My Very First Smartphone [Samsung Galaxy S9+] — Please Critique This Plan

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Chip
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by Chip » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:13 pm

You don't have to view this as a decision you'll have to live with for all time. Since you are used to Tracfone, consider what an earlier poster suggested: buy a mid range phone like the Moto G6 or G5+, buy a $10 Tracfone BYOP (bring your own phone) SIM kit, then port your number to the new phone. Then buy a year of service, a couple of GB of data, plus texts and minutes (though your minutes and texts will transfer from the old phone). All this will cost you ~$300.

As suggested earlier, turn on data saver and deny ALL apps the ability to use background data.

Now use the phone. Get used to apps. Load your music library onto the phone. Navigate with Google Maps (download local maps as suggested earlier). Use wifi whenever possible, but use your data as desired. Monitor your usage of minutes, texts and data. Buy more if needed. If it becomes apparent that the PHONE isn't capable (very unlikely in my opinion), buy a new one and transfer all of your minutes, etc. If you decide that the Tracfone plan doesn't work for you, get another SIM from one of the more traditional pre or postpaid carriers and switch your phone to that carrier. Or get both a new phone and carrier if you're convinced neither will work. All the time keeping you existing phone number.

My experience: DW and I were both using essentially what you have now, Tracfones with almost no internet capability. DW bought a Moto G2 about 3 years ago, plus an MVNO plan for $27/mo for unlimited phone/texts, plus 2GB data/mo. After that 3 years the phone battery is only good for a day or two and Motorola has quit updating the operating system. She doesn't want email on the phone, doesn't stream anything, no Facebook or other social media. Occasionally gets texts with attached pics. We use her phone for navigation with traffic info. She uses maybe 100 MB/mo. When we take road trips we use her phone extensively for searches, nav, etc., but still rarely exceeds 400 MB/mo. She is thinking of going back to Tracfone, though with a new phone.

I bought a Moto G5+ for $200 about a year ago and stayed with Tracfone via a BYOP SIM kit. I bought 2GB, 1000 texts, 1000 minutes plus a year of service for about $120. I also loaded 12 GB of music and 15,000 photos onto the 128 GB SD card that I also bought. I leave it on all the time and typically go 5 days between charges. I don't have email on the phone, use downloaded maps for navigation (unless I need traffic info), no social media, search whenever I want, no streaming. In a YEAR I've used about 300 MB of data, 500 texts and a few hundred minutes. I might need to loosen up a little. :D

One additional data point. Tracfone won't work outside of the US. On a recent trip I bought a "travel SIM" with 12GB of data. Using it constantly for nav, searches, Whatsapp, etc. I still only used 500 MB a week. I could have easily used less but since the SIM came with 12GB of data I didn't feel a need to conserve.

Your needs are probably different, but if Tracfone doesn't work for you it will cost you very little to change carriers. And if a Moto G5+ or G6 isn't capable enough you won't really have wasted much money at all.

neilpilot
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by neilpilot » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:14 pm

OnTrack wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:09 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:58 am
OnTrack wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:15 pm
The Wizard wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:28 am
OnTrack wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:18 am

Although not every country or territory is included in Project FI. Currently, there are 170 countries on the Project FI website and some of are not really independent countries such as Hong Kong. The UN has 193 member states and if areas under jurisdiction of other countries are counted (such as Aruba which is not on the Project FI list) there are (by at least one count) 247 countries.
It's almost easier (and instructive) to make a list of countries where Project Fi is NOT supported.

I note from their website that Belize is now supported; it was not when I was there in 2016.

While Bonaire is not explicitly listed, it has been part of the Caribbean Netherlands since 2010 and all of the Netherlands is certainly supported. (I'm off to Bonaire in November!)

Countries where Fi doesn't work include: Cuba, North Korea, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and surprisingly, Vietnam.

Here's a more complete map/list:
https://amp.reddit.com/r/ProjectFi/comm ... roject_fi/
Are you sure Bonaire is covered? I went to https://fi.google.com/about/coverage/ and typed in "Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands". The result comes back as "None".
https://fi.google.com/coverage?q=Bonair ... etherlands

I also tried Aruba and the result comes back as "Covered", however the map of the island is entirely white and it is supposed to be some shade of green to indicate 2g, 3G or 4g service.
https://fi.google.com/coverage?q=Aruba

Note that neither Aruba nor Bonaire are explicitly in the list of covered countries.

Project FI looks like a good program, but it does appear that there are a few popular international destinations that aren't covered.
I don't think that it not being found is the same as not having coverage. The search box says "countries/regions". Bonaire may fall under a different country or region. For example, if type Gibraltar or American Samoa in it finds nothing. Is that because there is no coverage or is it because they are territories? I don't know. A world map would be more useful in my opinion.
??? It doesn't say "not being found". It very specifically says "Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands" with an orange circle that says "None", whereas other locations with coverage have green circles that either say "Covered" or more specially the type of coverage such as "2G". I don't know how else it could be interpreted except to mean that Bonaire's coverage is "None". Of course, we know from neilpilot's first hand experience that Bonaire is covered. This being said, I will not comment any further, since apparently there are interpretations other than mine of this link:
https://fi.google.com/coverage?q=Bonair ... etherlands

I agree that a world map would be more useful.
Well I can say that Project Fi did connect in Bonaire last Dec, but I also think that Google does not officially provide service there. So I have to say that service is certainly not a sure thing, even though I did work last Dec.

michaeljc70
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:38 pm

OnTrack wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:09 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 10:58 am
OnTrack wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:15 pm
The Wizard wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:28 am
OnTrack wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:18 am

Although not every country or territory is included in Project FI. Currently, there are 170 countries on the Project FI website and some of are not really independent countries such as Hong Kong. The UN has 193 member states and if areas under jurisdiction of other countries are counted (such as Aruba which is not on the Project FI list) there are (by at least one count) 247 countries.
It's almost easier (and instructive) to make a list of countries where Project Fi is NOT supported.

I note from their website that Belize is now supported; it was not when I was there in 2016.

While Bonaire is not explicitly listed, it has been part of the Caribbean Netherlands since 2010 and all of the Netherlands is certainly supported. (I'm off to Bonaire in November!)

Countries where Fi doesn't work include: Cuba, North Korea, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, and surprisingly, Vietnam.

Here's a more complete map/list:
https://amp.reddit.com/r/ProjectFi/comm ... roject_fi/
Are you sure Bonaire is covered? I went to https://fi.google.com/about/coverage/ and typed in "Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands". The result comes back as "None".
https://fi.google.com/coverage?q=Bonair ... etherlands

I also tried Aruba and the result comes back as "Covered", however the map of the island is entirely white and it is supposed to be some shade of green to indicate 2g, 3G or 4g service.
https://fi.google.com/coverage?q=Aruba

Note that neither Aruba nor Bonaire are explicitly in the list of covered countries.

Project FI looks like a good program, but it does appear that there are a few popular international destinations that aren't covered.
I don't think that it not being found is the same as not having coverage. The search box says "countries/regions". Bonaire may fall under a different country or region. For example, if type Gibraltar or American Samoa in it finds nothing. Is that because there is no coverage or is it because they are territories? I don't know. A world map would be more useful in my opinion.
??? It doesn't say "not being found". It very specifically says "Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands" with an orange circle that says "None", whereas other locations with coverage have green circles that either say "Covered" or more specially the type of coverage such as "2G". I don't know how else it could be interpreted except to mean that Bonaire's coverage is "None". Of course, we know from neilpilot's first hand experience that Bonaire is covered. This being said, I will not comment any further, since apparently there are interpretations other than mine of this link:
https://fi.google.com/coverage?q=Bonair ... etherlands

I agree that a world map would be more useful.
That's not what I saw:

Image

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iceport
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by iceport » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:29 am

OP back again...

Thanks for all of your advice, tips, references and thoughts. Every single one of them was helpful, even if, as noted below, I didn't follow it. (Well, the global coverage of Project Fi was a little OT, but still enjoyable enough to read through.) It all help to define the trade-offs involved.

I decided to go with my initial selection, and bought a new unlocked Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (64 GB memory, 6 GB RAM, single SIM, US warranty) for $760 at Amazon, which was 10% off through a Tom's Guide link.
Shallowpockets wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:04 pm
Like using a tablet. Wifi is the same as using the data plan. So you will be able to learn by using your home wifi network. You don't even have to have a phone plan to start using a smart phone.
This sounds interesting. I'll give it a try.

Momus wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:07 am
I'd say skip the midrange phones $200-300 because you really want a great experience, nothing is more frustrating having your phone lag like there is no tomorrow. A Flagship phone will last you a good 3 years, 4 years if you push it. Snapdragon 845 is really snappy. What I don't want you to buy is a midrange crappy phone for $200, decide they suck (well duh!!!), and you turn buying $1000 iPhone, and declare iPhone is the best. This happened far too many times for many people. Get a flagship to get a great performance.
It took a while for me to catch the significance of this point. It makes a lot of sense to me.

I've been told the iOS is more intuitive and easier to learn than android. But I am philosophically opposed to the monopolistic attitude and restrictions of Apple. Also, though I have no idea if this will ever have any real-word ramifications, I could envision wanting some kind of off-the-wall app that iOS just doesn't support. And in spite of not owning a smartphone, I'm actually not a Luddite or completely tech-illiterate. So I trust I'll be able to master many useful features of a flagship phone.

inbox788 wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:49 pm
You're using 0GB today, no? If 3GB isn't enough for you, you should have gotten a smartphone years go.
Lots of people have been telling me that, for many, many years now. One of the reasons I've resisted so long is that I suspect I'll have a tendency to become a heavy user, and it will become a distraction. (Another smaller reason was the cost, but data plan costs have come down.) Now that I'm retired, the consequences of being distracted by easy (mobile) access to so much data don't seem as severe.

Similarly, the idea that I should start with a base model just isn't appealing to me. Yes, I want a high quality camera that comes with an expensive phone. But more than that, I want to test out the limits of current mainstream smartphone capabilities. In some ways, this is intended to be a somewhat life-changing (all lower-case) acquisition.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, even before the phone arrives, I have *tons* of questions. I'll be starting at Square 1 for things like: deleting/disabling unwanted Samsung apps; finding and loading useful apps; options for email; capabilities of email syncing with my desktop; malware protection; data use management; etc.

So... is there a Bogleheads (read: trustworthy) version of an android smartphone forum out there?
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

The Wizard
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by The Wizard » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:22 pm

OnTrack wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:09 pm
...I agree that a world map would be more useful.
I agree also, which is why I posted that Reddit link above to a map of all countries NOT having Google Fi functionality...
Attempted new signature...

The Wizard
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by The Wizard » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:34 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:38 pm
That's not what I saw:

Image
Bonaire is not a country.
It is a "municipality" of The Netherlands.
Wikipedia article on Bonaire will clarify this.

And as we all know, even though a cellular provider services a given country, there will still be dead zones without a nearby cell tower...
Attempted new signature...

robphoto
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by robphoto » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:50 pm

I understand the comments that one can get a cheaper phone, but the poster has said he wants to use the phone for serious photography.

The S9+ has one of the bests cameras available, and importantly has both a wide and longer lens, which is great for portraits, etc.

My wife has one that she uses constantly, and the photos are amazing; as to the cost, it's one of those "What do you have money for?" things.

I am a professional photographer; my phone is a Moto G6. The camera is fine, but not in the same league. If it's not a financial stretch, I think it's definitely worth it to spend the extra $600. for several years of really good photos!

michaeljc70
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:16 pm

The Wizard wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:34 pm
michaeljc70 wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 3:38 pm
That's not what I saw:

Image
Bonaire is not a country.
It is a "municipality" of The Netherlands.
Wikipedia article on Bonaire will clarify this.

And as we all know, even though a cellular provider services a given country, there will still be dead zones without a nearby cell tower...
I know that. And the search box is not limited to countries. It clearly says "regions". If you put Puerto Rico in there, it shows it. Clearly PR is not a country. This whole thing should have been in its own thread since it is OT.

bloom2708
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:52 pm

iceport wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:29 am
Now, even before the phone arrives, I have *tons* of questions. I'll be starting at Square 1 for things like: deleting/disabling unwanted Samsung apps; finding and loading useful apps; options for email; capabilities of email syncing with my desktop; malware protection; data use management; etc.

So... is there a Bogleheads (read: trustworthy) version of an android smartphone forum out there?
You will need to create a gmail email account. Do that now while you wait for the phone to ship to you.

You do not need to use your gmail account beyond using it to log into your phone and appstore and Chrome browser. You might find it is a better solution than your current email and begin to transition away from a cable provider or other email that you can't take with you.

I would not worry about deleting apps right away. You hold down on any app icon and it will let you know if you can uninstall or not. Some canned apps cannot be uninstalled.

You will need to add an account for your existing email address/addresses. This is not difficult either. Getting the POP settings from your provider is probably the hardest part.

Did you decide to go with Consumer Cellular? With an unlocked phone, you can still pick the best provider for your scenario. I assume you decided against Cricket or you would have done the $499 deal and saved $250. That would have bought you 8 months of service to go with your phone. :wink:

When you get the phone, charge it up. It should be charged pretty good. Connect to Wi-fi, sign in with your new Gmail account. Step through the questions and you will be up and running. Even without a SIM, you can open the app store and do updates. There may be an Android update to install or 2. Just follow the directions and install the updates and app updates. By default the phone will update apps when plugged in and locked (at night).

Not much different from running a Chromebook or Laptop. When you add new contacts, be sure to store them in your Gmail account. That will save them with the account and future phone switches will automatically sync your contacts. They might come in if they are in your current/previous email account.

I don't know of any good Android forums to send you to. A Google search/Bing search on most any topic will bring you to video or text solutions.

Good luck with the S9. I think you will like it and appreciate the quality. I would get a Spigen case and think about a screen protector (tempered glass). Both are cheap and easy to install. Amazon or eBay.

https://www.amazon.com/Spigen-Flexible- ... en+s9+case
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mrgeeze
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by mrgeeze » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:06 pm

i had an iphone4s for years and years.
my iphone xS just arrived an hour ago.

it is totally bad to the bone!

its a supercomputer with a small screen.
I bought the fully tricked out one with 512gb storage for my music, performance audio, and high resolution maps.
I know I know, paid over 1200 bucks for the thing.
Hope I don't drop it in the toilet or have it fall in the ocean.

But it is so cool and I am so into this....
Excited even at my age (60)

Warren Buffet was right....

I'll buy Apple forever....... well at least as long as the stock stays over 200.

Momus
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by Momus » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:27 pm

mrgeeze wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:06 pm
i had an iphone4s for years and years.
my iphone xS just arrived an hour ago.

it is totally bad to the bone!

its a supercomputer with a small screen.
I bought the fully tricked out one with 512gb storage for my music, performance audio, and high resolution maps.
I know I know, paid over 1200 bucks for the thing.
Hope I don't drop it in the toilet or have it fall in the ocean.

But it is so cool and I am so into this....
Excited even at my age (60)

Warren Buffet was right....

I'll buy Apple forever....... well at least as long as the stock stays over 200.
Knowing what I know, I would never buy an iPhone, the value isn't there.

https://youtu.be/M_Ccpl1Opew

Just an example what you can get with a flagship android for $200 less. Rich features. No notch, better display, better design (infinity display), not overpriced, bigger battery, fingerprint scanner, headphone jack, SD card expansion, multi tasking ability double app open at the same time (split screen), free fast charger included, customization of icons, themes, widget (icons not blocking wallpaper), capable, if not BETTER camera than Apple. I could go on and on the list is endless, but you get the point. They will catch up eventually... In 2020.

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iceport
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by iceport » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:49 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:52 pm
iceport wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:29 am
Now, even before the phone arrives, I have *tons* of questions. I'll be starting at Square 1 for things like: deleting/disabling unwanted Samsung apps; finding and loading useful apps; options for email; capabilities of email syncing with my desktop; malware protection; data use management; etc.

So... is there a Bogleheads (read: trustworthy) version of an android smartphone forum out there?
You will need to create a gmail email account. Do that now while you wait for the phone to ship to you.

You do not need to use your gmail account beyond using it to log into your phone and appstore and Chrome browser. You might find it is a better solution than your current email and begin to transition away from a cable provider or other email that you can't take with you.
Thank you for your helpful post! You answered one of my first questions: whether I need a new gmail account, or if I can get away without one. The S9/S9+ User Manual says "Your new device uses your Google Account to fully utilize its Android features." I had assumed this was an understatement...

I might end up using gmail as my primary email, provided I can access it on my desktop from the convenience of MS Outlook. (Old habits die hard.) A coworker impressed upon me many years ago the immense power of Google's cloud based email search and navigation tools.
bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:52 pm
Did you decide to go with Consumer Cellular? With an unlocked phone, you can still pick the best provider for your scenario. I assume you decided against Cricket or you would have done the $499 deal and saved $250. That would have bought you 8 months of service to go with your phone. :wink:
I haven't decided on a plan yet, but I didn't want to be locked into Cricket, so I didn't take advantage of the deal. :|
bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:52 pm
When you get the phone, charge it up. It should be charged pretty good. Connect to Wi-fi, sign in with your new Gmail account. Step through the questions and you will be up and running. Even without a SIM, you can open the app store and do updates. There may be an Android update to install or 2. Just follow the directions and install the updates and app updates. By default the phone will update apps when plugged in and locked (at night).

Not much different from running a Chromebook or Laptop. When you add new contacts, be sure to store them in your Gmail account. That will save them with the account and future phone switches will automatically sync your contacts. They might come in if they are in your current/previous email account.
Thanks for the detailed info.
bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:52 pm
I don't know of any good Android forums to send you to. A Google search/Bing search on most any topic will bring you to video or text solutions.
Yes, I found several. But I don't know if they are as trustworthy and free of conflicts of interest as this Boglehead forum is. I might start a separate thread to get more responses to this question.
bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:52 pm
Good luck with the S9. I think you will like it and appreciate the quality. I would get a Spigen case and think about a screen protector (tempered glass). Both are cheap and easy to install. Amazon or eBay.
Thanks! Will do. I noticed that brand already, particularly the version with a kick-stand. 8-)
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

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iceport
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by iceport » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:39 pm

robphoto wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:50 pm
I understand the comments that one can get a cheaper phone, but the poster has said he wants to use the phone for serious photography.

The S9+ has one of the bests cameras available, and importantly has both a wide and longer lens, which is great for portraits, etc.

My wife has one that she uses constantly, and the photos are amazing; as to the cost, it's one of those "What do you have money for?" things.

I am a professional photographer; my phone is a Moto G6. The camera is fine, but not in the same league. If it's not a financial stretch, I think it's definitely worth it to spend the extra $600. for several years of really good photos!
Thanks for chiming in with your professional opinion, robphoto! I just noticed this post tucked between the images.

I was slow to go digital, too. :oops: My old Fujifilm E550 point-and-shoot (12MP, 4x optical zoom) is actually capable of some great photos, except in low light. The only other main complaint is that the file sizes it generates are outrageous. I haven't used it regularly in a long time, because I have to flex the body to get a lot of the controls to work now. But I loved the size relative to the (even older but more serious) film SLR, and took it all over the place. After a while, I found myself in fewer and fewer circumstances where I'd ever be willing to lug around a full size SLR, digital or not. The E550 was also easy to operate either fully- or semi-manually. I've been hesitant to replace it knowing at some point I'd give in and buy a good phone.

It sounds like the S9+ will be an upgrade, with a faster lens and image stabilization to boot, in an even more compact — far flatter, at least — size. It'll be interesting to find out how much control is allowed (or even needed at all) with the S9+.

Oh, and welcome to the forum! Thanks for joining.
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

Katietsu
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by Katietsu » Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:03 pm

It sounds like you might want to spend the bucks on a good case. My family has had good experience with LifeProof and Otterbox. Do it right away before you scratch your screen if not worse.

Momus
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by Momus » Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:20 pm

Momus wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:27 pm
mrgeeze wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:06 pm
i had an iphone4s for years and years.
my iphone xS just arrived an hour ago.

it is totally bad to the bone!

its a supercomputer with a small screen.
I bought the fully tricked out one with 512gb storage for my music, performance audio, and high resolution maps.
I know I know, paid over 1200 bucks for the thing.
Hope I don't drop it in the toilet or have it fall in the ocean.

But it is so cool and I am so into this....
Excited even at my age (60)

Warren Buffet was right....

I'll buy Apple forever....... well at least as long as the stock stays over 200.
Knowing what I know, I would never buy an iPhone, the value isn't there.

https://youtu.be/M_Ccpl1Opew

Just an example what you can get with a flagship android for $200 less. Rich features. No notch, better display, better design (infinity display), not overpriced, bigger battery, fingerprint scanner, headphone jack, SD card expansion, multi tasking ability double app open at the same time (split screen), free fast charger included, customization of icons, themes, widget (icons not blocking wallpaper), capable, if not BETTER camera than Apple. I could go on and on the list is endless, but you get the point. They will catch up eventually... In 2020.
Wait $400 less for a way better fully packed feature phone. 256GB sd card only costs $50... Yep, no thanks, no apple for me forever... IRipoff 😂

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MossySF
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by MossySF » Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:03 pm

In general, $400 smartphones will roughly do everything that a $800+ one will do.

Except take great photos.

A $400 phone will take okay photos in daylight. Night-time lighting or the front-facing camera? It'll usually end up a blurry mess. So if a smartphone going to be a camera replacement also, spend the extra money on a "flagship" phone.

inbox788
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by inbox788 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:07 pm

MossySF wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:03 pm
In general, $400 smartphones will roughly do everything that a $800+ one will do.

Except take great photos.

A $400 phone will take okay photos in daylight. Night-time lighting or the front-facing camera? It'll usually end up a blurry mess. So if a smartphone going to be a camera replacement also, spend the extra money on a "flagship" phone.
I think the Y/Y improvements in camera have been marginal/incremental, but that is one of the big differentiation in flagship phones. I'm guessing an older flagship phone may have better photo capability than a current phone. For $400, you can get a current midline phone or a couple year old flagship like the iPhone 7 or Galaxy s7 ( https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Galaxy-S ... B01CJSF8IO ) and the older flagship phones may take better photos.

FWIW, OP went state-of-the-art for the time being, so is all set with photos and everything else.

michaeljc70
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:42 am

The serious photographers I know aren't doing it with smartphones.

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iceport
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by iceport » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:38 am

Katietsu wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:03 pm
It sounds like you might want to spend the bucks on a good case. My family has had good experience with LifeProof and Otterbox. Do it right away before you scratch your screen if not worse.
Thanks for the recommendations!
inbox788 wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:07 pm
I think the Y/Y improvements in camera have been marginal/incremental, but that is one of the big differentiation in flagship phones. I'm guessing an older flagship phone may have better photo capability than a current phone. For $400, you can get a current midline phone or a couple year old flagship like the iPhone 7 or Galaxy s7 ( https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Galaxy-S ... B01CJSF8IO ) and the older flagship phones may take better photos.
This is a great point, inbox788, and I gave this option serious consideration.
inbox788 wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:07 pm
OP went state-of-the-art for the time being...
Yes, until the next generations are out... I know.
michaeljc70 wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:42 am
The serious photographers I know aren't doing it with smartphones.
I'm far from a serious photographer — more of an "occasionally inspired" photographer who likes the convenience and ready availability of a good quality point-and-shoot. There are also occasions when faithful documentation of something is desired, and clarity would be appreciated.

With that said, depending on their artistic directions, serious photographers can do some surprisingly good work with just about any halfway decent camera.
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

beastykato
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by beastykato » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:23 am

I second the recommendation for Cricket. AT&T service is very good in most places and if you become a data user their unlimited plans are nice and cheap.

The family plan is especially good. I believe it's $100 or $110 for 4 unlimited phones off the top of my head.

They do throttle the data speed, but it is plenty fast even for streaming video.

bloom2708
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:40 am

beastykato wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 9:23 am
I second the recommendation for Cricket. AT&T service is very good in most places and if you become a data user their unlimited plans are nice and cheap.

The family plan is especially good. I believe it's $100 or $110 for 4 unlimited phones off the top of my head.

They do throttle the data speed, but it is plenty fast even for streaming video.
Cricket Unlimited bundles.

3 Unlimited (3mb) lines = $90
4 Unlimited (3mb) lines = $100
5 Unlimited (3mb) lines = $125

We have 3 teen phone users and 5 total phones. Got tired of continually having kids shred their data. :oops: The Cricked "Unlimited" plan is pretty great. The data is plenty fast to stream music and video. Coverage is good. Price is right.
Where to spend your time: | 1. You completely control <--spend your time here! | 2. You partially control <--spend your time here! | 3. You have no control <--spend no time here!

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iceport
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Re: My Very First Smartphone [Samsung Galaxy S9+]— Please Critique This Plan

Post by iceport » Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:12 pm

robphoto wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:50 pm
I understand the comments that one can get a cheaper phone, but the poster has said he wants to use the phone for serious photography.

The S9+ has one of the bests cameras available, and importantly has both a wide and longer lens, which is great for portraits, etc.

My wife has one that she uses constantly, and the photos are amazing; as to the cost, it's one of those "What do you have money for?" things.

I am a professional photographer; my phone is a Moto G6. The camera is fine, but not in the same league. If it's not a financial stretch, I think it's definitely worth it to spend the extra $600. for several years of really good photos!
I just can't help but circle back and confirm what robphoto wrote here. I've only owned the Galaxy S9 Plus for a few days and I'm already astounded by the camera capabilities.

So far, I've really only used it to photograph a toilet replacement project that ran into complications, taking pictures to get advice and document the work. Strictly using the Auto mode with a 4:3 12 MP picture size so far, I am blown away by the S9 Plus' ability to take high quality pictures indoors in low ambient light. The use of a simple old fashioned drop light with a warm LED bulb produced even better results. Detailed close-ups (at maybe 6" away) and overview shots were both handled effortlessly and automatically.

Beyond the quality of the images, I am also amazed by how easy the camera is to operate. Moving the position of the focal point is as simple as tapping the screen. Switching between modes is as simple as a swipe. Importing pictures to my desktop is as simple and plugging in with a USB patch cord and right-clicking on the camera in Windows explorer. The list goes on. I haven't even taken it outside yet, but I'm really eager to see how the Panorama shots look. Full 360 degree panoramic shots are as easy as pressing the shutter button and panning around. I've tried it out in my office. To me, this is a technological marvel.

Granted, much of my amazement would be common to any quality phone (or camera) made in the last few years. But from what I've read, many of the technological and user interface advancements are features of Samsung and/or the S9/S9 Plus. So far, I couldn't be happier with the camera(s).
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

zero sum guy
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Re: My Very First Smartphone [Samsung Galaxy S9+] — Please Critique This Plan

Post by zero sum guy » Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:40 pm

While the Samsung Galaxy S9 has a great camera, if you are serious about photography, then you would go the route of a DSLR.
Interchangeable lenses, zoom lenses, and portable lighting sources then come into play.
I never saw a serious photographer who did not want to make his or her presence known with their cameras and other equipment.
And such equipment does make a difference in the quality of their finished products.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: My Very First Smartphone [Samsung Galaxy S9+] — Please Critique This Plan

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:43 pm

Unless your phone habits are going to change greatly, I think a Samsung S9 might be an overkill, as others have suggested.

My current phone is the S9, we were able to get a good deal on it from Best Buy. $480 for the phone. Of course wife has to stay with Verizon for two more years, but that won't be a problem. Despite Verizon's high price, she won't leave them. She pays for the cell phones and plan, so it doesn't matter to me.

You can find many offers on Amazon, should you decide to buy a less expensive phone.

I do like the Samsung products. I have an S3 I use for music. We upgraded to S5 phones when Best Buy had a deal for $1 each. Her S5 died first, then later wife dropped mine and killed it somehow. So she bought me an S9. What a great wife! She should have given me her S8, and taken the S9 for herself.

I think you would like an S9 once you got one, but I'm not sure it would be a good fit, based on what you have shared.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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