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Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone

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1Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:13 pm

wprager

wprager
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When my wife's Bell contract runs out I'm likely switching her over to Wind, if I can't convince Bell into giving me a heavy discount to continue with them (right now it's $70/month for their lowest-end data plan, which gives you a measly half-gig data, while Wind offers unlimited plans -- 2 GB at full speeds, then throttled -- for $40 or even $35). At the same time I'll probably get myself a smartphone as well. So I've started looking.

Saw two Acer phones at Costco -- Z410 for $150 and Jade Z for $270. Usually Costco has good deals, but I'm not sure about these ones. I'm looking for something close to high-end but without the ridiculous prices, and I don't these ones qualify. The $150 model has a 4.5" screen and I really didn't want anything smaller than 5". And at $270 for the other one (which is a 5" screen) I wonder if I could do better buying a higher-end phone second hand?

So I started looking at kijiji and eBay and getting a bit discouraged (people want *a lot* for their second hand phones). Until I came across something I had not seen before -- the OnePlus One (sometimes abbreviated as OPO).

OneTouch is a Chinese startup from a former Oppo VP. And when I started reading up on the OPO I also found out that Oppo also makes high-end phones -- the Oppo Find 7 (and 7a).

The Find 7 and OPO have very similar h/w specs. The OneTouch and Find 7a have the same display resolutions (1080p) while the Find 7 is 1440p. Although the 7a is the cheaper version at least one reviewer claims it's a better product because that higher-res display does not provide any benefit in a 5.5" screen, while reducing the battery life.

The OnePlus has some fancy carbon-fiber case with "Sandstone Finish" that's supposedly the best thing since sliced bread. It also has 64GB RAM but no micro-SD card support or a removable battery, whereas the Oppo has 16GB but supports a micro-SD card and has a removable battery.

The biggest difference is the price, where the OnePlus is nearly half the price of the Oppo. Except, of course, when it comes to used phones. Right now kijiji has an Oppo Find 71 for $250 whereas there are a couple ads for the OnePlus for $350 or higher (the Oppo ad is 10 days old, so could be gone).

Thoughts/opinions? I'm not ready to pull the trigger yet so chances are the ads I see now on kijiji will be long gone before that time. But if I was ready to take the plunge now, what would be the best option?


_________________
Hey, I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.
- Dicky Fox

2Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Re: Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:45 pm

Ev

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Nexus 5 is great value. That's what I am using right now. Cheap, great specs for what I do, feels great, pure android. They're coming out with new ones this month so it will go down in price even more.

Nexus 6 is God as well but it's too big for me.

3Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Re: Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:46 pm

wprager

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Here's the head-to-head specs comparisons:

Nexus 5 vs. OnePlus:
http://www.phonearena.com/phones/compare/Google-Nexus-5,OnePlus-One/phones/8148,8603

Nexus 5 vs. Oppo:
http://www.phonearena.com/phones/compare/OPPO-Find-7,Google-Nexus-5/phones/8351,8148

If you find that the 5" screen is perfect for you (and the 6" is too big) then the 5.5" Oppo/OnePlus are probably not for you.

Specs-wise the OnePlus is better in just about ever respect, including price ($50 less), and yet the Nexus 5 rates a 9.5 vs. 8.6 for the OnePlus from PhoneArena (the User Ratings are a lot closer -- 9.4 vs. 9.3).

Other reviews (like this one) pretty much state you get more for your money with the OnePlus (64GB vs. 16 storage and $3GB vs. 2 RAM at the same $350 USD price point); the storage is important since neither one offers a micro SD slot (the Oppo does). But in the end it likely comes down to size preference.


_________________
Hey, I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.
- Dicky Fox

4Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Re: Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:48 pm

wprager

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Looks like I can get a Nexus 5 used for less and there will be more available.

One thing I forgot to mention about the Oppo is the fast charging. Apparently it can charge fully in an hour.


_________________
Hey, I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.
- Dicky Fox

5Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Re: Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:35 pm

Ev

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Nexus 5 is probably like two hours or less to fully charge.

For size is rather have a bigger screen but I don't like a phone like the nexus 6 or iPhone 6 plus because of its width. Too hard to hold and use with one hand for me.

I am looking at the Note 5 right now.

6Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Re: Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:47 am

wprager

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Yeah, the charging time is not all that important to me.  How long the charge lasts is.  And if the battery is not removable I assume it isn't replaceable (or very expensive to replace).  I'll expect to keep my phone more than three years which likely means the battery will need to be replaced at some time.  And if I end up getting something second hand then I'll have to replace the battery a lot sooner than 3 years' time.

I just mentioned that in the context of comparing the OnePlus and Oppo. I found a step-by-step guide for removing the battery in the OnePlus. It's a bit tricky but doable, however if the cost is similar (and I've seen used Find 7A for around the same price as a OnePlus One) that could well be a deciding factor. Actually the Nexus 5's battery is also not easily removable -- it's slightly easier than the OnePlus.

I think in the end (around February/March when my wife's contract runs out) I'll look around to see what's available. I'd prefer the larger screen, for sure, although the Nexus is nearly 5" so that's not small. All other things being equal I'd also prefer the larger RAM, more storage, faster CPU, better camera and so on but, in all honesty, I probably don't need any of that in a phone.


_________________
Hey, I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.
- Dicky Fox

7Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Re: Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:51 am

tim1_2

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I bought an unlocked HTC One S off a website from the States, and it was glorious. I wish you success in your journey. I have never heard of the phones you're talking about.

8Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Re: Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:08 pm

wprager

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Neither have I until I started looking. I'd heard of the company Oppo back in the day before bluray, when up-converting DVD players were the cutting edge. I had no idea they went into smartphones but I know enough about the company (from its customers) to know that they'd be worth a look. And OnePlus is a startup founded by one of Oppo's VPs.


_________________
Hey, I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.
- Dicky Fox

9Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Re: Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:13 pm

Ev

Ev
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One plus was based around an invite system. One plus two is out now but you can only buy it if you get an invite.

10Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Re: Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:47 am

wprager

wprager
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Yes, I know. Doesn't really matter, though, if I buy off kijiji or eBay (other than there aren't as many). Also can't you get an invite by going to their web page on Tuesday or something like that? Weird but I guess for a small company it controls demand somewhat. Also leads to weird crap like selling invites on eBay for $50. I guess that makes it look like a hot commodity.


_________________
Hey, I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.
- Dicky Fox

11Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Re: Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:22 am

wprager

wprager
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Hey, want to make your smartphone into a remote control?

Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone 31PQn0rOy4L._AC_UL160_SR160,160_

This costs around $10 (can probably find it for less on aliexpress or eBay) and plugs into the mini RCA jack on your phone.  I've also heard of similar devices that plug into a micro-USB port -- I guess it depends on which one is at the "top" of the phone.

Or you can save some $$ and build your own (I'm sure most of us have a broken remote and a headphones you could harvest for the spare parts -- two IR LEDs from the remote and the mini RCA jack from the headphones):


The kiwik device apparently comes with its own app.  For the home-brew you would need to install the ZaZa Remote app.


_________________
Hey, I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.
- Dicky Fox

12Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Re: Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:43 am

wprager

wprager
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Hey, what do you think of the Everywhere 45 plan at Wind. You get 5GB full-speed data and unlimited talk/text to anywhere in Canada/US while on the Wind Home network (limited coverage), and then 2400 minutes and unlimited global texting on the "Away" network; data on the "Away" network is 5 cents/MB.

Between "Wind Home" and "Away" you get pretty much coverage everywhere in North America. Too bad you get zero free data "Away"; typically if I'm traveling I have wifi access when indoors but not out. I suppose, worst-case, you get a pre-paid SIM card wherever you go, or maybe they have some decent add-ons.

If you bring your own phone you get $5 off, so only $40. Just occurred to be that $40 is what my wife's plan is, and it's unlimited (5GB at full speed) on just the home network; hmm, wonder if I could switch her.


_________________
Hey, I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.
- Dicky Fox

13Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Re: Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:11 pm

Vandelay

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I've been with wind for more than 2 years. It's awesome in the city (Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal) and works fine outside but you pay per text or call when on Wind away. I'm a contractor and having unlimited data is great for me. I rarely take jobs outside the city limits so rarely have problems.

I started with an HTC one. It was a great phone but died just passed the one year warranty. I've since bought the ASUS zenfone2. I'm very happy with it. It's a budget phone but specs wise, lines up with the OPO. ASUS just released a new phone with optical zoom camera that's supposed to be quite nice as well.

Oh and for traveling, the zenfone has 2 sim card slots so you can just buy a local sim or just run a pay as you go sim on the second one.

14Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Re: Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Mon Jun 06, 2016 3:48 pm

tim1_2

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wprager wrote:Hey, what do you think of the Everywhere 45 plan at Wind.  You get 5GB full-speed data and unlimited talk/text to anywhere in Canada/US while on the Wind Home network (limited coverage), and then 2400 minutes and unlimited global texting on the "Away" network; data on the "Away" network is 5 cents/MB.

Between "Wind Home" and "Away" you get pretty much coverage everywhere in North America.  Too bad you get zero free data "Away"; typically if I'm traveling I have wifi access when indoors but not out.  I suppose, worst-case, you get a pre-paid SIM card wherever you go, or maybe they have some decent add-ons.

If you bring your own phone you get $5 off, so only $40.  Just occurred to be that $40 is what my wife's plan is, and it's unlimited (5GB at full speed) on just the home network; hmm, wonder if I could switch her.

My wife is on this plan. The jury's still out on Wind for me. For the most part, it's  been fine, but there's been a couple instances where she's had no reception at all, and there should've been at least a roaming network to connect to.

15Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone Empty Re: Thinking of buying an unlocked smartphone on Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:17 pm

wprager

wprager
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I got my son on the Wind $25 plan when he started volunteering for Rogers (community cable); very often he'd be across town and wouldn't know in advance when/where he needed to be picked up. Also sometimes he had to stay late at school. But we found out (a little too late) that his school (West Carleton) is actually in the "Away" zone (so extra cost), and some of the Rogers destinations were similarly "out-of-town". Looking at Barrhaven (where we will eventually move) it's a little dicey. Where my wife works (Leiken) she'll have coverage, but there are some areas in Barrhaven that are "Away".

Incidentally, Wind only has "Away" coverage in Montreal, so before I saw this plan I was actually looking at Mobilicity for myself (my mom is still in Montreal so I visit fairly often, and would need some kind of coverage). But Mobilicity's coverage in Barrhaven is even worse.

One thing I've found very odd with my wife's plan (it may be a Wind thing but I haven't heard my son mention anything): whenever I (or someone else) try to call her and she doesn't pick up (which is like 99% of the time) it actually ends up sending her a text message presumably coming from the number I used saying "I tried to call you ..." and then instructions on how to check voice mail and sign up for online billing. It's weird when I call her from the home number since our "land" line doesn't *have* text service, yet she gets text messages "from" home.

Anyhow, with lots of spam calls for sales at Northern Reflections and the like, her Message list is huge! And she never clears out old "Chats" which makes it worse.

I wonder if there is a way to disable this? If someone calls and doesn't leave a message, there's still the Call Log. Don't really need a text message.

I think it also sends her a text message when someone actually leaves a voice mail. Notification overload.

Oh, almost forgot what I came here for -- the plan is actually $45 even if you BYOD; the $5 is only applied against add-ons and not the $45 base monthly amount.


_________________
Hey, I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I've failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.
- Dicky Fox

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