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  1. #1
    PhillyCuse is offline Senior Member
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    Default A thread for phones

    Never having been a phone guy, 2011 was my first smartphone experience. Opted for the Pantech Breakout, because it looked like it could do all the same cool stuff everyone else does, but cheaper. Well it sucks. A lot. A Bing search reveals 'memory full' as one of the first things that comes up (I'm sure it would on google too if it wasn't an android phone). So after shelling out another $30/mo for a data plan over 2yrs, I've learned the hard way that a smartphone is definitely at the top of the "things that don't make sense to buy cheap" list.

    So now I'm suddenly a phone person. Obsessed with every latest gadget and its review, counting down the weeks 'till my June upgrade, determined to find the latest & greatest device so I can use it to maybe 20% of its capacity. But that's beside the point. At least I won't get burned again, right?

    Some Contenders for our next purchase and some comments/questions:
    Samsung Galaxy S4 - There's no way this won't be awesome right? Can someone who isn't a tech geek get a lot out of it & find it simple enough to use though?
    Iphone 5 - because it's a f*****g iphone. Simple and rich with features. Do I want the same phone as everybody else though? Meh, probably not (although I do love my Honda Civic and everyone has that too).
    Nokia 'Laser' - a variant of the well received 922 (which was made exclusive by AT&T) reportedly coming to Verizon this year, running on Windows. Yah it's cool to hate Microsoft and they're not as popular and they "only" have 150,000 apps instead of 500,000 but so what? Having real MS Office seems pretty cool, as is the ability to easily delete bloatware with rooting or jailbreaking, which apparently you can do.

    The HTC One, revealed yesterday - looks pretty awesome. A bigger iphone aluminum build with an appealing Windows-like homescreen, running on Android. Of course it's available on every carrier except mine - Verizon, because they want to sell their comparatively crappy 'DNA' HTC phone with half as much memory at the same price in the same old boring black color. F-U Verizon. You suck sometimes.

    For those of you on other carriers, how is your voice/data coverage in Philly? I'm a little scared to leave Verizon because of that, but maybe I shouldn't be?

    What's say you? What's your carrier and phone and why do you like/hate it? And is there even a 10% chance we can discuss this w/out a lame Apple/Android fanboy flamewar?

    Thank you that is all.

  2. #2
    ndebergerac's Avatar
    ndebergerac is offline Senior Member
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    Won't go too much into individual phones, I'm not too techy, but for the record I have the Galaxy SII, it's fine, but already dated.

    I'm currently with sprint and suffer from both voice and data coverage all over the place. Very spotty data where I work out on City Ave and near the Italian Market where I live. I also seem to be the only person with data issues in bars (okay, so there's wifi for that), but also voice in some places where everyone not on Sprint gets on fine. We have family in Monmouth Co. NJ, forget about data on the road and when we get there.

    Long story short, Sprint has it's coverage issues, I'll be dropping them.
    "where is daddy, why doesn't he love me enough to stop drinking in the park" - LIN

  3. #3
    PhillyCuse is offline Senior Member
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    Hey we should carpool, ha. I also live near the Italian Market & work near City Line so I guess Sprint's out.
    Interesting that you're not too techy but like the GS3 - good to know. Not sure how it's dated before any 'Key Lime Pie' phones are released though.

  4. #4
    Gone is offline Banned
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    Loved my heavy duty flip, had it for 7 years, one day I went to charge it and the genie Popped out And ascended to cell phone heaven. I still keep him on my fire place mantle. So I had to buy a smart phone. They suck, and my monthly bill went up.

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    Marquis is offline Banned
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    More proof that there is no god, AMIRITE.

  6. #6
    PhillyCuse is offline Senior Member
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    Update nobody cares about: Bought a Nexus4 unlocked from Google. $350 + shipping. Works on GSM carriers (that's AT&T & T-Mobile here). T-Mo has some crazy good prepaid plans. I got 100mins + unlimited text/data for $30, which is perfect as I averaged about 50 of a possible 450min's on Verizon's plan & sometimes go over my 250 text limit. Even if you're more of a talker & need a plan with more min's it's still way cheaper than anything on the other 3 big carriers.

    Testing out the service this week before I cancel VZ & port my #. Good so far outside, on the road, and in my office. Not quite as good inside my place but not a big deal since I have wifi & made a few clean sounding calls. Boss lives in Manayunk & says he's never had problems. According to rootametrics(sp?) the reception is as good or better than AT&T/Sprint in Philly (this is one thing I can't rip Verizon on).

    So:
    $350 phone + $30/mo + unlimited text/data + no contract
    vs
    $200 phone + $75/mo + limited text/data + 2yr contract

    I'll take 'the better deal' for $930 Alex.
    Phone is sweet too. Pure Google, no bloatware. Highly recommended.
    Bye bye Big Red, it's been a fun 12yrs.
    Last edited by PhillyCuse; 05-02-2013 at 03:42 PM.

  7. #7
    Beutelratte is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhillyCuse View Post
    Testing out the service this week before I cancel VZ & port my #.
    Please let me know how the T-Mobile reception is in the various areas of the city you traverse during your trial period! I'm thinking of switching to them for the same reason, but I'm hesitating because no one I know downtown uses T-Mobile. Between work and personal phones, I only have AT&T and Verizon plans, and one is usually good if the other has a problem. I'll still have the work phone, but I don't want to have a personal phone with mostly crappy reception.

    I'm also interested in how you test out for a week before you move your number. Don't you have to pay to activate the phone twice that way or some such thing? I'll admit that I've had the same carrier since it was BellAtlantic/Nynex, so I'm new to the intricacies of switching carriers, testing out before you commit, etc. And how can I test out the reception if I'm buying a new phone as part of the process?

    Thanks for any insights!

  8. #8
    Marc is offline bier dimpfe
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhillyCuse View Post
    Bought a Nexus4.
    Any luck getting it on TMO's LTE?

  9. #9
    phillysleuth is offline Senior Member
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    I could really use some guidance. I am cell-phone ignorant and there are so many choices, both with phones and plans that it's making my head swim. At first I thought that all I needed was one of those extremely cheap basic phones from AARP that made and took calls for a very small monthly rate because I just wanted something for emergency situations. But the more I think about it, the broader my definition of "emergency" becomes. I am inclined to think that the more capability my phone would have, the more I would use it: for getting directions when I'm lost, for calling someone to tell them I'm late, for taking spur of the moment pictures, checking email, checking the stock market... I can't even think of what else, but you get the idea. I'm a retired techy, so you know if there's something to explore, I'll end up wanting to do that. I just don't see using the phone for talking much and given that I have pretty bad RSI in my hands, texting is not something I'd be doing at all, if avoidable.

    I get *very* few phone calls in general, and wouldn't expect that to change, nor would I need to make a lot of calls out. It seems like I actually need a better data plan than lots of minutes and unlimited calling time. I dont' want to add another big monthly expense to my life right now, but was thinking along the lines of getting a "good" phone (whatever that means, but not top of the line) and a carrier that I could start at some bottom tier and move up if I have to. I don't know a thing about the qualities of the carriers, but it looks like Sprint is almost universally disliked. I currently have a Verizon triple bundle for everything in the house, if that helps.

    About the only feature I know I do not want to hassle with is a phone whose battery gets eaten up quickly. I've had enough of that with my Nikon camera, which doesn't even give you a notice between looking like it has plenty of charge and 0.

    Any general advice? What to stay away from, either in brand or carrier? What other questions I should be asking myself?

  10. #10
    Sailaway's Avatar
    Sailaway is offline Giggity Giggity Goo!
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillysleuth View Post
    I could really use some guidance. I am cell-phone ignorant and there are so many choices, both with phones and plans that it's making my head swim. At first I thought that all I needed was one of those extremely cheap basic phones from AARP that made and took calls for a very small monthly rate because I just wanted something for emergency situations. But the more I think about it, the broader my definition of "emergency" becomes. I am inclined to think that the more capability my phone would have, the more I would use it: for getting directions when I'm lost, for calling someone to tell them I'm late, for taking spur of the moment pictures, checking email, checking the stock market... I can't even think of what else, but you get the idea. I'm a retired techy, so you know if there's something to explore, I'll end up wanting to do that. I just don't see using the phone for talking much and given that I have pretty bad RSI in my hands, texting is not something I'd be doing at all, if avoidable.

    I get *very* few phone calls in general, and wouldn't expect that to change, nor would I need to make a lot of calls out. It seems like I actually need a better data plan than lots of minutes and unlimited calling time. I dont' want to add another big monthly expense to my life right now, but was thinking along the lines of getting a "good" phone (whatever that means, but not top of the line) and a carrier that I could start at some bottom tier and move up if I have to. I don't know a thing about the qualities of the carriers, but it looks like Sprint is almost universally disliked. I currently have a Verizon triple bundle for everything in the house, if that helps.

    About the only feature I know I do not want to hassle with is a phone whose battery gets eaten up quickly. I've had enough of that with my Nikon camera, which doesn't even give you a notice between looking like it has plenty of charge and 0.

    Any general advice? What to stay away from, either in brand or carrier? What other questions I should be asking myself?
    If you don't want another "big monthly expense", you can rule out a smartphone or maybe even a cellphone entirely. My wife pays about $70 a month for her portion of our plan. My "dumb" feature phone only costs about $30 (we're on a Verizon shared plan, so I can't break it down precisely.) The dataplan is $40 a month and insurance on her phone works out to about $10/mo (and insuring a smartphone is a good idea, since replacing her Samsung Galaxy III is about $500.)

    That said, I'd say Verizon is the best, especially out here in the burbs. But I don't recall ever having a problem in the city. It even works underground at Market East. I seem to recall AT&T being good too in the city when I had it years ago. Sprint is bad but T-Mobile is even worse...again, at least here in the burbs, with no coverage whatsoever in many areas.

    As for the phone, well, my wife likes her Galaxy III, which is a smartphone, and the camera is good, but paying $50 a month ($1200 over a two-year contract) just so you have a nice camera is kinda steep; I could buy a nice point-and-shoot for the car, one for the office, and leave one at home and still only spend a fraction of that. Just sayin'. And it's been my experience that, regardless of what people say they use a smartphone for or believe what they'll do when they get one, 99% of what they do is play games or go on Facebook.

    If you want a dumb phone, your best bet is probably calling Verizon what the cheapest plan they offer for someone who already has a phone but no service. If you find it reasonable, go buy a phone off of eBay, making sure it's intended for Verizon (or whatever carrier you choose.) Take it into a store and let them set it up. I had an LG Envy2, which goes for like $25-$35 now. The camera is marginal but it works.
    If you believe people should work till they die to pay for a government worker to retire at 50, you're a Democrat. Otherwise, you're a Republican. All other differences between the parties are trivial.

  11. #11
    phillysleuth is offline Senior Member
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    What exactly do you mean by a "dumb phone"? How dumb is it?

    I don't need a phone to take art gallery level pictures, as I do have a camera. It would be for spur of the moment snaps. I don't want to be carrying two devices around for that if one will do 90% of the time. I won't be playing games, but might go on Facebook, but likely only if I was caught somewhere and bored to death.

    I stopped in a Verizon wireless store and got totally overwhelmed by the information, but the most alarming thing the two guys told me (not that I'm inclined to believe them completely, based on friends' experiences) was that a smart phone would cost me about $700, regardless of carrier or model. Someone else told me recently that they paid abut $100 but had to sign up for a two yr contract with Verizon. to get that price.

    There's more I'm confused about, but the list is to endless to merit screen space.



    Quote Originally Posted by Sailaway View Post
    If you don't want another "big monthly expense", you can rule out a smartphone or maybe even a cellphone entirely. My wife pays about $70 a month for her portion of our plan. My "dumb" feature phone only costs about $30 (we're on a Verizon shared plan, so I can't break it down precisely.) The dataplan is $40 a month and insurance on her phone works out to about $10/mo (and insuring a smartphone is a good idea, since replacing her Samsung Galaxy III is about $500.)

    That said, I'd say Verizon is the best, especially out here in the burbs. But I don't recall ever having a problem in the city. It even works underground at Market East. I seem to recall AT&T being good too in the city when I had it years ago. Sprint is bad but T-Mobile is even worse...again, at least here in the burbs, with no coverage whatsoever in many areas.

    As for the phone, well, my wife likes her Galaxy III, which is a smartphone, and the camera is good, but paying $50 a month ($1200 over a two-year contract) just so you have a nice camera is kinda steep; I could buy a nice point-and-shoot for the car, one for the office, and leave one at home and still only spend a fraction of that. Just sayin'. And it's been my experience that, regardless of what people say they use a smartphone for or believe what they'll do when they get one, 99% of what they do is play games or go on Facebook.

    If you want a dumb phone, your best bet is probably calling Verizon what the cheapest plan they offer for someone who already has a phone but no service. If you find it reasonable, go buy a phone off of eBay, making sure it's intended for Verizon (or whatever carrier you choose.) Take it into a store and let them set it up. I had an LG Envy2, which goes for like $25-$35 now. The camera is marginal but it works.

  12. #12
    Sailaway's Avatar
    Sailaway is offline Giggity Giggity Goo!
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    They're probably right. That's what a smartphone costs. Trust me, you don't get something for nothing and phones are no different; essentially, they build the cost of the phone into your bill. $700 strikes me as what you might pay for a high-end phone like a Galaxy IV or iPhone 5, but older models aren't a whole lot cheaper.

    As mentioned, the Galaxy III and the HTC Droid Incredible 2 take pretty good pics. The latter is old and I'm not sure it's even sold anymore. Nokia is coming out with a 41-megapixel phone, but it's based on the Windows Mobile OS, meaning it won't run the apps available for the Android or iPhone. The problem is, most popular apps aren't available for it. You probably should search around to see what apps are available for it, and decide whether it's even worth considering. Otherwise, you'll probably want an Android

    Nokia Lumia 1020 announced; advanced 41 megapixel camera at $300 contract price | ZDNet

    I still have an LG Envy2 "dumb phone". A dumb phone is primarily intended to be used for calls and texting, but can offer internet, email and other features. I consider any phone that REQUIRES you to buy a monthly data plan to be a smartphone. I could still get a dataplan for use with my particular dumb phone if I wanted to use internet or email but find it cumbersome to use even if I wanted it. As mentioned, it takes ok pictures at 2 megapixels. Other dumb phones that apparently are pretty good are the Sony Ericsson C905 or W995a (8-megapixel), which are pretty good compared even to modern smartphones. I think the optics are better as well on those Ericsson's (it's not all about raw megapixels). But again, you'd probably have to buy on eBay and have your carrier of choice activate it.

    I should mention that internet use, on a dumb phone and to less of an extent on smartphones, is a cumbersome process. That's why smartphones have apps i.e. dedicated applications to do one particular thing, visit or work with one specific website (e.g. Facebook), etc.
    If you believe people should work till they die to pay for a government worker to retire at 50, you're a Democrat. Otherwise, you're a Republican. All other differences between the parties are trivial.

  13. #13
    OldMama is online now Senior Member
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    Funny, I live on Christian near the Market and I have no coverage issues with Sprint on my iPhone 4S. In fact two weeks ago, I was sitting having coffee at Anthony's and doing Facetime with my son and his friends in Kazakhstan.

  14. #14
    PhillyCuse is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beutelratte View Post
    Please let me know how the T-Mobile reception is in the various areas of the city you traverse during your trial period! I'm thinking of switching to them for the same reason, but I'm hesitating because no one I know downtown uses T-Mobile. Between work and personal phones, I only have AT&T and Verizon plans, and one is usually good if the other has a problem. I'll still have the work phone, but I don't want to have a personal phone with mostly crappy reception.

    I'm also interested in how you test out for a week before you move your number. Don't you have to pay to activate the phone twice that way or some such thing? I'll admit that I've had the same carrier since it was BellAtlantic/Nynex, so I'm new to the intricacies of switching carriers, testing out before you commit, etc. And how can I test out the reception if I'm buying a new phone as part of the process?

    Thanks for any insights!
    Yah I had to dig to find people I know on T-Mobile. Ultimately found two of the smartest guys I know have it - so that was good enough for me. No issues whatsoever outside anywhere, or downtown, or my office in Bala Cynwyd, or the burbs (Kop & Bensalem). The only blemish in service is the call quality in my South Philly house.

    When you activate the phone they'll ask you if you want a new # or port your old one. Say/click new, and call to have your # ported within a month of that activation. There's your trial period.
    You don't need a new phone either unless you have a Verizon/AT&T exclusive like a Droid DNA. If you have an iphone or something every carrier sells you can switch carriers with that. Or in my case, I would've been able to sell an almost brand new Nexus for close to what I paid for it if I wasn't happy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Any luck getting it on TMO's LTE?
    Nope, it's not an LTE phone. There may be a way around that but I'm not techy enough to either figure it out or notice the difference in the first place since I'm not downloading/streaming a thousand things. Plus it's not the greatest on battery life to begin with.

  15. #15
    PhillyCuse is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sailaway View Post
    They're probably right. That's what a smartphone costs. Trust me, you don't get something for nothing and phones are no different; essentially, they build the cost of the phone into your bill. $700 strikes me as what you might pay for a high-end phone like a Galaxy IV or iPhone 5, but older models aren't a whole lot cheaper.

    As mentioned, the Galaxy III and the HTC Droid Incredible 2 take pretty good pics. The latter is old and I'm not sure it's even sold anymore. Nokia is coming out with a 41-megapixel phone, but it's based on the Windows Mobile OS, meaning it won't run the apps available for the Android or iPhone. The problem is, most popular apps aren't available for it. You probably should search around to see what apps are available for it, and decide whether it's even worth considering. Otherwise, you'll probably want an Android
    I am recommending Nokia to my parents who want something for all the basic stuff & easy to use. The apps knock is way overblown by Tech reviewers imo. I mean does a novice or even average smartphone user really care about all those apps they'd never use anyway? All of the essentials like GPS/Facebook & now Pandora seem to be there on Windows.
    $300 on contract though, WTF. The 521 model @Walmart would probably be fine for Sleuth.

 

 

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