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View Poll Results: I want to spend $100 per phone on two smartphones. What Sort of Smartphones Should I Get?
2 Cheap New Phones - Features have improved a lot over the past few years. 6 54.55%
2 Expensive Old Phones Which Have Devalued - Technology hasn't changed much, and you'll get more premium features this way. 2 18.18%
1 Cheap New Phone, 1 Expensive Old Phone Which Has Devalued: Split the difference. 0 0%
Don't do it! Smartphones are de debbil! 1 9.09%
I don't care. 2 18.18%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-04-2012, 10:46 AM
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,078,560 times
Reputation: 2989


Hi everyone!

Thanks for your input on my plan to switch to a no-contract GSM-supporting network. Now I need to buy phones. I need two smartphones. They don't have to be the same make or model, they just need to be:

1. unlocked/unlockable.
2. Use sim cards/GSM networks.
3. Have wifi capability.
4. Run on Android.
5. Be buyable through Amazon

So, please vote in the poll, and if you have time, make suggestions promoting your favorite cheap new phone or expensive older model.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:21 AM
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,078,560 times
Reputation: 2989
Well, I did the one thing nobody voted for and split the difference. Sorta.

Ordered a new Pantech P80000 (2011) for the long battery life, decent features, and good reviews (Cnet and Amazon).

For the old phone, I ordered a refurbished HTC Nexus One (2010). Again, rave reviews attracted me, plus a Cnet editor wrote an article about Android updates. In it, he mentioned that his "Old Nexus One" still did everything his brand-spanking-new phones did with almost no discernible difference in performance.

Of course, immediately after doing so, I began having second thoughts because I read about how CDMA was such a superior system. Oh well. I travel internationally fairly often, so it will be nice to be able to switch out GSM cards and have a cell which I can take anywhere on the planet and not pay roaming.
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:28 AM
80 posts, read 129,525 times
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In my opinion the android platform has significantly improved in two years. Most notably, now the battery life - especially standby, on the new chipsets, borders to acceptable; if you let the phones lie on a table many actually last 1,5-2 weeks, which is nearly up to par with older feature phones.

Even with sparing to moderate use it seems the models with smaller screens, such as Xperia Mini or Samsung Pocket, seem to last a couple of days before the battery is at 10%. Not a good figure, but the same kind of usage on the phones from a couple of years ago would have had me charge them twice a day.

I do think you will be more satisfied with the new "cheap" phone.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:54 PM
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,078,560 times
Reputation: 2989
I'll try to report back and let you know. My usage is going to be light, so we'll see if I notice the battery difference.
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:19 AM
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,078,560 times
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So the Nexus One was DOA, but the Pantech worked. Actually, the nexus worked for about 10 minutes before failing into an eternal reboot loop. It had a thinner profile, bigger screen, better graphics, and noticably faster processor. So, if I could get a working one, I think an older, higher-powered phone is the way to go.

The pantech is kind of a clunky brick. The keyboard is nice, but not really necessary and requires a landscape layout of the phone. Everything works, but the graphics and speed of the system are noticably worse than the older Nexus.

So, I'm probably going to replace the Nexus with another Nexus or some other older-model phone and still split the difference.

On the plus side, I've figured out how to use google voice + a few other apps to make and recieve free calls to phones in the US and Canada over wifi. So my plan to cut back our 2-phone family plan cell phone bill from $70 to $50 is on track. I may even be able to squeeze it down to $40 or less. I'll make up my $180 investment in hardware in 9 months or less! Ain't technology grand?

Question: Anyone know of a custom ROM I can flash to a Pantech P8000? I already upgraded to the latest Pantech-supported Gingerbread and found a way to root the phone, but I don't see any CWM ROMs (or others) specifically compatible with the P8000.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:50 AM
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,078,560 times
Reputation: 2989
Finally recieved a replacement Nexus One, and I love it. Still haven't got SIM cards yet, so I don't know how the call quality is going to be. The voIP seems good. I pre-loaded my city into google maps and tested the navigation on the way to work today. Awesome! With google voice and grooveIP (lite) I can now make free calls from home anywhere in the US and Canada as long as I'm within range of wifi. Android rocks! So glad I did some research and avoided getting trapped into anything Apple.

I'm a little reluctant to play with the phone too much, since I want to flash a CG custom ROM to the Nexus and so all my presets will get blown away. I better do the backup and upgrade this weekend before I get my SIM cards.

In the end, I'm happy with splitting between the Nexus and the Pantech. The Pantech has some nice features that the Nexus doesn't. Also, I feel like it's more reliable. On the other hand, the Nexus is still a performance machine and clearly better than the Pantech for playing movies, browsing the internet, and doing all the "smart" stuff. My spouse has a reliable phone she can use to check email/facebook, and we've got a bigger screen performance phone, we can take with us on trips, on which we can watch movies or play games together.
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:17 AM
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,078,560 times
Reputation: 2989
I've got SIM cards in both phones now and an ala-carte plan from Consumer Cellular. I can't say enough good things about the company, except that ALL the literature they send you is covered in pictures of elderly people doing stuff like gardening or watching grandkids play. Haha.

Customer service is great, though. I've never had so much as a 1-minute wait time. They seem to have some problems turning data on-and-off when you start a new plan or switch plans, but one call resolves any problems in minutes.

I have run through all my minutes already and upgraded to the 750min plan. So now I'm only saving $25/month compared to my previous dumb-phone family plan. Still, there's no comparison in terms of value. I love not being on contract and being able to cut back or turn off the service with just a mouse click on months when I don't use much.

VOiP isn't great quality. People are having a hard time getting through to me via GrooveIP by calling my google voice number, though I think the problem is with them and not with Gvoice/GrooveIP. When I'm at home the call quality is not as good via wifi (I think GrooveIP doesn't take advantage of some of the phone's noise-cancelling features) and calls drop pretty often; maybe every 30 minutes or so.

However, even if I have to go all cell towers for phone calls, our total usage never goes over 1300 minutes, and Consumer Cellular just bumped the next tier plan from 1250 to 1500 minutes for no extra cost. So, worst-case scenario I still save $15/month.

So that's pretty much the end of this story.
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