Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: Android recommendations

  1. #1

    Default Android recommendations

    My aging Galaxy S4 has finally gotten to the point that I want to replace it. Which Android phone should I get?

    My basic philosophy is not to buy the newest version of anything unless the performance improvements are hard to beat. I use my phone almost exclusively for email, phone calls, web browsing, and navigation, along with some occasional document editing, transit apps (Lyft/Uber/Zipcar), and podcasts. Very boring, and it means things like camera and display quality are of pretty low priority. I don't really want an unworkably large screen, but I would definitely appreciate something relatively durable and with a good battery - my typical refresh cycle is 3-4 years (a replaceable battery and a microSD slot will be a big plus). Price is not really an issue other than the fact that I don't want to pay $800 for something that will cost $500 in a year, and I see no reason to spend $500 on something when $300 will work just as well.

    Suggestions? I know some of you really care about this stuff and will have an opinion. Remember, though, that I'm looking for functionality, not fashion.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  2. #2
    Let sleeping tigers lie Khendraja'aro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    In the forests of the night
    Posts
    5,522
    I recently switched to iOS because Android simply annoyed me - I had a Pixel where the Bluetooth functionality was bordering on "not working at all" (and, no, it wasn't only my device, it happened on other Pixels as well).

    But what you might want to look out for is a device with a) stock android and b) a company which does at least provide the regular security updates and c) Android 8.0 (or better 8.1) because Google has tried to decouple drivers/OS/hardware and this version makes it supposedly easier to provide said updates.
    When the stars threw down their spears
    And watered heaven with their tears:
    Did he smile his work to see?
    Did he who made the lamb make thee?

  3. #3
    Resiste et Mords! Steely Glint's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,361
    I went with a Moto specifically because their phones ship with something very close to stock Android, largely devoid of un-uninstallable vendor bullshitware and the Pixel was out of my price range. The only mildly irritating thing was that the one I got shipped without a compass.
    I can hear your yearnings, your anguished cries. Let the nourishment pass your by.
    As it leaves you without a trace, it leaves your without the scars.
    Bitter is the end, the end of your cries. Let your nourishment pass you by.
    It'll leave you without your faith. It'll leave you without your grace.
    It's a day of the ruins, the time of your relief. It's the day of the judgements. It's the day of your beliefs.

  4. #4
    I've been using a G4 from Amazon "with ads" since Pokemon Go launched. It was the cheapest phone with a gyroscope.

    I've grown really attached to how you can activate the flashlight and camera based on how you shake or rotate the phone in your hand. To the point that when I have to replace this phone I don't plan to move away from Moto brand. Yeah, there are apps, but they aren't on the level of what Moto has managed.

    It also has TurboPower for quick charging which comes in handy.
    Last edited by Ominous Gamer; 01-03-2018 at 05:56 PM.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  5. #5
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    13,103
    You're basically describing a Motorola phone. Get one of the ones with an extra-large battery. Many have useful features (gestures, ability to wake the phone or dismiss calls by waving your hand over the phone, display that shows time or notifications when it thinks you've picked it up to check those things, etc). Decent ergonomics. I'm using a Moto X style.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Khendraja'aro View Post
    I recently switched to iOS because Android simply annoyed me - I had a Pixel where the Bluetooth functionality was bordering on "not working at all" (and, no, it wasn't only my device, it happened on other Pixels as well).

    But what you might want to look out for is a device with a) stock android and b) a company which does at least provide the regular security updates and c) Android 8.0 (or better 8.1) because Google has tried to decouple drivers/OS/hardware and this version makes it supposedly easier to provide said updates.
    Yeah, iOS isn't going to happen. I'm broadly in favor of stock android (bloatware on Samsung phones is ridiculous), but I'm not really sure that I need Android 8 - that's going to get pricey for likely only a modest improvement. If I tend towards stock-ish Android (e.g. getting the Moto X4 through Google) I'd probably be fine on the update side anyways.



    I had a look at Moto phones based on comments here. It looks like the two classes that would fit my needs would be the X4 or the G5/S (plus). One concern I've got is that neither have a removable battery - I've eked out another year or two of life on my phones by replacing the battery, and paying Motorola to do it seems ridiculous. I'll have to try holding them, as well - a 5.5" screen seems crazy large, though AIUI the vanilla G5 plus is the same size as the X4 (a mere 5.2").

    Still looking at other manufacturers as well - any suggestions? I've obviously seen Samsungs and Pixels but don't have much exposure to the rest of the phone market.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Amsterdam/Istanbul
    Posts
    9,736
    I am using a ‘turkish phone’; a General Mobile 5plus which has pretty impressive specs for the roughly €220 I paid for it. It is part of the android ONE program so it doesn’t only come with a clean android version but also gets updates rather fast. I’m expecting 8 any time now. Only downside is that the battery is encased.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

  8. #8
    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    9,252
    One case for the most recent, stock phones is security -- they usually get/have the most recent updates. I'm using a first-generation Pixel and quite happy. It's basically the same price as a new Samsung, without all the Samsung stuff on it. The carriers really don't subsidize the phones anymore, so may as well recalibrate your expectations to either buying a new phone cost-upfront or paying installments as part of your bill.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    One case for the most recent, stock phones is security -- they usually get/have the most recent updates. I'm using a first-generation Pixel and quite happy. It's basically the same price as a new Samsung, without all the Samsung stuff on it. The carriers really don't subsidize the phones anymore, so may as well recalibrate your expectations to either buying a new phone cost-upfront or paying installments as part of your bill.
    I need an unlocked phone anyways, so I pay full price up front. There ain't no free lunches, anyways. But I prefer to get a slightly older/cheaper phone just because I rarely care about the newest and greatest features enough to pay the 'new' premium.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  10. #10
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    13,103
    Quote Originally Posted by Dreadnaught View Post
    One case for the most recent, stock phones is security -- they usually get/have the most recent updates. I'm using a first-generation Pixel and quite happy. It's basically the same price as a new Samsung, without all the Samsung stuff on it. The carriers really don't subsidize the phones anymore, so may as well recalibrate your expectations to either buying a new phone cost-upfront or paying installments as part of your bill.
    Always cheaper and nearly as good to get a phone from the year before. I always get mine second-hand at a third or a quarter of the price of a new phone.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  11. #11
    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    9,252
    I may be quicker and dirtier (and pricier) with this stuff, but is it not a safe assumption that the price premium of a newer unlocked phone gives X-months of more time with viable security patches? EG my MotoX could have gone on for ages, but it wasn't getting any more over-the-air updates.

  12. #12
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    13,103
    I always use the latest third party ROMs anyway which I figure is better than waiting around for official updates that may never come.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Amsterdam/Istanbul
    Posts
    9,736
    Who still buys locked phones ?
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Hazir View Post
    Who still buys locked phones ?
    In the US, most people still buy phones on an installment plan with their carrier. It's not a 'contract' per se, since you can pay it off whenever you want and the pricing is more transparent than the 'free' phone pricing in the past, but you can't unlock your phone until it's paid off. More and more people are paying cash, though.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  15. #15
    this morning I droped my Moto G4 out of the attic onto my garage floor. Bounced once on the ladder but landed hard enough that paint from the floor is now embedded into the thin rubber case that I use.

    zero denting or cracking on the phone shell or screen. I'm splitting this 50/50 between luck and quality design.
    Last edited by Ominous Gamer; 02-26-2018 at 11:43 AM.
    "In a field where an overlooked bug could cost millions, you want people who will speak their minds, even if they’re sometimes obnoxious about it."

  16. #16
    Circling back for more suggestions. I took a long hard look at the Moto lines but when I tried to get some simple answers out of them about the phone I thought I'd get (the G5 Plus), I had such an awful experience with their customer service that I think I'll look somewhere else. A big sticking point for me is the battery that's non-removable - I typically replace batteries at least once during my usage of a phone, and it sounds like it's wildly expensive (compared to the cost of the phone) to replace the battery of a Moto - or at least as close as I could figure after the runaround I got from their service folks.

    I get that nearly no phones have removable batteries nowadays, but I'd like to get a phone from a company that will swap out the battery for me at a reasonable price. I looked at the original Pixel, it seems pricey for what it is, but their service appears to be accessible and functional and vaguely reasonably priced ($80 for a battery swap). Any thoughts? Are there other options with better price points? I really don't need a premium phone.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  17. #17
    Resiste et Mords! Steely Glint's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,361
    Why do you replace the battery?
    I can hear your yearnings, your anguished cries. Let the nourishment pass your by.
    As it leaves you without a trace, it leaves your without the scars.
    Bitter is the end, the end of your cries. Let your nourishment pass you by.
    It'll leave you without your faith. It'll leave you without your grace.
    It's a day of the ruins, the time of your relief. It's the day of the judgements. It's the day of your beliefs.

  18. #18
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    13,103
    I dunno 'bout Wiggin but my phones have always needed a battery replacement after a year or so (recall I only use second-hand phones) when their battery life begins to go down the crapper. It's been easy to replace the batteries at home but I dunno if that's still the case for the current crop of phones.
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Amsterdam/Istanbul
    Posts
    9,736
    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    In the US, most people still buy phones on an installment plan with their carrier. It's not a 'contract' per se, since you can pay it off whenever you want and the pricing is more transparent than the 'free' phone pricing in the past, but you can't unlock your phone until it's paid off. More and more people are paying cash, though.
    Yeah, that is how it works for most people in Holland too. But given that you're locked into a contract you're going to pay whatever you signed up to. That makes the whole lock feature rather redundant.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Amsterdam/Istanbul
    Posts
    9,736
    Quote Originally Posted by Aimless View Post
    I dunno 'bout Wiggin but my phones have always needed a battery replacement after a year or so (recall I only use second-hand phones) when their battery life begins to go down the crapper. It's been easy to replace the batteries at home but I dunno if that's still the case for the current crop of phones.
    Aren't there places to get that done all over the place? And given that we're talking about replacing batteries we're also talking about phones that don't have much of a resale value anyway by the time you're replacing them it's silly to think about that.
    Greece shows us that there is a kind of politician worse than the ones that break their election promises; the ones that keep their election promises.

  21. #21
    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    13,103
    Quote Originally Posted by Hazir View Post
    Aren't there places to get that done all over the place?
    Yes, but I hate paying people way too much for something I can do quickly and far more conveniently myself
    “Humanity's greatest advances are not in its discoveries, but in how those discoveries are applied to reduce inequity.”
    — Bill Gates

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Glint View Post
    Why do you replace the battery?
    Because it typically loses its ability to hold a good charge within ~18 months. And I typically use a phone for 3-4 years. I don't treat most consumer electronics as disposable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazir View Post
    Yeah, that is how it works for most people in Holland too. But given that you're locked into a contract you're going to pay whatever you signed up to. That makes the whole lock feature rather redundant.
    The annoying thing is that if you buy your phone through a carrier, you have to go through a pain-in-the-ass unlocking procedure when you pay it off. So I prefer to just pay cash up front for an unlocked phone and I can swap SIMs whenever I need.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hazir View Post
    Aren't there places to get that done all over the place? And given that we're talking about replacing batteries we're also talking about phones that don't have much of a resale value anyway by the time you're replacing them it's silly to think about that.
    There are some places that claim they'll do it, but it's generally not particularly cheap nor have I had much luck with them in the past - they're invariably pretty bad at providing support for older phones, which my phones invariably are (I buy a cycle behind and hold onto a phone for several years). I'd prefer to be able to buy a battery ahead of time and swap out when I need. Unfortunately, it looks like the current crop of phone designs have completely done away with removable batteries. I get the design tradeoffs with e.g. sealing and form factors, but given how shitty battery technology continues to be, it's a pretty big problem for someone who uses phones the way I do. And more and more designs are getting pretty hard to replace the battery without the chance of really messing up your screen/etc.
    "When I meet God, I am going to ask him two questions: Why relativity? And why turbulence? I really believe he will have an answer for the first." - Werner Heisenberg (maybe)

  23. #23
    Apprehendable Apprentice Kazuha Vinland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    573
    If you can get your hands on phones from Huawei or Xiaomi, they offer great value. E.g. Huawei Honor 9 Lite, or Xiaomi Mi A1. Or the Moto G5 Plus, but since you said you didn't want that.. so.
    Tomorrow is like an empty canvas that extends endlessly, what should I sketch on it?

  24. #24
    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    9,252
    Quote Originally Posted by Kazuha Vinland View Post
    If you can get your hands on phones from Huawei or Xiaomi, they offer great value. E.g. Huawei Honor 9 Lite, or Xiaomi Mi A1. Or the Moto G5 Plus, but since you said you didn't want that.. so.
    Yeah, but how do I discount for the occasional data burst sent to Beijing?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •