Need a Decent Phone

LunarMist

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...but not very expensive. Does that exist in the 2021 era? My current phones were around $300 each, but one of them does not accept a newer OS, so the work-related apps just don't. :(
Most of the reviews of the cheaper phones indicate that they are not so reliable or suffer some critical defects.
I must be on the T-mobiles, which may be detrimental?
I really don't feel like spending $1000 mainly to receive the constantly annoying 2-factorial text messages to access SAP, Ariba, etc. and run TEAMS.
I otherwise only use a phone for web and emails. The cameras will be covered with Gaffer's tape and I would not store anything personal on that phone for obvious reasons. Thanks.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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I think Motorola is the gold standard for mid-tier Android phones. They tend to have 700-series Snapdragon CPUs and middling displays, but they tend toward the absurd end of battery life. I've suggested the Moto G Power or Ace for friends who aren't concerned about the camera.

Samsung A5x phones are also quite nice and also highly recommended, but S20s that are refurbished or S20FEs on discount sometimes drop into the low $400 range, and those are phones that will hold up for years because they do still have flagship specs. Samsung is saying they're planning to offer at least two cycles of full OS upgrades to new phones, and I've gotten three monthly security patches since I got my S20. Samsung DOES want to sell you on their camera, but in its favor, it's hard to find fault in those bright, high refresh displays and crap-tons of RAM.
 
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LunarMist

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The last phone they supplied was a Blackenberry. :D Now we receive some bucks per month to spend on phone services. 85% of the people I see only have one phone, but a good one.

The apps now are just awful with the permissions required. My "work" phone has hundreds of contacts I saved years ago on a Dell Core 2 Duo, including many that are irrelavant or deceased. And TEAMS messages are practically 24 hours a day due to the global nature. :(
 

LunarMist

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Is this the one? It is rather huge and heavy, maybe too much to keep it in my pants.
Is 6GB of RAM enough to last a few years or will the CPU be a limiting factor?
I don't see any update policy. How can I discover the last OS that will be updated on the device?
 

fb

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OS updates are maybe the weak point of motorola? I love their phones, have had a Moto Z and Moto One Hyper, but they received very sporadical updates. I bought the Z spring 2017 and the updates stopped in August 18. :(
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Is this the one? It is rather huge and heavy, maybe too much to keep it in my pants.
Is 6GB of RAM enough to last a few years or will the CPU be a limiting factor?
I don't see any update policy. How can I discover the last OS that will be updated on the device?
Moto is not great with updates. Samsung and Google are best in that department, each giving about three years of software support on average, though Google is claiming more for the just released Pixel 6 series. Samsung promises support through two Android revisions past the release versions and in general continues to provide security updates beyond that, at least for S series models.

For what it's worth, my ancient Galaxy S4 has LineageOS 17 on it, which is based on Android 11. I couldn't do that stuff with my LG phones because they didn't have unlocked bootloaders, but Samsung phones are so common and well supported that it's nothing to move them on to open source ROMs oncethey lose official support.
 

sedrosken

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A third (fourth?) on Motorola. I myself use a Moto G Power 2020 (Snap 665, 4GB RAM, US$230 on Amazon back in July), I learned my lesson from past movements and just bought the unlocked version directly from them. Yes, OS updates are the big achilles' heel of Motorola these days, since their acquisition by Lenovo you get updates for a year, maybe two and then you're done. I don't consider this a big deal because, being unlocked, I can easily unlock the bootloader and do as I wish -- in particular I bought the 2020 over the 2021 because the 2021 drops the ultrawide camera and doesn't have as active a dev scene, and is otherwise completely the same.
 

Newtun

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Your drug spam was reported, Zanrickdah of Papua New Guinea.
 

MaxBurn

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Samsung A and S series and Google Pixel phones are going to be the ones with the longest support in the android world I'm aware of. Apple still rules in this area, the 6S just dropped off of support. You could in theory get anything newer than a 7 and enjoy at least a couple years of up to date software.

Personally I'd stick to Xr or newer.
 

sedrosken

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Yeah, now that my Moto doesn't have the new phone luster, if I had to do it all again I'd probably go with an A52 5G to have something with a bit more longevity. 5G rollout in my area is pathetic, but I assume some day it won't be, and 4GB RAM just isn't a ton on Android like it was when I had my V30 a few years ago. I'm almost tempted to grab one anyway and keep my Moto as a work or backup phone, but I'm still not quite where I want to be financially to drop 400 bucks on a whim.
 

LunarMist

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I'm not thrilled with the A52 being so tall, but it seems a decent option. What is the thought about when the next model will replace it?
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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I'm not thrilled with the A52 being so tall, but it seems a decent option. What is the thought about when the next model will replace it?

The A-series has screen, CPU and RAM that are all a step down from the S-series, but they do keep the SD slot and headphone jack, and they're expected to keep those features as part of the distinguishing characteristics of the line. The 18:9 or 21:9 form factor does seem to be the new standard for candy bar phones these days and I don't think we can get away from that. Samsung releases are extremely predictable and leaked months ahead of time. A-series phones are released in the spring, if you're thinking about holding out for the next one.

Samsung does make the S2xFE devices that go on sale for around the same price as the A5x phones. Amazon and Best Buy will have them for around the same $400 price point, and then it's just a question of whether you're willing to trade the pretty good camera in the A- for the better CPU, RAM (and lack of ports) for the FE phone.

My roommate stopped bothering with a phone. She broke the one she had and just hasn't replaced it, and now does everything through a couple instant message tools from an Android tablet. I find myself wishing I were able to get away with that, since my phone is used more for multifactor authentication than anything else and I might go a week or more between actual phone calls.
 

LunarMist

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...my phone is used more for multifactor authentication than anything else and I might go a week or more between actual phone calls.
I also need it for authenticator at work, a whole bunch of MS apps, and some other new apps they keep piling on. The last app just doesn't work properly under Androids part 7. I also need a phone number for work and other purposes that is different from my personal cell. The S21FE is $700 at the BestBuy, which is too much for just the work phone purpose. The store is probably full of the Covids now anyway.

I'm not sure what you mean about ports. I prefer a stereo mini in case of air travel to use the active noise cancellation earphones. I assume they all have USB-C for power now. What else could there be?
 

LunarMist

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Gosh I would never do that unless sufficient bucks were involved. It's like giving up your negatives used to be. The photographer controls the output printing or other media, but that is an artistic choice from the RAW files.

On the website there is no 1/8" mini audio socket. :( Do you use one of those Chinese USB to mini adapters?
 

Mercutio

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I've used bluetooth earbuds for years. I don't like the full wireless ones, but I usually have a pair of corded ones wrapped around my neck. The ones I'm using right now are SoundPeats Q35s, which I bought for AptX support that my previous Jaybird pair did not have.

The SD card to Google Photos is the most immediate form of backup. Canon's utility for copying files to a phone won't transfer the .CR3s, so I swap my cards every night while I'm traveling to make sure the files end up somewhere other than just my camera; my phone will passively dump the files to the cloud. I'll delete them once I'm safely home with full access to proper storage. I also mirror on to two cards, but I had cards go bad in my old 5D, so I'm paranoid.

I only ever share out processed JPG files.
 

sedrosken

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Soooooo as it turns out I'm a complete moron. Mint uses LTE bands 2, 4, 12 and 71. My Moto G Power supports only 2 and 4. I'd been wondering why I've had such weird signal cutout issues -- it only supports half the bands the network uses to function.

And it gets even better -- most budget Android phones, being that they're sold for use globally, omit 71 because it's a band usually only used in the US and really the plebians can get by with every other band, can't they? So to get 71 you have to get a US-specific model, usually a flagship.

So my options boil down to an old Android flagship, and taking my chances as far as updates; vastly exceeding my budget on a new flagship (I'm already paid up for the year on my service so I really don't want to get rid of that) or looking into the iPhone again. Which, as I think I've said before, I feel a tad limited by iOS but it doesn't bother me too much. Especially as, I'm finding out now, the special stuff you can do with Android over iOS (mostly emulation) are tempered by the fact that it's mostly stuff that, by and large, you shouldn't be doing on a phone at all.

iTune's file management is much more workable than its music library management, so I'd probably just drop my music library directly into VLC, and see if I can find an eBook reader app that supports the same deal for my ePubs and mobis. Chiptunes are in a better spot than I remembered from my last time, I could have just missed it, since Modizer exists and seems to be basically just ZXTune (which I love) for iOS.

Battery life is probably the iPhone's Achilles' heel, but the XR 256GB I'm looking at refurbed will at least do better on that front than my old SE2020 and the SE2020 with careful management did fine. Not great but it was serviceable. My old SE2020, incidentally, is unavailable as I gave it to my cousin for his birthday. Everything I'm reading says the XR won't be dropped until at least 2024, possibly 2025, and the 256GB size ensures I won't have to down-convert my music to get it to fit. The hardest pill to swallow is going to be the price -- for the "premium renewed" Amazon model it'll be US$409 before tax. But with that comes some perks you don't get on the used market, namely a guarantee that the battery is at least 90% of the design capacity, and a 1 year warranty.

I'm going to let it sit in my cart for at least a few days before I pull the trigger, as I a. want to be sure and b. don't want it to be an impulse purchase I'll regret but I'm going to have to do something to actually use the service I've already paid for.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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The Galaxy A52 is a mid-tier phone with band 71 support. They're $300 second-hand on Swappa and Ebay.
Galaxy A5x have specs that exceed many other brands' flagships. They just don't have the super high end cameras or screens that the Galaxy Ses do.
 

sedrosken

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According to the site I used (kimovil, at the recommendation of a few of my friends -- GSMArena tends to parrot the same band specs for a lot of phones from what I can tell) the A52 US model picks up band 12 but not 71. What source are you using? Maybe it's more accurate than mine?
 

Chewy509

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I kind of find it amusing that the Samsung US site shows virtually no specs nor could I access the specs from the support system, but the Australia site shows all specs including LTE band support. (The AU models lack band 71).
 

Will Rickards

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Consider USMobile as opposed to mint, you can choose between verizon and tmobile networks and pay just about the same as mint but do it monthly instead of a whole year. The biggest difference is the tethering isn't included.

As for phones, I'd look for deals on the iphone SE or another model. There are some deals on the SE that you stick with the one network for 6 months and then unlock. The whole price I think was 300 or less. As for battery life, I get ridiculous battery life out of the iphone 12 and the 13 pro max. The 12 sits for a week off the charge but is only used as an authentication device so very little screen time. The 13 pro max I use like normal and charge once every 3 days.
 

sedrosken

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Fact remains that I have the service and I'm going to use it.

I will not finance or get a phone on contract. Stuff has changed too drastically too often in my life to where every time I've done that so far, I've been burned. So I buy unlocked and outright, or I don't buy at all.

I've had an SE -- the 2020 model, last year. I don't mind iOS but that phone had some clear limits -- the model I got on promotion had too little storage for my uses, and the battery could only last the day if I kept battery saver on 24/7 and aggressively curtailed usage of the phone. The XR I'm looking at ought to be better about this, but I'm not expecting a miracle at only about 50% more capacity. As long as I can make it a solid 16h without having to put it on life support, or watch what I'm doing, it'll be fine. I put my phone on to charge every night whether it needs it or not.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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According to the site I used (kimovil, at the recommendation of a few of my friends -- GSMArena tends to parrot the same band specs for a lot of phones from what I can tell) the A52 US model picks up band 12 but not 71. What source are you using? Maybe it's more accurate than mine?

Mint is a T-mobile MVNO.
 

sedrosken

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Hmm. There's an option, I could keep an eye out for a TMobile specific A52 5G used. Still, the XR has every US band, so it covers me well if in a year I decide to switch providers...

I knew Mint was a T-Mobile MVNO, it's why I went with them at the time -- T-Mobile simply has the best coverage down here, bar none. Even Verizon gets smacked around.
 

LunarMist

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Mint is a T-mobile MVNO.
I'm waiting for the virus to die down a bit before going to the T-motile store for the A52. How do you wipe data from the old phones? I suppose if the Cougtek were still alive, he would smash it with a BFH.
 

Handruin

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I'm waiting for the virus to die down a bit before going to the T-motile store for the A52. How do you wipe data from the old phones? I suppose if the Cougtek were still alive, he would smash it with a BFH.
Did he pass away?
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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I'm waiting for the virus to die down a bit before going to the T-motile store for the A52. How do you wipe data from the old phones?

If you encrypt the phone's storage before you factory reset it, anyone attempting to recover anything won't have the key to decrypt, so at best they'd get a bunch of garbage.

The last email address I have for Coug is a yahoo.ca one that I doubt he's still using. I'm sure he's still out there though.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Apple has sole control over its platform. That's fine as long as you're in the "one size fits some" mindset they offer

The good news is that if you have a device from an OEM that doesn't stonewall developers, you can actually get better software support from projects like LineageOS, but chances are pretty good that if you're actually using a single phone for long enough that matters, your phone won't be anything like current for other reasons anyway. It's neat that you can get current Android running on an eight year old phone but who the hell wants to do anything on an eight year old phone.

The article is a pretty interesting read, but basically Android needs to have cooperation from a lot of different organizations to get anything done and it's just not easy to do, especially when that frequently means involving carriers who genuinely do not care at all.

On the other hand, all Chromebooks get eight(!) years of support, which is pretty crazy to me. Google clearly did learn its lesson. Supposedly that will be the policy for FusciaOS, which is said to be Google's next generation OS project.
 

LunarMist

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Wow! Iphones are too expensive for the work phone. The only ones under $500 are either two versions old (2019 model 11) or a tiny model (SE), so that's not a viable option. :(
 

sedrosken

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It's worth noting that the "two versions old" iPhone, the 11, will likely have complete software support through 2025 if not longer. Apple's still selling it new, even.

They are rather expensive, though.
 
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