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Author Topic: Choosing a smart phone  (Read 39600 times)
zyzzx
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« Reply #135 on: October 28, 2012, 1:58:22 PM »

I think your best bet would be to get the Nexus 4 that Google is about to announce. The Nexus line is designed to be independent of carriers, so you don't have to deal with having to unlock it. Moreover, the Nexus phones are the first ones to get the new versions of Android, so you don't have to wait for your own carrier to send you an update. The price in the UK appears to be 390 pounds - a store there put up the phone early by accident. It was actually supposed to be announced in New York on Monday, but the event has been postponed because of the hurricane.

If you're looking for something cheaper, the current version of the Nexus (Galaxy Nexus) retails for $350 and it's still a very nice phone. That said, your decision is presumably going to depend on when you come to the US. Google does also ship to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, and the UK, if you're located in one of those countries.

There's always the question of whether you should buy a new phone or one of the previous generation. I think the difference in hardware is worth the higher price for the newer phone. The newer phones tend to be thinner with much better displays - which is great both for carrying it around all day and for reading. That said, even the previous generation (i.e. early 2012 models) are good at that. I would not go back too far, though. My previous phone was a HTC Evo 4G (2010) and is about twice as thick and heavy as the phones that released this year. It really makes a difference.

As for Apple's iOS vs Google's Android: the former platform is much more locked up than the latter. This means it's going to be more difficult to do certain things without jailbreaking (hacking) the phone. For example, you cannot use the iPhone as a wifi hotspot without paying a monthly fee to the service provider - which may even be an issue if your provider doesn't offer the iPhone. With Android, you can just download an app from the market and be done with it (actually, I believe the Nexus has it out of the box). The 'downside' is that carriers and manufacturers customize the version of Android they put on your phone - so it won't look the same across devices. Google uses the 'stock' version though, so you wouldn't have to deal with the useless things carriers install (and that you cannot remove).

Let me also throw in a suggestion for a free app right here: http://getpocket.com
As you browse the web (or use your favorite RSS reader like Google Reader) on your computer that you want to read, you can store them with one click to the Pocket application. It will download the article and convert it to remove all the navigation and advertisement from the website and reflow the text, so it becomes easily readable on a phone. So you can just grab interesting articles you come across and, when you have a short downtime, pull out your phone and read one of them.

Excellent info, thanks! The Nexus does sound ideal, I'll definitely check it out. I don't think I need the latest and greatest, so I won't likely go for the newest model though - I figure I'll wait for the phone after this one to spend the big bucks - after I try one of these suckers out and learn more about what I do and don't want.
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larryc
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« Reply #136 on: October 28, 2012, 2:10:34 PM »

To me the reason to get the latest phone is that it will probably be able to function well in two years,  near the end of your contract.
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zyzzx
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« Reply #137 on: October 28, 2012, 2:35:45 PM »

To me the reason to get the latest phone is that it will probably be able to function well in two years,  near the end of your contract.

Good point, but not relevant for me - I'm not planning on a contract. I have no idea what country I'll be living in 6 months from now (hopefully not current one - still searching for a new job...), so signing a contract seems ill-advised. We have really easy prepaid here, so that's my plan.
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zyzzx
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« Reply #138 on: December 30, 2012, 1:37:23 AM »

Thought I'd update this and share how much I love my new phone. I ended up getting the Nexus 4, and despite them saying when I ordered it that it would take 5-6 weeks to ship, it arrived 3 days after I ordered it, just in time for Christmas :) So far, since I don't have a US carrier, I'm only connected by wifi, so I guess I've been using it more as a tiny tablet than a phone, but who cares, I still love it. The next issue will be figuring out, after I get back to my country, whether I can trade in my existing SIM card for a phone and data microSIM card with the same phone number. I guess I need to learn how to say microSIM in the local language. Good thing I now have a smartphone with a local language dictionary installed!

Big thanks to pigou for suggesting the Nexus, as I likely never would have found it otherwise.
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larryc
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« Reply #139 on: December 30, 2012, 2:25:18 AM »

Great info--I just ordered a Nexus 4 myself and am checking the mailbox every hour.
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scampster
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« Reply #140 on: December 30, 2012, 6:57:05 AM »

I'm kicking myself for not buying a Nexus 4 when I was back in the US. I am thinking I might buy one and have my next visitor bring it over. My current phone has a microphone problem, and yes it is under warranty, but they will have it for a while if I send it in, as it is a European warranty center, but my phone is only sold in the US, so they have to order parts most likely.

I'm glad you like it! I also didn't think about the SIM/Micro-SIM card issue with different phone numbers. That must be a common enough issue that carriers have to have a way to make that work. But if I didn't activate it until I move, then I wouldn't have a problem...
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msparticularity
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« Reply #141 on: December 30, 2012, 2:22:42 PM »

Has anyone tried the HTC Windows 8 phone? I played with one in the store and didn't love the OS, but the camera was pretty great, I thought.
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porcupine
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« Reply #142 on: January 03, 2013, 12:54:46 PM »

A friend got the HTC for Christmas and is very happy with it.

Here is my dilemma. I know I want to get the iPhone 5 (all my other tech is Apple, and I just want all my laptops, phones, etc. to be integrated). I currently have a T-Mobile contract but I hardly use voice, so I am considering changing to the $30 per month unlimited text/data plan with 100 minutes of voice.

Does anyone know how well the iPhone 5 works on the T-Mobile network? I am in an urban area.
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larryc
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« Reply #143 on: January 03, 2013, 2:31:10 PM »

My daugher's boyfriend who works in IT got a Windows phone and sings it praises. He may be the only person in the state who owns one though.
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pigou
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« Reply #144 on: January 03, 2013, 4:18:55 PM »

I picked up a Nexus 4 myself ahead of the holidays... very happy with the phone.

I'm on the $30 T-Mobile prepaid plan and noticed that T-mobile peeks at the traffic and will detect when you're using the phone's wifi hotspot without paying for the hotspot add-on.

In case anyone is running into a similar problem, note that traffic using Firefox (as opposed to IE or Chrome) is not blocked. Moreover, if you look for a user-agent spoofer plugin for Chrome and set it to Android, you're set as well: that just tells websites you're browsing from an Android device, which gets you past T-Mobile's traffic detection.

First world problem, to be sure, but if you're paying for some amount of data, I don't see why your carrier should determine what devices you can use it from. Especially since that has no bearing on the amount of data used... streaming video on my phone strains the network much more than does posting here on my laptop.


If you spend a lot of time traveling, the ability to tether other devices over wifi may be a significant advantage to the iPhone. The $15/day that hotels seem to charge these days for wifi add up quickly...
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pigou
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« Reply #145 on: January 03, 2013, 4:22:15 PM »

As for the microSIM, this should not be an issue. When I signed up for my plan, I mistakenly ordered the regular SIM card. I took it to the T-Mobile store and they replaced it with a new card, and my phone number remained the same. When I had some connection issues on a previous phone, they actually replaced the SIM card to see if that would help, and again the phone number remained the same.
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galactic_hedgehog
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« Reply #146 on: January 07, 2013, 1:23:59 AM »

My dad just got an iPhone.  I foresee many, many hours explaining and reexplaining how to do various things on it.  Hopefully those will fall to his daughter, other son, or various grandkids who have (or had) iPhones and not me.

But I doubt it.
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energycuresy
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« Reply #147 on: January 07, 2013, 5:32:47 PM »

iPhones are pretty easy to use (intuitive) so I doubt that he will have a hard time learning how to use it. :D As some people say, even toddlers can use iDevices.
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scampster
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« Reply #148 on: January 07, 2013, 5:42:44 PM »

My daugher's boyfriend who works in IT got a Windows phone and sings it praises. He may be the only person in the state who owns one though.

Well, except for all the forced owners for work purposes! But they all use iphones on the side anyway.
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aandsdean
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« Reply #149 on: January 07, 2013, 6:24:15 PM »

I've had my Galaxy Note II for about a month now, and let me say, it's a really great phone.  Good voice quality, sensible yet extensive feature set, and OMG that giant screen is gorgeous.

That is all.
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