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56 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 247775 22-Feb-2019 19:50
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Warehouse Stationery are doing the best price on a Nokia 6.1 at the moment ($299 ), but they list it as a Spark Nokia 6.1. Their website says that the phone is not network locked, but is there any downside to buying one of these to use on Skinny? I'm just wondering whether Spark branded phones might be slower to receive updates than the unbranded ones...

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 2185561 22-Feb-2019 19:53
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Should be no issue but updates might be a bit slower due to carrier branding

 

John


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2185583 22-Feb-2019 20:27
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Check the phone's bands are fully compatible with the bands they use on the skinny network. It'll work, but maybe a bit slow or missing some frequencies on 1,2,3 or 4G.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 2185586 22-Feb-2019 20:38
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If you get a 6.1 I have a couple of new cases for it. I ordered the wrong ones. I have a 6.1 Plus.


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  Reply # 2185591 22-Feb-2019 21:04
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Skinny is Spark's budget brand, there is absolutely no downside, it's the same network. The exact same Nokia 6.1 stock is sold through the Skinny online store as sold through any other NZ retail channel including Warehouse Stationery and Spark direct.

 

Many retailers list devices as 'Spark', 'Vodafone', or '2degrees', but this is usually more for the retailers themselves than the customers. Given Spark is the exclusive distributor of Nokia phones in NZ, all Nokia stock is the same regardless of where you get it (unless you're buying an import).





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  Reply # 2185592 22-Feb-2019 21:13
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NikT:

 

Many retailers list devices as 'Spark', 'Vodafone', or '2degrees', but this is usually more for the retailers themselves than the customers.

 

 

With the exception of Samsung etc (Different CSC's, allowing Spark to plaster their logo/wallpaper/app/TWorld)

 

The way Apple (and hopefully Nokia) do it is so much nicer.


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2185593 22-Feb-2019 21:20
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Is it Android One?




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  Reply # 2185635 22-Feb-2019 22:08
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Yabanize:

 

With the exception of Samsung etc (Different CSC's, allowing Spark to plaster their logo/wallpaper/app/TWorld)

 

The way Apple (and hopefully Nokia) do it is so much nicer.

 

 

Yeah there's a whole missing layer of readily available info on the extent to which devices are 'branded' and what that branding actually means. As this thread demonstrates, it's actively confusing for people who just want to know if a phone will work for them, so the safe bet is often to buy what's described as 'for your current network' when it can be the case that a version that's on sale but listed as another network's stock is actually identical. It's something I firmly believe there should be more transparency on.

 

Without going too far off the rails in this thread, since I think it will be useful and heeeey I have a hot minute after launching the S10 today, the rules of thumb for officially locally available smartphone brands are:

 

  •  Samsung - devices are customised per-network, usually to a minimal extent with the notable exception of 2degrees WiFi calling, and there is no such thing as unbranded Samsung smartphone stock officially available in NZ. Here you are better off getting the one for the network you're on, but if you have the know-how you can switch the software easily or unbrand it entirely to another country's open market version.
  •  Apple - they are all exactly the same regardless of source (unless you're an enterprise and need DEP/zero-touch MDM enrolment)
  •  Huawei - the Mates and the P-series are all the same regardless of source, Novas and Ys may vary, watch for single vs. dual SIM in the low-end - Vodafone does not ever sell dual SIM smartphones so theirs will always be single SIM
  • OPPO - all the same regardless of source
  • Motorola - Open market unbranded in any way, same stock as Australia - same software as all open market in APAC
  • CAT (rugged phones for business if you've not encountered them, one has a thermal camera!) - Open market unbranded in any way, same software as all of APAC
  • LG - Open market unbranded, same stock and software as Australia
  • Nokia - exclusively sold through Spark's distribution channels, so all are (very minimally) Spark-branded - I don't have as much visibility into these as I don't work directly with Nokia/HMD - this effectively just means Spark tests the updates locally for critical network compatibility before they're deployed by Nokia
  • Xiaomi (Mi) - Open market unbranded, they have a single universal 'global' software build per device
  • Alcatel - customised per-network, just entry-level so usually network locked anyway unless you're buying from 2degrees who no longer lock
  • Vodafone - obviously Vodafone NZ customised
  • Sony - No longer active in the NZ market, but they were lightly customised per-network
  • HTC - No longer active in the NZ market, but they did share a single software build between AU and NZ for a while
  • Meizu - Open market unbranded with a single universal 'global' software build like Xiaomi, but er, unlike Xiaomi, very slow to update (sorry)
  • Razer - I'll be able to tell you soon!
  • Google Pixel - Not officially sold in NZ, included just for reference
  • OnePlus - Single global software build, included just for reference

I think that's everything worth talking about, and hope it is useful. One day when I'm less entrenched in the industry and its politics and have the bloody time I'll write all this stuff and more up somewhere so enthusiasts on the outside - like I was for many years - get the benefits of what's on the inside that can be shared and isn't, and can make informed purchasing decisions and recommendations based on upfront information. 





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https://pbtech.co.nz/smartphones




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 2185637 22-Feb-2019 22:19
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Well that's a very comprehensive answer thank you! Will try to pick up a Nokia this weekend then (to replace my Meizu M3 Note, which as you mention, has had a pretty woeful record for updates!)

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2185654 22-Feb-2019 23:51
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My Dad got a nokia branded with spark, and is using it on Vodafone without any issues. We did have to change some of the settings though. But isn't Skinny is a subbrand of Spark anyway (eg their low cost brand), so isn't it largely sharing the same network anyway?


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  Reply # 2185658 23-Feb-2019 00:32
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sparky1685:

 

Well that's a very comprehensive answer thank you! Will try to pick up a Nokia this weekend then (to replace my Meizu M3 Note, which as you mention, has had a pretty woeful record for updates!)

 

 

No problem! Years ago I was always amazed that NZ is small enough and Geekzone interesting enough that folks could ask a question and have someone from the industry jump in to answer, so I'm happy to do my part.

 

The Nokia 6.1 is a tremendously competent device for $299, it would be a great upgrade from the M3 Note and should serve for a good lifespan with its software updates. The only thing you're likely to miss is the greater battery capacity of the M3 Note, although that may not be so good after ~3 years of use. Now is a good time to buy as the 6.1 won't be too far off end-of-life, I expect a replacement will be due mid-year-ish. The 6.1 is unlikely to get much cheaper than $299 in the lead-up.

 

That said, it is firmly of the previous generation of devices due to its design and spec which may or may not be of concern. Particularly to my mind we saw the midrange explode in 2018 with a level of performance and bang for buck never before seen, or at least not since 2013 when Motorola released the first Moto G. This thanks to pressure in major markets like India for higher spec at lower prices. The biggest benefit to this is a bit of an unsung victory given it's buried deeply in spec sheets - we've seen a truly enormous bump in processing power for the dollars, with newer, faster ARM Cortex A7x cores emerging at price points previously reserved for slower A5x cores. Times were the 'fast' cores were only available in flagship-tier phones and everything else was terribly slow.

 

The Huawei Nova 3i in particular has disrupted the NZ market since its launch, offering unbeatable specs for the price (like 128GB storage) along with a striking gradient colour and modern design including a taller display, and it's one of the best-selling phones in the country right now for this reason. The taller 18:9 and 19.5:9 displays are wonderful as they fit much more screen into the same footprint without getting too wide - can get terribly confusing comparing screen sizes now because 6" can either mean huge if 16:9, or just like your 5.5" phone but taller if 18:9. Of course, if vanilla Android and timely security patches are of value, the Nokia has those as meaningfully differentiated advantages.

 

The Nokia 6.1 and M3 Note are both octa-core Cortex A53 CPU configurations, with the Nokia's much newer Snapdragon 630 chip having a significant bump in graphics performance - the 630 was a chip previously featured in devices with RRPs up to ~$699 (Moto X4, Sony XA2 Ultra etc). I'd personally go for something with a chip that has A7x cores, like the Snapdragon 636 or 632 or Huawei's Kirin 710, your needs and mileage may well vary as to whether that's worth an extra $100 or so.





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Master Geek
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  Reply # 2185786 23-Feb-2019 12:06
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NikT you are awesome. Next time I buy I new phone I may pester you with questions. I hope that's OK.

 

I just replaced my Meizu M2 with Nokia 6.1 Plus. My Meizu still works fine but not enough memory, couldn't move apps to the SD card and wouldn't connect to Android Auto. Android 4. something to Android 9 (Android One) is amazing. Still wish I'd had your knowledge before buying though.


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2186738 25-Feb-2019 11:01
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@NikT This is some great info.

 

Can you answer some questions about the 2 degrees carrier rom for Samsung devices (Note 9).  I have read on this forum that Wifi Calling works on the non branded XDA rom.  Essentially my question is what am I missing out on from flashing a generic rom over the top of the 2 degrees rom?  I know what I am missing out on (fast updates) so if there are no major disadvantages I am going to give it a try.  I use Wifi calling a lot so wouldn't want to loose it.

 

Any incite into this would be appreciated.


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  Reply # 2186969 25-Feb-2019 15:44
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YvonneW:

 

NikT you are awesome. Next time I buy I new phone I may pester you with questions. I hope that's OK.

 

I just replaced my Meizu M2 with Nokia 6.1 Plus. My Meizu still works fine but not enough memory, couldn't move apps to the SD card and wouldn't connect to Android Auto. Android 4. something to Android 9 (Android One) is amazing. Still wish I'd had your knowledge before buying though.

 

 

Happy to help as and when I have the time to spare, which unfortunately isn't very often these days!

 

landcruiserguy:

 

@NikT This is some great info.

 

Can you answer some questions about the 2 degrees carrier rom for Samsung devices (Note 9).  I have read on this forum that Wifi Calling works on the non branded XDA rom.  Essentially my question is what am I missing out on from flashing a generic rom over the top of the 2 degrees rom?  I know what I am missing out on (fast updates) so if there are no major disadvantages I am going to give it a try.  I use Wifi calling a lot so wouldn't want to loose it.

 

Any incite into this would be appreciated.

 

 

My expectation is that most of the differences - beyond including the 2d app and a bookmark - will be subtle, behind the scenes, and difficult to verify in real-world use. I am surprised that they have rolled 2d's WiFI calling settings into the open-market XSA builds, that's nice.

 

The differences will be essentially: Whatever the NZ telcos have identified and asked for in each of their specific builds that has not been implemented in XSA. Maybe the 2degrees build will get slightly better battery life on the 2degrees network, potentially by doing things like scanning for 2degrees' 4G bands as priority, or through radio/antenna tuning. While the hardware is the same, a lot can be done in software.

 

The most important thing to bear in mind is that the operator-certified builds have been actively tested and signed off on by the respective operators to work as expected on their networks. This includes fundamentally critical functionality like emergency mobile alerts and 111 calls. For many folks this is of value and represents significant peace of mind. Using builds intended for other markets results in a best-effort scenario. Whether this matters to you is, well, up to you.

 

It is easy to forget that the average user does not care about software updates and may actively dislike them, a stance for which I believe Microsoft deserves to shoulder some of the blame. Consider that waking up one day to find your phone is 'different' and functionality/UI have changed is not everyone's cup of tea, and waiting for an update to complete can be a tedious interruption. While we in enthusiast circles and the industry understand the importance of security patches, and there is demand for timely security patches from business/enterprise users as well, most people do not and simply don't care. "My phone works fine and I don't like change."

 

The unavoidable facts are that NZ is a small market and we have three different SKUs for these flagships, each of which will have a comparatively tiny number of active devices per SKU vs. other, larger markets, especially so in countries where there are open market unbranded devices available as well, e.g. Australia. While there are valid arguments to be made about that being the vendor's fault for making so many disparate operator-customised software builds around the world in the first place - instead of choosing to have a single build for almost all global markets ala Apple - that's the nature of the beast right now.

 

It has gotten better with the shared base software and CSC-based customisation in Samsung-land, and the best bit is that you can choose to flash XSA at all if you are a sufficiently-advanced user with the time and patience. Other brands have become increasingly locked down to prevent changing the region and do not allow this.

 

These sorts of region locks and locked bootloaders are primarily to handicap the trade market which historically bulk-buys subsidised handsets from one market to sell in another and undercut local pricing, e.g. "a vanload of people go around the country buying up 10 phones at each store they stop at to sell somewhere overseas," which happens in NZ all the time. It is unfortunate that these commercial protection decisions result in a negative user experience for what is often the most enthusiastic and vocal fanbase for the devices themselves.

 

But we are of course well off-topic now.





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https://pbtech.co.nz/smartphones


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Wannabe Geek
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  Reply # 2186999 25-Feb-2019 16:40
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NikT:

 

These sorts of region locks and locked bootloaders are primarily to handicap the trade market which historically bulk-buys subsidised handsets from one market to sell in another and undercut local pricing, e.g. "a vanload of people go around the country buying up 10 phones at each store they stop at to sell somewhere overseas," which happens in NZ all the time. It is unfortunate that these commercial protection decisions result in a negative user experience for what is often the most enthusiastic and vocal fanbase for the devices themselves.

 

But we are of course well off-topic now.

 

 

Hell they don't even need to send them overseas. Just sell them at their own tiny mom+pop store in the CBD fringe. And then if something goes wrong they try and send them back to the original retailer. 

 

Sorry... I got triggered. 


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