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The DROID RAZR HD's "self-portrait-by-screenshot"

The DROID RAZR MAXX HD’s “self-portrait-by-screenshot”

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

I’ve learned a lot about my iPhone since using the DROID RAZR MAXX HD. (Gosh, I wish Motorola’s smart phone had a simpler, more elegant name.) In an earlier post I shared some thoughts about the DROID, which I’ve been testing for nearly three months, and the iPhone, which I’ve owned for more than three years. In this post I’ll say a word or two about the differences in the two phones, including the battery life and the network speed. For those of you wondering if I’m ready to jump the Apple ship, there are two major factors I’ll be considering first: security and cost. After I’ve talked with a representative at my local Verizon Wireless store to compare apples to oranges, as it were, and after I’ve reviewed some issues concerning malware and the DROID, I’ll render my final verdict.

Before I begin, I’d like to revisit two aspects of the phones covered in my earlier post—sound and syncing—and you can blame a representative at the Apple store and David Pogue of the New York Times for the redundancies.

At the Apple store, I learned that I’m not able to use the Cloud to sync my iPhone with my MacBook Pro because of my iPhone’s outdated operating system. This is why it’s so clunky for me to get photos from my iPhone to my laptop, and why the Android’s seamless operating system allowed my pictures to magically appear on Google+ (and hence my laptop). Moreover, I am unable to download the current iPhone operating system precisely because I have too many pictures on the phone. There’s just not enough room, and so I’m taking the time to (laboriously) delete photos from the iPhone’s camera roll.

Having iOS 6.1.3 will not only allow me to Cloud-sync my iPhone with my MacBook Pro (calendar, apps, and photos), it will also allow Siri to do more for me than I previously imagined. Siri herself told me that she cannot open Facebook (something the DROID can do on command) even though I asked her nicely: “I can do that if you update to the latest version of iOS.”

“The Voice-Off: Android Vs. Siri,” the title of Pogue’s insightful “State of the Art” column for the August 21, 2013 edition of the Times, taught me even more about Siri and the DROID’S voice, which I call “Gigi.” I prefer Gigi to Siri for a number of reasons. I happen to think her tone conveys more warmth, although Pogue notes that this fall, with i0S 7 (which will probably become available as soon as I’ve updated to iOS 6-whatever), “Siri will gain a more pleasant speaking voice.” But Pogue maintains that Siri has it all over Gigi when it comes to a sense of humor. He asked his Siri, “Who’s your daddy?”. She replied: “You are. Can we get back to work now?” Here’s the dialog when I posed the same question to my Siri:

Me: Who’s your daddy?

Siri: What?

Me: Who is your daddy?

Siri: My daddy?

Me: Yes, Siri. Your daddy.

Siri: That’s what I figured.

Pogue pointed out another thing I’ve come to prefer about the DROID: as you dictate a question or a command, the words appear on the screen as you say them. Siri won’t transcribe what you’re saying until you’ve finished saying it. Pogue’s thorough assessment is so wonderful that I encourage you to read it.

These Are Phones, Right? Well, How Do Those Work?
While we’re on the subject of sound, I should say a word about the intrinsic purpose of the DROID and the iPhone: their ability to make and receive phone calls.

For clarity and ease of dialing, the iPhone wins hands down. I don’t care for the distracting way the DROID runs through my contacts when I’m entering a telephone number similar to that of another person. I also prefer the iPhone’s quality and clarity of sound during a phone call.

Now what I’m about to say next has nothing to do with the DROID or the iPhone, and everything to do with one’s wireless carrier. The company I’ve been with since the beginning (I won’t name it here but you can guess), has scant receptivity in one of my favorite towns. It also kept dropping calls when my husband (who uses the same provider) and I tried to have a conversation while he was on a business trip. (Our conversation improved markedly when I phoned him back using my Verizon-Wireless-powered DROID.)

Size Matters. So Does Speed. And Longevity.
At first I found the DROID RAZR MAXX HD too large for my hand, too alien. I quickly grew accustomed to its girth and actually prefer it to the iPhone. I simply find the DROID’S larger screen easier on the eyes, and find myself reaching for the it to view websites and photos when my iPad isn’t at hand. The iPhone feels far too small to me now.

Network speed has been iffy with both of the phones. The DROID’s 4GLTE is supposed to be the fastest thing going, but I haven’t always found this to be the case. Still, it’s faster than my iPhone’s 4G, which takes longer to pull up emails.

The battery lasts longer on the DROID than on the iPhone, which I seem to have to charge on a daily basis. I’ve gone several days without charging the DROID. This is an important consideration during an unexpected power outage.

What Next?
As I noted at the start of this post, the final clincher for me will be cost and security. I’ll be back with my final assessment after I’ve done additional research. For now, given that I’ve addressed sound and phone function in this post, I’ll let David Pogue have the last word and leave you with this sobering thought from the conclusion of his article:

Cellphone speech recognition is getting better fast. Very soon, we’ll do less talking through our phones—and more talking to them.