every time it comes out. Instead I have decided to think about my decision and choose a new phone that works best for me.

So I got to thinking about what I require from my phone. Before I got my tablets I used my phone for so many things. After getting my tablets I have noticed that I use my phone for a lot less. I went from having four to five homescreens full of apps to now only using a single 5×5 screen, and most of that is taken up with a 3×5 clock and weather widget. At this point my needs are basically a phone, text messaging, internet use on the go, GPS, Spotify, an alarm clock, and a camera. I need something that is fast and have a large screen. Oh and it of course must be running Android.

Even though the majority of Android phones on the market would meet my needs, I don’t want anything but the best. I know that I will be using it for the next two years, and it needs to not only last but still be good enough 18 months down the road to run any new apps I want. That leads me to a choice between two different phones. The HTC EVO 4G LTE or the Samsung Galaxy S III. Because I am still early in my research, I’m not leaning one way or another at this point, but as my search continues I will make sure I let you know how it goes.

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Bryan Faulkner

Bryan Faulkner is a former associate editor at Pocketables. He loves to find new ways to use his tablets while working as the Tech Director at his local church. Mixing sound from the iPad is his newest obsession. He currently has a pair of HP TouchPads, an iPad 2, a decommissioned HTC EVO 4G, and a Samsung Galaxy Note II to tinker with.

Avatar of Bryan Faulkner

40 thoughts on “The search for a new phone begins!

  • Avatar of Steven L

    Or you can wait another month and get a new Nexus phone!

    Reply
  • Avatar of Jordon

    I agree, for Android simplicity and best experience, Nexus is where it’s at. Stock is the best, and you will have the best features money can buy.

    Reply
  • How have you kept the same phone for 2 years. I’m itching after 6 months and looking at what my next one will be. If it wasn’t for the BB10 delay I would have one already but I gave myself a break by upgrading to the LTE PlayBook while I wait. Seeing that you’re being so open minded I thought I would throw another choice at you. A BB and PlayBook combination. I see that you’ve been leaning on the larger screen of a tablet as I have. I can tell you that there is no better combination tablet and phone on the market. The Bridge feature makes using email on the tablet very nice and with the added feature of SMS through bridge now my phone does almost nothing but phone calls.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Bryan Faulkner

      The reason I keep devices for so long is because I can’t afford to replace them every six months. If I could, it wouldn’t be such a big choice of which one to get.

      A BlackBerry owner I will never be. They’ve done too much stuff badly for me to ever rely on them.

      And I already have an iPad 2 and an HP TouchPad, so I will not be buying a new phone AND tablet.

      Reply
  • Avatar of Justin Murray

    The SIII felt cheap when I held it. It’s a great phone with a lot of nice features. The 4G LTE looks cheap on the back (different colors/textures I guess) but has a lot of nice features. Both are great devices.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Miguel Diaz

      Yes the black Evo LTE looks cheap but feels a lot better than the sIII, that is unless you get the whit Evo which to me looks ten times better.

      Reply
  • Avatar of JRDemaskus

    I will be replacing my Dell Streak 5″ before the end of this year. That will be about 28 months with this device. I researched for about 8 months and bought when it was released. Still going strong! I rarely use My DS 7″ tablet. It just has a larger screen.
    My first choice today is the Samsung Note 2.
    But if “Windows Phone” comes out with 5″+ device, I would like to give it another look.
    I really Loved “WinMo”, and feel android is a close second.
    I have not considered any other OS platforms.
    I have severe device lust too, every month. But if I did my homework properly then I continue to shrug it off till just the right device is released.
    Peace

    Reply
    • Wow…..I was just about to write same words….reason I’m still visiting this site its just because I am so streak smart reader….and just couldn’t stop admiring work of jen….I brought my streak with 6 months of research (its is my first smart phone still running 2.2) and just count find a better hardware yet….waiting fit htc dlx

      Reply
      • Avatar of Radimus

        I still stop by on occasion as my Streak is still going strong. My next device is going to be the Note 2 and contacts at my local Best Buy Mobile have promised the first one out of the box will be reserved for me :)

        Reply
    • Avatar of lungjian

      Greet to see StreakSmart regulars Rad and JRD here! My Streak is also still going strong, but tech has advanced so much in the 2+ years since I first got it that I’m becoming jealous of the uber fast phones and phablets now launching. The Note 2 is tempting, but the 5″ HTC phablet is, IMHO, the spiritual successor to the Streak. And much more “pocketable” to boot! (sorry – couldn’t resist!)

      Reply
  • Avatar of ausnote

    Currently using the galaxy note for a year now and waiting for a case to start uding the note 2.
    Warning though, once you go past 5.3″ screen you cannot go back

    Reply
  • A nexus phone should definitely be considered as well.

    Reply
  • Ironically, I am in the same boat. I have had the OG EVO (rooted) since October 2010. The only reason I want to switch is that I am running out of internal memory even after moving everything that I can to my 32gb SD card but, still no room internally.(only 42mb left after moving and deleting everything that I can)

    Today and today only, BB is offering the Galaxy S3 for $100 with a renewal of contract. I am on the fence!! I loves me some HTC EVO but the lack of removal battery is a BIG negative for the new LTE version…

    Stay with my origional EVO or switch to the Galaxy S3….What would YOU do?

    Reply
    • Avatar of Bryan Faulkner

      Wow, that’s good info on the GSIII being $100 today. I might have a big decision to make.

      Reply
    • Avatar of Closet nerd

      It’s actually pretty easy to change the battery on the evo lte one you pull off the casing it’s pretty accessible

      Reply
  • Avatar of Andreas Ødegård

    I assume that there are no benefits to not upgrading in the US? Here in Norway, if I just refrain from buying a subsidized phone after the contract expires, I save a ton of money every month because I can use a plan that is designed for off contract use. Since I only use data, I can pay for that and just pay per minute/sms. Note: don’t have to pay for incoming calls/SMS.

    I’m leaning more and more towards doing that when my 1 year contract (max legally allowed) is up in january.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Bryan Faulkner

      No benefits. Gotta have a contract if you are using any of the major carriers, Some of the smaller ones allow you to go without contracts (or at least month to month contracts.) On the smaller carriers however you are usually stuck with crappy phone choices and bad service if you don’t live in a major city.

      Reply
      • Avatar of copeys

        So, you go on a two year contract (or whatever) when you get a phone, then, after that contract is up, you still keep paying the same amount ? (ie the phone plan and phone repayments)

        Like Andreas, once you are off the two year contract here, you can still have a contract with the telco, however you do not pay for your phone. It becomes a “BYO” plan which is much cheaper.

        Reply
        • We pay for the phone up front when we get it.. normally I think most people wait for the contract to expire because then we are offered discounts on the new phone if we get it with a new 2 year contract.. at least that’s how it works for me with Sprint.

          Reply
  • In my experience, HTC has been pretty slow to out updates so you’re forced to go with cyanogen which is pretty cool. Tegra 3 on the Samsung absolutely blows away the dual core snapdragon though.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Dan Davis

    Evo 4g LTE owner here. I love this phone. The screen and build quality are amazing and was definitely a huge upgrade from my OG Evo. If you want to stay in the Evo family I say go for it.

    My view of the S3 is slanted a bit. I live in a house with 2 Evo LTE, 1 Galaxy Nexus, and 1 S3. The S3 is the newest phone but has the worst durability. The back cover is in fact ceramic and will get cracked if dropped, kind of like a spider web. The Galaxy Nexus is a nice phone but is easily becoming dated in hardware specs and has a sub par camera between the more recent phones.

    Despite my love for the Evo LTE I would say wait. You have waited this long and with a new Nexus device in the horizon how could you not wait. Plus it would give Pocketables a more diverse coverage of writer owned phones. I am not saying wait forever, but see what the end of this month brings.

    Reply
  • What I tend to do when buying any new technology these days is to build myself a questionnaire. I find that reading blogs and hearing opinions on all the various new phones definitely helps to cut it down to around the 5 or 6 great new phones on the markets (and usually 3 or 4 coming soon phones), but after that it comes down to your own preference. And thus forcing myself to answer a bunch of questions on what I want, really helps to drill down.

    Some example questions:

    Do I want a bigger screen or is pocket comfort more important?

    What feature do I use the most? What feature do I want to use the most?

    Do I want to stay with Sprint another 2 years, or do I want to switch? Which carrier?

    Which phone looks to have the most dev/rom support? (This I find highly important because this is what will keep your old phone feeling new at any given time).

    Will a hardware camera button really help me take better pictures?

    Will I want to upgrade memory/battery?

    Which phone has the most accessories available?

    Etc. Etc. So the point is use the online community to drill down to the phones with the best specs, but then drill yourself on personal preferences.

    And just for the record, after doing this to myself (I’m also looking at new phones after being with Evo 4g OG and Evo 3d). I’ve gotten down to the Galaxy S3 (mostly do to removable battery and being such a popular selling phone will mean lots of development for it), though I’m waiting to really play with the Note 2 and see some of the new Nexus phones that are coming out.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Bryan Faulkner

      Those are all good questions to ask when looking at a new device. While I don’t actually write them down, I do have a list of questions in my head I run through.

      Reply
  • Avatar of NelsonTitua

    Well i have the EVO LTE and i too came from the OG EVO.. i dont regret it. The battery not being able to remove isnt a problem for me because its so good and i get 2 days + out of if with moderate to heavy use. People say the back of the evo looks weird but the good thing about it is that it doesnt feel cheap like the S3.. (plastic) WIth the evo you feel like you are holding a machine a really good phone. HTC Sense has been greatly improved. Ihavnt had any complaints and or problems. Thats my 2cents.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Steve Gaudreau

    I’ve owned all 3 of the Evo line phones I loved them all. The S3 is a nice phone too. But I went with the Evo because it is best for my needs, camera button, kickstand and despite what the specs say 64gig sd does run just fine on it. The battery thing puzzles me as I get all day with it. Even the past two models, I’ve never the need to pull my battery out. You’ll never see an apple product in my pocket, greedy bastards, anyways, just pick the one you want, can’t go wrong with either.

    Reply
  • Avatar of big bill

    (refer to my previous comment above) Well, I went ahead and got the S3 from BB today for $100 (actually $95 b/c I had a rewards certificate).

    Anywho, I feel like Im cheating on my wife (OG EVO/HTC) BUT….so far so good…the only issue is having to learn another UI and the in’s and outs of the phone…I’m a bit excited ;) All is not lost, however, because I gave my rooted EVO to my REAL wife (hahaha) so I’m still keeping it in the family.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Bryan Faulkner

      Congrats on the new phone! I decided to not jump on that deal and keep looking. I didn’t want to be too impulsive on a decision this important to me.

      Reply
      • Avatar of big bill

        Bryan,

        After having the S3 for 48hrs now, I must say that I have NO REGRETS!. I still am and will continue to be a HUGE HTC fan (wifey has my old phone so I still get to play with it). But I wanted to “future proof” my purchase by getting the Sammy…

        After reading all of the financial issues with HTC I’m not sure that they will be around for much longer and will probably be gobbled up by Samsung, Motorolla,etc…(insert phone company here)

        Overall, I am impressed with the Galaxy s3 and feel even better about my decision to switch from the OG EVO because I picked it up for only $100.

        Reply
  • Avatar of overclock

    Is there a reason why you want/have to stay with Sprint? Unlimited data? I’d recommend the forthcoming Motorola Razr HD Maxx on Big Red if you’re thinking about jumping ship. I’m on a 4 gig tiered plan and never reach the limit.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Bryan Faulkner

      I’ve been with Sprint for more than a decade, and am happy with them. I’m also on a plan with my sister and brother-in-law, so jumping ship would mean we would all have to agree, and I just don’t see that happening anyways.

      Reply
  • Avatar of Marc Dunn

    Let me set you guys straight really quick… I had the Og EVO and the 3d, I also would carry around a pocket full of batteries. The LTevo has a nonremovable battery and that was a turn off for someone like me. Trust me, this battery is so good It’s not a disadvantage. This thing goes longer than any phone battery I’ve ever seen. Three months later and I still haven’t purchased the battery packs that I originally intended to. The S3 has 2gb of ram and that is It’s only advantage. I hate to recommend Sammy over an EVO but if you are going to have this phone for a long time you should go with the S3 for double the ram. It’ll be more future proof in the long run.

    Reply
  • Just curious – what are you planning to do with your current phone once you get your new one?

    Reply
    • Avatar of Bryan Faulkner

      Very good question, and one I don’t have an answer too, even though I have thought about it.

      Reply
  • Avatar of D. Stroya

    I had an OG Evo and switched to an S3. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

    Reply
    • Avatar of DroGs3

      I went from the evo 4g to the 3d to the Gs3 on verizon and it’s def the best move I could have made. I get lte everywhere I go and I don’t live in a major city.

      Reply
  • I have the HTC EVO 4G LTE and bought it the day it was released from customs (thanks Apple). I pushed to get this right away because my Evo 4G screen broke and was using an old LG Optimus S for 3 weeks. I learned the hard way that HTC Sense is a zillion times better than stock Android in that time (at least over 2.3). Now that Jelly Bean and ICS are out, it isn’t as big a deal. Thinking back on it, had I been able too, I might have waited for the Galaxy S III. Here is why:

    – HTC has locked down this phone past HBOOT 1.12 to stop you from getting S-OFF. If you plan to root this and then obtain S-OFF, you are going to have to (at least right now) soft-brick your phone

    – You can unlock the bootloader through HTC DEV, albeit you are wiping your warranty. The DEVs have figured out ways to flash new Kernels and Radios using scripts when flashing ROMs through TWRP, but it is a pain that even has to occur

    – Samsung seems poised to release Jelly Bean for the S III. There has been zero word of when Jelly Bean will be released for the HTC Evo 4G LTE. As a matter of fact, most announcements from HTC mention the HTC One X as getting it, but not the Evo which is essentially the same phone.

    I have played with the SIII and it just “feels” so much faster than the Evo. But then again it has TouchWiz, which I hate.

    Also of note on the Evo, the battery lasts forever. I can have heavy use on the phone daily and still have 30-40% left on battery from 7am til about 11pm at night. This is only this way since I moved to MeanROM (located over at XDA). Running stock I would sometimes need to charge around 7-8pm.

    The one thing I have heard, but haven’t verified myself, is that there is a LOT more ROM, KERNEL, and MOD development occurring for the SIII than the Evo 4G. There aren’t many good ROMs to choose from.

    Hope that helps. I am not complaining about my Evo, but hindsight is 20/20. PS – That kickstand is awesome on long flights.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Bryan Faulkner

      Lots of good info in there, thanks. I still have lots of research to do :)

      Reply
  • Avatar of Doug Culp

    Still on my EVO 4G and can’t even think about upgrading till June (slumps down). It’s a bummer, but I’m excited to see where the tech will be in another 8 months!

    Reply
  • Avatar of hisuwh

    The samsung galaxy range all seem really good to me. Though I can’t really recommend them over the evo as I have no experience with that

    Reply
  • Avatar of Robert

    I got the ogEVO when it 1st came out. It was my 1st smart phone and I loved the hell out of it. I planned on keeping it as a spare/video player for the kids. I did my research before I got the EVO but it was a new world. I just went off of specs and I got lucky. I liked flashing onto an asop rom, but always went back to a sense based one. When the LTE was announced I was excited since it seemed like a true successor to the EVO. I like the look of the S3 and my friends like theirs. The main thing the EVOLTE has over the S3 I think is the camera with the hardware button. I have a 32gb card in it. Battery is good with me. I use my phone all the time and unless I’m streaming all day, I can go a day with charging it. I can get over 8 hours on a singe charge with very heavy use. Plus the kickstand is great.
    The S3 looks great though, and it does have 2gb ram. The note 2 is coming soon, but you have a tablet so it may be moot.

    Reply

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