Author Topic: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable  (Read 4161 times)

Kaikou

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Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« on: November 27, 2015, 02:00:39 PM »
Hi,

I am looking to get a smartphone that is 4G or 4g lte and is unlockable or unlocked for under $100. I couldn't find any black Friday deals, trying to get my family member off of republic wireless doom.

Spork

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2015, 02:20:53 PM »
2nd gen Moto E's are in that price range new.  I bought mine unlocked from consumer cellular.  I think I had a "1 month commitment".

This isn't full of bells and whistles.  Basic smart phone.  It has a hand full of annoying bugs... I'm not sure whether to blame Google or Motorola for that.  Most seem to have workarounds.

dang1

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2015, 02:37:21 PM »
bought a verizon prepaid moto e LTE at best buy today for $10

Daley

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2015, 03:34:47 PM »
First question: What network(s) is(are) the LTE coverage for?
Second question: Will they be using an MVNO, and if so, which one?

Kaikou

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2015, 08:58:08 PM »
First question: What network(s) is(are) the LTE coverage for?
Second question: Will they be using an MVNO, and if so, which one?

i'm trying to get them on ting. otherwise probably cricket or tmobile.

Kaikou

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2015, 08:58:57 PM »
bought a verizon prepaid moto e LTE at best buy today for $10

is that unlockable to work with the following networks? ting, tmobile, cricket?

Kaikou

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2015, 09:00:19 PM »
2nd gen Moto E's are in that price range new.  I bought mine unlocked from consumer cellular.  I think I had a "1 month commitment".

This isn't full of bells and whistles.  Basic smart phone.  It has a hand full of annoying bugs... I'm not sure whether to blame Google or Motorola for that.  Most seem to have workarounds.

what kind of bugs? this person isn't a heavy app user, so as long as the apps can deleted or disabled so that it doesn't slow it down?

Kaikou

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2015, 09:01:16 PM »
last years moto x or any old phone.... 4g hasnt changed simce it came out, well sprint 4g died off, but the gsm ones are the same. so if phone came with it supported, it still does. so any old phone would work

an older top tier phone is also specced better than a new low end model as well. if they arent happy with an old phone, they wont be with a sub 100 new phone either...

not in your area, but cant beat something like this
https://kansascity.craigslist.org/mob/5329950126.html
and i bet your area has people just getting rid of old phones as well
 

so how will you know if it can be unlocked?

Jschange

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2015, 09:05:01 PM »
I don't know how to unlock a phone, but my motto e is lovely. It appears to do every imaginable thing, and has survived multiple room throws (not a suggested activity, but bound to happen to my phone)

Left

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2015, 09:47:53 PM »
Quote
so how will you know if it can be unlocked?
because I go to the store and make them verify it is unlocked/clean before I buy it...

If I buy it online, I ask for imei/esn and check it. If it turns out to be reported/locked and it was advertised as unlocked, I just tell amazon/ebay that the listing was dishonest and get my money back...

Or I just unlock it myself. Sometimes it cost $5-10 from 3rd party (I just "build" it into price and consider if I want phone with added price), but carriers can't "lock" phones anymore, so it is mostly calling their help number and getting the unlock code from them

for the past few years however, I just get "broken" phones for cheap, repair them and play with phone. Then I resell it and make around $20-50 profit. Not much, but I like playing with newer phones so I just rotate fixing them every few months when something new comes out.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2015, 09:49:27 PM by eyem »

Daley

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2015, 11:33:55 PM »
i'm trying to get them on ting. otherwise probably cricket or tmobile.

By Ting, I trust you mean Ting GSM (T-Mobile) and not Ting CDMA (Sprint)? Cricket is AT&T.

I ask, because every network has it's own specific LTE bands, and it can be a bit of a mess. Also, if you're going with an MVNO, LTE access for data speeds aren't really going to matter as you're going to find the data on nearly all MVNOs will usually be throttled down to around 8Mbps or slower, which is firmly in the UMTS/HSPA+ 3G GSM spec. So for speed purposes, LTE support isn't really going to matter, excuse perhaps a slim extra bit of network coverage and a bit of reduced network data latency.

From another recent "what phone should I buy" thread as the info is relevant even if it targets a higher-end market:

First, I'm going to mention that the Droid DNA battery is replaceable, just not easily... though, it's not for the faint of heart and technically handicapped. Manufacturers want you to pay big bucks to replace batteries or buy new phones instead of replacing your own battery. It's just another form of planned obsolescence.

Second, I would definitely recommend staying away from the Moto E/G/X line for many of these reasons now, especially due to battery life and the difficulty to self-replace for most folks. I had hoped for better from their batteries, but time has only reinforced my pessimism. Used should be perfectly fine if the phone's been well cared for or refurbished, and it's a model with a user replaceable battery.

If you want a "good" camera (which is pretty subjective from a smartphone standpoint), you need to stick with high-end "flagship" phone models, or the big expensive name brands that get advertised on TV - Samsung Galaxy, HTC One, etc... except most of those don't have user replaceable batteries.

Now, regarding the carriers mentioned... I'm guessing you're thinking of switching to Ting GSM (T-Mobile) and not Ting CDMA (Sprint), correct? The following bit of advice will be tailored to that point.

Key AT&T network service bands:
850MHz CLR (band 5) & 1900MHz PCS (band 2) 2G GSM bands (end of life January 2017, already offline in many parts of the country)
850MHz CLR (band 5) & 1900MHz PCS (band 2) 3G UMTS/HSPA+/WCDMA bands
850MHz CLR (band 5), 1900MHz PCS (band 2) & 1700/2100MHz AWS (band 4) 4G LTE bands (secondary LTE bands for non-700MHz LTE markets)

Key T-Mobile network service bands:
1900MHz PCS (band 2) 2G GSM band (limited coverage in most markets)
1900MHz PCS (band 2) & 1700/2100MHz AWS (band 4) 3G UMTS/HSPA+/WCDMA bands (3G AWS bands are being taken offline in all markets to be refarmed to 4G LTE use in 2015/2016)
1900MHz PCS (band 2) & 1700/2100MHz AWS (band 4) 4G LTE bands (LTE bands are actively being built out and replacing all connectivity on the 3G AWS bands)

Why share with you all this information? So you know what to check for to get the right band support for both AT&T and T-Mobile MVNOs. It gets really messy and complicated getting into high speed data and the 700MHz LTE spectrum between providers, so we'll focus on the most important baseline to work with to ensure reliable phone reception and decent data speeds with both networks: 850MHz and 1900MHz UMTS/HSPA+/WCDMA (3G GSM). (This last part in bold right here is really the only major thing you need to remember from all those bands, numbers and abbreviations.) Most all carrier unlocked AT&T branded phones will work well, as will most carrier unlocked T-Mobile branded phones manufactured 2013 and newer, but it never hurts to know the specific bands to aim for as well.

Now, here are the two phone finder tools that I know of that tells you if the battery is user removable, or lets you search by that criteria:
http://www.phonescoop.com/phones/finder.php
http://www.phonearena.com/phones/full

Make sure to use the advanced search tool with both, but don't feel obligated to check everything off. Just look for the features that matter most, and either select the AT&T and T-Mobile carrier options or specify the key service bands mentioned above. Phone Scoop lets you search by user replaceable battery, but does not have a granular band search tool. Phone Arena has a granular band search tool, but only lets you search for "non-user replaceable" batteries, so you have to leave that option deselected and check the overview to see if you can replace the battery or not.

Speaking of, since Gadfly mentioned the Nexus 5, its battery is not easily user replaceable.

As for future support, make sure the phone can at least run Android 4.x for the sake of security updates.

Why teach you how to find a phone on your own instead of just recommending one or two? You know exactly what you want, we don't. Also, self sufficiency is useful. Heap on the fact that user-replaceable batteries are becoming more rare, it's best to just show you how to find weird exotic combinations of features in a smartphones on your own.

To nutshell it a bit, as long as the phone supports bands 5 (850MHz), 2 (1900MHz), and 4 (1700/2100MHz) on the 3G end, you're pretty much golden as LTE support on any of those same bands is just gravy. If you're looking for a cheap smartphone specifically, look into Blu - all their handsets are carrier unlocked from factory. Any of these should work, but not all of them will be under $100. The best bang for the buck will probably be the Studio G LTE right at $100, but I'm unsure if the battery can be removed.

If you don't mess with Band 4 AWS (1700/2100MHz) 3G support (T-Mobile), your options open up a bit more. Anything used/refurbished that fits the band requirements would be plenty nice as well, and more conservationist friendly. Any AT&T branded smartphone made at any point or any T-Mobile branded smartphone made after 2013 so long as they support Android 4.0 or higher and is carrier unlocked should work.

Maybe consider a Nokia Lumia 520/521/530/620/630/635 as well (or any Windows Phone running 8.1 or higher) as they're plenty cheap (even carrier unlocked), and though the application diversity isn't as rich as Android, Windows Phone is beginning to get a reputation for being the least terrible smartphone UI of the big three.

As for MVNOs, if you're considering Cricket... their customer support isn't great because you're dealing with AT&T. If you're willing to consider them though, it might be worth noting that H2O Wireless (support is a bit better, but they're still no Airvoice or P'tel) has the same coverage (AT&T), and though they don't provide as much data with their plans, they do have "unlimited" talk and text with 100MB of data starting at $20/month through their EasyGo brand with $10/GB non-expiring data add-ons and H2O Wireless itself offers high speed data rollover for unused high speed data up to 10GB on all their "unlimited" plans, and 128kbps "unlimited" throttled data over the allotment on their $35 and up plans. Not as great a deal on the higher ends, but they can break the $35/month or less barrier and still include a fair bit of data which Cricket can't do.

If you're willing to go T-Mobile without roaming, then consider P'tel as well. Similar price points as are applicable to H2O, but with much better customer support and more data for the money.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2015, 11:57:58 PM by I.P. Daley »

Spork

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2015, 07:57:52 AM »
2nd gen Moto E's are in that price range new.  I bought mine unlocked from consumer cellular.  I think I had a "1 month commitment".

This isn't full of bells and whistles.  Basic smart phone.  It has a hand full of annoying bugs... I'm not sure whether to blame Google or Motorola for that.  Most seem to have workarounds.

what kind of bugs? this person isn't a heavy app user, so as long as the apps can deleted or disabled so that it doesn't slow it down?

I'm not going to remember them all.  I'm old. ;)   As I found work-arounds they became non-issues.  But apart from stagefright -- which was a real issue (though difficult to exploit in the real world), what I remember is this:
* Stock messaging app doesn't know how to send MMS messages when it is connected to wifi.  This bug was there when I got the phone 6 months ago.  It got fixed.  A few months later, it came back.  You can work around it by replacing the messaging app with a 3rd party app or by doing some fancy scripting with something like Tasker.  If you google around for the bug, it appears to have showed up and disappeared multiple times.
* Google Now reminders stopped working.  This also got fixed.  But when you look at the history, it's another one that seems to occur over and over.  I had this worked around with Tasker as well, but it seemed to resolve itself for now.
* Google Now location reminders have never ever worked for me.  Things like "remind me to take out the trash when I get home" ... are never going to remind you.

My irritation is that most of the bugs I see have been around for ages and just keep getting fixed... and then rebreaking.  It feels like someone (google?  Moto?) is pulling code from the wrong repositories.

kpd905

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2015, 08:03:52 AM »
+1 to the Moto E.  I bought mine for $40 to use on Ting.  I just bought another one 2 days ago for $9.99 on Bestbuy.com.  Figured having a backup for $10 is pretty good insurance.

Daley

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2015, 08:21:03 AM »
My irritation is that most of the bugs I see have been around for ages and just keep getting fixed... and then rebreaking.  It feels like someone (google?  Moto?) is pulling code from the wrong repositories.

This is one of the many things that as smartphones become cheaper and more prevalent, has continued to further disenfranchise me towards all smartphones in general. It's no secret the love lacking between me and Apple, and it's not just price point there with me, the UI is terrible as well. Android's been no model platform here lately, either, and seems to be getting worse. If anything, iOS and Android seem to be recursively feeding the terrible UI and hardware design choices between each other into some grotesque race to the bottom... but people want SMARTYPHONES and they LURVE the Googleplex in all its alphabety omni-ppression!

My soul ached when Stephen Elop tanked Nokia and sold it out to Microsoft. My heart was rended when Symbian was put out to pasture. Yet now, the more I dig, the more I research, the more I mess with the things... Windows Phone is starting to reveal itself to be one of the least terrible smartphone platforms available - not that the competition has set that bar very high, and it makes my head hurt to admit it. Windows 8 may be a hot mess on the desktop with 10 being a bit less so and say what you will about the wonky non-standard push notification system, plus it feels surreal to say this as a long seasoned *nix beard, but Windows Phone isn't terrible and it's grudgingly beginning to earn my respect.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go scrub myself with bleach.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2015, 08:30:16 AM by I.P. Daley »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2015, 08:31:56 AM »
I got my wife a Windows Phone (Lumia 635) for $55 on sale after her keyboard Nokia Asha went for a midnight swim at the beach.

It's too soon to speak of the build quality, but I am amazed at how smoothly the thing runs for the price. If you don't care about the latest apps, entry-level to mid-range Windows Phone are worth investigating.

Spork

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2015, 08:58:44 AM »

This is one of the many things that as smartphones become cheaper and more prevalent, has continued to further disenfranchise me towards all smartphones in general. It's no secret the love lacking between me and Apple, and it's not just price point there with me, the UI is terrible as well. Android's been no model platform here lately, either, and seems to be getting worse. If anything, iOS and Android seem to be recursively feeding the terrible UI and hardware design choices between each other into some grotesque race to the bottom... but people want SMARTYPHONES and they LURVE the Googleplex in all its alphabety omni-ppression!

My soul ached when Stephen Elop tanked Nokia and sold it out to Microsoft. My heart was rended when Symbian was put out to pasture. Yet now, the more I dig, the more I research, the more I mess with the things... Windows Phone is starting to reveal itself to be one of the least terrible smartphone platforms available - not that the competition has set that bar very high, and it makes my head hurt to admit it. Windows 8 may be a hot mess on the desktop with 10 being a bit less so and say what you will about the wonky non-standard push notification system, plus it feels surreal to say this as a long seasoned *nix beard, but Windows Phone isn't terrible and it's grudgingly beginning to earn my respect.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go scrub myself with bleach.

In so many ways, we are partly built with the same molds.  I share a lot of the sentiment above.  I'd love to see one of the more traditional linux distros gain traction and become viable.  Ubuntu seems like it has possibilities, but we shall see.   

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2015, 09:22:43 AM »
I got a used Samsung Galaxy S3 from Glyde to use with Ting. I got "Good" condition for right around $100 and have been very happy with it. (The few scratches to the phone's case are covered up by the protective case.) I think it's nice to have a very popular phone, because you get more Android updates and whatnot.

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2015, 09:57:13 AM »
I bought a BLU Windows HD LTE phone that was refurbished from Amazon for $109. It is a Windows 8.1 upgradeable to Windows 10. It has a large screen, but they have a smaller version priced under $100.

I like the phone a lot, but am still getting used to it versus the iPhone I have used for a long time for work. It does everything that the iPhone does, just differently.

I have Airvoice Wireless as a service provider.

Kaikou

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Re: Phone suggestions?? 4G/4G LTE unlockable
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2015, 12:02:03 PM »
thanks everyone for the input