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Thread: Smart Phone Choices

  1. #1
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    Smart Phone Choices

    Loving bride and I have never had smart phones, we have a Samsung flip phone with a prepaid plan, we're shopping for smart phone choices and plans.

    Really don't know what we need or want for a phone. Seems Apple owners love them and hate Android and vice versa with Android owners.

    Looking to tap the wisdom banks here. What are the good points of each and the downfalls of each?

    I use an Apple iphone 7 at work so I'm somewhat familiar with it's operation. I like the home button and have heard coworkers talk how they don't like the newer iphones w/out the home button. I've heard scuttlebutt about Android not supporting updates as well as Apple. Any truth to that? I'm not interested in buying a new phone every few years. Heard scuttlebutt about Apple slowing down service on older phones. Any truth there?

    The quality of the camera doesn't play much in our decisions either, not that it won't get used, just not the major selling point.

    Anyway just looking for some advice without starting a Sawstop or sharpening war.
    Confidence: The feeling you experience before you fully understand the situation

  2. #2
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    I’ve had several iphones, no real complaints. I have an 11pro now, great camera. No home button to go bad, just swipe up at the bottom for home or swipe up slowly to scroll through all your open apps. The sound is way better too. Also like the screen shot that some older ones don’t have. Get Consumer Cellular too, they market to the older crowd but it’s plenty good for anyone.

  3. #3
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    Going from a flip phone to a smart phone, you may be shocked by the prices you'll see for service. I don't use my smart phone for entertainment, so I get by with a limited data plan that allows unlimited talk and text with a 1 gigabyte data plan with rollover of unused data from the previous month. I rarely use more than 30% even when traveling.
    Lee Schierer
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  4. #4
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    Seems the key decision to start with is whether you want Apple or Google all up in your business? Seems to me Apple has been a little more autocratic, but respected privacy (sometimes, a lot) more. Google is less protective of your rights and, for better or worse, the market is more fragmented. (E.g. Samsung has made many changes to the base Android.)

    If neither of the camps is disqualified, the next thing to consider is that Apple doesn't seem to support the low-end market. This is how my wife & I fell into the Android camp.

    For a capable, but not ridiculously top-end, phone we have both been very happy with the Moto G's. Motorola makes higher end phones and a lower Moto E line, though that doesn't show up in the US much, but we get ample capability for amounts we find reasonable with the Moto G phones. My wife has a Moto G5S-plus she got on sale for ~$150 a couple years ago that she's happy with. She's an ap monster and has it running almost everything. The camera is adequate for text messages & Facebook type photos, we're not doing professional work. I recently retired a 7 year old Moto G (original), that was too old support new aps, for a Moto G7 Play for about $125. It does more than I need honestly. As far as updates, we get them regularly with these unlocked Motorola phones. (Google keeps base Android up-to-date. It's manufacturers and carriers that don't always propagate the updates.)

    Since our phones are unlocked, we can pick a carrier independent of their phone offerings. We are happy with T-Mobile, I first went with them because I appreciated the lack of lock-in in their contracts. Since we've discovered they are wonderful to travel with. Every time we've crossed a border we've gotten a text message welcoming us and relaying the local access, usually free text messages and 2G data. That's not great, but enough for our needs between WiFi Hotspots, with no extra hassle.

    All that said we have an adult daughter who signed up for Google Phi (or whatever it's called today) and loves it. You have to have a Google phone and the plans are (were) all individual, but she's had connectivity everywhere she's tried and is very happy with coverage and cost.

  5. #5
    My family is iPhone-only because of the privacy issues. That said, the prices of these things have gotten ridiculous. A thousand bucks for a phone? See if you can find a used one. Iím still on a 6. FWIW, the last great iOS was 6, then things went blooey.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Bruette View Post
    (snip) Heard scuttlebutt about Apple slowing down service on older phones. Any truth there? (snip)
    Apple added a "feature" to their software to lower performance (essentially slow the phone down) when the phones battery started to degrade, as they all do after several years of use. Slowing the phone down extended run time between charges. Where they went wrong was presuming people would prefer longer run time to speed. A rather vocal group claimed Apple was slowing the phones down to "encourage" people to upgrade. I doubt there is any way to know what the true motivation was, not that it matters in these times of emotion based decision making! Anyway, I believe Apple has backed out the change.

    I have an Iphone 5s that is going on maybe 5 years old at this point. Still works fine, but I do have to charge the battery every day, sometimes more often if I'm using bluetooth a lot. Back when it was new I only had to charge it every 4 or 5 days. I'll probably replace it with an Iphone 8SE soon.

    I've never had or used a android phone, so can't really weigh in on that; I just know that if I need a particular app for something, an IOS version will be available.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  7. #7
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    I went with the Apple 2nd generation SE (2020). It is reasonably priced, (as these things go) fast, and powerful. The big draw for me was the smaller size. I have no desire to carry around a tablet sized phone in my pocket.
    Last edited by Bruce Page; 12-20-2020 at 9:43 PM. Reason: Added 2020 for clarity
    Please help support the Creek.

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  8. #8
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    Here is the main info from this article:
    Avoid These iPhones!

    Apple iPhone 1-8, iPhone X, iPhone SE (2016)
    The iPhone X, 8, 7, 6S, SE (2016), and every older iPhone that came before them are probably available somewhere, but you shouldn't take the bait. They don't have the processing power to keep up with the latest software, and even if they do, they may stop getting updates soon. If you can find them, the iPhone XS or XS Max are worth considering, but only for less than $400.

    https://www.wired.com/gallery/iphone-buying-guide/

  9. #9
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    Like Bruce, I have the iPhone SE (2020) and like it because of its smaller size and fewer complicated features that I dont use. My previous phone (iPhone SE 2016) needed a new battery and I couldn't update the OS and some of my most used apps because of limited storage. So, yes, sooner or later they stop supporting the phones and you run out of space for upgrades. But I think that's true of all of them. I would cough up for more memory than the basic, however.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce King View Post
    Here is the main info from this article:
    Avoid These iPhones!

    Apple iPhone 1-8, iPhone X, iPhone SE (2016)
    The iPhone X, 8, 7, 6S, SE (2016), and every older iPhone that came before them are probably available somewhere, but you shouldn't take the bait. They don't have the processing power to keep up with the latest software, and even if they do, they may stop getting updates soon. If you can find them, the iPhone XS or XS Max are worth considering, but only for less than $400.

    https://www.wired.com/gallery/iphone-buying-guide/
    My iPhone 6 processes things just fine. A new battery is only 80 bucks at the Apple Store, probably less elsewhere. Iím not suggesting that anyone get something that old, because it will be relatively inefficient at Bitcoin mining. FWIW it still runs the latest iOS 12 (blecchh). I donít know of any apps that would tax it that arenít incredibly badly designed, or Bitcoin mining nowadays.

  11. #11
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    I see you said you are on prepaid plan.
    I have a LG Stylo 4 that I got through HSN with the Tracfone prepaid card as I don't use much time. I bought it for less then just the card from them and get a new one every year. I have had the Stylo for 3 years now and when my time is up I just get the cheapest one that QVC or HSN has with the 1500 minutes. I get 1500 talk 1500 text and 1.5 GB of data with a phone for about $70.00. I just use the minutes to add to my better phone.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Calow View Post
    Like Bruce, I have the iPhone SE (2020) and like it because of its smaller size and fewer complicated features that I dont use. My previous phone (iPhone SE 2016) needed a new battery and I couldn't update the OS and some of my most used apps because of limited storage. So, yes, sooner or later they stop supporting the phones and you run out of space for upgrades. But I think that's true of all of them. I would cough up for more memory than the basic, however.
    Thatís the problem with the older phones, lack of memory. OTOH, the newer phones donít have headphone jacks, you have to use a donkey to plug into them, or else start wearing earrings.

  13. #13
    I would recommend getting the phone that most of your inner-circle of family, friends, and neighbors are using - - especially if these users are to be your 1st line of tech support and guidance for which apps you simply 'must have'! Having the iPhn for work, resulting familiarity, and the IT department to support it, probably pushes you in Apple's direction, but consider what happens if work IT is removed from the picture.

    I've been down this road with a parent and being able to remotely walk them thru the exact process to accomplish something is a big plus.

  14. #14
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    We got into Tracfone 10 years ago and it ain't perfect but it ain't bad, especially for the $5-6 per month each it's cost us including both phones and service. We've each bought new phones 2-3 times. Hers was about $100 3 years ago, mine was about $150 last year. With package deals from QVC or HSN, each came with a year of service included.

    Tracfone wants you to sign up for monthly service which costs more although still less than most, but if you don't use it a lot the prepaid is fine. You can always add more time if you're running low.

  15. #15
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    iPhone is "most consistent" over time because there's only one hardware source. iPhones that date back quite a few generations can run the current code. If that's what you're used to, it's worthy of consideration. And the "home button" thing reserves really quickly. It's easy and only a very few things are difference. It took Professor Dr. SWMBO just a few minutes to get comfortable with it...no different than I and I have a multi-decade professional level of experience with tech. It's true that there was an incident where Apple slowed the processing some older phones for the reason of helping to maintain battery life as the OS became more complex and the batteries aged. I don't believe their intention was nefarious, but it still met with a lot of rancor and some legal issues. I don't think that will occur again for sure... iOS is more secure relative to third party applications because without jumping through major hoops ("jailbreaking" which is inherently difficult anymore) one can only get apps from the official Apple App Store.

    Android is a good OS and many Android devices are, um...attractively priced. Android was derived from the Linux world. But about the only way to get "pure" Android is to buy a Google Pixel series device. All the other manufacturers tend to customize it and then the carriers get involved, too. That's the reason it's so hard to update beyond a certain time period along with the challenges of inconsistent hardware. Those differences can include user interface things. Android apps from the official Google Play store "usually" are pretty secure, but there are various ways to load apps from non-official sources which is where most security issues happen with Android OS devices.

    There is a level of "religion" involved with some folks in either direction as you note. I'm certainly not fanatical about it, but I've been Apple from the start and because I'm invested in the ecosystem, I can move seamlessly between my iphone, ipad and MacOS computers for things like messaging, mail, browsing, etc., and I take advantage of that. Professor Dr SMWBO uses iDevices but remains on Windows at the desktop, so there's a little less integration. Younger daughter is all Apple. Older daughter is IDevices and Windows but doesn't want/need the integration for reasons I'll not go into here. I've played with some Android devices, but for me, there would be no compelling reason to add any to my world because what I've been using for a very long time "just works".

    BTW, don't underestimate the usefulness of the smartphone cameras, however...even if you don't want to become one of the next paparazzi, being able to take decent photos wherever you are can be very handy.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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