Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

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mxs
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Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by mxs » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:22 pm

I have been looking at new smart phones for my wife and I along with watching a few threads here. I have a few questions and wanted to see what people thought. We currently have a Motorola Droid Razr M (2012 era phone, with 8GB internal storage, storage is the main reason for getting rid of this.) and an iphone 4s (2011 era phone, again 8GB internal storage, obsolescence and lack of storage are the reasons to change.). These both were our first smart phones, and were family hand-me-downs that we started using about a year ago. I would like to replace either the Razr M or both phones with Moto G5s Pluses (64GB version for $299 at BestBuy or Newegg with free bluetooth headset), or maybe even the Costco Moto G5 Plus for $170. I don't currently have a Costco membership, but if that is the phone to get then I'll get a membership in order to get one or two of those phones.

I've heard the Moto Z Play is a great phone that is comparable, with maybe a better camera, USB-C charge cable, and other features but it appears to be quite a bit more expensive ($400). I'd rather go with new phones on these purchases.

Regarding the iphone 4s replacement, I have been considering the iphone SE since my spouse likes the iphone interface. I think she could make the change to android, but I know the iphone SE has a better camera and would maybe be less painful of a change, although I can only find 32GB version at a decent price. Regarding that, I have seen that Target has a Black Friday deal with a Total Wireless iphone SE 32GB for $100. I am trying to figure out if you can actually get that phone for $100, or are you agreeing to a year or two of service with Total Wireless by getting that? I have looked at their plans and prices and we would be at $57 a month with them, but for what I need I could do about $45 a month with usmobile That is 500 minutes, 1000 texts, and 300mb on each line for $20 each. This compares to my ~$95/month on Verizon for two lines of unlimited minutes/texts and 500mb shared, which I just changed to unlimited minutes/texts and 2GB shared on a newer plan that should be ~$82/month.

So with that info above, here are my questions.

G5 Plus ($170) or G5s Plus($230 32GB/3GB or $300 64GB/4GB)? The Costco G5 Plus sale version is 32GB storage and 2GB Ram, which may show it's age with the lower amount of RAM. I am leaning towards the 64GB/4GB at Newegg with free headset.

Can you get that Target iphone SE for ~$100 and change it to usmobile service with little to no problems? I am okay with $15 for them to convert it, but wouldn't want to pay $400 for an unlocked one. I am guessing this isn't the case as everywhere else the SE is ~$400, so that $100 sounds too good to be true.

Finally, does anyone have usmobile for a carrier? For our very low minute/text and especially low data usage they seem to be the best deal. What is your experience with them? What additional charges and/or taxes are there?

pochax
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by pochax » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:39 pm

let's divide this up between phones and carriers (although there are some interactions between the two):
PHONES:
what is your target price to pay for the two phones? how important is camera quality to you for at least one of the phones?

CARRIER:
what carriers are you limited to in terms of service area? can you be on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint (do they all work equally)?
what is your typical usage of TALK (in mins), TEXTs (# text msgs), and DATA (# GBs used) per month? if you don't know how many GBs data you use, what do you typically do on your phone (stream music/ videos, GPS maps, surf internet a lot, online gaming, etc.)?

if you are willing to go outside of US Mobile (which use either TMobile "GSM network" and Verizon "Super LTE" network), there may be other/better options.

to answer some of your questions:
- i would recommend 4GB RAM if affordable to you and available
- if the phone you want is unlocked and the SIM card is usable on a GSM network, US Mobile should work. Total Wireless is a Verizon MVNO (which uses a CDMA network) however many iphones may be able to do both CDMA and GSM so it may not be a deal-breaker.

Fclevz
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by Fclevz » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:53 pm

I just noticed that Amazon has the Moto G5 Plus 4 gig/64 gig on sale for $224.99. Killer deal.

https://www.amazon.com/Moto-Plus-5th-Ge ... Bplus&th=1

brad.clarkston
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by brad.clarkston » Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:56 pm

pochax wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:39 pm
to answer some of your questions:
- i would recommend 4GB RAM if affordable to you and available
- if the phone you want is unlocked and the SIM card is usable on a GSM network, US Mobile should work. Total Wireless is a Verizon MVNO (which uses a CDMA network) however many iphones may be able to do both CDMA and GSM so it may not be a deal-breaker.
Keep in mind Verizon and Sprint are CDMA carriers so even if the phone is unlocked it has to be supported on there network or it won't work and they have a limited amount of phones they allow.

The big 4 carriers have MVNO's which are pre-pay cheaper version of the companies post-pay lineup:

Total Wireless = Verizon
Boost & Virgin Wireless = Sprint
PCMetro = T-Mobile
Cricket = AT&T

mxs
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by mxs » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:16 pm

pochax wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:39 pm
let's divide this up between phones and carriers (although there are some interactions between the two):
PHONES:
what is your target price to pay for the two phones? how important is camera quality to you for at least one of the phones?

CARRIER:
what carriers are you limited to in terms of service area? can you be on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint (do they all work equally)?
what is your typical usage of TALK (in mins), TEXTs (# text msgs), and DATA (# GBs used) per month? if you don't know how many GBs data you use, what do you typically do on your phone (stream music/ videos, GPS maps, surf internet a lot, online gaming, etc.)?

if you are willing to go outside of US Mobile (which use either TMobile "GSM network" and Verizon "Super LTE" network), there may be other/better options.

to answer some of your questions:
- i would recommend 4GB RAM if affordable to you and available
- if the phone you want is unlocked and the SIM card is usable on a GSM network, US Mobile should work. Total Wireless is a Verizon MVNO (which uses a CDMA network) however many iphones may be able to do both CDMA and GSM so it may not be a deal-breaker.
I am looking at Verizon MVNO's, so USMobile "Super LTE", Total Wireless, and Page Plus. I have looked at our usage and USMobile is the cheapest for what we need. I went into the local Verizon store and talked to them about the $95 plan we are on, and they changed it to a modern one with more data at ~$82, but that won't take effect for a month. They told me that their pre-pay plans wouldn't be any better. I have always had Verizon and have been happy with coverage, but knowing my bill could be roughly half what it is now I would like to try a switch.

I looked at all our previous monthly usages for the last year and 500 minutes, 1000 texts, and 300mb on each line will more than cover our typical usage. We have never gone over one of those in the last year. We don't stream on data, only WIFI, and our data usage is very very low. USMobile bills $20 per line for that usage, so that is where I am getting ~$40 a month, or about $45 with taxes.

The G5 Plus (or G5s Plus) are both unlocked and will work on CDMA and GSM networks, so it will work with anyone.

We don't really have a target price, but I would like to pay as little as possible and I think either 2xG5 Plus, 2xG5s Plus, G5 Plus and iPhone SE, or G5s Plus and iPhone SE will fit our needs for a while at a low price. We are using 5-6 year old phones and they are only now showing their age to us, so I expect to be happy with a G5/G5s/iPhone SE for 5-6 years unless some new tech comes that forces us to change (I doubt this).

Anyone have experience with G5 Plus vs G5s Plus? I think the 64GB G5 Plus may be good enough at a great price.

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Taz
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by Taz » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:31 pm

One thing to consider & research is the track record of a company to provide OS & phone system updates. I have a 2015 Moto X Pure with an Android security patch dated Dec 1, 2016 which was provided in Feb 2017 (Verizon). Google provides the core update but the manufacturer has to build their specific patch. This will be the last Moto branded phone I own.
The destination matters.

pochax
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by pochax » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:46 pm

mxs wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:16 pm
I am looking at Verizon MVNO's, so USMobile "Super LTE", Total Wireless, and Page Plus. I have looked at our usage and USMobile is the cheapest for what we need. I went into the local Verizon store and talked to them about the $95 plan we are on, and they changed it to a modern one with more data at ~$82, but that won't take effect for a month. They told me that their pre-pay plans wouldn't be any better. I have always had Verizon and have been happy with coverage, but knowing my bill could be roughly half what it is now I would like to try a switch.

I looked at all our previous monthly usages for the last year and 500 minutes, 1000 texts, and 300mb on each line will more than cover our typical usage. We have never gone over one of those in the last year. We don't stream on data, only WIFI, and our data usage is very very low. USMobile bills $20 per line for that usage, so that is where I am getting ~$40 a month, or about $45 with taxes.

The G5 Plus (or G5s Plus) are both unlocked and will work on CDMA and GSM networks, so it will work with anyone.

We don't really have a target price, but I would like to pay as little as possible and I think either 2xG5 Plus, 2xG5s Plus, G5 Plus and iPhone SE, or G5s Plus and iPhone SE will fit our needs for a while at a low price. We are using 5-6 year old phones and they are only now showing their age to us, so I expect to be happy with a G5/G5s/iPhone SE for 5-6 years unless some new tech comes that forces us to change (I doubt this).

Anyone have experience with G5 Plus vs G5s Plus? I think the 64GB G5 Plus may be good enough at a great price.
sounds like you've thought this through and know what you are getting into. i agree with you that two G5 plus(es) will work well provided that:
- your spouse will be okay with the switch to android
- neither of you are expecting the "flagship" camera experience from a, say, newest iphone, samsung, or Pixel 2 phone

i bought my parents G5 pluses during Prime Day a few months ago ($180 for 4GB/64GB version) and they love the phones. they are not tech-savvy and don't care too much about camera quality. they don't mind the amazon bloatware (and don't use it). they use very little data.

be a little wary that there are several upset shoppers who bought the G5 plus thinking it would be compatible on Verizon network and for some reason they had troubles. i don't think that was the phone's fault, but for some reason Verizon did not recognize the IMEI number in their network. my parents had no problem hooking up to the Verizon network but YMMV.

EDIT: i forgot to mention that the G5s plus is only different in that it has a 5.5" display (i think G5 plus is 5.2") and has a dual-camera set up but from reviews the dual-camera is no better or possibly worse than the G5 plus single-lens camera, but that may be a software problem. so for now, i would stick with the G5 plus.
Last edited by pochax on Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mxs
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by mxs » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:48 pm

I see the G5 Plus 64GB/4GB is on newegg for $225 as well, with a free Bluetooth speaker.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... -_-Product

Good point on the updates and security. I am probably oblivious to these, as I am on Android 4.something with a 5 year old phone. I think the G5 will get updated to Oreo Android, but nothing further.

Chip
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by Chip » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:04 pm

mxs wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:16 pm

I looked at all our previous monthly usages for the last year and 500 minutes, 1000 texts, and 300mb on each line will more than cover our typical usage. We have never gone over one of those in the last year. We don't stream on data, only WIFI, and our data usage is very very low. USMobile bills $20 per line for that usage, so that is where I am getting ~$40 a month, or about $45 with taxes.

The G5 Plus (or G5s Plus) are both unlocked and will work on CDMA and GSM networks, so it will work with anyone.

Anyone have experience with G5 Plus vs G5s Plus? I think the 64GB G5 Plus may be good enough at a great price.
I have had a G5 Plus (2/32 GB) for 3 weeks. I'm using Verizon service via Tracfone. You can buy 1 year of service, 1000 texts and 1 GB of data for $125. You also have to buy a SIM for $10. 1000 extra texts is $5. Another GB of data is $10. Buy as much as you want whenever you want. Service has been excellent so far. My wife's phone is on an AT&T MVNO so now we usually have at least one phone that works in spotty coverage areas. Plus she has 3 GB of data/month so we use her phone preferentially when we have heavy data needs.

I like the phone but in no way have I pushed it to any sort of limit.

Your usage may be too high to make Tracfone economical. It's really best for light users. But if the numbers you quoted were for maximum monthly usage, be aware that everything rolls over from month to month with Tracfone as long as you maintain service. So your annual requirements could be much lower than 12x the numbers you listed.

I'm not even sure if Tracfone will work for me. My usage patterns may change enough with the new phone that it won't be economical, but I can always switch to another carrier. As you noted, the G5 works with both CDMA and GSM networks.

mxs
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by mxs » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:19 pm

pochax wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:46 pm

EDIT: i forgot to mention that the G5s plus is only different in that it has a 5.5" display (i think G5 plus is 5.2") and has a dual-camera set up but from reviews the dual-camera is no better or possibly worse than the G5 plus single-lens camera, but that may be a software problem. so for now, i would stick with the G5 plus.
From what I have read, the G5s also has more metal in the body, so it may be more durable. So I think the metal (not a big deal, going with a case anyway), camera change (I read this change only affected backgrounds and special effects that aren't frequently used), and a larger screen (I currently have a 4.3 inch screen that I am happy with, so 5.2 vs 5.5 inches doesn't matter much to me). I'd like to see a G5 Plus in person, but I'm not sure my Best Buy has one on display for comparison. Looks like it is...

$225 G5 Plus 64GB/4GB
$300 G5s Plus 64GB/4GB
$400 (can you get it for $100?) iPhone SE 32GB

Questions remaining:

Anyone have any idea about the $100 iPhone SE?
How does the camera on the iPhone 4S compare to the iPhone SE, G5, or G5S?
Last edited by mxs on Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SRenaeP
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by SRenaeP » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:21 pm

mxs wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:48 pm
I see the G5 Plus 64GB/4GB is on newegg for $225 as well, with a free Bluetooth speaker.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... -_-Product

Good point on the updates and security. I am probably oblivious to these, as I am on Android 4.something with a 5 year old phone. I think the G5 will get updated to Oreo Android, but nothing further.
Note that non-contract cellphones are non-refundable when purchased from New Egg. I, too, was considering the G5 but ultimately decided to go back to Samsung. B&H Photo had the phone I wanted for the same price as New Egg but they allow for returns and have a slightly extended return period right now for the holidays.

-Steph

mxs
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by mxs » Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:38 pm

SRenaeP wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:21 pm
mxs wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:48 pm
I see the G5 Plus 64GB/4GB is on newegg for $225 as well, with a free Bluetooth speaker.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... -_-Product

Good point on the updates and security. I am probably oblivious to these, as I am on Android 4.something with a 5 year old phone. I think the G5 will get updated to Oreo Android, but nothing further.
Note that non-contract cellphones are non-refundable when purchased from New Egg. I, too, was considering the G5 but ultimately decided to go back to Samsung. B&H Photo had the phone I wanted for the same price as New Egg but they allow for returns and have a slightly extended return period right now for the holidays.

-Steph
Thanks for the heads up on this. I know Best Buy price matches, and I would feel a lot better about having them as an option for returns. Time for some more analysis paralysis :oops:

neilpilot
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by neilpilot » Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:39 pm

brad.clarkston wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:56 pm

Keep in mind Verizon and Sprint are CDMA carriers so even if the phone is unlocked it has to be supported on there network or it won't work and they have a limited amount of phones they allow.

The big 4 carriers have MVNO's which are pre-pay cheaper version of the companies post-pay lineup:

Total Wireless = Verizon
Boost & Virgin Wireless = Sprint
PCMetro = T-Mobile
Cricket = AT&T
I've been using Xfinity Mobile for a couple of months, and bought the LG X Charge for $1 during their September $200 off promotion (actually, I bought 2). They are a Verizon MVNO that you might consider if you happen to have Comcast internet. Their pricing is free (only about $3/mo for tax & fees) for unlimited voice & text and 100mb data. At your low data usage each line should cost only about $15/mo including all taxes and fees so long as you keep data under 1GB.

Until their program changes, you need to buy a phone from them. However, the X Charge I bought for $1 came unlocked and works on both CDMA and GSM.

simple man
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by simple man » Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:56 pm

I would stress the issue raised above about updates. This should be a key criteria going forward. I have a Samsung 5S and Verizon wont give me the next Android OS update. There is clearly an incentive for the carriers to stop updating your phone after a while so you have to buy a new one. I hear the key is to buy direct from the manufacturer and then bring your phone to the network. It will not have your carrier's bloatware and the carrier cannot thwart your updates...

JDP
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by JDP » Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:25 pm

I like the price/performance of the Motorola phones. They seem to be one of the "best bang for your buck" options. Since they are unlocked, you could pair one or two (if your wife switches) with H20 wireless. This carrier runs on the AT&T network and has cheap plans - $30/mo for unlimited talk/text and 3GB 4G LTE data, $40/mo for 6gb 4G LTE data and $50 for two lines. No contract, no activation fee, etc. I have not personally used H20 wireless, but I've used a similar cheap carrier (Straight Talk) running off one of the big networks for years and was satisfied with their service.

H20 review - http://www.toptenreviews.com/mobile/pho ... ss-review/
Last edited by JDP on Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

brad.clarkston
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by brad.clarkston » Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:53 pm

I bought the Essentials phone for $499 it's the low end of the top tier but it's basically a Google Pixel clone. No extra apps or software so a clean Android feel.

Now that they lowered the price and got Verizon on-board (just swap sims for ATT&T and T-Mobile) it's looking better and better as I've already got the new Oreo build.

pochax
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by pochax » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:05 pm

mxs wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:19 pm
Questions remaining:

Anyone have any idea about the $100 iPhone SE?
How does the camera on the iPhone 4S compare to the iPhone SE, G5, or G5S?
check out this website to compare different sample photos from almost any phone:
https://www.phonearena.com/phones/camera/

mxs
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by mxs » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:26 pm

I looked into the Target iPhone SE, and it looks like it is "locked" which is to say it will only work on the network that it is sold for (Total Wireless) for a year, and then you have to pay a "reasonable fee" to Total Wireless for them to unlock it. It is a $400 phone sold for $100 locked. I think I am going to go with a G5 plus and iPhone SE on Total Wireless for a year, then look at unlocking and moving to US Mobile. The math is as follows...

$225 G5 Plus + $100 iPhone SE + $57/month x 12 months = $1045

If instead I did 2xG5 Plus on US Mobile, it would be...

2 x $225 G5 Plus + $45/month x 12 months = $990

For $55 more total over a year's time frame, I am getting a likely better (camera and comfort for prior iPhone user) phone in the iPhone SE, and 15GB of shared data monthly for that time with Total Wireless (instead of 300mb per line).

If this goes smoothly, I'll reevaluate everything in a year and see if I still want to move to US Mobile.

Bottom line, $95/month, or now $82/month for Verizon isn't worth it to us. Lots of cheaper options out there.

mxs
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by mxs » Wed Nov 08, 2017 8:26 pm

pochax wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:05 pm
mxs wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:19 pm
Questions remaining:

Anyone have any idea about the $100 iPhone SE?
How does the camera on the iPhone 4S compare to the iPhone SE, G5, or G5S?
check out this website to compare different sample photos from almost any phone:
https://www.phonearena.com/phones/camera/
No iPhone 4S on there, but very good website otherwise. Thanks.

CULater
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by CULater » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:00 pm

I use a cheap AT&T MVNO, H2O Wireless, for $27 per month for unlimited voice and text and 2G data. Had the first gen Moto X phone, when owned by Google, and decided not to chisel this go around on a new phone. The best are the Apple iPhone and the Google Pixel for android. I decided to stay in Android-land, so it was the Pixel. It fires up and shuts down in seconds, the battery seems to last forever, I get immediate OS and security updates direct from Google, so life is good for now. Sometimes it's better just to go for the top choice and spend a few bucks than try to figure out which is the next best choice.
May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, The foresight to know where you're going, And the insight to know when you've gone too far. ~ Irish Blessing

mountaingoatcos
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by mountaingoatcos » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:02 pm

I have a G5 S Plus and my wife has a G5 Plus. I think they are both great phones, the camera is a little bit better on the g5s plus and the operating system is a little newer, but besides that I don't see many other differences. We are on Cricket and pay$70 a month for two phones and data plan. It is on the AT&T network and works very well in my city. The Costco deal sounds like a great deal for that phone, and if I hadn't bought this phone I probably would do that deal myself.

letsgobobby
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:18 am

mxs wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:22 pm
I have been looking at new smart phones for my wife and I along with watching a few threads here. I have a few questions and wanted to see what people thought. We currently have a Motorola Droid Razr M (2012 era phone, with 8GB internal storage, storage is the main reason for getting rid of this.) and an iphone 4s (2011 era phone, again 8GB internal storage, obsolescence and lack of storage are the reasons to change.). These both were our first smart phones, and were family hand-me-downs that we started using about a year ago. I would like to replace either the Razr M or both phones with Moto G5s Pluses (64GB version for $299 at BestBuy or Newegg with free bluetooth headset), or maybe even the Costco Moto G5 Plus for $170. I don't currently have a Costco membership, but if that is the phone to get then I'll get a membership in order to get one or two of those phones.

I've heard the Moto Z Play is a great phone that is comparable, with maybe a better camera, USB-C charge cable, and other features but it appears to be quite a bit more expensive ($400). I'd rather go with new phones on these purchases.

Regarding the iphone 4s replacement, I have been considering the iphone SE since my spouse likes the iphone interface. I think she could make the change to android, but I know the iphone SE has a better camera and would maybe be less painful of a change, although I can only find 32GB version at a decent price. Regarding that, I have seen that Target has a Black Friday deal with a Total Wireless iphone SE 32GB for $100. I am trying to figure out if you can actually get that phone for $100, or are you agreeing to a year or two of service with Total Wireless by getting that? I have looked at their plans and prices and we would be at $57 a month with them, but for what I need I could do about $45 a month with usmobile That is 500 minutes, 1000 texts, and 300mb on each line for $20 each. This compares to my ~$95/month on Verizon for two lines of unlimited minutes/texts and 500mb shared, which I just changed to unlimited minutes/texts and 2GB shared on a newer plan that should be ~$82/month.

So with that info above, here are my questions.

G5 Plus ($170) or G5s Plus($230 32GB/3GB or $300 64GB/4GB)? The Costco G5 Plus sale version is 32GB storage and 2GB Ram, which may show it's age with the lower amount of RAM. I am leaning towards the 64GB/4GB at Newegg with free headset.

Can you get that Target iphone SE for ~$100 and change it to usmobile service with little to no problems? I am okay with $15 for them to convert it, but wouldn't want to pay $400 for an unlocked one. I am guessing this isn't the case as everywhere else the SE is ~$400, so that $100 sounds too good to be true.

Finally, does anyone have usmobile for a carrier? For our very low minute/text and especially low data usage they seem to be the best deal. What is your experience with them? What additional charges and/or taxes are there?
i got the costco moto g5 plus and love it. it is blazing fast. limited ram but for $206 i can buy a new one in a couple years without guilt. the battery life is terrific. i only charge it about every third day and could probably go four or five days.

student
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by student » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:12 am

If you have comcast, take a look at this. viewtopic.php?t=220754

NorCalDad
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by NorCalDad » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:23 am

I just got a certified iPhone SE (32 GB) at Consumer Cellular for $110 plus tax. No contract necessary, as far as I know. And Consumer Cellular just dropped their data prices, so our bill last month for two phones and 3 GB of data was $55 including fees. We used to pay $120/month at AT&T through about 2015 until I found MVNOs.

Maverick3320
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by Maverick3320 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:32 am

Unlocked Moto G5 Plus in conjunction with Straight Talk here. $45/month and 5GB of data on the AT&T network. I've been happy with both the phone and the service.

jbuzolich
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by jbuzolich » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:43 am

Very happy with the G5 Plus I got from Costco for $219. I tried to activate directly on Total Wireless and it did not work initially even though I had checked compatibility. Thought I was going to be sunk but I popped in a Sim from a different phone already working on Verizon. Tried one call and it went through fine on the G5 Plus but had the number from that other Sim. It proved to me though that it could work on the network. Tried my activation again a few minutes later on the new Total Wireless Sim and it activated just fine. It's almost like it had to see evidence that imei had been on Verizon at least once or something.

pangea33
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by pangea33 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:11 am

Now that major carriers have stopped offering free phones with their contracts, I have taken to buying only unlocked phones. None of the carrier bloatware makes any sense in my mind. Have been using the Moto 4g for about 18 months and have been very pleased with it.

Will be moving to the Moto 5g Plus as Christmas gifts for my wife and I. Bought the last one at Best Buy and they swapped everything over for me. It was nice to know that everything was properly configured before paying. They're running a month long "Black Friday" sale right now for $225 on the 64g phones. You don't get a free bluetooth speaker, but the generous return policy makes me prefer sticking with Big Blue.

They're also running a finance deal right now. 18 months same-as-cash on any purchase over $479. I typically buy my accessories online for savings, but it'll only take an additional $30 item to push two of these great phones into the credit promotion range.

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/motorola-m ... Id=5764600

Keep in mind these use Nano SIM cards. If you want to keep your current carrier, you'll need to swap out your current Micro SIM before heading over to make the purchase. We use AT&T and were able to upgrade to the Nano SIMs for $5 each at a local corporate store. I went in with two of the SIM adapters so we could still use our existing phones until we upgrade. We were up in running in about 15 minutes, most of which was dodging their ham-fisted attempts to sell us DirecTV.

We bought $2 Chinese adapters on Ebay, but it took almost 5 weeks for delivery. Any will work though.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Fosmon-Nano- ... /103045142

bloom2708
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:31 am

jbuzolich wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:43 am
Very happy with the G5 Plus I got from Costco for $219. I tried to activate directly on Total Wireless and it did not work initially even though I had checked compatibility. Thought I was going to be sunk but I popped in a Sim from a different phone already working on Verizon. Tried one call and it went through fine on the G5 Plus but had the number from that other Sim. It proved to me though that it could work on the network. Tried my activation again a few minutes later on the new Total Wireless Sim and it activated just fine. It's almost like it had to see evidence that imei had been on Verizon at least once or something.
Was the SIM previously active and you were just moving it to the new phone?

Android phones still require you to (at least) verify the APN (Access Point Names) settings. Some carriers automatically try to set their APNs via text message. This has been hit/miss for me. There can be a delay receiving the messages about the APNs.

After inserting the SIM, navigate to Settings > Network > More > Cellular network settings > Access Point Names.

Make sure the APN settings match the carrier settings and that it is selected as the active APN. These can typically be found on the carrier site or searching for the carrier + APN settings.

This will ensure that your 4G/LTE settings, text and picture messages are all going to the correct places and work.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

mxs
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by mxs » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:43 am

NorCalDad wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:23 am
I just got a certified iPhone SE (32 GB) at Consumer Cellular for $110 plus tax. No contract necessary, as far as I know. And Consumer Cellular just dropped their data prices, so our bill last month for two phones and 3 GB of data was $55 including fees. We used to pay $120/month at AT&T through about 2015 until I found MVNOs.
Yes, no contract but the phone is likely locked, which you have to go through them or a third party to unlock. Total Wireless for instance makes you have service with them for 12 months before they will unlock for a "reasonable fee". I think most other carriers are shorter time frames. I have been very happy with Verizon's network, so I will stay with that. I have heard ATT is very good as well, so you are getting a good deal. Realistically, all the MVNO's are good deals, you just have to find the network you want and the plan that fits your needs for the lowest price.

an_asker
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by an_asker » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:26 am

For what it is worth, I got an unlocked used iPhone SE from Swappa for $200. Yet to put a SIM in it to use (but I did verify that it takes Sprint and TMobile SIMs, which covers the spectrum I am interested in). DS is in the process of a similar purchase for a similar price.

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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by NorCalDad » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:09 am

mxs wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:43 am
NorCalDad wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:23 am
I just got a certified iPhone SE (32 GB) at Consumer Cellular for $110 plus tax. No contract necessary, as far as I know. And Consumer Cellular just dropped their data prices, so our bill last month for two phones and 3 GB of data was $55 including fees. We used to pay $120/month at AT&T through about 2015 until I found MVNOs.
Yes, no contract but the phone is likely locked, which you have to go through them or a third party to unlock. Total Wireless for instance makes you have service with them for 12 months before they will unlock for a "reasonable fee". I think most other carriers are shorter time frames. I have been very happy with Verizon's network, so I will stay with that. I have heard ATT is very good as well, so you are getting a good deal. Realistically, all the MVNO's are good deals, you just have to find the network you want and the plan that fits your needs for the lowest price.
You're right. I looked it up - they will unlock it after six months. Their terms and conditions say they charge a fee if you want to unlock before the six months is up, but no mention of a fee if you stay with them for six months. That makes sense since almost all of their phones are full price, with the exception of the SE and iPhone 6.

forrest1
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by forrest1 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:47 pm

Try Google Fi with a Google Nexus 5x phone (by LG). Great phone, great service, and it works in 135+ countries or so. Pay as you go: my bill is usually am under $30/ month; of course I'm not streaming videos all day.

I was with Verizon for over 25 years (it was Airtouch back then), and have had many phones, Samsung & Apple mostly, but I like the Nexus phones best: no bloatware. The 5x is not flashy (a plus when traveling) and works great.

mxs
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by mxs » Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:10 am

I'd like to try that but iPhones cannot be used with it. I should be saving $25 a month with Total Wireless and get $300 off a new iPhone SE, so that will be nice. Maybe switch to US Mobile in a year and save another $12 a month then.

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BigFoot48
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by BigFoot48 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:42 am

I'm another Costco Moto 5G Plus recent buyer (at $215, not the outstanding current $170) and like it very much. As a long term Tracfone user I don't need to buy minutes anymore thanks to rollover, just service days and now GBs of data - always less that $100 a year.
Retired | Two-time in top-10 in Bogleheads S&P500 contest; 12-time loser

jbuzolich
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by jbuzolich » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:11 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:31 am
jbuzolich wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:43 am
Very happy with the G5 Plus I got from Costco for $219. I tried to activate directly on Total Wireless and it did not work initially even though I had checked compatibility. Thought I was going to be sunk but I popped in a Sim from a different phone already working on Verizon. Tried one call and it went through fine on the G5 Plus but had the number from that other Sim. It proved to me though that it could work on the network. Tried my activation again a few minutes later on the new Total Wireless Sim and it activated just fine. It's almost like it had to see evidence that imei had been on Verizon at least once or something.
Was the SIM previously active and you were just moving it to the new phone?

Android phones still require you to (at least) verify the APN (Access Point Names) settings. Some carriers automatically try to set their APNs via text message. This has been hit/miss for me. There can be a delay receiving the messages about the APNs.

After inserting the SIM, navigate to Settings > Network > More > Cellular network settings > Access Point Names.

Make sure the APN settings match the carrier settings and that it is selected as the active APN. These can typically be found on the carrier site or searching for the carrier + APN settings.

This will ensure that your 4G/LTE settings, text and picture messages are all going to the correct places and work.
Yes the true Verizon Sim was active at the time in another phone. My phone was all blank on the apn settings since it was a new phone and the Total wireless setup had not worked. When I popped in the active Sim I did not verify anything. It just immediately worked and I placed a call. After that I looked in the apn and saw vzwinternet was now visible and selected. Switched back to the Total wireless new sim and my activation worked fine after about a minute where it had only failed for the two days prior. Activation started and calls worked fine. Checked apn again and a second listing showing TracFone.vzwinternet was visible. Total wireless Sim works fine as along as the TracFone entry is selected. I tried flipping to Verizon to see if performance would be better or if volte would work but nothing works if I have vzwinternet with this Sim. TracFone.vzwinternet works all the time now. No volte though for me.

pshonore
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by pshonore » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:36 am

Republic Wireless has the Moto G5+ (64GB) on sale for $224 and the Moto X for $349 as well as the Huawei Ascend 5W for $49 (was $179). Don't know if those work with other carriers. Republic is $15 month + $5/month for 1 gig of optional data

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triceratop
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by triceratop » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:46 am

I haven't seen many low priced phones OR plans mentioned in this thread so far.

I bought my iPhone 5S on swappa.com and I use Mint Wireless, which I believe is $15/mo for unlimited texts/talks and 2GB data. This is more than sufficient for my needs. I previously used tello but found the needed mental energy to keep my costs below $15 to be not worth the effort. I was saving only $1-2 month over this plan.
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."

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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by EvelynTroy » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:48 am

pshonore wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:36 am
Republic Wireless has the Moto G5+ (64GB) on sale for $224 and the Moto X for $349 as well as the Huawei Ascend 5W for $49 (was $179). Don't know if those work with other carriers. Republic is $15 month + $5/month for 1 gig of optional data
I've been a Republic Wireless customer about 3 years - I hope RW is around a long time - its great service, they are always working at providing a better experience, great value. You can phone to the US from anywhere overseas as long as you as wifi access - works like a champ.
Great help via the volunteer discussion boards. They refund back to you any data you haven't used at the end of the month.
My total bill with tax is approx. $14 a month.
Evelyn

pshonore
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by pshonore » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:15 am

EvelynTroy wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:48 am
pshonore wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:36 am
Republic Wireless has the Moto G5+ (64GB) on sale for $224 and the Moto X for $349 as well as the Huawei Ascend 5W for $49 (was $179). Don't know if those work with other carriers. Republic is $15 month + $5/month for 1 gig of optional data
I've been a Republic Wireless customer about 3 years - I hope RW is around a long time - its great service, they are always working at providing a better experience, great value. You can phone to the US from anywhere overseas as long as you as wifi access - works like a champ.
Great help via the volunteer discussion boards. They refund back to you any data you haven't used at the end of the month.
My total bill with tax is approx. $14 a month.
Evelyn
That's great to hear. I just ordered the cheap Huawei. I'm not a big cell phone user so far. Maybe that will change

jimmieg
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by jimmieg » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:40 pm

Huawei Mate 9 is now $399 at Amazon and Best Buy. Best phone I've ever had - previously had Galaxy Note. It is unlocked, so you can change to carrier of choice anytime.
Dual SIM's for international travelers.
Leica dual lense camera is a bonus. Fab pix.

mxs
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by mxs » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:07 pm

triceratop wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:46 am
I haven't seen many low priced phones OR plans mentioned in this thread so far.

I bought my iPhone 5S on swappa.com and I use Mint Wireless, which I believe is $15/mo for unlimited texts/talks and 2GB data. This is more than sufficient for my needs. I previously used tello but found the needed mental energy to keep my costs below $15 to be not worth the effort. I was saving only $1-2 month over this plan.
Thanks for the info. Mint and Republic Wireless look like good options, but I have decided to stay with Verizon or a Verizon MVNO, and am looking at Total Wireless and US Mobile specifically. I decided to go with new phones as well instead of used on Swappa and realize the premium I am paying due to that. Waiting til Black Friday to purchase, and going back and forth between G5 plus and G5s Plus due to software update support and possible future support. I believe the G5s got the most recent update, but the G5 has not.

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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by neilpilot » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:28 pm

jimmieg wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:40 pm
Huawei Mate 9 is now $399 at Amazon and Best Buy. Best phone I've ever had - previously had Galaxy Note. It is unlocked, so you can change to carrier of choice anytime.
Dual SIM's for international travelers.
Leica dual lense camera is a bonus. Fab pix.
Phone will not work with Sprint, Verizon, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile or any other CDMA network.

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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by travellight » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:21 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:28 pm
jimmieg wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:40 pm
Huawei Mate 9 is now $399 at Amazon and Best Buy. Best phone I've ever had - previously had Galaxy Note. It is unlocked, so you can change to carrier of choice anytime.
Dual SIM's for international travelers.
Leica dual lense camera is a bonus. Fab pix.
Phone will not work with Sprint, Verizon, Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile or any other CDMA network.
So, it works with T-mobile? I want a phone with a great camera; especially in low light and with wide angle.

mxs
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by mxs » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:49 pm

T mobile is GSM and that phone is GSM only so it should work. I don't know if the camera on it fits your criteria though. iPhone SE is for sale new for $400 or subsidized in the $100 to 160 range and may fit your needs camera wise if you are okay with iOS. It is basically a iPhone 6 in a smaller body, iPhone 5/5s size.

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CyberBob
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by CyberBob » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:48 pm

mxs wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:07 pm
Waiting til Black Friday to purchase, and going back and forth between G5 plus and G5s Plus due to software update support and possible future support. I believe the G5s got the most recent update, but the G5 has not.
They're both getting Android 8 Oreo upgrade https://blog.motorola.com/2017/09/14/sa ... roid-oreo/

nalor511
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by nalor511 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:12 pm

mxs wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:38 pm
SRenaeP wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:21 pm
mxs wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:48 pm
I see the G5 Plus 64GB/4GB is on newegg for $225 as well, with a free Bluetooth speaker.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... -_-Product

Good point on the updates and security. I am probably oblivious to these, as I am on Android 4.something with a 5 year old phone. I think the G5 will get updated to Oreo Android, but nothing further.
Note that non-contract cellphones are non-refundable when purchased from New Egg. I, too, was considering the G5 but ultimately decided to go back to Samsung. B&H Photo had the phone I wanted for the same price as New Egg but they allow for returns and have a slightly extended return period right now for the holidays.

-Steph
Thanks for the heads up on this. I know Best Buy price matches, and I would feel a lot better about having them as an option for returns. Time for some more analysis paralysis :oops:
Best buy charges $35 restocking fee on phones, broken or not

jimmieg
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by jimmieg » Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:02 am

Huawei Mate 9

From specs:
Compatible with GSM carriers, including AT&T and T-Mobile
Also compatible with GSM SIM Kits, including Cricket Wireless, Tracfone, Net10, H2O, GoPhone and Simple Mobile.

And camera is outstanding, including low light.
Battery is 4000 mAh lquick charge/long use battery with USB C connection, 5.9" screen, multiple speakers...and includes Amazon Alexa.

And, no I do not work for them.😀

mxs
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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by mxs » Sun Nov 12, 2017 1:54 pm

CyberBob wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:48 pm
mxs wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:07 pm
Waiting til Black Friday to purchase, and going back and forth between G5 plus and G5s Plus due to software update support and possible future support. I believe the G5s got the most recent update, but the G5 has not.
They're both getting Android 8 Oreo upgrade https://blog.motorola.com/2017/09/14/sa ... roid-oreo/
I guess the question is how soon, as the g5 is on 7.0 but the g5s is 7.1, and how long will Oreo be good for on this phone? What is the likely lifetime of the phone considering hardware and OS?

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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by travellight » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:31 am

mxs wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:49 pm
T mobile is GSM and that phone is GSM only so it should work. I don't know if the camera on it fits your criteria though. iPhone SE is for sale new for $400 or subsidized in the $100 to 160 range and may fit your needs camera wise if you are okay with iOS. It is basically a iPhone 6 in a smaller body, iPhone 5/5s size.
Thanks, I think the camera meets my needs on the Huawei. I have an iphone for work so I wanted something different. My research confirmed that the Huawei should work on T-mobile.

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Re: Another Smart Phone Thread, Low/Mid priced phones and carriers

Post by travellight » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:44 am

So, comparing the Moto G5plus available for $170-224 versus the Huawei mate 9 at $399, is the Huawei that much better for almost twice the price?

Moto G5+ seems to be lacking in camera function in low light from my initial research and a great camera is important to me. I wonder if any current Moto owners can comment.

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