Author Topic: Smartphones - Buying for best value (because what else would you do??)  (Read 4732 times)

Overflow

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So, for my wife wants a new smartphone for her birthday/wedding anniversary/Mother's day.

We are on Republic Wireless (which we LOVE), so we are a little limited with the type of phones we can have. When we started with RW two years ago we got the most basic smartphone they have (the Moto E I think). Well, now we are looking to upgrade to something better - especially one with a better camera. Since we never really take pictures on anything but our phones, we want something that takes great pictures.

At the same time, I am not willing to just drop $700 for the Samsung Galaxy S7. Would love to stay under the $300 mark.

Question: What are the best ways you guys have found to buy a smartphone (i.e. not buying straight from the manufacture at full retail price)??

jezebel

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Timely because I have RW and I just brought a Galaxy J3 for $100 on Amazon last week.  Had to order a SIM from RW and activation had a tiny hiccup (just had to reset network settings), but I like it so far.  Better camera than my last phone but still not iPhone quality.

Overflow

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Ah, the J3 was one I was just starting to look at. Thanks for the rec.

What phone did you have before?

jezebel

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Motorola - a moto E I think

HipGnosis

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My last 4 (or more?) cell phones have been bought refurbished.
I google "best value android cellphone" and read the results of last years phones.
I pick 2 (unless one really appeals to me) and then google "{that phone} refurbished"
I just recently got a Moto G 4th gen. (Not plus or play) from an Amazon seller, for $145.
Oddly, I couldn't find it by searching on Amazon.  I found one via Amazon search for $159 (I abhor Amazon search).
It looks and works like brand new.

My Moto G 1st gen works great, but it has limited memory and I would have to uninstall an app (at least one) to install another.  And I wanted to upgrade to 4G (data speed).

The Moto G(4) is SOO much faster than the G(1), even the GPS knows where I am almost immediately.
Some of my apps didn't install from the PlayStore.  I had to get newer versions, a couple of which I had to pay for.  Luckily, I got a PlayStore gift card for Xmas.
It came with Android 6.  It just updated (after asking for permission) to 7.

taiwwa

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Ting is roughly the same price as RW wireless I believe.

The Moto G5 is attractive on RW wireless.

Right now I think the LG G5 is the best value. It can be had for about $150 used or $300 new. It has a 820 snapdragon and has a removable battery and USB port.

My HTC M8 recently had its USB port go bad, and just looking at all of the videos of taking it apart to replace the battery is headache inducing.

ObviouslyNotAGolfer

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Under $300? Is this the Robb Report forum or MMM??

Seriously, until last year, I used a Motorola candy bar phone which was outdated when I bought it in 2009. I hated that phone, and it got crappy reception, but I didn't replace it until last summer because I profoundly do not care about smartphones, Fecebook, social media, etc. Between my desktop system at work, laptop, and desktop system at home, I have more than enough access to e-mail, entertainment and other stuff. I LIKE being disconnected while I'm in the car, on vacation (never check work e-mail!) or on a plane!

Last year, I finally gave in because T-Mobile offered me an LG K-7 (?) for only $50, and of course, I outfitted it with case and screen protector for another $50 (kind of a ripoff I suppose). For me, it is great. As much of a curmudgeon as I am about smartphones, I reallly like having a calendar, alarm, calculator, world time, camera (nothing compared to my D7200, but always with me!) at my fingertips. It is also vastly easier to type text messages without having to press a number three times to get the letter I need!

My wife got an ASUS Zenphone 2 Laser, which she really loves. She IS into social media, Facepage, and the like and she has a zillion apps, all of which seem to work really well. With case, it was less than $300. DO NOT buy a screen protector for that phone. The Gorilla Glass IV is more than sufficient. Also, when I peeled off the backing of the screen protector, it sucked up every speck of dust within a 50 mile radius INSTANTLY! Waste of $12!

« Last Edit: May 11, 2017, 10:46:35 PM by ObviouslyNotAGolfer »

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My last 4 (or more?) cell phones have been bought refurbished.


Glad to hear the endorsement for refurbished. I (and especially my wife) have been skeptical of refurbished devices. Always tried to go new.

Are there different types of refurbished? I am seeing some listed as "certified refurbished".


Overflow

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Ting is roughly the same price as RW wireless I believe.

The Moto G5 is attractive on RW wireless.

Right now I think the LG G5 is the best value. It can be had for about $150 used or $300 new. It has a 820 snapdragon and has a removable battery and USB port.

My HTC M8 recently had its USB port go bad, and just looking at all of the videos of taking it apart to replace the battery is headache inducing.

The Moto G5 was on the short list. It doesn't look like the LG G5 is on Republic Wireless approved list.

Since Moto G5 is the latest model, I haven't found any used or refurbished ones. The only used or refurbished ones are G4.

If I were buying this for myself, I would go used or refurbished and one or two models old. But since its for my wife (for her 30th B-day and anniversary), I kinda want to get her a little nicer one.

Probably going to give her a couple options: tell her I would be happy to get her the nicer/new one if thats what she wants.


Pigeon

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I've bought a number of Samsung Galaxy S line phones (not the newest model, but two down) on Swappa for the four members of my family.  I picked a seller that has at least a 30 day warranty.  One of them had issues and I had to return it, but dealing with the seller couldn't have been easier.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2017, 09:17:17 PM by Pigeon »

katsiki

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Check out the Samsung J7 also.  Seems pretty good, $200 new on amazon.
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GrumpyPenguin

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The last four phones or so of mine have all been purchased on either eBay or Swappa, in used but very good condition.  As long as you purchase the phone from a reputable seller (lots of perfect reviews with a longish history), I think the risk is limited.  If something is wrong with the phone when you receive it, reputable sellers are usually quick to remedy the situation.

ditkanate

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The Moto G5 was on the short list. It doesn't look like the LG G5 is on Republic Wireless approved list.

Since Moto G5 is the latest model, I haven't found any used or refurbished ones. The only used or refurbished ones are G4.

My wife just went from an old iPhone to the Moto G5 and so far she loves it.  FWIW.

HipGnosis

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My last 4 (or more?) cell phones have been bought refurbished.
Glad to hear the endorsement for refurbished. I (and especially my wife) have been skeptical of refurbished devices. Always tried to go new.

Are there different types of refurbished? I am seeing some listed as "certified refurbished".
Oh yes, they vary.   I always buy from a retailer that is rated well and gives a 90 day warranty.
I'm skeptical of buying used online.  I assume the previous owner said "oh ya, it works great" <snerk> <snerk>

GuitarBrian

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I won't buy a new phone again. Used or refurbished for me. I buy last years flagship, after this years comes out. Right now, I am looking to upgrade, and like the LG G5. BUT, I am not upgrading until my G3 stops meeting all my demands. This phone is seriously under-rated, it still performs very well, even 3 years after it was released! I wouldn't recommend you buy a G3 today (pricing is ~$95/G3 and ~170/G5) since the price is so close...

If you buy on eBay, make sure to time the purchase on an eBay Bucks day. You'll get an extra 8-10% off. If you aren't aware of eBay Bucks, sign up for an account now, it is great.

MasterStache

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Get a free flip phone? I dunno, that's what I would do for "best value." ( :

taiwwa

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I just went from android to iPhone. iPhone is better. Android has always had better spec sheets but they often are problematic in practice and don't fit well together. Android phones have better than 1080p screens in a cell phone coupled with big battery life and multiple core processors. But more resolution really isn't needed and all it does is waste battery life and make the actual experience slower than it has to be. And I've found that android phones with their quad or octacore processors can't bet the iPhone dual core. And android phones are all stupidly big too, on top of being pointlessly over-spec'd in the wrong areas.

Only thing though is the google assistant is better than Siri because Apple isn't so good in cutting edge theoretical computer science.

Tonyahu

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I just went from android to iPhone. iPhone is better. Android has always had better spec sheets but they often are problematic in practice and don't fit well together. Android phones have better than 1080p screens in a cell phone coupled with big battery life and multiple core processors. But more resolution really isn't needed and all it does is waste battery life and make the actual experience slower than it has to be. And I've found that android phones with their quad or octacore processors can't bet the iPhone dual core. And android phones are all stupidly big too, on top of being pointlessly over-spec'd in the wrong areas.

Only thing though is the google assistant is better than Siri because Apple isn't so good in cutting edge theoretical computer science.

I can't disagree more.

I recently bought a Motorola G4 Plus for $200, it literally spanks the Iphones that cost $800+. Hardware, Software, Stability...etc...almost everything is better for 1/4th the price.

Get one, OP.

Overflow

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I just went from android to iPhone. iPhone is better. Android has always had better spec sheets but they often are problematic in practice and don't fit well together. Android phones have better than 1080p screens in a cell phone coupled with big battery life and multiple core processors. But more resolution really isn't needed and all it does is waste battery life and make the actual experience slower than it has to be. And I've found that android phones with their quad or octacore processors can't bet the iPhone dual core. And android phones are all stupidly big too, on top of being pointlessly over-spec'd in the wrong areas.

Only thing though is the google assistant is better than Siri because Apple isn't so good in cutting edge theoretical computer science.

I can't disagree more.

I recently bought a Motorola G4 Plus for $200, it literally spanks the Iphones that cost $800+. Hardware, Software, Stability...etc...almost everything is better for 1/4th the price.

Get one, OP.

Tonyahu,

That is exactly what we just got. After a few days my wife loves the G4. We got is new on Amazon for $130 (it came with ads, but my wife doesn't care).

Can't really compare it to the iPhone as I haven't ever had one. But the G4 seems like a great phone for the price. 

GrumpyPenguin

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I generally prefer used iPhones over Android at the moment considering much better long-term support and (what I believe is) a slight edge to privacy and security, but I thought I'd mention that the Costco near me is selling unlocked Moto G5 Pluses for $220.  Probably YMMV for your particular Costco, but I think this is a pretty good price, and if there's a problem in the first... I think 90 days for electronics, then you can easily return it to the store.

FrugalFisherman10

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I just cracked my phone's screen last night in a way that it is no longer usable. It is a Samsung Galaxy S5 from a few years back, and it has been very very durable..Surprised it actually broke last night. In fact, when I picked it up I said to the people with me "oh it'll be fine, this thing's screen never breaks"...that was the last time I get to say that about that phone. This weird purple inky looking stuff has covered the inside of the whole screen now..even though the outside remains unbroken.

Anyway, I came here to get some advice on replacing and maybe upgrading. The S5 has served my purposes fine the last several years (I've had two of them), and still does. I'm likely going to end up just trying to buy another one, since i already have the chargers and an extra charger, extra 32gb memory card, etc. but I'd like to shop around some.

Sounds like the G5 and G4 from Motorala are pretty good options. The thing I really like about the S5 is it is rated as waterPROOF, and this was 5 years ago. Is it really waterproof...I don't think so, but it's pretty close. Eventually the seals wear down after a few years I think.

Also, this is completely un-mustachian, but, have you seen the camera quality on the iPhone 7 Plus???!! Those things are next level.

For anyone with good cell phone knowledge of the current environment: Considering my familiarity with the Galaxy S5 (and extra chargers, batteries and memory card), do you think I'd be missing out on anything buy buying another one for somewhere around $200? Should i go with something like the G5?

felixbf

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I just went from android to iPhone. iPhone is better. Android has always had better spec sheets but they often are problematic in practice and don't fit well together. Android phones have better than 1080p screens in a cell phone coupled with big battery life and multiple core processors. But more resolution really isn't needed and all it does is waste battery life and make the actual experience slower than it has to be. And I've found that android phones with their quad or octacore processors can't bet the iPhone dual core. And android phones are all stupidly big too, on top of being pointlessly over-spec'd in the wrong areas.

Only thing though is the google assistant is better than Siri because Apple isn't so good in cutting edge theoretical computer science.

It is almost 2018 and still Iphone's cannot copy and paste music & video files without syncing and converting.Don't even think it can do Live wallpapers correct? Anyways, Iphone's software is a nudge better due to being tied to the same devices vs 1000's of different phone models for Android.

Bottom Line we ALL buy phones for the exact same purpose ,pricing is only tied to bragging rights.

grandep

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Re: Smartphones - Buying for best value (because what else would you do??)
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2017, 06:39:59 PM »
I just went from android to iPhone. iPhone is better. Android has always had better spec sheets but they often are problematic in practice and don't fit well together. Android phones have better than 1080p screens in a cell phone coupled with big battery life and multiple core processors. But more resolution really isn't needed and all it does is waste battery life and make the actual experience slower than it has to be. And I've found that android phones with their quad or octacore processors can't bet the iPhone dual core. And android phones are all stupidly big too, on top of being pointlessly over-spec'd in the wrong areas.

Only thing though is the google assistant is better than Siri because Apple isn't so good in cutting edge theoretical computer science.

I know I'm resurrecting an old thread but I was reading about this exact topic and ended up here.

I will say that I agree - I have had an iPhone for many years (all bought in the pre-Mustachian era) and had an Android before that. I am much, much happier with my iPhone. I don't care that much about blazing fast processors or really even that much about the camera. To me, the iOS software just feels much more polished and well-put together. The Android OS always just felt very clunky and not very aesthetically pleasing.

Add on top of that features that I find incredibly useful like the ability to send text messages from my laptop and the Handoff feature (I can open a webpage that I was looking at on my phone on my laptop just by clicking an icon on my laptop). I think the iPhone gets a lot of flack in the frugal community (and perhaps fairly so in many cases), but I think the idea that someone would only own one because they're an Apple fan boy or for bragging rights is unfair.

ketchup

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Re: Smartphones - Buying for best value (because what else would you do??)
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2017, 07:11:34 PM »
I just went from android to iPhone. iPhone is better. Android has always had better spec sheets but they often are problematic in practice and don't fit well together. Android phones have better than 1080p screens in a cell phone coupled with big battery life and multiple core processors. But more resolution really isn't needed and all it does is waste battery life and make the actual experience slower than it has to be. And I've found that android phones with their quad or octacore processors can't bet the iPhone dual core. And android phones are all stupidly big too, on top of being pointlessly over-spec'd in the wrong areas.

Only thing though is the google assistant is better than Siri because Apple isn't so good in cutting edge theoretical computer science.

I know I'm resurrecting an old thread but I was reading about this exact topic and ended up here.

I will say that I agree - I have had an iPhone for many years (all bought in the pre-Mustachian era) and had an Android before that. I am much, much happier with my iPhone. I don't care that much about blazing fast processors or really even that much about the camera. To me, the iOS software just feels much more polished and well-put together. The Android OS always just felt very clunky and not very aesthetically pleasing.

Add on top of that features that I find incredibly useful like the ability to send text messages from my laptop and the Handoff feature (I can open a webpage that I was looking at on my phone on my laptop just by clicking an icon on my laptop). I think the iPhone gets a lot of flack in the frugal community (and perhaps fairly so in many cases), but I think the idea that someone would only own one because they're an Apple fan boy or for bragging rights is unfair.
Google will let you send texts via Hangouts on a PC in a similar way.  WhatsApp can do the same in a slick way using a QR code.

Handoff would be nifty if it didn't require a Mac (no thanks).

iOS and Android pretty much have feature parity these days (each update to either makes it more like the other it seems like).  It's mostly just a matter of preference now.  Personally, I have an iPhone now, and have used Android in the past.  Apple oddly has more long-term support (about five years from when the device was originally available) so that currently has me in their camp.  I can't stand how anything other than flagship Android phones is lucky to get a year of support, and even flagships get maybe two.  Non-user-replaceable batteries are still ridiculous, but everyone's started doing that for the most part.

GuitarBrian

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Re: Smartphones - Buying for best value (because what else would you do??)
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2017, 05:12:04 PM »
Since I posted in this thread, my LG G3 died. It was getting old and I used it hard for almost 3 years. Not bad. I bought a new LG G5. It was only $10 more than a used phone so that made sense to just get the new in box. I paid $180 in September. Then my Dad's old Samsung S2's screen died so I got him one as well. $180 for a one year old flagship? It has a replaceable battery and an SD slot. Size is great and camera/screen is great. No lag, even with lots of things running, and 2 apps in split screen... I recommend it for the price.

orangepalm

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Re: Smartphones - Buying for best value (because what else would you do??)
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2017, 07:22:15 AM »
I bought a new LG G5. It was only $10 more than a used phone so that made sense to just get the new in box. I paid $180 in September.

Where'd you buy a new G5 for 180? Is it tied to a carrier or unlocked for any GSM use?

I'm asking since my wife recently bought a nice refurbished G5 for I believe $140, and I have to agree with you that this is a really nice phone. I feel like if you can find a 1 to 2 year old flagship phone for cheap (whether good condition used, refurbished, overstock), that's usually a good deal. They'll be fast with high-end specs and should last a couple years at least because of better build quality (than budget line phones).

I have a (new) Nextbit Robin that I bought for $100. Nextbit was a startup that has since been bought out so they are dumping their phones for little money, you get a lot for your money.

GuitarBrian

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Re: Smartphones - Buying for best value (because what else would you do??)
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2017, 07:39:54 PM »

Where'd you buy a new G5 for 180? Is it tied to a carrier or unlocked for any GSM use?

Looks like they are still available at $199. I had a 10% off coupon on eBay. So it was $180. The seller is BuySpry. It arrived in 2 days. You can get 8% in eBay Bucks today if you have an eBay account, and have signed up for eBay bucks already. Otherwise bucks days are every once in a while, and either 6%, 8%, or 10%. It's a good program.

cantgrowone

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Re: Smartphones - Buying for best value (because what else would you do??)
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2017, 01:28:09 PM »
I'm in need of a new phone that will have to be delivered by black Friday. The phone has to work on Project Fi so I have just a few options. I currently use a Pixel XL with work and I'm changing jobs.

  • $200 - Nexus 5X (refurbished)
  • $400 - Pixel (used)

The Nexus 5X can be had refurbished for $200, but it has known hardware issues that could require break the device after the 90 day warranty.

The Pixel is twice the price but I can expect at least 3 years out of it. There are no known issues that I can find with the Pixel.
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