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in the market for a new smartphone

by newmarket2 / April 27, 2013 3:36 AM PDT

Although "what cell phone should I buy" isn't a very novel issue, given the changes in technology, the answer could be different every month or so.
So, my situation, wants and don't-cares:
Verizon. Santa Fe which means lots of mountains and ridge-lines to interfere with service and, probably, a system that isn't able to handle the traffic. Wifi at home and lots of hot-spots; but, need/want 4G on a regular basis.
Old phone: HTC thunderbolt. Problems: bad battery, proximity sensor never worked. Liked: Nice package, decent screen, easy interface.
Want in my new phone: good at grabbing weak signals (yes, I do know that most of the problem isn't with the phone but I do NOT believe that the phone's role is zero either)
Very good proximity sensor so I don't continuously Mute or End Call accidentally.
Good battery and/or ability to add an bigger battery.
Small form factor (ALWAYS) in my pocket...
Easy to tell from the shape, which side is "touchable" and which is not
LOUD maximum ring setting
Bright screen
Good glass
All the other factors (most of the ones I find in reviews) don't really matter.

OK! What do you recommend for me?

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What about this bad battery?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 27, 2013 3:39 AM PDT

My first HTC One got about a day per charge which I fixed by installing a huge aftermarket battery and back cover. Not one phone will offer such run time as it would cost too much to include such up front so tell more about this bad battery. Was it bad as in it was half the run time of other folk that had the same model?
Bob

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battery
by newmarket2 / April 27, 2013 4:29 AM PDT

Bad, in that it wouldn't last a day, which is a bare minimum.
I installed Verizon expanded battery, and that solved the problem of the battery running down during the day, AND it solved the problem of getting the phone out of my pocket by giving me a bump on the back so I know where the front was and could pull it out safely.

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Ahh.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 28, 2013 11:39 PM PDT
In reply to: battery

Many phones barely make it through the day without us turning off bluetooth, wifi and such. The battery is not necessarily bad, but was selected for price and well, not bad.
Bob

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How far outside SF are you?
by Pepe7 / April 28, 2013 12:46 PM PDT

Is the reception on Verizon the same for other folks in the middle of the city? Wondering about this after friends traveled there on business and had no significant issues to report spare a trip east of SF where there was no service at all in spots.

If the terrain truly affects your service as you seem to be indicating at your location, no phone will be able to perform such magic if the signal's already weak enough to not work well indoors. That's when you could employ an amplifier/repeater in combination with an externally mounted antenna.

Visit howardforums.com (the verizon sub-forum) for more specifics by other Verizon users in your location. See what they are experiencing:

http://www.howardforums.com/forumdisplay.php/51-Verizon-Wireless

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where in Santa Fe
by newmarket2 / April 28, 2013 11:34 PM PDT

Having used my phone for data and voice in many locations throughout the city, on my phone, voice is almost always great; voice at my home (2 miles north of the Plaza, on a ridge facing east) can sometimes be great and sometimes calls will drop, can't call out, etc; data throughout the city is highly inconsistent (sometimes I get 4G and fast speed, sometimes 4G icon and no data movement, sometimes 3G, sometimes 1X, sometimes nada).
People report that Verizon has by far the best network in the area. But, I don't know what they're comparing it to.
I do understand that if the signal isn't there, no phone will pull it in....but I really have trouble believing that for a given signal strength, every phone will pull it in EXACTLY the same. There's gotta be some variation and that's important to me in selecting a new phone.
I've pretty much given up on use of my cell in my house. I've got a landline from Comcast which I use to give to institutions like charities and political parties who are exempt from Do Not Call and who bombard me with solicitations. But, people still will call me 1st on my cell and I'd like my new phone to give me the best chance of being able to answer the call and say: call me on 505-nnn-pppp.
BTW, back in NJ, we had weak/intermittent service until one day there was a crew (I spoke to them) installing a new physical line to the cell tower we use. Before that time, I'd seldom get 4G with consistent throughput and after they finished the installation, almost always got 4G.
Finally, I'd really appreciate some advice on which phone to get (see original post).

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If your location is troublesome...
by Pepe7 / April 29, 2013 1:27 AM PDT
In reply to: where in Santa Fe

...for receiving a good signal, which is what your description sounds like, believe it or not switching phones will likely not help. Provided some of the problems you have been experiencing are not related to network upgrades (w/ Verizon's switch to LTE), I would at least start by trying out a cheaper/less complex non-smartphone to see if that helps you narrow down the voice issues/dropped calls. Keep in mind that they will be continuously making tweaks to this new 4G LTE network, so variability in data speeds are not likely to go away in the near term.

If your budget can afford it and you absolutely must have a 4G/LTE enabled phone for fast data, you could try a newer smartphone which is likely to perform at least a little better where you can pull in the consistent LTE connection. But that's the rub now though- it won't be consistent in all areas until the network is more mature.
I used a friend's Droid RAZR HD, and felt it was a solid device, although truth be told, I am an ATT customer who has not yet migrated to a LTE device.

Verizon also still sells a network extender, I believe. It routes your cellular calls & data over your home broadband network (wifi). There's no monthly fee for this, but the devices themselves can be pricey. The repeater/amplifier/external antenna option would be more expensive, but would not solve your data issue since it only handles 850/1900 frequencies, which would give you voice & 3G data only right now.

Are you even pulling in one bar indoors, btw? Just wondering how bad it is.

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please, what phone to buy
by newmarket2 / April 30, 2013 2:50 AM PDT

This thread went off in the direction of solving a reception problem in my home.
I still would like to hear what smartphones, currently available from Verizon, I should consider - given ALL the criteria I've listed.
I really don't want to fight with some Verizon salesperson trying to steer me to a phone THEY want me to buy rather than the one I should buy....

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My experience
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 30, 2013 3:35 AM PDT

Is that from phone to phone I see so little RF or antenna difference in performance that I can't agree the phone would fix a location that is on the edge.

I think no one would tell you which model is vastly superior in light of what most of us see. If my location is poor then everyone with that service that's in the same spot I'm standing complains.

Does Verizon offer a home plug or booster?
Bob

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The problem is partially that...
by Pepe7 / April 30, 2013 6:41 AM PDT

...you don't want to understand the problem.

Reception problem > phone brand/model

Sorry.

Howardforums, by reading some of the various user threads over there, can help you start to appreciate the issues faced on new LTE networks. It not as straighforward, especially when basic reception is concerned, to always avoid dropped calls/data speed swings.

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please read my original request
by newmarket2 / April 30, 2013 8:08 AM PDT

So, thanks Pepe7 and R Proffitt but I have nointerested in splitting hairs on bad reception at my home any longer.

I want recommendations on what new smartphone to buy!

Please, please, please stop focusing on one single issue. I'll even agree that you are completely right if it will get you off the reception problem issue.

Of the phones currently offered by Verizon and given the complete list of requirements in my original request for help, which one comes the closest to meeting my requirements?

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Supply a list.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / April 30, 2013 8:43 AM PDT

As I travel around the country I don't see the same phones in each store. And even then how to guess how many hours you will get.

Imagine if you install some battery sucking AD SPONSORED APP? Here's a link about that.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/254042/the_most_annoying_android_apps.html

Wowsers. "Bloatware: Verizon's Apps

VZ Backup Assistant, a preloaded Verizon app.
Annoying apps are one thing, but at least you can remove them--most of the time. But if they come preloaded on your device, your carrier likely doesn't want you to do any such thing. Verizon phones, for example, come preloaded with My Verizon Mobile and VZ Backup Assistant, and there's nothing you can do about it."

Maybe your prior battery wasn't so bad. Maybe Verizon was the real issue?
Bob

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Sorry, I'm done
by Pepe7 / April 30, 2013 12:01 PM PDT

Good luck

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