Stay w/Verizon Wireless or keep my iPhone 3GS?

Posted by Dan on Jun 22, 2009 @ 2:45 PM

Ok, so on Friday I decided to pick up an iPhone 3GS to try it out. My Verizon XV6700 really has issues and just is a horrible phone (I can't see the display when outside and also have always had problems hearing the person on the other land if there's any amount of background noise.)

I've been eligible for my "new every two" for almost a year, but Verizon still hasn't put out a phone I'm completely happy with. Every time I think they might have a winner (like the Storm) it fails.

So on Friday I was supposed to play golf, but due to some severe storms in the morning my party cancelled the outing (although I did end up playing a round later by myself.) Since I had the day off and nothing to really do, I thought I'd see if the local AT&T had any of the iPhone 3GS' in stock. Sure enough they had several still in stock, so w/my 30 day guarantee, I thought I'd sign up and see how it goes.

The biggest thing that's held me back from the iPhone is the lack of physical keyboard and AT&T's network (which I keep hearing bad things about.)

So, over the weekend I did a lot of playing around w/the iPhone. Well there's a lot of stuff I really like, I'm still a bit wary about AT&T's network and I really dislike the software keyboard—especially since the iPhone seems to require a lot of password typing (I'm sure the whole App Store password re-entry is for security purposes, but when you have a very secure password it's very cumbersome to keep re-typing the password in. Instead of constantly re-typing the password I'd rather be able to disable iPhone access to the App Store via the Preferences in iTunes.)

Anyway, is AT&T's network really that bad? So far the coverage has seemed ok, although when playing golf Saturday while my bars showed full, the conversation with my wife seemed to be breaking up a lot.

Should I go ahead and move the wife and me to iPhones and move off VZW?

Categories: Personal


  • The Iphone has never impressed me much. Just another overpriced toy from Apple, IMO. I just left AT&T last week for Sprint. Got tired of their nickel and diming me, especially for data plans. And yes, I was getting dropped calls all over the place here in Dayton.
    So, I switched the whole family over. Me, the wife, and daughter all to Sprint.  So far, things have been pretty nice. No more worrying about data use.
    The phones were reasonably nice. I got an LG Rumor2 and the wife and daughter each got Samsung Rants. And, I'll be paying less per month than with AT&T.
  • I'm planning on moving to AT&T (for the iPhone) from Sprint in about 3 weeks (as soon as my contract expires). I've got lots of coworkers and friends with iPhones so I've had a lot of chances to play with it. I actually think that the virtual keyboard is a strength rather than a weakness. Most physical keyboards are too small for my hands. Add to that fact that you only get ONE layout (can't rotate for landscape mode), and that you've got a far larger keyset via alternate screens, and it seems obvious to me that a virtual keyboard wins out.

    As for the network, I have no idea. I'll miss Sprint as they've been my only carrier for almost 10 years...but my desire for the iPhone is stronger than my loyalty to Sprint.
  • Until a few months ago, I'd been with Sprint for almost 10 years. I picked up the 16Gb iPhone 3G and the only thing I regret is not waiting the few months it took for Apple to announce the 3GS. I've got a 450 minute/month plan with unlimited data and I'm paying almost exactly the same that Sprint was charging for an equivalent plan (~$85/month).

    I've not had any dropped calls and download speeds are pretty good on the 3G network throughout Dallas. Web browsing is by far a superior experience with Safari than it ever was with Mobile IE.

    I had a PPC-6700 from Sprint, which was the precursor to the HTC-Touch, with a physical landscape sliding keyboard. It only took my a few days to get used to the screen-based keyboard on the iPhone and now I can type pretty quickly and accurately with the thing.

    The only thing I miss is the tactile feel of the keys and the ability to capture video. Here's hoping AT&T makes some changes on 3GS upgrade pricing later this year.
  • @Darin:

    Another of the things I don't like about the iPhone is how controlling Apple is over what you can put on the device. If I want a C64 emulator on it, I should be able to put one on there. However, I do really like the Calendar integration w/Google (which the wife and I use) and reading e-mails on the device is gorgeous. It has enough compelling applications for me, that it outweighs some of the limitations.

    The dropped calls is an issue for me. If I can't make calls, what's the point? However, I do work from home and I probably only put maybe 20 minutes of talk time on my cell phone each month, but when I make a call it's important.


    I've got "fat fingers" too and the physical keyboard on my XV6700 is multitudes easier to type with (it's a full sliding keyboard.) I'm constantly battling the iPhone to type the characters I'm pressing on the screen.

    Also, the keyboard eats up so much screen reality that you're often left with virtually none of the content visible--which I think is a major flaw. Apple has added horizontal keyboard access to a view more apps (like mail) to try and help the issue out, but I'm not happy w/the keyboard at all after playing w/it for a couple of days.
  • @Adrian:

    The XV6700 is the same phone as the PPC-6700, so we both had the same phone (I just had it on Verizon.) While the 6700 had video, the quality of the camera and recorder were so poor I never used it.
  • Dan, I'll be the first to admit I hated the photo quality of my old phone. The iPhone takes great pictures in a well-lit area and passable ones in dim light.

    Engadget has some sample video from the 3GS in this review and it looks much better than the video Ray Camden posted on his site.
  • @Adrian:

    Here's a video my wife took over the weekend when I was playing fetch w/my labs in the backyard.

    The video looks much better in it's native format, but I don't think YouTube is done processing the video so I suspect the quality will improve when YT finishes process the video.
  • I was skeptical, but I have 3G iPhone. Honestly, I've done so much with the phone that I can't imagine not having anything like it with me. Everything from amusing the kids for a few minutes so I can talk to someone or browsing the web while I'm waiting for an appointment and such. I don't load up my phone with a lot of apps, just the essential, some productivity and maybe 2-3 games tops.

    Yes, my fingers hate the screen keyboard too, but you get used to it and now have the ability to use landscape mode for more things now.

    Regarding att network, I'm guessing that's region specific. I had few dead zones prior to the iPhone, so I wasn't expecting for iPhone to just clear those up. Since I live in the city, I haven't had issues with 3G or otherwise other than once in a blue moon network outage (like after the big storm we just had).
  • @Todd:

    The problem with the AT&T network, is I hear about 50-50 from people in my area. Some tell me they have no problems, others tell me it sucks. I suppose I don't do enough calling for it to really matter that much as long as I can make a call.
  • I have no service right now... And I'm trapped in a dentist chair. At least I can access the Internet via wifi. Wifi was disabled on my Blackberry Curve, but at least the service was solid and the phone always worked. Typing with the screen takes some getting used to, but my WPM is definately impacted without the tactile keyboard. But at least there aren't any buttons to break... My Curve's ball would sometimes refuse to roll downward.
  • @Dan - I had similar concerns when I left Verizon wireless for AT&T. However, none of my concerns have panned out. As a matter of fact, in my area, I have found AT&T's network to be much more reliable than Verizon (actually, when I was at home, I was _never_ connected to a Verizon network, rather US Cellular).

    Not only were we connected to AT&T network form home, but about 2 months ago I noticed that we had 5 bars of 3G coverage. I don't think I have any dropped calls since I have been with AT&T and there were notorious areas near here that were a 'dead zone' on Verizon that I have 5 bars of 3g coverage with AT&T.

    As for the phone, it kicks the crap out of any other phone I have owned (including a 6700). Is it perfect? No, I do not think so, but it sure is miles ahead of any other phone I have used.

    As for the data plans, we are paying about $20 more per month for 2 phones (both iPhones) with data than we were for 2 phones with no data plan on Verizon with a comparable amount of minutes.
  • @Scott:

    Per month, it's going to be about equal between AT&T and Verizon, but w/AT&T I'm getting 2 phones w/data plans in comparison to just one phone on Verizon. So far the receptions been good, but I do spend 95% of my time is a pretty small pocket of town.
  • We had 3 Blackberry Curves through Verizon which requires internet connection ($30/mo) and an additional $15/mo for connecting to an Exchange server. The free Exchange software is no longer available from RIM and the new licensing for the Pro version is too expensive.

    You can connect for free with the iPhone on AT&T. You are not required to sign up for some special plan, but they'll attempt to upsell the unnecessary feature anyhow. So when they ask you, simply state that you don't need it or will be using gmail or POP/SMTP. This saved us $45/mo, and after the shareplan, our collective monthly phone plan dropped over $100.
  • I'm on Verizon, and I finally gave up on my Storm. Nice try, but way too many bugs. The last straw was after the recent OS upgrade I can make outgoing calls but people on the other end can't hear me. Nice. I'm going back to my 8830 World Edition.

    Verizon is supposed to have the Palm Pre in 6 months, and that looks like a really sweet phone. Take this for what it's worth though--I don't like the way Apple does business and have had WAY too much good luck with Verizon to consider switching to AT&T, so while I agree Verizon doesn't have a truly great phone in their lineup, I'm hoping the Pre will change that.
  • I would stick with Verizon and get their Palm Pre when they get it in 6 months. Their coverage is just so much better, even if you have had good coverage in the few areas you've used your iphone so far.

    But since you already have it in your hand, I expect you'll fall into the iphone trance and never give it up. :-)
  • @Dan

    Thats exactly why I hate Apple. OK.. They made things user friendly but in the process took away the flexibility that a technologically competent person could have. I've used Ipods and Iphones and I'm just not impressed. I can buy an MP3 player with more storage for less money if I don't buy Apple.  And I'm not impressed with the touch keyboard. I've tried several so far, and I prefer sideways sliders. I can go quite fast now on my Rumor2.

    I'm with you on the work thing too, Dan. I've worked from home now for almost 10 years. I get all my pages through my phone and if there's a bad enough situation, I might spend 3-4 hours on a conference call. I need a reliable signal at all times. AT&T was cutting me off while I was at my bloody desk and delaying pages by a couple of minutes.  Things have been much better here since switching to Sprint.

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