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A $600 Tantrum

Today I threw a $600 temper tantrum. Along with my T-Mobile G2 phone, which I more or less loved. But one nagging problem just finally got the best of me at the wrong time and I Gronk spiked my favorite phone onto the pavement.

I’m an Android fan. Part of my job is to stay on top of smartphone technology, so I pay attention to what is coming out on the market. I have an iPhone 3GS that I’ve had for a while and I have used plenty of iPhone 4 models. In earlier posts about my G2 I listed some reasons why I liked that model better than my iPhone. The main thing I liked is that the G2 had a slide-out real keyboard – I can’t stand virtual keyboards. The problem is I am apparently the only one because every new phone is an iPhone clone with no keyboard.

Anyway, over the last year I’ve come to really like my G2. Except for two problems. First, if the chassis flexed the wrong way the phone would reboot because the battery lost contact. Usually a quick adjustment of the battery would fix the problem and it wouldn’t happen for a few weeks.

The more annoying problem was an intermittent GPS issue. Every once in a while the GPS would take minutes to lock onto satellites. And I don’t even mean 1 or 2 minutes – I mean like 5 or 10 minutes. And no amount of rebooting or restarting the GPS would help. This is annoying on a good day, but if you’re trying to use your phone as a GPS system in a car and you’re lost somewhere, this is unacceptable. Even more troubling, the GPS antenna was problematic and sometimes the signal would just fade. This manifested itself as my navigation system thinking I was on one road when I was really on another, and, the final straw, would sometimes cause my Runkeeper track to wander all over the place which really compromised the distance measurements. This is what finally drove me over the edge.

I had a terrible week last week. I had a business trip that ended terribly when American Airlines left me stranded in San Antonio, TX for 12 hours and caused me to miss my connection home on Friday night. Things were so screwed up that instead of getting me home to Boston on Friday at 3 PM, they could only get me to Bradley International in Hartford, CT on Saturday afternoon and I had to rent a car and drive home. Anyway, Sunday was a beautiful 60 degree, sunny day and I wanted to go for a run. Everything went wrong – my Fitbit fell off twice and I had to keep going back to find it. The zipper broke on my running jacket before I really got going. And then … as I rounded a corner no more than 1/4 mile from my house, my Runkeeper app told me that I had already run 1.1 miles. I stopped and looked at the map and saw the track zig-zagging all over the place and I lost it. I took that phone and I spiked it onto the pavement as hard as I could.

The result - broken phone.

The Result – My Broken Phone

Now I know that the problem could very well have been Runkeeper. In fact it probably was a Runkeeper problem based on some comments I’ve seen on message boards. But after all the stress of the week I wasn’t thinking straight. So my $300 phone hit the pavement. It actually felt like a relief until I realized what this was going to cost me.

I ran back home and called the T-Mobile store near me. It was 4:25 PM and they said they closed at 5. I literally squealed tires to try and get there before they closed. I made it with 10 minutes to spare.

The only models that T-Mobile had with a slide-out keyboard are the My-Touch models (My-Touch Q and My-Touch 4G Slide), an LG Doubleplay, and a Sidekick model. Of these, only the 4G Slide had close to enough processor power to be reasonable. Unfortunately, if you’re going to buy a phone with a slide-out keyboard, the keyboard better be good. The G2 had a great keyboard. The My-Touch 4G, not so much. The one on the store was terrible. Reports on the Internet seem to agree. So I had 10 minutes to decide on what would replace my G2. I knew from prior research that a decent used G2 goes for about $300. Ridiculous, I know, but that’s the truth.

So if I was going to suffer without a keyboard the phone better excel in everything else. That lead me to the two top-end Android phones that T-Mobile now carries, the Samsung Galaxy S or the HTC Amaze 4G. Because I have always liked HTC phones, I went with the Amaze. With no research I was really taking a $600 chance. According to Engadget, I probably did OK, though in a few months I will probably smash this phone on the ground due to poor battery life.

I spent about 9 hours getting all my apps and accounts set up. And I already ordered two Anker extended batteries for it.

Frankly, I’m already starting to hate this phone. But what am I going to do? I’m stuck with it now. Might as well make the best of it.

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