Buying a smart phone

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Old 08-18-17, 06:43 AM
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Buying a smart phone

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Is it better to go to a carrier or a retailer to buy a smart phone?
 
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Old 08-18-17, 07:05 AM
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Do you have a current contract at the moment? If you do, are you satisfied with them? I still don't have a smart phone but I might be forced to switch soon.
 
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Old 08-18-17, 07:38 AM
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My contract expired some time ago.
I think when you get a phone, unless you pay cash, it is like a contract because you have monthly payments.
Once it is 1/2 paid you can upgrade if you wish to.
 
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Old 08-18-17, 08:14 AM
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Probably best to research the exact phone you intend to get too. Hard to say because some of our kids tend to exaggerate but some smart phones seem to be problematic. I don't know, my flip phone is high tech enough for me
 
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Old 08-18-17, 08:17 AM
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Six of one and have a dozen of the other! Whether you buy or rent, you'll still need to pay someone for cell phone service. If you buy it, you pay up front and have your choice of a contract or pay as you go for service, but you still need to pay for the phone.
If you rent it, your monthly fee will include the phone and the service.
Don't know if there's a right answer.
 
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Old 08-18-17, 08:24 AM
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All companies have different plans. Who do you have & are you satisfied with them? As Mark asked, what phone do you want?
 
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Old 08-18-17, 11:14 AM
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Once I find a carrier, I tend to stick with them and just buy new phones online.
 
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Old 08-18-17, 11:50 AM
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Companies like Trackfone you can bring your own phone and just buy minutes from them. You can get phones for $50 or less on Ebay.
 
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Old 05-18-18, 11:34 AM
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If you don't have any sensitive information in your phone and only talk, text, surf and email and everything in the phone works well including videos etc, why would it be considered insecure just because it is old.
My Samsung Galaxy S5 is about 5 years old. I can encrypt it like the new phones but it would be so sluggish it would be hard to use. Why should I buy a newer phone which is more secure when I do no banking or personal things on the phone. I have changeable batteries so it keeps on ticking.
Is there specific reason to upgrade?
 
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Old 05-19-18, 11:16 AM
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Personally, I wouldn't upgrade unless a new technology came along that I had to have, or unless my provider "obsoleted" my existing phone.

Buying phones is sorta like habitually leasing cars versus buying your own. When your lease runs out you turn it in and lease another one, so you get new cars on a regular basis. But you also never stop paying for cars. I'd hazard to guess that that's the biggest reason Apple can sell $1000 smartphones in large numbers, because people learn to accept high cost of "unlimited data" phone plans and forget that that's how they're paying for the phone. IMHO, you're never going to get a genuine bargain on the purchase (or lease) on a phone from a carrier because they're always going to make it up on the back end, usually in your service rates.

I've bought my own phones since I had my first "starter" mobile phone contract. At first I did it because my carrier didn't offer any quad-band phones (a "world" phone), and at that time I needed a world phone. That was well before smartphones came along but I've continued the practice since. Smartphones are crazy expensive (to someone who still keeps PCs and so uses a smartphone primarily as a telephone) so I've only bought used. Just as in PC stuff, I find the best value is the hardware that was state-of-the-art last year, and I pay a fraction of the cost of new. eBay isn't a bad choice but especially if buying used, it's best it the purchase comes with at least a 30-day warranty. My service provider used to sell "reconditioned" phones with a 30-day warranty, but unfortunately they have stopped that practice. My current every-day phone is a 4G Samsung Galaxy Core Prime with a 1.2GHz quad core processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage (and accepts a 32GB SD card), which is pretty paltry by 2018 standards, but I bought it in 2016 for $30 for, used, with 30-day warranty.

Before you buy from any source other than your provider, understand that not all phones will work on all providers' networks. In broad strokes, there are two different technologies that providers use so they can know whether any particular smartphone is one of their subscribers.

One is called GSM, which uses SIM cards provided by the carrier to identify their legitimate users. GSM is the most widely used technology in the US (by number of telephones) and is what's used by AT&T and T-Mobile.

The other is called CDMA, which uses a sort of serial number embedded in the firmware of the phone called the MEID. Verizon is the largest carrier using CDMA. Providers maintain white and black lists of MEIDs and so long as your number isn't black-listed, it's good to go. A phone gets black listed for things like not paying off a contract. This prevents someone for signing up for a high-dollar service contract with a leased $1000 smartphone, then trying to sell the phone on eBay before the contract is paid off.

And there are websites that will let you check whether a particular used phone's MEID has been blacklisted before you buy it.

So the first thing you need to know is whether you need a GSM phone or CDMA. But you also need to check whether your provider has other special provisions. Some can be fussy about user-provided phones. For example, at one time Verizon would only accept user-provided phones if they were Verizon-branded and if their records showed that the contract that that phone had been under was paid off in full.

So, yeah, providing your own phone tends to make your smartphone management process a little "techie," but you only have to drill down into all this technical info each time you change phones (or providers).

Your best source for all this technical info, IMHO, is the Howard Forums. It's an entire forum dedicated to people who are -- believe it or not -- telephone hobbyists. With respect to my friends here at D-I-Y, I've never found another forum that could match the depth and specificity of their knowledge on all things telephone. The only reason I know most of this stuff is I've been on the Howard Forums since I got my first mobile phone.
 
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Old 05-19-18, 11:37 AM
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Howard Forrums

I'll go there and read the content.
My main concern was he constant nudging one gets about the older phone not being supported or encrypted.
As I said I can encrypt my phone but it will really run slowly.
My apps are updated but verizon, Samsung and Google stopped supporting it last year.
If I have no sensitive material in the phone and it runs well doing all the tasks the newer phones do,basically, I'll keep it unless I find a substantial reason sto upgrade.
I would love to try the iphone 8 but that's a lot of money for a whim.
Thank you
 
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Old 05-19-18, 11:59 AM
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If you don't do anything personal on it, why worry about it being encrypted or secure?
 
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Old 05-19-18, 12:04 PM
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That's how I feel.
There is immense pressure from marketing while they prey upon fear.
If I did banking I would definitely be as secure as I could but personally I don't think the phone is a safe place to do any finances.
I do online banking but even that is a risk. The Chromebook is a useful tool for security. Google offers a 1$00,000 if someone can hack a chromebook.
 
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Old 05-25-19, 01:21 PM
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I got a Moto G5 plus for about $200. I've been very happy with it. You can get ATT phones at Walmart for $50 but they're filled with a lot of stuff you won't want. At least the Moto is clean but you're locked to google. AT&T or Verizon will sell you a monthly service. I got ATT service for 2 phones for about $70. Unlimited calls and 1GB of data usage with some rollover. You can even use the smartphone as a wi-fi device only but your usage will be limited and phone service you will have to get somehow else.
 
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