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Old August 10th, 2013, 04:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I need to get a new smartphone for my wife. Her previous basic phone died after the warranty expired but she's still locked into a Verizon contract until 3/2014. I have a Galaxy Nexus provided by my employer (also Vzw but on their corp plan). When my wife's phone died, I activated an old BB Storm II and now they're charging me for 2GB data but I can't use it. The phone was a setup for BIS and it's probably not even worth it to reconfigure, we just need to get something else. I won't pay the huge ticket for a new device retail so I'm looking at older NOS (new old stock) phones.

There's a dizzying array of decent-looking new or lightly used phones available on ebay for $75+. I'll pay up to $150 for something good. Problem is, I have no idea what devices are decent. Also, most are only Android 2.x. My Galaxy Nexus is 4.2.2 and Galaxy Tab 2 7" is 4.1.1.

So my questions are: 1) what's the minimum level of Android I should consider. My wife is no techie (OTOH, I'm an IT pro for 30+ years) so I'm just concerned about her ability to use a few apps that she might want to try (nav, garage sale maps, facebook, ebay, etc). 2) what older devices are decent and which ones should I avoid?

Her birthday is next week so I'l like to get something asap.

Thanks. If this is in the wrong thread to post this question, I apologize.

---- Gary ----

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Old August 10th, 2013, 04:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't consider any android phone to be more complicated than any other IMO, seeing as they all run the same OS. It's like asking if a Lenovo laptop is more complex than a Dell or Acer. They're all running Windows.

Now, I only have experience with 2 smartphones. I have a Samsung Galaxy S Captivate. This model is now 3 years old(bought mine brand new last summer, NOS). It was sufficient for my needs at the time, and I found Samsung's Touchwiz UI to be simple. Not much room for customization, but simple. I think it would serve your wife just fine. They can be had for $100ish used now. The Verizon variant would be called the Fascinate.

My current phone is the Nexus 4. It's straight from Google and running stock Android, version 4.3. I love it way more than my Captivate. It lacks some of the shiny features of the latest Galaxy or HTC One, but it's damn good IMO. It's pretty simple, but then I'm a 23 year old male who started playing Doom on the computer at the age of 2.

I'm guessing based on what your 30 years of IT experience that you and your wife would be in your late 40's/early 50's.....Any basic VZW android should probably be fine. My mother is in her 50's and we hooked her up with the Galaxy Proclaim last year and she loves it.
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Old August 10th, 2013, 04:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I forgot to mention that the Verizon version of the Proclaim, which we got for my mother, is the Samsung Illusion.
Samsung I110 Illusion - Full phone specifications
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Old August 10th, 2013, 05:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'd go with a Galaxy S3. I use it and I love it. It's old enough where you should be able to snag one on the cheap, but it's still an excellent phone when it comes to camera, app selection, support, and actually making calls. It's also extremely easy to use IMO, but there's also an "easy mode" for the people who aren't very tech proficient. It runs on Android 4.1 and the word on the street is that it will recieve an upgrade to 4.3 in the future.

For what it's worth, a phone running anything lower than android 4.0 isn't worth it in my opinion. I have an old Motorola Electrify running 2.3, and it is LIGHT YEARS behind my GS3
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Old August 10th, 2013, 05:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't consider any android phone to be more complicated than any other IMO, seeing as they all run the same OS. It's like asking if a Lenovo laptop is more complex than a Dell or Acer. They're all running Windows.

Now, I only have experience with 2 smartphones. I have a Samsung Galaxy S Captivate. This model is now 3 years old(bought mine brand new last summer, NOS). It was sufficient for my needs at the time, and I found Samsung's Touchwiz UI to be simple. Not much room for customization, but simple. I think it would serve your wife just fine. They can be had for $100ish used now. The Verizon variant would be called the Fascinate.

My current phone is the Nexus 4. It's straight from Google and running stock Android, version 4.3. I love it way more than my Captivate. It lacks some of the shiny features of the latest Galaxy or HTC One, but it's damn good IMO. It's pretty simple, but then I'm a 23 year old male who started playing Doom on the computer at the age of 2.

I'm guessing based on what your 30 years of IT experience that you and your wife would be in your late 40's/early 50's.....Any basic VZW android should probably be fine. My mother is in her 50's and we hooked her up with the Galaxy Proclaim last year and she loves it.
Thanks for the reply. I wasn't asking about UI complexity, I was asking about the minimum OS version I should consider and about what h/w is decent.

UI complexity is what it is and I can get around well enough in any UI to train my wife on it.

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I'd go with a Galaxy S3. I use it and I love it. It's old enough where you should be able to snag one on the cheap, but it's still an excellent phone when it comes to camera, app selection, support, and actually making calls. It's also extremely easy to use IMO, but there's also an "easy mode" for the people who aren't very tech proficient. It runs on Android 4.1 and the word on the street is that it will recieve an upgrade to 4.3 in the future.

For what it's worth, a phone running anything lower than android 4.0 isn't worth it in my opinion. I have an old Motorola Electrify running 2.3, and it is LIGHT YEARS behind my GS3
Yeah, that's what I was afraid of. It doesn't have to be be the latest/greatest but I don't want to buy something that's obsolete. I've liked my Nexus but I'm not at all sure about the close ties with Google. they're REALLY screwed up on the latest app updates (Gtalk --->Hangouts, and the maps update) which I backed out. I'll look if S3's are available reasonably. Thanks.

Update: Galaxy S3 is too expensive. Will have to aim lower...
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Old August 10th, 2013, 05:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If the gs3 is too expensive for you, then I'd recommend a Galaxy SII. I've never used it, but I have a friend who still uses it and he says it's a great phone. It has a 4.3 inch screen, a very respectable camera, and runs on Jelly Bean if I remember correctly. It won't be receiving any future updates like the GS3 will, but it will defintely be a relevant and capable phone that should last until March of next year, at the very least. And since it's a year older than the S3, you should definitnely be able to find one at a modest price.
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Old August 10th, 2013, 06:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks, I'll look for an SII. Any others similar candidates?

I've never bought a 3rd party phone before. I see some sellers say no SIM chip is included. Will I have have to get one? What can I expect from Verizon? I've read that there will be a $30 "upgrade" fee to activate a 3rd party phone.
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Old August 10th, 2013, 06:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I agree with the consensus that 4.0+ is a monumental upgrade over 2.3....not just in features and UI, but in smoothness and reliability.

Verizon never sold the S2, so that's not an option for the OP.
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Old August 10th, 2013, 06:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm also considering paying the $190 ransom to get out of the Vzw contract and switching to ATT whet I can get a new phone for very little with a new contract.
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Old August 10th, 2013, 08:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Bit off topic but if you manage to break free from the contract/subsidised phone trap, try your hardest not to get tied back into another one
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Old August 11th, 2013, 01:12 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm considering something from here: Buy and sell Verizon > Swappa

Anny recommendations under $200?
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Old August 11th, 2013, 01:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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i got my tech-illiterate mom on a Galaxy S3, which she seems pretty satisfied with. myself as well. but of course we both came from iPhones so the S3 'fit.'
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Old August 11th, 2013, 01:44 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm considering something from here: Buy and sell Verizon > Swappa

Anny recommendations under $200?
If it was me, I'd go for the fascinate (mainly due for my love of galaxy s devices, owned the captivate on launch, fascinates AT&T brother)

Or the rezound, another very nice htc device.
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Old August 11th, 2013, 01:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
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If I could find an S3 for near $200, I'd go for it but the ones that are near that mark have issues.

How is the battery life on the Galaxy Facinate and HTC Rezound?

Is it true I don't need a SIM card for Verizon or must I buy a new one?
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Old August 11th, 2013, 02:41 PM   #15 (permalink)
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If the fascinate is anything like the captivate, i could easily get theory the day without needing to charge.... That was with fairly heavy use.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 12:18 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Can someone please address my SIM question? I don't want to be in the position where I get a pre-owned phone but can't activate it. I've been told that Verizon doesn't use SIM cards but yet I've seen discussions about them from Verizon users so I'm confused. Do I need to purchase a new SIM card for any pre-owned phone that I want to activate on Verizon?
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Old August 12th, 2013, 01:42 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Verizon is a CDMA network...ie, no sim cards.

However, many of their newer 4G LTE phones are GSM compatible, so that you can roam internationally. A good example is the iPhone 5.

So you should not need a sim card to activate on VZW.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 02:53 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks!

Any opinion on the Samsung Droid Charge? Looks to be priced right, has a spare battery, and seems easy to use. I wonder though if the function of those physical buttons will be lost with Jellybean or ICS...? If not, this looks perfect for my wife and cheap enough that we can get something else in a year or so...
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Old August 12th, 2013, 06:04 PM   #19 (permalink)
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The 'navbar' aka on-screen home, back, and recents only show on devices without physical buttons.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 06:34 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Thanks!

Any opinion on the Samsung Droid Charge? Looks to be priced right, has a spare battery, and seems easy to use. I wonder though if the function of those physical buttons will be lost with Jellybean or ICS...? If not, this looks perfect for my wife and cheap enough that we can get something else in a year or so...
I had a Droid Charge a couple of years ago, and also a Fascinate. Both phones are stuck officially on 2.3.6, but there are some ICS or JB roms for the Fascinate, but the Charge never had the radio layer interface for lte released. As such, any non stock rom won't be able to use the phone radios. However on stock, the Charge has LTE, but the Fascinate is a 3g only phone.

You honestly want a device with at least 4.1.1 because that's where android started to become very fluid.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 08:51 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
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So my questions are: 1) what's the minimum level of Android I should consider. My wife is no techie (OTOH, I'm an IT pro for 30+ years) so I'm just concerned about her ability to use a few apps that she might want to try (nav, garage sale maps, facebook, ebay, etc).
If you're just concerned about her ability to use a few apps that she might want to try (nav, garage sale maps, facebook, ebay, etc), I think you'll be fine with Gingerbread. I run nav, maps, and facebook on 2.3.5 and I expect eBay would run fine too. Not familiar with any garage sale map apps.
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Old August 12th, 2013, 09:44 PM   #22 (permalink)
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After reading lots of negative comments, I gave up on the Charge. Looking at Moto Droid Razr, LG Lucid 4G, and Galaxy IIIs (which is out of my range but stilll thinking abouut it), maybe the Galaxy Nexus too (which is what I'm using)
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Old August 13th, 2013, 12:32 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Bought the Droid Razr.
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Old August 29th, 2013, 09:59 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Dont suppose there's any older Android Verizon-compatible phones, all touchscreen, but NO data plan required? I want to get my mom a slightly more advanced phone, but nothing too major, since she won't need to use the internet through it, etc. Even if its not Android, any suggestions would be good.
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