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Current state of Android, best handset

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+Bryan R.    1,147

I've been trucking along with my Lumia 950 but it's started to reboot on it's own quite frequently even after using the device recovery tool to wipe it. 

 

So, I need to switch back to Android - not Samsung though. Are there any models that still allow rooting? I used to use CyanogenMod but it seems that is on it's way out.

 

Thanks.

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Nick H.    9,909

I could be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure you'd have a shorter list if you asked if there were any devices where rooting is blocked. :laugh:

 

I would suggest Samsung due to the fact I've had them for several versions (S2, S4 and currently the S7) so I know what they can and can't do, but you've already said you're not interested. Perhaps a Pixel phone to get the true Android experience?

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dipsylalapo    1,793

Just of out curiosity, why have you said no to Samsung? 

 

I know that previously, their TouchWiz was awful and quite heavy. I believe, from reading reviews and not personal experience, that the skin is a lot better now. It may be worth stopping by a store somewhere and playing around with a few phones and seeing you you like and don't like. 

 

Also do you have a budget? I think that can help narrow it down a little.

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The Evil Overlord    18,441

Nokia 8 coming very soon....

(About the only android phone that did wow me outside of the one I'm currently using)

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tsupersonic    1,832

You were thinking of Lineage OS (preceded by CyanogenMod). It's supported by many devices. I would highly recommend against rooting - it's not like what it used to be in the old days. I'd go with a Pixel (preferably Pixel 2 since it's coming out soon) - it provides stock/unbloated experience. If you want a feature rich device, Samsung is definitely the way to go. 

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Jason S.    1,503

i'd also advise against rooting these days. i just dont see much benefit, personally. you're spending a TON of money for a phone that you could potentially brick or void its warranty.

 

i have the HTC U11 and have been pretty happy with it. it has the latest Snapdragon 835 and will be upgraded to Oreo soon. I'm also a big fan of the Galaxy S8. Another w/ the 835 and a beautiful display.

 

i cant speak to much else at this point. that new LG V30 flagship phone is supposed to be the bee's knees.

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Nick H.    9,909
4 minutes ago, tsupersonic said:

I would highly recommend against rooting - it's not like what it used to be in the old days.

Can you elaborate on this? I used to root my phones, but I decided that with the S7 I was going to keep it as it is for the moment. I'm getting itchy feet now though and I was going to go ahead, but I'd like to hear what you mean by it not being like the old days anymore.

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+Bryan R.    1,147
47 minutes ago, dipsylalapo said:

Just of out curiosity, why have you said no to Samsung? 

 

I know that previously, their TouchWiz was awful and quite heavy. I believe, from reading reviews and not personal experience, that the skin is a lot better now. It may be worth stopping by a store somewhere and playing around with a few phones and seeing you you like and don't like. 

 

Also do you have a budget? I think that can help narrow it down a little.

Samsung phones never have the best hardware and have a bunch of junk you can't get rid of. They also keep changing whether they come with a SD card slot or not.  My wife has had several Samsung phones.

51 minutes ago, Nick H. said:

I could be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure you'd have a shorter list if you asked if there were any devices where rooting is blocked. :laugh:

 

I would suggest Samsung due to the fact I've had them for several versions (S2, S4 and currently the S7) so I know what they can and can't do, but you've already said you're not interested. Perhaps a Pixel phone to get the true Android experience?

 

The Pixel looks like a good phone. I'm considering switching to Ting wireless (from AT&T) and so I would have to buy it outright. Two options they have are the LG G6 and Motorola Moto G5 Plus. Any good?

46 minutes ago, tsupersonic said:

You were thinking of Lineage OS (preceded by CyanogenMod). It's supported by many devices. I would highly recommend against rooting - it's not like what it used to be in the old days. I'd go with a Pixel (preferably Pixel 2 since it's coming out soon) - it provides stock/unbloated experience. If you want a feature rich device, Samsung is definitely the way to go. 

Looks like the Pixel 2 is coming out in October maybe? Could be worth the wait...

 

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Nick H.    9,909
2 minutes ago, Bryan R. said:

The Pixel looks like a good phone. I'm considering switching to Ting wireless and so I would have to buy it outright. Two options they have are the LG G6 and Motorola Moto G5 Plus. Any good?

Unfortunately I can't help. As I mentioned before, I've been almost exclusively a Samsung guy for my smartphones. I think the only exception was when my S4 broke and I was using a backup HTC Sense (if I remember correctly) while I tried to decide if it was worth waiting for the S8 to come out.

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techbeck    6,919
2 hours ago, Jason S. said:

i'd also advise against rooting these days. i just dont see much benefit, personally. you're spending a TON of money for a phone that you could potentially brick or void its warranty.

 

People who root normally want to mod their phones and use certain apps.   I still root these days Google has been doing good with the base OS so have not tried other ROMs.  And it is really hard to brick your phone these days.

 

Anyway, a lot of phones allow root. Some are harder than others.  Would pick a company you like and go from there. Pixel phones look pretty good as well as LG and others.  Lots to choose from.

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+Bryan R.    1,147

What about the One Plus 5?

Or the Sony Xperia XZ Premium?

 

These models have a better processor than the Pixel. 

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Draconian Guppy    13,037

What are you looking for specifically?  Processor and memory matters if you are a hardcore gamer, else the point is moot. Out of the bunch you've mentioned, i'd say the cheapest, which is the G6.

 

Software wise only pixel. One plus has a really bad track record for abandoning phones BUT has an unlocked bootloader.
Also, samsung hardware has come a long way since S5 and S4. Granted "samsung experience" is still junk, it doesn't lag like it did before.

 

Edit: I would avoid sony as because of this: 5 generations of phones affected and the design for the   XZ is the same as the affected phones, so why risk it

https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/22/16186052/sony-xperia-class-action-lawsuit-refunds-waterproof-claims

Edited by Draconian Guppy

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+Bryan R.    1,147

Well specifically I'd like a phone with built-in wireless charging. After looking into specs some more, it seems the LG G6 may support wireless charging... It also can be expanded with MicroSD unlike the OnePlus. The price is only $10 different than the OnePlus 6GB/64GB. As for the Sony, I just don't need the 4K screen and think it probably drains the battery anyway.

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+Bryan R.    1,147

I've had my G6 for a few weeks now and I'm not happy with it or Android. For anyone who cares, here's an update/my opinion.

 

I don't like the power button on the back which I wasn't really aware of before I bought it. It seems the Google Pixel 2 is going in that direction as well.

The flash/flashlight is significantly worse than the Lumia 950.

I miss the dedicated camera button.

Android feels like a smartphone on training wheels. There are constant popups about everything. Turning the volume up. Turning Bluetooth on. 

Facebook is absolutely atrocious on Android. Endless ads and sponsored content. I'd say 70% of what I see now is nothing of what I'm subscribed to. How does anyone put up with this garbage experience [in Facebook]?

The always-on screen isn't as well implemented as on the Lumia 950. On the 950, the whole screen is pitch black dark with only the text lit up. On the G6, at night, you can see the light emanating from the bottom and slightly lighting up the whole screen.

When browsing with Chrome, you get so many pop-ups/ads/malware/redirects to the store it's ridiculous. I never got those pop-ups using Edge.

The G6 has limited blue light feature but it isn't automatic which is really odd. Although the 950 is mysteriously missing it altogether when Windows 10 tablet/PC has the feature perfectly implemented.

 

So, I've looked again at current Windows Phones on the market. Funny that MS Stores don't carry Windows Phones anymore. The HP Elite x3 seemed like a good choice but it's discontinued and a bit expensive. I still can't find any new 950/XL. So I found the Alcatel IDOL 4S for just $200. There is no wireless charging but I will just deal. You guys can all laugh at me now :D

 

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PGHammer    1,494
On 9/12/2017 at 9:33 AM, Nick H. said:

I could be wrong on this, but I'm pretty sure you'd have a shorter list if you asked if there were any devices where rooting is blocked. :laugh:

 

I would suggest Samsung due to the fact I've had them for several versions (S2, S4 and currently the S7) so I know what they can and can't do, but you've already said you're not interested. Perhaps a Pixel phone to get the true Android experience?

While rooting is mostly blocked on the S7 Snapdragon, it's not completely blocked - and there is even a modified-ROM scene (to an extent) for the device; in fact, I'm running a semi-stock and rooted Snapdragon S7 on the UnCarrier side of Tracfone.  It's called Project L, and it's available for VZW, AT&T Mobility, and T-Mobile (as well as MVNOs that use any of the three carriers) - only Sprint is missing among North America's Big Four.  The mods are rather slick - it has both S7 and S8 apps (where both are available, the S8 one takes precedence), Bixby is present, and it's also de-odexed and de-Knoxed (in other words, it is designed to be rooted - certainly an unexpected treat for us Snapdragon pilots).  The lack of Knox in no way blocks usability - besides, if you are going to root your phone, Knox would be a major hindrance - ask anyone that ran stock in the early days of Knox on the original GNex.  One thing I AM hoping for - eventually - is an Oreo version of Project L; however, that can't happen until Oreo itself comes to the Snapdragon - and that hasn't happened yet, even in beta; in the meanwhile, I'm recommending two older Nexus handsets - the LG-powered Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 (pre-owned) and the (don't laugh) Nokia 2 or 8.

I'm having a ton of qualms recommending the Pixel - ANY Pixel - because it is looking like you are stuck with the stock camera app, and if you are trapped with stock apps, I won't recommend any handset - not even an iPhone; in fact, note that my Android recommendations are down toward the low end of the price scale - even the 8 is in about the middle.  The 8 and 2 are quad-cores that ship with Oreo out of the box - and neither is a budget-buster.  If you have to stick with stock (I'm looking at the VZW owners in particular) why not go with Oreo without paying through the nose for the privilege?  If you can consider a non-stock ROM, the Nexus 4 and 5 both have Oreo and even 8.1 on the option sheet - today - both are quad-core (like the 2 and 8) and they are also around the same price as the 2 (and cheaper than the 8).

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adrynalyne    12,296
38 minutes ago, PGHammer said:

While rooting is mostly blocked on the S7 Snapdragon, it's not completely blocked - and there is even a modified-ROM scene (to an extent) for the device; in fact, I'm running a semi-stock and rooted Snapdragon S7 on the UnCarrier side of Tracfone.  It's called Project L, and it's available for VZW, AT&T Mobility, and T-Mobile (as well as MVNOs that use any of the three carriers) - only Sprint is missing among North America's Big Four.  The mods are rather slick - it has both S7 and S8 apps (where both are available, the S8 one takes precedence), Bixby is present, and it's also de-odexed and de-Knoxed (in other words, it is designed to be rooted - certainly an unexpected treat for us Snapdragon pilots).  The lack of Knox in no way blocks usability - besides, if you are going to root your phone, Knox would be a major hindrance - ask anyone that ran stock in the early days of Knox on the original GNex.  One thing I AM hoping for - eventually - is an Oreo version of Project L; however, that can't happen until Oreo itself comes to the Snapdragon - and that hasn't happened yet, even in beta; in the meanwhile, I'm recommending two older Nexus handsets - the LG-powered Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 (pre-owned) and the (don't laugh) Nokia 2 or 8.

I'm having a ton of qualms recommending the Pixel - ANY Pixel - because it is looking like you are stuck with the stock camera app, and if you are trapped with stock apps, I won't recommend any handset - not even an iPhone; in fact, note that my Android recommendations are down toward the low end of the price scale - even the 8 is in about the middle.  The 8 and 2 are quad-cores that ship with Oreo out of the box - and neither is a budget-buster.  If you have to stick with stock (I'm looking at the VZW owners in particular) why not go with Oreo without paying through the nose for the privilege?  If you can consider a non-stock ROM, the Nexus 4 and 5 both have Oreo and even 8.1 on the option sheet - today - both are quad-core (like the 2 and 8) and they are also around the same price as the 2 (and cheaper than the 8).

Rooting has nothing to do with the CPU, it has to do with the OEM and whether they allow the bootloader to be unlocked.

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PGHammer    1,494
15 hours ago, adrynalyne said:

Rooting has nothing to do with the CPU, it has to do with the OEM and whether they allow the bootloader to be unlocked.

I'm not contesting that - however, Qualcomm IS the only CPU manufacturer to institute (or try to) this form of roadblockage - and it is only partially successful (rooting is still possible - and so are semi-customized - though based on stock - ROMs and firmware); therefore, the question begs as to how successful Qualcomm's effort actually is.  (Further, other Qualcomm SoCs are NOT blocked in the same fashion - or any fashion, for that matter - the Nokia 2 and 8 also use Qualcomm SoCs; therefore, so much for the blockage being applicable to all SoCs from Qualcomm.)

The quad-core question, though, has nothing to do with roadblockage - except tangentally; the quad-core question has more to do with it being present at every price level - from flagship to budget - in short, you no longer have to pay through the nose FOR a quad-core - even a quad-core from a quality ODM such as Qualcomm - as the Nokia 2 proves rather tersely; remember, it's a $100USD handset.  If you prefer a tested and proven handset, however (some folks do) the same amount of spendage gets you a Nexus 4 or 5 with similar - or identical - capabilities to the 2 - and I'm not talking eBay or Swappa, either (I'm referring to Amazon).   All I am basically saying is that the choice is STILL rather wide - the choice is far wider than a lot of folks would have us believing (it isn't just between new budget handsets and El Expensivo handsets) except for in very specific circumstances - and you can even get a quad-core NEW handset - running Oreo - without spending a mint - or even half a mint.

 

Note that I don't - and won't - recommend a Snapdragon-based S7 (despite my piloting one today - I basically found myself in a "lemonade from lemons" situation to wind up with it in the first place - it's NOT choice).  Given my druthers, I would have gone, in fact, with a Nexus 4 or 5 (and for the same reasons I recommend them in the pre-owned space today).  I have issues recommending less than a quad-core for the reason that you can now even get a new quad-core at a budget price  (and the 2 gets dinged for basically it not being a flagship - however, how fair is the dingage given its price?).  The issues with the camera app are being reported everywhere - not just Neowin - which is why the question is being asked whether it is the app in particular (especially since - until recently - the app was unique to the Pixel) - are app-related shens any fairer than benchmark cheatage?  (Some folks DO purchase phones for their camera capabilities - if a specific app is required - one available only for that phone - exactly how fair is that to other phones - or even other apps - even - or especially when it's Google?  (It's not a new question - wasn't the same question asked about the Pixel Launcher when it was exclusive?)

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+Bryan R.    1,147

This thread is still kicking... Well I will update you all that at about the same time that I got the Alcatel I also figured I'd try getting a new battery for my Lumia 950. Well that did the trick. Apparently all my random shutdowns and reboots were due to a bad battery. So the 950 is once again alive and kicking. I still have the Alcatel around as a backup.

 

As to the best Android handset - I just got my wife the Samsung S8 Active. Now THAT is the best Android handset. No gimmicky edge screen. Although it does have the "Bixby button", she will just have to ignore that.

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