Friday Diary: Moving from iPhone to Android

I am briefly suspending my Friday Fun posts so that I can report on my move from my iPhone to my new Motorola Triumph Android phone on VirginMobile. 

I was a big iPhone user. I even had the phone plugged into the wall socket next to my bed. I originally had it there in response to a scary movie I had seen.  But it stayed there long after the effects of the scary movie.  My husband would say that we sometimes would wake up thinking there was a light on in the room only to realize it was the glow of the iPhone as I browsed.  I tried to stay on the WiFi because it was faster most of the time, but when it wasn’t I used 3G.  I averaged about 1G of data each month. 

So why did I decide to dump my iPhone? Well it wasn’t the phone itself it was the cost of the plan on AT&T.  Actually I can’t blame AT&T completely, Verizon’s iPhone plan isn’t much better.  At one point in time I was paying $170/month for two iPhones on AT&T.  My husband recently jumped ship to VirginMobile with an LG Optimus V and I followed him this past Wednesday.  Now we pay VirginMobile $70/month for two smartphones.  What do we get for $70?  Well we have two plans.  Mike pays $25 for 300 minutes of talk, unlimited data, and unlimited texting.  I talk a lot more than Mike so I pay $45 for 1200 minutes of talk, unlimited data, and unlimited texting.  (I have mentioned VirginMobile’s rates in prior posts, they have since changed their prices on their plans. People like Mike who were with them before the rate change were grandfathered in. People like me who just joined go with the new rates.)

I will be saving over $100/month or $1200/year. In my budget concious life, that is monster savings.  Now you could argue that we aren’t exactly saving that much in our first year because we had to buy our phones outright.  Well it depends.  If we upgraded our iPhones we would have had to at least pay $200 for each iPhone and be locked into AT&T for another 2 years.  Mike’s phone was fairly inexpensive, he got it at Target for $125. But Target wanted to buy his old 3G iPhone back from him for $50. So his phone only cost $75.  Compared with buying the iPhone, Mike actually came out ahead by $125.  My phone was a lot pricier at $300.  Unfortunately I had a small crack at the volume rocker on my iPhone, so they wouldn’t take it as a trade in.  The Triumph was more expensive to buy than an iPhone. But it was only $100 more expensive and after 2 months I will have made that money back on the plan savings.

While I am excited about the money I am saving, some things such as time, user experience, performance, etc. are worth almost as much as money.  So, I am approaching this whole thing as a one year experiment to see whether saving the money using an Android on VirginMobile is worth it compared to an iPhone on AT&T. 

Review of the Triumph in general:
It is a little wider and longer than the iPhone but it is thinner and it seems to me to be a little lighter.  It is basically a thin black rectangle, nothing funky.  I am going to want to buy a cover/case for it because even though it isn’t as slippery as an iPhone I want something a little more grippy. Unlike my iPhone you can record HD video or watch HD movies and then play them on the phone or on a TV using an HDMI cable.  Personally I think the HDMI output jack and the mini USB charging jack are way too close to each other.  The size of the holes are very similar and I know there will be some day when I am trying plug the USB into the HDMI or vice versa.  The Triumph has both a front and rear facing camera with an LED flash (other iPhones have this but the 3G didn’t).  It does not come with a music player so you have to download an app for that.  But the Triumph can play Flash! This makes me very happy, I want to see how well this works on a phone. 

Activation and Porting My Number:
I bought my phone at BestBuy because they were running a deal where if you bought it and activated it with them you got a $50 BestBuy gift card (which I used to buy a car charger and screen protector).  Porting a number is a pain in the butt.  I have done it every great once in a while and every time I do it I am reminded why I don’t hop around to different phone companies all that often.  Porting a number to a pay as you go carrier is a little more difficult than regular porting.  Since I let BestBuy do it, it was easy for me (not necessarily fot he BestBuy guy).  One current drawback of VirginMobile is their tech support call center, it is located overseas and you kind of are at the luck of the draw as to who you speak to and their English skills.  BestBuy had to call them twice and during the first call my BestBuy guy had to spell the word “BAY” four times.  I am sure if I had to do all of this on my own I would have been frustrated, but I just browsed the cell phone accessories to pass the time while BestBuy guy did all the work.  Once everything was set through BestBuy, it still took a few hours (which is normal) for my number to move over.  Once it did, I went online to VirginMobile and added money to my account.  The online process was pretty easy.

Email:
I don’t have permission/rights to access my work email from my smartphone, so I can’t tell you how to set it up or how it works.   But I do have other multiple email accounts (2 gmail, 2 yahoo, 1 att.net).  The Triumph has a generic email app and a Google email app preloaded.  The generic email app is finicky and you have to manually set up each email with the correct POP or IMAP settings for each system.  (Finding that information took a lot of Internet sleuthing.)  If you only have email from Gmail you may want to use the Google email app and ignore the other generic email app. If you have Yahoo email you might want to consider downloading the Yahoo email app.  If you don’t mind having your various email systems under different apps then it is MUCH easier to use the Google email app, the Yahoo email app, or other downloadable email apps.  My husband does this and he has no problem.  It doesn’t bother him to have multiple email accounts under different apps.  However, I wanted all of my email under one app (like the iPhone) to make it easier to access.  This was a huge pain in the butt.   Syncing email using the generic email app on the Triumph was ugly. Two beers and several swear words later, I synced all of my email.   I don’t remember having that much difficulty setting up my email on my iPhone.  Now that it is done, it works just fine.

That is about as far as I have gotten so far, aside from the email thing I am pleased so far with device. 

Things I am starting to play with but haven’t really gotten into quite yet: 

  • How do I get music? What to do with iTunes library? Is doubleTwist the answer?
  • General phone apps (clock, maps, calendar, etc.) how good are they or do you need to go Android market to get better ones?
  • Apps in general, what is available on the Android and how is the experience.

My plan is to write about my experiences with these things and other things I encounter next Friday if people are interested.


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