Which phone should I choose?

I have to get a new cell phone.

For the past two-and-a-half years, I have been using a Motorola Razr phone on a Verizon plan with my husband. He had a gray Razr for two years, then switched to a Blackberry. Even after our original contract expired, we stayed on Verizon, so I just kept my phone, which is pink. At the time when I bought it, I thought the pink was fun, if a little Paris Hilton-ish. Now it’s pink but all chipped and scratched, so it looks pretty bad.  Also the little round button that you press to send text messages or to control most of the phone’s operations fell off about a year ago, so you have to use your fingernail to press really hard to make it work. And the screen on the front is all cracked, like a windshield on a beater car.  But up until about a month ago, it worked just fine, so I didn’t worry about it.

Now, good old Pinky is starting to act up, and that’s All Bad.

It’s All Bad for a couple of reasons. First, as a person who derives all of her income from freelancing, I tend to use my cell phone a lot. Of course, it was intended for personal use, and I certainly make plenty of personal calls on it. But I also use it a fair amount for work. I conduct almost all my interviews by phone, and I’d say that I use my cell phone for about half of them–sometimes more, but it depends. However, I routinely give out my cell phone number as my primary number to most sources. That way, they get voicemail for me, not for my whole family. So for work reasons, I really need to have a good, working phone and to be easily accessible. That goes for both my clients and my sources.

Secondly, as I’ve mentioned about a million times recently, I’m pregnant. Let’s just say that it might be a bad idea for me to be running errands, taking my son back and forth to preschool, and doing whatever I’m doing without access to a phone. When you’re as far along as I am, you need to be able to call all your people and say, “I’m in labor!” as soon as possible. I need to be able to reach someone to take charge of William so that I can go to the hospital, and I need to be able to reach my husband and tell him to meet me there. It may not take as long to get this little guy born as it did with his brother, so time is of the essence.

Another important thing to note about my current phone:  it’s not a smartphone so I can’t use it for email or anything like that, which has been a major drawback. I do have an iPod Touch, which I can use for Internet access but only in places with free wifi. If you’ve ever wondered why I’m such a big fan of places like Panera, well, I will freely admit that yes, I do love their muffins and their sandwiches, but I love their free wifi nearly as much. But not every place has free wifi. And unfortunately, the free wifi at some places isn’t exactly reliable and easily accessible all the time (why, yes, Borders, I’m looking at you. You might want to get on that.).

So, yes, I need to get a new phone. And soon. The most likely candidates at this point are a Droid Eris and an iPhone. I really do want a smartphone so I can easily access my email from almost anywhere; I communicate with many of my clients and sources via email, and it would make my life infinitely easier if I could check email often without having to go someplace special or buy pastries to do it.  Once, I actually had to call my mother at work and ask her to check my email for me to see if I’d gotten an important message from a potential client. Gah. Granted, that was before I got the iPod Touch, but still.

The thing is, I’m really undecided. Because I do have an iPod Touch, I’m accustomed to using that format, and it doesn’t bother me not to have a separate keyboard if I chose an iPhone. But I worry about the AT&T network being less desirable than Verizon, with which we’ve had very good luck. Also, because my husband and I have shared a Verizon plan, minutes that we spend on phone calls between our cell phones don’t count toward our monthly allotment. But he’s also wavering about what to do with his own situation. He’s uising a new Droid for work, but still has a Blackberry for personal use. He’d rather just use one device all the time and be done with it, and he could realistically do that with the Droid. He says that he thinks he’d prefer to use the Droid all the time, rather than trying to use the Blackberry all the time. And he thinks that if I wanted to stay with Verizon, a Droid Eris would probably be my best bet. But we’ve both been wanting an iPhone for months, and this would be a good opportunity for me to get one. Based on my experience, the iPhone is really intuitive and easy to use. I love the iPod Touch, so I could really see myself acclimating easily to an iPhone. I could give the iPod to David, or we could use it for music and other stuff. Frankly, my son–the three-year-old who knows how to navigate technology better than most people ten times his age–would probably be more than happy to take it over so he can watch “Wall-E” and “Monsters Inc” and listen to They Might be Giants whenever he wants.  But then again, how different is an Eris, really?

Some people have told me to hold out on an iPhone, that Verizon may be on the cusp of being able to offer contracts with iPhones later this year. But that could be months from now, and I really need something sooner, rather than later. I wish my little pink phone would hold out for a few more months, but the reality is that the problems are occurring with more frequency, and it makes me nervous. When my phone completely died on me this morning when I was out running errands with my son, I freaked out a little. It was fully charged and riding in my purse, and then suddenly, it was dead. Yes, it grudgingly rose from the dead less than 20 minutes later, but still. Who wants to have to count on a miracle to make her phone work?

(Yes, yes, I realize that countless generations of people have made do just fine without cell phones. If you were about to make that argument, save yourself the keystrokes.)

So, what to do?

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About jenniferlarsonwrites

I'm a freelance writer and editor based in Nashville, Tennessee. I have a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a bachelor's degree in English from Rhodes College. I'm a born-and-bred Southerner who spent a few years in Southern California, a rabid baseball fan and a would-be grower of tomatoes. You can also visit me at LinkedIn or on Twitter at @JenniferLarson.
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8 Responses to Which phone should I choose?

  1. Natalie says:

    I love my iPhone. But I’ve also always had AT&T, so it wasn’t a big switch. I’ve never had problems with AT&T service (customer or network). Sounds like any smart phone would be an improvement, so it will probably come down to the plan that’s best for your fam. I’m a sucker for a good sales line, and the lady at the AT&T store when I was buying a new phone said, “If you get something else, in a month you’ll wish you had gotten the iPhone.” 🙂 I went for it. My only regrets were that I didn’t wait a month for the 3G(S) or get the 16G since I put all my music on it.

    Good luck!

  2. Robyn says:

    The iPhone is joy. It is all things me. It is phone, email, messaging, Facebook, and the New York Times. I have 6 pages of apps. There are apps for my kids to learn math, reading, match games, international flags. There are fun games for me such as freecell, hearts, Texas Hold Em and Ms PacMan and cute old school games for the kids.

    Have you ever been standing in line at the grocery store trying to entertain your preschooler for 3 more minutes? Or ever wanted to finish that adult conversation at dinner with a bored kid? There’s an app for that!

    It has all my music, it tracks my BMI, my “cycles”, my favorite running routes and is presently training me for a 10K.

    Today it is quizzing me with flash cards for the bar exam next week and playing me lectures to review as well. And it pauses those lectures when I need to take a call, without any extra attention from me.

    Yes, the iTouch does most of this, but it is all on one little machine in my pocket. Sell the iTouch on Ebay and upgrade to the real deal.

    I heart Apple. I probably need a 12 step program. I wonder if there is an app for that?

  3. Kathy says:

    I too have an iPhone. AT&T has been pretty good for us. I only have a 2G and would like to get a 3G. You could just switch to AT&T, and then if and when Verizon starts offering iPhone service you could switch back if you hate AT&T? Just a thought. They’re very reliable and great for multitasking. All the rest are just posers. My husband used to have an Apple sticker on his car, that’s how in love he is with that company!

  4. Heide says:

    Honestly, I don’t know how I lived without my iPhone. I love it so much and I never knew I could love a little bit of technology so much. I text so much more often with the threaded messaging. I keep my calendar in my phone, for the first time ever, after always using a Moleskine diary for years. Facebook and the NYT and Meetup and my to do list and more things, too numerous to mention, are all immediately at hand. Seriously, it’s so great.

    Oh, and keep the iTouch for William. We bought one (an iTouch) after I had had my iPhone for a while because I didn’t want to give up *my* toy to my preschooler. All of Lachlan’s music and games and a few tv shows are all on the iTouch and we can use it as a carrot for good behavior in restaurants and airplanes. WEP. He doesn’t have easy access to it, but it comes in seriously handy more often than you might imagine.

  5. I have an iPhone and Santi has an unlocked G1 (the first google phone) and is waiting for an android phone to be available with ATT. He is a developer and likes geeky things like that.
    You have an army of friends with iPhones who already have the inside scoop on appropriate apps for moms, kids, babies,etc (seen the baby monitor app, for example? It sends a text to the phone of your choice when the baby starts crying…it actually used to call at first but when 3G came out I think third party apps weren’t allowed to interface that way or something…) Anyway, just saying that there will be a ton of research and trial and error already done for you.

    That said, Santi loves his android phone. It has a lot of apps too, but not the library that iPhone has. (and since you have the iTouch already, you don’t have to give up your phone to the kids–not to mention you’ll have those apps that you’ve bought already available to add to your phone)

    my 2 cents. Go with your gut. ATT gives you 30 days to change your mind. If your coverage isn’t great you could always switch back…

    (satisfied iphone user since 4th quarter 2007!)

  6. Pingback: iLove it « Jennifer Larson, Writer at Large

  7. Hi, for all time i used to check weblog post heee early in the morning, because i like to learn more and more.

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