Need a Decent Phone

sedrosken

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And I finally pulled the trigger on a three version old XR. I ordered one that was specified as being in "Excellent" condition, we'll see how good of a job they did refurbishing it when I have it in hand. I ended up going with a 128GB because I don't really need to carry 6+ days worth of music in my pocket, that's just dumb -- I can pare it down to just stuff I actually listen to, and cut it down to something manageable codec-wise too. The 256 carries quite the premium -- I got my 128 for only a bit over 300 dollars as opposed to the 400+ the 256GB models go for right now.

I pursued some other options, but this is the best bang-for-buck one. There's a couple features coming that won't make it to the XR, but the one I cared about won't make it to the 11 either, and the other one I couldn't possibly care less about (it's Apple Pay related, and I didn't use that even back when I had my SE 2020). I'd be shocked if they drop it any earlier than iOS 18, given that it's got such an install base -- I remember reading, don't remember where, that the XR is now the most-sold single model of iPhone ever, they'd be insane to drop support while so many people still use it.
 

sedrosken

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Finally got my XR, after a fiasco in which my original order got stuck in Georgia where the handoff from DHL eCommerce and USPS was supposed to take place. Got refunded and ordered from a different seller, even saved a little money doing it, and of course once they finally got it to the post office, it was in my hands 4 days later. From Michigan. Damn you, DHL. First impressions:

- The screen is obviously a new replacement. It's completely unblemished and even came with the factory screen protection still on.
- The metal "lip" had the paint flake off in a couple areas, or it got scratched -- whatever the reason, it's showing bare metal. That's fine, my case covers it anyway.
- The battery is at 87% health. Better than I perhaps expected considering all these eBay listings mention the battery is at least 80% healthy -- I guess I just got lucky. I won't need a replacement anytime soon, hopefully, but if it drops below 80 I'm definitely having it done. I'm already taking a massive hit to battery life by going back to Apple in the first place.
- Cell signal is much improved over my Moto G Power, to an almost laughable degree. It's reporting just a bar less than my S20 Ultra I have from work, when the Moto G Power didn't have signal at all in this area I've moved to.
- This thing is FAST. If I hadn't known it was a 3-4 year old phone going in, I would have thought it was brand new. It even puts my work phone to shame, sometimes. The FaceID is not noticeably slow at all -- I unlock my phone and it's just... ready.
- If you don't pay extra for more iCloud storage, you'll ram right up against the limit immediately if you allow your phone to be backed up to it. Don't ask me how I know.
- The extra breathing room is worth it, never buy the bottom of the barrel model -- I could never go back to a 64GB device.
- Relatives asking why their text bubbles for me suddenly turned blue again are getting annoying.
 

LunarMist

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The Samsung A53 is coming. On paper it looks good, especially the longer OS and security update period. The camera group is all in one section, so they should be easy to defeat with a single foil sticker. It sucks not to have the headphone/microphone port, but that seems to be the cost cutting seen so often nowadays. I don't know if the first releases are buggy or not though.
 

Mercutio

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The A-series are really nice devices that have largely been very successful and reliable. They're "one step down" from flagship specs, so for example they have 90Hz screens instead of 120Hz, and use 700-series Snapdragon SoCs. You're getting specs that are probably on par with a 2 year old flagship but current software updates. That's nothing to complain about.
 

LunarMist

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What is the point of the 90Hz or 120Hz display on a phone? Does it make the UI more responsive or just improve playing mini-games?
I think my display options are 30Hz or 60Hz on the desktop systems. 60Hz seems fine to me for normal videos.
This phone will be used exclusively for work so the A53 is about as much as I want to spend.
If the supposed long-term updates are supported by the T-mobiles it may be the last work phone or close to it. So far it is not listed on the T-mobile site, but Samsung claims it is for all of the US carriers.
 

Mercutio

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The higher refresh rates do make the phones seem more responsive. I turn off animations and other sorts of effects for the general Android OS, but I do notice when I'm scrolling a long web page or watching a video or something.
 

LunarMist

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I received the A53 and acrtivation will ensue in Week 19. I don't understand some things about the modern 12 OS. So far the extremely short screen form factor is worse than I thought (designed for girls hands?) and there are 5 protrusive lenses/sensors. There is no headphone jack, but I knew that. (I'd rather have jacks than the lenses and sensors that will be covered anyways.) They totally rip you off by not even including a power supply. :( They only include a short, WHITE USB A-C cable. :rolleyes:
 

LunarMist

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Is that personal or for work? I'm hoping to make it until maybe the S23+ for personal.
 

Handruin

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This is for my personal phone. I don't have a work phone, I use a work profile on my personal phone to get to corporate stuff. I upgraded from a 4 year old Note 9.
 

LunarMist

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Mine was replacing a Galaxie J7 from over 5 years ago. Ironically the software for the separate work profile are what doomed the old phone. I didn't even want it since that was for work only. I'm hoping this new phone lasts for the duration if the battery holds up.
 

Handruin

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I got the 256GB version. I don't need lots of space on my phone and figured this should be good for a while.
 

LunarMist

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My new phone from May is no more and I ordered another one as there was urgency. Now, my other phone is dying out. 😧
It doesn't seem like like a good idea to buy another of the exact same phone in case there is some inherent defect to the design.
What are thoughts about that or maybe the Morotola Edge 2022?
 

sedrosken

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I wouldn't trust a Lenovo-owned Motorola as far as I could throw them, anymore. Samsung has pledged to offer, what, 5 years of OS updates for all their phones now? Lenovo doesn't seem to promise much of anything.

I did end up needing to replace my XR. It had a screen issue where it'd keep registering taps at the top of the screen. It could be worked around but it was getting steadily worse the longer I had the thing. Unfortunate.

To replace it I ended up buying what I should have gotten in the first place, the Samsung A53 5G -- what issues did yours develop? I don't think they'd sell something with inherent design defects and just not address it. They're not mid-2010 Apple after all.
 

LunarMist

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There were no technical issues, but it's gone.

Isn't Samsung the one that sold phones that were burning up to point that the airlines did not allow them on the planes? I had an LG part 4 something and it just died one day. They seem to be out of the phone business now.
 

Handruin

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Yes, but for what it's worth, that was 2016 and it hasn't happened since. They arguably make some of the best android phones to date.
 

LunarMist

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Would you be comfortable with two of the exact same phone? Obviously there are some advantages to that.
 

Mercutio

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Would you be comfortable with two of the exact same phone? Obviously there are some advantages to that.

Many of my friends have two phones. One for their actual, real lives and a second one for a more visible and public persona. The thing I will say is this: If there are aspects of your life that need to be segregated, it is helpful that your devices be distinct from one another.

You may also find it's helpful to have two phones at different points in the software upgrade cycle.
 

Will Rickards

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Battery in the Moto E5 Plus my son was using went bad and it only worked when plugged in.
I replaced it with Moto G Power 2021 which was about $120.
I also bought a new battery for the E5 plus and will replace the battery and keep that as a backup phone.
The newer versions seem to have mediatek processors or something like that.
So I'm not sure I'd recommend some of their newer models. You have to look closely at the specs.
 

LunarMist

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Battery in the Moto E5 Plus my son was using went bad and it only worked when plugged in.
I replaced it with Moto G Power 2021 which was about $120.
I also bought a new battery for the E5 plus and will replace the battery and keep that as a backup phone.
The newer versions seem to have mediatek processors or something like that.
So I'm not sure I'd recommend some of their newer models. You have to look closely at the specs.
Actually, it is the MOTO E5 plus. The battery is at 93% life as charge has been limited to 80% most of the time.
The problem is that it loses the 4G LET cell signal and goes to E or nothing. It doesn't make sense because my new phone is getting a strong 5G signal when placed nearby. When I reboot the E5 Plus phone it receives 2-3 bars and acts normally for a while. I suspect that the radio may be going out. The phone is close to 5 years old and on Android Level 8, which is obsolete.
 

Handruin

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I've been resisting having two phones at the same time. For now I've been able to manage with separate profiles in Android that keep things fairly distinct with their own apps and directory structures that don't share.

If I needed a second phone I wouldn't have an issue with using two galaxy S22+ but I'd probably want a different phone to easily identify them and also to experience a different phone to learn.
 

sedrosken

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I personally keep a separate work and personal phone. For a while I was working from my personal but that got to be annoying. My personal is an A53 5G and my work phone is an S20 Ultra 5G. No, the irony is not lost on me that I live out of the worse phone and work from the one that arguably has no business carrying the specs it does.
 

Handruin

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I should clarify that my current solution will undoubtedly change if I have to ever do oncall so that may personal number isn't used. Otherwise the work profile works very well in keeping both isolated enough without needing two pieces of hardware
 

Will Rickards

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Actually, it is the MOTO E5 plus. The battery is at 93% life as charge has been limited to 80% most of the time.
The problem is that it loses the 4G LET cell signal and goes to E or nothing. It doesn't make sense because my new phone is getting a strong 5G signal when placed nearby. When I reboot the E5 Plus phone it receives 2-3 bars and acts normally for a while. I suspect that the radio may be going out. The phone is close to 5 years old and on Android Level 8, which is obsolete.
Sounds like the problem my old samsung note4 used to have. That turned out to be a connector defect that people were solving by just putting something in the phone to increase the pressure or tightening screws.
Or you're on a deprioritized mvno instead of with the carrier directly.
 

LunarMist

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Sounds like the problem my old samsung note4 used to have. That turned out to be a connector defect that people were solving by just putting something in the phone to increase the pressure or tightening screws.
Or you're on a deprioritized mvno instead of with the carrier directly.
I don't understand the deprived MVNO, but why would any change at the phone server occur both in the office (2nd) and at home? Aren't the cell radios closer together than home to 2nd or 5th section offices (6-14 miles)?
There is no obvious way to disassemble the phone.
 

Mercutio

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There is no obvious way to disassemble the phone.

There is definitely a video explaining how to take your phone apart on Youtube. The guy doing it will have tools you probably don't, and it might involve a hair dryer or something, but it can be done. Often at a cost of your phone's water resistance.

There's no world where I'd believe LM is on anything but a major carrier. I'd definitely buy that his phone has a minor defect, though. Any phone can get a little weird, especially if it's been dropped a couple times or allowed to get too hot a bit too often. My LG G4 would get too hot to comfortably touch if I had the GPS in active mode and used the hotspot at the same time. My lived its full life but I know a lot of them didn't.

LG made the last phones that were easy to take apart and fix, too.
 

LunarMist

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That falls under not obvious. :D That phone has not been mistreated at all. It has a nice case and I charge it to 80% most of the time. I doubt that it is worth messing with an old phone that is stuck with Android Level 8.
I have many travels in the next 5+ months and didn't really want to buy another expensive phone that might not survive it. Ironically I have to pay so much more for phones now that just replace the old ones.
 

LunarMist

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I may very well end up buying a third A53, but figured that it is worth looking at other options. The cost is over $500 at the phone store with activation and tax. The Motorola Edge 2022 is ~$50 more.

I'm not sure how much performance differs or matters. The Samsung supposedly uses Exogenous 1280 vs. Mediatek Density 1050 in the Moto. They both have 2x A78 cores and 6x A55 cores, with a slight speed increase with the Mediatek, but more power drain (6nm vs. 5nm) and a faster refresh. The A53 has 6GB RAM vs. 8GB in the Edge. They both have 128GB storage, which should be more than enough for the apps.
 

sedrosken

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There's also the matter of software updates. The A53 is supposed to be getting major Android updates for 5 years, whereas Lenovo has promised nothing like that for the Motorola phones. Plus, the A53 is a lot more likely to get custom ROM support seeing how it's using an Exynos for both the domestic and international models, if that is a concern for you. While neither phone is going to win any awards, they'll both be pretty much Fine™ for the life of the device.

The 8GB of RAM in the Edge would be worth considering if you couldn't also spec out an A53 with 8GB, but you can, so it isn't. Granted, I don't think your carrier stores will have the 8GB model. What is interesting is that the Edge has a significantly faster GPU, according to the benchmarks I've seen the Mali-G610 the Edge is packing thrashes the Mali-G68 the A53's working with. Though it's worth noting that nothing feels notably slow on the A53 5G I have. It's also worth noting that I immediately set the screen refresh on mine back down to 60Hz -- the battery drain just isn't worth it.
 
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LunarMist

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The battery life of the A53 is fine when new and I'm usually charging to 80%. I did not know there was a frequency control.

Phones are the only "computers" that keep getting more expensive. I don't know what paying twice as much would do for it.
They force you to pay for all kinds of crap you don't want to get features that are desired. It's like when you have to buy the vehicle trim with a sunroof, overpowering stereo, stupid oversized wheels, etc. to get other basic features like A/C seats. I'd like to have a phone with better sound, but they waste all the speaker space for the stupid multiple cameras that looks like insect eyes. I cover that whole area with gaffer's tape and place a black mini-bumper over the front camera. It's basic security. ☺️
 

Handruin

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My S22+ has an option under the battery settings to limit the charging capacity to 85%. I'd assume the A53 might also offer that feature now if you want to reduce the wear on it.
 

Mercutio

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There's a lot of debate on Reddit's Android forums about the merits of various ARM SoCs, but I wouldn't recommend reading anything there as the most likely outcome is that you'll be annoyed by every single thing every other poster says. Unfortunately, I don't think any of us handle enough devices, particularly the diversity of Android devices, to build any kind of consensus on what is better than other options.

Samsung says it is going to offer updates and it has generally lived up to its promise in that area. Moto had a brief period when the Moto brand was controlled directly by Google, but Lenovo historically has been absolute garbage for updating Android-anything.

We aren't talking about the Pixel 6a, which can also fit at the ~$400 price point and would also have a faster SoC than the A53 and most certainly a better update policy than Moto will offer. Google hardware hasn't exactly been trouble free, but the market for a 6a and an A5x almost exactly overlap. I suppose the decision breaks down as Samsung for long support and best display, Moto for future proof hardware specs but not software updates, and Pixel 6a as the middle option in all ways and at all times.

LM would in no way appreciate this but the 6a does have really nice computational photography. If I wanted to take pictures of kids or food or other normal things, that would be the winner.
 

LunarMist

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The 6a Pixels is a little smaller than the others and the battery is weaker. I trust the Google even less than the others. Who knows what is happening with those manipulated photos. :LOL:
 

Mercutio

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That's an issue with literally every camera phone, but Google's version does a good job of getting close to neutral contrast and dealing with poor light.
 

LunarMist

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The office lighting is really harsh, like you feel the glaucomas forming.
I manually set the brightness about 75%. Battery life be damned. :)
Auto is never any good.
 

LunarMist

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My S22+ has an option under the battery settings to limit the charging capacity to 85%. I'd assume the A53 might also offer that feature now if you want to reduce the wear on it.
Thanks for that. I did not know it existed. Is it just a Samsung thing or in all the new Androids?

Would it be best to leave the phone plugged in at 85% as much as possible? That would avoid the charge/discharge cycles for the most part.
 

Handruin

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I guess it could be in newer android phones, I don't have others at version 12 or higher to check.

I'm not as concerned about the battery degradation over time like you so I just charge to 100%. I wouldn't leave it plugged in all the time either way. If you want to reduce the discharge amount, some of the newer phones have a way to switch them into extended power mode at the cost of reducing CPU speed, phone brightness, and maybe even screen refresh speed. You could enable that during times like sleeping or if/when you aren't using it for longer periods of time.
 
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