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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Where to buy an unlocked S4 phone in USA?

Hey everyone. I have the UK Vodafone version S2, and love it.

Im ready for the S4. However, none of the carriers here (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint) will let me buy the phone outright. So ridiculous! I dont want the expensive 2 year contract, I want pay as you go on ATT.

Anyways, would the international version on Amazon work here? I ask because my UK S2 doesn't play very well on the AT&T network now. It keeps switching from 3G H H+ like it is confused as to which network is available. Anyone using the international S4 on AT&T in the Minnesota area and can verify that it works?

Best Buy has them available, but for more money.

Let me know thoughts/opinions!

Cody

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Old June 5th, 2013, 12:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by FirebirdStud View Post
Hey everyone. I have the UK Vodafone version S2, and love it.

Im ready for the S4. However, none of the carriers here (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint) will let me buy the phone outright. So ridiculous! I dont want the expensive 2 year contract, I want pay as you go on ATT.

Anyways, would the international version on Amazon work here? I ask because my UK S2 doesn't play very well on the AT&T network now. It keeps switching from 3G H H+ like it is confused as to which network is available. Anyone using the international S4 on AT&T in the Minnesota area and can verify that it works?

Best Buy has them available, but for more money.

Let me know thoughts/opinions!

Cody
I think the international version of the S4 should work in the USA.
 
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Old June 5th, 2013, 02:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
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They should let you buy it without a contract, you can buy them from amazon or newegg to get it unlocked. The thing about buying the international version is that you wont have 4g LTE, and if you buy a tmobile phone it wont work on att's 4g and the opposite is also true, so i recommend getting a phone on the network you will be using. But the thing with tmobile is that they dont do contracts anymore, so you have to buy the phone at full price. They have an option for you to pay for it over 24 months but they dont do contracts and paying the full price is the only way to get a phone. I dont know who you talked to at a tmobile store but surely they would know that
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Old June 5th, 2013, 03:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The AT&T will work on T-Mobile's LTE because the AT&T one has the aws 1700/2100 band because there are some regions that have that lte deployed. However the AT&T version is sim locked as well as bootloader locked. So before you could use it on AT&T you would have to get them to unlock the sim. Another downside to the I9500 international version is that not only does it not have LTE, but it also doesn't support T-Mobile's HSPA+ 4G which runs on the 1700 as well as the 1700/2100 aws. So if you are going to use T-Mobile with the I9500, you would be stuck using EDGE data speed unless you live in an area that has the refarmed HSPA+ which runs on the 1900 MHz.
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Old June 5th, 2013, 03:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The AT&T will work on T-Mobile's LTE because the AT&T one has the aws 1700/2100 band because there are some regions that have that lte deployed. However the AT&T version is sim locked as well as bootloader locked. So before you could use it on AT&T you would have to get them to unlock the sim. Another downside to the I9500 international version is that not only does it not have LTE, but it also doesn't support T-Mobile's HSPA+ 4G which runs on the 1700 as well as the 1700/2100 aws. So if you are going to use T-Mobile with the I9500, you would be stuck using EDGE data speed unless you live in an area that has the refarmed HSPA+ which runs on the 1900 MHz.
Consider getting the S4 i9505 which is what I am using currently. The only downside is that it has only 1.9GHz quad core and not octa core. However, it has lte compared to the i9500.
 
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Old June 5th, 2013, 03:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You'll find that the I9505 will yield slightly better performance due to being clocked higher, while the I9500 will have better standby batter life due to the the 4 low powered cores. The 9505 will also have more stable custom roms due to the Qualcomm source being public while the Samsung Exynos isn't public.

The myth that seems to be believed is that the I9500 is an "octcore" phone. It's really a dual quadcore phone. It will only ever use 4 cores at a time, either the 4 power ones, or the 4 power saving ones.
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Old June 5th, 2013, 03:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You'll find that the I9505 will yield slightly better performance due to being clocked higher, while the I9500 will have better standby batter life due to the the 4 low powered cores. The 9505 will also have more stable custom roms due to the Qualcomm source being public while the Samsung Exynos isn't public.

The myth that seems to be believed is that the I9500 is an "octcore" phone. It's really a dual quadcore phone. It will only ever use 4 cores at a time, either the 4 power ones, or the 4 power saving ones.
1.6 GHz quad core for high performance such as gaming and 1.2 GHz quad core for low performance such as standby.
 
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Old June 5th, 2013, 03:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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1.6 GHz quad core for high performance such as gaming and 1.2 GHz quad core for low performance such as standby.
Yes, exactly.
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Old June 5th, 2013, 03:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Still, the octa core version is really very battery saving with its "smart switch".
 
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Old June 5th, 2013, 03:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Still, the octa core version is really very battery saving with its "smart switch".
Indeed, you'll get better battery life with the 9500 not only because of that, but also because LTE does use more power to run on than HSPA.
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Old June 5th, 2013, 03:26 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Here, the lte network is so horrible that I set my S4 to use only H+ because it is quick and the signal bar wouldn't constantly change.
 
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Old June 5th, 2013, 03:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Here, the lte network is so horrible that I set my S4 to use only H+ because it is quick and the signal bar wouldn't constantly change.
Yeah, changing between radios is definitely a battery killer.
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Old June 5th, 2013, 03:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Yeah, changing between radios is definitely a battery killer.
Not only that, but I would get very low signal using lte and my phone would keep switching here and there. It is really very irritating and the battery just keeps draining like water.
 
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Old June 5th, 2013, 03:35 PM   #14 (permalink)
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The real question comes down to how long you plan to have the phone. If you plan to have it for a while, I'd go with the 9505. That way if the LTE gets expanded that you'll be able to use it. If you don't plan on using it a long time and plan to get the next big thing when something entices you, then I'd get the 9500 for the extra battery life and because the LTE isn't that usable at this point.
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Old June 5th, 2013, 09:05 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Old June 5th, 2013, 11:20 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Does the Verizon version come unlocked like the iP5?
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Old June 6th, 2013, 12:46 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I think it is best to just go with the i9505. It has 1.9 GHz quad core and lte.
 
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Old June 12th, 2013, 03:09 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tastycaramel View Post
Consider getting the S4 i9505 which is what I am using currently. The only downside is that it has only 1.9GHz quad core and not octa core. However, it has lte compared to the i9500.
@tastycaramel

Are you on AT&T with the 9505? Were you able to get LTE from them?
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Old June 12th, 2013, 09:48 AM   #19 (permalink)
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@tastycaramel

Are you on AT&T with the 9505? Were you able to get LTE from them?
I don't believe that the 9505 is compatible with AT&T LTE. Taking a quick look at the device specs shows that it's compatible with: 3G: HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 - 4G/LTE 800 / 850 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600. AT&T LTE is mostly on the 700 with some areas using the 1700/2100 aws band, and thus neither band is supported by the 9505. T-Mobile uses the 1700/2100 exclusively at this point, so it's not compatible with them either.
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Old June 12th, 2013, 12:30 PM   #20 (permalink)
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wow, great answers people. Thanks for the responses.
I think I am now leaning towards the Verizon S4 due to the family plan I can join with my parents. Looks like the LTE phone would be better since I work in an LTE zone.
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