Help me pick a new "smart" phone!

21 posts / 0 new
Last post
Unionist
Help me pick a new "smart" phone!

*

Unionist

My old Thomas Edison model just won't cut it any more - so here are my choices (from my current provider):

[url=http://www.virginmobile.ca/en/phones/phones-summary.html]Phones and contracts[/url]

Particulars:

1. Small and thin is good (as in, shirt-pocket size).

2. I won't use it to watch movies etc.

3. Primarily messaging (not SMS - all the kinds that work over wifi) and email.

4. Never used Apple but am not opposed on any religious or other grounds.

5. I'll pay a few dollars, but only for identifiable added value.

6. Do some battery charges last longer than others?

7. Oh, one more... I need free Canada-wide phone - which I think means a "gold" contract or higher.

Your input will be added to that of my Facebook friends. All advice, assistance, taunts, jokes at my expense, etc. are welcome and appreciated!

 

6079_Smith_W

You shouldn't have to pay anything. I think most of them give you a free phone if you get a 3-year term.

Canada wide roaming is normal.If you need to go stateside, or even overseas it isn't that much to put on roaming (U.S.) or texting (elsewhere).

Do you need to have data? That is, use a browser in a place other than where you have wifi? (I went for years without that, and only got it when it was part of a deal I couldn't avoid). If not, then don't bother, and it won't give you enough to watch videos.

I know nothing about batteries and brands. I think if you go online there are comparisons, but I can't help you.

Actually, you probably have the option of supporting a crown corporation if you look hard enough. There are third parties selling Sasktel wireless because it is still the cheapest in the country:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/wireless-black-market-offers-cheap-pla...

 

 

Unionist

Thanks, Smith.

In 2015 I got a $0.00 Galaxy S4 (plus a Costco cash credit! free money!) for a 2-year Virgin Mobile contract, $55/month, Canada-wide free calling and text, 1GB data (more than I need). I gave away the S4 and downgraded to an older phone (long boring story) which increasingly is not supported by apps I want to keep using (FB messenger, WhatsApp, etc.). Hence my quest for a new phone.

So probably, given the number of free options, I'll be looking for advice about "secondary" issues, like size, battery life, etc. Otherwise, I'm assuming that Apple and Android phones are fairly equivalent when it comes to the basic functionality I need. And I have no problem getting an older model of anything.

ETA: I'd love to support a public rather than private option, but it looks complicated from your link. And I'd need an ironclad money-back guarantee in the (inevitable) event of privatization!

6079_Smith_W

It is complicated, and dodgy. I meant it more as a joke. And as a point to those who are pushing that privatization.

Good luck.

 

oldgoat

If your employer is generous enough to provide you with a really good phone with nearly unlimited everything, don't drop it in a sink full of water.   ......twice.   .....in about 6 weeks.    I currently have a Samsung S5 which is so far dry and I'm very pleased with it.  Had a couple of Blackberries and I like the Samsung way better.

Unionist

I still have my original Blackberry 857 (though haven't used it in a number of years)!

Loved that machine... because it had no phone!

Thanks for the advice about the sink and water, oldgoat - wish you'd told me that before.

And I'll have a look at the S5.

Mobo2000

I'd recommend the Sony Xperia.   Very durable, you can get waterproof/shock resistant models, they are larger but not unreasonably so.    Android is far superior to Apple in my view, both in terms of reliability and ease of use.   The maps and voice recognition are better on Android as well.  Apple OS is intuitive and looks nice, but is very locked down and restrictive.   And if you use your phone to store or manage photos or music, you have to use their software.   Android phones can just be plugged into a computer and used like an external hard drive, and you can copy your media on and off in the same way.

I use a Samsung Note 4 now, which is huge but very functional -- I edit spreadsheets on it.   The newest models from Samsung have had screen and durability issues (apart from the whole exploding battery thing).   So I'm leery on getting another one when my contract is up.

Mobo2000

Oh you had mentioned battery life.    Not a lot of difference in that between models, but I will say the newer Samsung batteries, when they don't explode, charge extremely quickly.   If I turn the phone off to charge it, my Note 4 will charge from 0 to 100% in 15 minutes.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I resisted getting a mobile phone for years.  I'd had a Fido "flip phone" back in the late 90's, but after I got sick of paying for something I wasn't really in need of, I didn't replace it.

But now I have this magnificent gadget:  Behold the Acer Liquid Z220.

Is its camera awe-inspiring?  No.

Is its display like seeing the Grand Canyon in HD?  No.

Did it basically cost me $40 at 7-11, do I own it outright and has it ever failed to do what I need of it (be a phone, send texts, browse over Wi-Fi, not catch on fire, support Android apps)?  No.

How's the battery life, you ask?  Good.  When it dips below 20% I plug it in and that fixes it, every time.

Is it small and light?  I guess so.  It's approximately exactly the same size and weight as any other similar phone, which is to say it's about 1/10th of the weight and 1/8th of the size of my first (212Mb) hard drive, but it holds several thousand times more than that, and it can be carried in a regular, un-reinforced pocket.

I don't watch movies on it, but I'm mindful that if I did they'd be in at least twice the resolution of VHS, which was sufficient for me for nearly two decades.

Does it have an FM radio?  You bet!  Free music before free music was cool!

Does it still have a headphone jack?  Yes, it's kind of a techno-progress holdout in that regard.

If I lose it, or step on it, or one day it just won't turn on, will I be devastated?  Nope, not at all.  Perfect phone!

 

Unionist

Thanks!! You folks are great. True babble comrades.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

From an end user freedom perspective, I would choose the Google Nexus devices. 

It's not because I like Google.   I don't.   It's because they're the easiest phones around to get rid of Android and install your own operating system should you ever choose to do so...like CopperheadOS for example.

I would avoid iThings.   The bootloader is locked and it is impossible to install your own OS.

Smartphones aren't "phones" in the traditional sense.   They're really just small form factor computers.  And, if you want to, you should have the freedom to control your computing.   It shouldn't be "forbidden".

Unionist

radiorahim wrote:

From an end user freedom perspective, I would choose the Google Nexus devices.

So... none of the ones that Virgin Mobile is offering me? I'm not stuck with those, or even with Virgin, but it's the path of least resistance.

Quote:
Smartphones aren't "phones" in the traditional sense.   They're really just small form factor computers.  And, if you want to, you should have the freedom to control your computing.   It shouldn't be "forbidden".

I agree. 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Cyanogenmod, a much more commonly used alternative Android OS will run on these devices.

Usually, the Google Nexus devices are sort of the "reference devices" for anyone developing an alternative OS.

Anyway, I look at a computer's politics first Cool

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

babbler:  "Hey, radiorahim, I'm in the market for a decent used car... what do you suggest?  I'm an (occasional) city driver, so I want something that represents good value, has decent fuel efficiency and low emissions.  With a family of five, ample seating and a roomy trunk would be a definite bonus!"

radiorahim:  "You can't go wrong with a 2002 Ford Taurus.  The manifold bolts are very accessible, which comes in handy when you decide to rebore your cylinders.  You'll want to replace the factory windshield wipers, but you can find superior replacements on eBay for a few bucks.  And the hose clamps are held on with plain hex bolts, not proprietary Phillips screws!"

Unionist

Mr. Magoo wrote:

babbler:  "Hey, radiorahim, I'm in the market for a decent used car... what do you suggest?  I'm an (occasional) city driver, so I want something that represents good value, has decent fuel efficiency and low emissions.  With a family of five, ample seating and a roomy trunk would be a definite bonus!"

radiorahim:  "You can't go wrong with a 2002 Ford Taurus.  The manifold bolts are very accessible, which comes in handy when you decide to rebore your cylinders.  You'll want to replace the factory windshield wipers, but you can find superior replacements on eBay for a few bucks.  And the hose clamps are held on with plain hex bolts, not proprietary Phillips screws!"

This is babble hall of fame quality! Thank you for the laugh, Magoo!

cco

Are you looking to unload a (relatively recent, but with physical keyboard) BlackBerry? My wife's provider is ditching CDMA next month, and she's looking for a used phone that has a real keyboard.

Unionist

cco wrote:

Are you looking to unload a (relatively recent, but with physical keyboard) BlackBerry? My wife's provider is ditching CDMA next month, and she's looking for a used phone that has a real keyboard.

Not very "recent" - I've got a 9780. In addition to my 15-year-old 857, of course!

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Be sarcastic if you want Magoo, but the right to repair your car either yourself or via your local mechanic is becoming a serious issue.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has taken on this issue in the U.S.

It's also a problem for farmers who have been facing Digital Restrictions Management when trying to fix their tractors.    A pain in the ass if your tractor breaks down at harvest time.

Keurig even tried DRMing coffee makers.   Fortunately, there was an easy hack to get around that.  

If a corporation says "no you are not allowed to tinker with the stuff you buy from us", either yourself or by paying someone to do the tinkering for you, then that's a problem.

We're into a kind of new techno feudalism, with new feudal overlords looking for nifty new ways to extract "rent" from us.

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Hmmm...maybe that mythical babble car shopper should buy that 2002 Taurus.

Ford Tries to Shut Down Independent Repair Tool with Copyright 

Quote:
At EFF, we think people ought to be able to understand how their devices work and repair them without asking permission of the manufacturer. We also think independent repair companies should to be able to compete with manufacturers in the aftermarket. Simply put, you should be able to fix your stuff or choose someone you trust to do it for you.

The Ford Motor Company, however, takes a different view. It recently sued Autel, a manufacturer of third-party diagnostics for automobiles, for creating a diagnostic tool that includes a list of Ford car parts and their specifications. Ford claims that it owns a copyright on this list of parts, the "FFData file," and thus can keep competitors from including it in their diagnostic tools. It also claims that Autel violated the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by writing a program to defeat the "encryption technology and obfuscation" that Ford used to make the file difficult to read.

cco

Unionist wrote:
cco wrote:

Are you looking to unload a (relatively recent, but with physical keyboard) BlackBerry? My wife's provider is ditching CDMA next month, and she's looking for a used phone that has a real keyboard.

Not very "recent" - I've got a 9780. In addition to my 15-year-old 857, of course!

9780 would do quite nicely. I sent you a private message.