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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Next Great Phone: Samsung Galaxy S-IV or HTC One?

My poor, dead, crushed Samsung Epic 4G
I've chronicled my evolution from luddite to flip-phone to dumb phone to smart phone, and now it's time for the next phase: state-of-the-art smart phone. See, last time we upgraded phones (after a little trial and error), we ended up with pretty nice phones, the Samsung Epic 4G. But it was toward the end of its life cycle as a product. Last summer, I accidentally killed mine, and ended up temporarily replacing it with an HTC Evo 4G, which I came to like better, but it's basically the same age, both having been produced in 2010. In that time, the Epic--also known as a Galaxy S phone--has been replaced twice, and a third sequel is set to debut this week.  By contrast, the Apple iPhone 3GS is the same age as our phones.

Because of random calamities, our two phones are due for a new contract in different months, March and May, with mine ready now. But I can't just get a phone now, unless I want to repeat the cycle of buying an almost instantly obsolete phone, and keeping it for two years. We've decided that the upfront expense of a flashy new phone is worth the price over the span of two years. So, I'm waiting. And I'm very glad I did, though I'm not sure which of the exciting new offerings I'm going to go for.

The gorgeous back of the HTC One, from Engadget
Already announced is the HTC One, a logical replacement for my HTC Evo, which I've already grown accustomed to. There is no doubt that the phone itself is gorgeous (as these things go), made out of a block of aluminum. It's got twin speakers. It has a nice curved back that looks like it would palm well. And to me, it just looks a hell of a lot more interesting than the iPhone's by now blah looks. It has the Android Jellybean interface, and likely will upgrade to Key Lime Pie when that becomes available. And it uses HTC's "Sense" interface along with Android, something I'm also familiar with. But, you can't take the back off, meaning I can't buy extra batteries or change the memory out. As something of a techie, that would be kind of irritating. I'm used to messing with shit!

The alleged new Samsung Galaxy S-IV, from ExtremeTech
The other option is the Samsung Galaxy S-IV (or S4). While this phone is highly anticipated, nothing about it has been 100% confirmed. It's having a big "coming out" party this Thursday, and that's one of the most highly anticipated events in techno-geekdom at the moment. A big bucket of cold water was thrown on the geeks today though, if my internet feelers are reading things correctly. An alleged leak of  photos and video of the new phone have cropped up everywhere, and it's. . .underwhelming. It's enormous, unless the Chinese dude's hands are small. It has a rather ugly back cover, and a same ol', same ol' face (though really, that's a fairly blank area anyway). I don't really know what I (and the internet) was expecting, but it wasn't this.

All that said, the unofficial leak could be just that, unofficial. And the fact that Samsung hasn't come out and shut it down could mean either it is the real deal, or that the real thing will so blow the fake out of the water, it's worth staying mum over. Who knows. Well, we all will soon. But as it stands now, I'm leaning heavily toward HTC, having already had the experience of comparing the same generation offerings from both companies. If Samsung's presentation is a wowser though, they could definitely win me over.

Complicating matters is the fact that we have Sprint as a carrier, and because of our plan and a corporate discount, it would be unwise to switch. But Sprint had an anemic 4G LTE network, and there is ridiculously scant news about it implementation. So any new 4G phone is going to be hobbled out of the box, with no indication of when the service will be up and running. And, it isn't clear when either the HTC or the Samsung are going to be released by Sprint! Such first-world problems, I know. It'll all sort out, and we'll be lusting over the next big thing after a few months. And I'm sure the iPhone 5S and 6 will both turn up the lust again.

Find out more about the HTC One at: Engadget
Find out (allegedly) more about the Samsung Galaxy S-IV at: ExtremeTech

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