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 Post subject: _Old_ smartphone recs
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 4:07 pm 
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Mountain Man
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Hello to my favorite nerds. For financial reasons, we decided to jettison our old provider and take up with Ting, a "pay for what you use" network. As much as I would like a latest-and-greatest phone, I'm looking to just get something old, cheap, and functional (not in that order) to use on their network, which uses both Sprint and T-Mobile. I'm done with Sprint - that's what our old MVNO used, and I'm thinking that a GSM phone from T-Mobile will be better.

Anyway, my budget is about $100; they sell phones on their website, but they also pointed me in the direction of Glyde.com, which sells old phones. I seem to remember someone (Taly?) very much liking the HTC One. I'm also thinking about a Windows phone, maybe the HTC Windows 8 Phone, The Lumia phones look nice, but seem to be lacking something ergonomically. And now that I do a bit of searching, I see that a lot of folks here have the HTC One; Lenas even ditched the Windows phone for one of these, right?

So, I guess my question is - HTC One, or a Windows phone? I was looking at a really beat-up Moto X for $95, too, but it's hard to tell which generation it is on the site. Same with a Moto G for a little less. Any other ideas, given my budget? Thanks!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:53 pm 
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Probably the most important thing to consider with older smartphones is their upgradeability.

Personally, I wouldn't consider an older Windows phone (at least not one that doesn't have an upgrade path to Windows 10). App availability isn't great already, and Windows 8 phones will deprecate fairly quickly.

Security is also a concern (lack of security updates) for older phones. This would apply to any device.

Another thing to consider on an older phone is the battery. Phone batteries are notoriously short lived in terms of their ability to hold a charge. Having a replaceable battery is a pretty important feature.

It's difficult to recommend a specific model, as there are so many. Generally speaking the Nexus phones were pretty good. Most of the top of the lines Samsungs were pretty good too. My sister still loves her Galaxy SIII (I'll apparently pry it from her cold dead hands).


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:23 am 
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Very cool, thanks. Good advice. Yeah, I was wondering about the battery - many of these phones don't have replaceable batteries.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:27 am 
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I never had an HTC phone, so it wasn't me.

I'm pretty much dead set on Nexus models, these days. I cannot tolerate the image tinkering that other manufacturers do.

If you can find an oldschool LG Nexus 5, that'd probably be my preference. (though you'd probably have to pay a repair guy a few bucks to put a new battery in it, it's not user replaceable.) On the other hand, they're not uncommon. I've seen them brand new in a local Walmart for about $100.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:36 pm 
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Very interesting, Taly, thanks. I will look into that. I will also have to look into how much a new battery for that or for the HTC would cost, as I never really thought of that. It must have been thinking of someone else who had the HTC.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:05 pm 
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I dunno what your budget is, but you can get a brand new (and still fairly current) 32gb Nexus 6 (not the slightly newer 6P mind you) for $249 at Amazon right now. I think I saw the Nexus 5X for $379, which is the latest gen Nexus phone (and a slightly more comfortable form factor).

Nexus 6 at Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Motorola-Unlocked ... ds=nexus+6

Nexus 5X at Google Play
https://store.google.com/product/nexus_5x


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:16 pm 
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If you decide that a Windows phone is something you can bring yourself to use, you could do what I did: get an AT&T Lumia 640 from Microsoft for $60 and get it unlocked so you can use it with your own carrier.

It's about as cheap a price as I've ever seen on a smartphone and while it's at the lower end, spec-wise, it's on the list of phones slated to get the upgrade to 10 when it's released.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:50 am 
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Ah, that's a nice tip, Shel, thank you. I've had Blackberrys, and now Androids for the last three years or so. So, yeah, why not a Windows phone?! My daughter will probably end up with an iPhone, so I'll be exposed to everything, eventually.

And that fits with my budget, which is about $100. That's why I was looking at the old phones. If it was just me, I'd go higher, but all three of us - me, wife, kid - all need new phones, and that can get pretty steep very quickly.

Edit: OK, you rock, Shel. This phone is looking better and better for me. I'm not an app or games guy, so a poor selection of apps isn't a big deal for me. Plus, this has a replaceable battery and an external storage slot. For $60, I'm not sure I can go wrong, so long as it works on Ting's network. It looks like T-Mobile uses 1700 and 2100 MHz as primary bands, and 1900 as a secondary, but this phone only has the 1900. Not sure how that will work, but I will check with Ting and find out. And it has FM radio!

Maybe I can get one and wow my daughter with it, keep her out of the Apple fold. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:55 pm 
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I wouldn't go back to Windows phone but it does sound best for your needs. My old Lumia 920 still is the standard to which I judge all other smart phone night-mode photos.

Your daughter will hate it because she wont be able to do anything her friends are using their smartphones for. Save yourself the headache.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:23 am 
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Oh, she's already rolled her eyes at me when I suggested a 5s instead of a 6.

Unfortunately, the 640 doesn't have a high-end camera. But I'm pretty sure that whatever I get will be eons beyond what I'm using now.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:53 am 
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OK, here's a question: I've never had 4G on a phone. Is it worth getting? The $60 phones only will get 2G on the Ting network, as far as I can tell. There are T-Mobile versions of the phone but they're hard to find and more expensive.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:19 am 
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Data speeds on 2G are pretty pathetic -- to the point of seriously handicapping the user experience to use core apps like mapping and search, and any kind of media streaming is simply out of the question.

Whether that is unacceptable to you is in your court. It can be mitigated if you primarily use such services at locations in which you have trusted WiFi sources available, such as work and home...

But my inability to get anything higher than 2G on my T-Mobile provider until I'd already driven ten minutes south, and the impact that had on trying to get GPS directions going after leaving the house, is what eventually drove me off T-Mobile.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:40 pm 
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Not having at least 3g would defeat the point of a smart phone for me, unless you are able to be on a WiFi network there majority of the time.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 7:59 pm 
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Got it, thanks. I played with a friend's S5 with 4G today, and it was pretty frickin' sweet, I must say. I'm thinking/hoping we have pretty good coverage here in LA. My old phone says it's 3G, but I have my doubts.

So, I'll be looking specifically for a T-Mobile version of this phone, I guess. Again, thanks for the help, folks.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:33 pm 
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FWIW : the Lumia 640 displays "LTE" instead of "xG", so I Wiki'd it and found out that it's comparable to 4G in terms of speed. The distinction between the two got really technical, so I kinda gave up trying to make sense of it.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:49 pm 
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If you want to go the used iPhone route...

I'm very happy with my 3GS (and the battery still gives me about 2 days). And you can pick up the 4S pretty consistently around $100 used (or cheaper).

It's not a blazing fast device by any means, but they're solid phones depending on who used them before you did.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:58 pm 
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NephyrS wrote:
If you want to go the used iPhone route...

I'm very happy with my 3GS (and the battery still gives me about 2 days). And you can pick up the 4S pretty consistently around $100 used (or cheaper).

It's not a blazing fast device by any means, but they're solid phones depending on who used them before you did.


Yeah, I'm leaning toward old used. I still have two more phones to buy. Maybe I can get a 4S for my daughter with the promise of an earlier upgrade in the future.

Shelgeyr wrote:
FWIW : the Lumia 640 displays "LTE" instead of "xG", so I Wiki'd it and found out that it's comparable to 4G in terms of speed. The distinction between the two got really technical, so I kinda gave up trying to make sense of it.

Thanks! I just recently figured this out! Oonce I started really looking into it, I realize that they don't use the same GSM bands that are listed on Ting, but the LTE, yeah. I should have just picked one of the AT&T Go phones, but got one online instead. It's a MetroPCS phone, so maybe it will have less bloatware. The only other difference, I think, is that the AT&T phone won't do wi-fi calling, but I think this one will, since it's basically a T-Mobile phone.

I'm kind of excited, this will be the first new phone I've had in years. Been using my wife's hand-me-downs for a while. Coming today, hopefully, along with the SIM card.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:00 pm 
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New phone arrived yesterday. Still waiting for the SIM card, but, using it on my home Ei-Fi, jeez, I'm liking this thing already. Even better, it was the first thing my daughter picked up to look at this morning. Hehehe. (Although she did kind of roll her eyes last night when I suggested something other than an iPhone. Wow, I just typo'd that to "iPhobe." I think that describes me.)

Anyway, for $60, it's prety nice. I told my wife that even if it didn't work as a phone I'd keep it just to have something to look at recipes in the kitchen, since our laptop is rapidly becoming unfunctional.

But now I see the apps drawback; while there are loads of games, yes, the two that I have on my old phone aren't there. A version of Go, and Sheepshead (a card game from the Midwest that maybe one or two of you have heard of!). I'm sure if I was just a bit more conventional, I could find something eat up my storage space.

But other than that, so far, so good. thanks to all of you for the help and especially Shel for the rec on this phone. My wife is thinking of going this route, too.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:57 pm 
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Unfortunately...

Windows Phone is Dead


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 9:40 pm 
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Heh, that's me, hearse-jumper!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2016 5:01 pm 
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"Dead" implies the platform was, at some point in time, "alive". Given how few developers have decided to throw it a bone, I'd say that's kind of a stretch. And as long as there are still units being manufactured/distributed, I'll keep buying them when I find myself in need of a replacement. I believe the OS functionality is superior, and can in fact find apps for just about everything I want my phone to do. Off the top of my head, I can't recall the last time I found myself saying "damn, there's no app for that on *my* phone".

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:14 pm 
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Continuum does sound cool, mind you. And it would have a massive app base...

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:06 am 
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Just an update if anyone needs a spare phone - Best Buy is selling the Lumia 640 for $30. My wife decided that she needed a new phone, too, so we picked one up for her. I bought an extra one just to unlock it and have it around the house. Haven't done the Win10 update yet, although I heard that it's rolling out, and there's an app that will let you know if/when it's ready, etc.

Still liking the phone, I have to say.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:52 pm 
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Another update, since I had to come back here to refresh my memory. I'm embarking on a career as a minimum-wage livery driver (Uber, Lyft, Postmates, and whateer other serivce I can find to sign up with) - and NONE of them have a Windows app for drivers. (As it is, only Uber has a Windows rider app. Got my hopes up that they would have one for drivers, but, no.)

So, after six months with my Windows phone, here are the things I can't do with it:

No MLB apps. And, videos do not work on the MLB site, either.

Rideshare apps, as mentioned above.

Snapchat (not that I ever would use it, really)

Google Maps links from email or mobile sites. Sit there and hangs for three minutes while loading the map, then says, "Oh, no, sorry, your phone doesn't support that."

Punctuation in speech recognition. Apple and Android do, from what I can tell.

And there have been other things, but the deal breaker is the rideshare driver apps. Guess I'll go look for a Nexus or an HTC so I can drive around with a big "U" on my windshield.

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