4G Android phone megathread

jayhoz

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Valek123 said:
 
I did almost the same thing with a Droid Razr Maxx yesterday becoming a S5 as Verizon had a major sale that is running through the 27th I believe.  Same three phones(essentially) and I chose the S5, it came down to the G3 and S5 for me and I've seen enough people who have early hand's on the G3 having battery/overheating issues so I went Samsung for this cycle.  I don't think either of us will regret this, samsung seems to be the biggest fish at the moment.
 
I also ended up with two Iphone 5s's in the order for the family that I can't convince to switch so I still feel dirty over the whole thing - But I was able to pull off the buddy upgrade to keep my unlimited data plan for one more cycle so I'm psyched about that.
 
Anyone have any good tips on setting up the S5 with foxfi or hotspot program?  My bet is that day is coming to a close very quickly...
 
If the S5 is anything like the S3 you can root it, install Cyanogen Mod and tether to your hearts content.
 
Do you have any more details on the G3 battery issue?  I am 95% sure that's the phone for me.
 

Valek123

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jayhoz said:
 
Do you have any more details on the G3 battery issue?  I am 95% sure that's the phone for me.
 
Most complete review I've seen yet - Anandtech(I think is the best tech site on the web)
 
The issues with battery/overheating all seem to stem from the screen, it seems it causes heat which throttles processing power.  My understanding from other reviews is if you use it at all as a GPS in a car it shuts off the screen due to overheating.  I'm sure there will be a firmware fix to correct it, it seems like a simple problem of course this could be the Achilles heal also so I went elsewhere as I've had huge problems with my current phone in the last 36 hours and it in no uncertain terms told me it was time for a new phone.  I was bummed but I just didn't have the time to wait to see how the G3 sorted out and I've got a feeling I may regret it in the end...  
 
One fix discussed by G3 users is to reduce brightness in the screen as much as possible and they don't see the issue - other G3 common problem fixes here.  Again, I'm bummed as I've been looking at this phone rumors for 3-4 months waiting for it's release and I just ran out of time...
 

bohous

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jayhoz said:
 
If the S5 is anything like the S3 you can root it, install Cyanogen Mod and tether to your hearts content.
 
Do you have any more details on the G3 battery issue?  I am 95% sure that's the phone for me.
 
 
Do I understand correctly that hotspot isn't built into Android OS? You have to root to create a hotspot?
 

Seven Costanza

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'Hotspot' is built in to Android.  With the new tiered data plans, you can use the phone as a hotspot to your heart's content- they're dinging you for the data either way.
 
Previously with unlimited data plans, you would have to pay your provider for the use of the hotspot, otherwise, why ever pay for actual wired internet?  Rooting your phone would remove the need for you to have to pay your provider to use the hotspot. 
 
Chances are if you're on an unlimited data plan, you'd need to root in order to use your hotspot for no charge.  If you're on a tiered plan, you don't have to pay or root- you're just using your monthly data allotment.
 

Foulkey Reese

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If the S5 is anything like the S3 you can root it, install Cyanogen Mod and tether to your hearts content.
 
The S4 is locked up pretty tight so I imagine the S5 is the same way. 
 
You can root the S4, but as far as I know the bootloader is still locked so flashing ROMS isn't really realistic.
 
Also, I got a big 5200 battery for my S4 that certainly makes the phone bigger and a bit clunky, but good lord it's amazing to have a battery that legitimately lasts a full day of heavy usage. It feels like a new and improved phone.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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I have a weird verizon corporate plan that doesn't include tethering. I use Foxfi with my S5, which allows me to get around Verizon's attempt to require tethering as part of my plan. I do have to use an untrusted cert to encrypt the traffic so that Verizon can't see that it's traffic from a computer, but it works fine other than that.
 

bohous

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Seven Costanza said:
'Hotspot' is built in to Android.  With the new tiered data plans, you can use the phone as a hotspot to your heart's content- they're dinging you for the data either way.
 
Previously with unlimited data plans, you would have to pay your provider for the use of the hotspot, otherwise, why ever pay for actual wired internet?  Rooting your phone would remove the need for you to have to pay your provider to use the hotspot. 
 
Chances are if you're on an unlimited data plan, you'd need to root in order to use your hotspot for no charge.  If you're on a tiered plan, you don't have to pay or root- you're just using your monthly data allotment.
 
 
OK, that makes sense for people on unlimited plan, although I couldn't imagine using cellular data as primary internets access
 

zenter

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Foulkey Reese said:
The S4 is locked up pretty tight so I imagine the S5 is the same way. 
 
You can root the S4, but as far as I know the bootloader is still locked so flashing ROMS isn't really realistic.
 
Also, I got a big 5200 battery for my S4 that certainly makes the phone bigger and a bit clunky, but good lord it's amazing to have a battery that legitimately lasts a full day of heavy usage. It feels like a new and improved phone.
 
..... On Verizon. Those of you on other carriers tend to have a less locked-down bootloader.
 

Foulkey Reese

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zenter said:
 
..... On Verizon. Those of you on other carriers tend to have a less locked-down bootloader.
Yea true point. 
 
Every other day I flirt with going to T-Mobile so I can get a Nexus device. One of these days..
 

zenter

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Foulkey Reese said:
Yea true point. 
 
Every other day I flirt with going to T-Mobile so I can get a Nexus device. One of these days..
 
I have an S4 on TMo and even that bootloader isn't as annoying. Lots of fun stuff happening there.
 
Nexus devices are nice, but at the time I switched, the Nexus line had no LTE. Maybe I'll get a OnePlus One in the future... In case it's actually not vaporware.
 

Blacken

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smastroyin said:
The Straight Talk buys bandwidth from everyone, and assigns based on the phone you buy.  Moto G looks like it is on T-mobile's network so even the Straight Talk one is going to be GSM.
It's based on the SIM you buy. Not related to the phone. Buy a TMO SIM, get TMO. (Don't buy a TMO SIM.)
 

Harry Hooper

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I ordered the unlocked Moto G LTE from Motorola via Amazon. Surprisingly, it took 5 days to get shipped, so I don't have it yet. 
 

fenwaypaul

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My 2.5-year-old Razr Maxx has slowed to the point of becoming virtually unusable: sometimes it's tolerably responsive, but increasingly often taps aren't recognized for 30-60 seconds or more, and I get tons of app-not-responding alerts. Sometimes I miss incoming calls because the swipe-to-answer action is ignored and the call goes to voicemail. Lately it's taken to rebooting spontaneously. I wipe cache every day or two, but that only helps a little and the improvement is short-lived. I've given up trying to figure out what is eating up all the processing resources; I've had enough and want to upgrade.
 
A while back I inquired about phones with good cameras (the Raxr Maxx's camera is one of its worst features -- infuriating shutter lag and poor low-light performance), and several posters recommended the Samsung Galaxy S4. Now that the S5 is out, I wonder if anyone has had experience with its camera. I also wonder if the audio dropout problem that plagued the Nexus has been resolved in later Samsung phones.
 

Valek123

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fenwaypaul said:
My 2.5-year-old Razr Maxx has slowed to the point of becoming virtually unusable: sometimes it's tolerably responsive, but increasingly often taps aren't recognized for 30-60 seconds or more, and I get tons of app-not-responding alerts. Sometimes I miss incoming calls because the swipe-to-answer action is ignored and the call goes to voicemail. Lately it's taken to rebooting spontaneously. I wipe cache every day or two, but that only helps a little and the improvement is short-lived. I've given up trying to figure out what is eating up all the processing resources; I've had enough and want to upgrade.
Mine is doing the IDENTICAL thing, totally sucks, battery life has turned horrific. Almost like some update nerf'd it as it suddenly sucks.

I've got an S5 on the way, will be here Monday and answer some as for you. I'm also going to factory reset maxx to see what's going on.
 

Harry Hooper

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Blacken said:
It's based on the SIM you buy. Not related to the phone. Buy a TMO SIM, get TMO. (Don't buy a TMO SIM.)
 
 
OK, the Moto G 4GLTE has arrived from Amazon. This is the SIM that gets me on AT&T's network via Straight Talk, and not on T-Mobile's?
 

Harry Hooper

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saintnick912 said:
That looks correct.
 
Thanks. Ordered it, but it's going to take another week.
 
 
Delay may be helpful, though, as AT&T is making a surprise late bid in an effort to poach a verizon customer. Rep says I can get 15% off the GoPhone no-contract plans. I am awaiting further details.
 

Valek123

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2 days in and very impressed with the S5, battery life has been great and the screen is tremendous.  UI is a bit of a PIA, but its pretty good overall - I've been too busy with other things to do much besides call, text, check web, email and Clash of clans and I've had no issues with any of those items so I'm happy so far.  We'll see how it goes long-term but so far so good.
 

Foulkey Reese

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Valek123 said:
2 days in and very impressed with the S5, battery life has been great and the screen is tremendous.  UI is a bit of a PIA, but its pretty good overall - I've been too busy with other things to do much besides call, text, check web, email and Clash of clans and I've had no issues with any of those items so I'm happy so far.  We'll see how it goes long-term but so far so good.
A 3rd party launcher like Nova Launcher will drastically improve the phone and hide the worst of Touch Wizz. Well worth the $2 or whatever.
 

fenwaypaul

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Foulkey Reese said:
Factory resets are the way to go. Things just get bogged down sometimes. 
 
Well, I finally bit the bullet and did a full factory reset, after spending a day saving everything I could think of to my hard drive. It turned out to be a much less painful process than I feared: most apps and files were (eventually) restored automatically from the cloud, probably because of my belt-suspenders-and-elastic-waistband employment of backup tools (Verizon Cloud, Google, and whatever other ones you get without asking -- Motorola's backup service wanted $$$, so I skipped that one). The Razr Maxx is way more responsive now. It's not quite like new, but at least it's usable. I am, however, still getting the spontaneous reboots, which I suspect may be hardware-related (possibly caused by a sticky power switch?). I might be able to live with this thing until the iPhone 6/Samsung S6 era arrives, but I'll be keeping a keen eye on the S5 reports anyway.
 

Harry Hooper

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OK, I picked up the microSIM from Straight Talk at Walmart. Time to activate the Moto G. Only worrisome thing is nothing on the microSIM packaging said it was for AT&T phones.
 

saintnick912

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If you had bought a phone from T-Mobile they would have to unlock it before it would work on AT&T's network, and vice versa.  Since you have a new unlocked GSM phone it should work on either network and so your AT&T card should work fine.
 
You will likely need to enter some APN settings for things like MMS and mobile data to work fully, this is normal for using an unlocked phone.  I entered AT&T info into my new Sony for instance.
 

Harry Hooper

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OK, the serial number on the microSIM itself has an AT&T number. As a newbie, the almost total lack of instruction that comes with the Moto G is frustrating! It ain't as intuitive as they think.
 

The Napkin

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I have a Droid Razr MAXX. For the last week or 2 every time I try to use the gps it thinks about it for a second or 2 and then spits out "GPS signal lost" and won't give me directions or update my location. This is rather annoying.
There seems to be lots of people with this problem but no real solution. Someone mentioned the SIM card going bad, does that seem reasonable? I seem to not have 4G often lately as well, could that be another hint?
I'll probably hit a VZW store tomorrow but if this is something I can easily fix then I'm open to suggestions.
Thanks!
 

Traut

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All of these phones are programmed to self destruct in 18 months. Getting a new phone is your best bet.
 

Fratboy

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Napkin, Traut speaks the truth, though I think it might be around 24 months. Check out the VZW store, but they'll see you're out of contract and want to get you onto a new phone and out of your unlimited plan ASAP. If you don't mind hopping into a new phone immediately, consider the HTC One M8 or Samsung Galaxy S5, or iPhone 5S if you don't mind a phone that will be gone in two months but easily upgrade to iPhone 7 in two years.
 

The Napkin

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I've only had this phone since Feb. It's possible it's not a RAZR, that might be the one I just replaced now that I think about it.
 
(yeah, it's just a plain MAXX whatever that means. I upgraded to it in Feb. And yeah, lost my unlimited data which annoyed me.)
 

Harry Hooper

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I went through all the screens to set up Straight Talk and activate the new phone, and then the whole thing bombed out at the final stage, wouldn't load the last webpage. I just spoke with their tech support (apparently a big call center in Mexico), and they say they have fixed things. The porting process has seemingly begun. 
 

AlNipper49

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I unbelievably found Straight Talk to have excellent customer service, relative to the AT&T and Verizons atleast.
 

Fratboy

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Napkin if you just got it in February, it's totally brand new. Hopefully Verizon can do something for you.
 
Anybody here on StraightTalk? I'm curious about data speeds on the AT&T Network, since I'm thinking about jumping from VZW to there.
 

smastroyin

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The Napkin said:
I have a Droid Razr MAXX. For the last week or 2 every time I try to use the gps it thinks about it for a second or 2 and then spits out "GPS signal lost" and won't give me directions or update my location. This is rather annoying.
There seems to be lots of people with this problem but no real solution. Someone mentioned the SIM card going bad, does that seem reasonable? I seem to not have 4G often lately as well, could that be another hint?
I'll probably hit a VZW store tomorrow but if this is something I can easily fix then I'm open to suggestions.
Thanks!
 
do you have insurance?  My s3 gps antenna went wonky a couple years ago and it was replaced.  Of course you get a refurb, not a new phone.
 

jayhoz

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Nap - you should be covered by the 1 year warranty.  Rather than going into a store I would fire up an online chat session.  Describe your problem and they will likely have you go through some hoops and then send you a refurb.  That's what I did when my charging port went wonky.  The best part was my screen was scratched to shit as well and the refurbs are like brand new phones.  I might find a "problem" with the phone around the one year mark from now on.   ;)
 

bohous

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Does anybody here have real world experience with the G3, specifically in regards to battery life? Some early reports the screen might be a battery killer, which would be a shame. I mean, its a great looking display but I can't say it's significantly better than S5 or M8 to my eye.
 
At this point I'm leaning hard toward the G3 but plan to wait until iPhone 6 release and maybe see what the Moto X+1 has to offer. What would be a reasonable expectation to update Android L on a G3 once it is released? 
 

glennhoffmania

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smastroyin said:
 
do you have insurance?  My s3 gps antenna went wonky a couple years ago and it was replaced.  Of course you get a refurb, not a new phone.
 
The refurb thing drives me nuts.  My phone died about a month after I bought it and they wanted me to pay a deductible and take a refurb.  I told them to give me a brand new phone or I'm quitting.  After a week of arguing with various managers I got a new one, but it shouldn't be this hard.
 

Harry Hooper

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Fratboy said:
Napkin if you just got it in February, it's totally brand new. Hopefully Verizon can do something for you.
 
Anybody here on StraightTalk? I'm curious about data speeds on the AT&T Network, since I'm thinking about jumping from VZW to there.
 
I am now. Number ported over successfully from verizon. As Nip said, tech support at Straight Talk was quite helpful. I am connected via AT&T.
 
I don't know this for a fact, but I suspect the online activation failed because it couldn't handle a port from a verizon account AND an activation of a GSM phone at the same time.
 

smastroyin

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I wonder if the G3 has manufacturing issues.  On the android forums, some people complain, others say no problem on the battery life.  
 
It seems the Galaxy Alpha, which I was waiting for, is looking more and more like it will be a Korea release only.  There are supply chain issues with the metal case (since Apple dominates the market).  
 
I keep waiting for HTC to finally admit that their stupid camera is stupid (it's not just the CCD size, it is the shitty way it captures the image, the ghosting, the pink haloing, etc.) and put new hardware in the M8, since that would otherwise be my phone of choice.  The camera is just so bad I can't do it.  Some dudes have rooted and made it better, which to me means HTC could go ahead and even just do a software fix, but they have yet to announce anything.  I don't want to have to root my phone and use an undocumented hack to take a decent picture.
 

jayhoz

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Most of the reviews I have read on the G3 have been positive regarding the battery life in real world use.
 
The M8 camera issue is just sad.  I was ready to pull the trigger on that phone but the camera killed it.
 

smastroyin

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What's amazing to me is how all of the early reviews were very positive on ultrapixel and the software.  But more and more real world use has shown that it just not capturing good images.
 
If I could put the S5 camera in the HTC I would own it right now.
 

PortlandSoxFan

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I've been fairly happy with T-Mobile, but I'm going to take Net10 for a test drive and use an AT&T sim.  There are far to many areas in the general vicinity of where I live where I have really shitty service.
 
Also finally ditching my Nexus 4 for a Nexus 5.
 

Harry Hooper

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Courtesy of speedtest.org, on-the-Pike test in Western Mass.:
 
H+: 2.8 MB/S download and 0.8 MB/S upload
 
LTE: 3.2 MB/S download and 6.1 MB/S upload
 

The Napkin

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Fratboy said:
Napkin if you just got it in February, it's totally brand new. Hopefully Verizon can do something for you.
 
smastroyin said:
do you have insurance?  My s3 gps antenna went wonky a couple years ago and it was replaced.  Of course you get a refurb, not a new phone.
 
Yeah, if it was 18-20 months old or something then whatever, I probably could have dealt with it. But 5 months? No, that's not good.
 
Went into the store on the way home and told the guy, showed him what happens, and he arranged for them to overnight me a replacement today. I kind of paused and said, "a new one". And he kind of paused and said "Well, it'll be one someone has used for a couple days or something."
I said that's unacceptable. We're in the process of going back and forth with various people now to see if I can pull a glennhoffmania and get a new one out of them. Cause really.
 

zenter

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foulkehampshire said:
I got the HTC One M8 today.
 
ME GUSTA
Haven't taken any mid or low light pictures yet, have you? Or tried to crop/zoom a pic you just took? ;)

This thing could have killed the S5 with a even an 8-10MP shooter. It's a tick-the-box spec. Only a company in the lead (Apple and Samsung) or a newcomer can try to convince consumers that much less is better. Established trailers are less credible.
 

SumnerH

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zenter said:
Haven't taken any mid or low light pictures yet, have you? Or tried to crop/zoom a pic you just took? ;)

This thing could have killed the S5 with a even an 8-10MP shooter. It's a tick-the-box spec. Only a company in the lead (Apple and Samsung) or a newcomer can try to convince consumers that much less is better. Established trailers are less credible.
If your only complaint about a phone is about the camera, then that's definitely a phone I want to look at seriously. For most people, beyond being able to take a snapshot the camera quality doesn't matter at all.
 

zenter

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SumnerH said:
If your only complaint about a phone is about the camera, then that's definitely a phone I want to look at seriously. For most people, beyond being able to take a snapshot the camera quality doesn't matter at all.
Fair point... The wife's M7 is barely capable of that, and only in good light (ie, high ambient light; flash is horrid) I've been led to believe the M8 isn't better, especially with the blue-pink haze. Since my phone is the main "capture unexpected life moments" camera, having a decent camera where post-processing doesn't kill resolution matters.

I have other complaints about the One, but that's one the bigger ones.
 

saintnick912

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The camera was the main thing that drove me from the M8 into importing a Z2.
 
But not the only thing.  The M8 keeping the M7 "button bezel" when there are no off-screen buttons anymore just seemed like a lazy decision, and after I got torched with HTC completely dropping the ball on support for the One X almost immediately I figured I'd give them a break this round.
 

jayhoz

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SumnerH said:
If your only complaint about a phone is about the camera, then that's definitely a phone I want to look at seriously. For most people, beyond being able to take a snapshot the camera quality doesn't matter at all.
 
You can't be serious.  Good camera quality has to be in the top 3 of consumer wants.  90% of people only ever take "snapshots".
 

NortheasternPJ

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jayhoz said:
 
You can't be serious.  Good camera quality has to be in the top 3 of consumer wants.  90% of people only ever take "snapshots".
I'd say outside if screen size, a good camera is the #1 feature people look for. And by people I mean non nerds.
 

SumnerH

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This doesn't pass the smell test to me. To most people I talk to, the type of phone (smart vs. other) which network it's on, the OS, price, battery life, and form factor (including screen size) are all more important than camera quality.  Camera quality might be 6th or 7th, but it's down in the "shit that doesn't really make a difference" category compared to those.  Almost nobody selects their phone because of the camera, compared to how many will rule out Sprint or AT&T entirely, or pick the iphone because it's an iphone, or because they got a really good price on the phone/plan, or even because of the  screen size.  I'd even say that voice quality is something I hear more people care about than camera quality.
 
Just look at this forum, we get tons of questions about which network to choose or coverage, about pricing plans, and discussing battery life.  Questions about camera quality are comparatively rare.
 
Unfortunately it's tough to find any real data.  Googling "most important phone features poll", of the first few polls this one didn't think camera quality was even worth asking about, this one had camera quality 5th, this one didn't include camera, this one had camera 6th, this one had camera 5th.  They're virtually unanimous in putting battery life and network quality near the top of the list.  Some of them are smartphone only polls so that question is just assumed.  Obviously none of them are scientific, but that basically agrees with both my personal experience and what we see posted here.
 
 
jayhoz said:
 
90% of people only ever take "snapshots".
 
Exactly.  That's why camera quality isn't that big a deal for most people.