In a nutshell, la familia Bolt were formerly Alltel customers who then got switched over to Verizon and were due for phone upgrades. Verizon knocked fifty bucks off the price of the phones to entice us to stay, and it worked. Forthwith, the Droid Eris review:
The short version: LOVE.
Care to expand on that? Yes. Disclaimer: I am a complete geek from way back in the day. No, really. Like at the level of maybe having been a member of the Star Trek Club that met in the basement of the South Bend Public Library on Thursday evenings in 1978. But hey, I'm not embarrassed to admit that any more, because now I have a goddamn fucking tricorder in my pocket! W00t!
I used the Eris over the weekend to check Google maps for the route to a volleyball tournament in Phoenix, find the nearest branch of my bank for an ATM run, check the Cubs score (Cubs lose again on a bases-loaded walk? There are, regrettably, about a million apps for that), read and respond to e-mails, send texts, play a fishing game (uncannily close to real life; not a single bite), and even make some calls.
Best bits: I am still new enough to the magic of touchscreens to still squeee a little every time I flick menus up, down, and sideways. The lack of a physical keyboard was initially daunting, but I got the hang of the touchscreen QWERTY keyboard pretty quickly. You have seven screens you can customize by parking widgets all over the place, if you want. I have only scratched the surface of the available apps, but so far am completely enthralled with Google Maps, Google Sky (a star chart that works off GPS to show you the constellations you would be seeing RIGHT NOW if you lived in a dark place), and the ability to speak your search terms and have Teh Almighty Google take care of the rest. My Tracks is a nifty app that plots your runs/hikes/bikes onto a map, recording distance, time, and elevation gain, and then twangs them into a spreadsheet if you want, or uploads them if you'd like to share favorite routes with friends. I haven't tried it yet but am excited about using it on the next hike.
The downside: Battery life sucks with the factory settings, but there are things you can do to improve it. Disabling data synching, turning off the mobile web and WiFi when you don't need them, and several other tricks you can find online help a lot. If you rely on mobile access to your e-mail on a constant basis during the day, this may not be the phone for you, but if, like me, you just like having the option there to access mail and the web on an on-demand basis, it's probably not a problem. I ran the battery all the way down and charged it overnight two days in a row, and then with the WiFi and mobile network only on when I needed them over the weekend, I got almost two full days of battery life with my usual amount of texting and calling (and occasional checks to see what Alfonso Soriano's latest mishaps in left field have done to the baserunning situation).
Also, the tiny touchscreen keyboard means drunk texting or even tired texting is really not an option. Then again, maybe seeing wtyshgf on the screen when you thought you were typing hello might come in handy when you're wondering if you've really had as many as maybe you think you have but aren't sure.
And now, the inaugural WPS Game of the Week Review. Carli Lloyd was essentially invisible for Sky Blue? I'm stunned. Despite no longer having Lloyd on the roster (and forcing 15-odd corners), the Red Stars failed to score a goal? Shocked. Still wearing my Red Stars scarf, but looking forward a little more to next week to see my second team and pretend soulmate in aging knee troubles Kelly Smith take on the new Philadelphia Independence.