Author Topic: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!  (Read 2689 times)

Goldielocks

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Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« on: October 17, 2021, 05:17:07 PM »
I haven't seen a thread recently about the best (smartphone) frugal cell phones.   

In the past, I bought Xaomi phones, but open to suggestions.  I am in Canada so need open source phone that works with 4G here.

I would love awesome camera and FM radio (without Wifi / data), smaller phone, good battery.  Those are all "nice to have" but not essential.

Suggestions?

Beardog

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2021, 06:02:52 PM »
I bought two unlocked, brand new, in the box iPhones (original SE and 6s) from eBay a couple years ago.  They were in the $100 - $150 range and each came with a one year warranty.  I've been very happy with both and with the purchase experience from eBay.  The seller guaranteed my satisfaction with my purchase.  These were my first iPhones, and although I'm a hard core frugalista and not a big cell phone fan, I think the iPhone quality is worth it if you buy an older version.  The 6s version continues to be eligible for software upgrades.

dang1

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2021, 09:31:25 AM »
Currently, for around usd $150-200 in ebay, consider a used Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. Bought mine used in early 2019, through ebay, still going strong. I use about 80 GB/mo of data though this phone, no problem. Great camera, battery. It was listed as a Verizon phone, but Verizon phones are unlocked. In a trip to British Columbia, I brought a Verizon-listed phone that had a ATT sim, took out the ATT sim, inserted a SpeakOut sim - worked great.

wow, FM radio (without Wifi / data)- it uses the plugged headphone as the FM antenna. I had a Motorola Moto E 2014 that did that, pretty neat. A friend currently uses a Motorola Moto G Power, has that FM radio feature. Moto isn't as snappy, screen isn't as bright, as my S9+, but it works for him.

Goldielocks

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2021, 02:15:10 PM »
Thanks.  I was worried that older models would not work well in today's tech, but will look into it.

Uturn

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2021, 02:44:17 PM »
I have a Moto G Power, and it makes me a bit homicidal often.  Randomly it will chew through the battery in just hours, normally I can get 2-3 days.  I have not found a pattern to this, such as time since last update or reboot.  About 3-4 times per week, I try to open an app and it opens an app of its choice.  I don't know if it is AT&T or the phone, but as of about 2 months ago I no longer get voicemail notification.  Want off the lock screen?  Meh, it might not feel like it right now, try again in a few minutes.

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2021, 05:27:24 PM »
I buy base model iPhones.  I use them for a year then sell them for almost what I paid for them.  Seems to work well.  A base model Android phone would be going in the electronics recycling bin after a year.

dang1

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2021, 07:50:40 PM »
I have a Moto G Power, and it makes me a bit homicidal often.  Randomly it will chew through the battery in just hours, normally I can get 2-3 days.  I have not found a pattern to this, such as time since last update or reboot.  About 3-4 times per week, I try to open an app and it opens an app of its choice.  I don't know if it is AT&T or the phone, but as of about 2 months ago I no longer get voicemail notification.  Want off the lock screen?  Meh, it might not feel like it right now, try again in a few minutes.
might want to try to do a factory reset

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2021, 01:09:55 AM »
Is Oppo (or vivo or realme) available in Canada? Otherwise midrange Samsung A series or Pixel 5A?

Ultimately if you want an awesome camera it's flagship time. Might be able to get a decent deal on a Samsung S21 or an iPhone 12.

Won't be fully open source, but unless you get an old phone and flash LineageOS or /e/ (or Replicant or one of the mobile Linux distros if you're really dedicated) onto it, they'll all be locked in some way.

sonofsven

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2021, 08:36:45 AM »
I have a Moto G Power, and it makes me a bit homicidal often.  Randomly it will chew through the battery in just hours, normally I can get 2-3 days.  I have not found a pattern to this, such as time since last update or reboot.  About 3-4 times per week, I try to open an app and it opens an app of its choice.  I don't know if it is AT&T or the phone, but as of about 2 months ago I no longer get voicemail notification.  Want off the lock screen?  Meh, it might not feel like it right now, try again in a few minutes.
might want to try to do a factory reset

Just posting to say my Moto G Power doesn't do any of that, thankfully.
I love the long battery life.

Malossi792

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2021, 05:59:12 AM »
Xiaomi has a 'frugal' line now, called Redmi.
I bought the (then) top of the line Redmi some time ago, absolutely would recommend! And I'm into games with higher level graphic processing needs, so if you're not, you absolutely don't need to get the top Redmi either, they make a model with a bigger battery with a telling name, I'd look into that one instead.
Though I still use only about 50% battery capacity, eg. I don't go below 40% and/or don't charge it all the way. As a result (or maybe it's just a very well made battery), it's just like new still, after quite some time & use.

RobertFromTX

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2021, 07:15:12 PM »
I currently have a Pixel2 and the battery is on its last legs. I'm going to attempt to replace it with an ifixit kit, but I'm not optimistic I'll be successful.


The Moto G Power looks like a great option - only $180 on Amazon. I might go that way. Seems just as good as any refurbished Pixel 4 I've seen of comparable price.

Nobody is using a feature phone by chance?

Dee_

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2021, 01:17:26 PM »
I would buy an older high end phone vs. a budget new phone. I've used an S7 for a few years now and I find it quite serviceable - I think it was $80 on Ebay. I even bought a replacement one when I finally bricked the last one with motherboard damage.

In general, the older a phone is the less likely it is to keep up with the software demands. Newer apps tend not to run, and in the worst case you stop getting OS updates and stop being allowed to download apps.


PDXTabs

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2021, 10:28:22 PM »
I buy base model iPhones.  I use them for a year then sell them for almost what I paid for them.  Seems to work well.  A base model Android phone would be going in the electronics recycling bin after a year.

I prefer my Pixel 3a/5a to my iPhone SE. I didn't find my iPhone to be more durable that the Pixel a line.

I really like my Pixel 5a, but it might be out of the price range that Goldielocks is looking for and also lacks an FM tuner. For the price you can't beat the photos.

eostache

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2021, 08:54:34 AM »
I would buy an older high end phone vs. a budget new phone. I've used an S7 for a few years now and I find it quite serviceable - I think it was $80 on Ebay. I even bought a replacement one when I finally bricked the last one with motherboard damage.

In general, the older a phone is the less likely it is to keep up with the software demands. Newer apps tend not to run, and in the worst case you stop getting OS updates and stop being allowed to download apps.

I have an S7 also. I like it a lot for the small size and classic look. It's a refurbished one I got from Tracfone for $80. It still works well. It's now unlocked from Tracfone but I still use Tracfone service. I've been with Tracfone for a long time and through service hacking and deals I have stacked up a lot of service time, enough for years of use (I am a light cell phone user).

I've been accumulating a lot of points in the Tracfone Rewards program and used some to get a free Tracfone IPhone SE. I will probably use it eventually when I move on from the S7.

RobertFromTX

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2021, 06:43:20 PM »
I got the Moto G Power in today. Setup was pretty straightforward as I used my google account backup from my Pixel 2.

The UI seems sluggish, probably a cheaper processor, but its fine.
Camera is nothing spectacular.
Battery life is amazing. Lasts for days.

I would say it is a good value for $180 for a new phone though, and would recommend.

(I'm on Mint Mobile, $15/month annual plan)
« Last Edit: November 11, 2021, 06:28:53 PM by RobertFromTX »

Goldielocks

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2021, 06:16:31 PM »
Thanks everyone, you have definitely given me great suggestions, and I may be able to keep the phone under $200.  I was expecting $400+ range, thinking that older phones would not be updating the new apps and such, but you have proven me wrong.

On the photo side, I find my friends take great photos, so when we share, I can often just choose one of their photos from our hike or whatever to print / save, and leave mine for people  / character shots where a lesser quality doesn't matter as much as the subject.

GodlessCommie

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2021, 10:22:43 AM »
Another vote for refurbished older iPhones on eBay. I am pleasantly surprised to see none of the dreaded planned obsolescence problems. Apps are fast, updates are coming on  a regular basis. All I miss is better cameras that recent models have.

MasterStache

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Re: Need frugal cellphone recommendations please!
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2021, 06:14:18 PM »
Walmart used to carry deals on the original iPhone SE. I scored one for about 60 bucks 3 years or so ago. Still using it to this day. Battery is acting odd though and certainly would be nice to have a better camera and longer battery life. First world problems ( :