Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

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ShoogyBee
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Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by ShoogyBee » Sat Dec 19, 2015 1:04 am

Hello!

Thanks to those of you who provided feedback on my recent Roku vs. Apple TV thread. Here's another one for you to chew on.

I'm thinking of replacing my Nokia Lumia 520 (Windows 8.1) which I've been using on Cricket Wireless for the past 14 months. It still works pretty well and continues to serve my needs, so I'm in no real hurry to replace it. I plan to stick with Cricket and have no interest in switching to another provider, e.g. Republic, Ting, Project Fi, etc.

As you might imagine, my needs are pretty simple. I use my phone for calls, texting, web browsing, listening to music stored locally, watching videos on occasion (via Wi-Fi). I'm not a heavy data user (less than 700 MB per month) and since I don't stream video over a data network, I don't really have a major need for LTE network capability. Besides, since Cricket's LTE cap is not much higher than plain old 4G, there is not much of an advantage going with an LTE capable phone.

The apps I use are: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Evernote, Google/HERE Maps, Netflix, and Hulu.

I actually bought and returned a Microsoft Lumia 640 (AT&T GoPhone) last month. It was only $59 and is a lot of phone for the money, but I didn't care for the thin body/edges and flat back. It was a pain to pick it up from a table/counter with my fingertips, as well as to hold while taking photos. I almost dropped the thing a couple of times as a result. This form factor looks slick and sophisticated in pictures and videos, but ergonomically it's much less satisfying. I find that my Lumia 520, with its curved back and edges that are above the table surface when the phone is resting on it, is much easier to handle. Because of this I find myself gravitating toward the Motorola Moto E and Moto G, especially because I don't want a screen larger than 4.5 or 5 inches, which is the sweet spot IMHO.

So here are the phones that I am considering:

1. Moto E (2nd gen, AT&T GoPhone, LTE, 8 GB storage, 1 GB RAM) for $50 (Best Buy)
2. Moto G (2nd gen, unlocked, 4G but no LTE, 8 GB storage, 1 GB RAM) for $100 (Best Buy or Motorola.com)
3. Moto G (3rd gen, unlocked, LTE, 16 GB storage, 2 GB RAM) for $220 (Motorola.com)

Other notes:
- Call and SMS/MMS blocking are absolutely essential - I'm not sure if Android 5.x has this feature baked in?
- I realize that the Moto E and G have unimpressive cameras at best. Not a dealbreaker for me, as long as they have auto-focus.

So given that my needs are fairly modest, can I get away with an Android 5.x phone that has 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage (half of which is used by the OS and other programs)? Or should I spend more and go with the $220 Moto G since it has 16 GB of storage space and 2 GB of RAM?

BTW this won't be my first Android phone. I used an unlocked Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc (which ran 2.3.4 Gingerbread) for a couple of years before I started using the Lumia 520.

Thanks in advance for your feedback! :thumbsup

...

MnD
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by MnD » Sat Dec 19, 2015 10:38 am

I love my Moto G 2nd generation with Cricket. It runs a very clean and latest version of Android OS and zero problems.
But if I was buying a phone today i would definitely get the 3rd generation Moto-G with the LTE.

You may not think you want/need it today but the phone is very well made - what about a couple years from now?
It has the higher data rate capability, double the RAM and double the storage.
Seems like a no--brainer for another $120 bucks.
And it's still vastly cheaper than the huge amounts that "the herd" spends on the latest Samsung or iPhone.

chipperd
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by chipperd » Sun Dec 20, 2015 7:48 am

We switched 3 of our accounts to cricket in the last few months. Myself and daughter opted for the samsung s4. At $199 it was a bit pricey but seems to be working well

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tuckeverlasting
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by tuckeverlasting » Sun Dec 20, 2015 4:07 pm

I recently switched to Cricket. Got my first ever smartphone, a brand-new Nexus 5, on eBay for $175. This phone came out in 2013 but still has much to recommend it.
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Lindrobe
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by Lindrobe » Sun Dec 20, 2015 4:34 pm

I also switched to Cricket about a month ago and got a Galaxy S4 for $199. I am very happy with the phone and the service. I was on vacation in Cabo last week and my coverage was better than my husband's expensive Verizon phone. :P

ShoogyBee
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by ShoogyBee » Tue Dec 22, 2015 12:07 am

MnD wrote:I love my Moto G 2nd generation with Cricket. It runs a very clean and latest version of Android OS and zero problems.
But if I was buying a phone today i would definitely get the 3rd generation Moto-G with the LTE.

You may not think you want/need it today but the phone is very well made - what about a couple years from now?
It has the higher data rate capability, double the RAM and double the storage.
Seems like a no--brainer for another $120 bucks.
And it's still vastly cheaper than the huge amounts that "the herd" spends on the latest Samsung or iPhone.
I gotta say, I'm tempted to go with the 2nd-gen Moto G for $99, but I'll probably just wait for my Lumia 520 to go kaput and go with a 3rd-gen Moto G.

Amazon is/was selling the 32 GB Nexus 6 for only $250 today. Great price, but it's way too large for my taste.

For those who got a Galaxy S4 through Cricket, I noticed that it comes out of the box with an older version of Android (Jelly Bean?) according to the Cricket website. Is there an OS upgrade available?

...

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tuckeverlasting
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by tuckeverlasting » Tue Dec 22, 2015 9:51 am

My Nexus phone gets updates straight from Google, so it is running the latest version of the OS --Marshmallow (Android 6.X). From what I understand, updates that must come from your carrier may not stay current.
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Lindrobe
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by Lindrobe » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:29 am

OP, I am one of the people that got the Galaxy S4 from Cricket. How would I know if a operating system upgrade is available? Sorry-I am not very knowledgeable about techy type stuff.

snowman
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by snowman » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:49 am

My data needs are even lower than yours now that my consulting business is winding down, so I have been looking at the same models as you to replace my prehistoric phone and move to a cheaper monthly plan (in a $20-$25-range). Here are my observations:

Moto e – my daughter has it with RW – loves it! Just checked BB website, you can get it for $43. I think it’s a steal at this price, I would give it a try.
Moto g – you get bigger screen and better camera, if you care about that. But I would only get 3rd gen; I think you will be happier with moto e (And 5.xx) vs. moto g 2nd gen (And 4.xx).

I am going to buy Moto e and Lumia 640 for myself and my wife, and decide over the holidays which one each likes better. I will have both of them unlocked from AT&T so we can use them on ting, Consumer Cellular, or Project Fi. I personally am leaning towards Lumia, as it has the features I care about that Moto e does not have – front facing camera, better rear camera, but mostly stand alone navigation system that can be used even without data signal (great feature here in the West). As far as ergonomics you mention, I think that may be mitigated by putting the phone in a case.

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tuckeverlasting
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by tuckeverlasting » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:53 am

Lindrobe wrote:OP, I am one of the people that got the Galaxy S4 from Cricket. How would I know if a operating system upgrade is available? Sorry-I am not very knowledgeable about techy type stuff.
Not sure how your Galaxy works. I get updates automatically. To see updates/OS version installed, you should have something like Settings/System/About Phone where you can see details. Maybe check on the Cricket website too. Sorry, I am no expert either! :?
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Lindrobe
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by Lindrobe » Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:15 am

OP, I was kind of curious about your question, so I did a little research:

https://www.cricketwireless.com/support ... itkat.html

Looks like the Jelly Bean can be updated to KitKat with Cricket. I haven't updated mine yet, but I probably will. I was just reading about KitKat and it gets pretty good reviews.

ShoogyBee
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by ShoogyBee » Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:52 pm

Lindrobe wrote:OP, I was kind of curious about your question, so I did a little research:

https://www.cricketwireless.com/support ... itkat.html

Looks like the Jelly Bean can be updated to KitKat with Cricket. I haven't updated mine yet, but I probably will. I was just reading about KitKat and it gets pretty good reviews.
Thanks for the tip. Having the latest, bleeding edge smartphone OS is not important to me, but I am concerned that Kit Kat (4.4.x) will soon no longer be supported since it is now two generations old. Meaning that Google and smartphone vendors may no longer provide security updates, and apps themselves may require that one have a phone that is running Lollipop (5.x) or newer.

Otherwise the Galaxy S4 still seems to be quite a nice smartphone!

...

ShoogyBee
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by ShoogyBee » Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:58 pm

snowman wrote:My data needs are even lower than yours now that my consulting business is winding down, so I have been looking at the same models as you to replace my prehistoric phone and move to a cheaper monthly plan (in a $20-$25-range). Here are my observations:

Moto e – my daughter has it with RW – loves it! Just checked BB website, you can get it for $43. I think it’s a steal at this price, I would give it a try.
Moto g – you get bigger screen and better camera, if you care about that. But I would only get 3rd gen; I think you will be happier with moto e (And 5.xx) vs. moto g 2nd gen (And 4.xx).

I am going to buy Moto e and Lumia 640 for myself and my wife, and decide over the holidays which one each likes better. I will have both of them unlocked from AT&T so we can use them on ting, Consumer Cellular, or Project Fi. I personally am leaning towards Lumia, as it has the features I care about that Moto e does not have – front facing camera, better rear camera, but mostly stand alone navigation system that can be used even without data signal (great feature here in the West). As far as ergonomics you mention, I think that may be mitigated by putting the phone in a case.
I believe the 2nd gen Moto G is now supported for Lollipop (5.1), at least the unlocked versions are. Marshmallow (6.x) will also be supported for this phone, according to the Motorola website. Although the Moto E seems to be a nice phone for the price, I'll hold off on buying one since my Lumia 520 still fits the bill for now.

Let us know how you like the Lumia 640. I haven't done a lot of digging around online for a case, but if I find one that's decent, I may give the 640 another try. The one I had (for a week) seemed to be defective; a couple of times the screen would change its tint to either green or red. I had to power cycle the phone to restore the screen to its proper color profile. I have HERE Maps and HERE Drive installed on my Lumia 520, so yeah, the downloadable maps are a very nice feature to have.

...

bloom2708
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:29 pm

I have a Lumia 640 from Cricket. Love the size and battery life. It works great for work apps. I also have the Android ZTE Grand X Max + 6" phone.

I swap the SIM back and forth as needed. I use the ZTE as a tablet with no SIM on wi-fi. Buy the Cricket version of the phone you want and switch back and forth.
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

pochax
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by pochax » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:18 am

if you are considering the Moto G, you should also consider the Blu Life One X for $150 (although out of stock until Jan 8 on amazon). read (or watch youtube) reviews on it comparing it to the Moto G. Better screen, 2GB RAM standard, and better CPU. maybe not quite as good a camera and not IPX7 waterproof like the Moto G. considered one of the best "budget" smartphones out there right now.

kDictavissent
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by kDictavissent » Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:52 am

Cricket subscriber here. As a rule, I would bring an unlocked phone vs buying from them, since version and security upgrades have been limited.

Have previously used a 1st gen Moto G (Cricket locked) on Cricket. From a specs perspective, I definitely concur with going 3rd gen on the G and would buy unlocked from Motorola.

If you are open to a minor splurge, look at the Nexus 5x, currently on sale for $329. Far better camera, very fast performance, rapid security upgrades, handy fingerprint sensor. As an ex-iPhone user, this is as good to me as that phone at half the price. And, it has none of the compromises you would see with the Moto phones.

pochax
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by pochax » Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:08 pm

also if you are willing to spend up to $249, consider a OnePlus X (http://www.theverge.com/2015/10/29/9623 ... rice-specs). very nice smartphone for that price point.

ShoogyBee
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by ShoogyBee » Sat Dec 26, 2015 12:13 am

Thank you all for the other suggestions, I will read up on them in the coming days. Here are some initial thoughts.

OnePlus X
- I believe they kind of stumbled out of the block with the OnePlus One, I read it was rather buggy and even difficult to purchase. I hope they've improved in both areas since then. $249 is a bit more than I'd like to spend, but I'll still keep it in mind.

Nexus 5X
- Seems like a great phone, especially when it was selling for only $299 on Cyber Monday (or was it Black Friday?), but $329 is definitely more than I want to spend, even if it is a lot of phone for the money.

Blu Life One X
- I'm not terribly familiar with the brand but I'm seeing their unlocked phones pop up everywhere, from Best Buy to even Walgreens now. I'll definitely read up on their line-up.

ZTE Grand X Max+ - On a related note, I was reading up on an AT&T GoPhone (which can be used on Cricket of course) called the ZTE Zmax 2. It has a 5.5" screen, 5.1 Lollipop, reportedly very good battery life, 2 GB RAM, and 16 GB storage for the price of $130. An unlocked variant can be purchased directly from ZTE's website for $180. 5.5" is larger than I would prefer, but user reviews on BestBuy.com and WalMart.com are nearly unanimous in their praise for this phone - pretty rare for one this inexpensive.

...

snowman
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by snowman » Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:23 pm

ShoogyBee wrote:
snowman wrote:My data needs are even lower than yours now that my consulting business is winding down, so I have been looking at the same models as you to replace my prehistoric phone and move to a cheaper monthly plan (in a $20-$25-range). Here are my observations:

Moto e – my daughter has it with RW – loves it! Just checked BB website, you can get it for $43. I think it’s a steal at this price, I would give it a try.
Moto g – you get bigger screen and better camera, if you care about that. But I would only get 3rd gen; I think you will be happier with moto e (And 5.xx) vs. moto g 2nd gen (And 4.xx).

I am going to buy Moto e and Lumia 640 for myself and my wife, and decide over the holidays which one each likes better. I will have both of them unlocked from AT&T so we can use them on ting, Consumer Cellular, or Project Fi. I personally am leaning towards Lumia, as it has the features I care about that Moto e does not have – front facing camera, better rear camera, but mostly stand alone navigation system that can be used even without data signal (great feature here in the West). As far as ergonomics you mention, I think that may be mitigated by putting the phone in a case.
I believe the 2nd gen Moto G is now supported for Lollipop (5.1), at least the unlocked versions are. Marshmallow (6.x) will also be supported for this phone, according to the Motorola website. Although the Moto E seems to be a nice phone for the price, I'll hold off on buying one since my Lumia 520 still fits the bill for now.

Let us know how you like the Lumia 640. I haven't done a lot of digging around online for a case, but if I find one that's decent, I may give the 640 another try. The one I had (for a week) seemed to be defective; a couple of times the screen would change its tint to either green or red. I had to power cycle the phone to restore the screen to its proper color profile. I have HERE Maps and HERE Drive installed on my Lumia 520, so yeah, the downloadable maps are a very nice feature to have.

...
So I purchased both phones as planned - moto e @ $43 and Lumia 640 @ $47.50. There was no comparison between the 2, Lumia is much better, much nicer phone! I cannot believe that phone regularly sells for only $60 - beautiful screen, very good camera, fast performance, offline maps, Cortana, etc. Both my wife and I ended up with one. I got them unlocked from AT&T and signed up with Consumer Cellular. No problems so far, I would highly recommend both the phone and the service.

As an additional note, I encountered zero problems with either Lumia 640 in the last 2-3 weeks. I upgraded mine to Windows 10 (through windows insider app, official upgrade will come later at some point). I did not notice any difference in performance or speed. Some apps (like weather or news) look different (for better or worse), some have different navigation, but there really is no noticeable difference, except that in W10 wifi hotspot works, and offline maps can be downloaded to an SD card.

Hope this helps.

bloom2708
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Jan 11, 2016 7:47 pm

Thank you for the update. It is interesting you can buy 10 or 12 Lumia 640's for the price of a new iPhone 6s. :shock:
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

ShoogyBee
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Re: Inexpensive Smartphone for Cricket Wireless

Post by ShoogyBee » Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:10 pm

OP here. I actually ended up buying two phones.

I bought a Lumia 640 (AT&T GoPhone) which I am still using on Cricket. I also bought a Body Glove Rise case from a local AT&T corporate store.

https://www.att.com/cases/body-glove-ri ... a-640.html

It wasn't cheap at $30 but at least it fit the phone, er, like a glove. Makes the phone much easier to handle. Having used a Lumia 520 for just over a year, Windows Phone was nothing new to me. The 640's battery life is outstanding, voice quality and volume through the earpiece is excellent. The screen is bright and sharp as well. Android's Chrome browser is much better than IE, but I don't do much web surfing on my phone so it wasn't a dealbreaker for me. Overall the 640 is a nice upgrade over the 520 and a great buy at $59. (BB has it on sale for $47 this week.)

Before I bought the Lumia 640, I bought a ZTE Zmax 2 (Android AT&T GoPhone) on sale for $99, but the price has since been reduced to $79. User reviews on Best Buy and Wal Mart have been unanimous in their praise for this phone. 5.5 inch screen, 5.1 Lollipop OS, 2 GB RAM, 16 GB storage, etc. It felt well built and had a padded pleather back plate. I prefer the ZTE's screen to the Lumia's screen. Even though it's a 720p display, it's quite sharp and the colors are very natural. There is little to no lag - the interface is responsive and snappy. I never got used to the overly large screen size. Plus the earpiece volume was too soft for my taste. I am keeping the Zmax 2 to use as a mini-tablet for Netflix, Crackle, etc. It can serve as a back-up phone in case something happens to my 640.

...

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