Today we start a new feature at Wireless and Mobile News called "WiMo Q&A" in which readers write in and ask specific questions about wireless, mobile, smartphones, tablets, data plans and any other pressing problems. You can ask us your question via the contact form page and we will do our best to give you an answer or the information you need to make a decision.
Today we answer an upgrade question for someone who owns an HTC EVO Sift 4G (WiMAX) and if you she should upgrade now to the Samsung Galaxy Note II.
Dear WiMo News Q&A:
I'm a Sprint customer with unlimited data. I have an HTC EVO Shift 4G and I will be ready for an upgrade soon. I'm having trouble figuring out what smartphone to buy. I use the keyboard a lot for texting and I like the network speed. I answer some email from it, too. I also need to browse the web to research for work. I have some music on it and watch videos, once in a while at lunch.
I saw the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and lit looks nice. Can the pen replace the keyboard? Will it be as fast? Should I upgrade now or later?
Arlene G from, Los Angeles, CA
The answer to your question not easy. If appears that you really like texting with a QWERTY keyboard and you may not like the switching to either a touchscreen keyboard or an S Pen. I tried the S Pen on the original Galaxy Note and was able to write an entire article with it. The S Pen has many neat features such as screenshots, drawing and note taking.
The bigger issue however is this the Samsung Galaxy Note II supports 3G and LTE networks not WiMAX. Your EVO Shift 4G uses WiMAX which is much faster than 3G but not as fast as 4G LTE. Currently, Sprint has not deployed the 4G LTE network in Los Angeles. If you get a Samsung Galaxy Note II in the near future before the 4G LTE network is deployed, you will notice that the network will be very slow for web browsing, streaming video and other high data features. There are some areas that are live but inconsistent.
Los Angeles is slated by Sprint to be covered with 4G LTE but we do not have a date, yet. Whereas you pay full price for super phablet that will have slower data, it may not be the best time to buy the Samsung Galaxy Note II. If you lived in a 4G LTE coverage area, you would probably like the speed, the bigger screen for video and S Pen. Sprint expects to have most of its 4G LTE coverage done by the end of 2013. Once LTE comes to Los Angeles, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will be discounted by online retailers and there may be a smartphone, you like better for needs. You may want to wait and see.
The Sprint 4G LTE network is currently in some major markets in Georgia, Texas, Missouri, Boston, Kansas and Massachusetts. Sometimes when they are in the process of deploying 4G LTE, you get the full speed in some places.
In October, Sprint announced that is working on 4G LTE in the San Francisco, Santa Rosa and Napa areas of California which will not help you. You can check the Sprint coverage map or ask you local rep to see when 4G LTE will be deployed and then you really fast data speeds.
If you are currently a Sprint customer in a non-LTE area, in general you may want to wait until you upgrade to a non-WiMAX 4G LTE device.