Author Topic: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.  (Read 46947 times)

Offline scottws

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #440 on: Friday, March 18, 2016, 02:19:33 PM »
In the March 2016 security updates for Android, Google included some bug fixes for the Nexus 5X.  It is definitely a lot better, but still not where I think it should be.

Offline W7RE

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #441 on: Friday, July 01, 2016, 03:05:46 PM »
A friend had an old iPhone 5 lying around that he meant to sell a year or two ago, so he sent it to me. I'm having trouble getting it to work though. I want to set it up without activating it, so I can use it as a WiFi only device, like you would an iPad or iPod touch. Is there really no way to do it without a SIM card? I read that I can just hook it up to my PC and iTunes will allow me to do the rest, but iTunes just tells me it can't be activated because it has no SIM card.

It's the CDMA version of model A1429, and I believe I've read that CDMA doesn't use SIM cards. It does have a SIM card slot, but it sounds like that's basically so it can be used on GSM networks outside the US. Or I could be completely wrong, I don't know.


This phone was originally used with Verizon Wireless. I already have a line with Verizon, but if I try to switch from my basic phone to this smart phone, they're going to insist I pay for a data plan, so I just want to use it as a WiFi only device.

Offline Cobra951

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #442 on: Saturday, July 02, 2016, 07:10:44 AM »
Since no one with good knowledge of smartphones has replied to you, I did a bit of searching.  I found this, which is not encouraging because you still need a sim card temporarily while you set it up the way you want.  I got there through this thread.

My Google search string is "iphone 5 as wifi device without sim card".

Offline W7RE

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #443 on: Saturday, July 02, 2016, 07:50:57 AM »
Yeah, I basically figured out there's no way around it, I need a sim card. I guess they have no problem giving them out for free at Apple stores and possibly even if I went to Verizon. I'm sure Verizon would try to rope me into using the phone on my plan or something, and the closest Apple store is 60+ miles away. The guy who sent me the phone said it was supposed to have a sim card in it, and he's going to look for it or get a new one and send it to me.

I read in one or two places that if for some reason iTunes decides there's a problem and you have to reformat the storage (which I've had happen on my iPod Shuffle), that you'll need a sim card again. So I'm just going to get one to avoid needing to borrow one again should such a situation arise.

Offline Cobra951

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #444 on: Saturday, July 02, 2016, 08:42:17 AM »
Alright then.  Looks like you're on the way.  I've been thinking a bit more about smartphones, but I keep putting off getting one for real.  It would probably be part of a Verizon plan, which is what I have right now, using an old LG clamshell.  My eyes have gotten so bad for reading up close, but I still pass driver's tests without glasses.  So I don't walk around with glasses hanging on my nose, which I'd have to do to use a smartphone.  The short of it is that I keep putting the things off, even though they've gotten so powerful and interesting to geeks like me.  Sandy has 2, an Android and a recent iPhone.  She never uses the laptop to browse the web anymore.  The iPhone is huge, and all screen.  I could get used to that.

Offline ren

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #445 on: Sunday, July 10, 2016, 11:39:15 AM »
I find I don't really care about smartphones anymore because they all look the same, have the same functionality and are just ubiquitous.

I now view it the same way as any household appliance or consumer electronic; it's a somewhat involved purchase but in the end as long as it works it's fine. I don't go crazy over what fridge to buy or what tv to purchase and now my phone is in that realm too.

Offline gpw11

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #446 on: Monday, July 11, 2016, 09:40:58 AM »
I find I don't really care about smartphones anymore because they all look the same, have the same functionality and are just ubiquitous.

I now view it the same way as any household appliance or consumer electronic; it's a somewhat involved purchase but in the end as long as it works it's fine. I don't go crazy over what fridge to buy or what tv to purchase and now my phone is in that realm too.

I concur

Offline Xessive

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #447 on: Monday, July 11, 2016, 10:04:32 AM »
Oh man, I obsess over the functionality, noise, and energy usage of my fridge! :P

I still have my doubts about getting a "SmartFridge" though. If I need a fridge to tell me what's missing or what needs refilling then I've clearly got bigger problems in life.

Offline ren

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #448 on: Monday, July 11, 2016, 04:47:33 PM »
Haha, makes sense. Phones were boring for decades before they got exciting again. Maybe fridges are next.

Offline scottws

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #449 on: Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 08:18:00 AM »
I think if you are an iPhone user, there isn't much to be excited about any more.  They are pretty much the same release to release.  Sometimes you get a pixel density change, a different screen size, or a somewhat different form factor.  But they really haven't changed all that much since the iPhone 4 came out.

For Android users choosing a new phone is more... well I wouldn't say "exciting" is the word.  Maybe "challenging".  You have several manufacturers, each of which have their own design ideas and tiered models, and they are constantly releasing new products.  For me, it's about trying to finding a phone that meets the following characteristics:

  • Modern, quality design and materials that I personally find attractive.
  • Excellent performance today and expected good-to-excellent performance in two years.
  • Receives (relatively) long-term support from the manufacturer, including updates to the latest Android OS and regular security updates.
  • Carrier unlocked.
  • Can be purchased without a contract.
  • Supports all in-use bands for at least two U.S. cellular carriers, one of which is AT&T.
  • OLED-type screen.
  • Stock or near-stock Android experience without having to install a custom ROM.
  • NFC.
  • Fingerprint sensor.
  • USB type-C port.
  • Good-to-excellent camera in good light.
  • 3.5mm headphone jack.
  • Non-proprietary fast charging.
  • microSD (or UFS) support.
  • Wireless charging.
  • No stupid gimmicks (looking at you, Nexbit Robin).

Unfortunately, I don't believe an Android phone has ever existed that meets those requirements and I haven't heard one announced either.  So every time I go to get a new phone, I'm left with trying to decide which features are most important to me and giving up a lot of what I want.  The Google Nexus devices tend to come closest, but some of the models have had poor performance or mediocre design and materials and none of them support microSD, UFS, or wireless charging.

I've also considered going over to the dark side and getting an iPhone.  That said, iPhones don't support that full list of features either, but I can count on good hardware design, excellent performance throughout the life of the device, and excellent support from the manufacturer.

But there are a few things I really do not like about iOS relative to Android:

  • No back button!
  • Notifications. Android has a far better notification system and I live and die by my notifications.
  • Home screen/launcher vs. app drawer. Android has a user-configurable home screen where you place your apps (and widgets) however you want. But, unlike the iPhone, it doesn't have to contain every app installed on your phone.  You only place the applications that you want rather than every single app just randomly strewn about. Instead, Android offers the app drawer: a separate location for apps accessible at the touch of an icon that has the full list of installed applications sorted alphabetically and with a very fast search feature.
  • I've noticed that the iOS versions of some apps don't support Chromecast whereas their Android counterpart does and I consume most of my media via Chromecast connected to my 50" and 60" TVs.
  • Proprietary, Apple-only screen mirroring technology (AirPlay) vs standards-based technology (Miracast) and/or Chromecast.
  • Google Now is light years better than Siri. It's not even close. I know you get access to Google Now via the Google Search app, but I like how it is built in on many Android devices.
  • Ability to chose my own default apps rather than being forced to select the Apple-defaults.
  • Did Apple ever implement a method to share content between apps akin to how it works on Android?

Offline Pugnate

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #450 on: Thursday, July 14, 2016, 01:42:50 PM »
How old is Ren now? 14?

Offline ren

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #451 on: Sunday, July 17, 2016, 02:55:48 PM »
I hate how you had to put headphone jack list. I hope any phone that tries to remove the headphone jack completely bombs.

And no back button on iphones is a dealbreaker for me. There's a lot I don't like about apple products but that's the only one I don't think I'll ever get used to.

As much as I love the progression of technology and how companies try to push new boundaries with yearly releases, the tech industry has done an abysmal job on reducing the environmental impact of all that production.  I've been trying to buy all my electronics used to minimize that on a personal level but doing so isn't always practical.

Offline ren

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #452 on: Sunday, July 17, 2016, 02:55:59 PM »
And nope, still 12.

Offline gpw11

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #453 on: Saturday, August 27, 2016, 05:01:45 PM »
Bought a Nexus 5X to replace the MotoX 2014 that I smashed the shit out of.  Actually, I didn't buy it but got it for free when I changed corp service providers.   I don't know if they fixed a lot of the problems Scott had before or if I'm just lucky but I've been really liking it for the last two weeks or so.  I mean, I'd love a better battery and SD expansion but I can live without it. I also like the feel of the thing, coming from the premium bar of soap of my aluminum and bamboo Moto X.

I'm surprised how much better a fingerprint reader makes everything. 

Offline scottws

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #454 on: Monday, August 29, 2016, 09:48:59 AM »
Yesterday I spent time wiping my Nexus 5X, installing the Android 7.0 (Nougat) factory image, and getting it all set up again.  I do have to say that, so far, I haven't had any of the issues I was complaining about before.  But I've been down this road before.  Android phones always feel snappy right after a factory reset and then slow down after a few days.  I'll report back in a week or so.

And yes, the fingerprint reader is amazing.

Offline PyroMenace

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #455 on: Saturday, October 01, 2016, 04:42:11 PM »
My iphone bricked the other day, should I make the switch to android? I've had a iphone 6 plus for 2 years now, during that time I've barely used the app store, avoided itunes at all cost because its horrible on windows and its near impossible to put anything onto my PC from it without doing something unnecessarily over complicated. What do you use to sync an android phone to a PC, and it is not shit?

Offline gpw11

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #456 on: Saturday, October 01, 2016, 05:57:55 PM »
My iphone bricked the other day, should I make the switch to android? I've had a iphone 6 plus for 2 years now, during that time I've barely used the app store, avoided itunes at all cost because its horrible on windows and its near impossible to put anything onto my PC from it without doing something unnecessarily over complicated. What do you use to sync an android phone to a PC, and it is not shit?


This was one of the major reasons I switched to Android in the first place.  You can access the android storage file system straight through windows explorer.  Plug in your phone, open the drive, drag and drop music over into the appropriate folder, drag all your pictures off to back them up, etc.  Easy.


Offline PyroMenace

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #457 on: Saturday, October 01, 2016, 08:48:11 PM »
That sounds amazing.

Offline Xessive

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #458 on: Sunday, October 02, 2016, 12:59:55 AM »
With Android it's really easy to access your files; it's practically plug & play.

I haven't plugged my phone directly to my PC in a while. I usually just plug in the MicroSD card, load it up with content, then slip it back into my phone.

Alternatively, I've been trying out wireless sync software and some cloud drives (OneDrive and Google Drive) and that seems to work really well too since I get them to sync only when I'm on WiFi.

Offline Quemaqua

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #459 on: Sunday, October 02, 2016, 07:52:32 PM »
I've invested some in the Apple platform over the last number of years just because of the two iPod Touches I've had, but having an Android phone now, there's no comparison. It wins in every conceivable category. More than probably I'll continue down that path and abandon Apple entirely after the next cycle, though I'm still glad to have my current iPod for a few platform-exclusive apps.

天才的な閃きと平均以下のテクニックやな。 課長有野

Offline Xessive

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #460 on: Monday, October 03, 2016, 02:28:27 PM »
I've been spending a bit of time with Windows 10 Mobile on a Lumia 950 and it's a bittersweet experience.

Functionally, it gives me the same liberties as Android; instant drag & drop, MicroSD card slot, etc. It's simple and works as you would expect.

The UI of Windows 10 Mobile is superb. I love its simplicity and minimal approach to visual design. The tiles are an elegant solution to the home screen space. It all blends seamlessly with the Windows 10 design principles. Of course, if you're not a fan of it then your shit out of luck because customization is extremely limited, you can pretty much only modify the wallpaper and make your choice of accent colour on white or black base.

The "App Gap" will be most common term you'll hear/read when addressing the Windows Store, and what a gap it is. The Store is barren. A lot of the basic social apps are there but many are not updated or are in limbo. Note: there are zero Google apps. ZERO.

On the bright side, Edge is such a fantastic mobile browser that I can use web versions of many of my favourite apps/tools. For example, Microsoft Maps is just awful but I can use Google Maps in Edge relatively well.

It just aches my insides because there's so much potential for it to be one of the best mobile platforms out there. Sadly, Windows 10 Mobile feels experimental, which is great for tech heads but absolutely unacceptable for a "final" product that is currently being sold.

Offline scottws

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #461 on: Tuesday, October 04, 2016, 10:38:26 AM »
Windows 10 Mobile is basically dead.  I would definitely never consider switching to it.

Oh and my Nexus 5X is a lot better than it used to be before I reinstalled it from scratch.  It has slowed down some since the reinstall, but I'm not dealing with the horrible performance issues I was previously.

Offline gpw11

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #462 on: Tuesday, October 04, 2016, 11:30:53 AM »

Oh and my Nexus 5X is a lot better than it used to be before I reinstalled it from scratch.  It has slowed down some since the reinstall, but I'm not dealing with the horrible performance issues I was previously.



Must have been one of the earlier builds or something?  My performance has been pretty good, which would make sense since I jumped in almost a year later.   I mean, a little more ram would be cool but it's only ever been a problem when switching out of Lara Croft Go to multitask and switching back in requiring the level to reload.   I can live with that considering how rarely I play games on my phone.

For comparison, my Moto X 2014 would often force close either Pocketcasts or Maps if they were both running, which is a huge pain.

Offline PyroMenace

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #463 on: Tuesday, October 04, 2016, 01:37:31 PM »
Google announced it's new phone today by the name of Pixel. Sadly looks like it's only going to be available for Verizon, so I'll have to go with a Galaxy phone.

Offline Xessive

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #464 on: Tuesday, October 04, 2016, 02:22:23 PM »
Google announced it's new phone today by the name of Pixel. Sadly looks like it's only going to be available for Verizon, so I'll have to go with a Galaxy phone.
It's just a matter of time before the unlocked version comes around.

In terms of specs it's certainly recent but I'm curious to see how it's real performance and usage turns out.

Offline gpw11

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #465 on: Tuesday, October 04, 2016, 05:08:28 PM »
It's just a matter of time before the unlocked version comes around.

In terms of specs it's certainly recent but I'm curious to see how it's real performance and usage turns out.


Verizon is just the only carrier that will offer it (in the states).  You can still buy unlocked from Google or Bestbuy.


Offline Pugnate

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #466 on: Wednesday, October 05, 2016, 07:56:03 PM »
Apparently ISIS ordered a whole shipment of Galaxy Note 7s today.

Offline ren

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #467 on: Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 01:36:00 PM »
I hope that debacle brings back removable batteries.

Offline scottws

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #468 on: Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 02:31:35 PM »
Regarding the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, I just read today that Verizon won't get in the way of Google's updates to it.  Meaning that whether or not you buy the Verizon version or the version from Google or Best Buy, the updates will be released to all Pixel (XL) phones at the same time.  The Verizon version is also carrier unlocked apparently.  Perhaps Verizon is turning over a new leaf?  Too early to be certain.

I'm interested in the Pixel, but not at the price offered.  Frankly, I think the price is ludicrous.  Google is trying to say to the market that their phone is as good as or better than an iPhone.  But Google doesn't have the luxury brand cachet that Apple does and they never really had the same sort of very large, rabid fanbase that will just buy every new product they release regardless of price or utility.  In fact, they are starting to lose the trust of even their most ardent fans what with them having a history of abandoning (or showing signs that they will abandon in the near future) products that people use and like such as Orkut, Wave, Google TV, Reader, Voice, Nexus Q, Nexus Player, OnHub Router, Hangouts, and even the Pixel C and ChromeOS.  Or having situations like the Nexus 10 where the Lollipop update resulted in extremely poor networking reliability and performance and was never fixed (most people with a Nexus 10 have either ditched the device or gone back to Kit Kat).  I mean look at Allo and Duo... no one has really bothered with them because they've already put people in an out of like four instant messaging services and apps already.  People are just done with it and are too embarrassed to try to recommend a Google messaging app to anyone at this point.

I think the Pixel is going to be a very poor seller.  It's a direction that they should have gone with around the Nexus 5 era, when they still had an extremely loyal and trusting fanbase.  In order to succeed in this strategy, they will need to do these major things:

1. Accept that the Pixel gen 1 isn't going to remotely be a market sensation and they are going to lose a lot of money on it, but stick with it anyway for at least two years.
2. Cure their horrible case of corporate ADHD.  Stop releasing products to market that they aren't 100% committed to and support any that they do release for longer than one release or two years.  No more Google OnHub Routers or Nexus Qs.  Follow through with them or just kill them in the lab.
3. Continue with the Pixel phones for a 2nd and a 3rd generation and ensure that they are on par with or even exceed the fit, finish, and industrial design of Apple's iPhones and the OS is completely reliable and performs well on the devices even as time passes.  If you pick up an iPhone 5S today, the device feels as fast as it did the day it was released.  You can't say that about virtually any Android device.

If Google does those things, they can probably reasonably expect to have a reasonably popular smartphone on their hands in the 3rd generation.  If they don't and they just start acting like the Pixel phones never even existed, they are going to absolutely destroy what remains of their consumer trust in them.  At that point, they are going to see basically zero adoption in any of their new products or services and will just have to get by on Google Search, Gmail, and YouTube until they get obsoleted or disrupted out of the market entirely.

In any case, my Nexus 5X is good enough to go another year at least and the only feature it is missing is the Google Assistant and I can access that via Allo if I want in any case.

An update to my Nexus 5X woes:  Performance still remains better than what I was going through before the fresh Marshmallow install, but I do have some sort of issue with the item labeled "Android OS" using tons of battery when Bluetooth is enabled. Since I just got a new car that has Bluetooth and my old one didn't, frequent Bluetooth use is a new thing for me. I get 10 hrs. max with Bluetooth on all day, but it easily went all day before when I had it disabled all the time.  It seems like a common issue and I've tried some of the suggested remedies.  Resetting all app preferences helped a little -- it got me to the aforementioned 10 hrs. from 8 -- but it's still a problem.  Some say that factory resetting helped, but I just did that recently and I hate the all-day project that results from doing it.
« Last Edit: Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 02:59:51 PM by scottws »

Offline Pugnate

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #469 on: Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 07:13:36 PM »
Whenever I end up at a cellphone store here I see someone asking about the Pixel. You are right, price is a bit high though.

Offline PyroMenace

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #470 on: Tuesday, May 02, 2017, 06:05:27 PM »
I finally made the move to Android, got a Pixel XL. Cracked my iphone screen up good the other week, I've wanted to switch for a while and I got a decent raise from my job not long ago so I decided to make the jump. It came in the mail the other day, just needed to get a new sim card from sprint to get it switched over. I've been setting everything for a bit now but I really really really like it. The OS is really snappy and getting everything the way I want it feels super easy. I still don't know the in and outs of everything but its been a pretty positive experience so far.

Offline Xessive

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #471 on: Wednesday, May 03, 2017, 08:25:05 PM »
I finally made the move to Android, got a Pixel XL. Cracked my iphone screen up good the other week, I've wanted to switch for a while and I got a decent raise from my job not long ago so I decided to make the jump. It came in the mail the other day, just needed to get a new sim card from sprint to get it switched over. I've been setting everything for a bit now but I really really really like it. The OS is really snappy and getting everything the way I want it feels super easy. I still don't know the in and outs of everything but its been a pretty positive experience so far.
Sweet! Glad you're enjoying it. If you ever need any tips or have questions, just holler! :D

Offline W7RE

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #472 on: Sunday, August 06, 2017, 11:08:13 AM »
Oops, it's been over a year since I last posted asking for info for the iPhone I was given.

I got a friend to send me a dummy SIM card and I got through the initial setup with that. I carried 2 phones for a while, which was annoying. (feature phone for calls/texting, iPhone for apps/games over WiFi) I recently got my dad to let me share a data plan between his phone and mine, so now I've got full service on the iPhone, and it's much more convenient. Someday I'd like to replace it, since it's an iPhone 5 running iOS 10 and doesn't always handle it well. I won't even be able to upgrade to iOS 11 when that comes out. It's a hell of a lot more convenient than just having a feature phone though. I use this thing constantly.

Offline scottws

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #473 on: Monday, August 07, 2017, 01:08:44 PM »
My Nexus 5X died and I got a Google Pixel.  That was a bitter pill to swallow due to the exorbitant cost and the fact that the Pixel 2 is coming out in a few months.  This thing is expensive!  But I didn't really have a choice other than pay $400 for another Nexus 5X, which was more than I paid almost two years ago, or go ahead and get the Pixel since I'm using Project Fi.  It only works on Google phones.

It's a nice phone so far.  Great screen and build quality.  I don't understand the huge chin bezel though.

Offline gpw11

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #474 on: Sunday, August 13, 2017, 03:57:57 PM »
My Nexus 5x died as well.  Actually, all Nexus 5x's are dying apparently.  I don't know how the fuck they get away with that but whatever.  I bought a Moto G5 Plus because it has wicked battery life and basically stock android.  Happy so far but fuck Google, get your shit together.

Offline Pugnate

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #475 on: Thursday, August 24, 2017, 02:44:37 AM »
I want the Note 8.

I also don't have money.


Offline gpw11

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #476 on: Thursday, August 24, 2017, 08:01:43 PM »
Also, it might kill you.

Offline Xessive

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Re: Smartphone Megathread. It's the shit.
« Reply #477 on: Friday, August 25, 2017, 02:47:19 PM »
The Galaxy Note 8 is gorgeous.

I came to Android after having been a Windows Mobile user, so using a stylus was native to me. Oddly enough, with all the people that I've seen using Galaxy Note phones I've never seen anyone but myself using the S Pen. I loved it on my Galaxy Note 3. Maybe it's time I got back on the Galaxy Note wagon.