What kind of phone should I get?

  • I am sad. I dropped my Nokia N900 on the ground for the umpteenth time, but this time the screen cracked. And not like "aw it has a crack down the middle." Here's a recreation of its screen, made in paint (I'm too lazy to get a camera):


    What should I replace it with? My wants are light -- I haven't made the full switch from grad student mode to realizing that I have money that can be exchanged for goods and services, so I haven't had a data plan and may or may not get one now (though probably will in a year or two if not now). I do want a smart phone for web browsing on wi-fi as well as MP3 playing, and a camera would be nice. Definitely don't want to spend more than $50/month, but am totally OK with buying an unlocked phone outright. I am not in a current contract, though AT&T is my current provider. No iPhone.

    My primary desire is something that I can rely on getting updates for for a long time. Bear in mind that the N900 was released almost 6 years ago, and I'd have continued to use it for the forseeable future had I not cracked the screen. I don't want some locked-down POS where I'm relying on the manufacturer or carrier to deliver security fixes, for instance.

  • I have the one plus one and I'm quite happy, so maybe the one plus 2? (Latest ish hardware). I don't know about the firmware status on the new one, but the old one has cyanogen officially.

    Edit: and both phones cost around 50% of other flagship phones (in the us).

  • @swayde said:

    I have the one plus one and I'm quite happy, so maybe the one plus 2? (Latest ish hardware)
    I was searching around and ran across that. The OnePlus 2 isn't available yet, unfortunately; it first ships in two weeks from now, which would be somewhat obnoxious from an "I don't have a phone" standpoint. And it's not even guaranteed that I could get it then, as you have to sign up for an invite.

    I asked this question on another forum too, and someone there suggested Cyanogenmod too. I'm thinking that seems like the most promising route now, so I'm looking at what phones work well with that. Going that route, I'd prefer to get a device that has an unlocked bootloader rather than something you have to root.

    I also think I'd kind of prefer a somewhat smaller screen, though I don't think that's a deal maker/breaker.

  • @EvanED said:

    No iPhone.


  • I think you're way too Linux-y here.

    Just buy a fucking phone and a data plan like everybody else.

    The POS phones are the ones that aren't locked-down, since those are the ones crammed-full of open source shit software.

  • It's not like there could possibly be closed source software that pretends to be popular open source software. I mean, open source software has to be terrible, right? If it isn't, everything @blakeyrat has worked for is all for nothing. An open source operating system called "and roid"? Never heard of it.

  • I've used Android. It's shit.

  • I suppose the closed source Samsung software must have been the best thing you had ever tried, then.

  • Guess so.

    Who am I to dispute the great Ben L. Just because I've never owned a Samsung anything in my life? Nah. Put your faith in the Ben L.

  • @blakeyrat said:

    I think you're way too Linux-y here.
    I would welcome suggestions for Windows Phones as well, FWIW.

    Here's a general set of questions for all three platforms (iPhone included). Something that would be really nice to have is a voice-controllable music player. What I'm imagining is something where I could say the name of an album or track, it would read off a list of possibilities, and then I could select one and it starts playing. Do any of the platforms have players that do this out of the box? Any good third-party apps? (Doesn't need to be free.) And I know Siri & Cortana at least ship the recorded query off to be decoded, so need a data connection; would there be any way to make any of these work without, or would I need to get one? (I have seen support for this in Android I think, so only the "can this be done without data" is relevant for that platform.)

  • http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/how-to/wp8/cortana/play-music-with-cortana

    Probably doesn't work without a data connection, but there's also no damned point to buying a smartphone without one.

  • @EvanED said:

    I would welcome suggestions for Windows Phones as well, FWIW.

    I wouldn't.

  • During a sale last year, I got my grandparents a Lumia 520 or whatever, for $40. Nokia has always been a quality brand, and while the 520 and 620 are their worst, they're pretty great.

  • Plus, you can rely on them being updated for a longer time than most Android Phones.

  • The Moto G is cheap and really cool.

    You get updates (almost) directly from Google, it's not as expensive as the Nexus brand, and because it's so popular it probably runs several third-party OSes too (haven't really investigated that).

    Plus you can get it in dual-SIM. Not in the USA, but you can probably order it from any Amazon website in Europe and get it shipped there. Although I don't know if there's any compatibility problem with the 3G bands and stuff.

  • kills Dumbledore

    I had a first gen Moto G. The Android 5.0 update made it unusably slow at random times, and it started rebooting in the middle of phone calls. There was talk of a 5.1 update but it never came.

    I bought a used HTC One M8 to replace it with. Very nice phone

  • I'll second the Moto G suggestion, but make sure you get the 16GB/2GiB version.

    My wife has the 8GB/1GiB model, previous generation, and it's nice except that shuffling apps around to make space for updates gets old quickly.

  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @EvanED said:

    And it's not even guaranteed that I could get it then, as you have to sign up for an invite.

    If it works like last time, if you know someone with one, they can give out invites too. I had a friend send me one in November, but it turned out the One doesn't work with my carrier so I couldn't get it.

  • Since iPhone is out and Windows Phone has a very murky future, that leaves Android. Don't mind Blakey, there's nothing wrong with Android.

    If you want a long lifetime, here are the paths you can take:

    • Google Nexus, which will be getting stock android updates as soon as they are ready

    • Buy some other phone, then root it and install stock ROM or Cyanogen.

    With Nexus, you get what you get: http://www.gsmarena.com/lg_nexus_5-5705.php . If you're cool with dimensions and features, and you don't want to mess with rooting and custom ROM-s, go for it.

    You can also buy some other phone, and then install a custom ROM. Note that that would mean you don't get to use any custom feature that requires proprietary software. For example, on my old Samsung Galaxy 2, I decided not to go this route because I couldn't get integrated FM radio to work well without the Samsung's app.

    If you want long-term update path, go with stock Android or some well known OSS ROM, Cyanogen. These will be updated for the long time to come.

    You should probably stick to a popular brand and model. The more niche you go, the faster will your model disappear from the ROM's official supported phones list (or might not even appear there in the first place).

    Also, stick with removable battery and external SD card, so you can extend the phone's lifetime.

    With all this in mind, go here:

    Enter the specs you like. Filter. The models will be sorted by popularity. Go from top and see what you like. Or buy Nexus.

  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Jaloopa said:

    There was talk of a 5.1 update but it never came.

    I think the first-gen Moto G got an update to 5.1 a few weeks ago. My second-gen one didn't so far. I don't have any of the problems you mentioned, though, so I don't really care.

  • I have Moto E 2nd-gen, and it's working okay so far. Mind you, I don't install too many apps (I love zombie shooters, but not when they want access to my phone call history).

  • I would strongly recommend a Nokia 101 dual sim. I have one as my backup phone, the battery lasts up to 6 days and has enough keys to type a phone number:

  • if by murky you mean "they'll be making and updating them for the foreseeable future", then murky indeed.

  • I'm on my second Windows phone now and it's definitely the most comfortable OS. I upgraded from a 520 to a 735 which was a nice bump and so far four friends have bought one after playing for mine for a while.

    I'm not sure what the official figures are but here in Warsaw Windows Phones are everywhere, and a cursory look around the Metro carriage shows a big percentage of people using them (last week the three people to my left and the three to my right were all using them at once).

    Not super happy with Windows 10 on it yet, but I've only tried test versions on the 520 so hopefully it will improve before release.

  • @asdf said:

    first-gen Moto G got an update to 5.1

    I received the 5.1 upgrade. 1st gen Moto G but the 4G version.

    They announced a 3th gen recently.

  • I'm interested in the new model which is supposed to have USB-C. In conjunction with Continuum and Office Mobile, this might just make a case for the "replace desktop with mobile" idea.

  • Fake News

    I like my Jolla phone even though it's a special snowflake. It's from the guys who brought you the N900 and started their own company when Microsoft bought Nokia.

    It runs a custom OS but it does have Android compatibility, even if you have to use alternative app stores or grab the apk manually.

  • Like they did to my lumia 710? yeah..
    (Bitter, ME? noooooo)

  • @JBert said:

    I like my Jolla

  • Fake News

    BlackBerry 10.

    inb4 the usual "welcome to 2005, aren't they going bankrupt?, their phones need BIS, I don't like a physical keyboard on a phone, I'm an uninformed fucknut, etc." 🔥

  • @Luhmann said:

    They announced a 3th gen recently.


    @lolwhat said:

    BlackBerry 10.

    5 year trend:

    Since their low in 2012, they've entered the security market for mobile phones. Not sure if that's enough to save them, as they've sort of held steady since then (as in a breath away from being blown away).

    That being said, like anything else, depending on what you need or prefer, it's worth a look. Further, if they did go under, I would be surprised if no one acquired them for cheap if only to scoop up the customer base and transition those customers to the new provider's preferred platform (over several years most likely, giving you time to utilize your investment). Reference Sprint and their acquisition of Nextel years back as an example of a likely scenario.

  • Excuse my French ...

  • Fun fact: where I work we're asked to port apps to XBox all the time... WinPho never.

  • I'm leaning towards the Lumia 640 and will probably go out and get it in a couple of hours. Any reason I shouldn't? (In particular: should prefer a different Windows phone?)

  • Should be good. Won't have the highest end screen, may not have a great camera, and iirc, software buttons. But those aren't exactly awful, considering the price.

  • I don't use apps, other than the ones helpfully already provided on the phone.

    With Windows Phone, you don't need Facebook or Twitter because it already understands those natively. I have the Kindle app, but there's no point in using that when I have an actual Kindle.

  • @coldandtired said:

    I'm on my second Windows phone now and it's definitely the most comfortable OS.

    It seems like "Windows Phone for comfortable usage of everyday features, Android for a million of apps". WinPhone app market is crap (and Metro Win8 market doubly so, it seems), but what it does, it seems to do well.

    I'm holding off for those Q3 phones with native Win10 they're rumored to do, though.

  • I have no idea about the long-term-ness of updates, but I'm strongly considering a Sharp Aquos, paired with a Sprint prepaid plan. 1GB data, unlimited talk and text, for $35 per month. The phone is like 130 on Amazon.

  • Yeah. Though quite a few of the apps that do exist are really rather nice. And someone made a remake of space cadet pinball called Pinball Star!

    Still, the apps situation can only improve, and considering that you almost have to try to not target it if you do any Windows Universal project, it's even likely to get better.

    The main problem is the 10,000,000,000 "___ Info" apps, which masquerade as the real ones. "Download Instagram Info now! It give all tips how to use the Instagram!"

  • FYI, I picked up the 640. Thanks everyone for your input. I'll probably post what I think of it in the status thread in a few weeks.

    I guess the next thing I have to do is get used to looking at app store permissions list and thinking "wtf does it need that for" and deciding whether or not to get it anyway...

  • I had an iPhone 3g years ago, and a couple of cheapy Android phones, and still have a Galaxy Tab tablet.

    The iPhone was a terrible phone, both for the fact that calling anyone was painful and Poland's data plans at that time were very harshly priced. It also had the 'amusing' feature that, as I had the phone set to English language but was living in Warsaw, whenever anyone called me from a Warsaw number it would display (221)234-567 (22 is Warsaw's area code, for everyone else).

    The Android phones seemed to require so much work, As they were cheap they were left behind quite quickly so I seemed to be constantly finding unofficial updates, and apps to add the functionality missing from them.

    Then I bought a 520 and everything just fell into place. While the app store is relatively quiet, the OS itself does so much more and I found myself using it as a helpful device more and more. It uploaded any pictures I had taken with my PC as soon as I walked through the door, my partner and I had calendars that we could compare and join, allowing appointments to be made from either my phone, hers, or the PC and instantly synced between all of them. It included (some added later through updates) great features like the Swype-like keyboard, usable everywhere, Internet sharing, a screen that you could use with gloves on, and can be turned on by tapping as well as by the button, multiple live tiles for different email accounts. It also comes with Here maps, which can be downloaded for offline viewing/navigating.

    In a way this possibly hurts the store as the built in defaults are so good. Currently I only have a few apps installed: for my bank, phone network, an OBDII scanner, and a PDF reader.

    There were many more, and some of them might seem unimportant, but I suppose the shortest way I could sum the phone up was that it made me happy far more often than it frustrated me, and needed almost zero configuration. Unless Windows 10 removes all that (and Family Room has already been axed, sadly) it will continue to be solid.

  • It's mostly the same, plus bugs, so far. The new styling is nice, and when they make It stable, it'll be great. Stuff like the new calculator and messaging just instantly feels natural.

  • I have a version of it installed on the 520 but it doesn't really run very well there.

  • I'm fairly sure they're still collecting lots of data at the moment. Windows 10 on my computers felt much faster after the release.

    All i want its to not have It say loading when I press start.

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