09-26-2014 03:22 AM
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  1. radicchio's Avatar
    I've been getting information from here for some time, and there is something I've wondered about for a while. What is the attraction of buying a phone full price, rather than subsidized by the carrier? Is it the freedom to upgrade earlier than the typical two-year contract allows? The freedom to switch carriers whenever you want? Do you get a different/better phone that way? Is it a way to keep your unlimited data?

    If you buy a phone at full-price then go to a carrier, you pay the same fee per month as someone who bought a phone with a two-year service contract, right?

    I've been curious about this for a while, plus I am trying to decide what to do myself. At this point, I'm leaning toward getting a Note 3, at a low-cost since the Note 4 has been announced and shortly will be released, on a two-year contract. I am not concerned about upgrading frequently and, in fact, would prefer to keep a phone---if I like it---for as long as possible. Am I missing something in assuming this would be the most logical choice for my circumstances?
    09-23-2014 12:38 PM
  2. SpookDroid's Avatar
    Nope, you pretty much nailed it. Yes, you still pay the same ON CONTRACT as someone else who has a subsidized phone (which only goes to show that in reality all contract plans are paying for all subsidized phones and then some). BUT, buying a phone without a contract allows you to change the device whenever you want, use it on any carrier that supports the frequencies without restrictions or charges when you travel abroad, but the most important part for most, you get a carrier bloatware-free phone. No carrier apps. No carrier modifications. Phone straight from the manufacturer. This usually means faster updates, too.
    radicchio likes this.
    09-23-2014 12:47 PM
  3. radicchio's Avatar
    The last part of your reply is compelling. The whole reason I decided to go with an Android phone is the desire to customize it as I want. I really resent all the unnecessary stuff that is loaded on my phone that I cannot remove. I know that makes my choice of a Samsung phone a little odd, but I like the features of the phone itself and hope that by installing a launcher (Nova) and disabling the apps that I can it will mitigate that problem somewhat. So do the carriers add a lot of bloatware, as well? Specifically, my carrier will be AT&T. If it is significant enough, it might be worth paying more---but that's quite a price differential---and I am very frugal.
    09-23-2014 01:00 PM
  4. Pseu's Avatar
    If you buy a phone at full-price then go to a carrier, you pay the same fee per month as someone who bought a phone with a two-year service contract, right?
    Nope. Well, I guess you could, but actually owning your own phone, unbeholden to any carrier, makes it possible to go with plans otherwise unavailable. For the past almost two years I've been paying $30/month to T-Mo for more data than I ever need, and more voice minutes than I almost ever need. Even if I take the cost of my Nexus 4 ($300) and spread it out over that time I've paid a total of less than $45/month for phone and service. I don't think that's possible with a contract.

    Also, without a contract, I can switch to another carrier whenever it might make sense for me to do so.
    radicchio likes this.
    09-23-2014 01:30 PM
  5. zorak950's Avatar
    The best part of having an unlocked, unsubsidized phone is not having a contract. Without a contact, you're free to go prepaid or get on one of AT&T or T-Mobile's discounted BYOD postpaid service plans (no monthly device payment).
    SpookDroid and radicchio like this.
    09-23-2014 02:01 PM
  6. Old Stoneface's Avatar
    What is the attraction of buying a phone full price, rather than subsidized by the carrier?
    Freedom. Choice. Two things three-out-of-four carriers don't want you to have.

    If you buy a phone at full-price then go to a carrier, you pay the same fee per month as someone who bought a phone with a two-year service contract, right?
    "Contract?" We don't need no steenking contract!

    Bought the phones outright. Pay T-Mobile for service on a month-to-month basis, just like I've done my landline, and like my parents before me did their landline, and their parents before them.

    This whole "Get the carrier-specific phone subsidized by the carrier and be on the hook for two years" thing is a recent invention. I'd like to hunt down the marketing jerk that first suggested that idea to a carrier and do very painful things to them.
    radicchio likes this.
    09-23-2014 02:18 PM
  7. SpookDroid's Avatar
    I think I did forget the most compelling part haha NO CONTRACT! You can switch at any time without penalties. And a lot of other carriers have some pretty good offers right now.
    radicchio likes this.
    09-23-2014 02:48 PM
  8. JeffDenver's Avatar
    I've been getting information from here for some time, and there is something I've wondered about for a while. What is the attraction of buying a phone full price, rather than subsidized by the carrier?
    1. You can leave the carrier at any time without penalty.
    2. On many carriers, you pay a cheaper price for the same service.


    If you can afford it, you should always pay retail for your phones.

    Do you get a different/better phone that way?
    No. In fact it is usually worse, because they will come with carrier bloat if you buy on contract.

    Is it a way to keep your unlimited data?
    I don't think this matters either way. The unlimited data rules are the same.

    If you buy a phone at full-price then go to a carrier, you pay the same fee per month as someone who bought a phone with a two-year service contract, right?
    If you are both on contract, yes. But the whole point of buying a phone retail is so that you can take advantage of non-contract plans, which are usually cheaper for the same service.

    I've been curious about this for a while, plus I am trying to decide what to do myself. At this point, I'm leaning toward getting a Note 3, at a low-cost since the Note 4 has been announced and shortly will be released, on a two-year contract. I am not concerned about upgrading frequently and, in fact, would prefer to keep a phone---if I like it---for as long as possible. Am I missing something in assuming this would be the most logical choice for my circumstances?
    If you are not concerned about upgrading, I would pay retail and buy off contract. Otherwise, you would basically be "forced" to upgrade after your 2 year window (you could choose not to upgrade if you wanted, but you would be charged the same, so it would effectively be wasted money).

    Contracts are for people who can't finance high end phones on their own, and want to get subsidized upgrades periodically. That does not sound like you. if you can afford it, buy retail.
    radicchio likes this.
    09-23-2014 04:34 PM
  9. JeffDenver's Avatar
    The last part of your reply is compelling. The whole reason I decided to go with an Android phone is the desire to customize it as I want. I really resent all the unnecessary stuff that is loaded on my phone that I cannot remove.
    Then you want to buy a Nexus or Moto product.

    The Note series is from Samsung, and they are infamous for adding bloat to their products.

    I know that makes my choice of a Samsung phone a little odd, but I like the features of the phone itself and hope that by installing a launcher (Nova) and disabling the apps that I can it will mitigate that problem somewhat.
    It won't. Your phone will still have lag, and will still have bloat. Touchwiz processes will still run in the background, even if you install your own Launcher/Dialer/Lockscreen/whatever. It is something you just have to accept if you buy a Samsung product.

    So do the carriers add a lot of bloatware, as well?
    Verizon and AT&T do for sure. T-Mobile, not so much.
    radicchio likes this.
    09-23-2014 04:38 PM
  10. rrballer11's Avatar
    You pay more in the long run with a two year contract.

    Posted via Android Central App
    09-23-2014 04:40 PM
  11. radicchio's Avatar
    This is fascinating information. I'm still undecided. Yes, I could pay full price for a phone, but I'm still not convinced. A few factors affecting my decision: DH has an iPhone 3 (yes, I said "3") with unlimited data. I currently have a nine year-old Motorola flip phone, which is still working, but I really, really want and need to get a smartphone. In addition, we have added our parents onto our plan, thus subsidizing them so they can have "dumb" phones at a very minimal cost. We are currently under contract to AT&T and, if we changed that, we would have to get the parents phones. I know that would be difficult for them---they barely operate the ones they have now. Out of concern for them, I feel we need to stay where we are, with AT&T, for the moment. In the past, I've looked at indivdiual plans to see if I dropped off our family plan and got one of my own with a different carrier we could save some money and/or get better service. So far, we come out losing if I get a separate plan with a different carrier. So the choice is a little more complicated at this time. So far, it seems like I would be paying quite a bit more for little benefit to me personally. Maybe in the future it would be an option. I'm still weighing my options, though.

    If buying a phone independent of the carrier, where would you recommend buying a phone---a reliable source?
    09-23-2014 04:47 PM
  12. JeffDenver's Avatar
    This is fascinating information. I'm still undecided. Yes, I could pay full price for a phone, but I'm still not convinced. A few factors affecting my decision: DH has an iPhone 3 (yes, I said "3") with unlimited data. I currently have a nine year-old Motorola flip phone, which is still working, but I really, really want and need to get a smartphone.
    What specifically do you need a smartphone for? If your flip phone was working for you before, what changed?

    In addition, we have added our parents onto our plan, thus subsidizing them so they can have "dumb" phones at a very minimal cost.
    Dumb phones will not need a subsidy...they are already dirt cheap paying retail.

    We are currently under contract to AT&T and, if we changed that, we would have to get the parents phones.
    It would still be worth it, especially in the long run. Putting dumb phones on contract is a really awful idea and will cost you a ton more money in the long run.

    Most carriers have non-contract family plans. If AT&T does not, I'd consider switching. Shopping other carriers won't hurt.

    If buying a phone independent of the carrier, where would you recommend buying a phone---a reliable source?
    Depends on the phone. For a Nexus product, I'd buy direct from Google Play if you can. For a Moto phone, I'd buy direct from Motorla. For everything else I'd probably buy through Best buy or Amazon.
    radicchio likes this.
    09-23-2014 05:04 PM
  13. radicchio's Avatar
    My primary need for the smartphone is texting, as I have a family member who is no longer able to speak well enough to be understood on the phone but can and does text. I have tried out all kinds of phones and I can text most quickly and fluently with the smartphone. I also receive a number of emails for work and it would be beneficial to be able to receive them when I'm out. I'm also tired of keeping a calendar on my computer and another hard copy with me. It would be nice to have my calendar integrated with my phone and kept up to date. Then there are the "wants" --- I would like to have the GPS navigation available and I often borrow DH's iPhone to look up nearby restaurants, businesses, etc. when we're out. Unfortunately, DH is not always with me. Also, I'd like to have my music on my phone instead of yet another device that I carry with me.

    Why do I keep coming back to the Samsung Note 3? (1) Removable battery. I tend to keep phones for a very long time and, if the phone is still usable, I would like to do the same with the Note 3. I went through 4-5 batteries over the life of my little flip phone. (2) SD card---music. (3) Stylus---I am not highly experienced with texting and find I can text much more quickly using a stylus and keyboard. Same for navigating through screens. (If I could get #1 and #2 above, I would do without the bulit-in stylus, but it is really handy to have it always with the phone since I would use it so often. I do have an Android tablet and find that I use the stylus all the time. (4) Larger size---I'm starting to rely more on reading glasses, but with the larger device I don't have to always grab my glasses to use it.

    I wasn't aware of any off-contract flip phones when we got phones for our parents. I would definitely preferred to buy outright if it would have cost less, but either there wasn't taht option or I didn't realize that there was. At the time, the least expensive and easiest way to get parents' phones seemed to be adding them to our plan. And, yes, it would be extremely difficult to have them switch phones. Both DH and I are the "babies" of the family and later in life kids, so our parents are getting up in years. They each have individual issues that have made learning to adequately operate the simplest of phones has been a real challenge. While we could insist they do so, we don't really want to do so, as they seem to finally understand the phones they have and be happy with them. When/if these phones stop working, then I would certainly look into changing how we buy the phones, etc. For now, the cost of adding their phones is minimal and worth continuing to pay for them. They often express appreciation for their phones and how glad they are to have them.
    09-23-2014 05:28 PM
  14. JeffDenver's Avatar
    My primary need for the smartphone is texting, as I have a family member who is no longer able to speak well enough to be understood on the phone but can and does text.
    Then I would get the cheapest Android phone you can find. They all text.

    It would be nice to have my calendar integrated with my phone and kept up to date. Then there are the "wants" --- I would like to have the GPS navigation available and I often borrow DH's iPhone to look up nearby restaurants, businesses, etc. when we're out. Unfortunately, DH is not always with me. Also, I'd like to have my music on my phone instead of yet another device that I carry with me.
    All of that can be done with cheap Android phones.

    I would avoid cheap iPhones because "cheap" means "old"...and old phones don't get updates, including security updates. Right now the oldest phones Apple is supporting is the 4S, and it is unlikely to get the next update after iOS8...even iOS8 runs poorly on it.

    iPhones are also tiny...if you have poor eyesight, and do not want to buy an iPhone 6, you should skip iPhones.

    Why do I keep coming back to the Samsung Note 3? (1) Removable battery. I tend to keep phones for a very long time and, if the phone is still usable, I would like to do the same with the Note 3. I went through 4-5 batteries over the life of my little flip phone. (2) SD card---music. (3) Stylus---I am not highly experienced with texting and find I can text much more quickly using a stylus and keyboard. Same for navigating through screens. (If I could get #1 and #2 above, I would do without the bulit-in stylus, but it is really handy to have it always with the phone since I would use it so often. I do have an Android tablet and find that I use the stylus all the time. (4) Larger size---I'm starting to rely more on reading glasses, but with the larger device I don't have to always grab my glasses to use it.
    A Note 3 is going to be overkill for most things, and it will include a lot of bloat you say you don't want.

    If you can live with the slightly smaller display, a Nexus 5 or Moto X would be a lot better for what you are using it for IMO. They will also get updates sooner and for longer.

    I wasn't aware of any off-contract flip phones when we got phones for our parents. I would definitely preferred to buy outright if it would have cost less
    All carriers sell dumbphones for retail. And you can buy them on Amazon as well. Under $50 a phone is normal.

    Here's an example of one of the better rated ones...all the other ones will be cheaper.
    Amazon.com: LG Xpression C395 Unlocked GSM Slider Cell Phone with Touchscreen + Full QWERTY Keyboard - Red: Cell Phones & Accessories

    This one is $15
    http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-a157V-...cUvbUpU3914134
    radicchio likes this.
    09-23-2014 05:46 PM
  15. radicchio's Avatar
    Jeff, Thanks for the specific answers and suggestions. I agree that the Note 3 is overkill, which is why I keep hesitating to pull the trigger and get started with it. Maybe I like the features I enumerated above more than I dislike the extra bloatware? I don't need blazing speed, as in high-performance tasks or gaming; but I do want a phone that I will enjoy using. I keep waiting to see what the rumored big new Nexus will be. However, none of my other options have a removable battery that I am aware of, and that has been the one big sticking point.

    In truth, I could continue to function with the flip phone I have now, but many things will be easier (and more fun) with a smartphone. So, bottom line, I have to admit that I want one and can justify it enough that I'm willing to spend some money on it! LOL

    You have given me more to think about, and I will do just that. The final decision will, no doubt, be dictated by both actual needs and wants.
    09-23-2014 06:05 PM
  16. JeffDenver's Avatar
    Jeff, Thanks for the specific answers and suggestions. I agree that the Note 3 is overkill, which is why I keep hesitating to pull the trigger and get started with it.
    I think you should go to a store and try a Nexus or Moto X before committing to a Note 3. Both will be significantly cheaper, and better in a lot of ways. The Note phones are great but not for everyone, especially non-power-users.

    Maybe I like the features I enumerated above more than I dislike the extra bloatware? I don't need blazing speed, as in high-performance tasks or gaming
    You will come to appreciate a fast and fluid UI no matter what else you use the phone for. Moto and nexus deliver that. It is an iPhone-like level of fluidity you do not see on most Android phones. You will notice the difference when multi-tasking as well.

    I do want a phone that I will enjoy using. I keep waiting to see what the rumored big new Nexus will be.
    Hope you are not in a hurry. It won't be out till November at the soonest. That is when Google typically releases Nexus devices. It will also be more expensive than a Nexus 5. The Nexus 5 will do everything you have described as wanting, and will do it well.

    However, none of my other options have a removable battery that I am aware of, and that has been the one big sticking point.
    Neither the nexus nor the Moto X have that.
    09-23-2014 06:11 PM
  17. radicchio's Avatar
    I keep looking at the other phones, including Nexus and Moto, but the lack of removable battery keeps putting me off. So I just keep waiting for new phones to come out or to make up my mind. Maybe I will wait until November ...
    09-23-2014 07:42 PM
  18. calicocat2010's Avatar
    Unfortunately removable batteries are becoming a thing in the past. Almost all manufacturers are going non removable.
    09-23-2014 08:17 PM
  19. JeffDenver's Avatar
    I keep looking at the other phones, including Nexus and Moto, but the lack of removable battery keeps putting me off. So I just keep waiting for new phones to come out or to make up my mind. Maybe I will wait until November ...
    The trend is going non-removable. Larger phones will have higher capacity though. The Xperia Z3 probably has the best battery life.
    09-23-2014 09:30 PM
  20. codyoehl's Avatar
    The trend is going non-removable. Larger phones will have higher capacity though. The Xperia Z3 probably has the best battery life.
    Honestly that kind of stinks because a removable battery is really nice and handy

    Posted via Android Central App with my Samsung Galaxy S5
    radicchio likes this.
    09-23-2014 09:37 PM
  21. zorak950's Avatar
    Samsung has mostly stuck with removable batteries, but they're rare from the other major manufacturers in the US.
    09-24-2014 02:27 AM
  22. Old Stoneface's Avatar
    Raddichio, you might want to take a look at the Motorola Moto G LTE. $200 at Amazon. I've had mine for a week and am so far thoroughly satisfied with it.

    Read the reviews. The Moto G should probably cost twice what it does.
    radicchio likes this.
    09-24-2014 06:36 AM
  23. radicchio's Avatar
    Raddichio, you might want to take a look at the Motorola Moto G LTE. $200 at Amazon. I've had mine for a week and am so far thoroughly satisfied with it.

    Read the reviews. The Moto G should probably cost twice what it does.
    I have been quite impressed by the Motorola phones, as it sounds like they are built well and are actually decent PHONES, which is a concern of mine about the Note 3. However, I'm afraid I would have to be pulling out my reading glasses to use it. I am at the point where, if the light is good, I don't need to rely on the reading glasses; but at other times they are a necessity. I was thinking it would be much more convenient to have a larger screen that I could read under all conditions.

    But, mostly, given my concern about keeping the phone for a while, I keep coming back to the issue of removable battery. Unlike so many here, I don't always want to be stepping up to the next, better phone. It's not just a matter of economics, but also convenience. Once I get a device, whether it be my laptop or desktop computer, music player, etc., set up the way I like it, I like to keep it around for as long as it's working for me. I just don't want to be bothered to set up a new device and, especially, don't like it when the new design forces me to set it up in a way that is not as convenient for me. I understand I won't get the same longevity with a smartphone that I have with the old "dumb" phones, but I would like to get maximum use before I move on to the next model. So I figure I'd likely have to replace the battery at some point.
    09-24-2014 08:45 AM
  24. JeffDenver's Avatar
    Honestly that kind of stinks because a removable battery is really nice and handy
    Well, modern smartphones have much better batteries nowadays. My Nexus 5 gets about twice the battery life of the Galaxy S3. If battery life is an issue for you, you will want a larger phone.

    There is no phone that is the best at everything. You will be making compromises no matter what phone you get. You just have to decide the top 3 or 4 things you care about most.
    09-24-2014 09:31 AM
  25. JeffDenver's Avatar
    I have been quite impressed by the Motorola phones, as it sounds like they are built well and are actually decent PHONES, which is a concern of mine about the Note 3. However, I'm afraid I would have to be pulling out my reading glasses to use it.
    You will probably be doing that anyway...the difference between them is less than an inch of actual screen size. PPI and brightness and contrast will matter a lot more for reading legibility. And all modern Android phones have better-than-retina display quality now. Even cheap ones do.
    radicchio likes this.
    09-24-2014 09:33 AM
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