My first cellphone


  • Creator

    I have a new job, and am finally going to be thinking about getting a phone. Even my dad has one. I can look up specs and videos all day, but the technical aspects aren't the only things to look for. So... little help buying a phone? I don't have a particular brand loyalty or anything and my android tablet is stuck back in Jellybean, I think.

    .Is it better to buy it outright, or go with a plan? I would prefer to be able to listen to the occasional audio book, but using it as an ereader would be nice as well. I don't care about taking pictures. I suppose I should with a phone, but I'll easy in to that. Mostly right now it's going to be a mobile authenticator for things.

    Seriously any help would be appreciated



  • Really depends on what you want from a phone. I do mobile development for my day job so I switch between iOS and Android as my daily driver, and each has its strengths and weaknesses.

    Android is far more customizable; you can do all kinds of things to really make a handset 'yours'. Custom launchers and lock screens, using things like Tasker to make your phone stay unlocked at home or put you in Do Not Disturb mode when face-down on the table or when attached to a car mount, etc. On the other hand, actually doing that customization can be a headache, and Android's Bluetooth functionality—especially Bluetooth Low Energy—is wildly inconsistent, and not nearly as reliable as iOS. There's also the fact that Android's going the same direction as iOS and getting rid of the headphone jack in favor of eliminating ingress avenues (for better weatherproofing).

    iOS is far more locked down—it's very hard to customize in any meaningful way, so if there's a bit of behavior you don't like you are really sort of stuck with it—but it's also much harder to break an iOS device as a result. And if you have anything that uses Bluetooth wireless connectivity, generally the experience will be a lot better on iOS. And of course, no headphone jacks any longer; you'll need an adapter if you don't use wireless headphones.

    If you do go with Android, I highly recommend a Pixel device; they're a little pricier, but really the most solid Android experience I've found, especially for the first generation Pixels. (The Pixel 2 has a few quirks, and the lack of headphone jack on the 2 gets some people.)


  • Pitcrew

    I honestly had no END of trouble with the pixel. I went through four of them before I gave up and bought a Moto X4 for Fi, and have been delighted with it.



  • Regarding the 'buy or contract' question, it depends on your finances. If you can afford to just outright buy a phone then take a SIM only contract then that is generally cheaper but you do need the money up front, it does however give a lot of flexibility especially if you snag a good contract, you can potentially stick with it forever.

    As an example I am now 6+ years into a two year contract and never upgraded my phone because the company stopped offering the same infinite data, infinite tethering plan at some point, I just buy a new phone every few years then move the SIM card into it. I have in the past just used my phone for my home internet and broken 200 gig a month through it.



  • @packrat said in My first cellphone:

    If you can afford to just outright buy a phone then take a SIM only contract then that is generally cheaper but you do need the money up front, it does however give a lot of flexibility

    Depending on your carrier, the price may be a wash. Verizon, for the most part, is now just taking the price of the phone and dividing it up into 24 payments. So it's not really a savings deal like it once was; it's just an installment plan. Paying up front does give you more flexibility though, like you said.

    Sometimes there are deals though. Right now for instance the iPhone SE is on sale if you use the installment plan versus just buying it outright.



  • Wait for the Samsung S9 to become more widespread then get the Samsung S8.

    It's a nice phone, fully waterproof, and has the headphone jack and accepts a microsd card for expansion.

    You will want a case with it however as both front and back is glass, so you want the extra protection.



  • For your first phone... just get one that comes with your phone plan. Ease in.

    I spent zero dollars on my current phone and it works great for me. Your next phone? Do research and upgrade to it.



  • Assuming you even want a phone plan. Obviously, you've been doing fine without a cell phone so are you suddenly going to be making lots of calls or using data? I mainly have mine for emergencies and the occasional call. I buy X number of minutes and when those are almost up, I buy some more.


  • Pitcrew

    Pixels have a great camera and shit for quality control. If you get a good one you're golden, if you get a lemon, you're screwed -- I am the tech support for our enterprise account at work, and I had to send a good third of our first round of pixels back for warranty replacement, and then half of the refurbished ones back for another replacement.

    The Samsung S9 is hands down the best phone on the market right now, provided you're not an iPhone user. The plus is worth the extra money; it's faster, and the bigger screen is great (I do use mine as an ereader, though I just have the 8+). We have zero problems with these at work, except for....

    If you are clumsy, get an Otterbox if you DO go with either the S8 or the S9, because of the aforementioned glass back. They are hands down the most breakable cellphone we have ever had. They will crack in your pocket if you don't have a case and you bend wrong, and a drop on a corner (because glass) will shatter the whole thing.

    If you are super super clumsy, look at the Kyocera DuraForce pro. They are waterproof, shatterproof, and drop proof. The battery life is great, they don't come with much bloatware, and they are the workhorse of the phones right now. They just work. For a year. At which point they very rapidly deteriorate. If you plan on keeping a phone longer than it takes to get an upgrade, wait until the next workhorse, whatever that ends up being.



  • @kanye-qwest said in My first cellphone:

    I honestly had no END of trouble with the pixel. I went through four of them before I gave up and bought a Moto X4 for Fi, and have been delighted with it.

    @sunny said in My first cellphone:

    Pixels have a great camera and shit for quality control. If you get a good one you're golden, if you get a lemon, you're screwed -- I am the tech support for our enterprise account at work, and I had to send a good third of our first round of pixels back for warranty replacement, and then half of the refurbished ones back for another replacement.

    This makes me sad. I know the Pixel 2 has had quality control problems, but every original Pixel we got at work for test devices was flawless in its performance, as well as my personal Pixel. I guess I'd hoped the quality control issues were unique to the Pixel 2. :(

    The Samsung S9 is hands down the best phone on the market right now, provided you're not an iPhone user. The plus is worth the extra money; it's faster, and the bigger screen is great (I do use mine as an ereader, though I just have the 8+). We have zero problems with these at work, except for....

    I'm gonna counter this slightly; while the S8 and S9 have very good Bluetooth support, I have seen some Really Weird Behavior when connecting to certain Bluetooth Low Energy chipsets. Or rather, failing to notice—and thus failing to connect to—certain chipsets. A Bluetooth packet sniffer turns up that the advertisements are going out fine, the Pixel sees the advertisements, an iPhone sees the advertisements, and the S8+ or S9 goes "Wha? I don't see it. You sure you powered it on?"

    But to be fair, I work at a hardware company where we build Bluetooth Low Energy-enabled hardware. So I probably see a lot more weird Bluetooth behavior than the average user.


  • Pitcrew

    @sparks

    Yeah, I definitely don't see a whole lot of bluetooth usage scenarios -- I have a small handful of people that use ear pieces and a couple that connect to their car and that's just it. We are not a high tech office.



  • iPhone 7 blows for Bluetooth.

    This motherfucker can't stop spinning its gear.



  • @ganymede said in My first cellphone:

    iPhone 7 blows

    Fixed that for you.



  • @admiral said in My first cellphone:

    @ganymede said in My first cellphone:

    iPhone 7 explodes

    Fixed that for you.

    Fixed that better...


  • Pitcrew

    I have AT&T's pre-paid plan. Have had it for near 3 years now. I set up auto pay, it knocks 5 bucks off. 12 g a month in data (with rollover from whatever is not used the precious month). I use it for my work - both dog and kid sitting - and use it to tether when on the road during road trips. 58ish bucks a month. They have some decent phones.

    I've flipped between an S6, and a samsung prime. On the prime right now because the speaker on my 6 is broken (water), prime is my backup phone. AT&T has some pretty decent phones to buy outright, and with memorial sales and the like, you can easily find a good deal in the coming weeks. My husbands phone is Virgin mobile, and they get okay phones, but the prices are just as decent, and conenctions, they run off sprint towers. We have never used plan phones. You can find second hand newer phones, unlocked and usable.


  • Pitcrew

    @jibberthehut said in My first cellphone:

    You can find second hand newer phones, unlocked and usable.

    Be REALLY careful about doing this. Really really careful. It is super easy to get completely screwed when purchasing second hand phones because of a lot of the new security features.


  • Pitcrew

    @sunny What she said. I bought our S6 from someone i knew on Reddit from within my home town. And I made sure it was clean before I paid for it.



  • I'm in a very non-standard unlimited data plan with Tmobile, because I've had my Tmobile service since like 2006 and I gather I've been grandfathered into a plan that's no longer offered.

    That said. I have a Samsung Galaxy 6 on said unlimited data plan and it's pretty damn fantastic. I got it just after the Galaxy 7 came out. I'm sure I'll upgrade to a Samsung 9+ eventually but this thing has lasted me 2+ years now and I've no need to find a new phone soon, so! Pretty damn happy.


  • Pitcrew

    @three-eyed-crow yesss. I want to repair my 6 so I can use it again. It's the right size, the right thin, i love how pictures come out on it. Dislike that i can't put an sd in it, but meh, 32g. I want a wiresless charger for it though. So i can just smack that puppy down instead or cord hunting all the damn time.



  • @ashen-shugar said in My first cellphone:

    accepts a microsd card for expansion

    As long as people understand the risk of this. Which is to say, if you're okay with your cellphone's OS expecting you to manage it. It's a trade-off.

    @Sparks had it right from the start, though; it depends on what you want. I'm also with @Admiral on this: Get whatever's free. Everybody else has been talking about preferences, and if you don't have any then your preferences will come with experience.

    (Theno's Preferences:

    • Doesn't care about the loss of the headphone jack but accepts he's in the minority.
    • Thinks that the SD card expansion is over-hyped.
    • Absolutely abhors Samsung's need to delay critical security features so they can get their fingers in the OS.)

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