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Topic # 193645 18-Mar-2016 14:05
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... AKA the sequel to "Best Android phone options <$400?"

 

Back late last year I sought some advice re sub-$400 Android phones, as per that link; the phone I ended up getting my wife was a Xiaomi Redmi Note 2, which has generally been good but has an occasional but still fatal flaw that makes it unsuitable for a work phone (which is what she now needs), so I'm back looking.

 

Generally, I'm after overall better features to last time (given it's intended use as a business phone), and acknowledge the need to lift the budget to get something suitable.

 

Must haves (the key ones are captured in this Pricespy search):

 

     

  1. $700 or lower (could stretch a little more for something brilliant)
  2. screen at least 5”, preferably 5.5" (her current size)
  3. work on all networks (rules out Vodafone Ultra, but the recent reports of screen probs would also rule it out)
  4. 4G (again, on all networks)
  5. has a decent camera
  6. minimum of 16GB RAM; 32 or 64 if no SD card slot
  7. running at least 5.0
  8. be appropriate for and reliable as a business phone

 

Preferable features:

 

  • SD card slot
  • decent screen resolution of at least 1080
  • still be supported for the next couple of years in terms of updates (even if not to new Android versions, at least receive patches)

Must not:

 

  • be only available as a Chinese import (a la Xiaomi etc) - not willing again to risk buying something half-baked that the manufacturer shows little interest in putting back in the oven
  • have lots of bloatware - I'm not keen on Samsungs, partly on this basis, partly just 'cos for some reason I don't generally like their phones, irrational though this may be

Happy if it's:

 

  • a parallel-imported version of a phone otherwise available here; just needs to be available from a reputable retailer that'll issue a legal NZ tax invoice; would prefer a standard NZ retailer, but realise it's unusual to get a truly decent phone at a good price from such a shop (that said, saw the post where HN's had the G4 for mid-600s).
  • an oldie but a goodie (ie, former flagship); would prefer this to a more modern but compromised phone

Appreciate any recommendations on such a phone, and thoughts on the ones thus far identified (as per list below). Thanks!

 

Possible models identified thus far:

 

  • LG G3 (mid $400s for 32GB D855)
  • LG G4 ($600sh up; don't want the leather back)
  • HTC One E9+ 32GB (mid $500s)
  • Nexus 5x ($600sh for 16GB; $700sh for 32GB)
  • Moto X2 ($500sh for 16GB)
  • Huawei P8 (mid $600s for 16GB)
  • If I must: Samsung S5 ($400s) or S6 (around $700)

At this stage, I'm tilting towards the G3 as it's a known quantity (I've got one) and gives a lot of bang for buck despite its age; alternatively, may look to the (plain-backed) G4, the price of which should drop when the G5's released.

 

(Edit: edited to sort formatting; numbers used only as bullets wouldn't format correctly.)

 

 

 

 


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sxz

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  Reply # 1515730 18-Mar-2016 15:21
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+ 1 for G4.  The wife loves hers.  

 

 

 

I'm hanging out for the G5 prices to replace my ailing nexus 5.  If I wait till June/July they should drop to $700-$800 if it follows the same patters that the G4 did


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  Reply # 1515755 18-Mar-2016 15:36
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Technically, you won't get "16GB RAM" but you can get 3GB RAM and 16-64GB internal storage.


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  Reply # 1515757 18-Mar-2016 15:39
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Hammerer:

 

Technically, you won't get "16GB RAM" but you can get 3GB RAM and 16-64GB internal storage.

 

 

 

 

Thank's for clearing that up.

 

 

 

My vote would be for the Nexus 5X but that is just because I am a purist. I wouldn't say it is the "best" but at least on the software side you will get a less bloated more up to date experience.


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  Reply # 1515758 18-Mar-2016 15:42
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OnePlus 2? But i dont think it has 4G on all networks. 


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  Reply # 1515766 18-Mar-2016 15:57
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I have the G3 as well, but I don't think there's a point in buying it now, especially if you're going to stick with stock firmware - it's almost two years old - I highly doubt LG would update it to Android N (and they are very poor with interim updates - eg the G3 was stuck on 5.0 and didn't receive any subsequent updates).


However, both the G4 and Nexus 5X are great choices. Personally I'd lean a bit more towards the 5X for the following reasons:

 

- Stock Android (OS is more fluid and responsive)
- Absolutely no bloatware at all
- Fast and regular monthly updates
- Longer support period
- Slightly better camera
- Better one-handed use
- USB Type-C

Plus, you get to play with preview versions of the next major Android release (Android N for eg). ;)


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  Reply # 1515778 18-Mar-2016 16:18
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I don't understand why a "business phone" needs higher specs than last time when you haven't mentioned a single business use or application. In my experience, personal applications such as gaming/graphics and loading heaps of apps require the highest specs so I'm interested what the key difference is for you.

 

Basically, you have upped your specs from last time, asked for better reliability and barred sourcing ex-China. Yet it is hard to recommend a great new phone when you seem happy with a two-year old ~$400 design in the G3. it is a very different proposition for future-proofing than even an ~$550 G4 which is at least a year newer. So what is really important to you?

 

Edit: Crossed with d3Xt3r who says much the same re future-proofing.

 

 

 

 




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  Reply # 1515810 18-Mar-2016 18:07
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lNomNoml:

 

Hammerer:

 

Technically, you won't get "16GB RAM" but you can get 3GB RAM and 16-64GB internal storage.

 

 

 

 

Thank's for clearing that up.

 

 

 

 

Indeed! Wasn't thinking properly when I typed that... 

 

Speaking of RAM, is the jump from 2 to 3GB significant in terms of performance? I've got 3GB in my G3 (I remember the 16GB sold here had 2), but this is my first decent phone so don't know what the difference in reality would be.




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  Reply # 1515822 18-Mar-2016 18:28
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Hammerer:

 

I don't understand why a "business phone" needs higher specs than last time when you haven't mentioned a single business use or application. In my experience, personal applications such as gaming/graphics and loading heaps of apps require the highest specs so I'm interested what the key difference is for you.

 

Basically, you have upped your specs from last time, asked for better reliability and barred sourcing ex-China. Yet it is hard to recommend a great new phone when you seem happy with a two-year old ~$400 design in the G3. it is a very different proposition for future-proofing than even an ~$550 G4 which is at least a year newer. So what is really important to you?

 

Edit: Crossed with d3Xt3r who says much the same re future-proofing.

 

 

Ok, Tiger...

 

My point of raising that it is for business purposes is to emphasise the need for something that's reliable, dependable, well-built, fast in general use - not that it will need to run particularly intensive business-focused apps. This is the reason I've ruled out ex-China phones, given they're typically an unknown quantity, and can quickly lose support from their manufacturer. 

 

For example, my wife can occasionally not hear callers on her Redmi Note 2 - despite there being evidence of this being an issue with a multiple of different Xiaomi phones, they have still failed to provide firmware that solves this problem. This problem isn't something that is feasible on a phone on which she will be reliant on for talking to current or potential clients.

 

I do indeed understand the different value and benefits/costs of the G3 and G4 (I'm not that much of an idiot yokel, you know), but rather price is an important factor - the G3 is proportionally a decent amount cheaper than the G4, and I know my wife is wanting to be careful in how much she spends.

 

My preference would for her to spend more to provide a greater level of future-proofing, let alone improved performance - at this stage the G4 and, based on others' comments, the Nexus 5X are the front-runners.


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  Reply # 1515927 19-Mar-2016 00:00
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Thanks for explaining. Sorry for coming across too strongly - I was seriously confused.

 

Another question. Why not a Sony Z3+? Same price band versus the G4 and 5X but has significant performance advantage and other features. I'd prefer a Gorilla Glass screen but not much else.

 

I would take 3GB RAM over 2GB RAM to future-proof my phone (apps get bigger not smaller), improve responsiveness and enhance CPU performance (by not having to wait for stuff coming from slower storage) and improve battery life (by keeping more stuff in RAM).


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  Reply # 1515930 19-Mar-2016 00:27
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Hammerer:

 

Thanks for explaining. Sorry for coming across too strongly - I was seriously confused.

 

Another question. Why not a Sony Z3+? Same price band versus the G4 and 5X but has significant performance advantage and other features. I'd prefer a Gorilla Glass screen but not much else.

 

I would take 3GB RAM over 2GB RAM to future-proof my phone (apps get bigger not smaller), improve responsiveness and enhance CPU performance (by not having to wait for stuff coming from slower storage) and improve battery life (by keeping more stuff in RAM).

 

 

 

 

Thing is you could also argue that the Nexus 5X doesn't need 3GB of RAM since it runs stock Android which is less bloated than Sony's and thus requires less RAM. Also Given that the Z3+ came with Android 5 and is getting a planned upgrade to Android 6 one could say that it would be the last upgrade it gets, where as the Nexus 5X came with Android 6 and will get Android 7 if not the next one after that given how Nexus devices are supported.

 

 

 

In the end it really comes down to what the OP wants, slightly higher specs or longer support.


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  Reply # 1515939 19-Mar-2016 02:00
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MotoX Style did not get a mention. Ticks all the boxes:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moto_X_Style

NZ availability might be an issue tho, which could mean updates are an issue with NZ telco approval. I'm not sure how that part works.

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  Reply # 1515969 19-Mar-2016 09:36
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Xperia M5?  ticks all the boxes. 


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  Reply # 1515971 19-Mar-2016 09:44
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lNomNoml:

 

Hammerer:

 

Thanks for explaining. Sorry for coming across too strongly - I was seriously confused.

 

Another question. Why not a Sony Z3+? Same price band versus the G4 and 5X but has significant performance advantage and other features. I'd prefer a Gorilla Glass screen but not much else.

 

I would take 3GB RAM over 2GB RAM to future-proof my phone (apps get bigger not smaller), improve responsiveness and enhance CPU performance (by not having to wait for stuff coming from slower storage) and improve battery life (by keeping more stuff in RAM).

 

 

Thing is you could also argue that the Nexus 5X doesn't need 3GB of RAM since it runs stock Android which is less bloated than Sony's and thus requires less RAM. Also Given that the Z3+ came with Android 5 and is getting a planned upgrade to Android 6 one could say that it would be the last upgrade it gets, where as the Nexus 5X came with Android 6 and will get Android 7 if not the next one after that given how Nexus devices are supported.

 

In the end it really comes down to what the OP wants, slightly higher specs or longer support.

 

 

We've been discussing future-proofing but my question was more about why the Sony wasn't on the OPs original list. There may be some requirement or issue that hadn't been discussed already.




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  Reply # 1516087 19-Mar-2016 14:29
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 Cheers, guys - thanks for all the posts and the useful information.

 

The initial list was solely that - models I'd identified as possible options as of that time, so totally keen on hearing of other models to consider.

 

The Z3+ is one I'd missed initially so, given its specs and price, I've added it to the shortlist. I'll also check out the M5, but just a quick look at the relative stats and price it seems the Z3+ is a superior phone. Both my wife and I have owned a couple of Xperias in the past, and I appreciated the relatively straightforward Sony take on Android.

 

I can't see too many sellers of the Moto X Pure here in NZ - Expansys is one. How would this compare to the others suggested here?

 

My biggest issue with the Nexus 5X is the issue I have with Nexuses (Nexi?!) generally - the inability to expand storage. A 32GB phone can get full pretty quickly when using it for Spotify offline. Something that comes into the consideration of how long a product will last, given it'll quickly be upgrade time if she runs out of space!

 

Is there a strong argument to add the S5 or S6 onto the shortlist? 

 

Thanks once again for the advice.


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  Reply # 1516095 19-Mar-2016 14:52
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Personally, I'd go the Sony. 

 

 

 

I became a fanboi after the Z1. (previously was a samsung fanboi, but I'd never buy another)


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