1. AC Question's Avatar
    So I've been rocking my Nexus 4 (purchased direct from Google Play) since November 2012 on T-Mobile's $30/month prepaid plan and couldn't be happier. That is, until I plugged my N4 into the micro USB cable, stepped away from my desk to get coffee and came back to the smell of burning plastic. Lo and behold, the device end of the micro USB cable that was plugged into my N4 melted and the cable and phone itself were extremely hot.

    The phone itself was still powered on and was functioning just fine as there was still juice left in the battery. Unfortunately, nothing I did would get the phone to charge. I tried numerous micro USB cables and chargers but they all produced the same result - lots of heat and no charging.

    I figured one of two things occurred. 1) The charging circuity for the phone failed or 2) the battery failed. Given the age of the phone it seems logical the battery is the culprit. Whether the charging circuity was damaged remains to be seen. Anyhow, I figured I'd order a replacement battery so now my N4 is sitting at home in pieces waiting for the arrival of its new battery. Unfortunately, this battery is shipping from China so if I'm lucky, it should arrive within the next six months; however, I'm not confident that will resolve the problem.

    Not having confidence that replacing the battery would solve the problem or that it would be nothing more than a temporary fix for a phone that is past its prime, I set about acquiring a new phone. I don't really care for the form factor of the Nexus 6 as I already have a Nexus 7 (2013 Wifi-only) tablet and I was quite happy with the 5" Nexus 4. Secondly, the cost of the Nexus 6 is a little more out of pocket than I'd like to pay. I'd rather have a Nexus phone with middle-of-the-road specifications that's affordable, especially since I'd probably end up purchasing two - one for me and one for my wife.

    This really only left the Nexus 5, which unfortunately, is elusive. Google hasn't exactly been clear about whether or not the production of this phone has ceased but it certainly looks that way over at the Play store (the Nexus 6 seems to be just as elusive as the Nexus 5 at the moment). Having struck out at the Play store, I went over to Amazon but the Nexus 5 D820s sold there are through third-party sellers, most of which have negative ratings specifically associated with the sale of the D820 variant of the Nexus 5. Most of the complaints are along the lines of, "Purchased the D820 variant but received the D821", "phone was listed as new but arrived opened and it was apparent the phone was used", etc.

    Striking out at Amazon meant that eBay was pretty much my last option. Sure enough, there were many Nexus 5 D820s listed on eBay. I found a seller who listed one that was in excellent condition and had a clean IMEI. I purchased the phone and it arrived in about two days. I spent all day Saturday trying to get this phone to connect to T-Mobile's network but had zero success. At first I thought that it was possible that I needed to call T-Mobile and have them associate the phone's IMEI number with my SIM card but after speaking with customer service, they confirmed that this isn't necessary. All one should have to do is simply swap the SIM card into the new phone and presto, you should be connected.

    Given that the WiFi and Bluetooth radios were working fine and the phone was in perfect condition (not a blemish on it), I really figured it had to be a software or configuration issue. I tried everything - different APN settings, tried changing the cellular radio settings of the phone, flashed all 6 Nexus factory images (4.4, 4.4.2, 4.4.3, 4.4.4, 5.0 and 5.0.1) and their corresponding baseband firmwares but nothing I did would get the cellular radio in this phone to function properly and connect to the network.

    Eventually, it became apparent that this Nexus 5 was probably suffering from some of the hardware issues that are prevalent over in the Google product forums. This would also explain why this phone was in such great condition seeing as how it's never been able to connect to a carrier's network and as such, was never used.

    Fortunately, the eBay seller accepted a return and it's been mailed back for a refund. Unfortunately, I've been without a phone for about a week now and as it stands, I don't see that changing any time soon. The only other option I could think to get me close to stock Android was a OnePlus One but invites for that phone are extremely hard to come by and of course, my phone decided to die one day after their open-purchase window ended.

    I've been looking at some of BLU Products' phones and in particular, their new VIVO series. While they seem to make a decent phone for a relatively low cost, there are some concerns with performance as they seem to run these MediaTek processors instead of the Qualcomm Snapdragon that's found in more mainstream devices. Most of their phones have only 1GB RAM, which according to reviews has resulted in poor performance. Lastly, it's common knowledge that not one of their phones has ever received an operating system update so whatever operating system the phone has when it's shipped is what you'll be stuck with forever.

    With all of that said and knowing that the only true stock Android experience rests with the Nexus line, does anyone have a recommendation of a phone that might get me close (at least for the interim until Google figures out what it's doing with its Nexus phones)?
    01-26-2015 12:13 PM
  2. dpham00's Avatar
    I would suggest the Verizon moto x 2013 developer edition 32gb which I have seen going for $200 before. Probably the closest to stock Android available outside of the nexus line and at a good price point and similar size (slightly smaller) than the nexus 5.

    Sent from my Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    01-26-2015 01:18 PM

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