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Unlocked phone vs. going with carriers

Discussion in 'Android Help' started by Tr3y, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Tr3y

    Tr3y Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I'm considering getting a Galaxy Note 2. I currently have an iPhone 4s with AT&T in the US. Considering getting the Note 2 as an 'extra' phone at least for a while.

    I want to understand what advantages there may be with getting an unlocked phone vs. going with a carrier (understanding that carriers subsidize about half of the phone cost but typically require lock-in for 2 years).

    I know that not all carriers are equal as well regarding coverage area and LTE. But also with features enabled on the Note 2 (maybe it was AT&T that doesn't enable the multi-tasking window feature) as well as speed of Android updates.

    So wanted to get some feedback as well on best US carriers for Android.

    Thanks!
     



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  2. Digital Controller

    Digital Controller The Real Bass Creator

    First off welcome to the forums, secondly, i have moved this thread into the Device/Carrier Comparison forums since you want some comparisons.

    An Unlocked device, (assuming GSM), could be put on any GSM carrier like AT&T or T-Mobile. That is the biggest advantage.

    I really like Verizon just because, even though they are more expensive, the 4G is everywhere and i get really great service.
     
  3. Tr3y

    Tr3y Lurker
    Thread Starter

    How are they with regard to timeliness of Android updates and disabling features or adding a lot of cruft to the device?
     
  4. DarkJedi

    DarkJedi Android Enthusiast

    Someone correct me if I am wrong, but only subsidized devices seem to get the OTA (Over The Air) OS (Operating System) updates for the phones. Unlocked phone users usually have to download and install the updates themselves.
     
  5. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    I can't speak for the USA, but my unlocked, unbranded HTC received OTA updates.

    Well, it received one - then I rooted and switched to custom ROMs. ;)
     
  6. Thats

    Thats That guy is This


    I have found that unlocked phones get MORE OTA updates than a subsidized phone from a carrier The reason for this is that Goolge only has to work with the OEM instead of the OEM and the carrier. One less step in the process. Either way, I prefer to connect to wifi when downloading OTAs since they normally are large files.
     
  7. DarkJedi

    DarkJedi Android Enthusiast

    Wow. That is good news. A couple of years ago, I always seemed to have to be in WiFi range and then do an OS update check. Never seemed to get pushed on its own over 3G from the carrier. Glad to hear that has changed.

    Thanks for the info!
     
  8. rui-no-onna

    rui-no-onna Android Enthusiast

    Yeah, I think only the subsidized devices get OTA updates direct from carrier. However, you can easily switch to airplane mode and connect via wifi to get the OTA update from the manufacturer. At least, that's what I did with my Nexus S. If I leave cellular enabled, the Nexus S can't seem to receive OTA updates.
     
  9. bob60626

    bob60626 Android Enthusiast

    If you're getting it as a second phone and buying it full price, the T-Mobile version might be something to look into. You can use it with that prepaid $30/5gb plan and unlock it to work with your AT&T sim.
     
  10. jhawkkw

    jhawkkw Chinchillin'

    Just be aware that buying the T-Mobile or unbranded unlocked version will not be compatible with AT&T's LTE network. If you want to use that, you will have to buy the AT&T version. You may be able to sim unlock it by buying it at full retail and asking for them to sim unlock it for you.
     
  11. tsilvernail

    tsilvernail Newbie

    I just recently jumped ship from sprint to pre-paid straight tall with an att sim. Personally I love it!

    My wife is on the 30/mo. Tmobile but only gets edge in our area(which is only a little bit slower tha. What we got with sprint 3G) but I've experienced around 5mbps down on AT&T (Verizon tops around 1.5 here) I bought an unlocked gnex from eBay that I should receive soon (and will be happy to give you my experience once it's in hand) but for now I'm on an iPhone 4 :( bc it didn't need to be unlocked.

    Id recommend buying the phone unlocked and using st on att. If when you decide to get rid of the phone it's resale value will be higher especially if it's in good shape. If you switch off contract you would stand to save a good chunk of change every year with the added benefit of being able to change carriers at will.

    I am a huge proponent of the prepaid option with an unlocked phone
     
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