Android phones: Tips, tricks?

sedrosken

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I don't mind a lower end SoC if the performance is "good enough" and the battery life holds up -- I'm used to waiting a minute for things to catch up. I'm also pretty depressingly familiar with the "Recent Apps->Clear All" dance. Then again, it's more about pricing for me as well, I just don't have the extra cash to drop 6-800 dollars or more on a flagship. I set a max budget for this new phone at around 400, and didn't even want to spend that much, I just acknowledged that to get anything half decent anymore I may just... have to. Technically the G Stylus was only a bit more expensive and had half again as much RAM, which could have been useful, but iirc it dropped a couple features of the Power and I considered it to be inferior as a result. I'm probably still going to have it charging every night, but it's nice to be able to have a phone that I'm not worried about the battery on at any given moment. There were situations where I'd have what would have been plenty of battery on here that, on my iPhone, I'd stop using the phone because I'd be concerned about running out and potentially needing it for navigation or waiting on a call or what-have-you. I also literally kept my iPhone on battery saver from the second I took it off the charger -- I don't foresee myself ever turning battery saver on with the G Power, though I keep the option open in case.

The push to eliminate mSD, especially on phones where the storage is eMMC to begin with, isn't about speed or uniformity -- even with each successive release of Android treating mSD more and more like a second class citizen -- it's about being able to save the three cents or so on a connector, which, when pushed to scale, is probably several tens of thousands of dollars of cost reduction they can put in their pocket since they're obviously not going to pass those savings along to the consumer. It compounds with the extra savings in dev time making sure mSD stuff works, not having to make the SIM tray big enough to hold a mSD as well, hell, I bet within a couple years most manufacturers will go full iPhone and just integrate a SIM so they don't have to expose the slot. It'll be in the name of cost reduction and helping waterproofing, of course.

I'm also pretty old-school, I guess -- I pretty much immediately turned on 3-button navigation in lieu of the gestures they pushed on me. It may just be my imagination but ironically it feels like the gestures worked better on my A10e than this. The 3-button method just feels way more natural and immediate. I'm honestly a little scared going forward of what the future of this style is -- if they're going to keep it around as an accessibility option, especially for people with small hands, or if they're going to axe it. Then again I also miss the actual hardware navigation keys that my Droid Turbo had, even if they make no difference as opposed to the software-controllable navbar in regards to responsiveness or whatever.
 
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LunarMist

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I generally recommend Moto phones to older people. Very often I've found the things that make smartphones confusing for people are Samsung-default or Verizon-default behaviors, like Samsung's bizarre insistence on using the Gallery app instead of Google Photos or Verizon's bullshit storing contacts with the SIM instead of in Google Contacts. Moto is close to stock Android and tends to offer great battery life. The 2021 G Power is a legit 3 day phone for light users, for example. I do still want a phone with a flagship CPU for myself though, and Moto doesn't make those.

I don't understand the push to eliminate SD card access. There are entirely valid reasons for wanting removable storage, even if it's just a matter of a fast switch between media libraries.

That would be me. I have a late 2018 Moto 5+ and it works fine at a third or less the price of the iPhones. The Moto's Andorids are no longer active so I don't know how long the OS will hold up to app updaters. The battery is at 95% of 5Ah. I charge it to NMT 80% when possible to preserve lifetime.

It's pretty obvious that many card slots are removed to push the user into buying a more expensive version of the phone with more NAND soldered internally.
 

Chewy509

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It's pretty obvious that many card slots are removed to push the user into buying a more expensive version of the phone with more NAND soldered internally.
Additionally, it pushes users to use Googles various cloud based services, which gives Google 2 things:
1. Further insight into the users lifestyle and data, (photos, music, etc).
2. Possible additional income when users need to upgrade the available storage on said cloud service, eg moving from the free tier to the paid tier.
 

LunarMist

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My lifestyles do not involve the Anadroids. I have literally 3 photos in the Gallery of this phone. I think the others may have a dozen or two. I use cell phones for web, email, text and rarely as a phone when I'm not traveling.
 

DrunkenBastard

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Upgrading from a Moto z3 to an S21 5G Ultra this week, the Moto battery is shot and phone dies with about 50% capacity showing. Verizon had a decent $200 trade-in offer, normally they offer like $10 bucks for an old one like mine. Also got the Samsung case with spen holder.

Edit to add: Samsung has a conference on the 11th but apparently will just be regarding Fold 3 and Flip 3 models. Apparently they got lazy and are using the same camera setup as the Fold 2 so no improvement there at all.
 

sedrosken

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I had the original Moto Z back in college and I didn't care for it all that much. It didn't do anything my Turbo couldn't do almost as well, the battery didn't last as long as the Turbo (which by this point had degraded noticably from stock, and was some four years old already), and it cost way too much. The "mods" were neat but I never had any, I kept the original back cover on it most of the time, or a case over the phone itself.
 

fb

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I also had a Moto Z... I liked it,
1. Battery life was an improvement over my previous phone (Nexus 5x)
2. Moto gestures
3. Medium performance is fine for my needs. Surfing the forums and reading news, checking the mail.

I never had any mods either. I had it until the battery died.

The replacement was a Moto One Hyper, it was a bit bulky but also fine for my needs until it died (dropped it on a stone floor without protective case)

Now I have inherited a Samsung S9+, it is better in every way except for battery life/recharging speed + the lack of Moto UI/gestures.
 

sedrosken

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Oh yeah, I love the Moto gestures. It was the first thing I noticed on returning to a Moto phone, it just felt right. But going from one to the other, I just didn't notice all the little improvements because between the Droid Turbo and Moto Z there just weren't that many. This was when 32-bit phone hardware was still viable so the Snapdragon 805 the Turbo has was still plenty fast. The Turbo came with a monstrous 3900mAh battery for the time, which even after aging for four years still spanked the 2600mAh one the Moto Z had.
 

fb

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I can imagine that a droid turbo beat the Z hands down. :)

The Edge 20/20 Pro looks interestimg (or G100 for that matter) if I were to get another phone right now, but I will most likely use my current until it dies.
The S9+ still gets security updates and I am kind of used to the UI by now.
 

Mercutio

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I'm a regular Hangouts user.
Hangouts is being phased out for most people, so I've installed Google Chat.

Now I get notifications about IMs in three different applications, plus extra notifications on computers if I happen to have Chrome open, plus extra extra notifications if I have "Your Phone" open.

And because Google notifies chat via Gmail now, I don't seem to have fine control to either tell Android not to notify me about chats while still allowing me to see the notifications in either Hangouts or Chat without also killing my new mail notification.

This is such am mess I can barely stand it.
 

Handruin

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Dude, welcome to the party. This chat nonsense has been going on for corp users for quite some time now even before the personal Hangouts just got phased out. I hate that I get two notifications on my phone like you mentioned.

You're even missing out on some of the epic nonsense when it comes to creating threads within a Chat. None of us can even make sense of who posted in which thread.
 

LunarMist

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We have to use MS TEAMs for everything. IMs are supposedly only for non-substative, brief communications, but people keep sending long messages anyway. My phone is buzzing day and night about something ridiculous because people in Americas, Europe, or Asia are commenting on some recurring meeting that I have not attended in a year. :(
For some reason Google is not preferred globally. Zoom is prohibited completely.
 

Handruin

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I've gotten to the point where several group threads are muted so they don't alert my phone and on top of that, my mobile is now 100% set to silent. No vibration, nothing. I only get updates when I choose to look at my phone and it's helped me a ton.
 

fb

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Starting yesterday I got a popup in my Gmail (phone) if I wanted to disable popups (to avoid dual notifications).

I have also disabled sound+visual notifications from almost every app in my phone since 2015, and also mail notifications from Outlook at the work computer. I usually check the mail/messaging channels from time to time during the day anyway.
 

Handruin

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That's good news. Hopefully in a few weeks it'll get rolled out to everyone and I can make use of that new feature.
 

Mercutio

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I have also disabled sound+visual notifications from almost every app in my phone since 2015, and also mail notifications from Outlook at the work computer. I usually check the mail/messaging channels from time to time during the day anyway.

I have custom alert sounds for certain email senders and tend to rely on my phone or whatever tablet for those.

My co-workers largely use iMessage or Amazon Chime for their communication, but my role is different and I'm not involved in 99% of that. I was lobbying for Skype, since it actually works on everything and we all have it, or Signal, which is less dumb than texting. Chime got chosen because our owner was already using it, and a hilarious side effect of that is that I've still never actually been on a Zoom meeting. Outside of work stuff, I wind up using Snapchat for way more communication than I want to, since FB Messenger and SMS aren't things I care to deal with. I do understand that SMS is less stupid now that RCS is a thing, but the blue text/green text BS still gets on my nerves with iphone people and at this point I'd rather just not start. I use give some people a Google Voice number than emails me SMS messages for the few people who HAVE to do that.

I'm not a fan of stuff like Slack or Discord. I know people do love those things, but Email has been central to communication for a very long time, and I know how to deal with it. I also work in an environment where I don't get 40-dozen random CYA emails about issues unrelated to my job on a daily basis, which I think Slack-style messaging is meant to address. To me it just seems like a huge distraction.
 

sedrosken

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Early Chromebooks especially from Samsung used Exynos chips anyway, and got superb battery life and performance for the day. I wondered why they went to Intel to begin with, especially when they use such low end chips easily outpaced by mid-tier Snapdragons.

If anything this may actually hurt business, though, since half the use of a Chromebook by people who know what they're doing is a cheap Linux laptop -- that you usually have to hack coreboot onto, first, like with mine. Oh well. I'm pretty easily outside their demographic now anyway -- when I do need a laptop now, I need more performance than one of these can provide.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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I'm actually a big fan of Chromebooks as-is. Google Docs/Sheets, Drive and Photos are a highly compelling set of tools that work really well. Even the Celeron-based models are fast enough. ChromeOS is actually my go-to recommendation for people with modest computing needs.

I especially appreciate my Chromey buddies on trips and in the heat of the summer, since I almost never run air conditioning and they do not get hot.
 

sedrosken

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I'm one of those weird folks who think Google's the devil and try not to give them any more information than I absolutely must. I admire the Chromebook for what it is, but I'm more likely to want similar hardware running actual Linux, myself.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Every big tech company is the devil. IBM was the devil before Microsoft, and now it is seen as a moderating force to the other evils at Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google. We can't live our lives without those guys, even if it's only because of a javascript framework, video codec or beloved TV show rather than the products they're famous for.

If you actually achieve hermetic technological purity, congratulations on being the next Richard Stallman.
 

LunarMist

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Every big tech company is the devil. IBM was the devil before Microsoft, and now it is seen as a moderating force to the other evils at Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google. We can't live our lives without those guys, even if it's only because of a javascript framework, video codec or beloved TV show rather than the products they're famous for.

Of course we can to high degree, but most choose not to.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Of course we can to high degree, but most choose not to.

In some cases it is deeply surprising how far the roots spread for these companies. We can't opt out of Facebook ads ENTIRELY because it turns out Facebook owns some direct (Postal) mail operations now. Angular.js is a Google product that's used all over the web. Avoiding AWS and Azure because of their owners would render the internet substantially nonfunctional for most English speaking people. We can sort of live without the internet, but only at a massive cost to convenience and our ability to communicate.
 

fb

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Don't fortget the 8.8.8.8 DNS server.

if you think about it,.most companies collect user data, when you buy food, coffee or whatever. We get all these great "free" services - which we pay for with information about us.
 

sedrosken

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Easy now, I said I try not to give them any more information than I must. I don't really get that far into it, I don't sacrifice much, I still use YouTube pretty extensively and shop more on Amazon than I do in actual brick/mortar stores. I just try to move away from the really personal services when practical -- having all my IRC traffic go through an AWS server was a bit much for me, and I just plain didn't like Gmail that much. When I said they're the devil, I was actually trying to be funny. I don't think any one company is pure, unadulterated evil -- self-interested, of course, but raw unfiltered evil? No.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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I took my current roommate to a local phone repair place yesterday. Unbelievably, they still had a new in box Galaxy S20 Ultra, which DOES have a card slot. Not exactly the phone I wanted (it's a little too big and the model is a year old), but the owner threw in a pair of Galaxy Buds and a used Galaxy Tab S6 to make it worth my while. I was just asking if they had an unlocked LG V60, which has the same form factor as the Ultra. I was really thinking I'd wind up with the Sony Experia 1 III but I couldn't find one to look at it (there is a real question about the brightness of the screen, which is not something I'm willing to tolerate in a $1300 phone); if there was one in a retail store in the Chicago region, I couldn't find it.

The Samsung Fold 3 looks REALLY cool but it seems unfriendly to stick in a pocket. The thickness reminded me of my old HTC sliding keyboard phones, which wound up in phone holsters rather than in my pocket. Samsung is advertising the folding phones as offering a 512GB option, but apparently those are rarer than PS5s. I've been carrying around phones for years with 400GB and now 1TB of SD storage. It's extremely frustrating to know that nothing is really offering an upgrade in the storage department.

I still haven't activated the new phone yet. I've been using a now-unsupported keyboard, Swype, and one of the things I want to do is extract the 8000 custom words I have from its dictionary. I'm probably going to move to Swiftkey or the Google standard keyboard, but I need to get the words out of my old one first.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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I found an Android tool called Universal Copy that let me grab and export my dictionary from my old keyboard. It can recognize and grab text from any image as well. That's not something I think I'll need very often, but it solved a real problem for me.
 
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