In this space just two weeks ago, I wrote a story about the tragic drowning death of my old Samsung Rant cell phone. The Other Half was doing laundry, and I had left the two-and-a-half year-old phone in my cargo pants. This in itself was not a tragedy. We'd been holding out for news on the iPhone 5, thinking that when it finally comes out, it will knock the iPhone 4 down to the cheap price. We were looking into switching out of Sprint and onto either Verizon or AT&T. Until laundry day. [Story continues below]
It turns out, that we were leaving for the weekend, the next day. And following that, The Other Half was going to be gone for several days. I knew that I would be without a phone for 5+ days, if I didn't pick a new phone right away. So, we went to the Sprint store, and browsed while we waited. I knew I was going to get a Google Android phone, the closest thing to an iPhone that Sprint carries. But there are quite a few Android phones, by LG, HTC, and Samsung, and in entry-level, mid-range and high-end versions.
I fiddled around with them for a while to get a feel for the differences. The Kyocero Echo with two screens was certainly nifty. But what I wanted to keep from my lowly old Rant phone was the slide-out keyboard. Sure, the on-screen ones are serviceable (and I still haven't learned what "Swype" is, really), but I like the tactile keys. So, it was down to the Samsung Transform ($99) or Samsung Epic 4G ($149). I frankly barely noticed the Popular HTC Evo phones. . .and there's even one with a keyboard. Ultimately, I opted for the cheaper phone. It looked nice, it was a dramatic step up, and the price was fine.
Oh, but then I got it home. At first, I had a blast playing with it. Downloading apps, customizing it. But, wait, why doesn't Angry Birds play on the Transform? I looked it up, and well, it just doesn't. But the new Angry Birds Rio did work, so I was mollified. The game is fun and addictive, but also slow and glitchy. Hey, it's a phone, not a game platform, deal with it, right? But the more I read about the Transform, the more regret I started to feel. It's not that the Transform sucks, it doesn't. As a phone alone, or a texting device, it's terrific.
At the Sprint store, I played around with the phones again. The Epic 4G was there, looking gorgeous. It has a "Super AMOLED" screen, which is meaningless to me, except that it's made of awesome. Very clear, very colorful. . .it's like going from regular to HDTV. The full QWERTY keyboard has features that are both better than, and less than the Transform's. The Transform had a dedicated "@" key, and a dedicated "?" key. Both phones have an accessible ".com" key. Most importantly, the Epic 4G has a row of dedicated number keys. Awesome.
But I didn't jump too quickly. I checked out the HTC Evo 4G, and it looked nice. It even has a slightly larger screen than the Epic. But I really wanted the dedicated keyboard. HTC also makes an Evo Shift 4G with a keyboard, but its smaller, less brilliant screen loses instantly to the Epic. So I got it, even with the $35 restocking fee.
My friend Dona tells a story, about purchasing a refrigerator. She had the option of buying one without an ice maker, or the same model for $100 more with an ice maker. She said, "For $100, I can make ice!" And fifteen years later, she was still making ice! And hating her decision. That's what motivated me to trade up, even with the extra cost. I'm going to have this phone for at least two years. I didn't want to start out those two years being disappointed. In that span of time, there are bound to be better, more whiz-tastic phones. Apple will undoubtedly be out with the iPhone 6 by the time I even start looking again. I might as well start out loving my phone, and not feeling like I made a mistake.
When The Other Half finally trades his Rant in for something new, we'll already have a lot of hands-on experience with both of these Samsung phones. I already have the knowledge that if a phone is $50 more, but wayyy better? Buy it. But when he's ready, and he gets a better phone than the Epic? Well, then I'll be back here whining again!