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Smartphone Recommendations?


TrevMUN
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This discussion finally prompted me to check how's signal coverage in my country. WOW, we have everything from 2G to 5G. My carier states:

  • 5G: 37,5%
  • 4G+/LTE-Advanced: 97,62%
  • 4G/LTE: 99%
  • UMTS (3G): 99,75%
  • GSM (2G): 99,32%

With a disclaimer to leave space for some leeway as these are apparently computed.

Checked my 8 years old phone as well, it does LTE 4G max.

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Good to hear of your experiences with Fairphone and e/OS @TrevMUN. It's the direction I'm leaning towards when my current one decides to crap out. It runs unofficial LineageOS port compiled by some kind soul over at XDA. It's a bit rough around the edges, ART cache consumes way too much storage space and video playback tends to induce massive memory leaks over time on the kernel side, requiring a reboot.

Edited by UCyborg
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  • 5 months later...

Anyone heard of Unihertz? They basically make smartphones that don't cater to mainstream trends. Atom L is small + has IP68 rating. The latter may not be an actual overkill for me since I'm clumsy... Chinese brand, but does it even matter since almost everything = Made in China?

One thing I don't like about Fairphone 4, it's still big...I prefer to be able to use it with a single hand, though maybe that's actually better when it comes repairability? The only other smaller model besides the one from Unihertz that I found is Asus Zenfone 9 (or 8).

I'm still lost. The speaker died on my Xperia E3. It lasted 8 years, which I guess is better than the average 2 years people seem to throw them out for whatever reason. And I dropped it few times... Saw some guy on YouTube that took apart similar one and just soldered some copper wire from the speaker that was off and it worked. I'm not a handy person though.

Edited by UCyborg
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I had used a Galaxy S4 for the past... idk 5 years or something. The first one had melted a chip inside and resulted in sound not working for anything besides a phone call. I had bought another S4 on Ebay and it was OK but the call quality was terrible. I was really really concerned with the fact that "modern" phones have a non-removable battery and didn't like the idea of getting one of those. About a month ago I got a letter ( ! ) from my carrier saying my phone will stop working because it uses 3G for talk/text and I had to get a new one. It seems they are going to turn off those radios and I think it may be a nationwide change because the prices on used phones have gone up a decent amount in the past couple of months. So unfortunately this not only limits the selection, but ended up pushing the removable battery phones that support my carrier's network out of my price range.

I use this site to compare phone specs

https://www.gsmarena.com/

It doesn't have everything under the sun but does have a lot more brands than I've ever heard of. So it doesn't have unihertz for example.

I ended up getting a Galaxy S7, which has a battery I can't take out but the price is still low enough (comparatively) that if it can last a few years that will be good enough.

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Unihertz are among the very few that make nice small phones (everyone is going 5-6" size or bigger).

An alternative (do you remember the times when a cellular phone was called "handy") is Cubot (another Chinese brand).

I quickly bought one of their "rugged" 4" ones when it became compulsory to scan people's "green pass" (for COVID 19 vaccination) and needed a small, tough device.

Cannot really say how it works as a phone, for what I bought it (checking QR codes to validate with the Italian app) it worked just fine, and having costed around 120 Euro, it has well repaid itself, the one I have is the King Kong Mini, it is very heavy for the size, but has a good grip with one hand, the "rugged" is more esthetics than actual protection/ruggedness, but it contributes to avoid it slippong from your hand.

They made a new version:

https://www.cubot.net/Smartphones/KingKong-mini-2

and a "pro" version:

https://www.cubot.net/Smartphones/Kingkong-mini2-pro

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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7 hours ago, Tripredacus said:

I had used a Galaxy S4 for the past... idk 5 years or something. The first one had melted a chip inside and resulted in sound not working for anything besides a phone call.

Oh, that sucks. Mine seems to have something loose in the speaker area. The microphone and the loudspeaker (one for calls, at the upper side) are still fine. I took the back cover off and didn't like what I saw. I think I'll just break it if I try to pry it open back there.

I did try something, I basically rubbed the cover where the speaker lies beneath gently with a small downward force and now it makes sound again, but for how long? 1 day? 1 month? Kinda hoped I'd make it to year 10 at least. :D I did notice intermittent problem with missing SMS notification sound in the last year, I thought it was just OS being glitchy, but now I'm thinking it was the hardware issue I'm currently experiencing all along.

I did see this video, it doesn't show putting it back together. And I'm puzzled by what I'm seeing at 2:02. See the left side? That's where the speaker is supposed to be...the whole left side just looks like part of its mainboard without much interesting on top. Maybe it's supposed to be like that and my inexperienced eyes just don't see it. Or it's on the other side? But why would it be, there's a speaker opening on the back cover. Sorry, probably not making sense.

7 hours ago, Tripredacus said:

I was really really concerned with the fact that "modern" phones have a non-removable battery and didn't like the idea of getting one of those.

I was hesitant about it, but was in a bit of a hurry with purchasing new phone back then, the previous Samsung Galaxy Mini's battery fared significantly worse plus my carrier of the time offered this model dirt cheap. I'm surprised at how the battery in this Sony is faring along, still holds for 2 days with my lightweight use, eg. web browsing (no videos, of course!). A week on standby alone should be easy, though I haven't attempted to see how long it actually still lasts on standby.

5 hours ago, jaclaz said:

Unihertz are among the very few that make nice small phones (everyone is going 5-6" size or bigger).

An alternative (do you remember the times when a cellular phone was called "handy") is Cubot (another Chinese brand).

I do, seemed it was a bit simpler time, maybe Google was also less scummy?

Funny thing about what I saw on TV today, they were talking about the eternal modern issue with youth getting these devices as young as they do and encountering bad stuff on the internet and how parents should watch what content their children consume and so on and the footage with children being on their phones must have been from cca. 10 years ago, when smartphones were smaller and still had some hardware buttons below the touchscreen.

Thanks for bringing up Cubot, will keep it in mind. Right now, I'll try to hold up to the old one at least a little bit longer. Then, I'm not so sure yet, having a bit of difficulty deciding what aspect I should prioritize.

7 hours ago, Tripredacus said:

https://www.gsmarena.com/

It doesn't have everything under the sun but does have a lot more brands than I've ever heard of. So it doesn't have unihertz for example.

Aye, I always end up on this site when looking up phones.

Edited by UCyborg
Fixed typos as usual
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16 hours ago, UCyborg said:

A week on standby alone should be easy, though I haven't

Since my recent phone adventures have involved situations where I couldn't move everything over, even between the 2x S4, I had gone a little while running two phones. Of course one only worked normally and the other was in airplane mode or on wifi only because I took the sim out. Both of the S4 (the original + the replacement and the replacement + the S7) had no problem in keeping a battery charge for at least a month when in standby or off. It was only when the phone was on did it drain battery like no tomorrow. Especially those S4 batteries finally were really giving up the ghost, they would last maybe 8 hours of just being on with no apps "running" before the battery would die or get down to powersave mode. I think even though it would seem that the batteries were wearing out, that in fact it is the phone software that had been causing their fast draining. It is just too bad that there doesn't seem to be any real good way to strip all of the junk out of OS in the phone to actually make it usable.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The speaker is holding up, for now. I see Android 7 is slowly getting out of radar sight, statcounter lists its market share at 2.44%, Android 5 is at 1.26% , the older aren't listed specifically anymore. The forum for my phone model on XDA is deserted. So I guess things will stay as they are on the software front. I hate dalvik-cache folder eating hundreds of megabytes of space on internal storage.

On 9/20/2022 at 4:03 PM, Tripredacus said:

It is just too bad that there doesn't seem to be any real good way to strip all of the junk out of OS in the phone to actually make it usable.

Do you already know about Greenify?

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I use a Huawei P30 Lite that my daughter gave me years ago.
I was pleased to discover that it recently upgraded to EMUI 12.
I have blocked many preinstalled apps.
I don't use Firefox,I prefer Opera, because the Android version of FF compared to the desktop version has many limitations.
Like the lack of about:config access or the inability to set up a custom DNS over HTTPS connection.
With NEXT DNS I enabled among many other things the blocking of any trackers at the system level.
I do not use a VPN 

https://www.ghacks.net/2022/10/15/mullvad-android-may-leak-information-when-connected-to-a-vpn/

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On 10/17/2022 at 9:24 AM, Sampei.Nihira said:

Huawei P30 Lite

That one is not too old, only 3 years. Huawei apparently doesn't officially support unlocking bootloader anymore. I like to be able to tinker. :) I must have voided the warranty right away with the current one.

Thinking about the past models I used, I've always been tight with internal storage space, but these days, tens of gigabytes of space is the norm. :o

On 10/17/2022 at 9:24 AM, Sampei.Nihira said:

I don't use Firefox,I prefer Opera, because the Android version of FF compared to the desktop version has many limitations.

I settled on Via, while it may look like a random no-name browser just looking at it at the store and it doesn't support extensions, it does have some features you wouldn't expect, eg. listing direct media links, built-in ad blocker (uses AdBlock Plus lists I think), simple source code viewer.

The biggest thing though, the version I use currently is 4.0.5, its APK size reads 968.26 KiB, doesn't use extra native libraries, uses installed WebView to render web content, doesn't consume as much RAM as the bigger browsers where on a low RAM device, you may notice the Android will terminate home screen app just because you opened one or two web pages.

It also supports back-forward cache (instant back/forward navigation without reloading), not sure if mobile Chrome supports it these days, back when I installed Via for the first time, it wasn't a thing or maybe it could only be turned on in chrome://flags.

While Chromium WebView is rather complex, the impact of other parts that web browsers may rely on does not appear insignificant.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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