Jump to content

Smartphone Recommendations?


TrevMUN
 Share

Recommended Posts

I mentioned in another thread that I've got a hand-me-down iPhone 5S I've been using since 2016. Originally I planned to keep using that until the phone finally breaks down irreparably, but to my chagrin I found out that due to the planned shut down of the 3G networks in America early next year, I've no choice but to get a new phone soon.

So I'm wondering if anyone here who uses smartphones has recommendations. As far as usage goes, I'm not looking for some high-end phone that can double as a gaming device. I mainly just talk and text, surf the web, and listen to YouTube videos while driving via Bluetooth/USB hookup. I do use apps, especially now that some sites don't simply just do 2FA but specifically require you to use a security app like Duo Mobile or something.

I've had some interest in alternative phones, and I'd like your opinions on those as well. I really liked Purism's privacy-oriented Librem 5 with its hardware killswitches that physically disconnect components, but it's ridiculously expensive for a phone that's roughly on par with 2013 phones and even then I'd be waiting well over a year if I ordered one. The Pinephone, which is all about open source and has some a (less user friendly) set of killswitches too, is a lot more reasonably priced ($149~$199) but it's still a phone with 2013-ish specs. I've read some comparison reviews on both, as well as a one-year review of the Pinephone.

I also really liked the concept behind the Fairphone 4 since it's about longevity, repairability, and reducing e-waste, and for a phone that costs about $670 its specs are not too far behind current mainline phones. But the phone only ships within the EU and even if I could get one via a reseller, compatibility with frequencies used by American networks is iffy. There's also a Canadian company called Xfone that's refurbishing Google Pixel 3As, wiping Android and installing Ubuntu Touch on them instead (and using Waydroid to allow for Android app compatibility) ... but I wonder if it would be worth the $325 (in USD) compared to just getting a refurbished Pixel 3A for $150 and doing it myself ... if I can.

On the other hand there's a German company that's come out with the Volla Phone, which does have a "worldwide" edition that would cost about $420 after customs, and apparently Volla OS does have Android app compatibility (with the exception of paid apps relying on Android Play Services, but I don't use paid apps). The warning that it's only CE certified makes me wonder if there would be issues getting one stateside. It also would have similar compatibility issues with the 4G networks in America as the Fairphone 4 would, as it uses frequencies 800 / 850 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 MHz.

Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions on phones or opinions on these alternative phones I've been looking at, I could use some advice. I've got until the end of the year, since my provider's 3G network's going down come January 2022.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


The scrap vulture in me doesn't invest any amount of money in this flat technology. Just wait for someone you know to have a smartphone in stock, that isn't needed anymore. And then you can save a lot of money. And you also don't have to worry about getting the wrong model, as no big investment was done!

At least the 2G EDGE network is a fallback too, but the web browsing speed will probably not be your taste. Ehm... you still have 2G in your area, right?

If you neither want to support Apple nor Google, maybe Jolla with its Sailfish OS is worth a look. But as these devices are quite rare and the prices for used phones are still high.

How was the battery life of your old iPhone 5S? Did it got the battery replaced already? Please correct me, if I'm wrong, but that model didn't allow you to open the case I think. But skilled people could do a battery replace even if the company tried everything to throw stones in their way.
Of course life would be easier, if the battery could be exchanged by hand. All I can say is that my mobile phone is 13 years old and runs on its third battery now (replaced this year). I'm glad that the phone companies opened up their devices in the past, but now? It's difficult to replace a battery on your own. Depends of course how long you plan to use your phone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recommend anything that got no replaceable battery, is spying you 24/7, is unrepairairable because those are you benefits. Ok not really just tired some actually thinking those are plus.

 

1 hour ago, TrevMUN said:

So I'm wondering if anyone here who uses smartphones has recommendations. As far as usage goes, I'm not looking for some high-end phone that can double as a gaming device. I mainly just talk and text, surf the web, and listen to YouTube videos while driving via Bluetooth/USB hookup. I do use apps, especially now that some sites don't simply just do 2FA but specifically require you to use a security app like Duo Mobile or something.

I've had some interest in alternative phones, and I'd like your opinions on those as well. I really liked Purism's privacy-oriented Librem 5 with its hardware killswitches that physically disconnect components, but it's ridiculously expensive for a phone that's roughly on par with 2013 phones and even then I'd be waiting well over a year if I ordered one. The Pinephone, which is all about open source and has some a (less user friendly) set of killswitches too, is a lot more reasonably priced ($149~$199) but it's still a phone with 2013-ish specs. I've read some comparison reviews on both, as well as a one-year review of the Pinephone.

I also really liked the concept behind the Fairphone 4 since it's about longevity, repairability, and reducing e-waste, and for a phone that costs about $670 its specs are not too far behind current mainline phones. But the phone only ships within the EU and even if I could get one via a reseller, compatibility with frequencies used by American networks is iffy. There's also a Canadian company called Xfone that's refurbishing Google Pixel 3As, wiping Android and installing Ubuntu Touch on them instead (and using Waydroid to allow for Android app compatibility) ... but I wonder if it would be worth the $325 (in USD) compared to just getting a refurbished Pixel 3A for $150 and doing it myself ... if I can.

Liberm 5 is decent but I would recommend fairphone more than it but US uses weird freqs . I also would recommend wait new Pinephone pro to come out. It can be basically used as small laptop with keyboard case it will have.

 

Just because they cost wont automatically mean bad. Those are cheaper than flagship phones, but those will last longer than others and can service. Consider long term

I got no smartphone, still got old nokia brick but that wont mean i wont have experience with smartphones since many around me got them. I know one who got early pinephone and had change to mess with KDE mobile I think was what os was called. Pinephone pro will actual be better. Also swapped fairphone camera module once to one after it got beaten. I did not have say any cursewords while replacing module which means non as***** design.

If want go maxium security and privacy use free and open source applications that been verified not to send unneeded requests, for example brave, firefox, waterfox and some other "privacy" browsers that are open source send lot of data from you to maker.

For gaming I do not know. I never understood so called "gaming phones". I did want nokia N-gage as kid but that had actual commercial releases and not ad infested pay to win trash and had bluetooth multiplayer or GPRS (Watch out when parents found out your phone bill for doingn that). I never got one and grew past phone video gaming. I only play snake or memory game that were on 6110, nothing else. Investing tons to cell phones to play games is stupid for me. Also playing youtube wont need latest flagship hw. If you are watching youtube with android use newpipe that is less bloated

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Gansangriff said:

At least the 2G EDGE network is a fallback too, but the web browsing speed will probably not be your taste. Ehm... you still have 2G in your area, right?

united states still got full 2g operational despite they claim otherwise. I got friend in states and he knows. They also said german had 2g shut down but apparently not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  I tried looking into Jolla and although they list a number of Jolla-branded devices on their site, they only appear to sell licenses for the SailfishOS. I wonder where you'd even buy one if they don't sell them themselves ...

3 minutes ago, Gansangriff said:

At least the 2G EDGE network is a fallback too, but the web browsing speed will probably not be your taste. Ehm... you still have 2G in your area, right?

I looked it up and found that 2G's getting the axe, too. Verizon already shut down their network, T-Mobile's slated to do so early 2023. Sprint's 2G network will go offline with their 3G network early next year. Also, Sprint's 4G LTE network is going down mid-next year.

It seems like, if I want the most longevity out of my next phone, I should focus on one that's natively 5G.

9 minutes ago, Gansangriff said:

How was the battery life of your old iPhone 5S? Did it got the battery replaced already? Please correct me, if I'm wrong, but that model didn't allow you to open the case I think. But skilled people could do a battery replace even if the company tried everything to throw stones in their way.

Yeah, I've had to get the battery replaced a few times. One annoying thing about these batteries is that they swell up with age. Which would not only be a fire hazard if they were damaged, but they also destroy other parts of the phone as they expand. The cell phone repair place I go to (I don't bother with the Apple Store since they charge a ridiculous amount and they told me upfront they wipe the phones regardless of whether or not there's software issues ... to heck with that!) had to swap out the screen on my phone when the original battery swelled up so much that it cracked the screen!

But the battery and even screen replacements were relatively inexpensive, especially compared to buying a new (or used) phone. I'd been hoping someone would come up with graphene battery replacements ... Speaking of which I should look into a replacement battery for my laptop, since it barely holds a charge now.

13 minutes ago, Mr.Scienceman2000 said:

Liberm 5 is decent but I would recommend fairphone more than it but US uses weird freqs . I also would recommend wait new Pinephone pro to come out. It can be basically used as small laptop with keyboard case it will have.

PinePhone Pro would be interesting, but I don't think I can hold out for it. it looks like the Explorer Edition won't be shipped to customers until early 2022, and my provider's 3G network goes down in January ... also, I wonder if the PinePhone Pro's modem can handle 5G natively or not.

7 minutes ago, Mr.Scienceman2000 said:

For gaming I do not know. I never understood so called "gaming phones".

Yeah, I don't really understand them, either. It's already annoying enough to try and type on a smartphone's touchscreen, I can't imagine seriously gaming on one. I prefer a dedicated handheld gaming console, like the Nintendo Switch or the Steam Deck. (I've got a Switch in fact.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

26 minutes ago, TrevMUN said:

I looked it up and found that 2G's getting the axe, too. Verizon already shut down their network, T-Mobile's slated to do so early 2023. Sprint's 2G network will go offline with their 3G network early next year.

I am pretty sure consumers will be blocked accessing to it lets wait first internet failure and see how long those band aid soluctions to voice over 5g or 4g data will last. Here we had that failing once and I was one few who was able to call still on "bad ooooooold phone". Reason to fail was network switch misconfiguration that also took down all internet connectivity. Everyone was happy ignore root of issue. What is worse goverment will move Viranomaisverkko which is tetra radio based network used to critical power plants, police, fire dep first aid etc. to 4G. That felt like bad joke first. They really plan rely all critical comms to publicly traded companies and wait until network is hacked or crashes.

33 minutes ago, TrevMUN said:

Also, Sprint's 4G LTE network is going down mid-next year.

 are you kidding me? They close 4g in states already too. We will return back to bad old days when cellphones had tall antenna you had to pull out to have any type reception and if you moved at all lost reception. 5G issue is was able make it drop to 4g on friend phone with piece of metal. Technology did complete 360 but as worse than before. I guess we are back to smoke signals or drums soon to communicate...

I have made my decision. If they kill 2g I will go to HAM radio, those can be encrypted, are decentralised and wont rely central tower to work.

I plan get radio amateur licence next year. I need it to be allowed use radio without traficom tracking me down and fine me.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, TrevMUN said:

but to my chagrin I found out that due to the planned shut down of the 3G networks in America early next year, I've no choice but to get a new phone soon.

I personally do not own a phone (no land line, no cell phone, do all my calls for free from the computer [well, I pay for internet service, obviously]).

My neighbor is currently being hit with the same no-3G early next year.

Her company only pays out an annual "stipend" of $600.

She is basically being forced to upgrade her phone and everything is all 5G and she's looking at $2,000 for a new phone!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Mr.Scienceman2000 said:

I am pretty sure consumers will be blocked accessing to it lets wait first internet failure and see how long those band aid soluctions to voice over 5g or 4g data will last. Here we had that failing once and I was one few who was able to call still on "bad ooooooold phone". Reason to fail was network switch misconfiguration that also took down all internet connectivity. Everyone was happy ignore root of issue.

That would be great if it worked out that way! I guess it depends on how they go about decommissioning the networks. Once they start shutting the towers down and dismantling them, though ...

This is one reason why I liked the idea of phones that allow users to replace the parts themselves, even upgrade them. At least then, there'd be the potential to, say, swap out the modem as networks and technologies change.

At least with the iPhone 5S, even without a SIM card it's still possible to use non-cellular functions over wifi, so I'll still be able to get some use out of the thing even after 3G goes down.

24 minutes ago, Mr.Scienceman2000 said:

are you kidding me? They close 4g in states already too. We will return back to bad old days when cellphones had tall antenna you had to pull out to have any type reception and if you moved at all lost reception.

Yeah. I did some looking and it seems to be related to Sprint's merger with T-Mobile, at least for now. Though it does make me wonder why they're doing that. Several carriers, including my current provider, rely on Sprint's network.

Speaking of that, I double checked and it looks like Sprint's revised their timetable for shutting down the 3G network to the end of March next year, not January. But I still wonder, if I were to get the PinePhone Pro, if one would arrive before the shutdown date. I'd still need to figure out whether or not my provider'll grandfather in a replacement phone into my current plan or not. (Probably not, but it wouldn't hurt to check.)

22 minutes ago, ArcticFoxie said:

She is basically being forced to upgrade her phone and everything is all 5G and she's looking at $2,000 for a new phone!

Jeez. What phones was she looking at? I know the iPhone 13 lineup is well over the $1,000 mark. And Purism sells a version of the Librem 5 which is made entirely in America for those worried about supply chain shenanigans or espionage thereof that's right around $2,000 ... Purism even goes so far as to offer an "anti-interdiction service" to make sure no one slips spyware or backdoors into a phone during shipping.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, ArcticFoxie said:

She is basically being forced to upgrade her phone and everything is all 5G and she's looking at $2,000 for a new phone!

i can get decent used car with that money!! Someone really is going to waste 2000$ to wasteful toy that will die in year or two or right away when drops. I actually calculated and around 2000€ is what I spent on 6 fully functional easily servicable, user programmable desktop computers and one server rack together! Plus perihepals like like headphones, keyboard, old mini hi-fi system and others. And money been spent over five years period. How? I did not bought latest and greatest rather old good but cheap/free.

 

1 hour ago, ArcticFoxie said:

I personally do not own a phone (no land line, no cell phone, do all my calls for free from the computer [well, I pay for internet service, obviously])

 

out of curiosity what is voip software you use to call? Does it run on XP?

1 hour ago, TrevMUN said:

That would be great if it worked out that way! I guess it depends on how they go about decommissioning the networks. Once they start shutting the towers down and dismantling them, though ...

well they can always go backv when we some point realised all was f***ed up. I would say best is keep 2g for voice calls/slow data and then have second band for data only. You do not need to watch cat videos when you call to someone. Why did we had to sell telecom finland (later sonera) to swedish telia. We lost landlines and FAX others since it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Mr.Scienceman2000 said:

out of curiosity what is voip software you use to call? Does it run on XP?

360Chrome v12+ (does not work on v11).  Current default is 360Chrome v13.5.  Yep, both work on XP.

I use Google Voice tied to a former employer's email address (that I still do consultant work for from time to time).

I believe in Privacy Rights but at the same time have no desire to live in a shack in the hills with no electricity and only an outhouse for a restroom and a horse to tie to the light pole when I run into town.

I don't believe in Privacy Rights to such an extreme where I can't bring myself to using Google versus DuckDuckGo and so Google Voice it is, free, zero phone bill, free texting, free phone calls.

If you own a computer and it is connected to the internet, don't kid yourself for one second into thinking you "live off the grid" no matter how many hoops you jump through in the name of "privacy" and "security".

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, ArcticFoxie said:

 

I use Google Voice tied to a former employer's email address (that I still do consultant work for from time to time).

I believe in Privacy Rights but at the same time have no desire to live in a shack in the hills with no electricity and only an outhouse for a restroom and a horse to tie to the light pole when I run into town.

I don't believe in Privacy Rights to such an extreme where I can't bring myself to using Google versus DuckDuckGo and so Google Voice it is, free, zero phone bill, free texting, free phone calls.

If you own a computer and it is connected to the internet, don't kid yourself for one second into thinking you "live off the grid" no matter how many hoops you jump through in the name of "privacy" and "security".

seems we share something in common Privacy rights but not privacy stupidity. And at the end nobody knows if those paid "good" services would not do same as evil google. I use gmail for email just because it is free and I need email sometimes and prefer use IRLTalk to other. Sure I cannot use google chrome (rare expection is ungoogled) or other but you need to give evil a bit to make it.

I wont use fbibook or others, I wont use all fancy spyware applications of today but like you said only way true privacy is live in hills.

Edited by Mr.Scienceman2000
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a side note, OT but not much, here (Italy) "they" are pushing what "they" call fiber (it isn't, it is fiber up to the street box, then it is a sort of DSL, good if you are within 300-400 meters from the box, not so good if you are 900 meters or more) coupling the internet service with telephony (over the internet) in a single contract (actually I would say relatively cheap, if compared to the US $ numbers I see around).

One of the good things of traditional land line was that it was powered by the telephone hub side, so, in case of emergency (local blackout or similar) the phone actually continued to work in most cases and you could call - say - the electricity company or the electrician (or generic help), the actual telephones are (were) practically indestructible and unless the actual cable was cut it was rather rare that the system does not work.

With the new approach you should now have (and maintain efficient) an UPS to power your router to have the same kind of possibility though these routers are not probably as reliable as traditional phones (that you need anyway), once the *whatever may go wrong* was almost exclusively outside your house, now a large part of it is inside it.

jaclaz

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've no idea what I'd buy, maybe Fairphone 4 if the only choice is to buy a brick. Seems nobody is making smartphones which you can normally hold in one hand and reach all parts of the screen with a thumb anymore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The more I look into the whole 3G network shutdown thing and what that might mean for 4G, LTE, and so on, and whether or not any of the phones I've listed here (aside from the Fairphone, which explicitly says it's 5G ready) would work natively on 4G or 5G networks, the more I'm left with more questions than answers.

For example, regarding my iPhone 5S. Through this article I found that there are four different hardware versions of the iPhone 5S (and 5C) that each have their own unique selection of frequencies they support. My iPhone is Model A1453, which supports the most frequencies out of that list, including UTMS and LTE.

Though I think I just found an article which explains why the iPhone 5S is going to get left out in the cold in spite of being able to use 4G networks and seemingly supporting 4G frequencies. "To be clear, 4G LTE networks did not replace 3G UMTS but rather co-existed so that when a phone user is in an area where LTE coverage is not available, they can still access the mobile network through 3G UMTS." That's probably what's going on here with the iPhone 5S and 5C models. But I wonder if that's also true of things like the Volla, Pinephone, and Librem 5.

Speaking of which, I found out about another alternate phone: Teracube, whose shtick is similar to Fairphone in that its mission is longevity and sustainability. Like the Fairphone, Teracube runs Android and has none of the killswitches in the Librem 5 and PinePhone. Though, given Teracube's company seems to be based in America, that should mean the phone would be better suited to using American networks compared to the Fairphone. The detailed specs on the Teracube 2E look like that this would beat out the Pinephone Pro, but not the Fairphone 4. One thing that concerns me is the mention of "4G LTE" as far as networking goes without any further detail. Last I heard this phone was going for $200, but it's sold out right now.

Boy, it kinda sucks to have to worry about this kind of thing in the middle of a supply chain clown show.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, TrevMUN said:

"To be clear, 4G LTE networks did not replace 3G UMTS but rather co-existed so that when a phone user is in an area where LTE coverage is not available, they can still access the mobile network through 3G UMTS."

seems they forget that already. Like they forget GSM supposed be STANDARD so you would not need multiple handsets, but that is not companies want. They want to milk you off as much as can and some actually like it. We live in world of consumertards who enjoy anticonsumer practises.

2 hours ago, TrevMUN said:

Boy, it kinda sucks to have to worry about this kind of thing in the middle of a supply chain clown show.

well few years you and others will complain from 5g shutdown since 6g is out and few years 7g is out and everyone will complain from 6g shutdown and then 8g comes out and closes 7g but you are no longer allowed complain from it for your benefit because big corpos know it better.

Supply chain shortage is our own fault and cannot be blamed on covid. Why we need stuff computer into every single device and connect it to internet? I guess soon spoons will need wifi to eat food and will sell what you eat and how much to insurance company so they can increase insurance costs based on it. My old UPO fridge works perfectly fine without internet, so does my kotikokki oven and my Hyundai microvawe and others so why they would need it? Oh yeah to sell my data to companies...

And same time we all sudden care from environment but wont change our wasteful consumertarism practises that does it way worse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...