My current phone, an Asus Zenfone 2 LTE edition has been a good little phone for the money, it's done me a couple of good years of service but it has started dying a slow death I think. About 3 or 4 months ago it disconnected randomly from the cell network a couple of times and would only reconnect on a reboot. In the last 2 months or has started again more frequently, sometimes once a day, some days not at all, and I've had a couple of days where I've had to restart it 10 plus times. It often happens when I go to use the phone which is frustrating, as you don't know that it's happened until you go to use it.
Anyways, my budget is on the low end of the scale. I'm all about bang for buck here really. I guess i have a few features I'm after, and will have to find something fits most of those in the budget.
-5.5 inch plus, I think preferably 6 inch. I find I'm using my phone a lot to consume content, on buses etc, and it's handy to have a bigger screen around home.
-A decentish camera, I'm realistic here.
-LTE including band 28 (700). There's a strong possibility I'll be moving to the rural fringes in the next year or 2, and it seems like a sensible thing to have. My current phone has support for band 28 and I've found coverage on skinny pretty good.
-preferably will last 2 plus years so regular updates would be good
-support for micro sd storage
-NFC might be nice
-3GB plus RAM
I'm looking around the $300 - $400 mark but I might be able to stretch a bit further, I have a birthday soon after Christmas which should give me a bump in cash for the budget. I'm not particularly adverse to importing a phone if the risks are worth it for the quality of the phone, in fact my last phone was from Expansys, but a local warranty is pretty attractive. I have young kids and am pretty time poor currently, so mucking about with roms etc, whilst is something I quite enjoy, I don't have a lot of time for at the moment, so to some extent it needs to work pretty well out of the box without much help from me. So far I've narrowed it down to this selection to a few models.
from PB Tech, looks like some nice features for the price, and a good local warranty too. The fingerprint scanner is a nice addition. The Meizu M3 note owners thread has me a little concerned with updates breaking the google play store etc. Seems like quite a few folk are having issues getting things sorted there, the kinda trouble I'd like to avoid. No LTE band 28 support here.
The Xiaomi note 3 pro global edition from banggood or similar. From what i can tell this is the variant with LTE band 28 support which is good, and at a very sharp price. It seems to tick most of my boxes. Having to flash the rom etc is slightly worrying and exciting at the same time haha. Seems pretty well regarded.
The Elephone p9000. I haven't done too much research on this one yet, but it seems like excellent value. I'm a little sketch on some of the details, some say it has NFC, some say it doesn't. No band 28 support. 4GB of RAM
The Huawei Mate 7. Pretty cheap on sale at the warehouse. Getting pretty old in phones years now though, only 2GB of RAM. Local warranty.
The Huawei Mate 8. Probably my front runner at the moment, although it would need to drop in price a fair bit. It was on sale at PB Tech and Noel's for around $440/450 which seems like good buying. Ticks all my boxes as far as I can tell. It looked massive in store, but the screen looked lovely, I think I'd soon get used to the size. Local warranty etc. The mate 9 release is imminent so I expect it'll be on sale at some point over the following months, hopefully back as low as it got previously.
I'm not currently in a desperate hurry as I my current phone works most of the time for now, but I'd love people's feedback and experiences with any of these models or if there's some more I should be looking at. Thanks for reading!