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Thread: Smartphone questions (considering getting one)

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    Smartphone questions (considering getting one)

    1. I am looking at Firefox OS or Ubuntu for the Phone's OS (probably firefox os as i am looking at budget hardware, below 100 usd)

    • would rather not use android, it seems to like higher end hardware (based on what i have seen with my mom's phone, her entry level one was hardware bottlenecked with loading web pages over cell tower data speed)
      • A locked down linux install would annoy me and yes i know it can be rooted, but running everything as root is asking for trouble

    1. If I get a unlocked phone can i use it on wifi without having to pay a monthly bill to a cell company?
    2. Can I use Google Voice on it for VOIP
    3. Given #2 is yes, and I live in the USA; If i ever do decide to get a monthly service plan would i be able to use one of the lower priced plans or pay as you go ones with it or does those all make you get one of there locked phones
      • Would using it with a carrier lock a unlocked phone?


    Aside from that use would be fairly basic:
    Flashlight, calculator, email, text (via google voice/email), instant messaging (again via google), mp3 player (stream via html5 from my raspberry pi, or sync via owncloud and use a player app), take pictures of cats, alarm timer (cause my watch it so faint it is useless unless it is dead silent)
    *music player is not that big of a deal i have a 1gb 2ed gen ipod shuffle
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    Re: Smartphone questions (considering getting one)

    Quote Originally Posted by pqwoerituytrueiwoq View Post
    [LIST=1]
    would rather not use android, it seems to like higher end hardware (based on what i have seen with my mom's phone, her entry level one was hardware bottlenecked with loading web pages over cell tower data speed)
    I'm not saying you necessarily should go Android, but you should at least make an informed choice if you decide to not go with it. The Moto X does not have any bottlenecks, and with no contract is $350. With a contract, it's more like $50. There may even be some promotions with it at $0.

    A locked down linux install would annoy me and yes i know it can be rooted, but running everything as root is asking for trouble
    Again, I don't think you understand what rooting an Android phone does. It doesn't mean it's running as root. It means you, as the user, have the opportunity to escalate to root when you give apps permission. Every time an app needs root permission, the root app (e.g., SuperSU) will ask if you want to allow the app to run as root, and then you get options like "just this time" or "always"--I forget the exact phrasing.

    In other words, a standard (non-rooted) Android phone isn't like a Ubuntu installation where you have to escalate with sudo. Instead it's like having no sudo powers at all. You basically cannot do anything as root ever. A rooted Android phone is like a normal Ubuntu installation. It runs on no privileges most of the time, and you have the opportunity to escalate up on a case-by-case basis.

    If I get a unlocked phone can i use it on wifi without having to pay a monthly bill to a cell company?
    Yes. Your best bet for a cheap but powerful unlocked phone would be the Moto X or the Nexus 5. I can't vouch for the Nexus 5, as I've never used it, but the Moto X is excellent, and you absolutely do not have to activate it with a carrier if you get the unlocked version.

    Can I use Google Voice on it for VOIP
    Technically, no. The Google Voice app still uses cell phone minutes. That said, I think there was a recent update to the Hangouts app to allow you to use VOIP to make calls.

    Would using it with a carrier lock a unlocked phone?
    No, but most carriers do not really work with bought-unlocked phones. T-Mobile seems to be best about that. The "lock" or "unlock" is a bit of a moot point in the US, since Verizon and Sprint are CDMA and don't use the same frequencies, and AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM and also don't use the same frequencies. In other words, you can't take an unlocked phone from one carrier and get full service on another carrier, even if your phone is unlocked.

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    Re: Smartphone questions (considering getting one)

    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu View Post
    I'm not saying you necessarily should go Android, but you should at least make an informed choice if you decide to not go with it. The Moto X does not have any bottlenecks, and with no contract is $350. With a contract, it's more like $50. There may even be some promotions with it at $0.
    that is the point of this thread

    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu View Post
    Again, I don't think you understand what rooting an Android phone does. It doesn't mean it's running as root. It means you, as the user, have the opportunity to escalate to root when you give apps permission. Every time an app needs root permission, the root app (e.g., SuperSU) will ask if you want to allow the app to run as root, and then you get options like "just this time" or "always"--I forget the exact phrasing.

    In other words, a standard (non-rooted) Android phone isn't like a Ubuntu installation where you have to escalate with sudo. Instead it's like having no sudo powers at all. You basically cannot do anything as root ever. A rooted Android phone is like a normal Ubuntu installation. It runs on no privileges most of the time, and you have the opportunity to escalate up on a case-by-case basis.
    thanks, i thought it was like logging in as root

    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu View Post
    Yes. Your best bet for a cheap but powerful unlocked phone would be the Moto X or the Nexus 5. I can't vouch for the Nexus 5, as I've never used it, but the Moto X is excellent, and you absolutely do not have to activate it with a carrier if you get the unlocked version.
    but... low price~=budget*3 (new) or 2/3 that used[/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by aysiu View Post
    No, but most carriers do not really work with bought-unlocked phones. T-Mobile seems to be best about that. The "lock" or "unlock" is a bit of a moot point in the US, since Verizon and Sprint are CDMA and don't use the same frequencies, and AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM and also don't use the same frequencies. In other words, you can't take an unlocked phone from one carrier and get full service on another carrier, even if your phone is unlocked.
    so within the US a unlocked phone is the same as no-contract/phone only?
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    Re: Smartphone questions (considering getting one)

    Firefox OS and Ubuntu Phone are not yet there in my opinion. Maybe you could get a Firefox OS smartphone, there are 8 devices available in 19 countries but the marketplace to get the apps is very poor in comparision to the Google Play of Android, and there is no Google Voice on Firefox OS. It seems to me that if you are already using Google's services you would be better off with Android...

    Anyway, there are quite a few cheap Android unlocked phone available, just go to the nearest grocery store or on amazon.com.. Android is lightweight and runs well on low-end hardware, but some apps can be more ressource hungry. So it's more about what you intend to use this phone for. Browsing the web and checking emails doesn't require high-end hardware.
    Last edited by Tar_Ni; September 15th, 2014 at 02:28 AM.

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    Re: Smartphone questions (considering getting one)

    Quote Originally Posted by pqwoerituytrueiwoq View Post
    so within the US a unlocked phone is the same as no-contract/phone only?
    Well, there are actually two kinds of unlocked. One kind is SIM-unlocked, which means it's not specifically tied to a carrier. So in theory if I have a SIM-unlocked GSM phone, I can take it from AT&T to T-Mobile or vice versa. In reality, depending on the phone, it's very likely I won't get the full LTE/4G experience moving from one carrier to the other. I don't believe Sprint and Verizon phones are interchangeable at all, even SIM-unlocked, and even though they're both CDMA. I could be wrong about that, though.

    For Android phones, at least, there is another kind of unlocked, which involves the boot loader. In order to root your Android phone, you have to unlock the boot loader (which usually wipes the currently-installed version). More details here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/wiki/Bootloader

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    Re: Smartphone questions (considering getting one)

    There seems to be some fairly powerful (for a phone) devices out there under $100 with android on them
    i found one that looks pretty decent but can't be rooted
    what screen size phone would be have a good balance of usable space and fit in a pocket (i am a guy, so i don't have a purse to put a phone the size of a tablet in)

    what number of cores/clock speeds should i be looking at, given it's use would be for stuff that is not worth getting my laptop out for
    * yes i know clock speeds are not important as the cpu architecture, but i have no idea what is better than what unless it is a AMD/Intel chip
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    Re: Smartphone questions (considering getting one)

    Unlocked Moto G looks good. Sells for just over £100 in the UK.
    Has latest android on it.
    My mate bought one on my advice and loves it.

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    Re: Smartphone questions (considering getting one)

    yeah I have my eyes on moto G as well. haven't bought it yet. it's a descent phone for the money.

    you should check the CPU, GPU and ram when buying it. and battery of course. well the whole review. there are actually some Chinese phones that are quite cheap and good. my kid has an Asus tablet that was like a watered down nexus 7 (at the time) and all aps and everything is very smooth on it. and it has an IPS screen and can make HD videos. they were selling it for less than 130 USD in USA. the only two things missing are 3G connection and flash. otherwise this is a good tablet. responsive, fast, enough internal memory as well as ram...

    what you need is at min. 1 GB ram, some storage space (min 8Gb but preferably 16 GB), descent battery, cam and screen as well as CPU should be at least dualcore 1.2 Ghz preferably more or newer quadro core.

    Xiaomi and a few others offer quite a few competitive models and some (not all) received very good reviews.
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    Re: Smartphone questions (considering getting one)

    Unlocked Moto G looks to run around 160 USD on amazon, double my ideal budget (80)
    this thing looks like a lot of bang/buck
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MR0IAKI
    aside from not being able to root it, is there another draw back?

    chrome on android does support html5 audio mp3 format right?
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    Re: Smartphone questions (considering getting one)


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