Shopping for a new Android phone

GasBandit

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#1
It's getting to the point where I am going to have to retire my LG G3, which I'm rather grumpy about because it (mostly) works fine. It does have a few problems, though -

1) First and foremost, updating it past Kitkat causes massive performance problems. It's a 2 gig phone with a snapdragon 801. Not the beefiest thing out there by any measure.

2) The inability to update the OS means other problems, like I can't patch the latest bluetooth vulnerability, which means there's serious security concerns.

3) The quad HD screen is battery thirsty. I usually unplug and leave for work around 10am, and by the time I get home at 7pm I'm usually down to 30-40% with only moderate non-gaming use. Frequently, I'll need a mid-afternoon recharge if I've had to do a lot of texting that day. And that's with the screen set to 25-30% brightness. Besides, 1440p is kind of overkill for a 5.5" screen.

4) The GPS and Bluetooth have always been a bit unreliable, and the phone often needs to be rebooted (about once a week) to restore their functionality.

Aside from that, though, it's been a pretty reliable handheld and has had good performance, which is still the case. So I am a bit resentful that I'm going to have to upgrade.

Now that I've gotten THAT bit of whining out of the way, here are the phones I've got my eye on to replace it, keeping in mind one of my requirements is that the phone must support CDMA because I'm on Verizon, and that's unlikely to change in the near future.

Option 1: Google Pixel
Pros:
1) Good Performance - 4 gigs of ram, Snapdragon 821 CPU, reviewers rave about the performance
2) Stock android with timely and frequent updates since it is a google-branded phone unlocked from any one provider, longest support window.
3) Metal and Glass construction
Cons:
1) No SD storage
2) Fucking expensive ($600+)
3) Battery life is nothing special (reportedly similar to my experiences with the G3)
Verdict - this is the phone I probably really want, but my toes curl at the prospect of dropping 600+ fucking dollars on a phone.

Option 2: Google Nexus 5X
Pros:
1) Modestly Priced - can be had now for $250
2) Unlocked, Stock android for timely and frequent updates
Cons:
1) Plastic construction
2) Nearing end of support life (Sep 2018)
3) Noticeable performance hitches (2gb ram)... feels like I might be rebuying the same performance.
3) No SD storage
Verdict - While not as good as some other phones, it's still in the running for me to get that unlocked stock android experience - and the updates that come with it. I really hate having to be shackled to a carrier for updates and having to use their monkeyed-with Android builds.

Option 3: LG G5
Pros:
1) Reasonably Priced - can be had for $300 unlocked
2) Good performance - 4 gigs of RAM, Snapdragon 821
3) Fancy amenities and addons, metal construction
Cons:
1) Battery life is reportedly even worse than the G3 - compounded by no wireless charging and USB-C. It is removable... but let's be honest I'm not buying more batteries to carry around.
2) I may not have to be shackled to verizon, but I'll still have to wait on LG for Android updates.
Verdict: I was really hoping to get a google phone for the updates, but their shift to the more expensive end recently may force me to consider other options, and this is one of the more likely ones.

Option 4: Galaxy S7
Pros:
1) Good Performance (4gigs of ram, Snapdragon 820)
2) Really good battery life (3600 mAh instead of the usual 2800 or less)
3) Waterproof Construction
Cons:
1) Non-stock Android, bloatware
2) Slightly expensive - can be had for $400
Verdict - I tend to shy away from Samsung products, but this one looks pretty darn good. It's not as expensive as the Pixel but delivers similar performance and good battery life. The downside is the samsung-branded version of android. I hear they're pretty quick with updates, but I was hoping for the stock UI experience this time around.

Anybody have any other phones they would suggest? I'm halfheartedly also looking at the HTC 10 as a possible option that falls between the LG G5 and the Samsung Galaxy S7. But only halfheartedly.
 
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#4
There's already a new Pixel announced afaik. If there isn't, then, uh, I said nothing.

That said, I have a Pixel because my husband works at Qualcomm and basically picks my phones for me based on how (not) annoying the phones are to deal with at work. :p
 

GasBandit

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#5
They've already been leaking stats for the Pixel 2, I guess smart money probably would be to wait for the Pixel 1 price drop.
 
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#7
Until 10pm PST tonight or sellout, woot.com is selling refurbished 32GB black Pixel for $400 (before tax and shipping), all other combos sold out.

My LG G3 had well-known screen flickering problems, then wifi problems at nearly 2 years old, so I switched over to the Nexus 5X. But then that phone had the bootloop problem and replaced under warranty. The only advantages I felt the LG G3 had were better and larger screen, and slightly better camera. It was the only non-Nexus Android phone I've had (HTC Nexus One, Samsung Galaxy Nexus), and it makes me want to stick with Nexus/Pixel as long as someone other than LG makes them (LG also made the Nexus 5X).

I'd wait until the Pixel 2 comes out and then decide on Pixel 1 or 2.
 
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#8
I thought, "Why aren't you even considering the Nokia 6?" ... and then I found out they don't do Verizon.

--Patrick
 
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#11
I'd throw in a vote for the Huawei P10 (lite), but their bloatware's worse than Samsung's and their update schedule sucks.
 
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#12
Well, I waited for the pixel 2 to convince me otherwise, but the sheer processing power difference, as well as other minor quibbles, means I'm sticking with iPhone for now.

Text for those not interested in video:
http://www.androidauthority.com/why-are-apples-chips-faster-than-qualcomms-gary-explains-802738/

[DOUBLEPOST=1507209462,1507209368][/DOUBLEPOST]The pixel 2 comes with the qualcomm 835 mentioned in the video, so the comparison stands despite not having benchmarks on the pixel 2 yet. I expect there'll be a bit of a bump, google should get a bit more performance out of it, but it's not going to eclipse the A11.
 
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#13
@steinman I have to disagree, but not on the facts, but on the usefulness of such. I'd say that the main thing most people want in their phones is simple: is the UI fast or not? Everything should be fast, and come up instantly. Almost everything else is secondary to that. When talking about High Performance Computing you're not talking about your phone, so most of those numbers don't matter at all.

You can have a super-responsive UI on an original Macintosh. In fact, it did. VERY fast. So did DOS/text/ncurses-based GUIs. Somewhere along the line we've lost that for many devices, but it's not for lack of performance in the chips. Thus why I almost always pay more attention to reviews based on applications I actually use (games in the case of PCs) and general UI responsiveness through typical tasks when it comes to phones. The first is usually pretty easy to do (average FPS and time beyond certain ms measurements), but the second is highly subjective.

Basically, almost all of what I mention for phones has little to do with the processor. A lot of it is how much bloat (or not) is on your phone.
 
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#14
I mean, we've talked in the previous thread about how iOS tends to be a lot snappier in response.


Android flagships tend to catch up when *loading* mobile game assets because they have more RAM (though as someone working in the mobile game space, most developers are very clear to me that iPhones usually *perform* much better once the assets are loaded).

BUT since that is not the point of this thread, @GasBandit, if you can justify it after the price drop with Pixel 2 coming out, I would go for the Pixel or the S7 on this list. I will cop to bias - I have a bunch of Google employee friends and they LOVE their Pixels, and notably were only mostly tolerating of their Nexus phones (crappy performance, but free for employees and had no bloat), and the camera is truly fantastic.

My mobile gamedev buddies who have Android phones liked the S7 at the time very much (many of them are on S8s now) because it's a super high performer with a gorgeous screen.
 
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#15
I'd say that the main thing most people want in their phones is simple: is the UI fast or not? Everything should be fast, and come up instantly. Almost everything else is secondary to that.
I agree, but it's only recently that Android has come close to the UI responsiveness of the iPhone.

The comparisons between the latest snapdragon 835 based android and the iphone 8 so far don't mention a discrepancy in UI responsiveness, so I assume that the problems android had architecturally with UI responsiveness a few years ago (when the difference was staggering) have been resolved.

So unless there's significantly better responsiveness on the android (and so far it appears not) then the underlying power does come into play with actual application speed. These phones take 4k videos, and if you decide you want to send one to youtube, the recompression takes a lot longer on the 835 than the a11.
 

GasBandit

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#16
BUT since that is not the point of this thread, @GasBandit, if you can justify it after the price drop with Pixel 2 coming out, I would go for the Pixel
That is my tentative plan, at this point. And I just got e-mails from Verizon today about buying the "new pixel 2," so it shouldn't be long now.
 
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#17
Hmm...might you also consider the CAT S41? If nothing else, its ginormous battery might keep that dreaded icon at bay. Also, you (theoretically) wouldn't have to buy a case. The CAT S31 is similar, though smaller (and presumably cheaper).

--Patrick
 
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#20
That one unfortunately is a no-go for me, as it is GSM only. I still need CDMA. Preferably both.
Ah! I didn't realize that it wasn't CDMA. I didn't even look for that.
Only for another 4 years or so:
http://www.fiercewireless.com/wirel...ess-to-sunset-2g-and-3g-cdma-networks-by-2021
I'm sure sprint will follow suit. Phone manufacturers are anxious to leave CDMA behind, along with all its royalties and other issues.
The reason everyone's so anxious to leave CDMA behind is probably 90% related to Qualcomm's stance on FRAND pricing and their reluctance to lose their income stream...they're like a 21st-Century Kodak, convincing themselves that they will stay relevant in spite of technology shifts.

--Patrick
 
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#21
LTE FTW.

Unfortunately I didn't realize Apple was going to screw half their iPhone X's over and choose a chipset that doesn't support CDMA. Had I understood it I'd have ordered the verizon model rather than the AT&T model. Once of the reasons I stuck with them when I got the 6 was because I knew I could move it from network to network without issue (and I have).

Oh well. Boo on me for not doing my homework prior to ordering.
 
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#25
Nah. Aussie and I have this phone. The battery life was really bad until I updated to Oreo. But then the wifi started randomly shutting itself off when the phone would sleep. I ended up doing a factory reset last night as a last resort to fix it. We're both looking at getting the Pixel or Pixel 2 after Christmas.
 
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#27
From what I've heard the Essential phone got patches that fixed it's camera issues. Now making it a cheaper flagship level android phone that no one is buying because of a bad start. Of course I'm pretty sure it's GSM only so doesn't really help this conversation.
 
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#29
Hrm.

That's not good.

In the middle of sending a text, my LG3 just turned black. Won't turn back on.
Try a new battery, or an older battery you might still have lying around that didn't fully die. For whatever reason, LG designs their phones so if the battery goes bad in a particular way it won't turn on even when plugged into a charger, and some won't turn on with the battery removed and plugged into a charger.

I can only guess they've done it on purpose, but whatever. A new battery is a cheap test.

Black screen, no response is the symptom.
 

GasBandit

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#30
Ok, tried a battery pull... that got it to turn on briefly with the phillips "Life's Good" power on screen... then black. And it won't turn on/off again without another battery pull. But then it goes back to black again.[DOUBLEPOST=1513015291,1513015212][/DOUBLEPOST]
Try a new battery, or an older battery you might still have lying around that didn't fully die. For whatever reason, LG designs their phones so if the battery goes bad in a particular way it won't turn on even when plugged into a charger, and some won't turn on with the battery removed and plugged into a charger.

I can only guess they've done it on purpose, but whatever. A new battery is a cheap test.

Black screen, no response is the symptom.
Unfortunately, I don't have another battery for it. Hrmmmmm.
 
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#31
Ok, tried a battery pull... that got it to turn on briefly with the phillips "Life's Good" power on screen... then black. And it won't turn on/off again without another battery pull. But then it goes back to black again.[DOUBLEPOST=1513015291,1513015212][/DOUBLEPOST]
Unfortunately, I don't have another battery for it. Hrmmmmm.
If you go to one of those mall cellphone kiosks, or your carrier's store, they will test your phone with a new battery and tell you if that's all you need for free. It's a chunk of time, and batteries at those places are expensive, but at least you'll know quickly.
 

GasBandit

Staff member
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#32
If you go to one of those mall cellphone kiosks, or your carrier's store, they will test your phone with a new battery and tell you if that's all you need for free. It's a chunk of time, and batteries at those places are expensive, but at least you'll know quickly.
I just got off the phone with the local verizon store, and the LG3 is too old for them to keep batteries for it on hand. I'm going to try Batteries Plus.[DOUBLEPOST=1513016526,1513016158][/DOUBLEPOST]They do have them, and they'll let me try in the store to see if that fixes it. So. Fingers crossed.
 

GasBandit

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#34
Welp, it wasn't the battery. New battery, it still fails to boot.

Sooooo, my Pixel should be here Wednesday, I guess.

Meantime, I sure hope I don't need to do any 2-factor authentication :/
 
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#35
Welp, it wasn't the battery. New battery, it still fails to boot.

Sooooo, my Pixel should be here Wednesday, I guess.

Meantime, I sure hope I don't need to do any 2-factor authentication :/
For the Pixel setup itself! That should be interesting.
 
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