Smartphone and plan advice (v. clean slate)

Stereodude

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#1
So I have to get a smartphone and a data plan for my new job. This is the first company I've worked at where they don't have any sort of corporate cellular plan. Apparently most employees use their personal phone and the company reimburses them for any overages they incur using it for work. I currently have a 4 line Verizon 700 minute family plan with all flips phones for my parents, myself & wife. There is no texting or any data. I also don't have a land line or home phone. I'm not willing to comingle my "home" phone (personal cell) with my job. So, they've basically agreed to reimburse me for the costs of my getting a 2nd phone (smart) for the job. I could potentially add a 5th line to the family plan, but then it gets hard to substantiate their portion of the monthly charge. I think getting something completely stand alone is a better option.

Right now I'm pretty tempted by T-mobile's 6GB Simple Choice plan with a Samsung Galaxy Note 4. T-mobile's unrestricted use in Canada and Mexico will be helpful for the job in terms of keeping the costs down as I will find my self in MX somewhat regularly. Also, if I'm reading it correctly, data and texting is free internationally, voice calls are $.20 a minute when outside of the US, Mexico, and Canada without having to add a special monthly international plan. Both pluses as I will have some international travel...

On the phone side, I really just need something for e-mail. I'm not looking really looking for the latest and greatest whiz bang phone. I figure the larger screen helps with typing and e-mail, but I'm not really sure if the Note 4 is overkill or a bad or good choice.

Thoughts?
 

Mercutio

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#3
The S5 was probably Samsung's best overall phone. It's a solid choice. As far as a plan, you might want to look to see what you could do for a Verizon-based MVNO if you're not planning to be a big mobile data user. There's going to be a huge change in coverage by moving to Tmobile.
 

Stereodude

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#4
The S5 was probably Samsung's best overall phone. It's a solid choice. As far as a plan, you might want to look to see what you could do for a Verizon-based MVNO if you're not planning to be a big mobile data user. There's going to be a huge change in coverage by moving to Tmobile.
Well, the T-mobile coverage map looks pretty good around here in MI. Of course I realize they're not Verizon. International use of the phone in MX and China is a concern. This is not something I can be flexible on. Typically the MVNOs get wonky with international use of the phone (if they even support it).
 

Will Rickards

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#5
Tmobile Note4 just got android 5.1.1 like a couple days ago. I have one. Supposedly a marshmallow update is in the works.
I used to have touchdown installed for corporate email. Now corporate requires you install this thing that basically gives them full access to the phone. I said no, so no more corporate email on my phone.

Wifi calling was wonky (people couldn't hear me or it wouldn't ring sometimes) so I turned that off. Shame.

Tmobile's not bad. Coverage is better than sprint certainly. I get 4G LTE lots of places. The places that I don't get it mean data is useless though. One of those is where my son gets drum lessons.

I had it replaced a bit ago because the gps was wonky and jumping about. Sort of a known issue. Some say it is the antenna contacts but I couldn't figure out which was which. Get worse over time supposedly. Honestly though I'm probably going to give up on the phone as a gps. Plenty of places I need it (camping) the phone doesn't get data.

I don't use the stylus so maybe I could have gone with the S5 but the note's screen is bigger and higher resolution. The removable battery and SD card are nice. Battery is good, usually lasts a whole day with plenty left. It is losing some lately though so I'll probably buy a new battery soon.

But if work was paying for it, I'd probably pick verizon.
 

Stereodude

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#6
Tmobile's not bad. Coverage is better than sprint certainly. I get 4G LTE lots of places. The places that I don't get it mean data is useless though. One of those is where my son gets drum lessons.
What does the coverage map look like for those locations? They don't have 3G or 2G data?

But if work was paying for it, I'd probably pick verizon.
The whole thing is a little wonky IMHO. I have to pay for the device and they'll pay for the monthly fee. However, adding a smart phone sticks a fork in my current family share plan and puts me into some much more expensive new style plan that looks to jump the monthly bill by almost $90. Additionally, I'm not sure how I can easily substantiate the company's portion of the bill or least not by the amount extra I'd be paying from where I am now. A separate plan seems much cleaner. I'm not entirely sure if Verizon will let me have two separate plans. I would guess yes.

Also, I'm trying to be prudent with the company's money. It's like when you rent a car and the company pays. Presuming they don't have a policy forcing you to get the econobox, getting the full size pricey luxury car just because you're not paying isn't exactly the right idea IMHO.
 

Handruin

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#7
I'd second asking Verizon for a second account to differentiate it. If you need more international why not consider an account using AT&T for the GSM network? I can't speak for coverage in your area but I've had many years of good luck and good coverage as I've traveled around with them. As for a phone, what about an LG G4 or one of the Nexus 5 or Nexus 6 phones?
 

Stereodude

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#8
I'd second asking Verizon for a second account to differentiate it. If you need more international why not consider an account using AT&T for the GSM network? I can't speak for coverage in your area but I've had many years of good luck and good coverage as I've traveled around with them. As for a phone, what about an LG G4 or one of the Nexus 5 or Nexus 6 phones?
I'm a bit sour about the whole thing. I don't really want to pay for a smartphone out of pocket. That said, the LG G4 looks like a nice phone. Since the phones are not subsidized as part of a 2 year contract anymore, are they unlocked?
 

Handruin

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#9
I'm a bit sour about the whole thing. I don't really want to pay for a smartphone out of pocket. That said, the LG G4 looks like a nice phone. Since the phones are not subsidized as part of a 2 year contract anymore, are they unlocked?
Yes, there are a few conditions but it seems like it's possible to unlock the phone at least from AT&T and likely Verizon. AT&T generally has three plan types. They still offer a 2-year contract plan which I think may offer a susidized pricing. They also offer a no-contract plan where you bring your own device and they offer a no-contract plan where you can pay monthly installments for a device of your choosing at 0.0%APR for various intervals. There is also the option to pay for the device in full and have no monthly device payment and no contract.
 

Santilli

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#10
Check into Google Fi with the Nexus 6. Problem with your question is recommendations should be based on your useage, and you don't have data to provide, since you don't use two of the three key factors in figuring cost.

Ting offers the Tm network with a variety of phones, that can load Sim cards for out of the country, GSM phones, for a reasonable amount.
 

Stereodude

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#11
Problem with your question is recommendations should be based on your useage, and you don't have data to provide, since you don't use two of the three key factors in figuring cost.
I presume you're talking about Data and texting. This phone is a new use case for me. I've had various smartphones for the past 8 or so years, but they've always been paid for directly by the company, so I don't have any usage stats. Further, this job is different so past usage could mean nothing. Pretty much everyone has unlimited texting and voice calls now. Data I will have to play by ear. Since there's no contract I can change the plan over the coarse of a few months until I find the right spot for data.
 

Stereodude

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#13
Well, I decided to tempt fate and roll the dice. I got a LG G4 from T-Mobile with the 6 gig plan on the way home from work yesterday. AFAIK, I have a month to decide they suck and return it all for a refund. I went with the LG G4 over the Galaxy S5 mainly because the S5 doesn't support Band 12 which is the band that correlates to the 700MHz A block spectrum that T-Mobile bought from Verizon. T-Mobile has been building their network out in MI and elsewhere in the country on Band 12, so it seemed like an important feature.

So far it's okay. Calling works fine via WiFi. No issues like Will reported The LTE reception is good at work and home. The G4 is okay once I installed Google Keyboard to replace the LG one.

ps: I really do appreciate all your input. I realize I started a thread asking for advice and then didn't take too much of it. I did noodle over all your suggestions.
 

LunarMist

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#15
Well, I decided to tempt fate and roll the dice. I got a LG G4 from T-Mobile with the 6 gig plan on the way home from work yesterday. AFAIK, I have a month to decide they suck and return it all for a refund. I went with the LG G4 over the Galaxy S5 mainly because the S5 doesn't support Band 12 which is the band that correlates to the 700MHz A block spectrum that T-Mobile bought from Verizon. T-Mobile has been building their network out in MI and elsewhere in the country on Band 12, so it seemed like an important feature.

So far it's okay. Calling works fine via WiFi. No issues like Will reported The LTE reception is good at work and home. The G4 is okay once I installed Google Keyboard to replace the LG one.

ps: I really do appreciate all your input. I realize I started a thread asking for advice and then didn't take too much of it. I did noodle over all your suggestions.
I bought the G4 this summer when the corporate policy changed and I wanted two phones. It has worked fine for me. :)
I had no idea about the 12 bands, but the speeds are great in civilized areas.
 

LunarMist

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#18
Yes the LG4 is large, but just fits the pants. Where do you find a 5V charger for the extra battery?
 

Stereodude

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#19
Where do you find a 5V charger for the extra battery?
My concern is more a year or two from now when the battery doesn't last as long anymore and needs to be replaced. Not having a 2nd charged battery to swap in mid day. I got a Qi wireless charging back / folio case and plan to keep it sitting on a pad in my office and at home. I also got a Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 capable charger for the car.
 

LunarMist

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#20
My concern is more a year or two from now when the battery doesn't last as long anymore and needs to be replaced. Not having a 2nd charged battery to swap in mid day. I got a Qi wireless charging back / folio case and plan to keep it sitting on a pad in my office and at home. I also got a Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 capable charger for the car.
I'm not getting any charge from the Qi thing in the car. Does the phone require a special case or maybe some cases block it?
 

Stereodude

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#23
Thanks. That's really nasty of LG to not have the Qi built in. :mad: I don't particularly like the flip cases with the Qi, but will this Qi back work with any case?
I intentionally wanted a folio case to protect the screen from scratches without adding much bulk. The back you linked to should work. It's a tad pricey though. This one on ebay is about $10 less.

It looks like most people just buy the NFC/Qi sticker and replace the NFC sticker on the included back, but you have to be able to align it correctly. On eBay they're less than $5. example
 

Stereodude

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#24
I also got a Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 capable charger for the car.
The car charger showed up in the mail yesterday. I connected it to a power supply to test it for basic functionality before I put it out in the car. I saw it pulling more than 12W while charging the phone (which was around 48% charged). So, it's either really inefficient or the Quick Charge 2.0 stuff really works. Qualcomm claims you can charge a 3300mA the battery from dead to 60% in 30 minutes with Quick Charge 2.0.
 

LunarMist

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#25
The car charger showed up in the mail yesterday. I connected it to a power supply to test it for basic functionality before I put it out in the car. I saw it pulling more than 12W while charging the phone (which was around 48% charged). So, it's either really inefficient or the Quick Charge 2.0 stuff really works. Qualcomm claims you can charge a 3300mA the battery from dead to 60% in 30 minutes with Quick Charge 2.0.
My G4 draws about 1.8A from the LG USB 5V charger, so I suppose 12W input is feasible depending on the induction charger efficiency. Of course in the advert they are comparing speed to a 1A charger. :(
The G4 uses very little power when idle and I don't use it much during the day. I really don't need the Qi more that a few times a year, but I ordered the back anyway just to see how it works.
In any significant accident a phone sitting on the Qi pad would go flying, so it's really better off in the pants if EMS pulls your body from the vehicle.
 
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#29
Anyone with a G4 who wants a car mount that supports the folio case and built-in wireless charging, let me know and I'll send you the solidworks file.

12138392_845988485498536_7799606769947699630_o.jpg
 

Howell

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#31
The charging technology is made by Qualcomm and presumably built into certain cpus made with the finest schnapps and dragoon.
 

LunarMist

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#32
The charging technology is made by Qualcomm and presumably built into certain cpus made with the finest schnapps and dragoon.
So where does the power come from if the car has no Qi plate? What do I need to buy next?
 

Stereodude

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#34
So T-Mobile is not off to a great start. :cursin: I bought the phone and signed up for my service plan on 12/3. In the evening no less... They are trying to bill me for a full month's service for a billing period ending 12/4. :scratch:

Edit: I called customer service and I admit I'm still not totally sure I understand their quasi-convoluted explanation, but it seems that in so many words they told me it's a 1 month "pre-pay" / deposit so if I cancel my service I can't skip out on the last bill. I guess this speaks to their typical customer base.
 
Last edited:

Santilli

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#37
Why do you think I'm with Ting now?
They offer Tmobile's network, and sprint's, without the monopoly crap that has become standard for Tmob, Sprint, Verizion,and AT&T.
 

Clocker

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#38
Stereo -
How is T-Mobile so far with the phone/data service? This Fall I'm considering switching our only line (Wife's) over to them from Verizon. Right now we're paying $70 out the door for 3GB of data and unlimited talk/text. She commutes from Sterling Heights to Detroit and back each day, so my main concern is good phone service.

People with single lines get the shaft, price-wise. My experience with Sprint around here is it sucks ass.
 

Stereodude

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#39
Stereo -
How is T-Mobile so far with the phone/data service? This Fall I'm considering switching our only line (Wife's) over to them from Verizon. Right now we're paying $70 out the door for 3GB of data and unlimited talk/text. She commutes from Sterling Heights to Detroit and back each day, so my main concern is good phone service.
It seems okay so far. I don't have any complaints. By default the phones support calling over WiFi, so at home and at work it uses WiFi, not their LTE network. However, the LTE signal strength is good in both locations.
 

Clocker

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#40
Thanks sir. How much is the single line costing you ? Published rates or do that have semi-secret promos like Verizon?
 
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