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  1. Thread Author  Thread Author    #1  

    Default Help me choose, camera and global compatibility

    Hello AC Forums

    I've been lurking for a while, reading all I can, and I need a little help picking a new phone. I've been working in Africa for the last couple years, with company provided low end smart phones (Samsung Galaxy Ace, with the latest in ICS goodness!). I'll be back in the US for a few months, and the iphone 4 I've been hauling around is on its last legs. The camera has gone blurry, the power button doesn't work, the home button only about half the time, and, well, it's an iphone, and I'm posting here, so you can guess how I feel about THAT.

    I've been loving a Nexus 7 2013 since October, and I love that it's carrier unlocked from the ground up. I've stuck sim cards in it in Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Saudi, Norway, and London with no problem, used it with an OTG cable and a hard drive full of movies to keep my 2 year old daughter happy on 3 10 hour flights, and reprogrammed my Linux server from the couch. So, I'm definitely looking for an Android phone.

    So, what I'm looking for. I'll be using this as my primary phone for the next 6 months or so, and I take a LOT of pictures. Typically, 50-100 a day, not uncommon to do over 200 a day on a vacation or walking a new job site, all sent to dropbox and sorted out later. I've been living with the 5mp camera on the Ace for the last few months, and I realize anything from the last year would be a massive improvement. I believe the LG G2 is the current winner on cameras at the moment, Z1 a close second.

    I also need to be able to plug in a local sim card anywhere, and count on at least voice and, if available, 3g. This seems to be a stumbling block for the iphone, which is locked down pretty tight to begin with, and I'm not sure if it's a "feature" or a bug, but on mine, if I plug in a voice only sim card, the iphone gets cranky and won't recognize it. Sometimes work gives me voice, sometimes also data, but I need it to work. May not be an issue on any Android device, and may be ROM dependant, but I'd appreciate any input.

    Partly related to the last question, is unlock and rootability. The Nexus 5 is tempting, but the camera doesn't get the marks of the S4, the Z1, or the G2. Are any of these any harder or easier to unlock and root, or are they all as easy as the Nexus 7 (back up, a few clicks, and done)? With all the travelling, I make use of a few VPN/proxy apps that require root, and I can't really give that up.

    Last, I'm not totally sold on the 5 inch phones. I have a 7 inch tablet, which is perfect for a lot of reasons. I'd also like to keep the price under $350, even better would be under 300. I'm fine with used, and I realize I'm not getting anything in the latest round from MWC. Might I be happy enough with a GS3 or even a Moto G? I'll be travelling and visiting construction sites, and playing with my 2 year old, but I am generally quite careful with my technology.

    So, wat do, internet?
  2. #2  
    Ealevenish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me choose, camera and global compatibility

    Hi hg, and welcome to the club.

    TBH I wouldn't presume to recommend you a phone as I am not familiar with the Nexus 7, which seems to be your standard right now. And I'm also not familiar with budget or the market of 'pre-owned' phones. Others here may be able to shine some light on those.

    Quote Originally Posted by hg1027 View Post
    a voice only sim card
    Huh? WTF is that? A SIM card that only allows voice connections? On a smartphone? So that 95% of its capabilities cannot be utilized? So that it really is just a 'feature phone' (a.k.a. 'dumb phone')?
  3. #3  
    Rukbat's Avatar

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    Default Re: Help me choose, camera and global compatibility

    You need a phone that works on the frequencies used in the US, Europe and Africa, I assume. (Feel free to substitute wherever you need the phone to work.) You also need it region unlocked as well as SIM-unlocked. That will probably mean buying from the manufacturer's most local representative, ordering the phone and paying full price. (Once you put in a SIM from one region, even a SIM-unlockd phone is locked to SIMs from that region, so you need one that's both SIM-unlocked and region-unlocked, AND has both North American and European frequencies - what used to be called a "world phone".)

    (The region lock and the radio frequencies are what gave you the "sometimes", and it doesn't matter if it's an Android, iPhone, Windows phone or anything else - North America uses different frequencies than Europe and Africa. Asia uses different technologies in some areas. There are VERY few phones that will work all over, and they're not the $350 phones.)
  4. Thread Author  Thread Author    #4  

    Default Re: Help me choose, camera and global compatibility

    Thanks for the replies.

    As to the voice only sim, several of the places I've worked have provided voice sim cards, and will give me a phone or let me use my own. Most of the places I'm working outside the US don't have great cell coverage, so 3g would be mostly useless anyway. I still have all the functionality of the smartphone on wifi, and in between wifi availability, I'm usually driving or working anyway.

    As to the global use, maybe my wording wasn't quite clear. I'm wondering if the carrier unlock process is the same for a Galaxy S4 as it is for a LG G2 as it is for a Moto X, or if some of them are more or less of a hassle. You mentioned region locking, so I'll go read about that. Thanks for giving me the search terms.
  5. #5  
    Rukbat's Avatar

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    Default Re: Help me choose, camera and global compatibility

    SIM unlocking is the same. You put in a SIM the phone is locked against and it asks you for the unlock code, You put that in and the phone is SIM-unlocked. The hassle is getting the unlock code from the carrier without having to pay for it. Some will, some won't. You can always buy the code from companies that advertise on eBay.

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