What’s Your Daily Driver Smartphone (and Why)?

What's Your Daily-Driver Smartphone (and Why)?

When we talk about a daily driver device, we’re referring to a smartphone that’s with us no matter where we go — our primary way of communicating with the world, our most favored device which, for now, just might come as close to the perfect device as possible.

Tech writers are notoriously fickle and tough to please; we see and test lots of devices, so the ones we buy with our own money carry our ultimate vote of confidence. With that in mind, tell use about your daily driver, and we’ll share ours below.


Judie Stanford


My current smartphone is the iPhone 5S, and I’ve used it off and on for about 5 months. Before this phone I alternated between the Nokia 1020, the iPhone 5, and the HTC One for about 6 months. I tend to keep my personally purchased phones for about 6 months, and then I either give them away or I sell them on eBay. Right now I have the Nokia 920, Nokia 1020, and the HTC One in my bedside drawer (all personal purchases); I probably need to do something with the One and the 920 soon, because I don’t see myself using them again. I did recently pull my 1020 out; I’m contemplating using it again, because I’m bored with my iPhone and its small screen.

Here’s what I like about my iPhone 5S: There is something to be said about having an app for every single situation you might wish you had an app for, and the Apple App Store is still the best. I keep thinking that it shouldn’t matter that much, but it turns out that I am a huge app (and accessory) fiend, so for me it really does matter.

Here’s what I wish my iPhone 5 had: A bigger screen, water-resistance, NFC, and built-in inductive charging.

Here’s why I switched from my last phone: Just before moving to the iPhone 5S, I was using and enjoying the Lumia 1020. The camera on that phone is second to none, but the UI was starting to wear on me. I didn’t have any accessories that I liked, and I was getting frustrated with all the things that were simply easier to do when I was on my iPhone. The final straw was probably that I knew CES and MWC were coming up, and there is no better way to share photos on the fly with Dan than with Photostream, so …

As bored as I get with Apple’s incremental OS and device changes, and as much as I want to be different and use something else, iOS is the operating system that I keep returning to. Ugh.

And yes of course, I am contemplating a new phone. The next smartphone that I’m eying is the Sony Z2 because it has a larger screen, water-resistance, some cool accessories, and NFC … but there’s no inductive charging. The sad thing is that I know I’ll probably only use it for 4-6 months … and then I’ll go right back to the newest iPhone. :sigh:


Perry Brauner

perry brauner_gd

My current smartphone is the iPhone 5, and I’ve used it since the day it was released, on Sept. 21st, 2012. Before this phone, I used the HTC Thunderbolt for over two years. I tend to keep my phones until they become unbearably behind the technological curve, or until my 2 year renewal with Verizon is up.

Here’s what I like about my iPhone 5: Large screen real estate, as compared to the iPhone 4. LTE capability. Virtually bug-free. Best App Store and apps in the mobile marketplace. Small and light are big positives for me as well. Above all else – It just works well.

I wish my iPhone 5 had inductive charging built-in. That’s my biggest wish for the next generation of iPhones. I’d also love for it to be water resistant.

Here’s why I switched from my last phone: I enjoyed my two previous Android phones, but they always felt imperfect and buggy. I wanted an iPhone for a long time, but was spoiled by the large screen and LTE capability of the HTC Thunderbolt. I promised myself that I would switch from Android to iPhone as soon as possible as long as the next iPhone had a larger screen than the iPhone 4S and had LTE capability. Lo and behold, the iPhone 5 was introduced and I pre-ordered at 3am the night pre-orders went live… and never looked back.

I am contemplating a new phone. The next phone that I’m eying is the iPhone 6 because honestly, unless the phone is a serious step backwards in technology, I love iOS. Everything just works so smoothly, and the app environment is so rich. My hopes for the iPhone 6 include built-in inductive charging and water resistance. I’m not totally sold on NFC technology yet in my daily life.


Dan Cohen



My current phone is an iPhone 5S, and I’ve used it since the day it was released. Before this phone, I used an iPhone 5 for 10 months. The two month gap was because I sold it on eBay before the new phone was announced so I would get top dollar. I tend to keep my phones for less than a year; I will buy the new iPhone, and then put it on eBay a few weeks before the expected announcement of the new version. I have the good fortune to have an assortment of Android and Windows Phones at my disposal as well as a Blackberry Z10, so I am able to fill in the gap between iPhone’s with one of them.

What I like about my iPhone is the familiarity of the OS, the tight integration with my tablet and computer, my large “stockpile” of apps, and the integration with my home audio/visual system. (Each TV in my home has an Apple TV connected to it.) Overall I am most tied to the iPhone because I have heavily invested in the ecosystem. I like the phone and the OS, but I can also see its limitations. Every time I try to switch to something else, I come back to the iPhone because of the ease-of-use it offers. I like to “play” with tech but, at the end of the day, I also need it to “just work”. iOS does that for me, and whenever I switch to other devices I see a serious drop in productivity.

Here’s why I switched from my last phone: The next iPhone was coming out.

I am contemplating a new phone, and it will be whichever phone follows the iPhone 5S. Yes, I would love to have one of the current Android super-phones, but not so much that I would pay the unsubsidized price for an unlocked one.


Chris Chamberlain

chris chamberlain


My current phone is iPhone 5S, and I’ve used it for 4 months. Before this phone I used iPhone 3G for 4 years. I tend to keep my phones for at least a couple of generations. I used to be an early adopter back in the Treo days, but now I keep them as long as they are technologically sound and don’t prevent me from using important apps.

Here’s what I like about my iPhone 5S: The leap in speed and capabilities is pretty remarkable when you don’t go incrementally. In fact, the rep at the Apple Store kept inviting other reps to see what I was moving up from. They would cuff me on the shoulder and say things like, “Well this is gonna be a big day for you, my friend.”

They were right! Basically I have access to most of the knowledge in the universe in my front pocket. While I regret that it’s a lot harder to talk people into making sucker bets in bars when they can look up answers themselves. As a writer, it’s critical for me to be able to research almost any topic while on the road.

Spotify and iTunes keep me entertained on the road, and podcasts keep me distracted while exercising. I can check which gas station is cheapest with Gas Buddy, and Yelp reviews help me figure put where to eat.

Here’s why I switched from my last phone: It had basically ground to a slow crawl as memory needs for my favorite apps exceeded my processor. I can’t complain about planned obsolescence, since I got such a good long run out of my original iPhone.

I am not contemplating a new phone, because I’m generally happy staying a couple of generations behind the next new thing. That being said, if my eyes get much worse as I age and information providers cram more and more words on the screen, I may have to look at something bigger like a Galaxy Note. Luckily as I get older, the pockets on my pants seem to be getting bigger too…

Other miscellaneous pros / cons of my current phone: I’ve had the memory issue that many others encountered after the iOS 7.1 update. I usually have to top off the battery at home or in my car at least once during the day.

Carly Zektzer


My current phone is Lumia 928. and I’ve used it for 9 months. Before this phone I used an iPhone 4s for 18 months. I tend to keep my phones about a year to 18 months.
Here’s what I like about my Lumia 928: It has a great camera and a streamlined interface. I really like live tiles, but that may not be enough to keep me on Windows Phone.

Here’s why I switched from my last phone: I got bored with the static nature of iOS and had already tried Android, so I wanted something new.

I am contemplating a new phone. My next phone that I’m eying is any of these: HTC One (M8), Galaxy S5, new iPhone, possible the new Samsung ATIV windows phone, because my Lumia is buggy and it is starting to feel too chunky.

Other miscellaneous pros / cons of current phone: I loved the Lumia at first, but it has gotten buggy; I have email issues as well as hardware bugs. Also, I am starting to lose confidence in Microsoft’s ability to really turn the OS into a contender, but maybe 8.1 will change my mind in a few weeks.

Joel McLaughlin


My current phone is the Galaxy Nexus, and I’ve used it for about 24 months. Before this phone I used the Droid 2 for 18 months. I tend to keep my phones until Verizon lets me upgrade.

Here’s what I like about my Galaxy Nexus … it was a Nexus. It had ZERO cruft on the top, and I liked the interface. It lasted a good 24 months, and while I have been digging to upgrade the last 6 months, I can and do still use it everyday.

Here’s why I switched from my last phone: the Droid 2 was unbearably slow, and the Motoblur interface just sucked. I went Nexus because I typically like the standard Google interface.

I am contemplating a new phone. My next phone that I’m eying is the Galaxy note 3 because of the huge screen and the stylus. A close second is the Galaxy S5 followed by the HTC One M8. Unlike last go around, I have no desire to look at an iPhone as I just dislike the iOS interface.

Other miscellaneous pros / cons of current phone is that Verizon’s version got treated like a redheaded stepchild, and it is STILL one release behind all other Galaxy Nexus devices. I have zero hope that Verizon will ever be a haven for a Nexus device. The closest is the Moto X, but it’s just too old at this point for me to consider.

Wayne Schulz


My current phone is the Nexus 5 running on AT&T, and I’ve used it for about a month. Before this phone I used was the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 on AT&T for about 3 months. I tend to keep my phones 3-6 months before getting bored or upgrading.

One of the things I didn’t like about my prior phone – the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 on AT&T – is that the GPS tends to become unusable as you shift between LTE and 4G. For a while I was playing Ingress (an Android location-based game), which was tough because I noticed that the GPS in my Note 3 would sporadically stop working until I manually turned GPS on and off.

I’d also been using the iPhone 5 on Verizon, but I have gifted that phone to my son. I love the iPhone and the iPhone experience, but I do not like the smaller screen. For my use, a screen size of about 5” is ideal which allows me to see and interact with the screen much more clearly.

I switched over to the Nexus 5 largely because I grew to hate the bloat on the Samsung Note 3 as well as the faulty GPS on the AT&T variant. While the extra Samsung apps (which largely cannot be uninstalled without rooting and going through some gymnastics) look cute at first – I’ve never used them after an initial glance. I haven’t found the S-Pen all that compelling.

Google Now is fully integrated on the Nexus 5 – just swipe right, and you’re at Google Now. I use this all the time for news, weather and traffic reports. Also upgrades to the latest OS versions are received significantly faster than on the Samsung devices, which seem to lag by at least 6 months.

I’m a Google Apps user, so using an Android phone has been a great fit for me. I like that the Gmail application filters less important mail and only alerts me for inbox mail and filters my secondary mail into boxes labeled social, promotions, updates and forums. We all get too much mail, and I love how Gmail automatically filters the important items.

If the next iPhone has a bigger sized screen of 5” or larger, then I’ll almost certainly be upgrading to that. I’ve also tried the Nokia 928 Windows Phone on Verizon, and while I like the camera and the fast fluid user interface, I have the same overall concerns as most reviewers which a lack of applications. I’m also toying with a BlackBerry Q10 on a spare line, which seems sturdy enough but at best is a sad memory of a bygone era when we all used physical keyboards and not much else mattered in our smartphone selection.


How about you?

What’s your daily driver? What’d you use before that? Why’d you switch, and most importantly what will be your next phone purchase?

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2 replies

  1. I’m currently rotating between an iPhone 4s (my most commonly used device), a Lumia 1520 (2nd place), and a MotoX. All are unlocked and I have SIMS for AT&T and T-Mo.

    No matter what I do, I find myself back at the iPhone because of the apps. It’s the availability of specialty apps and niches that keeps me coming back and the quality of the apps and completeness and consistency of the ecosystem. The devices always run smoothly and I am easily able to hand them down throughout my family and I know they will have a long life. I just took an iPhone 4 (not 4s) whose home button was acting up and battery wasn’t taking a great charge and had both repaired for only $50 (total). The device, under iOS 7.1 runs great – almost like new! Try that on an Android that is of the same age – newest OS and running as well as it originally did. All of this keeps dragging me back to iOS, despite the fact that it is NOT an exciting OS anymore.

    I also love my Lumia 1520 – 6 inch screen and rocking a 64GB MicroSD card. It’s great. But WP always has weird app gaps and I can’t print from the OS or even connect a BT keyboard. These are things the OS should have by now and I’m not sure the upcoming WP 8.1 update will bring them. Still, the Lumia is very smooth and the display is gorgeous and it feels lighter than my old Lumia 920 (which I still own). On top of that – some of the new tools, like Office Lens, are really great for capturing whiteboards and slapping them into OneNote for me (my chosen note tool). That said, the travel tools on WP are not great compared to their iOS counterparts and the OS limitations I mentioned before have caused me to waver in my devotion…

    I recently got a Moto X and I like a lot about it – but there are many gotchas in both Android and this particular device. For example, but Google Now has a lot of well-documented bugs. In my case (and that of many Moto X users) it won’t navigate correctly to home/work/contacts even though it has permission – it does a Google Search instead. I also have a problem with the clumsy PIN login which requires you to press a RETURN at the end of your PIN – no other phone does that. Android apps frequently are clumsy-looking compared to their iOS or WP counterparts (when there IS a WP counterpart).

    On the up side, I haven’t had any lag issues with this device – previously a common complaint I had, but the overall user experience is very inconsistent compared to WP and iOS, and everything seems to take just a little more work to accomplish. I also feel like the much-touted customizability often takes more work than it’s worth to accomplish. For example, I really hated having to find/get separate visual voicemail apps for my carriers – shouldn’t that be part of the phone app like it is on every other platform? Yes choice and customizations, but the core stuff isn’t nearly as functional as what comes with iOS for free.

    That said, the device felt good in my hands and although it was only a 720p device, the screen was bright and clear and the Moto feature of listening all the time is really well implemented as is the Active Display feature (almost the same as Nokia’s Glance Screen, but not quite as cool). Those last 2, along with multitasking that is better than that in iOS or WP, almost make a permanent switch worth putting up with the nonsense Android puts you though and the issues with the Google apps – almost, but not quite. So it stays in my stable, but isn’t my everyday go-to device. It just isn’t as polished feeling and that grates on my nerves over time.

    If I could have anything I wanted? I’d stick with the Lumia 1520, but I’d want the missing OS features I mentioned above, and apps that took advantage of the larger screen/resolution. If I had that, I’d probably stick to the Lumia, but as is – I’m back to iOS again and again. It just works.

  2. Galaxy Note 3 for the win! I am LOVING it!