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Thursday, June 17, 2010

iPhone 4 vs EVO 4G: Total Cost of Ownership


The iPhone 4, EVO 4G, Droid Incredible, and Google Nexus One; when it comes to choosing a smartphone, there are several worthy competitors on the market to consider. It is important to compare the key features that each phone and its carrier offer before making a decision. By looking at the chart below, you can compare pricing, plans and smartphone features and decide which phone will best suit your individual needs.

Editor’s note: Though the category is listed as “unlimited plan,” you should note that due to AT&T’s recent data service pricing change, they’re no longer offering unlimited data plan for new subscribers. Instead, new users will have the option to a 2 GB plan for $25 or a 200 MB plan for $15. This is rather unfortunate as other carriers may soon adopt AT&T’s tiered rate for data service, and the current a la carte pricing may not really reflect what the average user needs (it’s either too much data given, or not enough).

This cost comparison is also specifically tailored for a balance mix of users. Obviously, if you’re a gadget geek, you know each phone’s specifications and dimensions by heart, but if you’re just average Joe, you may not care if the phone is powered by a Qualcomm 1 GHz Snapdragon or its competitor sports the similar ARM-based Cortex-A8 CPU packaged with a PowerVR SGX graphics chip.

Comparison Notes:

Unlimited plan – Unlimited plan is the maximum plan you can get with each respective carrier to get the maximum service coverage as a new service subscriber.

Minimum plan – Minimum plan is the lowest voice plan you can subscribe to while still retaining all smartphone usage feature (data & messaging). Note: We’re considering changing AT&T’s minimum data plan to the 2 GB offering instead of the 200 MB plan to better match competitor’s offering.

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Smartphones: The New Generation

Noteworthy Phone/Carrier Features:

If you’re not familiar with the cell phones below, you should note that the EVO 4G is the only smartphone listed with 4G network speed, though coverage is limited nationwide, and you’ll be required to pay an additional $10 data surcharge. Having said that, you can enable the EVO 4G to utilize its mobile hotspot, allowing you to connect up to eight device. Why pay for AT&T’s questionable $25 3G connection on your iPad when you can just WiFi hotspot with your EVO 4G?

The iPhone 4 is not a 4G device, it is the 4th generation iPhone (hence iPhone 4). Though it has the highest resolution on all the phones listed below, it’s also the phone with the smallest screen size (3.5 inches vs. 4.3 inches is a big difference, so we encourage you to see the difference in person if possible). Having said that, the iPhone 4 comes with Apple’s lovly marketing jargon of “retina display” — which in essence is just very sharp display: an in-plane switching (IPS), thin film transistor (TFT), LCD screen. IPS LCDs certainly aren’t magically produced in recent days, and have been around in many displays for awhile (though at a heavy price). The difference in sharpness though is evident and a majority of users will notice the difference.

The Droid Incredible, Nexus One, and EVO 4G are all made by HTC, so you’ll find some similar aspect to them across the board. All of the phone sports Google’s Android operating system, and in essence is much more “open” in respective to what an end-user and developer can do to the phone. On the other hand, with an iPhone, you’ll be subjected to certain restrictions Apple/AT&T may place on the device (e.g., though the hardware is fully capable, you will not be able to tether your iPhone 4 to an iPad). It’s a personal preference on what type of experience you prefer and enjoy. While many users and developers may dislike Apple’s App Store environment and policy (I’m personally one of them), the average user can certainly appreciate a user experience that’s tightly controlled to engineer the best possible experience — with the recently announced news of 600,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4 (even though with the heavy glitch and server meltdown), there’s obviously a heavy demand for Apple’s latest smartphone. Feel free to check the links after the comparison graphic below for more detail on each respective phones!

More Links and Resources:

CNET’s coverage on the Apple iPhone 4. A decent, well-rounded review on the EVO 4G from CNET. Engadget’s Droid Incredible review (in brief, it was one of the best Android phone offering right before the release of EVO 4G). You’ll find a nice consolidation of review from PC World on Google’s Nexus One.