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Need recommendations for a basic smartphone

Oblivion

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,585
apologies if there's a dedicated phone recommendation thread, but i searched and couldn't find one if it exists.

anyway, so my current phone looks like it's on its last legs, and so it's time to find a replacement. here's what i'm looking for:

- cheap (anything under $200, i guess)
- generally basic stuff (texts and calls)
- good battery life
- i use apps, but very, VERY few. right now, it's only twitter, soundcloud and youtube and i use the latter not to watch videos but to listen to them (like podcasts) while driving to work
- i don't really browse much, but only cause it kills my battery pretty quick.
- i don't 'need' a great camera, but i wouldn't be opposed to having one (i would like anything with a resolution of 8 megapixels and up, if possible, but not required)
- must have headphone jack!

to give you an idea of a phone i currently have, it's a samsung on5:

- 5 megapixel phone
- 4 GB of storage
- the batterly life WAS pretty decent until it started acting up due to age (now takes like 3 hours for a full charge and lasts about 2 hours or so if i'm using twitter/youtube).
 
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Yataran

Member
Jul 17, 2018
211
Copenhagen, DK
get the latest moto g model
I agree with this suggestions. I've had 2 Moto phones so far, and they've been pretty good considering how affordable they were. At the moment I'm still using the Moto G5 (Model with 3 Gb of RAM) and it works well... I'm thinking of getting the Moto G7, which has received good reviews in general.
 

Rand a. Thor

Member
Oct 31, 2017
9,749
Greece
Redmi Note 7 or Note 8, both are around the 150€ mark. Dunno bout dollars. Mi 9 Lite for something a bit more upmarket to treat yourself, costs about 200€ over where I am and its an absolute beast in value for money.
 

tulpa

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,985
apologies if there's a dedicated phone recommendation thread, but i searched and couldn't find one if it exists.

anyway, so my current phone looks like it's on its last legs, and so it's time to find a replacement. here's what i'm looking for:

- cheap (anything under $200, i guess)
- generally basic stuff (texts and calls)
- good battery life
- i use apps, but very, VERY few. right now, it's only twitter, soundcloud and youtube and i use the latter not to watch videos but to listen to them (like podcasts) while driving to work
- i don't really browse much, but only cause it kills my battery pretty quick.
- i don't 'need' a great camera, but i wouldn't be opposed to having one (i would like anything with a resolution of 8 megapixels and up, if possible, but not required)

to give you an idea of a phone i currently have, it's a samsung on5:

- 5 megapixel phone
- 4 GB of storage
- the batterly life WAS pretty decent until it started acting up due to age (now takes like 3 hours for a full charge and lasts about 2 hours or so if i'm using twitter/youtube).
what country are you in? carrier?

Redmi Note 7 or Note 8, both are around the 150€ mark. Dunno bout dollars. Mi 9 Lite for something a bit more upmarket to treat yourself, costs about 200€ over where I am and its an absolute beast in value for money.
yeah that was my thought but it sounds like they might be in the US, which would mean this isn't really an option
 

hubot

Member
Feb 25, 2019
73
As others said the moto g line is good but since motorola was bought by lenovo the phones only get one update. I would recommend an entry level nokia device. Android one (stock android without bloat) and 2 years OS updates and 3 years monthly security updates

Edit: Something like this or this.

Edit again because I can't read: Didn't read the under 200$ so my suggestions are out of question
 
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OP
OP

Oblivion

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,585
what country are you in? carrier?
u.s. and i use t-mobile


oh also, too. got a possibly dumb question. i see that there are lots of phones that have two cameras, one for the front and rear, each with generally different resolutions. what's the point of that, if someone could just use the camera that has the superior resolution?
 

tulpa

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,985
u.s. and i use t-mobile


oh also, too. got a possibly dumb question. i see that there are lots of phones that have two cameras, one for the front and rear, each with generally different resolutions. what's the point of that, if someone could just use the camera that has the superior resolution?
You should check out a refurbished or even used Essential Ph-1. You're looking at $100-$150. It's basically a 2017 Android flagship but they're quite affordable and regularly on sale for very cheap since the phone didn't take off. It's made out of titanium and ceramic so it's quite solidly built, they get good battery life and always seem to be the first phone to get the latest Android update
 

Grath

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
213
u.s. and i use t-mobile


oh also, too. got a possibly dumb question. i see that there are lots of phones that have two cameras, one for the front and rear, each with generally different resolutions. what's the point of that, if someone could just use the camera that has the superior resolution?
With the front facing camera (the "selfie cam") when you make a selfie, you see yourself on the screen, so you can get the optimal pic. If you turn the phone, the photo will be better pixelquality-wise, but chances are, the photo itself would be crappier.
 
OP
OP

Oblivion

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,585
With the front facing camera (the "selfie cam") when you make a selfie, you see yourself on the screen, so you can get the optimal pic. If you turn the phone, the photo will be better pixelquality-wise, but chances are, the photo itself would be crappier.
i figured that might be a reason, but don't phones come up with option to let you switch between which camera you want to use (even mine does that, and it's practically a fossil by smartphone standards)
 
OP
OP

Oblivion

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,585
I use this: https://www.amazon.com/ZTE-Display-Unlocked-Smartphone-Warranty/dp/B07RH8DZRM

It's pretty good. Not the best camera, not the most powerful phone, but it sounds like it will work for your purposes.
hey, that looks like a pretty damn good phone!

get the latest moto g model
i'm checking the different phones on here, and it looks like the on Salbert recommended seems to have good or better specs on every metric with the Power and Play, for cheaper. Only the G7 seems to have noticeably better specs, but it's also over 3x the cost.

The unlocked Moto Z3 Play is going for $149 at Best Buy right now. Seems like a great phone for that price.

damn. for any service besides t-mobile, they offer it at $99. D:
 

pikablu

Member
Oct 28, 2017
373
The Moto Z3 play is the best phone I've ever owned. With the battery mod my phone lasts a day and a half on heavy usage. It still does after over a year.
 
OP
OP

Oblivion

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,585
The Moto Z3 play is the best phone I've ever owned. With the battery mod my phone lasts a day and a half on heavy usage. It still does after over a year.

that says this phone is normally $350 but they'll selling it for $150. are they full of shit? if not, what's the catch?
 
OP
OP

Oblivion

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,585
The phone is 1,5 years old. Android phones get cheap really fast
right, but it says it's normally $350 and it's "on sale" right now, supposedly.

oh, also. this doesn't have a headphone jack?!? sorry, i should have mentioned it earlier, but that's a deal breaker for me. i play music from my phone through my car while i'm driving to work, and i absolutely need that.
 

hubot

Member
Feb 25, 2019
73
The problem with the android world is that many models do not get software updates or security patches. Most models get them regularly the first year but after that they will not come consistently. Some manufacturers are better than others and some models from the same manufacturer are better supported than others from the same manufacturer. If security updates or OS updates aren't important to you than it is no problem to buy an old phone or a phone from a specific manufacturer that is not reliable with updates
 
OP
OP

Oblivion

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,585
Yes, but if you use the "normal" camera to take a pic of your face, you won't see the screen.
okay, really stupid question. say you have a phone that has 12 mp rear camera and a 5 mp front camera. if i wanted to take a picture of say, i dunno, a landmark, or whatever, just something outside off in the distance, i'd be using the rear camera, right? i'd be looking through the screen to see what i'm trying to take a picture of, but i'd be using the rear camera to take it, right?
 

ty_hot

Member
Dec 14, 2017
4,011
My dad has a Xiaomi Mi A3 and the only bad thing is it doesnt have NFC, other than that it is an awesome device for the price.
 

L.E.D.

Member
Oct 27, 2017
432
Galaxy A20.
Probably the best low budget phone, has nfc, face unlock, fingerprint, Bluetooth 5, amazing battery life if you put on dark mode, has quick charge our of the box. Only downside is it's 720p resolution but it comes in around 150$.
 
Oct 27, 2017
7,243
Get a high-end phone from 4-5 years ago and you should be good I reckon, and it'll do almost everything current high-end models do if that interests you.
 

Transistor

Crash() Void() Purge()
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
12,536
Cloudbank
Is being new a requirement? Because you can get a phone that's used and still pretty high-end for cheap on swappa. Like this:

 

Ryu

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
529
Jup, got to give a +1 on the Xiaomi recommendations. Can never go wrong with one of those phones, they have an extremely good value.
 
OP
OP

Oblivion

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,585
Galaxy A20.
Probably the best low budget phone, has nfc, face unlock, fingerprint, Bluetooth 5, amazing battery life if you put on dark mode, has quick charge our of the box. Only downside is it's 720p resolution but it comes in around 150$.
another dumb question: but when you say it's 720p resolution, are you talking about camera resolution, video recording resolution? etc?
 

vitacola

Member
May 23, 2018
26
ffm.he.de
The Moto G7 Power has a 5,000 mAh battery, which is insane. It also has a headphone jack:

That phone has a massive battery life, I too thought of suggesting it.
The specs regarding the screen and the camera are not as good as the one on the "normal" G7, but people who had their main focus on battery life loved it.
The only problem I see (as an owner of the G7 plus) is the software support from Motorola. You will get another Android main version (Android 10) and after this maybe a few security updates. At the end of 2020 this phone will probably be dead in terms of official software support and there is no real community supporting the G7 series.
no, it's a dual camera. then there's a separate one for the front, but the rear says 13+2 mp
Ah, okay. So it's just the resolution of the second rear camera for "image quality enhancement". (edit: I think it's for "Bokeh")
 
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compo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,880
That phone has a massive battery life, I too thought of suggesting it.
The specs regarding the screen and the camera are not as good as the one on the "normal" G7, but people who had their main focus on battery life loved it.
The only problem I see (as an owner of the G7 plus) is the software support from Motorola. You will get another Android main version (Android 10) and after this maybe a few security updates. At the end of 2020 this phone will probably be dead in terms of official software support and there is no real community supporting the G7 series.
The G7 Power will probably still get security updates into 2021. The phone came out in spring 2019, and every Moto phone I've ever had still got the occasional security update up to 2 years in its life (I buy new phones every 2 years, so I can't speak for beyond that time length).

But I think trying to find a budget phone that gets long term security updates might be a bit of a fruitless effort. I'm on an Android One phone right now (Xiaomi Mi A2) specifically because I thought the OS would be kept up to date, but I still haven't received an Android 10 update yet. I honestly don't expect one either, now that the Mi A3 is out. I do still get monthly security updates, which is nice, but even those are only guaranteed for 3 years on Android One, so I would expect those to fully stop at the 3 year mark.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that if you want your OS to be kept up to date on a budget phone, then based on my past experiences, it seems like you have to just buy a new phone every couple of years. I would prioritize hardware specs when choosing a budget phone rather than the promise of OS updates.
 

vitacola

Member
May 23, 2018
26
ffm.he.de
The G7 Power will probably still get security updates into 2021. The phone came out in spring 2019, and every Moto phone I've ever had still got the occasional security update up to 2 years in its life (I buy new phones every 2 years, so I can't speak for beyond that time length).

But I think trying to find a budget phone that gets long term security updates might be a bit of a fruitless effort. I'm on an Android One phone right now (Xiaomi Mi A2) specifically because I thought the OS would be kept up to date, but I still haven't received an Android 10 update yet. I honestly don't expect one either, now that the Mi A3 is out. I do still get monthly security updates, which is nice, but even those are only guaranteed for 3 years on Android One, so I would expect those to fully stop at the 3 year mark.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that if you want your OS to be kept up to date on a budget phone, then based on my past experiences, it seems like you have to just buy a new phone every couple of years. I would prioritize hardware specs when choosing a budget phone rather than the promise of OS updates.
Alright fair enough. Maybe I was a bit exaggerating, because I am a bit baffled about Motorola's release schedule of Updates. I actually think that there is no roadmap at all and they release too many phones (as almost every other manufacturer ...)
And you are probably right about the budget phone and updates. Even with non budget phones you are lucky if you receive anything after two years. Update politics and the software design around them are major flaws of Android.

That's why I'm a bit sad about the fact that there is almost no dev community for the G7 series. It's just annoying to me to throw away a perfectly working phone after two years because you won't get updates anymore.
 

compo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,880
Alright fair enough. Maybe I was a bit exaggerating, because I am a bit baffled about Motorola's release schedule of Updates. I actually think that there is no roadmap at all and they release too many phones (as almost every other manufacturer ...)
And you are probably right about the budget phone and updates. Even with non budget phones you are lucky if you receive anything after two years. Update politics and the software design around them are major flaws of Android.

That's why I'm a bit sad about the fact that there is almost no dev community for the G7 series. It's just annoying to me to throw away a perfectly working phone after two years because you won't get updates anymore.
Yeah, the Android update system is pretty stupid. That's one thing iOS legitimately does better.

If you really wanted to save a budget Android phone from its 2-3 year obsolescence, then you could flash it and put an open source OS on it. I think LineageOS is the big one right now. But I would never recommend that to the standard smartphone user.
 

tulpa

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,985

that says this phone is normally $350 but they'll selling it for $150. are they full of shit? if not, what's the catch?
it's just on sale. either that or the Ph-1 is probably the way to go


They both have the same Snapdragon processor. The Ph-1 will have a higher build quality and will pretty much always get the new Android updates very very quickly, but the Moto Z is new rather than refurb and has some of the interesting modular features so it's a tossup
Yeah, the Android update system is pretty stupid. That's one thing iOS legitimately does better.

If you really wanted to save a budget Android phone from its 2-3 year obsolescence, then you could flash it and put an open source OS on it. I think LineageOS is the big one right now. But I would never recommend that to the standard smartphone user.
Alright fair enough. Maybe I was a bit exaggerating, because I am a bit baffled about Motorola's release schedule of Updates. I actually think that there is no roadmap at all and they release too many phones (as almost every other manufacturer ...)
And you are probably right about the budget phone and updates. Even with non budget phones you are lucky if you receive anything after two years. Update politics and the software design around them are major flaws of Android.

That's why I'm a bit sad about the fact that there is almost no dev community for the G7 series. It's just annoying to me to throw away a perfectly working phone after two years because you won't get updates anymore.
this is why the Essential phone is still v appealing as a budget Android smartphone in 2020. the speed of updates is really impressive and puts a lot of the larger brands to shame
 

vitacola

Member
May 23, 2018
26
ffm.he.de
it's just on sale. either that or the Ph-1 is probably the way to go


They both have the same Snapdragon processor. The Ph-1 will have a higher build quality and will pretty much always get the new Android updates very very quickly, but the Moto Z is new rather than refurb and has some of the interesting modular features so it's a tossup


this is why the Essential phone is still v appealing as a budget Android smartphone in 2020. the speed of updates is really impressive and puts a lot of the larger brands to shame
Good to know this about Essential.
But both don't have the headphone jack, that the OP set as mandatory or is there an addon for the Z3?
 

The Albatross

Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,335
A refurbished Pixel 3a is a great phone and checks your boxes (battery life, camera, headphone jack, t-mobile, etc), but they're $300 usually. Nice thing about the Pixel 3a, even the refurbs, is they're gauaranteed to get updates, they usually have a 1-year warranty from Google, they don't ship with any extra software, and terrific battery life (the way you use your phone I'd expect ~36-48 hours on a charge, and they charge to 85% battery life in 30mins or so). But, again it's about $100 up your budget.
 
Oct 27, 2017
510
For those saying Moto G series, those are great phones but I would recommend waiting for the moto g8. There's a Plus and a Play version, basically the Plus is like $50 more but with slightly better specs and battery life.

I have an Essential Phone and it's been great but I wouldn't recommend it in 2020 since I don't know how many years of updates it has left.
 

zeknurn

Member
Oct 25, 2017
939
If you want the most for your money it's Xiaomi and nothing else comes close. I went from a Redmi Note 4 to a MI 9T pro myself but in your price range id look at the new Redmi Note 8.
 

pikablu

Member
Oct 28, 2017
373
right, but it says it's normally $350 and it's "on sale" right now, supposedly.

oh, also. this doesn't have a headphone jack?!? sorry, i should have mentioned it earlier, but that's a deal breaker for me. i play music from my phone through my car while i'm driving to work, and i absolutely need that.
It comes with the adapter in the box to use a headphone jack. And the reason it's so cheap is because they've replaced it with the z4 play which is the latest model.