HTC One Smartphone – Best I’ve Ever Owned!

April 28, 2013

imagesI’ve had a number of smartphones over the years (Palm, Android and Apple), and I have to say my new HTC One is the best one I’ve ever owned. It is a finely crafted device, machined milled from a single block of aluminum (similar to the latest iPhone). The phone is quality constructed, and has a much richer feel than the plasticity Samsung Galaxy Smartphones.

I’ve had mine for about 1 week now, and it has performed fantastically. Very speedy processor, super crisp and bright screen, and the battery will go through my 9 hour work day with 60% power still left. The camera is also great, with cool software features like object removal and multishot editing. It’s just an all around great phone, and I’m glad to have one based on GSM technology running on the AT&T network.

I highly recommend you check out the details on HTC’s web site.

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LTE Coverage in Seattle

April 28, 2013

If you compare the most current LTE coverage in the Seattle area (as of April 28th, 2013), you’ll see the following:

Sprint 4G LTE Coverage

sprint_4g_coverage

So, the 4G LTE coverage for Sprint should be the orange colored regions on the map. Did you notice something? There is no orange colored regions! So, there is no LTE coverage in the Seattle area.

The map below shows the AT&T 4G LTE coverage in the same Seattle area:

AT&T 4G LTE Coverage

att_4g_coverage

The dark blue regions have 4G LTE coverage, and as you can see that is almost the entire Seattle area! The light blue regions are 4G coverage, which is still pretty fast for data speeds. Quite a drastic comparison between Sprint and AT&T 4G LTE coverage in Seattle. So, does it make sense for me to keep paying for unlimited but very slow data speeds for the next year or more when I can have very fast data speeds (albeit 3 GB capped) for nearly the same monthly charges?

A note about data coverage for Sprint and AT&T:

With my HTC 4G EVO LTE Sprint phone, I could only get the very slow 1xRTT data connection, 3G, or 4G LTE connection. The “4G” data connection (called WiMAX) was not available to me since my Sprint phone didn’t have a radio that could connect with it. And rightly so, since WiMAX is now a defunct protocol in lieu of LTE. So the best I could do in the Seattle area was a 3G connection, with the 1xRTT as a fallback when the 3G wasn’t available.

With my AT&T, they have several levels of fallback for data connections. First is 4G LTE which is the fastest, and then if that wasn’t available it would fallback to 4G (which is also fast). 3G would be next, then there’s the slow 1xRTT equivalent. With AT&T’s 4G there’s actually two different levels of connections, so you have several different tiers you can fall back with and still have good speeds. With Sprint, it’s either 3G or the 1xRTT for the HTC EVO phone.

Now, maybe Sprint will have their LTE up and running in 2014-2015 and it could be great. But I would guess it might be until the end of 2015 before they work out all the kinks and have a good portion of Seattle adequately covered. Until then, I’ll stick with AT&T and enjoy the consistent faster speeds.

 


Switched from Sprint to AT&T

April 28, 2013

sprint-attI’ve been using Sprint as my cell phone provider for the last 2 years after establishing a 2nd line on my wife’s Sprint account. Previous to that time, my former employer had provided me with a cell phone (initially on Sprint, then on Verizon) for 12 years so I didn’t have my own “Personal” cell phone until getting this line with Sprint. During my 2 years with Sprint, I’ve been so frustrated with the weak cell connections and very slow data speeds in the Greater Seattle area. While other cell phone providers like Verizon and AT&T have been beefing up their Networks with faster LTE voice and data speeds, Sprint has just been lagging behind in Seattle. My latest Sprint phone is the HTC EVO 4G LTE (a great phone, by the way), however, I’ve never been able to use LTE because it doesn’t exist where I live and work! So I’ve been paying an extra $10/month to Sprint for the privilege of having a Smartphone on their network, but I can’t utilize the faster LTE connection speeds.

I recently changed positions within my company and I now work about 50 miles South of my previous job site, and I’m getting terrible cell connections and very slow data speeds with my HTC EVO LTE smartphone. In fact, one day during lunch I was reading news with the USA Today app on my HTC EVO, and noticed I was getting 1xRTT speeds (this is the slowest data connection possible)! That was the final straw in my book, as I had complained to Sprint last year about lack of LTE in Seattle and horrible signal strength. Back then they told me, “LTE should be working by the end of the year”, which is the same line they gave me again when I complained recently this year. Read the rest of this entry »


Running Custom ROM on my HTC EVO 4G LTE Phone

April 14, 2013

I decided about a few weeks ago to install a custom ROM on my HTC EVO 4G LTE Android smartphone. I can’t remember why I made that decision, considering my HTC EVO has been running fine with the stock ROM. It was tricky unlocking the bootloader, but after that rooting it and installing the custom ROM was a piece of cake. I’ve been running the Meanbean ROM which is basically the stock ROM with some enhancements. The biggest improvement has been battery life, where my phone can go almost 15+ hours before I have to charge it. It also seems more responsive which is a plus. So far, everything is running smoothly and I have no issues. With these custom ROMs, it’s like getting a new phone! But you have to be careful, because you might find a ROM that gives you more problems than benefits.


Finally, got to see LTE in action!

April 14, 2013

images-2I’ve got an HTC EVO 4G LTE Android smartphone, but Sprint hasn’t turned on LTE for the general Seattle, WA area yet (just some very small test areas). I was surprised to find the “4G” icon light up on my HTC phone while traveling to Orange County in Southern California last week. The LTE signal was strong and consistent at the Orange County Airport (SNA), and it was spotty in the Disney Grand Californian Hotel lobby. I used the Android app called, “SignalCheck Lite” which verified that I was connected to the LTE network and not EV-DO. Pretty cool, as the SpeedTest I ran showed approximately 7 Mbps download speed. Can’t wait until Sprint lights up my home town in the near future.


Disneyland Wait Times App

April 14, 2013

imagesMy family was at Disneyland this past week, and I was able to use the Android app called, “Disneyland Wait Times” on my HTC EVO phone. It relies on users to input the current wait times as they stand in line, and I found it to be pretty good! I was able to quickly check the wait times for all of the rides in the Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks very easily, and it gave me some gauge to whether to head down to a specific ride. Highly recommended if you’re traveling to Disneyland soon!