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Verizon: Eight Months Later

As virtually anyone who’s met with me in the last eight months or so knows, I’m not happy with my Motorola V710 phone. Not happy’s actually a fairly serious understatement; I loathe this phone. It’s become a running joke with some of the people I meet with often; soon as I take it out they’ll put their hands up and ask me not to complain about it. Coming off of a long string of Nokias – both TDMA and GSM – my experience with phones had been steadily increasing battery life and simple UI’s.

Now while it’s perhaps not entirely fair to judge the Motorola in ease of use terms – because its capabilities far outstrip what I used to have – it’s still a poorly designed phone, IMO. Beyond the usability, the battery life is poor, the thing is too big, the antenna’s flimsy, and the first one I got broke almost immediately.

Throw in the fact that Verizon, in their infinite wisdow, decided to cripple the Bluetooth (which I knew and unfortunately persuaded myself not to get hung up on), rendering it useless for the sorts of file transfer, remote dialin purposes, etc one might typically use Bluetooth for and this hasn’t been my best purchase ever.

And speaking of Verizon, these guys are unbelievable. I’ll acknowledge up front that their network – the reason I switched – is excellent. Apart from the fact that it doesn’t reach into my loft (not their fault, it’s the concrete), some terrible service back home in Maine, and some lag in receiving voicemails, it’s great. Coverage most everywhere I go, even up into the Rockies. That’s the good news.

The bad news? International calling – something I had with AT&T and then Cingular, at about 8 cents a minute to the UK – is apparently unavailable until I’ve been a customer for a year. That, or I pay a $500 dollar up front deposit. Oh, and the rates? I was quoted 65 cents a minute to the UK on plan. After getting a manager on the phone, and explaining that this was a work phone on a work account, and that I needed the ability to call the UK – an ability I’d had w/ AT&T – I was told that they’d work something out. That was about two months ago, and today? You guessed it: still no international dialing.

Then there’s EV-DO, the high speed network I thought I’d soon be able to take advantage of as a Verizon customer. Well, rollout’s been slower than I expected, as it’s far from nationwide in its coverage at the moment.

As for phones, it’s not really any comparison. Verizon’s phones, as even Verizon’s most ardent defenders are forced to admit, are nothing to write home about. They got the ever popular Treo’s a year or so after Cingular had them, and still don’t have an equivalent of Motorola’s chic RAZR models. So while their network’s been a strength, their selection of handsets is not.

Anyway, that’s enough ranting from me; I’ll probably be switching back to Cingular at the end of the year – or before, if it really drives me nuts. But in the meantime, I thought that some of you contemplating the switch I made might benefit from the above info.

Categories: RedMonk Miscellaneous.

  • Danno

    Dit-to.

    I've got a T720 from Verizon that I've been using for the past few years and I HATE the damned thing. It's only good for freakin' phone calls. I lust for true mobile telecommunications and a god damned data plan.

    The thing I can't understand is how is it that Verizon ONLY gets shitty phones? There's not even a premium option for the good ones that come out.

    Ugh, very bothersome.

    I ask you though, why wait? There's no real hope of them getting any better and you have the power to change your plan whereas I, a lowly student who only has a phone because my parents want to keep track of me, do not.

  • http://www.gregwhitescarver.com/blog/ Greg Whitescarver

    In defense of Verizon:

    First off, Verizon heavily tests phones for reception capabilities. Remember those mini-Nokias that looked just like the big ones, only you could swallow one without water? They didn't work so hot, and Verizon never carried them. I've been with Verizon for 5 years, through 4 phones. I've had two Motorola phones, and both of them had major usability problems. In that case, I'd agree that "feature-rich" doesn't matter much. However, I've had two Audiovox phones from Verizon, and they were both totally excellent. My friends were and are jealous of how well the phones work. The first was the CDM 8910 camera phone, which had shortcuts to do everything and the most intuitive menus I'd ever seen on a phone. The current is the xv6600 PocketPC. I give it a mere 7 out of 10 for ease of phone use, but that's mostly because, as a PDA, it doesn't have the standard phone keypad, except on the touch screen, which is not tactile enough to use without looking. However, the phone is totally integrated into the operating system, so your contacts, stored in one place, work just as well for the phone as they do for Outlook (yeah, it has Outlook installed, which doesn't seem to suck as much as I assumed it would).

    Another note on Verizon: at least three times I've had a Verizon technical service reps tell me that I was paying for a ton of minutes I wasn't using, thereby saving me a pretty good deal of money over the years.

    One caveat before anyone buys the 6600: the broadband internet access required to browse the web and use instant messaging software (or multiplayer chess, etc.) costs $45 a month. I must say, though, that the transfer speeds are impressively quick.

    Overall, this thing is my favorite phone ever. My boss had a Verizon Blackberry that he hated, and he is very pleased with his own switch to the PocketPC. In general, I'd also recomment staying away from Motorola.

  • http://www.redmonk.com/sogrady sogrady

    Danno: mostly b/c i'm loathe to pay any more to Verizon to switch. i will if i absolutely have to, but my contract's up in 4 months. if i can get through the end of the year, i can switch w/o paying these clowns extra. will i make it? unclear.

    Greg: understood, although my own experience with Nokias on AT&T and Cingular (6160, 8200 and then 6200) was far, far better quality than i've received from my Motorola. that's why, slickness of the RAZR aside, i won't buy one. give me an ugly Nokia brick any day over something that's hard to use and liable to break.

    as for the minutes, i haven't had them do that for me, but i have in the past had AT&T bump my plan up one month and down the next to help me avoid onerous overages (though it was hardly altruistic as it renewed my contact each time).

    overall, none of the carriers are perfect, and none are going to be all things to all people, but i have to say that as a new Verizon customer i'm fairly disappointed in what i've gotten.

    of course i could be saying the same thing about Cingular this time next year, and i wouldn't be that surprised ;)