What phone should I buy?

Discussion in 'Smartphones and Tablets' started by rlk, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. rlk

    rlk Notebook Consultant

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    I proposed a new sub-forum for this purpose and offered up a FAQ (see http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/what-phone-tablet-should-i-buy.821939/). So, since I'm actually looking for a phone...

    General
    1. What kind of device are you looking for (phone/tablet/both)? Phone
    2. What country are you in? USA
    3. What carrier(s) are you interested in (or will you pick the carrier based on your choice of phone)? Probably Sprint, but may switch
    4. What mobile OS is acceptable (Android, iOS, other)? Android
      For Android phones, what release do you consider acceptable as a minimum? 7
    5. How long do you intend to keep your device? 3-5 years
    6. Are there any brands you particularly like?
      Dislike?
    7. Will you consider a refurb/used device? Refurb yes; used not likely.
    8. Do you intend to play games and if so, what? No
    9. Do you expect to watch video extensively? No
    10. Price range? <$500 (including on eBay -- new or refurb)
    Basic Device Characteristics
    1. What size screen are you looking for? You can be specific or general. >5.5", would prefer wider aspect ratio (9:16 or 10:16 vs. 1:2 or narrower)
    2. What are you looking for in battery life/capacity? Full day or better
    3. Do you want a replaceable battery? Yes
    4. Do you want the ability to use a microSD card to expand storage? Yes
    5. Do you have a preference between a USB-C and traditional USB micro-B connector? Prefer micro-B but not essential
    6. Do you want a 3.5" headphone jack? Preferred
    7. Do you want wireless charging? No
    8. Do you want fast charging? Helpful but not essential
    Aesthetics
    1. Do you have color preference: No
      Prefer?
      Avoid?
    2. Phones: prefer wraparound screen or bezel? Bezel
    3. Buttons: prefer soft or mechanical? Mechanical preferred
    4. Other aesthetic preferences? Prefer substantial and solid over thin and sleek
    Camera and Screen
    1. Do you care about the device's camera? Limited extent (use SLR for "real" photography)
    2. Minimum megapixel requirement (front/rear), if applicable? 8
    3. Do you require 4K video? No
    4. Other desired camera features? None
    5. Minimum screen resolution? FHD/WUXGA
    6. Do you require AMOLED or similar screen technology? No
    Other
    1. Are there any other features you particularly want in a device? Sturdy armored case (Otterbox Defender or similar) available -- yes, I know that I'm talking about a big, bulky phone, but that's fine)
    2. Are there any particular features you do not want?
    3. Do you anticipate rooting your device (if you don't know what that means, the answer is "no")? Possible but not likely
      If so, any particular ROM you're interested in?
     
  2. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Give Essential phone or Pixel 2 a try. Other than that, 3-5 years lifecycle can only be expected from iOS device( Only If you are okay with using headphone jack via adapter).
    S8/S8+ sounds like a perfect choice. S8/S9 are on Oreo 8.x officially.
     
  3. Starlight5

    Starlight5 So what if I'm crazy? The best people are.

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    Look into Xiaomi Mi Max 3. I'd definitely grab one if I didn't pull the trigger on another device earlier. There are smaller cousins if you don't want a smartphone that big. Wrong LTE bands, sadly.

    Not a single modern smartphone will be feasible in near future thanks to 5G and 802.11ax just around the corner; there's no point spending a lot on flagship device which will become technically obsolete in a year unless you really want/need it, which seems unlikely reading the form.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
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  4. RampantGorilla

    RampantGorilla Notebook Deity

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    You'll need to remortgage your house in order to afford a 5G plan that comes with a decent amount of data. 4G is fast enough for all tasks that people usually do on their phones (Spotify, 1080p youtube videos, Instagram and Snapchat). 802.11ac again is more than sufficient for all of the tasks that people do on their phone. The only use case that I can think for fast wifi is transferring large video files from a phone to a computer.
     
  5. Starlight5

    Starlight5 So what if I'm crazy? The best people are.

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    If 5G service isn't reasonably priced, nobody will switch - so I'm betting it won't be overly expensive compared to 4G LTE.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
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  6. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    The overwhelming majority of Chinese import smartphones, the above very much included, will not work at 4G LTE speeds in the USA.
     
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  7. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Still using 3G or H+ on my phone w/o any issues. I have cell reception issues on 3G or LTE. So, 5G will be mainstream in 2-3 years time. At present LTE devices works.
     
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  8. rlk

    rlk Notebook Consultant

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    Part of why I want a lot of on-phone storage is so that I don't have to rely on remote access for everything. Even if we wind up getting 5G service, it's only going to work in certain areas (and even 4G won't be everywhere). The use case for this is having my photos and videos (and we're not talking Snapchat and such here; I don't use Snapchat and will not use Facebook except on my computer, with a number of addons in my browser to reduce information leak) on the fly. The higher resolution my screen, the higher the resolution SmugMug will download them at, and thus the more space they will consume.

    I like a micro SD so that I can pop it out to transfer everything to another device (including a computer). If I have USB flakiness to my computer I sometimes have trouble transferring stuff; being able to do it via the micro SD is helpful (and it also allows me to put things on the phone quickly if need be).

    I'm currently using a Galaxy Note 2 that I bought in 2014 (when the Galaxy Note 3 was already out) -- it was a lot cheaper that way and the difference between the two did not strike me as compelling.

    Also, I'm tall, with large hands, a left eye with excellent vision that peaks in the range of 15", and like to jam as much on my screen as I possibly can. A tall, narrow screen is less useful than a slightly shorter but somewhat wider one. Having to carry extra weight doesn't bother me. I'm a bit of an old crusty and don't mind a strictly utilitarian look.

    Maybe the phone I want doesn't exist. There's nothing really urgent driving this (other than that an increasing number of websites seem to get SSL problems, I suspect because either my phone isn't up on the latest ciphers or the root certificates aren't up to date). I can afford to look around for a while.
     
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  9. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    up until a few weeks ago, I would have told you to get some sort of flagship phone. Since then, I have changed my way of thinking. Flagship phones are not that much better than the mid range stuff now. My next phone is going to be the LG Q stylo +. A cheap note type phone. It has headphone jack, ip68, long battery life since it's only running 1080 p screen and a mid range chip, has dual sim and SD expansion, stylus support and is a nice alternative to paying a crap load of money for something not that much better. For a smaller device, sure the essential is a great phone. I would also include the nokia 6x, LG Q7, and a couple of others in that category. Save hundreds by buying a mid ranger out right and putting on BYOD plan.
     
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  10. rlk

    rlk Notebook Consultant

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    I'm leaning in that kind of direction myself.

    It's unfortunate that everyone's going to the 2:1 aspect ratio rather than 16:10 or 16:9. The narrower screen is much harder to type on and the actual surface area is less than it would be with the same size diagonal on a screen closer to square aspect ratio.

    I'm not sure when my wife's part of the contract expires; getting off Sprint would give a lot more options.
     
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