Need opinions re: trying out Android (not what you think)

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by KentuckyHouse, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. KentuckyHouse macrumors 68020

    KentuckyHouse

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Lexington, KY.
    #1
    I've been using an iPhone in one iteration or another since my 3GS (I now have the 4S). I got the 4S using my upgrade through AT&T and I couldn't be happier with it, so this isn't something where I'm thinking about jumping ship to Android. I've just realized that, since I've never experienced Android through more than messing with phones at an AT&T store, I don't know much about it.

    This is where some of you come in. I know there are more than a few members here who have both iOS devices and Android devices. I'm thinking about picking up an Android handset (either new or used, but I'd prefer to keep the amount of money spent to a minimum since this is more of an experiment). This is totally a learning experience for me...I really just want to get to know Android better, since I feel like I've got a great grasp on iOS (my 3GS was jailbroken for most of the 2 years I owned it, so I know what the iPhone is capable of when not a completely closed OS).

    I've been looking around on both Craigslist and eBay, and while I know what a few of the latest handsets are (AT&T-only), I'm a bit lost. Here's my questions...

    1. If you were in my position, which Android handsets would you be looking at? Why?

    2. What sort of pricing should I expect? In looking at the SGSII, it seems I could get a new one for somewhere around $350-$400. The Infuse 4G comes in a bit lower at $250-$300. Are there any other ones I should be looking at? Keep in mind that I'm not in an area that has 4G coverage, so that's not a major concern (that the phone have that capability).

    3. I hear people talk about "vanilla Android" and things like "Touchwiz", which I gather is some sort of "overlay" or theme that either handset makers or carriers put on the phones. I'm assuming "vanilla Android" is the pure form of Android without these themes? For someone in my position, who's trying to learn the OS, do these things matter?

    4. Finally, I'm sure I'd be interested in rooting whatever I get at some point. Are there any specifics that I need to know about an individual handset or OS that should figure into this? I've looked at Android forums here and there, but honestly, it's either like reading Greek (because I'm not versed in the OS or handsets) or listening to a bunch of 15-year old boys talk about something (I can't read what people are talking about when "thy tlk lyk this"). :p

    Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated. Oh, and if you're wondering where this curiosity came from...my dad is about to upgrade from a 3G to an Android handset and he's not the most technologically gifted person in the world. I usually have to guide him through things. So I figured I'd better become well-read on that OS if he's gonna be calling me for advice. LOL. :D
     
  2. dmusicman385 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
    Location:
    New York
    #2
    Man do I wish I had your money to spend lol. Android is a waste of money in my opinion. I tried evo 4g (I'm sprint so couldnt get iphone till 4s) and it was horrible. awful phone. so much potential, such an epic fail.
     
  3. Yumunum macrumors 65816

    Yumunum

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.
    #3
    I was writing a ton in my response, but I gave up...

    Android's a mess. Vanilla Android is Android without any skins/modifications. Almost every Android phone is REALLY poorly supported, if supported at all. "Nexus" devices are devices that Google made with a partner manufacture, that have no modifications, and they actually get updates (not always right on time, but pretty close compared to other devices)

    Buy a Nexus S because it's insanely cheap now, you'll actually get updates for maybe about a year, and... It has a lot of support from developers. For a phone to get all sorts of custom ROM/rooting, there needs to be developers who own the phone, and the Nexus S is a vanilla Google/Android phone, so it's kinda been the big kahuna.

    Typing this brings up bad memories of my terrible experiences with Android. I've had 4 (what used to be) high-end devices. Idk. If you have the cash to blow, do what I said. I hope your questions were answered in my brief response.
     
  4. TM WAZZA macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Location:
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    #4
    If you're gonna get Android get a high end one otherwise you'll be disappointed.

    I would get a Galaxy Nexus
     
  5. k.i.t.t.o. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2008
    #5
    1. Well, to start with, most mid to low end Android phones are no good whatsoever. They're either too slow because they don't have enough (or properly utilize) RAM/processing power/memory, etc. If you grab one of those, it's going to absolutely soil the experience. The best way to go would be with a decent high end phone that knows what it's doing.

    2. That depends:

    a) If your budget is of concern, then I'm sure you can pick up a decent high end handset from yesteryear for a fair price. Nexus S, htc EVO, Droid X, etc. Those are all quite old by today's standards, but each pack enough power to offer you a great Android experience without blowing a hole in your wallet. I had a Droid X for a full year before I got my 4S. Great solid phone for its time.

    b) If your budget isn't a concern, you can't go wrong with the Galaxy Nexus, htc Rezound, or Motorola Droid RAZR. The Samsung Galaxy S II is a fantastic phone, but it's a bit older compared to those listed. In fact, the RAZR was just released on 11/11, the Rezound is due this Monday, and the Nexus is coming in a week or so.

    3. Yep, that's pretty much it. In your position, I'd definitely go for vanilla Android since it's the pure Android user interface that Google intended. Most manufacturers tend to miss more than hit with their themes - for example, Samsung's Touch Wiz UI is abysmally unintuitive compared to htc's pleasant and simple Sense UI. Motorola's Blur used to be clunky (and still kinda is, from what I've seen) but it's improved since the 2.3 Gingerbread firmware update

    4. From my experience, rooting is only worth it if your device is actually popular enough to garner devs to work on it. My old Droid X was (and still is) a fairly popular phone, so I had no trouble finding different roms and themes for it. I knew someone with a Cliq and it was a "meh" mid-range phone at best. When I went about finding something for him to tinker with, the landscape for that device was almost completely barren.
     
  6. KentuckyHouse thread starter macrumors 68020

    KentuckyHouse

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Lexington, KY.
    #6
    Wow, I didn't think I'd get most of the information I'd need in 3 or 4 responses, but you guys did a great job of answering my questions. Thank you!

    I'd never considered the Nexus S. I guess since it's one of the older phones it just never crossed my mind, but I'll definitely give that a look. And, logically, I would think you guys are correct, that a vanilla Android experience would be best for learning how the OS works. And I only mentioned rooting since I'm curious about it as well, but it's not something I would necessarily do. I'd rather get the basics down first before trying my hand at it.

    As far as money goes...LOL...it's not like I'm rich or something. It's just that I've found myself more and more interested in this sort of technology over the last couple of years, so it's something that really piques my interests AND I'm always looking to learn something new, so this is a great chance to do that.

    I'm trying not to have any preconceived notions going in. That's not easy when you're a member here! But, as I stated earlier, this isn't going to replace my 4S...it's just a supplemental phone to help me learn what Android's all about in a real-world environment.

    Just so I'm clear on this, I want to make sure I've got it right. Since I've got a 4S through AT&T, if I get an Android handset (obviously one that would work on AT&T), all I'd have to do is put the sim card from my 4S in the Android handset and that's it? Nothing would change as far as my contract goes (I've got the 4S unlimited plan). I also realize I'd need a microsim adapter, since I don't believe Android handsets use microsims, correct?

    Again, thanks for the great info, guys! I really appreciate the help!
     
  7. 1rottenapple macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    #7
    If your an ios user for several years, android would be a hard transition. I know I tried using an android for two weeks (after my iphone 4)... Mind you I've had an iphone since my 1st gen iphone. Its a transition that was difficult to make since the android os reminds me a lot of a windows philisophy with their strong preference of using a back button and a menu button. its just weird, didn't like the OS and its bugs, and the poor battery life. Like android forums say you have to turn off apps, blah blah blah to get it to last. DUDE ITS A PHONE you shouldn't have to turn off apps on a constant basis to get it to last during an 8 hr work day!!!
     
  8. k.i.t.t.o. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2008
    #8
    Oh you're on AT&T? Then I'd definitely recommend the Nexus S then, as the Galaxy Nexus will only be available on Verizon for a little while. And yeah, I hear ya about the sudden interest in technology thing. A couple of years ago when I had a dumbphone, I was completely uninterested in anything related to tech. Then I got the original iPhone and suddenly I'm on here, I'm on Gizmodo, Engadget, etc. When I got my Droid X I found myself frequently on Android sites looking for the coolest things to do with the phone. And now that I have the iPhone 4S I'm back on here, TUAW, etc.

    Well, I'm not on AT&T (my old iPhone was jailbroken for T-Mobile), but if you guys are still using regular sim cards then that should do it. You might have to call them to deactivate the iPhone, though. Anything on your contract shouldn't be affected unless you explicitly decide to change your data plan to a tiered one. But I'd speak to a rep just to be sure.
     

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