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Author Topic: Help me pick a midrange Android phone?  (Read 10419 times)
nosh
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« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2012, 02:32:00 AM »

Good luck finding that - and really, the screen on any phone is too small for that.

I've found this issue to be very dependent on the person doing the reading. I've read full ebooks off my Nokia S60's tiiiiny, crappy display. smiley And I see the difference between the older iPad and newer retina displays but once I start reading, I'm completely oblivious to it. Reading a book off a PC monitor, OTOH... why don't you just gouge my eyes out?
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daddydave
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« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2012, 05:18:31 AM »

Good luck finding that - and really, the screen on any phone is too small for that.

Should be an improvement over my previous devices (Palm Tungsten T3, Dell Axim x51v, iPod Touch 2) at any rate. I'm not expecting it to be a Kindle.

However, it depends on the reading material, too. I think if I am reading to learn, there is a real benefit to a bigger page, especially if I am dealing with charts, tables, source code listings, etc., and also because I seem to absorb some of it through peripheral vision. But a lot of my "ebooks" are things like RSS feeds and reference documents where that is less of an issue.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 09:41:54 AM by daddydave » Logged
daddydave
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« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2012, 05:35:42 AM »

Whatever you do, don't be tempted to get an older Galaxy S II unless it has Ice Cream Sandwich installed OEM.  They are very nice phones, but I have dealt with too many horror stories of people who had one with Gingerbread, did the update to ICS and it completely broke multiple functionalities.  If you find, like, and purchase one with Gingerbread, DO NOT UPDATE IT.  It is not worth the pain...

Thanks for the warning, I was indeed tempted to do exactly that!

At this point, I'm strongly considering throwing most requirements out the window and going with a Virgin Mobile $35/month plan (300 minutes + unlimited data), and choose from the handful of phones they have. I'm paying $15/month currently for a dumb phone plan so that's a little easier to stomach. The cheapest "bring your own phone" plan I've seen in $45/month for unlimited everything, which I don't need.

Or I can just keep waiting, and the available options may improve.





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4wd
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« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2012, 09:04:49 AM »

Good luck finding that - and really, the screen on any phone is too small for that.

I've found this issue to be very dependent on the person doing the reading. I've read full ebooks off my Nokia S60's tiiiiny, crappy display. smiley

+1 here, I've read a hundred or so epub/txt ebooks on my two 320x240 2.4" androids - don't notice it once I get into the book, just turn the pages faster.

But for anything that won't reformat to the screen size, forget it.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #29 on: August 15, 2012, 11:15:40 AM »

Good luck finding that - and really, the screen on any phone is too small for that.

Should be an improvement over my previous devices (Palm Tungsten T3, Dell Axim x51v, iPod Touch 2) at any rate. I'm not expecting it to be a Kindle.

However, it depends on the reading material, too. I think if I am reading to learn, there is a real benefit to a bigger page, especially if I am dealing with charts, tables, source code listings, etc., and also because I seem to absorb some of it through peripheral vision. But a lot of my "ebooks" are things like RSS feeds and reference documents where that is less of an issue.

Dave, I have had a LOT of handheld computers - I'm calling them that because I am referring to devices before they were mobile phones. From the Apple Newton way back, through all generations of Palm/Handspring devices, and on through Windows CE and PPC and finally Windows Mobile 5. I even wrote some software for Palm and Windows PPC. (OK, pretty rudimentary stuff, but still...)

The Axim x51v had the most readable/watchable screen of all the devices I owned. Even now it still beats the hell out of my Droid Razr screen. Granted the Razr has a pretty lousy screen compared to most Samsung devices. But the x51v was VGA, which stepping from QVGA to VGA and quadrupling the pixels was pretty shocking visually. Unfortunately about half the developers had no idea how to use it and so their programs just showed up at 25% of their previous size with 4 times the content onscreen. Nice if you could actually decipher text, etc. that tiny! But the devs who properly changed their apps to take full advantage of VGA by not decreasing the size as much but greatly increasing the detail made using the Axim x51v a fantastic experience. That was when I actually did start reading ebooks and watching TV and movies on it without straining my eyes! And the 3D games.. heck I still have a good working x51v and I still play 3D games on it! 3.7" diagonal screen. Beats anything I can view on the Razr!

BTW, I also still have a working Axim x5, x50v and Asus MyPal 716.   tongue

Jim
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« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2012, 11:33:43 AM »

Quote
Thanks for the warning, I was indeed tempted to do exactly that!

The ones with ICS already installed work just fine, and the ones with Gingerbread work well also, just avoid the upgrade from Gingerbread to Ice Cream Sandwich and you'll be fine.
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daddydave
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« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2012, 12:44:16 PM »

802.11n wi-fi (not just g)
Why? Flash memory can probalby not do much more than g speed anyway.


Because about the only way I can think of to NOT meet this requirement is to go buy my old Dell Axim x51v again. (Well, that wasn't a phone, but you get the idea.) If it only supports 802.11g, the device is probably too ancient to meet the other requirements anyway (for example, it is going to have a QVGA screen or something).  I have bad memories of trying to keep it connected to the home network, although that was not so much 802.11g's default, it was a 802.11b device but there was a registry hack to make it think it was 802.11g.

Also because then I would have to change my router settings to allow 802.11g devices. Which, in informal testing, doesn't seem to really slow the network down at all but I still feel good banning G devices for some reason.

ADDED: The reason I gave the seemingly irrelevant QVGA example is I have this perception that there was a period of time where PDAs were becoming smartphones, there were no touch screens, so PDA screens had to give up space for those awkward QWERTY keyboards, and for a while it seemed like decent sized screens on a portable device were a thing of the past. And rightly or wrongly I think of that as the 802.11g, or pre-802.11g era.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 01:01:44 PM by daddydave » Logged
daddydave
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« Reply #32 on: August 16, 2012, 08:54:53 AM »

I am strongly considering making myself a Scriptish/Greasemonkey user script that puts an asterisk in front of phones without removable batteries so I will not waste time reading about them.

The list so far (of phones with non-removable batteries):
  • *HTC One S
  • *HTC One X
  • *HTC One V
  • *Motorola Droid Razr Maxx
  • *Nokia Lumia 800
  • *Nokia Lumia 900
  • *Motorola Droid 4

The asterisk convention was used in Kurt Vonnegut's novel Galapagos to let the reader know a character would die before sunset. Not quite the same, since these phones are already dead to me.
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daddydave
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« Reply #33 on: August 17, 2012, 08:20:52 AM »

Good luck finding that - and really, the screen on any phone is too small for that.

Should be an improvement over my previous devices (Palm Tungsten T3, Dell Axim x51v, iPod Touch 2) at any rate. I'm not expecting it to be a Kindle.

However, it depends on the reading material, too. I think if I am reading to learn, there is a real benefit to a bigger page, especially if I am dealing with charts, tables, source code listings, etc., and also because I seem to absorb some of it through peripheral vision. But a lot of my "ebooks" are things like RSS feeds and reference documents where that is less of an issue.

Dave, I have had a LOT of handheld computers - I'm calling them that because I am referring to devices before they were mobile phones. From the Apple Newton way back, through all generations of Palm/Handspring devices, and on through Windows CE and PPC and finally Windows Mobile 5. I even wrote some software for Palm and Windows PPC. (OK, pretty rudimentary stuff, but still...)

The Axim x51v had the most readable/watchable screen of all the devices I owned. Even now it still beats the hell out of my Droid Razr screen. Granted the Razr has a pretty lousy screen compared to most Samsung devices. But the x51v was VGA, which stepping from QVGA to VGA and quadrupling the pixels was pretty shocking visually. Unfortunately about half the developers had no idea how to use it and so their programs just showed up at 25% of their previous size with 4 times the content onscreen. Nice if you could actually decipher text, etc. that tiny! But the devs who properly changed their apps to take full advantage of VGA by not decreasing the size as much but greatly increasing the detail made using the Axim x51v a fantastic experience. That was when I actually did start reading ebooks and watching TV and movies on it without straining my eyes! And the 3D games.. heck I still have a good working x51v and I still play 3D games on it! 3.7" diagonal screen. Beats anything I can view on the Razr!

BTW, I also still have a working Axim x5, x50v and Asus MyPal 716.   tongue

Jim

Fascinating and somewhat depressing post. Wink
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daddydave
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« Reply #34 on: August 17, 2012, 04:49:01 PM »

BTW, I also still have a working Axim x5, x50v and Asus MyPal 716.

How are the digitizers on those devices? I seem to be a bit rough on them, all of my devices have had the digitizer go bad, and I have proven myself incompetent at replacing them.
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daddydave
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« Reply #35 on: August 17, 2012, 05:04:07 PM »

OK, I found a way to make things a little simpler. Or should I say, and now the Shocking Conclusion to "Help me pick a midrange Android phone?" (sic).

I came to realize Android 4.x (ICS) is a firm requirement, because Android 4.0 is the first version that supports Devanagari script (and font management on Android seems to be about the same as font management on Palm OS, you'd have to either overwrite the one Unicode font or use an application specific font). I need this for my personal project of learning Hindi, which I have slacked off on lately.

Further, I don't want to rely on aftermarket OS upgrades, that seems to be iffy on a lot of different models and causes features to be lost.

The original reason for wanting Android 4.0 was something I think I read on Google+ but can no longer find, about applications can make better use onboard memory cards, haven't been able to find it again lately so I was waffling on that requirement.

As far as battery life, the only way I know to compare apples to apples is to use the Phone Arena web site to find phones by feature, otherwise it is very hard to compare different anecdotes.

So I decided to ratchet up my battery talk time (according to the Phone Arena database) to an insane 20 hours (since they don't show data use time).

Sorry I can't get this link to work in either BBCode or as just a bare URL. Tried urlencoding it to get rid of the square brackets, still no joy. It's the Phone Arena advanced search with the desired phone options selected.

Formatted for Text with the GeSHI Syntax Highlighter [copy or print]
  1. http://www.phonearena.com/phones/full/?ft=2&f[120]=1292&f[341][]=1836&f[341][]=1822&f[341][]=1795&f[341][]=1784&f[341][]=1783&f[341][]=1782&f[341][]=1642&f[492][]=1690&f[3]=20&f[362]=1&f[5][]=1224&f[5][]=1225&f[5][]=1226&f[5][]=1227

There are only two phones. Of the two search results, only one of them, the Samsung Galaxy S III, has a removable battery. You will notice I also have the quad bands checked and scratch resistant glass checked. If you uncheck scratch resistant glass, you get one more, the Galaxy Note. The Droid Maxx is the other one, with the non-removable battery.

So the possibilities have narrowed considerably. The Samsung Galaxy S III is a fairly new phone. I cannot get it with a prepaid plan unless I use something like StraightTalk and a Bring Your Own Phone unlimited plan ($45/month). I can get the phone off of ebay for $500 (an unacceptable upfront cost).

So then I look at 2 year contract plans. Then I could get the phone for $100 from Sprint via Amazon Wireless or $180 from T-Mobile, either way it is going to be $70/month minimum, which is also unacceptable.

So yes, I have cornered myself into Mission Impossible, but it is nice to have that clarity at least. Let's just call it Phase 2, and my search for a Phase 1 phone begins. Because for Phase 1, I'll settle for a "whatever" phone and pay Virgin Mobile $30 month for 300 minutes + unlimited data. Knowing the phone will be a doorstop outside the U.S. makes insane battery life far less necessary. And I can still get an Android 4.x phone for Phase 1. A year or two from now, I will take another crack at getting a Phase 2 phone. By then the Galaxy S III should be a lot cheaper used, and the prepaid carriers may even sell it. I remember when you couldn't even get an Android phone on a prepaid plan, so it could be a lot worse.

Every comment here was extremely helpful, thank you all for your assistance in helping me think through this.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 05:10:55 PM by daddydave » Logged
J-Mac
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« Reply #36 on: August 17, 2012, 10:33:21 PM »

BTW, I also still have a working Axim x5, x50v and Asus MyPal 716.

How are the digitizers on those devices? I seem to be a bit rough on them, all of my devices have had the digitizer go bad, and I have proven myself incompetent at replacing them.

Mine look great! I have always used clear screen protectors on them.

Jim
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daddydave
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« Reply #37 on: August 18, 2012, 05:43:25 AM »

BTW, I also still have a working Axim x5, x50v and Asus MyPal 716.

How are the digitizers on those devices? I seem to be a bit rough on them, all of my devices have had the digitizer go bad, and I have proven myself incompetent at replacing them.

Mine look great! I have always used clear screen protectors on them.

Jim

Mine always seem to stop tracking stylus/finger, even with the screen protectors.
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daddydave
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« Reply #38 on: August 19, 2012, 07:55:24 AM »

So I decided to ratchet up my battery talk time (according to the Phone Arena database) to an insane 20 hours (since they don't show data use time).

I've decided 15 hours is also insane, so I am seriously eyeballing the Galaxy Nexus (about $300 on ebay/swappa)

UPDATE: This may be the one Stephen suggested in his first reply, I'm not sure, there appear to be several Nexi.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 08:07:49 AM by daddydave » Logged
daddydave
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« Reply #39 on: August 19, 2012, 08:09:03 AM »

Two forces at work here obviously.

On the one hand, I want to stay within some kind of budget. On the other hand, I don't want to buy a disposable phone.
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daddydave
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« Reply #40 on: August 19, 2012, 08:15:08 AM »

This would be good time for Google to lower the cost of Galaxy Nexus to about $200 so it can keep its OS market share. Wink

Interesting article here: Why I'm ditching the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, about why a Verizon contract Galaxy Nexus isn't a real Galaxy Nexus. He switched to a $30/month T-Mobile prepaid plan. smiley
« Last Edit: August 19, 2012, 08:44:21 AM by daddydave » Logged
daddydave
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« Reply #41 on: August 23, 2012, 06:14:36 AM »

Interesting article here: Why I'm ditching the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, about why a Verizon contract Galaxy Nexus isn't a real Galaxy Nexus. He switched to a $30/month T-Mobile prepaid plan. smiley

Until I found this article, I was under the impression from the T-Mobile web site that the $30/month plans and Bring Your Own Phone were mutually exclusive. Perhaps because that's how other carriers do it, and perhaps because both of the pages with the value plans listed direct you to the phones they sell.
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daddydave
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« Reply #42 on: August 23, 2012, 10:22:43 AM »

Whatever you do, don't be tempted to get an older Galaxy S II unless it has Ice Cream Sandwich installed OEM.  They are very nice phones, but I have dealt with too many horror stories of people who had one with Gingerbread, did the update to ICS and it completely broke multiple functionalities.  If you find, like, and purchase one with Gingerbread, DO NOT UPDATE IT.  It is not worth the pain...

Does this advice apply to OEM manual updates?

http://support.t-mobile.com/docs/DOC-3029
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J-Mac
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« Reply #43 on: August 23, 2012, 10:36:39 AM »

Yes!! Even more so than hacked updates! At least those are being analyzed by user communities, while Verizon and AT&T won't move at all to help once you update to theirs. Oh, they will come out with updates to try and fix things, but icebergs move faster.

I blocked my Verizon Droid Razr's attempts to auto-update from GB to ICS for about three weeks as I watched all the ruckus and gnashing of teeth of those who did accept the update. Then I made up my mind that I don’t want Verizon's damn update so I disabled their updater (access to the phone's root and Titanium Backup Pro are wonderful!) With my phone rooted I can install just about any app I wish, and also block and/or remove any app also - including Verizon's bloatware. Those who allowed the ICS update from Verizon can't do that yet; the new bootlocker isn't allowing users to root and the last I checked no one had yet released a trouble-free root hack for it.

Jim
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daddydave
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« Reply #44 on: August 31, 2012, 12:23:37 PM »

I came to realize Android 4.x (ICS) is a firm requirement, because Android 4.0 is the first version that supports Devanagari script (and font management on Android seems to be about the same as font management on Palm OS, you'd have to either overwrite the one Unicode font or use an application specific font). I need this for my personal project of learning Hindi, which I have slacked off on lately.

I briefly considered whether I could make an end run around this by changing course and getting a Windows Phone. Unfortunately there is apparently no way at all to get Devanagari script (or Tamil script, or Gujarati script, etc.) on the Windows Phone 7.5 OS. In spite of it being code named mango (the de facto national fruit of India, I think).
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40hz
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« Reply #45 on: August 31, 2012, 12:32:52 PM »

getting a Windows Phone

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daddydave
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« Reply #46 on: August 31, 2012, 01:11:28 PM »


LOL. I just set up OpenDNS blocking at home and I used The Scream as the image that comes up if my kids go to a blocked site.
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40hz
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« Reply #47 on: August 31, 2012, 02:50:02 PM »

I used The Scream as the image that comes up if my kids go to a blocked site.

 Grin
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daddydave
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« Reply #48 on: August 31, 2012, 04:37:56 PM »

I used The Scream as the image that comes up if my kids go to a blocked site.
 Grin

Love that pic!
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daddydave
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« Reply #49 on: August 31, 2012, 11:26:48 PM »

Now I am tempted to buy a Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant already flashed to CyanogenMod 9 ICS 4.0.4 as a "Phase 1" phone..I better go to sleep though. This is making me crazy.

P.S. Someone bought it for $86
« Last Edit: September 01, 2012, 08:02:08 AM by daddydave » Logged
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