Can someone explain USA LTE BANDS to me? I need a new phone, again.

thontz

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2018
61
0
0
Visit site
Ok. I use H2O wireless which uses AT&T. AT&T uses LTE Bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17. I would like to get a Chinese phone that works in America. I got fed up trying to find one last time and I got a One Plus 6 which after owning it for about 6 months, I hated it. So, I went back to searching again and bought a Huawei Mate 20 Lite and love it, but they refuse to release Android Pie and now it sounds like they never will so I can still return it. There are tons of phones that I am interested in but they are missing some of those LTE bands. But people in America are using them with no problems. How? For example, all the HONOR phones don't have the right LTE Bands but they are popular in America it sounds like. I like some Xiaomi phones but again they support bands 4 and 5. I have used the app called LTE Discovery and it seems like it uses band 2 and sometimes band 17. What does all this mean? I mainly use my phone at home on WiFi and when I'm out I rarely use data. Google Maps is about the only thing I occasionally use. Can anyone help me so I can figure out what phone to buy? Thank you!
 

B. Diddy

Senior Ambassador
Moderator
Mar 9, 2012
166,153
5,595
113
Visit site
You can typically find a phone's band support on sites like GSMarena.com, although it can be a bit confusing when the phone has a number of different variants that support different combinations of bands. Once you've found the phone's band support, you can cross reference it with the bands that the main carriers use. Helpful sites for this include signalbooster.com (https://www.signalbooster.com/pages...quencies-of-cell-phone-carriers-in-usa-canada) and frequencycheck.com. This one also gives more details about which bands tend to be more prevalent for certain carriers: https://www.phonearena.com/news/Che...on-T-Mobile-and-Sprint-use-in-the-USA_id77933
 

thontz

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2018
61
0
0
Visit site
Does the cell phone need to have ALL the LTE USA Bands? For example, there is a video on YouTube saying that most all Xiaomi phones will work on AT&T because they support LTE bands 4 and 5. So does a phone need to support ALL LTE Bands like 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 17 or just one or two of them? That's what I am confused on. Also, what speed does Google Maps need? I mainly use WiFi and I could probably get by with just 4G or 3G and not LTE but I do depend on Google Maps while traveling and if the maps re-calculate, I don't want it to take forever as I blindly drive all around.
 

B. Diddy

Senior Ambassador
Moderator
Mar 9, 2012
166,153
5,595
113
Visit site
No, but the more bands that it has for one particular carrier, the better experience you'll have with that carrier throughout the country. The prominent bands that a carrier uses can vary depending on the region.

As long as the phone has your local map data locally cached, nav works fine on 3G (it could actually work without a data connection, since all it needs is your GPS -- https://support.google.com/maps/answer/6291838?co=GENIE.Platform=Android&hl=en). Searching for a location requires a data connection, though, and the details of a location would take a little longer to load on 3G. Traffic data obviously also needs a data connection, but the data that gets downloaded should be pretty quick on 3G.
 

thontz

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2018
61
0
0
Visit site
I use Google Maps maybe 6 times a year max. I average about 10MB, not GB, I use about 10MB a month. I mainly obviously use my phone at my house. I also work from my house. So maybe I don't really need it to have all these LTE bands and maybe LTE isn't so important for me. The phone that I have right now is a Huawei Mate 20 Lite.

I tried very hard about 6 months ago to find a Chinese phone that supported all the USA LTE bands. I got frustrated and then bought a One Plus 6. I wanted it to last for a long time so I bought the 8GB RAM and the 256GB storage model. I paid $629 and I absolutely HATED the phone. The battery drains fast even though I hardly use it. It's IMPOSSIBLE to see the screen out in the daylight outside. I've turned it to MAX brightness and even turned on auto brightness and neither of these things helped it. There is a dedicated One Plus page with people shouting about the screen being useless outside. That then made the camera impossible to use. And when I did use the camera it was hit or miss. It was great until an Oxygen OS update and then it sucked, but One Plus never cared. I was warned that the audio would be bad but mine sounded blown. So, I put it on eBay and got $400 BEFORE I paid all the eBay, PayPal, and shipping fees, but the buyer has NOT paid for it so I have a feeling I'll be selling it again! I don't play video games and I don't need the high specs. I wasn't expecting much from the Huawei but I actually like the Huawei Mate 20 Lite better than the One Plus 6. But the model has been out since 2018 and it STILL doesn't have Android Pie or EMUI 9.0 like Chinese users have. I've had the phone 3 weeks and I love it but if it's not going to update, then I want to send it back before I'm stuck with it. And now that I know I don't really need LTE, that gives me many more options for budget phones. I talked to a guy from Huawei on "Online Chat" today named "Michael" and he assured me that I would get future updates and support. But this whole "trade war" has me skeptical of keeping the Huawei. I HATE American phones because we have an overpriced $1000 Samsung Galaxy or an overpriced $1000+ iPhone or an overpriced Pixel. I don't need a $1000 phone! I want a phone with a good camera, good display, and good speed for basic tasks and my Huawei Mate 20 Lite does all of that better than my One Plus 6 did. But I also want a phone that I can update. Now I can begin my search. Thanks!
 

B. Diddy

Senior Ambassador
Moderator
Mar 9, 2012
166,153
5,595
113
Visit site
Have you thought about a Pixel 3a or 3a XL? $399-$479 retail price, and that doesn't take into account the various deals and trade-ins that are going on right now. Half the price of the flagship Pixel 3 line, but with the same great camera processing and monthly updates for 3 years. Battery life has been reported as good so far, and the midrange SoC seems to be pretty good for typical usage.

You may also want to consider switching your carrier to Google Fi, since you hardly use any mobile data. Since you only pay for as much data as you use, that could be work pretty well for you: https://fi.google.com/about/plan/
 

thontz

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2018
61
0
0
Visit site
I am with H2O Wireless right now. I pay $30 a month and then I get a 10% discount for being enrolled in auto-pay so I pay $27 a month and that gives me unlimited talk and text plus 3GB of Data per month on the AT&T network and no taxes or fees. Google Fi is $20 per month plus data which would be $10 for 1GB which is more than enough for me. So, lets say I use half a gig that'd be $25 a month but Google Fi has taxes and fees. So, it's better for me to stay with H2O wireless. Actually I just noticed that H2O wireless has a $20 plan for 1GB a month and I'd get 10% off that, so I could get the 1GB plan for $18 a month. Now, if Google Fi supports others LTE Bands that H2o doesn't, then maybe Google Fi would be worth it. Also, for people getting the 3GB plan for $30 a month, $27 if enrolled in autopay, then after the 3GB of data is used, it gives you unlimited 2GB for the rest of the month. Google Fi keeps charging you. For me this wouldn't be an issue, but my son goes through his 3GB and then has free unlimited 2G instead of getting an expensive surprise bill.

I had a Google Pixel 2XL for about 10 days and returned it. It just didn't seem like it was worth the price. The Pixel 3aXL is $479 which is about double what I paid for my Huawei Mate 20 Lite. The Pixel 3aXL looks really cheap. Single camera lens, even though it's supposed to be good. The phone looks like a budget phone. Thick bezels. No notch or full screen. It looks outdated. And my thing is, I don't need a phone that costs more than $250. My Mate 20 Lite does a great job, but I want to get updates. Maybe I need to look for other Chinese phones. But I've heard that none of them measure up to Huawei. So I don't know what to do yet. I have 11 days left to return my Mate 20 Lite. If I get Android Pie and EMUI 9.0 like promised then I'll keep the phone. Also, I actually like the EMUI software that Huawei has on the phone. In my opinion it is better than One Plus's Oxygen OS. EMUI has more to it but at least it works well. Oxygen OS really messes with your hardware when they release it. One update ruined my screen and one update ruined my camera and neither were ever fixed despite several complaints. I also had a Motorola G5 Plus before the One Plus 6 and again I prefer the Huawei EMUI over all of them. So that is where I am at.
 

B. Diddy

Senior Ambassador
Moderator
Mar 9, 2012
166,153
5,595
113
Visit site
Don't let the single camera fool you, since it's all about the processing. There's a reason why Pixels are universally regarded as having one of the best (if not the best) camera today.

There's no question that Huawei (and Honor) phones are high quality and provide great value, but if you're looking for updates, Huawei doesn't have a great track record (like most other phone manufacturers aside from Google). If updates are really important, consider the Xiaomi Mi A2, which is an Android One phone (but that only supports AT&T's bands 2 and 4, and not its primary band 17).
 

thontz

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2018
61
0
0
Visit site
I agree that the Google Pixel's camera is the best camera that I've ever used on a cell phone and I had an iPhone before that. I've had a Galaxy, many iPhones, and a Pixel. I agree that the Pixel's camera was the best but I also feel that none of these phones are worth the price they are trying to get for them. The fact that the Google Pixel 3aXL is $479 and is considered a cheap budget phone, just shows how out of control the cell phone market in America has gotten. Is $1000 considered normal for a phone now? I am a MacBook Pro user because I HATE Windows 10. People complain all the time about how overpriced a MacBook Pro is, but $1000 for a cell phone is acceptable now?

With my Huawei Mate SE and Huawei Mate 20 Lite, I have learned that you can get a very good quality phone for under $200 and a phone this is great quality with more features for $250. But for some reason my Mate 20 Lite isn't getting the security updates that the Mate SE is getting. Huawei is saying that the Mate 20 Lite WILL receive Android Q, and I still don't have Android Pie on it. Im on Oreo. I've done a "live chat" with Huawei US and they assure me that I will get my Android Pie "at any moment". But I've read a lot of articles this weekend that make me think that I will never get another update again. Support for a phone and updates for a phone are two different things. I have considered the Pixel 3aXL. It has an amazing phone and the battery reviews are excellent. But it has a TERRIBLE display and it's made of plastic just to remind you that you're "only" spending $479 and you should be spending a grand.

I've thought about the Xiaomi Mi A2 but in my area according to the app called LTE Discovery, I alternate between Band 2 and Band 17. I think the Redmi 7 will work, but the nicer Redmi Note 7 will NOT work. It just doesn't make sense that companies like Xiaomi make a couple crappy models with more LTE Bands but their better phones are missing the LTE Bands. The Redmi 7 has a 720p resolution display and a crappy camera. Same with Motorola. I used to have a Moto G5 Plus. Then I wanted a Moto G6 but the Plus did not have USA LTE Bands. The Play and regular G6 were compatible in America but the cost for a much cheaper model with much cheaper specs actually cost MORE than the nicer G6 Plus. Motorola did this again this year. The G7 Power is not an American phone unless you get a certain version. The American version has 3GB memory instead of 4GB and the storage is 32GB instead of 64GB, but the 3/32 American model costs $40 more than the 4/64 version that is available to the rest of the world. I am done playing that game. Perhaps Motorola is trying to force people to buy an expensive model just like an iPhone, Galaxy, or Pixel.

I just know that if I go with the Pixel 3aXL I will be upset on the inside because I'll know that I overpaid for a cheap plastic phone with a terrible display, just because it is an American phone. I've already started the return process for my Mate 20 Lite so I'll need to do something pretty quick.
 

B. Diddy

Senior Ambassador
Moderator
Mar 9, 2012
166,153
5,595
113
Visit site
Ok, good luck with your ultimate decision! I have to disagree with the notion that plastic = cheap/poor quality. There are a lot of people (me included) who think the whole trend of "premium materials" (i.e., metal or glass body) is a bit silly. Metal is slippery and prevents wireless charging (although I know, the Pixel 3a doesn't support wireless charging either), and glass is slippery and breaks easily. Most people end up getting a case anyway, so what's the point of those premium materials if you don't actually see them? And yes, there are people out there who don't use a case, but I don't think they're the majority (and they love using it naked up until it slips and drops and breaks, followed by much teeth-gnashing).

The screen quality sounds like more of a subjective view -- there are plenty of reviewers and members on this forum who have felt that the display is completely fine. Do you feel it's terrible after using it firsthand, or only from reviews or specs?
 

thontz

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2018
61
0
0
Visit site
I agree with you on the plastic. But my point is that since it is plastic, it shouldn't cost $479. My $250 current phone has a much better quality to the materials being used. So if I found a phone for $250 or under, I would be ok with a plastic phone. And yes, a case covers it up which I would do. I always use cases. I just think that a phone that is $479 should at least be built out of decent materials.

I have read and watched multiple reviews on YouTube about the screen quality being terrible and most videos are from trusted sources. I went to Best Buy and looked at the phone and I could live with the display. BUT, the main reason why I got rid of my One Plus 6 was that the bright AMOLED screen got turned way down in an update so that even if you use auto brightness to achieve maximum brightness outside, it just wasn't near bright enough.

When I would get into sunlight even on a cloudy day, my One Plus 6 was IMPOSSIBLE to see the display. It wasn't hard to see, it was IMPOSSIBLE to see. I tried with auto brightness on and I tried with it off and the brightness set to max. This of course made the camera worthless because I couldn't see to open the camera app or take a shot. There is a thread concerning this exact problem on One Plus's web forum. It is now three pages long of very ticked off customers that say the OP6 is worthless outdoors. And One Plus does not care. One Plus did an update to the phone to prevent the brightness because the phone has a battery that drains quite fast and One Plus blocked the brightness of the screen to save on battery life. So, when you set the brightness up to 100% max on a OP6, it is really only 50% of the maximum brightness.

With the Google Pixel 3aXL, the screen does not get very bright. It's not a terrible looking screen in my opinion. It's not great, but I've seen worse. But, it's not very bright. I would need to take it outside in the sunlight to see how it is going to look, and Best Buy refused to let me take it outside.

I have been told that AMOLED screens do not do well in sunlight and it's an example that not all new technology is good. My Huawei LCD screen looks crisper in my opinion than the OP6 screen. But, the Huawei phone's screen does get darker in the sunlight as well. It's not impossible to see like the OP6, but it does get darker and I have to raise the brightness. On my iPhones from a 3GS all the way to a iPhone 6 Plus, the screens worked great outside. I was told that this is just an "iPhone" thing. And now that the iPhones are using AMOLED screens, I don't know if they suffer from this problem or not. I was told that the new iPhones and the new Galaxy model turn up very very bright automatically in the sunlight so that it can be used, but it does drain the battery faster. Seems like a flaw in that kind of technology.

Without a doubt I had the best outdoor experiences with the iPhones, but I had other major problems with iPhones, mainly iOS updates that would cripple my other devices, and I don't want to go back to iPhones.
 

B. Diddy

Senior Ambassador
Moderator
Mar 9, 2012
166,153
5,595
113
Visit site
Valid points about the screen. For what it's worth, my Pixel 3 XL is usable outdoors, but it's not the greatest experience (although that's the case for many flagship level phones, with the exception of maybe Samsung phones).

Regarding the price, let me suggest that Google's guaranteed updates for 3 years add significant value to the phone. This article from JR Raphael makes an interesting cost analysis: https://www.computerworld.com/article/3341309/choose-a-smartphone.html
 

thontz

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2018
61
0
0
Visit site
B. Diddy, from all the reading I've done it appears the Galaxy OLED screen handles the sunlight the best because it is capable of getting the brightest. And iPhone is close behind the Galaxy which makes sense because it has a Samsung screen in it. And from what I've read, all other phones including the Pixel that may be in third place or not, fall far below second place. My thought was to go back to LCD technology which seemed to handle outdoor sunlight better. But, my Huawei still has problems in the sunlight but at least it is usable.

My question to you is on "updates". I dumped Apple because their iOS updates were too aggressive. I had an iOS update disable compatibility with my factory radio and steering wheel controls in my car. They resolved it in an minor update and then got rid of it completely in another update. Also, we all know that Apple slowed down their phones with iOS updates. I left Apple when I went to their store and they told me that there was a NINE HOUR wait to have a new battery installed under warranty, but if I didn't want to wait, they could sell me a new one right away. They told me to come back the next day. Then, when I went back the next day, they told me it was by appointment only in the morning, but they could sell me a new phone if I didn't want to wait. I asked them why in two trips, they had no time to install a battery but had plenty of time to sell me a new unwanted expensive phone? I then left Apple. I still use their computers but I actually enjoy Android.

My question is, how important are Android Updates? I had Android Nougat and couldn't really tell the difference when switching to Oreo and then I couldn't really tell the difference when switching to Pie on my One Plus 6. Are the updates really important? My current thought about all of this, at this point, is now that I sent back my Huawei Mate 20 Lite, I could get a Huawei P30 Lite. Unlike the Mate 20 Lite, it comes with Android Pie and comes with EMUI 9.0 instead of 8.2. Maybe it'll never get any more updates even though their website says the P30 Lite will be getting Q. That doesn't mean that Huawei phones in America will be getting Q though. And I haven't read up on the latest drama with Huawei so I'm unsure about that. I do know that I liked the quality of my Mate 20 Lite. The camera worked pretty well except in certain conditions with low light and I didn't take the time to mess with the camera settings. I've heard the P30 Lite has better cameras. I can now get a P30 Lite for the price of what I paid for my Mate 20 Lite. Any thoughts about that? I guess it depends on, "How important are Google updates?" And for some reason my son's Huawei gets security updates and my Huawei was newer and was no getting security updates which made no sense.
 

thontz

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2018
61
0
0
Visit site
I finally resolved this issue I think tonight. I bought a Samsung A50 phone. I bought it based on a very detailed review. The owner says that it does really well in the sunlight so that is why I bought this model. It has triple cameras on the back and people say it is not a Pixel camera, but it does do the job. There are several versions of this phone and you have to be careful to make sure you get the one that supports USA LTE Bands. I also got a dual sim one as well. 6.4" AMOLED display. Teardrop notch. Has Samsung's One UI running on it. I have REFUSED to get a Samsung because of their menu layout but One UI looks refreshingly easy to use. The negative things that reviewers listed on their review where all taken care of by Samsung in multiple small updates. The on display fingerprint reader issues are supposedly resolved. A camera issue was updated in an update as well. Supposedly it performs decently fast but I won't use it for games or anything heavy. It does have a plastic back on it but I got the black rainbow back. For $279 I can live with a plastic back and a Gorilla 3 screen. The Pixel 3aXL has a plastic back but it is exactly $200 more than when I paid and the Pixel 3aXL just looks cheap. So, I'm excited to get this new phone. I had a Samsung Galaxy S3 Captivate before iPhone came out. It was a good phone but Android was difficult to understand and the charging port on the phone broke. I had to get a wall charger and multiple batteries and charged it that way. So it's been a long time since I've had a Samsung. I've always hated the looks of the Galaxy flagships and I didn't like the way the software was setup. But I think this phone will give me what I need. It also has a 4,000Mah battery so that should help as well. So, I think I am done looking for a phone and now I am glad that I avoided Huawei. I was very close to buying a P30 Lite but I kept reviewing different phones and I found the Samsung and I ordered the model that supports the USA LTE Bands. So hopefully I will be happy with it. Also, the American version is a 64GB version but I got a free 64GB Samsung MicroSD card for free with the $279 phone, so I will have 128GB which is more than I'll ever need.
 

B. Diddy

Senior Ambassador
Moderator
Mar 9, 2012
166,153
5,595
113
Visit site
I think updates continue to be important, primarily for security. It's true that additional features aren't always an improvement, but it's always a good idea to have any potential security flaws patched. This will be much more likely with a Pixel phone than any other phones that don't get regular updates reliably (and that means most of them). Regarding the iPhone, remember that the throttling was something that was baked into the firmware, not part of an update. The reason they did it was to help prevent sudden shutdowns as the battery aged, thus becoming more susceptible to shutdowns from excessive power demand. To my knowledge, Pixel phones (and Android phones in general) don't do this kind of throttling (but that does increase the risk of sudden shutdowns or reboots on an older device, which is regularly asked about here as well).

Good to hear about your choice of the A50! Samsung's A series certainly sounds like a good combination of value pricing with decent specs and interesting features. After you've had some time with the phone, let us know what you think!
 

thontz

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2018
61
0
0
Visit site
Thank you! I picked the Samsung A50 because there really aren't many budget phones that work in America. Most of them don't support the USA LTE Bands. The Samsung A50 has about 6 different variations and it isn't advertised as a USA model, but one model does fit all the USA LTE Bands. I wanted an LCD screen because my One plus 6 had an AMOLED and it was a terrible screen that was impossible to see in the sunlight. But reviews on this phone say that it works well in direct sunlight. I hope so. The display is the main thing that people think is the best on the phone. I know that the camera won't be as good as the Pixel camera. If the phone has a good display, good battery, and a decent camera, I will be happy.

I'll update everyone and let them know what I think. I honestly was most impressed with my Huawei Mate 20 Lite's display. It was LCD but it was very crisp and detailed. I liked it better than my iPhone 6 Plus, my One Plus 6, and the Huawei Mate SE. The One Plus 6's AMOLED should've been better than a budget Huawei phone. So, I really hope I like the SAMOLED display on the Samsung.
 

thontz

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2018
61
0
0
Visit site
Hi, I have a question and most questions on here go unanswered. I packed up my Huawei phone to return it a few days ago and noticed I didn't transfer my text messages. I downloaded SMS Backup and Restore. I also downloaded Backup+. I ran both of these on my Huawei phone. Then I got on my Moto G5 Plus while I'm waiting for my phone to show up. It shows I backed up 5579 texts and then it says my messages have been restored. But then I open up messages and I have like 10 messages. Now, when I go to Gmail and then select SMS, all my messages are there. How do I take those messages and put them back into the Messages app? I've never had a problem with this at all and now I can't get it to work. I tried to restore them to my Moto G5 and had no luck, then I tried to restore them on the One Plus 6 and had no luck either. IMAP IS ENABLED. When I open the software it tells me there is 5579 Texts and 715 phone calls. So, it says they are on the phone. I've ran both programs and they both restore but I still don't have texts in my messages app. How can I do this?
 

B. Diddy

Senior Ambassador
Moderator
Mar 9, 2012
166,153
5,595
113
Visit site
I don't have any direct experience with those SMS backup/restore apps, but did you check the Archived section of the Messages app? To get there, open the Messages app, tap Menu, then Archives.
 

thontz

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2018
61
0
0
Visit site
Try not to hijack your own threads, or ask the same question in multiple threads. You answered your own question in https://forums.androidcentral.com/g...transfer-sms-messages-gmail-messages-app.html.

And once I answered my question in another appropriate thread, I did not talk about it anymore INCLUDING HERE so I don't know what your problem is. It's not my fault that 90% of people's questions go unanswered. I was happy to have ONE person willing to help me and it sure wasn't you. That is why I asked the question to B.Diddy in MY own thread because at least one member was being helpful. Now we can get back on topic in this thread if people want to. And yes I had to create another thread to try to get help and I didn't get much help or get the issue resolved. When I solved it on my own, which is really sad, I posted the reply in the CORRECT thread and not this one. You're telling me not to hijack my thread and that is exactly what you did. Instead of moderating behavior that is completely harmless, you should try to help people and answer more questions which is what this forum is supposed to be about.

Sorry about being cranky, but if people in this forum spent more time helping others instead of trying to babysit the group, maybe people would get more help which is supposed to be the point of this forum.
 

Trending Posts

Forum statistics

Threads
945,886
Messages
6,927,520
Members
3,159,993
Latest member
beauty1