Daily drivers: What’s in your pocket now, Pocketnow?
A good question came up on Twitter not long ago. It was one that I couldn’t rightly answer. What is everyone on the Pocketnow team using as a daily driver these days? So many new phones have come out, allegiances have changed back and forth. Is Michael using a review device or is that personal? No one ever knows any more. So I brought in the team for a little bit of a confab. We put our phones out on the table and talked about them a little bit.
We discussed the whats and the whys and even a couple of hows. That’s where things got weird. But anyway, some had just one phone; some of us, shockingly had two. Some for good reason. Some just because. Here is what was said:
“Windows Phone with a good camera and no wireless charging compromises.”
My choice for a daily driver is a choice I made just over a year ago – the Lumia 920. Windows Phone just works for me. I love the interface. I’m not all that tied into the Google ecosystem, though I do miss the maps. Android is not abhorrent to me, but I don’t like micromanaging my phone. I just want some customization, without having to dictate to my phone how it’s going to do every single solitary task. For the love of God, just do what I told you to!
Some might point out that if it’s the camera I’m interested in, the 1020, the 1520, or the Icon/930 would be a better choice, and indeed they might be. But the Lumia 920 camera is good enough for me and I don’t want to have to put an ugly hat on my phone to charge it wirelessly. I’ll probably switch back to Android some time briefly, but Windows Phone will always be #1 in my heart.
“Freedom of choice. Freedom from wires. Freedom from internet. Just freedom.”
The phone I carry most often these days is the T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 925. The first big reason I chose that phone is because my personal account is with T-Mobile and that saves a lot of money compared to AT&T or Verizon. It also supports Universal Mobile Access (also known as WiFi calling) so that I can still make/receive phone calls & text messages when I’m in an area where no phone would get reception.
Wireless charging and color-changing options were also important to me. Sometimes I want a black phone, sometimes red, sometimes yellow, etc. but I always want the wireless charging capability no matter what color I’m in the mood for. The camera is also very capable, though not as impressive as the Lumia 1020, it still has optical image stabilization and decent manual controls.
It’s also running Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview, and I hope the Cyan firmware update will come to it soon so that I can properly use Nokia’s Treasure Tags. Another great feature is the ability to connect through the phone’s internet connection from my Windows 8.1 tablet without having to turn on Internet Sharing manually. Nokia’s free HERE Drive GPS navigation software with offline maps is pretty great, and the included Nokia MixRadio free offline music service is fantastic.
Anton D. Nagy
“Sony brings a great design and finally a great camera!”
(written by Adam Doud)
Anton carries a white Sony Xperia Z2 on the daily. Anton already loved the Z1 but was disappointed by the camera. The Z2 changed all that and Anton can finally say that he has a good shooter on an Android phone. The design is great and the phone brings great performance to the table. Dust and water resistance is a huge plus. Anton says the Sony UI is decent and the battery life is good too. But that carries with it a couple of downsides. The phone is too quiet in both the headset and the external speaker and it scratches easily. All that being said the elegant Sony Xperia Z2 is Anton’s first choice for a daily driver, and I’m going to stop sounding like a commercial now.
“Two phones. Because I have a fantastic excuse!”
My specific needs require that I carry two daily drivers. One of my networks has great data speeds but expensive calls, and the other one has terrible data speeds and unlimited calls, so yeah, two phones is non negotiable. My two historical daily drivers were always an iPhone and a Galaxy Note. One was small enough to not bother, and the other was perfect for a daily beating. Oddly, after using the HTC One (M8) for a little experiment, I just found it too hard to stop using it. I wish it was just the build quality alone, but it’s the whole experience surrounding the hardware and the software that have me hooked. Before I switched to an iPhone, I was always an HTC customer, so let’s just say I returned to my roots.
Sadly, the camera on the HTC One (M8) is still its biggest short coming. It does a decent job, but it doesn’t match the quality that I left behind on the iPhone 5s. As an alternative, I decided to give Windows Phone a second chance with the Nokia Lumia 925. So far, so good, but as much as I love the photos on the Lumia, I know it needs an upgrade.
“Nexus 5. Try and hide your surprise.”
As one might expect from a guy called “Joe the Android Guy”, I use a Nexus 5 for my daily driver. Part of this is because I get updates to the OS as quickly as Google releases them. Another reason is that I can run more custom ROMs on the Nexus 5 than virtually any other current device out there.
The CPU and GPU are plenty fast enough for everything I throw at it. The screen looks great to my eye. Pictures it takes are nice enough for my purposes. The size is great, and when teamed up with the LG QuickCover to turn the screen on and off quickly and easily, I’ve got protection, better battery life, and stylish looks to boot!
I test quite a few devices and probably have more temptation to switch to something else than anyone else, but I keep coming back to the Nexus 5.
“Captain2Phones carries phones that feel like coming home.”
People ask me this question all the time on Twitter (despite the fact that the answer’s right in my profile) so I’m happy to share the answer in a hopefully more-visible venue. My daily drivers are two: Nokia’s pixel-packed Lumia 1020, and Motorola’s excellent Moto X. In the absence of a proper cyan version, I carry the 1020 in yellow; the Moto X is a more unique ebony with cobalt accents and my Twitter handle emblazoned on the backside.
Neither of these is what you’d call bleeding edge, but I usually revert to them when I’m not carrying a review device, and it always feels like coming home when I do. With the Moto X, that’s partially thanks to the incredible hardware customization –its tiny chassis feels great in the hand and it says “Good Morning, Captain” when I wake it up– and partially due to the outstanding software conveniences you can’t find on any other smartphone. With the Lumia 1020, it’s the fun flair of Windows Phone paired with the unbeatable performance of that massive camera around back … a camera so bad-ass it can’t help but stand out, backed up by a suite of Nokia-powered software that blends professional tools with fun features. Each is a great example of how sometimes, you don’t need to carry the latest to carry the greatest.
Chief News Editor
“A solid smartphone and a good value.”
I’m still rocking last year’s Nexus 5, and I’m likely to stick with it until another Nexus phone comes along. I’m a very practical smartphone user, so my concerns are usually less about having the latest features (quad HD, newest SoC) and more about getting a killer value for my money. And while the whole stock Android thing and early access to updates is a plus, what I really like about Nexus phones is how they give me not just a solid value in a phone, but one I can afford to upgrade year after year – getting stuck in a two-year on-contract cycle sounds awful.
Then again, if my current Nexus 5 broke, I’m not so sure I’d pick up another one – at least not this late in its life cycle. I’m intrigued by the OnePlus One (even if I do have quite a few reservations), not to mention the growing roster of affordable Androids from other Chinese OEMs, and I’m also curious to see if Motorola can deliver a better value this year with the Moto X+1 that seems to be right around the corner.
“Dual wielding smartphones from top tier OEMs.”
Currently, my daily drivers have been the HTC One M8 and the iPhone 5. Honestly, the only reason I still have the iPhone 5 is because I haven’t bought a new device for Verizon. I’m holding out and saving my upgrade to see what happens later this year with the iPhone 6.
I bought the One M8 a few months back and have been satisfied. I love the speakers, display, design, and even the heft of the phone. The camera could be better, and so could the battery life. I converted it to a Google Play edition a few weeks ago because my car stereo Bluetooth connection, for whatever reason, kept initiating a boot loop with Sense 6. Frankly, I miss Sense 6 – that’s saying a lot coming from me, a noted and long-standing Android purist.
Oddly enough, I put my SIM back into the Moto X on Wednesday for a video, and I haven’t put it back in the One M8 yet. Not sure how long that will last.
“Sony plus Carbon equals gold.”
My daily driver right now is a Sony Xperia Z1, mainly because of the design and premium specs (at the time of purchase, it was one of a very limited bunch of Snapdragon 800-powered devices on the market). I’ve also gone ahead and added a custom ROM (Carbon) to it, because after a few months of testing, I just couldn’t bear to use Sony’s skin anymore.
“Oh yeah? Well here’s what I’m packing.”
What about you? What phone slips into your pocket every day. Have any of our hardware choices made you think again? What do you look for in a daily driver? Best specs? Best experience? Sound off below and let us know!