4G Android phone megathread

zenter

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Oct 11, 2005
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AlNipper49 said:
So I kind of miss the badge icons from ios. Is there something other than notification center I'm Android-ville?
 
Launchers like Apex and Nova often have badge plugins. The "I'm/in" thing is something you adapt to. I still prefer swype to typing every letter. :)
 

EddieYost

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Swiftkey is another swype type keyboard that is pretty popular.


I liked that as well, especially the word prediction. Seemed to burn a lot of battery though.
 

teddykgb

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Yeah, the lack of badging on android is quite annoying. I use Nova with Tesla Unread plugin, which is essentially good enough. The is mostly an annoyance on email, anyway. Most of the other apps the notification method is fine.

I use swiftkey, but these swiping keyboards are one of the real improvements over iOS. Once you get used to them you can get very fast with them. I know you had come over to android due to too many minor annoyances on iOS. In my opinion, you're going to find an equal number if not more on android. On the plus side, you're clearly techie enough to gain some enjoyment tinkering around with your phone a bit more. Plus, since you got the Moto X, playing around with the touchless controls and what not is really cool and I'm finding it actually useful. Started reading my texts to me in my car the other day and I was really impressed.
 

AlNipper49

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jayhoz said:
Swiftkey is another swype type keyboard that is pretty popular.
This is what I meant by Swype.  Ironically Swiftkey autocorrected it to swype.  I actually like the stock keyboard better, which the resident Android supergeek at work is incredulous about. 
 
And Zent - those launchers worked nearly-perfectly.  They don't have support for a few apps (GroupMe, for example) but it covers my work stuff, which is HUGE.  Thanks man. 
 

AlNipper49

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teddykgb said:
Yeah, the lack of badging on android is quite annoying. I use Nova with Tesla Unread plugin, which is essentially good enough. The is mostly an annoyance on email, anyway. Most of the other apps the notification method is fine.

I use swiftkey, but these swiping keyboards are one of the real improvements over iOS. Once you get used to them you can get very fast with them. I know you had come over to android due to too many minor annoyances on iOS. In my opinion, you're going to find an equal number if not more on android. On the plus side, you're clearly techie enough to gain some enjoyment tinkering around with your phone a bit more. Plus, since you got the Moto X, playing around with the touchless controls and what not is really cool and I'm finding it actually useful. Started reading my texts to me in my car the other day and I was really impressed.
 
The touchless control is near-perfect IMHO.  Google has done a freaking superb job of whatever they've done on that.  I find it superior to versions found with Apple products (by a freaking landslide) and Microsoft (moderately better - XBONE is pretty damn good).
 
It's just so easy, first time voice controls have not completely sucked for me.
 
And I agree, there are a ton of little annoying things with the Android.  But the way I see it is how I see my commute home. I can take the highway and be stuck in 20 mph traffic for an hour or I can take the backroads, move along consistently but get home in 1:15.  I nearly always pick the backroad option.  Sitting on the highway FUCKING STUCK blows.  You literally have no options but to sit there and pick your butt.  Taking the backroads, while longer, affords me a lot more freedom.  If I feel like things suck, I can stop and get gas, get a drink, figure out a new backroad, look at something other than a line of cars, etc.  That's what Android feels like to me thus far -- cumulatively there may be a few more annoyances but I never feel boxed in by them.  iPhone is... precisely what you get.
 
With that said, I've decided to stick with an iPhone as well.  I get shit tmobile at my house but they have a $30 plan with a ton of data and little talk time and tmobile is just as shitty as AT&T across the rest of Fairfield County.  This will give me an aggregate 7.5GB/month of data.  My overall spend for two phones will be $75/month versus the $130 I'm paying AT&T locked-in right now.  My only real disappointment with Android is that the app library is way WAY behind Apple's, but the important stuff is there. 
 
I may forgo the iPhone and just get a iPad air or something, but need to make sure that I can get it unlocked and works/ with the aforementioned tmobile plan (I know a lot of them prohibit tablets)
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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I'm looking to upgrade my phone even though I'm still 9 months away from having an upgrade available.  I don't like the new "lease to own" programs the major carriers are offering as I've read that they still get subsidies on the phones and are actually making even more money off of people to use these as a way to get to a new phone faster.  I'd rather just purchase a new phone up front and then hook it up to my account, but I've never bought a cell phone this way.  I'm currently using the galaxy stellar and it's awful.  The phone is barely functional anymore and Verizon shrugged their shoulders when I asked them how I could fix it tonight.
 
One of the reasons I'm looking to upgrade is that I'm having problems with bloatware that cannot be removed.  I'm at the point where it's taking up almost all of my device memory.  I have bloatware, facebook, a file managing program and the SoSH app and only 200 MB of 8 GB free.  I have no other apps that didn't come pre-loaded.  All of my media files are on my SD card.  My phone lags like hell because of the lack of available device memory.  Simple tasks like opening my mail or receiving a text can freeze my phone.  Running more than three apps at a time will sometimes cause it to reboot, then tell me my sim card is no longer attached, forcing me to reboot again after opening the phone up and dislodging, then reseating the card.  The phone will also occasionally lock up when I'm swiping from one home screen to the next, even if nothing is running.  So I've considered buying an unlocked phone that isn't attached to a carrier, then bringing it to Verizon, but I've never considered this before, so I'm not sure if there are things I'm not aware of that might make this problematic.
 
My price range tops out at $300.00, so none of the brand new super phones are on the table, but the previously mentioned Razr M and Moto X are both drawing my eye.  Any other suggestions?  I like taking pictures with my phone, but camera quality is pretty low on the list.  I want something that's fast and gets good data speeds.  Solid cell reception is a plus, but I do more texting than anything else.  I want long battery life.  And I want decent swype pattern recognition, or an alternative text input program that works just as well.  My current phone does an awful job of recognizing what I'm trying to spell and has a bad habit of making up words that don't exist and then replacing words that do in the phone's dictionary... which cannot be fully reset.  The word "really" is gone from my phone.  It's now "aeally" and my phone will offer that as a replacement for "really" when I type in instead of swyping it.  There are many other words that have been broken like that.  Again, my phone is a piece of shit.
 
So what am I looking at for options?  Is an unlocked phone a good way to go?  Or should I just get a Verizon Razr M or Moto X (or something I haven't found that is better than both but fits my price range) with no contract?  I need to get this resolved before the start of February if possible, so I'd like to order something this weekend some time.
 

saintnick912

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Buy a $99 no contract Verizon Moto G, it will be a step up and you can reevaluate in a few months to a year when the affordable market takes off further.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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I'm so conditioned to buy a phone for the long term I hadn't even considered this approach. I'll look into the moto g. If the battery life is good it will probably suffice in the short term.
 

Seven Costanza

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Couple of things Snod.
 
1) The Verizon Moto G is sold for $99- but as far as I know is only compatible with prepaid for the first 6 months or something like that.  I don't believe you can buy it at Best Buy and activate it on your current postpaid plan.  You certainly can't swap SIM cards- because it doesn't have one.  Moto G doesn't have LTE, and the $99 Verizon version is only being sold w/ 8GB of onboard storage- and it doesn't have a SD card slot.  (FWIW, I'm still a huge fan of the G, although it doesn't sound like it).
 
2) I went in to a Verizon corporate store a few weeks ago with the full intention of buying a Moto X at full retail.  I had a year left on my contract.  They bent over backwards for me and I essentially walked out of the store with a new 2 year contract and a Moto X for 100 bucks. I didn't even ask for this and was fully prepared to pay several hundred dollars for the phone.  Since it's close to the end of the month, I would assume they'd have more pressure to hit monthly targets- it might be worth a shot going in and asking to pay full retail for an X and see what they do.  If they don't do anything (I didn't even ask and they offered this deal to me) just say you changed your mind or whatever if you don't want to drop the couple hundred.
 
3) Alternatively, you could have T-Mobile pay your ETF with Verizon (it'll take a few months for that dough to get to you, although you can pay Verizon off immediately with the money you have) and you can get a new phone with T-Mo for nothing down.  With T-Mobile at least, you aren't paying the subsidy twice as the device payment and the actual service payment are two separate costs. (once the phone is paid off, your monthly charge is lessened to service only)  Of course you're on T-Mobile, but IIRC, you're in NYC and that shouldn't be too big of a deal. 
 

teddykgb

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Seven Costanza said:
Couple of things Snod.
 
1) The Verizon Moto G is sold for $99- but as far as I know is only compatible with prepaid for the first 6 months or something like that.  I don't believe you can buy it at Best Buy and activate it on your current postpaid plan.  You certainly can't swap SIM cards- because it doesn't have one.  Moto G doesn't have LTE, and the $99 Verizon version is only being sold w/ 8GB of onboard storage- and it doesn't have a SD card slot.  (FWIW, I'm still a huge fan of the G, although it doesn't sound like it).
 
2) I went in to a Verizon corporate store a few weeks ago with the full intention of buying a Moto X at full retail.  I had a year left on my contract.  They bent over backwards for me and I essentially walked out of the store with a new 2 year contract and a Moto X for 100 bucks. I didn't even ask for this and was fully prepared to pay several hundred dollars for the phone.  Since it's close to the end of the month, I would assume they'd have more pressure to hit monthly targets- it might be worth a shot going in and asking to pay full retail for an X and see what they do.  If they don't do anything (I didn't even ask and they offered this deal to me) just say you changed your mind or whatever if you don't want to drop the couple hundred.
 
3) Alternatively, you could have T-Mobile pay your ETF with Verizon (it'll take a few months for that dough to get to you, although you can pay Verizon off immediately with the money you have) and you can get a new phone with T-Mo for nothing down.  With T-Mobile at least, you aren't paying the subsidy twice as the device payment and the actual service payment are two separate costs. (once the phone is paid off, your monthly charge is lessened to service only)  Of course you're on T-Mobile, but IIRC, you're in NYC and that shouldn't be too big of a deal.
This is an excellent rundown of your options. I left t-mobile due to service issues, but if the service is OK it's a really good deal. Either way, you can get the Moto X directly from Motorola around your price point, so it should be a strong consideration for you in addition to the Moto G.
 

Marceline

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Yeah, there's absolutely no good reason to pay full price for a phone, but stay with Verizon. They charge a ton for their monthly plans for the sole reason that they are subsidizing everyone's phones, so why pay their outrageous rates AND have to pay for the phone too?
 
If you're paying full price for a phone you should go with either T-Mobile or one of the MVNOs (Ting, Straight Talk, etc)
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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Thanks for the additional responses.  I appreciate all the input.  I was digging around T-Mobile's site yesterday since I'd seen one of their "We'll pay your early termination fee" ads on the subway.  I may stop in to see what kind of offer I can get.  The only thing that gives me pause is that while I'm in NYC and don't have immediate plans to move, my girlfriend is looking to get out of her industry and has been applying to all sorts of jobs in a number of different locations around the country.  She moved out here with me because my work prospects were best here, but the kinds of jobs she's been applying to would offset any loss of income on my end if I had to move to another industry or just work less frequently in film and pick up a part time gig to supplement if we ended up somewhere less busy for me.  So there's a better than zero chance I could be leaving the city in the next year and wouldn't want to get stuck with a phone that doesn't work wherever we end up.  (She just applied for a position with Zenimax, for instance, which is a bit outside of DC)
 
Anyway, back to the present, I think getting something that will carry me to the end of my contract and to a point where I will have a better idea of whether I'm staying in NYC long term or not might be my best bet.  I'm willing to spend a little extra (up to $300.00) to make sure I have a phone that works well in the mean time, especially in the short term as the job I'm on requires me to have a phone that isn't giving me problems.  So I may end up paying a bit more to get it resolved quickly and to make sure I'm covered for work.
 

teddykgb

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At this point I sound like a T Mobile spokesperson, but the upside to these no contract deals are that if you end up moving from NYC, you aren't tied to a future contract, so you can just cancel at that point and find a new solution. It's probably the same for some of the MVNOs, as well. If you do look at this type of option, you should also consider the Nexus 5.
 

Seven Costanza

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If you do go the T-Mobile route, grab a Nexus 5- and if you have to move and T-Mobile stinks where you're going, you can immediately throw an AT&T SIM in there. 
 
I did forget to mention checking out swappa or gazelle.  You can grab a used Verizon phone there in your price point that will carry you the next 9 months. 
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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So I stopped by T-Mobile on the way home tonight and walked out the door with an LG G2, no contract, them covering my ETF and a bill $35.00 less than what I was paying Verizon.  And when I pay off the balance on the phone, my bill will drop down another 16.50 a month.  Thanks for the suggestions.  You guys were a big help.
 

LondonSox

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So I moved to England and my hatred for the American system is rekindled.

Just to compare, a sim only contract is one year, 29 pounds (50 ish usd) with unlimited calls, texts, 8 gigs of data, free Spotify premium.
For the version with a phone, the same deal is... 40 pounds (65 usd) but a two year contract.

Also my Verizon sg4 is unusable over here apparently. Unless anyone knows an international unlock trick.

So anyway I am happy enough with my sg4 (though battery in 4g is poor). But as I may need a new phone I don't want to just assume it's the best option.

Fuck apple. What are people thinking are the best option? The LG and the moto X seem new competition. Price is not a big factor.
 

Bleedred

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I'm one of the least tech savvy people here, so humor me. I have the Samsung Galaxy III Android phone. I just downloaded some updates, which work great for email. However, all of my texts to anyone now include the following: "CB#:555-555-5555" (not really 555, but my phone #). My texts never used to include this and I'd like to get ride of it. Help?
 

Corsi

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Bleedred said:
I'm one of the least tech savvy people here, so humor me. I have the Samsung Galaxy III Android phone. I just downloaded some updates, which work great for email. However, all of my texts to anyone now include the following: "CB#:555-555-5555" (not really 555, but my phone #). My texts never used to include this and I'd like to get ride of it. Help?
 
Go into the settings of your text messaging up and de-select the option that is some version of "Include callback number in texts"
 

Traut

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Lenovo just bought Motorola from google. WTF? 
 
TechCrunch has confirmed reports that state Lenovo is buying Motorola Mobility from Google. This is the division within Google that the company purchased in 2011 for $12.5 billion.
The terms of the deal have yet to be revealed but we’re hearing the price was near $3B.
 

JerBear

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Lenovo just bought Motorola from google. WTF? 
 
TechCrunch has confirmed reports that state Lenovo is buying Motorola Mobility from Google. This is the division within Google that the company purchased in 2011 for $12.5 billion.
The terms of the deal have yet to be revealed but we’re hearing the price was near $3B.

Oh, just $9B for a boatload of patents.
 

saintnick912

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I don't think the Android hardware business is profitable if you're not making the chips (Samsung).   Saw some analysis that they got $3B cash with Motorola, and a number of writeoffs, and sold the cable box business, so this nets out to $500M-$1.5B for a bunch of patents.
 
Plus selling off the handset business takes away antagonism from Samsung et al since they won't be competing directly.
 
Seems like a reasonable course of action.
 

The Napkin

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I have a razr. My 2 years are up and I'm going to upgrade. How's the maxx? I looked at it today and it seemed to fit my hand pretty nice. Specs look pretty decent? Good camera? I looked at the iPhone too since I bought an ipad and am idly considering going same brand but it just seems kind of small. Other phones I should be thinking about?

I have no interest in jail breaking or anything like that. I mostly interweb and twitter/Facebook and the occasional game. I'm old.
Only thing I really care about is to stay on verizon since I'm grandfathered with unlimited data and get a work discount.
Basically, I'm clueless about phones and what is out there and I just want a decent phone that'll keep me happy for 2 years like my razr has.
 

The Napkin

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Hmm. I was not aware of that, thanks. Recent change? Don't think I had to do that 2 years ago.
So $300 to keep it if I go with the maxx then? Will have to think on if it's worth it. Guess it's time to look up how much data I normally use per month.
1.1gb in jan
0.5 in dec
0.7 in nov
0.7 in oct
0.7 in sept
1.1 in aug


Hmm.
 

deconstruction

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New policy went into effect summer of 2012. For 2GB/month, on the new plan you'd be at $100 w/o discount. Or $90 for 1GB. How different are those from what you're paying now? 
 
I'm considering dropping the unlimited as I'm on wifi almost everyone around town. It's only traveling and navigation that bump my usage. 
 

The Napkin

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$83 pre discount ($40 for voice, $30 for web/email, $5 for text, $8 for insurance). So 2GB would be about 17 more a month over 2 years is $408. So yeah. Might be worth going off-contract. Or t least talking to someone and seeing what they can do for me. Thanks!
 
Anything out there I should be thinking about other than the MAXX, HTC One, or iPhone 5s?
 

saintnick912

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If you're going off contract and willing to dig around you can probably find a Moto X for much less than any of those.  Not sure what the Verizon version is, but I see others for $300-350 here and there, people on Reddit (/r/android) seemed to have coupon codes of some kind the last time I looked in there.
 

kelpapa

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I'm getting annoyed with my S4. I had the security pop up last month for a few weeks (different version of this and this), and now I'm having to select my default OS every time I press the home button. I figured out how to fix the security pop up after a little while, but the few fixes I have tried on the home button issue haven't worked.
 
Is anyone else getting this shit?
 

VBSoxFan

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Do you use a different launcher, such as Apex Launcher? If so, that may have been updated, which means you need to go to your "launcher" app, such as Twisted Home Page, and select which one you want to use.
 
At least, that is what I have done when I get this type of message in the past.
 

kelpapa

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I had Nova Launcher installed but was just using TouchWiz. I'm sure it must have been an update that triggered this. I switched back to Nova after seeing your post, but it hasn't changed anything.
 

TallerThanPedroia

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I've been fairly checked out of Android life since getting my Razr HD Maxx in October 2012, but I just smashed the living fuck out of the screen. The glass is shattered, the display below is only partially functioning, and there's no touch capacity, so I can't even turn it off, much less unlock it so I can transfer whatever data there is on it.
 
I did manage to reactivate my old Droid X, so I have a little breathing room. Two questions:
 
1) What's my best next step? Walk into a Verizon Store and see what kind of deal I can get? My next upgrade date is 10/19/2014.
 
2) What's the phone to get right now? Mine was starting to feel a bit sluggish, but I really like Motorola's builds, and I LOVED the battery life. I'd rather have an occasionally sluggish phone if it means it won't die on me if I'm out all day. I'm certainly willing to consider other manufacturers, though. I'm not against large phones, but the Razr HD Maxx felt kinda near my upper limit.
 

SumnerH

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TallerThanPedroia said:
I've been fairly checked out of Android life since getting my Razr HD Maxx in October 2012, but I just smashed the living fuck out of the screen. The glass is shattered, the display below is only partially functioning, and there's no touch capacity, so I can't even turn it off, much less unlock it so I can transfer whatever data there is on it.
 
I did manage to reactivate my old Droid X, so I have a little breathing room. Two questions:
 
1) What's my best next step? Walk into a Verizon Store and see what kind of deal I can get? My next upgrade date is 10/19/2014.
 
2) What's the phone to get right now? Mine was starting to feel a bit sluggish, but I really like Motorola's builds, and I LOVED the battery life. I'd rather have an occasionally sluggish phone if it means it won't die on me if I'm out all day. I'm certainly willing to consider other manufacturers, though. I'm not against large phones, but the Razr HD Maxx felt kinda near my upper limit.
 
1. Consider buying a phone and cutting the Verizon cord for a MVNO when the contract is up; it'll probably be cheaper in the long run than letting Verizon subsidize your phone in exchange for overcharging you monthly.  Straight Talk, for instance, is $45/month unlimited (using either the Verizon or AT&T network depending on whether you have a CDMA or GSM phone).
2. Current frontrunners are probably: Samsung Galaxy S4, Google Nexus 5, Moto X, LG G2.  Samsung's probably still the most popular, I like the LG.
 

ElUno20

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How long after they announce the s5 does it hit the shelves? And does the price drop for the s4 happen before that?
 

Rsox4life

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I bought the note 3 a few weeks ago and after I got used to the size I absolutely love it. Battery life is 2 full days easy at my usage where my DROID 4 barely made it a day. The things this phone can do are pretty awesome and the big screen makes things so much easier.
 

seageral

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I have the LG G2 as a replacement for an HTC One after its screen broke.
 
I loved the feel of the HTC aluminum body but the battery life and screen on the LG is so much better.  
 

seageral

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thanks... 
 
The offer covers the HTC One, One mini, and One max, but it's only good for devices purchased beginning today.
 
good deal though.
 

SumnerH

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seageral said:
I have the LG G2 as a replacement for an HTC One after its screen broke.
 
I loved the feel of the HTC aluminum body but the battery life and screen on the LG is so much better.  
+1, the battery on the G2 is insane.
 

Murderer's Crow

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I think they're leaving the doors open a bit to their competitors with this release, specifically because of the body. Not much has changed under the hood that will drastically change your user experience and that fingerprint sensor is going to be a nightmare. The HTC One 2 might take the Android mantle when it's announced.