4G Android phone megathread

Corsi

isn't shy about blowing his wad early
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 3, 2010
12,955
Boston, MA
How'd you get them to move your upgrade date up?


I used their online chat feature and gave them some sob story about how my current phone was unusable and that I was going on a trip soon and wanted a new phone to help me navigate the city. It took a few tries before I found a rep willing to help me out.
 

Fishercat

Svelte and sexy!
SoSH Member
May 18, 2007
8,174
Manchester, N.H.
OK, I'm finally upgrading from the ultra-low end Smartphone to solid middle class Smartphone (I'm still in no-contract land, and they're finally putting the S3 Galaxy in my price point area).

Considering my current Smartphone can hold about six useful apps, I've been out of the useful/essential Apps game for a while. What are the essential killer Android apps I should be looking for when it comes in. I've only really used Spotify/Tweetcaster/Dolphin Browser/Google Maps-Navigation and the native Gmail app.

So, what have I been missing out on (other than 2012 and 2013)?
 

Seven Costanza

Fred Astaire of SoSH
SoSH Member
Apr 11, 2007
3,014
If you're buying off contract, I'd take a good look at the phone mentioned in the post before yours versus the S3. 
 

Fishercat

Svelte and sexy!
SoSH Member
May 18, 2007
8,174
Manchester, N.H.
Seems like it's, spec wise, behind the S3 with the exception of having an updated Android (Jelly Bean), being 60 bucks cheaper (I was able to buy the S3 at 260 on VM's network, but returning it should be simple if I go in another direction), and allowing me to jump to T-Mobile (which most people say is the best prepaid option). Am I wrong in that? Looks like a pretty nice phone though all things considered.
 
(Also worth noting the Moto G is 3G only, but I doubt 4G has much relevance for me anyway)
 

milfordsoxfan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 26, 2006
516
Connecticut
Fishercat said:
Seems like it's, spec wise, behind the S3 with the exception of having an updated Android (Jelly Bean), being 60 bucks cheaper (I was able to buy the S3 at 260 on VM's network, but returning it should be simple if I go in another direction), and allowing me to jump to T-Mobile (which most people say is the best prepaid option). Am I wrong in that? Looks like a pretty nice phone though all things considered.
 
(Also worth noting the Moto G is 3G only, but I doubt 4G has much relevance for me anyway)
 
If 4G isn't relevant to you, I think it is well worth your time to at least check out the Moto G.  I have a Moto X, which I believe to be a more powerful version of the G, but the X doesn't have top of the line specs on paper.  I was concerned that the phone would not be as good as the HTC One/S4/Note 3 because of this.  Thusfar, this has not at all been the case.  Supposedly they are optimizing android to work on phones with lesser specs.  I've read that it's an effort to dominate the low-middle tier phone markets, particularly globally where a lot of people are still using feature phones.  This is supposed to be the case with android 4.4 in particular, but I can't say I've noticed a difference over 4.2.2, which worked fine for me on the X.
 
Anyway, the X has better specs than the G, but doesn't compare to the other phones I mentioned above.  Hasn't been an issue (I don't play games at all, so it's possible performance suffers there, I really have no idea).  Now I still have concerns with how well this phone is going to age, but so far it's the best phone I've ever owned.  
 
I don't know how it works when you're off contract, but on contract you have 14 days to return the phone after purchase with VZW, and I would guess most other carriers.  If that's the case for you, it's likely worth a test drive at least.
 
edit: clarity
 
Jul 10, 2002
4,279
Behind
I guess by the previous posts, this is old news, but I was surprised to walk into WalMart yesterday and see that the Samsung Galaxy S3 was at $299. For no-contract phone plans, where you have to buy phones without subsidies, thats an awesome price. The S3, when it came to the US in summer 2012, was reviewed as the best droid phone on the market (an HTC was up there too) and an iPhone killer.

Most newer smart phones are like 700+ dollars. So, Its nice to be able to ditch eBay this time. I typically get a last years version on eBay, of something, and spend 200 dollars used (I always search for adult owned, and I like buying from individual sellers as opposed to these eBay stores that are selling tons). I also think the eBay after market hasnt caught up with this price drop. I spent yesterday morning with this in mind:

I thought I saw that the Galaxy S2 (new) went for 250 at WalMart, so I was leaning in that direction. So, I was on eBay seeing what the S3's were going for used, and I would say that for something not cracked, they start at 275, and you will probably pay 300. I had my eye on a mint s3 (tho used), with the OtterBox for 319. An OtterBox is like 60 dollars, so I thought that was a good deal, esp since Id get an s3 vs the s2 (tho the s2 would be new). The s2, used, were around 200 on eBay. Before deciding what I was going to do, I stopped at WalMart, as I mentioned, and couldnt believe that the s3 was 299 brand new. Had to call 3 different WalMarts to find a store with the phones in stock (sold out online too), but scooped two for me and the wife. Satisfied customer.

EDIT: And from what I understand, s3 can be updated to JellyBean (Fishercat mentioned something). Im not sure about KitKat, which just came out.
 

JakeRae

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 21, 2005
8,116
New York, NY
I guess by the previous posts, this is old news, but I was surprised to walk into WalMart yesterday and see that the Samsung Galaxy S3 was at $299. For no-contract phone plans, where you have to buy phones without subsidies, thats an awesome price. The S3, when it came to the US in summer 2012, was reviewed as the best droid phone on the market (an HTC was up there too) and an iPhone killer.

Most newer smart phones are like 700+ dollars. So, Its nice to be able to ditch eBay this time. I typically get a last years version on eBay, of something, and spend 200 dollars used (I always search for adult owned, and I like buying from individual sellers as opposed to these eBay stores that are selling tons). I also think the eBay after market hasnt caught up with this price drop. I spent yesterday morning with this in mind:

I thought I saw that the Galaxy S2 (new) went for 250 at WalMart, so I was leaning in that direction. So, I was on eBay seeing what the S3's were going for used, and I would say that for something not cracked, they start at 275, and you will probably pay 300. I had my eye on a mint s3 (tho used), with the OtterBox for 319. An OtterBox is like 60 dollars, so I thought that was a good deal, esp since Id get an s3 vs the s2 (tho the s2 would be new). The s2, used, were around 200 on eBay. Before deciding what I was going to do, I stopped at WalMart, as I mentioned, and couldnt believe that the s3 was 299 brand new. Had to call 3 different WalMarts to find a store with the phones in stock (sold out online too), but scooped two for me and the wife. Satisfied customer.

EDIT: And from what I understand, s3 can be updated to JellyBean (Fishercat mentioned something). Im not sure about KitKat, which just came out.

Why aren't you getting a Nexus 5 at that price range?
 

Blacken

Robespierre in a Cape
SoSH Member
Jul 24, 2007
12,152
The N5 is $350, though well worth buying (jesus fuck who'd buy an S2 today).


That said, specs are basically immaterial for anything introduced (not just sold) in the last year for 99% of users. I wouldn't notice the performance difference between a Moto G and a Nexus 5--and I haven't when holding them side by side--and if I had to buy my own phones I'd be getting a Moto G before anything else. Either of those or the Moto X is a good choice depending on how much you want to spend; avoid Samsung and their backwards shit unless you have no other option (I got an S3 for free and wouldn't use it, let alone paying for the thing), ditto HTC.
 
Jul 10, 2002
4,279
Behind
Im on Walmart Family Mobile, so TMobile.

I must admit, I hadnt thought about the Moto G, or the Nexus 5 until I posted in this thread today. I was focused on the Samsung because it was getting pretty good reviews. Plus, I tend to start with Consumer Reports for most of my purchases, and the S3 is still the 5th best rated phone (TMobile), with the S4 1st, and the Note 4th. Samsung is fairly well represented in the top 5, and the top 5 plus all the Apples that follow in the top 10 are all just really good phones, so you probably cant go wrong with any.

And, as you can see, because I actually considered the S2, is that I dont need to be cutting edge. Ive used an LG G2X for the past year and a half, that should tell you something. The S2 would be wow inspiring for me!

I was trying to keep this close to $200, so $300 is top end for me. But, If convinced, Id stretch it to $350. It has to be compelling. And Im definitely open to any arguments for a particular phone. I love technology, and would love cutting edge, but price typically tempers most of my decisions. After my L2 G2X fiasco of a decision, Im more willing, this time, to stretch on price.

One thing I do focus on is the Camera. Especially because it ends up being the camera Im going to be taking the majority of photos and videos with. I noticed that the S3 takes really good pics, with very little shutter lag. Its almost instantaneous to take succesive photos. Plus the photo sharing options seem pretty cool. The CNet review mentions that the Nexus 5 camera struggles under auto settings. The Nexus also has no microSD slot, and I tend to be lazy about keeping a ton of photos and videos on my phone. I just like having the option to expand upon the internal storage. Also, the Nexus is 50 dollars more. But, I do like the resolution, KitKat, and the battery life though. Is that enough, when considering the weaker camera and price, to edge the S3?

The Moto G caught my eye because its $199. I havent opened the S3's yet! But then, this phone doesnt have an external storage option. It also utilizes a 5MP camera that is the lesser of the phones mentioned. Theres also no 4G support. I typically use my phones in a WiFi environment, but it nice to have 4G speeds in my back pocket. So, price is definitely catching my eye here, but I wonder if Id regret the camera and storage options. The Moto X camera is promising, but still no external storage options.

So, after thinking about the phones mentioned here, the S3 seems, to me, as the best of them all. Even the Nexus. The Samsung does get great reviews, but I will admit that Blackens comments have given me pause. Im definitely still open to changing my mind. I appreciate this thread just for making me think of options I wasnt beforehand.
 

SumnerH

Malt Liquor Picker
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
31,732
Alexandria, VA
The LG G2 is pretty awesome. In particular the battery life is spectacular; I picked it over the Nexus 5 and Moto X and am not unhappy.
 

SumnerH

Malt Liquor Picker
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
31,732
Alexandria, VA
Fwiw, I've logged 2 hours and 53 minutes of talk time and 2 hours of music/podcast listening today and am still at 82% battery life. And the screen is huge and full 1080p definition.
 
Jul 10, 2002
4,279
Behind
The LG G2 has some very good reviews at Consumer Reports. But, an unlocked phone is $500+. Out of my price range. The s3 price drop to $299 is what really set this off for me. I will also admit that my LG G2x experience had me wary, though potentionally irrationally.
 

SumnerH

Malt Liquor Picker
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
31,732
Alexandria, VA
The LG G2 has some very good reviews at Consumer Reports. But, an unlocked phone is $500+. Out of my price range. The s3 price drop to $299 is what really set this off for me. I will also admit that my LG G2x experience had me wary, though potentionally irrationally.

Yeah, it's not worth a $300 premium.
 

Soxy

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2008
6,095
I would think the decision comes down to either the Moto G for $200 or the Nexus 5 for $350.  Either one would be a perfectly cromulent choice.  
 
Paying $300 for an S3 (which is a year and a half old) seems weird to me when you could get a Nexus 5 for $50 more, or the Moto G for $100 less.  You realize that the vast majority of those reviews you're reading on the S3 were written in the context of the phone landscape of mid-2012, right?  A lot of new phones have come out since May 2012.  That you can get one that's brand spanking new for essentially the same cost as the S3.... seems like a no-brainer to me.
 

SumnerH

Malt Liquor Picker
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
31,732
Alexandria, VA
Or $200. Stupid math. At $150 I'd have to think long and hard; not worrying about daily usage at all and a couple long trips could justify that on battery life alone.
 
Jul 10, 2002
4,279
Behind
Soxy Brown said:
I would think the decision comes down to either the Moto G for $200 or the Nexus 5 for $350.  Either one would be a perfectly cromulent choice.  
 
Paying $300 for an S3 (which is a year and a half old) seems weird to me when you could get a Nexus 5 for $50 more, or the Moto G for $100 less.  You realize that the vast majority of those reviews you're reading on the S3 were written in the context of the phone landscape of mid-2012, right?  A lot of new phones have come out since May 2012.  That you can get one that's brand spanking new for essentially the same cost as the S3.... seems like a no-brainer to me.
At first, I thought that, but when comparing the specs, they all seemed similar, with the S3 being equal to or better on ceratin features. The Moto and Nexus, though new, are still budget phones in comparison to say an S4, or any other flagship phone that came out recently. It seemed that their specs would compete better with last years high end features, which would be the S3.

For example, Lets compare the s3 to say the moto g:

screen: 4.8" HD vs 4.5" 720p
processor: 1.5 Ghz dual-core vs 1.2 Ghz quad-core
network: 4G LTE vs 3G
camera: 8MP vs 5MP
storage: allows 64GB expansion vs None

The S3 still is the better phone I think. The Nexus is better than the Moto, it seems, so Im mulling that one around, but the Nexus camera isnt as good as the S3, and the Nexus has no external storage. Performance wise, Im not sure if Id notice any differences.

The thing you have to understand, if you are using prepaid contracts (WalMart, Virgin, Straight Talks, etc), the phones arent subsidized. Therefore, for me, something like an iPhone would be 700+. So Im typically going to be at a minimum a year or two behind when it comes to the phone tech.
 

JakeRae

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 21, 2005
8,116
New York, NY
At first, I thought that, but when comparing the specs, they all seemed similar, with the S3 being equal to or better on ceratin features. The Moto and Nexus, though new, are still budget phones in comparison to say an S4, or any other flagship phone that came out recently. It seemed that their specs would compete better with last years high end features, which would be the S3.

For example, Lets compare the s3 to say the moto g:

screen: 4.8" HD vs 4.5" 720p
processor: 1.5 Ghz dual-core vs 1.2 Ghz quad-core
network: 4G LTE vs 3G
camera: 8MP vs 5MP
storage: allows 64GB expansion vs None

The S3 still is the better phone I think. The Nexus is better than the Moto, it seems, so Im mulling that one around, but the Nexus camera isnt as good as the S3, and the Nexus has no external storage. Performance wise, Im not sure if Id notice any differences.

The thing you have to understand, if you are using prepaid contracts (WalMart, Virgin, Straight Talks, etc), the phones arent subsidized. Therefore, for me, something like an iPhone would be 700+. So Im typically going to be at a minimum a year or two behind when it comes to the phone tech.

Are you sure the Nexus camera is worse? My Nexus 5 takes pretty good pictures. The S3 had a great camera when released. The Nexus 5 does not. But, the 1.5 years that have elapsed in the interim likely negate that effect.

Compared to any new high end phone, the Nexus 5 camera clearly comes up short. I'm not sure that extends to older phones though.
 

Soxy

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2008
6,095
HillysLastWalk said:
At first, I thought that, but when comparing the specs, they all seemed similar, with the S3 being equal to or better on ceratin features. The Moto and Nexus, though new, are still budget phones in comparison to say an S4, or any other flagship phone that came out recently. It seemed that their specs would compete better with last years high end features, which would be the S3.
 
The Nexus 5 is a "budget phone"?  It has a budget price, sure, but it's internal specs are top-notch.  Compared to the S3, it's not even close, really.  Camera is literally the only place where the S3 might be considered better than the Nexus 5.
 
The Nexus 5 is basically on a par with, or better than, the S4 and HTC One, which were both at the top of the Android food chain specs-wise before the new Nexus came out.  Comparing it to the S3 (which is more in-line specs wise with the Nexus 4 and HTC One X) is kind of silly.
 
The Moto G is dialed down by modern standards, sure, but it's not like the S3 blows it away or anything.
 
Jul 10, 2002
4,279
Behind
Yeah, you are absolutely right - it is silly to say the Nexus 5 is a budget phone. I think it gets lumped there because of price. For example, Ive been reading quite a few articles that were reviewing the best "budget phones" on the market. And they would compare the Nexus 5, Moto G, LG Optimus, etc. Though the specs are amazing, some of the Nexus' shortcomings arent helping here either!

But yeah, thats the one thing about the Nexus 5 that has really caught my eye, the screen, the processors, the RAM, this is a pretty sweet phone. This thread has really got me doing a lot of reading, and thinking. I love that, as the Nexus wasnt even on my radar. To me, trying to buy a brand new phone close to $300 or less, it comes down to the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Nexus 5. The S3 still holds up pretty well, actually. You can still get this as an option through the various carriers - that should say something. At Thanksgiving my brother in law was showing me his "new" S3, and he chose that over the S4 because that's the phone he can upgrade for "free".

Anyhow, since it comes down to those two phones, that's where I then think about the phone based on my needs, and here is why I keep going back to the S3 even though the Nexus is so tempting:

1. The #1 factor for me is typically price. Especially since Im buying two (wife and I). The S3 is $299, and the Nexus is $349. $50 x 2 isnt anything to sneeze at. Knowing me though, esp with the fact that the Nexus has no microSD slot, Id want to go with the 32GB version. Which pushes this up to $399. If I buy 16GB microSD cards for the S3's, it wont be another $50 more, so the Nexus' will end up being closer to $100 more a phone than say $50.

2. This is how I ended up with my past LG G2X fiasco, but I greatly pay attention to the camera. I want a really quick, good camera. Its tough comparing their reviews because of the difference in dates, but the Samsung camera, I think, can be considered the better camera. Im not saying the Nexus is bad, but people have been dissatisfied at points.

3. And really, if the LG G2X wasnt flaky, Id be happy with that and not looking after a year and a half. I dont need much, and I tend to want to use these things for years before moving on, so Im concerned with the Nexus' lackof microSD slot (for holding the videos and photos I will take being that my phone is my main camera), and the fact that the battery cant be replaced. Or well, Im guessing there might be some DIY option where u can pry apart the Nexus, but I still hate that fact like I hate that Apple does the same thing. Let me easily get at my battery!

Of course, at the same time, it may be better to have those processors and RAM, its tough. Thats definitely its selling point.

Anyhow, the price, the camera, and the lack of expansion (storage, battery), keeps sending me back to the S3. Though, I will end up at a phone store over the next week, just to play around a bit morw.
 

rembrat

Member
SoSH Member
May 26, 2006
36,345
I find the lack of expansion to be vastly overrated. I have all the apps I'll ever need on my N5 and I still have 25GB of storage left. And as someone that doesn't sit down and play games or watch videos for 3 hours, I have no complaints about battery life. Really, the difference is the camera. 
 

rembrat

Member
SoSH Member
May 26, 2006
36,345
How do I make new photo albums (or folders) in my Gallery app in Android 4.4? Google isn't helping and I can't figure it out myself. Thanks.
 

saintnick912

GINO!
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 30, 2004
4,949
Somerville, MA
The other advantage that the Nexus 5 or Moto G would hold over the Galaxy S3 is that they are already on a newer Android version and should receive updates for significantly longer.  And they don't run cartoon-Touchwiz.
 
Jul 10, 2002
4,279
Behind
Don't get me wrong, the Nexus 5 is sweet.  That's a really nice phone when you consider the display, RAM, and processors.  It's great that it comes with 4.4 KitKat (and one that doesn't contain as much bloatware as say a Samsung).  But, the Galaxy 3S sold a ton, it's popular, and carriers are still offering it - it's not like it's going to fade away anytime soon.  And although it won't get as timely updates, it will get updates.  It can be upgraded to 4.3 JellyBean now, and 4.4 KitKat is coming in March-April: http://tottenhamnews.org/sci-tech-3/android-4-4-kitkat-leaked-dates-for-samsung-galaxy-s3-and-samsung-galaxy-s4-1674.html
 
Also, to be fair, the Nexus 5 review over at CNET says this: While an important OS update, Android 4.4 KitKat is more conceptual than feature-rich.
 
So, a 3 month wait for KitKat doesn't seem like a big deal.
 
At this point, I wouldn't even consider the Moto G.  The S3, a year+ later, is still the better phone.  I'm heavily considering the Nexus, but as I mentioned, the 32GB version is $399.  That's $100 more than the S3, and when I buy phones, I buy two at a time.  $200 is a good chunk of change.  Based on how I use a phone, the extra processing power of the Nexus 5 will probably be lost on me (not that I don't want it).  As with most people, I have tablets (iPads), so when I'm at home, I don't use a phone except to make calls.  I'm just not a phone game player, except for poker apps, nor do I download and watch movies on a phone.  I make calls, text, use an app here and there, use the gps navigation, and pull up the browser every now and then when I'm out of the house.  If I could get a Nexus 5 32GB for $299, I'd probably go with that though.  I thought I read somewhere that the camera issues will probably be solved in software, just have to wait for an update.  We'll see, the phones won't get opened until Christmas (wife doesn't know she's getting it yet), so I have a few weeks to think this through.
 
I don't know what Touchwiz is - or haven't familiarized myself with it yet - maybe I'll like it!!
 

PortlandSoxFan

Father of Idontgiveafuckism
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Hell, I would look for a used Nexus 4 before I would consider buying an S3.  I just set up an S4 for my boss and it was a miserable experience with all the bloatware.  I always rooted and rommed my phones before, but I don't think I'll ever go back from the Nexus line.
 

deconstruction

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 27, 2006
3,663
Hanover NH
Are people really bothered by touchwiz and other pre-installed crap on the S3? It's all pretty much negligible once you (a) install an alternative launcher and (b) disable as many apps and pre-installed features as allowed. I barely notice any Samsung or Verizon intrusion. I've had my S3 for a year-and-a-half, have never rooted it (I have with other phones, so I know what potential it offers.), and am really happy with its sustained performance. It's not close to the best phone right now, of course, but the bloat criticism doesn't seem warranted to me.
 

Foulkey Reese

foulkiavelli
SoSH Member
Apr 12, 2006
21,795
Central CT
deconstruction said:
Are people really bothered by touchwiz and other pre-installed crap on the S3? It's all pretty much negligible once you (a) install an alternative launcher and (b) disable as many apps and pre-installed features as allowed. I barely notice any Samsung or Verizon intrusion. I've had my S3 for a year-and-a-half, have never rooted it (I have with other phones, so I know what potential it offers.), and am really happy with its sustained performance. It's not close to the best phone right now, of course, but the bloat criticism doesn't seem warranted to me.
I'm not, but that's only because I know what to disable and how to set everything up.
 
I can see somebody who doesn't know all of those things hating a TW device. 
 
Jul 10, 2002
4,279
Behind
Yeah, I'm not sure if bloatware is an issue for me at all - meanwhile, a few different people have now given scathing reviews of the Samsung because of it.
 
That's when you line up all the features of the phones you are interested in, and then rate their pro's/con's and what it means to you and how you would specifically use the phone.  It matters for some, not for others. 
 

zenter

indian sweet
SoSH Member
Oct 11, 2005
5,641
Astoria, NY
Yeah, agreed - I like some aspects of Touchwiz, can live without others.
 
I don't like how Android doesn't have the toggle row easily-accessible in the notification area, and how Touchwiz does (yes yes, I know they cribbed it from CM). I like swiping left to text, and right to call. I hate not being able to reprogram multi-button taps (unrooted). Touchwiz also does a great job of teaching first-timers how to use the phone. Didn't get quite the same level of guidance on vanilla Android. Touchwiz's launcher is excessively spacious and they don't let you add rows, while vanilla Android's more flexible. ChatOn is a nuisance.
 
All in all, the reviews that heavily ding the GS4 for Touchwiz are a little hysterical - those things are small problems on a feature-heavy phone that does a very good job of doing all the things you expect a modern smartphone to do. Sure, it's not the best at virtually anything, but it's in the top 3 at virtually everything. It also has all these extra add-ons which are mostly useless, but occasionally useful, and easy to ignore.
 

saintnick912

GINO!
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 30, 2004
4,949
Somerville, MA
While you're talking about price drops, the Moto X is currently available for $349 at their Moto Maker site.  Another option in that price range, that has been very well rated.
 

Marceline

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2002
6,427
Canton, MA
Given Hilly's criteria I think the S3 is the best choice. I'm not sure why the consensus seems to be opposed to it.
 
The S3 is a great phone.  I like having an sd card because I don't need to worrying about how to transfer all my crap to another phone if I ever get a new one. I don't think I would get a phone without a microsd card slot.
 
The S3 also has an excellent camera, as Hilly has pointed out.  And it's at a great price point right now.
 
Sure, if you need to always have the very latest version of android, maybe it's not the best phone. It doesn't sound like Hilly needs that. 
Get the S3.
 

Blacken

Robespierre in a Cape
SoSH Member
Jul 24, 2007
12,152
Joe Sixpack said:
Given Hilly's criteria I think the S3 is the best choice. I'm not sure why the consensus seems to be opposed to it.
Gee, maybe because it's a piece of shit?

It's a hollow- and cheap-feeling phone (and this isn't a universal attribute of Samsung phones, the Galaxy Nexus felt very good) using a bad Android skin that gets major updates slowly and point updates only rarely while saddling you with inferior Samsung-branded applications--their mail application is a travesty, their calendar application worse. And, having one on my desk right now, the idea that its camera is anything to write home about is pretty funny.
 

Marceline

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2002
6,427
Canton, MA
Blacken said:
Gee, maybe because it's a piece of shit?

It's a hollow- and cheap-feeling phone (and this isn't a universal attribute of Samsung phones, the Galaxy Nexus felt very good) using a bad Android skin that gets major updates slowly and point updates only rarely while saddling you with inferior Samsung-branded applications--their mail application is a travesty, their calendar application worse. And, having one on my desk right now, the idea that its camera is anything to write home about is pretty funny.
 
It was the best phone on the market all of 18 months ago.
 
Yes, there are better phones out there now.
There aren't any better for $300 or less, though.
 
I'm not sure why anyone would use the built in Samsung mail and calendar apps or why that is at all relevant.  Yes, those apps suck.  They are easy enough to remove.  
 

Blacken

Robespierre in a Cape
SoSH Member
Jul 24, 2007
12,152
The S3 was never the "best phone on the market" unless your criteria are numeric, while performance essentially stopped mattering before the S3 even came out. The user experience of the S3 is worse than contemporary HTC phones (themselves not great) as well as the likewise contemporary Nexus 4.

It's not even the best phone under $300 today. I've had hands-on time with the Moto G and I would without hesitation buy a Moto G over an S3 today. I used a Galaxy Nexus after I lost my first N4 rather than using the S3 sitting on my desk.

Samsung has chosen to make shitty devices (the Note series excepted, even if they double as dinner plates). Some people may like shit--people still buy Dell and HP, after all--but that doesn't mean other people will recommend shit.
 
Jul 10, 2002
4,279
Behind
Blacken, tell me how you really feel!
 
The thing is, I think your disdain for the Samsung is mainly with their bloatware.  Is that correct?  See, I'm just not sure that's an issue.  For example, you mentioned a mail application.  First, personally, I don't even want my phones to have my email on them.  I hate that when I get the phone going, you can't turn off gmail.  I wish I could "log-out" of gmail and have no email on my phone whatsoever.  I definitely turn off all background processes, and don't ever have my phone sync to my gmail account after the initial set-up.  If I want to check my web email, I'd rather pull open a browser and log-in.  Nothing downloaded to my phone.  I have a feeling that a lot of the bloat you don't like, I won't even use and will turn-off or try to remove.
 
I personally appreciate and respect your technical knowledge, so I just wonder if you are applying it to your needs as opposed to mine.  And not to come off argumentative or anything, because I'm not or wouldn't in this instance, but I do have some disconnect on some of the things you say:
 
The Samsung gets rave reviews.  Look at the CNET review, or consumer reports.
 
CNet on the design:
 


That said, the Galaxy S3 is about the nicest plastic phone I've ever seen. Likely tired of hearing complaints about how cheap-feeling Samsung phones can be, the company decided to focus instead on making the contours more premium -- without giving up its light, inexpensive, and shatterproof material of choice.
 
Plastic is OK by me, especially if it's going to be shatterproof.  I'm more of a functional person than style.
 
CNet on the camera:
 


I'm happy to report that this 8-megapixel camera lens, with backlit sensor and LED flash, is worthy of a flagship phone
 
and this is what I really like:
 


As advertised, the GS3 has virtually zero shutter lag; in fact, it processed photos a hair faster than the One X.
 
Then, when you pop over to Consumer Reports, I see this:
 

 
It's rated right up there with the iPhone's and is in the top 5.
 
Camera quality is "Very Good" (half-red circle), and the Video quality is good.  The only phones besting the S3 here (that they reviewed) are the iPhone, and the newer Samsung's.
 
And they sum up the phone in this way:
 


The Samsung Galaxy S III deftly combines top-notch smart-phone performance with some of the most innovative technologies the Android platform has to offer. That includes the use of Tec Tiles--postage-stamp-sized stickers that you can program to perform a variety of tasks when you tap the phone against one. Its large, brilliant display, clever HD cameras, and ingenious options for sharing make it ideal for social networkers, though the phone's controls and other adjustments may intimidate less-experienced smart-phone users.
 
And this:
 


The Galaxy S III is one of the most advanced Android smart phones ever, with an array of gesture- and sensor-based tools to help you access and share the content you create and capture on your phone. Its rear-facing high-definition cameras can shoot a series of photos in rapid-fire succession while in camera mode, as well as snap a still picture at any moment while shooting a video.
 
So, yeah, in comparison to an SLR, the camera sucks.  But when you compare to other smart phones, especially the one's in my price range (most important), it's the tits.  I started to actually consider some of the Windows Phones based on the 41 Megapixel camera I see in the commercials.
 
Idk, I'm definitely still open to the Nexus 5.  But, if I can save $200+ and still be happy, I'm definitely going that route.  And I definitely appreciate all input here.  Thanks.
 

Marceline

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2002
6,427
Canton, MA
Blacken said:
The S3 was never the "best phone on the market" unless your criteria are numeric, while performance essentially stopped mattering before the S3 even came out. The user experience of the S3 is worse than contemporary HTC phones (themselves not great) as well as the likewise contemporary Nexus 4.
 
I got an S3 shortly after it came out and it was far better than all the HTC phones that were out at the time. My criteria are not numeric because I know next to nothing about phone processors or specs or any of that stuff.
 
You keep talking about the user experience, but again, the Samsung bloatware and shitty apps can be easily removed.
 
 
 
 so I just wonder if you are applying it to your needs as opposed to mine.
 
You nailed it. The S3 may indeed be shit by Blacken's criteria. I can guarantee that it will not be shit based on your [Hillys] criteria.
 

Soxy

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2008
6,095
Probably worth mentioning that the camera on the Nexus 5 only sucks due to poor software, not hardware.  And the software is being fixed.  The Verge got a copy of Android 4.4.1 and says that the camera is "massively upgraded" as a result:
 
 
With Android 4.4.1 on board, however, the Nexus 5's camera stops being a dealbreaker — it's not the best smartphone camera, but it's a camera you can use confidently and expectantly knowing that it will almost always deliver. It may not take the perfect shot yet, but rarely offers anything but a completely usable one. Burke says it's only going to get better, though he admits there's a lot to do. "Cameras can be pretty complicated," he says.
 
 

glennhoffmania

meat puppet
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 25, 2005
8,411,366
NY
My contract with Sprint is up in a couple of months and I'm trying to decide what to do.  Lately I've been having some network issues.  Randomly my email doesn't update and I can't get on the browser.  It usually doesn't last very long but it's annoying and I'm tempted to switch.
 
The problem is that I have a really good deal with Sprint.  We have lifetime unlimited data and with a corporate discount we pay like $160 for two lines.  My wife doesn't want to give up the unlimited data even though we've never come close to hitting any reasonable limits. 
 
Anyone have any thoughts on the Sprint network (I'm in NYC by the way), the value of the unlimited data, and/or whether it's worth the extra cost to switch to Verizon or T-Mobile?
 

Traut

lost his degree
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
12,737
My Desk
glennhoffmania said:
My contract with Sprint is up in a couple of months and I'm trying to decide what to do.  Lately I've been having some network issues.  Randomly my email doesn't update and I can't get on the browser.  It usually doesn't last very long but it's annoying and I'm tempted to switch.
 
The problem is that I have a really good deal with Sprint.  We have lifetime unlimited data and with a corporate discount we pay like $160 for two lines.  My wife doesn't want to give up the unlimited data even though we've never come close to hitting any reasonable limits. 
 
Anyone have any thoughts on the Sprint network (I'm in NYC by the way), the value of the unlimited data, and/or whether it's worth the extra cost to switch to Verizon or T-Mobile?
Leave.
 
I left Sprint after 13 years for the reasons you mentioned. It is terrible and getting worse. I was paying $80 a month for shit.  My phone is vital to my business. I switched to ATT and have an 4g shared plan with unlimited talk and text for $120 a month. I can also use my phone as a hotspot (something sprint charged for). The level of service is so much better with ATT that it's hard to describe. 
 

zenter

indian sweet
SoSH Member
Oct 11, 2005
5,641
Astoria, NY
glennhoffmania said:
My contract with Sprint is up in a couple of months and I'm trying to decide what to do.  Lately I've been having some network issues.  Randomly my email doesn't update and I can't get on the browser.  It usually doesn't last very long but it's annoying and I'm tempted to switch.
 
The problem is that I have a really good deal with Sprint.  We have lifetime unlimited data and with a corporate discount we pay like $160 for two lines.  My wife doesn't want to give up the unlimited data even though we've never come close to hitting any reasonable limits. 
 
Anyone have any thoughts on the Sprint network (I'm in NYC by the way), the value of the unlimited data, and/or whether it's worth the extra cost to switch to Verizon or T-Mobile?
 
A comparable plan on TMo would cost ~$120. You probably can get by with 2.5 GB at full speeds, though. And it covers most places, especially cities. And subsequent lines are even cheaper.
 
Plus, they have wifi calling, which means when you're at work/home, the voice and text can go through your telco internet. If TMo also has a corp discount for your/your wife's company, you might make out like a bandit.
 
Of course, the one other thing to consider (besides coverage) is that device costs are divorced from plan costs. Worked out awesome for me, but may be less advantageous for you.
 

SumnerH

Malt Liquor Picker
Dope
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
31,732
Alexandria, VA
Trautwein's Degree said:
Leave.
 
I left Sprint after 13 years for the reasons you mentioned. It is terrible and getting worse. I was paying $80 a month for shit.  My phone is vital to my business. I switched to ATT and have an 4g shared plan with unlimited talk and text for $120 a month. I can also use my phone as a hotspot (something sprint charged for). The level of service is so much better with ATT that it's hard to describe. 
 
Straight Talk is $45/month unlimited (or less if you buy a year at a time instead of going month-to-month).  Uses the AT&T network.  Tethering works fine.  There's a speed cap after some amount of data transfer that's way beyond anything I've ever used.
 
Jul 10, 2002
4,279
Behind
@ Soxy Brown - Yeah, I had mentioned that in one of the threads (that it was software related, and would have to wait for updates).  Thanks for confirming it.
 
@ glenhoffmania - Why don't you try one of the pre-paid plans?  More and more people are switching by the day.
 
Wal-Mart has the Wal-Mart Family Plan which utilizes the T-Mobile network.  It's unlimited Text, Talk, Web for $39.88/mo and $34.88/mo for the 2nd line.  You can use unlocked AT&T and T-Mobile phones here.  The unlimited web gets tethered at 2.5 GB.  Do you really use more than that?  With all the wi-fi that's available?
 
They also have Straight Talk which utilizes the Verizon network.  Unlimited Text, Talk, Web for $45/mo (each line).  Again, tethered to 2G after 2.5 GB.
 
Virgin Mobile uses the Sprint Network, so you could use your phone there (I'm thinking).  Though, you probably want to get away from them.  But even if you don't, they are $55/mo unlimited Text, Talk, Web (there's also cheaper plans where the talk isn't unlimited).  Again, with some tethering after 2.5 GB.  Think about what you pay now.
 
There's others that I won't get into -- boost, net10, etc.
 
Personally, I've been using Wal Mart Family Mobile for three to four years now.  It's been great.  It works just fine at work, home, and when I'm cruising around the state.  As I mentioned, with wi-fi everywhere, are you going to use 2.5 GB of data?  I have wi-fi at work and at home, where you spend the most of your life, so I use the data when exactly?  Cruising back and forth from work to home?  Well, I listen to the radio, so I don't.  But you get my point.
 
Stop getting raped by the AT&T's, Verizon's, and Sprint's of the world!
 
EDIT: I'm online now, here's my data usage:
 
November - 560 MB ... wife at 664 MB
October - 434 MB  ... wife at 882 MB
September - 532 MB ... wife at 1.05 GB
 
Not even close, with room to spare.
 

EddieYost

has a special friend in GHoff
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
10,597
NH
glennhoffmania said:
My contract with Sprint is up in a couple of months and I'm trying to decide what to do.  Lately I've been having some network issues.  Randomly my email doesn't update and I can't get on the browser.  It usually doesn't last very long but it's annoying and I'm tempted to switch.
 
The problem is that I have a really good deal with Sprint.  We have lifetime unlimited data and with a corporate discount we pay like $160 for two lines.  My wife doesn't want to give up the unlimited data even though we've never come close to hitting any reasonable limits. 
 
Anyone have any thoughts on the Sprint network (I'm in NYC by the way), the value of the unlimited data, and/or whether it's worth the extra cost to switch to Verizon or T-Mobile?
 
Two lines each with unlimited talk and text, plus 2.5 GB of data each for $110 total.   Using Verizon network.  Step into my office if you're interested.
 

glennhoffmania

meat puppet
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 25, 2005
8,411,366
NY
zenter said:
 
A comparable plan on TMo would cost ~$120. You probably can get by with 2.5 GB at full speeds, though. And it covers most places, especially cities. And subsequent lines are even cheaper.
 
Plus, they have wifi calling, which means when you're at work/home, the voice and text can go through your telco internet. If TMo also has a corp discount for your/your wife's company, you might make out like a bandit.
 
Of course, the one other thing to consider (besides coverage) is that device costs are divorced from plan costs. Worked out awesome for me, but may be less advantageous for you.
 
That's not a bad plan.  Have they come down in price lately?  The last time I looked into everything Sprint was by far the best value, especially given the unlimited data.  How does the device payment work?
 
My biggest concern is network access in downtown NYC.  When I'm around my office my connection sucks.  Does anyone have any experience using T-Mobile down here?
 
Edit: wait you pay the full phone price but spread over the contract?  How does that work out awesome?