iPhone vs. Evo: on usability, dropped calls and carrier choice

iPhone vs. Evo: on usability, dropped calls and carrier choice

Summary: A reader gives us his take on the Evo v. iPhone debate and how the Android loses on crashes and usability but wins in the dopped calls department -- because it doesn't have any.

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A guest blog from an Apple Core reader that asked to remain anonymous, responding to my first look at the Evo 4G, published on Thursday June 3, 2010.

I bought an EVO the other day but kept my 3GS to run my own comparisons.  You've missed the biggest advantage of the EVO over the iPhone 3GS -- no dropped calls. I can't go an hour on the iPhone without a dropped call. Haven't had a single once since using the EVO. That is a fantastic advantage.

However, this is where you and I part ways.  In most other ways I prefer using the iPhone.  Everything is better integrated and it's simply more comfortable carrying and operating the iPhone.  Sticking the EVO next to my head reminds me of the early days of the cell phone when there were big bricks.  This sucker is large -- too large.  Then again, I don't consider my phone a wonderful option for watching video for long periods of time.  If I need to watch something on the go, the 3GS is good enough.

Also, I'm not so into Google as the center of my scheduling and contact needs.  The MobileMe feature on the iPhone is a better option in my opinion because, once again, iTunes integrates everything with my Mac in one fell swoop.  It's a thing of beauty.  With Evo, my Contacts, Calendar, Music, Photos, and Videos don't all sync in such a simple and straightforward fashion.

Let's put it this way: I'm far more of a techie than my wife and mom. I'm willing to put up with a few extra buttons and settings. But these ladies have NO tolerance for anything even remotely non-intuitive.

You may think "the war is over" but folks like my wife and mom (who are massive fans of all things simplistic) won't be switching anytime soon.  And they'd just as soon stick with their flip phones than jump on board Android and Windows.  They love The Steve's view on software and hardware: Brain dead simplicity.

And I haven't touched on the Apps themselves.  While I get dropped calls on AT&T and my iPhone, I never have crashes.

In only a few days, my EVO has asked me to "force quit" numerous times.  I wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary and these were with apps that came with the hardware.  This was a far cry from what I'm used to expect from anything coming out of Cupertino.

So, if "no dropped calls" is the main focus, EVO wins.  But for the non-techie PDA consumer, I don't think the EVO is going to soar as high as you do.

Here's what I wrote back:

That's a fair and accurate assessment.

I showed my Evo to my techie wife and she hated it. I wrote that off to learning curve (everything is difficult the first time).

Then I had to loan my HTC Incredible to my cousin when the battery died on his iPhone. Two hours later he was (sort of) trained. So I hear you.

At the end of the day competition makes both platforms better and the consumer wins.

I just wish that Apple would stop dissing Google and that they'd kiss and make up so that the iPhone would get Google Maps (for real) and some of the other Google goodness. Then it would be the best of both worlds.

For the record, I haven't had any "force quits" (that I'm aware of) on my Evo 4G to date, although Qik has been a little wonky in my video call testing.

He later emailed again to say:

A day (and an iPhone 4 announcement) later, my decision to return the EVO haunts me. Dropped calls galore on my 3GS.  Still not a one on my EVO. I need to decide:  Am I a professional Realtor who needs a reliable telephone first...or a boy who would love to have a gyroscope for awesome gaming and a super thin and durable thing of absolute beauty that runs my mobile office effortlessly.

Damn Apple for sticking with AT&T. I truly hate them for this. It's like if Microsoft only let people play the Xbox on TVs connected to the worst local cable provider.

Oh yeah, and I still really don't like carrying the EVO around in my pocket.  Way too big for my comfort level. By contrast, hardly am aware of 3GS.  Love that about it.

Good analogy about the carrier issue too. With Apple, you're stuck with AT&T. If you want another carrier you're going to be using Android or something else. Did Apple renew AT&T's exclusive contract for the iPhone? If so, I'm guessing it's because AT&T is the only carrier that would agree to pay Apple's commission. What else could it be?

I can see how a single domestic carrier could be good for Apple's bottom line, but I can't see how locking customers into one abysmal carrier is good for customers.

Topics: Hardware, iPhone, Laptops, Mobility

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51 comments
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  • us of a

    well jason outside of your home of the brave there is a world and on these carriers the iphone doesn't drop any calls. second apple didn't diss goggle, it is quiet a bit the other way around (remember I/O?). and no jason, everything is not difficult the first time. the ipod isn't, the ipad isn't and the iphone neither (hint: that's why they are so successful).<br><br>i know, i know the fundamental approach of usability that apple is executing with all their products is quiet hard for geeks to wrap their heads around. they love empty bullet points on a feature list much better. look. it has a 4.3" screen! (yes, it's a brick and defies the whole concept of portability of a phone, but it has a bigger screen!). and jason, the little wonky on your video call testing is a full blown disaster. have a look here:<br><a href="http://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-gadgeteer/hands-on-video-chat-on-sprint-htc-evo-4g-using-qik-and-fring/3363?tag=content;search-results-rivers" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.zdnet.com/blog/mobile-gadgeteer/hands-on-video-chat-on-sprint-htc-evo-4g-using-qik-and-fring/3363?tag=content;search-results-rivers</a><br><br>best quote: "After many failed attempts, which included random crashes, hanging, audio and no video, and just about every other combination you can think of, we managed to squeak out some test calls."<br><br>and by the way, how is the battery life on your iphone killer?
    banned from zdnet
    • It's all relative

      @banned from zdnet <br><i> look. it has a 4.3" screen! (yes, it's a brick and defies the whole concept of portability of a phone, but it has a bigger screen!). </i><br><br>Let me rephrase that as an HTC Touch Diamond user talking to an iPhone user:<br><i> look. it has a 3.5" screen! (yes, it's a brick and defies the whole concept of portability of a phone, but it has a bigger screen!).</i><br><br><b>YOU</b> have a brick. :)

      Cue the double standards...
      NonZealot
      • HTC Touch Diamond is thicker and EVO is **WAY** bigger than iPhone 4

        @NonZealot: so your analogy is <b>LAME</b>
        DDERSSS
      • @denisrs

        These are the comparisons that have been going on for nearly 2 years now (since the Diamond came out). iPhone 4 isn't out yet so it isn't relevant. Besides, while it might be a tiny sliver thinner, it still takes up far more room in the pocket. Try fitting an 8.5X11 piece of paper in your pocket without folding it. You can't do it even though the paper is thin, thin, thin!

        I'm [b]LAUGHING[/b] at the stupidity of an iPhone owner calling anything else a brick considering that the iPhone isn't a small phone either. Like I said, it's all relative and you would have realized that if your vision weren't so impaired from Apple's RDF.

        iPhone is a [b]brick[/b]. Deal with it. :)
        NonZealot
      • RE: iPhone vs. Evo: on usability, dropped calls and carrier choice

        @NonZealot Do we [i]really[/i] have to go into the whole portability thing again? The iPhone is bigger by 1/8" on width and height than your Diamond, about the same thickness, and maybe 1/2 ounce heavier... hardly a brick and hardly "barely portable" unless one has the relative strength of a newborn.

        Sounds like the Double Standards are already cued...
        athynz
      • RE: iPhone vs. Evo: on usability, dropped calls and carrier choice

        @athynz: actually Touch Diamond is visibly thicker than iPhone 4 (2 mms)
        DDERSSS
      • RE: iPhone vs. Evo: on usability, dropped calls and carrier choice

        @NonZealot <br><br>This seems to be the iphone's biggest <a href="http://www.trsohbet.com">sohbet</a> complaint and Apple does appear to be ignoring it. I guess people are complaining and buying the iphone anyway- and complaining some more. OTOH, Multiple carrier options might cut subsidies for the phone to the point where it might cost hundreds more.<br><br>Also, I wonder how bad the dropped call issue really is with <a href="http://www.trsohbet.com">chat</a>. I have had one for over a year and had maybe 2 dropped calls. And don't know if the problem was with my phone or the other person's phone as it doesn't say "dropped call" or anything like that on the screen- it just <a href="http://www.trsohbet.com/portal">portal</a> disconnected like if I hit the end call button by accident. <br><br>Now I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but if it was really as bad as the haters say it is than I would have expect more than 2 drops in 15 months. Maybe <a href="http://www.forumuz.net">forum</a> is dependant on the area? I am in North Jersey near NYC.
        cstrathmore
      • RE: iPhone vs. Evo: on usability, dropped calls and carrier choice

        @NonZealot <br><br>Excellent post, distilling some thoughts and concepts which have been brewing for quite sometime. Whether Social CRM belongs under the E20 umbrella, if you will, is not as important as solving business problems. <a href="http://www.arabaoyunlarimiz.gen.tr/yemek-oyunlari/">yemek oyunlari</a> <a href="http://www.arabaoyunlarimiz.gen.tr/ameliyat-oyunlari/">ameliyat oyunlari</a>
        RahinBen
    • RE: iPhone vs. Evo: on usability, dropped calls and carrier choice

      @banned from zdnet
      I really wish posts in these talkbacks were less insecure posturing and more substantive analysis. I guess it really boils down to the fact that most people who don't feel some defensive need to justify their own existance tend to lurk rather than attention-whore post "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! SEE HOW SMART MY CHOICES ARE! YOU MUST AGREE!"

      Is it so hard to see that no one device is right for all? That the best devices find a balance for a segment of the market and cover that segment's needs first-and-foremost, and try to branch out to other segments as possible without denaturing the very attributes that caused them success with their initial segment(s)?

      I am super glad that there is an iPhone, and for my wife and a few of her friends it is absolutely the best device. It is hard to argue with Apple's feel for intuitive UI, and for locking down configuration and setup decisions that 95% of their userbase has no need or desire to touch. That it is not the right device for me does not prevent me from seeing that it IS right for others.

      For some of my friends in the IT world, Android is clearly the better OS and there are a plethora of different device configurations from which they can choose. For the technophile and engineering-type, it is hard to argue with the possibilities in the Android phones and the control you can exert over the configuration of them. Unless, of course, you happen to be on AT&T, where the best hardware is not paired with Android (at least currently).

      I'm also glad that there are other options out there and coming. Windows Phone Series 7 seems to have some glaring problems with their original segment, which hopefully MS can rectify, but I have no doubt that these new phones will find a niche of their own.

      RIM will continue to drive the business user, especially if MS does continue forward with it's consumer-pivoted approach. Symbian seems to have a place as well, although I have not really explored the strengths of that platform.

      I am actually phone shopping right now. Because my wife, her family, and our friends are on AT&T, and because my wife loves her iPhone, I will need to stay on AT&T. I think that I'm going to pick up a Pre Plus - and I hope that HP does push the Palm and WebOS brands forward in the smartphone arena because it is probably the best alternative UI to iOS, and because it has great potential to be a strong player.

      The bottom line is that more competition means better products. If you have only one brand, there is no innovation. If you have only two brands, the innovation tends to be tunnel-vision between them and tangent thinking doesn't occur. Think of the browser wars between netscape and ie; there really wasn't a lot of tangent innovative thinking (just faster rendering or better js compatibility, etc) until some other players (Opera with tabs, for example) came along. When you have 3 or 4 strong players all vying for different segments of the market, then you have real innovation that will get everyone the right device for them.

      I guess if you own stock in Apple or Google or MS, or you are paid by them, then you have a good reason to post biased gibberish to attack all other options. But for the rest of us, we're glad we have the choice.
      RedRoman
      • other options

        @RedRoman
        i don't attack other options, i attack the biased drivel by jason here. yes, i agree android is for geeks and IT types. and i wouldn't take the pre plus (there are rumors that hp will discontinue all palm phones). rather take a nice htc (other than that battery sucking brick evo though).
        banned from zdnet
      • RE: iPhone vs. Evo: on usability, dropped calls and carrier choice

        @banned

        you attack it with even more sycophantic apple apologist nonsense.

        It's funny, but I'm on at&t and I haven't lost a call once, perhaps it's the fact that I don't have an iPhone.. hmm..
        thatroom
      • RE: iPhone vs. Evo: on usability, dropped calls and carrier choice

        @RedRoman

        Where does Idaho rank? We have been living in Montana for the past 5 years and I am not supri<a href=http://www.hipersexshop.com.br>sexy shop</a>to find it #3 on the "worst" list. Considering a<a href=http://www.hipersexshop.com.br>sexshop</a>move to Idaho to escapthe high cost of living a low income in MT. There may not be a sales tax here but they get you if you own property!
        filhomarques
    • A couple thoughts on Verizon... [I hate the new Talkback]

      A couple thoughts on Verizon: first of all, if you switch to Verizon, you're stuck with Verizon. Your phone is also completely useless if you decide you don't want to stick with Verizon. You can't unlock a CDMA phone like you do GSM. So if Apple had released an iPhone for Verizon and you wanted to switch to Sprint, you can't. You're stuck on Verizon for ever with that phone even if Apple didn't have a contract; you'd have to buy a brand new iPhone [i]just[/i] for Sprint. If you were dissatisfied with Sprint and wanted to use MetroPCS, you can't. You have to buy a brand new iPhone [i]just[/i] for MetroPCS. AT&T is horrible, but you can at least unlock a GSM phone and use it on any other GSM carrier.

      Secondly, I doubt very much Verizon's infrastructure would hold up any better than AT&T's if they had all the iPhones on it. The iPhone alone makes up for 55% of [b]all[/b] web traffic from all smart phones. Think about that for a minute.

      Third, good luck using a CDMA phone outside of the U.S. Yes, there's limited support, but realistically, the rest of the world uses GSM. GSM is also convenient because you can buy SIMs like you do calling cards, so you can avoid roaming charges. Verizon's "world phone" is simply both a GSM phone and CDMA phone in one package. You use the GSM part when visiting the rest of the planet.

      Apple really needs to stop being tied to AT&T, but the CDMA carriers need to be pressured into allowing phones to change carriers.
      olePigeon
      • thanks, a voice of reason ...

        @olePigeon <br>in this crazy apple hating att sucks, verizon is great meme on the IT doofus sites like zdnet. you can't even receive data while having a phone call on verizon. wow, that's a network!
        banned from zdnet
      • Know Before You Speak!

        @olePigeon "You can't unlock a CDMA phone like you do GSM."

        Actually, you can do better and flash the OS in the ROM. Getting it on another carrier can be a problem as MEID have to accepted by the carrier or illegally faked.

        Of course, with only one current 4G provider, what's the point when they are also the least expensive data provider? Tiered pricing on mobile data is for dummy lemmings, which of the latter there is an abundance as the iPhone confirms.
        brianpeterson@...
    • Battery In All Other Phones Much Superior to whyPhoney, Thank You!

      @banned from zdnet "and by the way, how is the battery life on your iphone killer?"

      It's actually field replaceable! A concept that has been in all phones I have used since 1989! I wonder when SJ will announce this as a feature? He will have to if Apple ever does a 4G phone, which will be a year away minimum on AT&T. The battery on the EVO, especially on 3G, will easily go all day. If you do turn all the radios on (4G, WiFi, BT, GPS), and use the EVO continuously, you will (and you can!) replace the battery every 3 to 4 hours. RAther trivial compared the the whyPhoney's non solutions. Piggybacks went out in 1995, and that was for data on the old Motorolas.
      brianpeterson@...
  • Too bad we can't choose the carrier ourselves.

    This seems to be the iphone's biggest complaint and Apple does appear to be ignoring it. I guess people are complaining and buying the iphone anyway- and complaining some more. OTOH, Multiple carrier options might cut subsidies for the phone to the point where it might cost hundreds more.

    Also, I wonder how bad the dropped call issue really is with the iphone. I have had one for over a year and had maybe 2 dropped calls. And don't know if the problem was with my phone or the other person's phone as it doesn't say "dropped call" or anything like that on the screen- it just disconnected like if I hit the end call button by accident.

    Now I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but if it was really as bad as the haters say it is than I would have expect more than 2 drops in 15 months. Maybe it is dependant on the area? I am in North Jersey near NYC.
    Tigertank
    • RE: iPhone vs. Evo: on usability, dropped calls and carrier choice

      @Tigertank
      Well since US mobile smart phones are locked to a specific carrier based on Radio CDMA vs GSM and Data frequencies, based on this you can not have a smart phone and go between US Carriers.
      mrlinux
    • Apple admits it is a HUGE problem

      @Tigertank
      Apple has admitted that iPhone drops 30 percent of its calls. I'd say that is a fairly serious problem.

      [i] I have had one for over a year and had maybe 2 dropped calls.[/i]

      I've used Windows for 15 years and haven't gotten hit with any malware. Therefore, I don't believe that malware is a problem on Windows.

      Cue the double standards...
      NonZealot
      • RE: iPhone vs. Evo: on usability, dropped calls and carrier choice

        @NonZealot LOL! Are you still seriously bringing out this previously debunked issue?

        [b]Apple has admitted that iPhone drops 30 percent of its calls. I'd say that is a fairly serious problem.[/b]

        It was ONE phone in ONE city - get over it. I'm not saying it did not happen but you use this one example as some sort of proof that all iPhones have this issue and you could not be any more incorrect. I for one have had 3 dropped calls in the entire time I have owned my iPhone. 3 total. Unlike my WM device which ran on Sprint where I dropped 3 calls a week or my VZW BB where I drop a call a week.
        athynz