More about my Verizon HTC Eris

OK. I’m going on day 3 with my Verizon HTC Eris, and I’ve had about 500 hits on my blog for my recent post about it. So, considering how new the phone is (Verizon has had it for about 2 weeks), I thought I’d write a little more about it.

Here’s the background:

I had a Motorola RAZR for about 3 years, and it died this past spring. I really, really wanted an iPhone, but for a variety of reasons was reluctant to leave Verizon (primarily because everyone I talk to regularly is on Verizon) So, in late May, I bought an LG VX9700. It had a great camera, but the touch screen sucked. I took it back, and at the time, Verizon had a special on the BlackBerry 8830 World Edition. So, I grabbed one. It did all the things the iPhone did, but it just wasn’t as slick… so I thought.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Not only did the BlackBerry not do everything the iPhone did, but it also delivered an endless part-time IT job that consisted of configuring, backing up, reconfiguring, troubleshooting… it was a huge pain in the butt, because the phone simply didn’t work. After a few months of fighting with it, I called Verizon. No problem, they simply replaced it. They sent me one, and I sent the problem one back. Woo hoo. I had a working BlackBerry… for about a day. Oddly, all the same things (freezing, shutting off, etc.) started to happen again. I upgraded the software… it got worse. So, I called Verizon again. They were more argumentative this time, and walked me through resetting the device and re-installing the software (even though I had explained to them that I really didn’t want to do it). Oddly, during the reset, the phone shut down (as it had been doing for several months) and we had to start the reset process all over again. That was enough to prompt Verizon to send me yet another replacement 8830. I was thrilled to receive it, and shocked to find out that it was DOA. It wouldn’t start up, and wouldn’t work.

I called Verizon (almost in tears) and explained that this phone and I just weren’t meant to be, and asked if they could send me an HTC Eris instead. Shockingly, they did. (Note: I found something very interesting throughout this experience: consistently the female Verizon operators are helpful but the male Verizon operators are argumentative and combative.)

I was thrilled to receive the HTC Eris… which was sent as a replacement (meaning: no battery, no battery cover, no charger, no memory card.). So… another round of calls to Verizon. Luckily, my call was routed to a female operator, and she was kind enough to send along all the missing pieces. Finally! I had a phone that worked.

The phone took about 30 seconds to set up. No joke. I put in my gmail account username and password, facebook, flickr, and twitter details, and boom, it was working, and integrated. I downloaded a bunch of really great software (all free): a neat barcode reader that checks prices when you’re shopping, a neat barcode storage app that keeps all of your loyalty club barcodes in one place (your phone, rather than your keychain or wallet). The only app it lacks is AIM or an AIM-friendly interface. Google Talk works beautifully, but not many of my friends or colleagues use it.

The screen is beautiful and the phone comes loaded with great ringtones—most are pleasant, unlike most phones that are riddled with annoying ringtones. The on-screen typography is top shelf, very readable, and well-kerned, the hierarchy is very well developed. Navigation is pretty intuitive, and it’s easy to set things up and set preferences. The camera takes decent photographs, and integrates seamlessly with mail, gmail, flickr, and facebook. I like the way that apps are integrated with the phone software itself. For example, when I look at my contacts in the “People” application, facebook and flickr status is integrated… so are facebook images, so they change whenever a friend changes their profile pic.

Google voice search is amazing. Period.

The mysterious trackball (why is a trackball necessary on a touch screen phone?) is actually really handy. It’s great when using mobile websites in which links are too crowed to carefully pick out.

Battery life is just OK. Seems to me to be on the short side, but I think it’s because I haven’t really charged it fully, and I’ve been using it a lot. Even if I had to keep the Eris plugged in most of the time, I’d still like it.

I can’t say enough good things about this phone… other than that it beats the pants off any phone I’ve ever had, and comes in slightly ahead of my ipod touch in terms of overall usability.

I still give it a solid ***** stars. If you have Verizon and you’ve been waiting for the iPhone, RUN (don’t walk) to your closest Verizon store to grab yours now.

Feel free to comment and share your experiences below. 🙂

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