Cheap Android phones and Bad Android phones


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Alley Cat

I had a LG G5 for 15 months. Three nights ago, the phone button suddenly will not place phone in sleep/screen off, so I ran the battery dry then charged phone.  G5 is now Fully charged, screen indicator and green charged light.  Power button does not work, does not turn phone on.  I followed troubleshooting steps, nothing worked.  

 

Salesman at the store said its a known G5 problem.  I am on the hook for $400 for "hardware upgrade"

Naturally I do not truth salesmen.  Was he talking the truth of the LG G5 ?

 

Is there any Android phones to avoid buying ?

I found super cheap Nokia phones running Win 8.1. 

iphones are too expensive and no option to add your own SD card, so I will not buy an iPhone.

 

Any advice, suggestions ?

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Draconian Guppy

blu brand?

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Alley Cat

BLU Advance A4, seems like a great replacement.

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techbeck

You can probably still pic up some 1st Gen Pixel phones.  Amazon has them for around $300 or so. 

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  • 1 year later...
PGHammer
On 4/12/2018 at 2:31 PM, techbeck said:

You can probably still pic up some 1st Gen Pixel phones.  Amazon has them for around $300 or so. 

Too tall (even on Amazon); I've seen refurbished (and from quality refurbishers - such as BuySPRY of Gaithersburg, MD) for as little as $120USD - my Mom has one - an original Pixel in Just Black.

 

The refurbished Pixel (regardless of color) makes sense for more reasons than price of the phone itself:

1.  It can swallow Android from Nougat/7 (which it came with) all the way to 10 (current).

2.  It has THE slickest import tool (software) designed into the OS - and it's standard in every Pixel.

3.  Unless you have a launcher preference (and sometime even if you do), Pixels (all of them) include the (at minimum) second-best launcher available for ANY Android phone at any price - Pixel Launcher - and at a cost of squat. (I actually fired Microsoft Launcher because I was able to go back to Pixel Launcher on my 3a.)

4. Why do you need a wireless charger when you have one of the fastest WIRED chargers out there?  (In fact, I have not seen one out there that can match it - and that can charge ANY phone given the proper cable; the refurbished models can include a USB-A->USB-C cable - which means the same charger can also work with your old phone or tablet and charge IT lickety-split; yikes! (It's faster than any (in fact - EVERY) Samsung AFC charger - which aren't slouches; even at charging Samsung phones.)  I'm hunting down a USB-A->USB-C charger that I can pack into a "go-bag" for this reason alone.

 

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      Display, S Pen, and sound
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      Beyond being fun, though, the S Pen is just a very useful tool in my opinion. Samsung's handwriting keyboard works really well, and when I'm standing or sitting still, it's my favorite way to type on this phone. It feels natural and it's almost never annoying, which I can't say for some other handwriting experiences like my laptop (a late 2017 HP Envy x360, for reference). One of the features that's been added in recent iterations of the S Pen is the ability to convert handwritten notes in the Samsung Notes app to plain text, and it's also great to have. Even better, you don't even need to convert it for the text to be searchable, you can just search for the words you want, and if you wrote them with the pen, they will still show up.



      Recent iterations of the S Pen have also added support for Air Gestures, which are quick shortcuts to a number of actions, which can change based on the app you're using if developers want to hook into the feature. One gesture I personally find useful is shaking the S Pen to start drawing on a screenshot of the current screen. You can also use the S Pen as a remote shutter button for the Camera app, which is another great use case for it.

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      Camera
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      Gallery: Galaxy Note20 Ultra samples
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      Performance and battery life
      As I noted at the start, I have the European variant of the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, which means it's powered by the Exynos 990 chipset, developed by Samsung itself. It's still a flagship processor, and you won't really see much in the way of slowdowns or anything like that, but I have had some problems with this phone.

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      Right away, you can see a notable difference between this and the Snapdragon variant of the phone, but it's no slouch either. Next up is Geekbench 5, a CPU test:



      In terms of single-core performance, the Exynos 990 seems to outperform the Snapdragon 865 in the OnePlus 8 family, but it gets handily beaten in multi-core performance. Finally, GFXBench tests the GPU:



      Moving on to battery life, I was again disappointed by this phone. In the first couple of days, I was having to charge the phone long before I went to bed, even after trying to moderate my usage more than usual. At one point I was at 7% battery by 7PM, after unplugging the phone at around 9:15AM, and without anything that could be considered heavy usage. It turns out that one of my apps had been draining more battery than usual in the background, and after disabling background activity for it, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra usually got me through the day, but it's still not amazing.

      With a sizable 4,500mAh battery, I really expected a lot more, but this is worse than something like the OPPO Find X2 Pro with its smaller 4,050mAh battery. Samsung offers Wireless PowerShare so you can wirelessly charge other devices off of this phone, but I never want to do that because the phone itself is more likely to be dead by the end of the day than my watch or earbuds are. I can't speak to whether this also applies to Snapdragon variants of this phone, but this is what you're getting if you buy it in Europe, and it's not great. The phone also supports 25W charging, which is fine, but pales in comparison to the aforementioned Find X2 Pro.

      Software and Microsoft integrations
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      All the features I mentioned in my previous review are still here, but one of the things that makes Samsung phones stand out these days is the deep link between Samsung apps and services and Microsoft's equivalent services, as well as specific features of the Your Phone app for Windows 10.

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      These things work fine, and they can make it simpler to have these items sync across your phone and PC, but I have a hard time seeing them as a big selling point considering you can just install those Microsoft apps on your phone. Sure, it's easier to keep using the same apps, but most of these links aren't linked by default or prompted to you visibly, so it's not that much easier to set up than just installing the Microsoft apps you want. However, the Samsung Reminders integration is pretty cool, since you can make it work with Bixby, which makes it easier to create reminders with your voice. Of course, that comes with the downside of using Bixby.

      As for Your Phone, the capabilities of the app have grown, and they're actually very nice to have. Now, not only can you see your phone's screen on your PC, you can open individual apps from your phone, and even pin them to the taskbar as if they were PC apps, and run them simultaneously. There are quite a few times when I want to check something out on my phone quickly and I don't want to have to shift my attention away from my PC screen, so this is awesome. You can even drag and drop files between your phone and PC this way, it's really cool. What's more, you can also enable clipboard sync, so copied items on the PC show up on your phone and vice versa.



      Galaxy Buds Live
      In addition to the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, Samsung also sent me the Galaxy Buds Live, and while I'm not exactly an audio expert, it's worth talking about the overall experience. I quite like the aesthetic of the Buds Live, and Mystic Bronze is probably the best color to get here, just because it sticks out a lot less from most skin tones and makes them pretty subtle. I find them comfortable enough, but every now and then I get this feeling that they're not secure enough and they might fall off. They have never fallen off accidentally, even when riding my bike at high speeds, but the in-ear tip design of other earbuds feels a bit safer to me.



      Setting up the Galaxy Buds Live is especially easy with a Samsung phone like the Note20 Ultra, and as you pop the case open, they show up on your phone, ready to connect. In fact, the Buds Live are even supported by Windows 10's Swift Pair feature, so they also show up on your PC if they're not paired with another device yet. The process of connecting to other phones is like any other pair of true wireless earbuds.

      It's also pretty easy to switch between devices with the Buds Live, though it's not as seamless as what Apple touts with its AirPods, for example, where it automatically switches to wherever you have media playing if you have a bunch of Apple devices. Here, you can just head into the Bluetooth settings on a paired device and connect to the earbuds, even if they're currently connected and playing media somewhere else. It requires more action from the user, but it's a seamless process and it works well.



      The big selling point of the Buds Live compared to Samsung's other earbuds is the active noise cancellation, but if that's the reason you're considering them, I can tell you it's not worth it. At first, I had to repeatedly turn ANC on and off because I was never sure if it was enabled or not. The only situation where I could notice a real difference was when I was sitting in my car with the AC on, and the earbuds did make the noise slightly quieter, but not by much. A better test might be with plane engine rumble on a flight, but that's not something I can do right now.

      The Galaxy Buds Live have touch controls, but I was somewhat disappointed that there aren't swipe gestures like some other premium earbuds have. Because of this, volume controls have to come at the cost of some other features, like activating my voice assistant or enabling active noise cancellation. This isn't a huge problem because I usually have a smartwatch connected as well, but having to pull out my phone for these actions would be annoying.



      As for sound, the Galaxy Buds Live are alright, but as I've stated before, I'm not an audio expert. Switching from my PC speakers to the Buds Live, I do feel like the sound is a little less clean with the earbuds, but that could just be because they're earbuds instead of the large drivers you can get with PCs or even phones.

      It's also worth noting that the Galaxy Buds Live charge in the case, and the case itself charges via USB Type-C, as it should. It also supports wireless charging, and you can charge off the back of the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, as I mentioned above. I haven't had to do this, though, because the battery life on the earbuds has been solid and I've never had to charge them beyond the first charge when I got them.



      Conclusion
      As far as its role of being Samsung's "everything phone" goes, the Note20 Ultra does a good enough job. It has a huge, gorgeous display, the S Pen, solid stereo speakers, premium design, and some cool exclusive features to boot, like the links with Windows 10 and other Microsoft apps and services. It does a lot of things well enough, and is even the best at some of them, like the amazing display and the S Pen features.

      But as a phone with a standard form factor that costs €1,339, there are a bit too many shortcomings to overlook. The camera is good, but not amazing, and the consistent oversaturation can get annoying. The huge display is good for media consumption, but the curved edges are prone to accidental touches, and the overall size of the phone makes it hard to use with one hand. And while performance in general terms is good, battery life on this Exynos model is far from what you'd expect of a 4,500mAh battery. I'm also just not a big fan of OneUI, but that's less of a problem.



      Most of those things aren't necessarily huge problems. But what is huge is the price tag for this phone, at €1,339.90. I think the Galaxy Note20 Ultra is a really good phone. It's just not a phone that should ever cost as much as it does, even in the context of other incredibly expensive phones like the iPhone 12 Pro Max or - a personal favorite of mine - the OPPO Find X2 Pro.

      That said, if you're interested, you can find it on Amazon UK, where it's currently discounted to £929, a much better deal. That price only applies to the Mystic White version, though, and it goes up from there. Over in the U.S., you can get the Snapdragon variant with 128GB of internal storage, which is discounted to $1,049.99. The Galaxy Buds Live can be had for $139.99 (currently $30 off) in the U.S., and in the UK starting at £103.16.

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      Now, in an internal memo, CEO and Founder of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, has assured employees that Honor will reattain optimal production levels once it regains access to U.S. technology. Zhengfei reiterated that the Honor deal will be a 'clean break' for Huawei from the smartphone brand and that:



      This should clear up some confusion regarding Huawei's relationship with Honor after the selling. Zhengfei seems hopeful that Honor will regain access to U.S. circuitry and software, and in turn, help Chinese phones regain their former market share in the smartphone space and beyond.

      Source: Bloomberg