Author Topic: New Phone  (Read 1180 times)

Coueswhitetail

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New Phone
« on: April 29, 2021, 08:33:11 AM »
Hi everyone, I'm new to the forum but have been learning about mustachianism for the last few years. I've read every post on the website, took notes, and loved it however I'm wanting a bit more info and recommendations on what smart phone I should purchase. I'm not a techie by any means, but I like my purchases to be robust and reliable. My criteria are as follows:
1. Sub $200
2. Long support life; I want to purchase a phone and not have to get another one for a while
3. T-mobile compatible; I use mint
4. Relatively strong; I'm a college student and while I don't use my phone for school, being able to support things like google docs, gmail, and various messenger apps is important.

Let me know what you folks would recommend. Thanks in advance!

Syonyk

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2021, 04:15:34 PM »
See if you can get a lightly used 2020 iPhone SE (NOT the older SE, that's end of life).

It's going to run you a bit more than $200, likely, but I'm finding lightly used ones in the $250 range for 64GB, which should be fine.

Get a basic screen protector and liquid silicone sort of case, you're under $300, with a well protected phone that works on any network that should last 6-8 years of OS support.

The iPhone 6S I replaced recently because the camera was dusting up again (I'm tired of cleaning it out) was released in late 2015, and is still in full OS support in 2021 - it will likely fall out of support end of this year, which means 6 years of full software support.  I'd expect the newer ones, with more capable CPUs, to be supported longer - the rate of increase in hardware specs is slowing down over time, so stuff is supported longer if the company cares to, which Apple tends to.

Enable optimized battery charging so it doesn't constantly top the battery off, except that there's a chance you'll have to replace the battery in 4 years, and you should be set for most of the next decade.

robartsd

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2021, 05:06:31 PM »
Syonyk's suggestion of a lightly use 2020 iPhone SE is probably your best bet for longest expected period of full OS support. Most android brands only provide decent OS updates on flagship models (and often for not as long as Apple). FWIW, I find that Android apps don't have as much of a tendency to require the latest OS - but running an old OS might mean you are exposed to more security risks.

Syonyk

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2021, 07:16:58 PM »
Most android brands only provide decent OS updates on flagship models (and often for not as long as Apple).

I'm not aware of any Android brand that provides OEM updates anywhere close to Apple.  Three years is an accomplishment for them.  If it's a major enough unit, you may have some LineageOS (or whatever they're calling themselves today) support, but... eh.

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...but running an old OS might mean you are exposed to more security risks.

Indeed.  I'll argue that you either need to be on a fully supported OS, or you need to seriously de-privilege your phone - no core accounts, and probably not authenticators.  As that's a key function of my phone (authenticators, lock access for a building or two I have access to, etc), that's not a negotiable point for me.

Goldendog777

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2021, 07:41:43 PM »
My husband and I both have Moto gs.  I think his is the Play and mine might be the 7.  They have great battery life, take pretty good photos, do all the things a smart phone does.  They were both less than $200.  Weve had the Moto models for several years and never had issues.  We also have Mint.

DaMa

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2021, 08:30:37 PM »
I also have a Moto g.  It's my 3rd moto.  The 1st I got in 2014 and replaced in 2016, because it was too slow.  I replaced that one in 2019, because the battery life was getting too short.  The third one is still working great.  The older ones still work.  All were $100-$200.


robartsd

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2021, 08:27:59 AM »
Most android brands only provide decent OS updates on flagship models (and often for not as long as Apple).

I'm not aware of any Android brand that provides OEM updates anywhere close to Apple.  Three years is an accomplishment for them.  If it's a major enough unit, you may have some LineageOS (or whatever they're calling themselves today) support, but... eh.
Yes, 2-3 years of full OS support, probably followed by about 2 years of security only updates, is about the best you can expect on Android. So 3-5 years of OEM security updates on Android flagship models vs ~7 years of security updates on iPhone models (I don't believe Apple provides any security patches to old versions of iOS). Low end Androids never get any full OS updates, they stop getting any updates once the OS version stops getting security patches (about 2 years after OS release).

Syonyk

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2021, 11:03:31 AM »
(I don't believe Apple provides any security patches to old versions of iOS)

Yes, they do, for critical security issues.

The latest release of iOS 12 (current is iOS 14), 12.5.2, was March 26, 2021 - several years after it was replaced by iOS 13.  It handles some security updates and such.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2021, 06:31:49 PM »
I'm not aware of any Android brand that provides OEM updates anywhere close to Apple.  Three years is an accomplishment for them.  If it's a major enough unit, you may have some LineageOS (or whatever they're calling themselves today) support, but... eh.

Samsung seems to be moving to a total of four years of security updates.

https://9to5google.com/2021/04/07/samsung-galaxy-a52-5g-android-updates/

But I see your point about iOS if the OP wants a phone for the long term. Easier to get a battery replacement (because a battery would be cactus after 3 years) because every other phone kiosk in a shopping centre can replace iPhone batteries.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2021, 06:39:03 PM by alsoknownasDean »

ChpBstrd

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2021, 08:06:13 PM »
Someone I know was still using an iPhone 5C that still worked great until suddenly when they made an outbound call they got a recording that the phone was no longer supported. Apparently AT&T is yanking out all the 3G antennae. Upgrade or lose service, he was told.

I'm sure 4G (like the iPhone SE uses) will be supported for at least the next 5 years, but a loss of the phone standard sets a hard limit on the lifespan of even the best-taken-care-of phone.

The other limit is that apps stop working on out-of-support operating systems. The App store on that iPhone 5C wouldn't let anything install, just like on my hand-me-down iPad 4th gen. If support ends in year 3 of your ownership, expect all your apps to quit.

I just got a new SE for about $300 after tax and fees from Cricket.

DaMa

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2021, 09:36:01 AM »
I'm paying attention here.  I've avoided buying i-products, but a phone that lasts 6+ years for $300 or less is something to consider.  How much does a battery replacement cost?  Are there any issues with iPhones and changing carriers?

TIA!

Syonyk

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2021, 01:43:04 PM »
Someone I know was still using an iPhone 5C that still worked great until suddenly when they made an outbound call they got a recording that the phone was no longer supported. Apparently AT&T is yanking out all the 3G antennae. Upgrade or lose service, he was told.

Sure, at some point, the technology you're using goes away.  Old analog brick phones from the 90s don't have anything to talk to anymore.  But usually "end of life as determined by the cell company pulling down the radios" is far longer than most phones last/are useful anyway.

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The other limit is that apps stop working on out-of-support operating systems. The App store on that iPhone 5C wouldn't let anything install, just like on my hand-me-down iPad 4th gen. If support ends in year 3 of your ownership, expect all your apps to quit.

Indeed, and I'll point to "security updates" as another thing that I, at least, consider non-optional with phones.  I have enough core access to things (my Google account, various things that use 2FA, some building access stuff) that I just won't run past regular OS support at this point for my personal device.  I don't mind keeping phones around longer for low-priority stuff (my old 6S is now the Family iPod - a bunch of music and books for listening to in the car and around the property), but I don't consider my Spotify account to be particularly high privilege.

I'm paying attention here.  I've avoided buying i-products, but a phone that lasts 6+ years for $300 or less is something to consider.

Indeed.  It was really funny watching the Android review sites as they got this $400 (new, MSRP) device that literally outperformed $1000 Android flagships, with Apple-duration OS support (vs Android, 2 years, maaaaybe... and maybe some security updates if you're lucky), etc.  The reviews more or less were uniformly, "Well, shit.  Uh, this is a great phone for half the cost of a slower Android device, how attached are you to Android?"

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How much does a battery replacement cost?

Around $30 if you do it yourself, probably $100 retail for someone else to do it.  Not sure exactly on the 2020 SE, but that's around where similar devices are and there's no reason to expect a huge change from that in 4-5 years when you need to do it.  Plus, newer iOS devices support "optimized charging" that will only charge to 80% until you're about ready to grab the phone if you have a consistent pattern.  If you plug in at night and always pick the phone up around 7AM, it will charge to 80%, then top off from 80% to 100% in time for 7AM, but not before.  It helps avoid the fully charged state, which is hard on batteries.

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Are there any issues with iPhones and changing carriers?

The new ones are generally sold unlocked with support for all the major bands, so they will generally work with everything.  My wife's SE is on Project Fi at the moment, and even though I don't think she gets full carrier diversity, it works fine.  I'm on AT&T Prepaid.

dang1

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2021, 10:40:57 PM »
On eBay, check out a used Samsung Galaxy S10e, bigger screen for google docs, seeing them for $ 200 to 250, ones from Verizon are unlocked so T-Mobile SIM works. Make, make sure you can return, get refund, if not happy.

As for relatively strong, after around 4 years or so, phones tend to get annoyingly slow, apps hang longer. Planned obsolescence to make you buy newer phones. Sister-in-law got rid of her iPhone 7 in January, mother-in-law moved on from a Galaxy Grand Prime to an S8, last year.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2021, 04:44:31 AM »
On eBay, check out a used Samsung Galaxy S10e

Already two years since release with a battery that's likely pushing two years old. Might get another year or two of OS updates.

Better off buying a new A series Galaxy if one wants Samsung.

Syonyk

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2021, 11:12:30 AM »
As for relatively strong, after around 4 years or so, phones tend to get annoyingly slow, apps hang longer. Planned obsolescence to make you buy newer phones.

It's not so much "planned obsolescence" as "as hardware gets more powerful, app developers manage to use more CPU power to do the same thing."  It's not just phones, "desktop" applications are now web apps, bundled with their own Chrome engine.  A mere quad core 1.5GHz system with 1GB of RAM struggles to do the same stuff, 25 years ago, we could do on a 66MHz 486 with 32MB RAM.

And, yes, I expect the 6S battery throttling to be brought up, and I quite disagree.  It was better than the alternative of just shutting down when the battery aged, which is what literally every other phone at the time did.  Apple screwed up by not communicating it to users, but it wasn't a "Ok, the phone is X years old, slow it down" feature, it was a "The battery can no longer provide the power required for peak performance, throttle it back so the phone doesn't shut off randomly."  They also got surprised by the end of 2 year contracts, so the 6/6S were the first devices that really were substantially used beyond the normal 2 year window.

Though I happily used my 6S as a daily driver until a month ago, and I replaced it only because I was tired of cleaning dust out of the camera system.  It was no longer remotely dust tight, I live in a very dusty area, and I use the camera a lot for project documentation for my blog.  I planned to replace it when it fell out of OS support, but pushed that up by 6 months or so.  It still did everything I wanted, except keep dust out out photos.

Beardog

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2021, 11:53:54 AM »
PTF

American GenX

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2021, 11:56:38 AM »
Just got a new T-Mobile phone myself.

It's a Moto G7 Plus, which is one of the rebranded T-Mobile phones.   $120 on Amazon - new / unlocked.

4 GB RAM / 64 GB storage. 

Android 10.

I also have a Moto G power 2020 model that's supposed to get Android 11, but that phone will cost you extra.

ChpBstrd

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2021, 03:42:58 PM »

Syonyk

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2021, 03:45:04 PM »

robartsd

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2021, 10:22:23 AM »
Unofficial iPhone Battery Replacement: https://www.ifixit.com/Store/iPhone/iPhone-SE-2020-Battery/IF435-001?o=2

;)
A kit from iFixIt for $40 vs. service at Apple Store for $50; I'd pay the $10 extra bucks if an Apple Store is reasonably convenient (assuming they can handle it while I wait). Of course for you personally, the $35 battery is a better deal since you're in a remote location and already have the tools and skills needed.

FLBiker

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2021, 11:30:47 AM »
I like the Moto G / G Play suggestion.  Our last couple of phones have been in that family.  I also have an iPhone XR for work, and I had an iPhone 5S that I got from my mom before that.

Apple stuff is pretty, but I find it too expensive, and I hate all the proprietary stuff and DRM.  Like, why can't I just have a standard headphone jack or charging port?  Maybe their tech is superior, but for someone who values cost and convenience over being at the bleeding edge, I find it annoying.  And I haven't found that my Moto phones go obsolete any faster than the iPhones.  My wife has definitely used Moto phones that were 6 or 7 years old (mine is probably 3).  And Moto works great with TMobile, but I'm sure iPhones would too.

robartsd

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2021, 10:14:09 AM »
I like the Moto G / G Play suggestion.  Our last couple of phones have been in that family.  I also have an iPhone XR for work, and I had an iPhone 5S that I got from my mom before that.

Apple stuff is pretty, but I find it too expensive, and I hate all the proprietary stuff and DRM.  Like, why can't I just have a standard headphone jack or charging port?  Maybe their tech is superior, but for someone who values cost and convenience over being at the bleeding edge, I find it annoying.  And I haven't found that my Moto phones go obsolete any faster than the iPhones.  My wife has definitely used Moto phones that were 6 or 7 years old (mine is probably 3).  And Moto works great with TMobile, but I'm sure iPhones would too.
I'm happy with my 4 year old Moto model and will likely use it for a few more years, but it is outside security support. Yes, other hardware will last as long as Apple hardware and still be able to run apps from their stores, but they won't have security support for as long.

Apple's lightning connector was quite a bit better than the micro-USB connectors other phones were using when it launched. Not sure lightning has enough advantage over USB-C connectors to be worthwhile today. I agree that 3.5mm headset jack is still very convinient.

Syonyk

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #22 on: May 05, 2021, 10:53:52 AM »
Apple stuff is pretty, but I find it too expensive, and I hate all the proprietary stuff and DRM.  Like, why can't I just have a standard headphone jack or charging port?

Unless you're going to play in the "$150 phone with no support a year after launch" realm (which, if you want to, fine, not a realm I'm willing to play in for software update and security reasons), the $300 or so for a likely 6-8 years of support is pretty hard to beat in terms of total operating cost.  It's a bit more expensive up front, but at twice the useful service life of most things on Android (and I'll mention that "promised support" and "actual support" tend to differ pretty badly over there), it's not that much more money for something that will last far longer.

As far as headphone jacks, yeah, that's a bit annoying, but a $5 adapter to go from Lightning to headphone jack isn't the end of the world.  On the other hand, Lightning is superior to microUSB.  I've never replaced Lightning jacks on devices, and the worst I can say about them is that they're a bit prone to lint buildup, which is easily cleaned out with a toothpick or pin.  I've replaced a decent number of flakey microUSB connections for myself and other people over the years, because a lot of them just don't last.  They won't charge, or won't maintain a data connection, or just break off entirely when something gets a cord snagged or yanked.

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Maybe their tech is superior, but for someone who values cost and convenience over being at the bleeding edge, I find it annoying.

So a phone that just works and does the same thing for 7-8 years would be appealing? ;)

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And I haven't found that my Moto phones go obsolete any faster than the iPhones.  My wife has definitely used Moto phones that were 6 or 7 years old (mine is probably 3).  And Moto works great with TMobile, but I'm sure iPhones would too.

If it's a flip phone that doesn't run any applications or have any access to more than your texting, that's fine.  But a modern smartphone, that old, is a rolling security vulnerability waiting for places to happen.

ChpBstrd

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2021, 11:12:29 AM »
Apple's lightning connector was quite a bit better than the micro-USB connectors other phones were using when it launched. Not sure lightning has enough advantage over USB-C connectors to be worthwhile today. I agree that 3.5mm headset jack is still very convinient.

I quit Android phones about 3 years ago when my 2nd or third device had the micro-USB charging port quit making connections. I even paid a cellphone shop to re-solder my Galaxy S3 a couple of times, before giving up. Lightning, OTOH, just works, although the teeny Apple cables seem to fray more easily. I would consider going back to Android if the charging plug issue was fixed by USB-C.

Regarding 3.5mm: we're about to see a lot of high-end headphones hit the yard sale or eBay as people move away from analog. The downside is that it's apparently very hard to make a phone water resistant with such a big hole in it.

Mustachians with older cars / receivers can get a Bluetooth to 3.5mm device for $2.43 - shipped - on eBay. I bought one for the car and one for the stereo receiver and they work great. No more ground loops that's for sure! I haven't seen such a great hack for old hardware since Linux. https://www.ebay.com/itm/114003186760?hash=item1a8b1e9448:g:koEAAOSwd1td6eCN

Syonyk

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2021, 11:24:40 AM »
Lightning, OTOH, just works, although the teeny Apple cables seem to fray more easily.

I've not had issues, and I've got some pretty old Lightning cables.  However, what I haven't had, and don't miss, is the "Well, OK, this microUSB cable works with this device, but not that one, and... that one works fine with everything but this device, and that... I think that one is charging only?" game with microUSB.  I've never had a flakey Lightning cable for any reason beyond "There was a lot of lint in the connector pocket and the cable wasn't fully seating."  They're just boring.

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I would consider going back to Android if the charging plug issue was fixed by USB-C.

I would expect it to be improved over microUSB, yes, though if a USB-C port lints up, it's a lot harder to clean.

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Regarding 3.5mm: we're about to see a lot of high-end headphones hit the yard sale or eBay as people move away from analog. The downside is that it's apparently very hard to make a phone water resistant with such a big hole in it.

Indeed, though the "Lightning to 3.5mm" adapters you can get from Apple are amazing little devices.  Super flat frequency response.  https://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/lightning-adapter-audio-quality.htm

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This tiny Apple device has better performance and more and cleaner output than many fancier "audiophile" devices I've tested. Apple has more resources to make better stuff than the smaller companies. Most 3rd-party headphone amps and DACs, all be they bigger and far more expensive, put out less clean power into 32Ω loads, and do it with more distortion, poorer sound and lousier frequency response.

The car adapters solve the problem nicely too.

Ecky

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2021, 01:06:52 PM »
My partner needed a new phone recently. We were strongly leaning toward a new Moto G, until I saw how cheap a "Refreshed" Pixel 3 and 3a were. For just under $200 you can get a phone with a top notch camera and a powerful processor.

Ultimately we picked the 3a, but here are the factors that we weighed:

Pixel 3 advantages:
-Waterproof
-Faster processor
-Slightly more compact (a perk in my opinion)

Pixel 3a advantages:
-Longer battery life
-Has a headphone jack
-Approximately 1 year newer, meaning longer support time, and the battery is likely less used

Both have a top notch screen and the same excellent camera.

dang1

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2021, 01:13:18 PM »
Its kinda useless for iPhones to have 6 years of support, when generally they slow down noticeably and annoyingly, way before 6 years.

Syonyk

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #27 on: May 05, 2021, 01:53:31 PM »
Its kinda useless for iPhones to have 6 years of support, when generally they slow down noticeably and annoyingly, way before 6 years.

Are you referring to the throttling to prevent shutdowns on older batteries, the general trend of newer applications to get ever-bigger-and-heavier, flash slowdowns, or what, specifically?

I've not found them to be a problem in practice, though I did replace the battery on my 6S a couple years back.  Wrote about it too, it's not a hard process.

dodojojo

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2021, 07:33:11 PM »
If you want to stick with T-Mobile for a couple of years, you can get a Samsung for free.  Click on the red text for phone trade-in and a free A32.

https://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone/samsung-galaxy-a32-5g?sku=610214668905

sonofsven

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Re: New Phone
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2021, 08:22:59 AM »
I bought a Moto G Power last year through Republic Wireless.
Love the phone, battery lasts forrevah.
Republic Wireless is awesome, too. Cell phone bill in the $20's every month.