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View Full Version : Help Please - What mobile phone to get me in the 21st C


Pjphoto59
17th August 2018, 04:56 PM
My wife and I have old GSM phones on which we can talk to people and send/receive SMS messages. They are on Pay as You Go contracts with Virgin. We use them very little, maybe a dozen calls a year.

All our communications are by letter, land line phone or e-mail. We do not do Social Media.

As more and more business tends to be done by mobile phone these days, we have decided we should get smartphones and learn how to use them.

I have a slight preference, for some photo reasons for an iPhone.

Expecting that our phone habits will not, at least at first, change much, we will not need much text or voice, but mainly data.

I would appreciate any ideas about the best way to do this. . .

MJ224
17th August 2018, 05:28 PM
As an iPhone user, I can recommend the 5s, but if your pocket is a little larger perhaps a 6s. I have a 4s and 5s, (old and present contract) have re-batteried them both and they work very well. I believe the 6s is quite a lot more advanced technically, ie receives better etc.

Little recent experience of Samsung, tho' the wife has one. Works OK, but the iPhone is better IMHO...…………..

I have a Sim only contract with 3, and pay as you go with Tesco.

Good luck*chr

pdk42
17th August 2018, 05:32 PM
In the smartphone world, the first thing is to decide between Apple (iOS) or Google (Android).

Apple has an easier to use user interface and is arguably better for novices. However, you pay the price in that a) the phones are expensive, and b) you'll get dragged into the Apple DRM (digital rights management) ecosystem. Basically that means that you pay for everything and Apple will control it all.

Android is a little harder to use, but it's more open so there are ways to avoid paying for everything in the same way as you do with Apple. The phones are usually a bit cheaper too, especially if you go for one of the rising Chinese brands (Xiaomi, Huiwai, Oneplus). If you want to play safe, Samsung phones are very good.

Me?, Android all the way!

TimP
17th August 2018, 05:44 PM
Had a similar scenario a few years ago now, wife had no desire to have a mobile. Long story short, can’t get the thing out of her hands now!
Happy here in Apple land, much nicer to use (yes, I’ve also got a recent, Oreo Android). No issues with DRM, just put ordinary MP3s on it via iTunes (Mac). Regular updates for O/S, security etc - try doing that with a cheapo no-name Chinese Android phone. iPhones do eventually stop getting updates but by that point it’s probably past it’s best anyway, so maybe use it as an iPod. There are some great apps out there, plenty more crap ones but something for everyone.

shenstone
17th August 2018, 06:18 PM
I use both - Apple for work and Android for home - from that you can see that I chose the latter personally

As others have said it's really a choice between the two. I am into IT things. Also the guys who work for me who all have iPhones for work also all have Android phones personally.

Why.. I personally find the whole Apple experience OK, but limiting (you do things their way or not at all) and for what you pay you can get better. I am running on the latest version of Android (For those yet to upgrade it's a very minor change in reality) and it integrates with my PC better than the Iphone/Ipad I use for work.

Things to consider IMO..

Android is made by Google so instantly integrates if you have a Google account (blogger or anything like that) things synch without you needing to think about setting it all up. Apple is of course from Apple and you will need an Apple account to synch things. if you had neither to start with then that's no issue

Android comes in flavours - if you buy a phone that is a google brand (Pixel2) then you get it direct - if you buy a samsung / Huawei etc. then they add some software on top which some people think makes the phones easier to use - personally I think it just adds complexity. if you like the look and feel of one of those "skins" that's fine

Apps - they both have so many options there is something for everyone. The shop or any mate with a phone can advise on good ones and not so good ones.

Music/DRM - you can get around it as stated. Apple still like you to use their software to load things which of course will be offering you lots of things to purchase. i set my work phone up with a credit card that was about to expire (you have to put on in to do the setup) as I did not want to give Apple any money (personal thing there)

As to phone and camera - there are lots out there that have good camera's and it's just like our cameras - you will find so many differing opinions it's almost impossible to decide just based on that

Data / Cost - you get what you pay for of course in terms of hardware, the latest device will be more expensive, but sometimes you can find a really good deal which includes loads of data. I pay less than £30 pm on EE for a lot of data, but that deal was only around for a few days so do look around

So overall what would I advise

if you are a Google user already somehow strongly consider Android
if you are an Apple user already - no brainer you have entered their world may as well make it as painless as possible and keep doing it
if you are neither then just pick whatever you like

I hope that helps.

Regards
Andy

Jim Ford
17th August 2018, 07:57 PM
I think that whatever smart 'phone you get,you're going to be pretty disappointed with the battery life. A day+ is about average I've found.

Have a look at giffgaff for the SIM. Their rates are very good and flexible. I've been using them for years.

Jim

wornish
17th August 2018, 08:31 PM
Looking at your usage which is similar to mine don't get any phone as part of a contract. Buy a second hand unlocked Apple or Android phone and go for a SIM only deal with minimum data usage. I am with O2 and pay £6.24 per month, which gives me enough for my limited usage. Per month I get 500 min calls , unlimited text and 500Mb data which is more than enough for my needs. They don't advertise these unless you ask.

Otto
17th August 2018, 08:46 PM
I'm on my second used iPhone. I started with a 4S a few years ago, bought on eBay from one of the many suppliers who refurbish phones that have been returned at the end of their contract. I'm now on an iPhone 6. iOS is in my view rather easier to get to grips with than Android and Apple's user manuals etc are very comprehensive. I had a Samsung WAP phone which I never fully explored because the documentation was near as dammit useless. If you're a Windows user, the interfacing between iOS and Windows has become much less intuitive in recent years with apps no longer managed via the iTunes software on your pc. In my view iTunes on Windows at least is clunky and non-intuitive, but once you get used to it it's very powerful. The trouble is that once you get used to it a new version comes out and you have to start again :). I have a sim-only deal with BT Mobile which as I'm a BT broadband user costs only £5 a month for 400 minutes, 500MB and unlimited texts which is more than enough for me. For non-BT customers it would be £10 a month. BT uses the EE network which I've found to be reliable and working in many places where friends' phones on other networks have little or no signal. It's a minefield out there though ... good luck :).

Pjphoto59
17th August 2018, 10:44 PM
Thanks everyone for the many useful replies. I correspond with a friend in Canada with a shared interest, in that we both do stock photography. He is a committed Apple user, but seems to have more trouble with his 6-month old MacBook than I do with my 6-year old Acer running Win10. Naturally he has an Apple iPhone 7.

Whatever I decide I plan to buy a refurbished phone and get a SIM card from someone else. I have BT broadband so Otto's suggestion of getting a card from them is useful.

After further discussion with my wife, she seems to have gone off the idea of joining the 21st Century!

If she changes her mind, and wants to get a smartphone, I think Android is the answer as I will want two of them and do not want to get sucked into further enriching Apple.

But if she decides not, I may well go for an iPhone7 like my friend. I have found a second hand one, refurbished and with a one year warranty for £300 and a data only Pay as You Go SIM should not be expensive. If I do that, I will not think I am enriching Apple too much! It will take some experimentation to find out what my usage will be.

Thanks again everyone, especially Andy with his detailed reply. .

Otto
17th August 2018, 11:11 PM
I have barely contributed to Apple’s fortunes in the years I’ve had iPhones. iOS updates are free and apart from the odd paid-for app I haven’t given them a penny :). You can add your own music using the iTunes software so there’s no need to buy it from the Apple store. So you needn’t worry too much about enriching them too much!

TimP
18th August 2018, 06:56 AM
I can second the suggestion about being a BT customer, my wife’s sim for her (my old) iPhone 6+ costs £5 per month and is a bargain.
The battery life comments are valid although I’ve got an iPhone 8 that supports wireless charging and I find that a £15 charging mat by the side of the bed means its rarely an issue at all, I simply pop the phone down at night and it’s 100% to start every day. Keep an eye on battery charge and on top of charging and it shouldn’t be an issue.

Shall we save tablets for another day?

percy
18th August 2018, 06:58 AM
There is no right answer to this. It really is a personal preference. Both systems work and do the job for their individual users.
I've used both Android and iPhone and my personal preference is iPhone.
I dislike all the customised interfaces and additional 'free' software most manufacturers install and would prefer a more consistent experience between different Android phones using just the basic android software.
People comment about being tied to the Apple ecosystem but rightly or wrongly I prefer the 'closed' system and feel more protected by it. No system is perfect but it does pretty much everything I need.
And let's not forget - the android system was designed to steer you in to Google's infrastructure. At the end of the day it's part of Google's revenue earning system.
What sort of computer and/or tablet device do you use? If you already have a Mac computer or iPad you may feel more comfortable with an iPhone. If you have an android based tablet then you already have some familiarity with that system so if you're comfortable with it then that may be the way to go if you.
As others have commented you will find a big difference with battery life. Make sure you switch off anything you don't need, for example if you're not using bluetooth connectivity then turn it off to extend battery life.

TimP
18th August 2018, 07:07 AM
Have to agree with percy about the closed Apple (walled garden) aspect. Given the amount of security issues needing addressing on the interwebs I’d rather be limited by Apple than left on my own with last years, or older, version of Android. You’re only really likely to see version updates by buying an actual Google device (Pixel, Nexus). Saying that I understand this situation is improving and newer phones might get updates but I certainly don’t hold up hope for my Moto G6 ever getting Android Pie any day soon, despite it shipping with Oreo.

Jim Ford
18th August 2018, 11:41 AM
Saying that I understand this situation is improving and newer phones might get updates but I certainly donít hold up hope for my Moto G6 ever getting Android Pie any day soon, despite it shipping with Oreo.

If you flash it with Lineage, you'll keep up to date. The process is a bit 'techy' and not for everyone. I've got a 2013 Moto G (the first one) and it's up to 'Nougat' now with Lineage. It's a great 'phone,but limited to 3G. I have it as a standby.

I'm starting to prefer 'Android Auto' over my Tomtom satnav. The mapping seems to be more accurate and is kept up to date for free. I would have to pay for Tomtom updates. Android Auto is considered to be far superior to the IPhone equivalent.

Jim

TimP
18th August 2018, 11:51 AM
If you flash it with Lineage, you'll keep up to date. The process is a bit 'techy' and not for everyone. I've got a 2013 Moto G (the first one) and it's up to 'Nougat' now with Lineage. It's a great 'phone,but limited to 3G. I have it as a standby.

I'm starting to prefer 'Android Auto' over my Tomtom satnav. The mapping seems to be more accurate and is kept up to date for free. I would have to pay for Tomtom updates. Android Auto is considered to be far superior to the IPhone equivalent.

Jim
Iíll look into the Lineage thing, thanks.
Funny, Android Auto was really the reason I got the phone, canít say itís much better or worse than Apple CarPlay, I certainly wouldnít say it was far superior based on a limited amount of testing though. The killer for me was how crap the music playing was (basically you canít!) which with an iPhone Ďjust worksí. Iíve installed VLC on the Moto but not yet had a chance to try. Apple maps are getting much better, could hardly get any worse!

Wally
19th August 2018, 07:37 AM
@ Pjphoto59 - I've found this site very useful in the past. It caters for both Android, Apple and other systems. The info is, contrary to it's name, straightforward and not geekspeak. --> https://www.howtogeek.com/about/

So, for whichever system you go for, and you're not into technology as such, there should be a noddy-guide that switches the light on at the end of the tunnel.

Pjphoto59
19th August 2018, 08:23 AM
I have barely contributed to Appleís fortunes in the years Iíve had iPhones. iOS updates are free and apart from the odd paid-for app I havenít given them a penny :). You can add your own music using the iTunes software so thereís no need to buy it from the Apple store. So you neednít worry too much about enriching them too much!

My wife has firmly decided that she does not want a smart phone. So I am headed towards a refurbished iPhone7.

Probably depending on how the experiment goes we will end up either with both of us or neither of us having one

Jim Ford
19th August 2018, 08:42 AM
If you like you can borrow my Moto G (2013) that I keep as a spare. Main problem is that it doesn't do 4G, only 3G, so web browsing is slow, but it will give you a 'feel' for what smart 'phones are like.

If you accept the offer, let me know what apps you might need and I'll make sure they're on. I can also order a giffgaff SIM and put it in so you can register it (IIRC you get £5 free initial credit, so it won't cost you to start off).

Let me know.

Jim

Pjphoto59
19th August 2018, 09:16 AM
If you like you can borrow my Moto G (2013) that I keep as a spare. Main problem is that it doesn't do 4G, only 3G, so web browsing is slow, but it will give you a 'feel' for what smart 'phones are like.

If you accept the offer, let me know what apps you might need and I'll make sure they're on. I can also order a giffgaff SIM and put it in so you can register it (IIRC you get £5 free initial credit, so it won't cost you to start off).

Let me know.

Jim

Jim,

Many thanks for your kind offer, but I think I will just mull it over for now, and next time I am in Middlesbrough I will tackle the many phone shops to get some hands-on, and maybe buy. . .

Pjphoto59
19th August 2018, 09:18 AM
@ Pjphoto59 - I've found this site very useful in the past. It caters for both Android, Apple and other systems. The info is, contrary to it's name, straightforward and not geekspeak. --> https://www.howtogeek.com/about/

So, for whichever system you go for, and you're not into technology as such, there should be a noddy-guide that switches the light on at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks Wally, that looks useful. . .

wornish
19th August 2018, 12:51 PM
I am seriously tempted to get one of these when they are released.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/light-phone-2-design#/

Pjphoto59
19th August 2018, 03:50 PM
I am seriously tempted to get one of these when they are released.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/light-phone-2-design#/

Looking at things to come I was just reading about the Huawei P20 Pro, just awarded the EISA Best Product - Smartphone 2018-19

https://consumer.huawei.com/uk/phones/m/p20-pro/?u=m&gclid=Cj0KCQjwquTbBRCSARIsADzW88xJZtr6W8yoiv16ouRF-KR1wPwgUVwqYlQZdce3E6IKB3lOJSCaUswaAu92EALw_wcB&adobe_mc_sdid=SDID%3D0BD0137B471E0A8F-6CD630D18FC44693%7CMCORGID%3D7DA25C0158C1322D0A495 DB1%2540AdobeOrg&adobe_mc_ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.co.uk%2F


Imaging technology includes a 40MP f1.8 colour sensor, with two secondary sensors a B&W 20 MP f1.6 and an 8MP 5x Hybrid zoom f2.4 for colour, all topped off with Leica Brand lenses.

Personally I have several excellent cameras that can do all that stuff as well as I need. . .