General Question

norah's avatar

Should I buy an iphone, pre or g1?

Asked by norah (241points) June 28th, 2009

I can’t decide. I would go with the iphone but my twitter stream is full of complaints about ATT. Also, I wouldn’t mind saving money but the prices for service seem the same with all three. I hate the thought of signing a two year contract for something (ATT) that doesn’t work. Help! I just need to make a decision and act.

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16 Answers

DeanV's avatar

I would either recommend unlocking your iPhone or going with the G1. The iPhone is a superior phone, and I think the Android OS has more potential than the Pre’s. So if you are comfortable unlocking your iPhone, or are up for dealing with AT&T I would go with the iPhone. But if you really can’t do that, go with the G1 over the Pre.

Bri_L's avatar

Darkscribe has a lot of experience in this area. He writes a technical column. He would have valuable input here I think.

seekingwolf's avatar

If you really don’t want to go with ATT, then just unlock your iPhone to use with T-Mobile. It’s quite easy actually. The G1 is nice with T-Mobile because it has 3G but my god, I hate that keyboard and it still has some bugs that need to be worked out. If you go with the G1, go to the T-Mobile store and play with one to make sure you like the layout. There is a G2 that is coming out soon so you may want to hold off on getting a G1…I hear the G2 has a far superior layout.

I agree with dverhey, the Pre’s OS doesn’t seem very promising. You’d also be stuck on Sprint, which doesn’t have real MMS and some have reported problems with this carrier, such as bad customer service and slow/bad coverage. Watch out.

I would suggest either the G1 (or an upcoming Andriod device) or an unlocked iPhone. ATT’s prices are outrageous and I don’t blame people for hating it or not wanting to move over there.

Bri_L's avatar

@seekingwolf – so you unlock the phone and they set it up or is setting the phone up part of the unlocking proceedure?

seekingwolf's avatar


Well, first you run a free program on your comp with iPhone attached to unlock it, making you able to use it on any carrier (other than ATT that is). Afterward, all that’s really needed is the apn (internet) settings and MMS settings (if you’re using a 3rd party app).

You can either search the net for these settings yourself or call T-Mobile and ask for them and where to input them. T-Mobile is really quite good with providing iPhone support and will tell you what you need to know.

jumpo7's avatar

I love the iPhone, but that’s because it does what I need the way I need it. Your needs may differ. Do you talk on the phone a lot while on the move? I think ATT’s problems are related to people who talk while in motion. It does not handle transferring the from zone to zone well. I generally don’t talk while driving (if I do it’s with a head set or speaker to comply with the laws in my state). I also don’t usually have very long calls. So I have not had much trouble.

Also there may be other needs you have that the iPhone does not serve well. I use the internet a lot while I am commuting on the train to work. The iPhone is great for this. If you do a lot of texting then the iPhone may not be as good as some other phones.

As for unlocking the iPhone, you still have to get the ATT contract, whether you unlock it and switch to another carrier. You can get a phone without a contract but then you pay full price. I would only get the iPhone if you are willing to take ATT for the next two years. As I said it has been great for me, but my usage is not typical of some folks.

seekingwolf's avatar


Paying full retail for the iPhone (no contract) is still cheaper than getting into a 2 year contract and and then canceling with a hefty ETF.

to OP, I would say talk to ATT friends/family about service in your area or try it out for yourself if you are thinking about switching. Personally I wouldn’t go to ATT because my T-Mobile rates are dirt cheap, but my boyfriend swears by ATT and so do many others. Just give it a whirl without a risk.

Bri_L's avatar

@seekingwolf – Thanks. I wondered. It would be cool if they would ditch AT&T. My how I hate them.

seekingwolf's avatar


I honestly have no idea how long ATT’s “exclusivity” contract with Apple ends, but I think it should be coming up fairly soon (2–3 years). I agree, I really dislike ATT and their bloated prices. With T-Mobile I roam all the time on ATT so I get just as good coverage…

I pay 20/month for unlimited data/tethering for the blackberry (no cap)...ATT charges 60/month for data and it’s only 5 GB! It’s mind boggling to me how people pay this much each month for something you could get for a LOT less.

end rant

Bri_L's avatar

@seekingwolf – Does AT&T have tethering yet?

Allie's avatar

As a G1 user, I can honestly say that I love it. I haven’t had one problem with my phone at all. I have an unlimited plan and I get unlimited messaging for 35 a month. The browsers work well. The service is reliable. The camera takes good quality pictures. Video recording is now available with the update. Apps galore… one for anything. Seriously, I love my phone.

seekingwolf's avatar

@Bri_L For some devices, yes, but they’ll charge you more per month in order to tether and there’s a data cap, which means if you go over, they’ll charge you by the MB.

For the iPhone, the answer is not yet. the 3.0 software update allows for tethering and MMS on the iPhone and ATT has promised to implement these features into their network this summer…about time I say.

Joe_Freeman's avatar

This is an interesting question with a lot of good answers! I can’t contribute much other than to say that the numerous people I know who have an iPhone love it, but that’s no surprise. They also don’t like AT&T which, I have also found, is a half-assed company since SBC took it over. My dealings with Sprint have been consistently unpleasant, especially as compared to Verizon, which seems to have their act together. Personally, I like the G1 but if I were in the market for one of these phones, I’d wait for a G2. I don’t think we should condemn the Pre before knowing more about it – the reviews have been quite strong though it seems rather dorky to me.

cwilbur's avatar

The different networks have different performance characteristics in different areas. Talk to your local friends—who live within a few miles of you—and find out what they like about the networks they’re on. If AT&T sucks in Chicago, and is wonderful in Philadelphia, and you’re in Philadelphia, you don’t want to take advice from people in Chicago. (I have no idea how good the networks are in those cities – I just used them as an example.) Also remember that people who are annoyed complain, while people who are satisfied rarely post with the same degree of vehemence and conviction.

Then plan a shopping day and spend half an hour or so playing with each of the phones.

I myself have an iPhone. I’m neutral on AT&T; I’ve had phones from T-Mobile before (decent service in coverage areas, horrible coverage, and useless customer service), Sprint (wildly variable service, better coverage, and customer service that made T-Mobile look classy), and AT&T (consistent coverage, best coverage area, and no problems that I’ve had to contact customer service for).

boldstart's avatar

It may be worth it to wait for the T-Mobile myTouch, (aka HTC Magic), unless you really need a hardware keyboard. The myTouch is basically the G1 minus the keypad, I believe. The myTouch is also releasing with some slick exclusive apps like Sherpa

It’s available for pre-order now and for the mass market on August 5th.

boldstart's avatar

I sold my iPhone and was debating between the Pre and the myTouch (HTC Magic) and I finally ended up going for the myTouch.

myTouch applications are much more feature-rich, in my opinion. And the platform is open enough that all applications submitted by developers are shown on the market. With several thousand app already, it’s a pretty functional setup altogether.

T-Mobile has been ok, but I live in an area where they already have 3G service. You might want to check if it’s available in your area.

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