For the past two years I’ve been using the Samsung Captivate, which is a variant of the Galaxy S, as my phone. It’s an Android phone and has served me well. However, when I originally bought it I didn’t realize how much I would love it. It was really the only Android phone available on AT&T at the time and since I knew I didn’t want an iPhone, it’s what I got. Let me just say I got very lucky. As I’ve recently learned, the Captivate was used as a model for the Nexus S phone by Samsung and since the Nexus line always receives updates straight from Google, it was fairly easy for developers to port the newest Android versions to the Captivate as well. This leads me to why I love the phone. The software that it came with was pretty crappy. Samsung was not considered the nicest manufacturer at the time, and was trying to throw out tons of phones in attempt to battle the iPhone. As such, my phone wasn’t slated for many software updates and the skinned version of Android wasn’t it top shape. Because of the many crashes I had to endure over the life of my warranty, I decided to root it once it expired.
Using Heimdall and the CyanogenMod website as a guide, I managed to successfully root it and install CyanogenMod 7.0. It was an amazing change of pace to say the least. New options were suddenly open to me. Instead of software created by a huge corporation with little concern for providing all the bells and whistles, I was suddenly using an amazing culmination of the thoughts, ideas, and innovations coded by the developers over at XDA. Features that I didn’t even realize I wanted were suddenly open to me. It felt like an entirely new phone. And for someone like myself who always wants to stay on the cutting edge, the amount of ongoing development was wonderful. I could easily reflash new ROMs on my phone and stay up to date with the newest versions of Android. Over the past year I’ve kept my phone merely weeks behind the latest version of Android, something manufactures can’t claim to have accomplished. In fact, via XDA my Captivate is currently running Android 4.2.1, Jelly Bean, which is actually an upgrade ahead of my new phone.
Deciding on a replacement for the second most valuable piece of tech in my life (the first being my laptop of course) proved exceedingly difficult. The Android market has changed drastically in the past two years and as such there are a huge number of options available, and while I try to keep up with the latest and greatest in mobile technology, I still had no clue what I wanted. After some thought on the phones available on my new carrier, Verizon, I narrowed my options down the Samsung Galaxy SIII and recently released HTC Droid DNA.
The SIII was an amazing piece of hardware, with a huge following and massive developer community. It also was, and still is, the most successful Android device. The main drawback, however, was the fact that the phone was around 8 months old, which is an eternity in mobile years. With a dual core processor, it had a hard time competing with newer devices, at least as far as benchmarks are concerned.
The DNA, on the other hand, was barely a month old and had a quad core processor and 1080p display. The only thing that had me worried about this phone was the lack of developer support. Compared to Samsung, HTC is a rather small company and hasn’t been able to achieve the same success as the Galaxy series of phones. It can’t afford to push a flagship phone to all the carriers or advertise as heavily as Samsung has done for the SIII. As such, the DNA is only available for Verizon, a rather disliked corporation as far as XDA is concerned, and has garnered comparatively little attention when considered with the SIII. So while I realized the DNA had everything I wanted in terms of hardware and specs, I knew it wouldn’t be able to match the amazing amount of development I had become accustomed to on my Captivate.
After much deliberating I finally went with the DNA due to the hardware specs and build quality. I decided that while the development may not be as good, it might encourage me to do some developing on my own. And even if I never do get around to it, Android has become very stable in the past few years and as such I won’t need to deal with the same amount of crashing and problems the original software for my Captivate provided so at the very least I’ll have a working phone. It’s been about a week since I got the DNA now and I’m definitely not regretting the decision. It’s an amazing phone, feels fantastic, and is a pleasure to use and I look forward to tinkering with it for the next 22 months!