Which entry-level smartphone should I buy?
January 22, 2014 9:19 AM Subscribe
I'm finally going to ditch my trusty LG enV 3 for a smartphone, but I want one off-contract, and I don't want to spend a ton of money.
posted by jcreigh to Technology (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
* As noted, I'm off-contract and I want to stay that way.
* I don't want to spend more than, say, $250. (If need to, I could spend more, but I would feel nervous walking around with a $600 piece of tech in my pocket all the time.)
* I'm familiar with Android (I have a Nexus 7), but I'm open to an iPhone. I don't have have any specific platform exclusive apps that I need: I just want to be able to do mapping, navigation, and look stuff up on the internet. (That said, I probably want to avoid a Windows phone because of the lack of apps, unless you can make a really compelling argument.)
* This phone will live in my pocket, so it should be fairly small.
* I do actually make phone calls every now and then, usually a few hundred minutes a month, so the voice quality should be decent.
* I want to use this phone for at least a couple years.
* I'm planning on using this on T-Mobile, and I would prefer a totally unlocked GSM phone, so that I could also use it on AT&T or any GSM MVNO, if the need arose. (But Ting also looks tempting, so I would be open to a phone that would work there.)
Based on that, the two phones I'm considering most seriously right now are the Motorola Moto G or a used iPhone 4S, but obviously I'm open to other suggestions.
I feel drawn to the iPhone 4S because of the small size (I have small hands, and as I mentioned I don't want something bulky in my pocket) and iOS's smooth, snappy responsiveness, but I worry that it's near the end of its life in terms of running new apps and new versions of iOS smoothly. And how does the GSM iPhone situation work? Is there a model specific to AT&T, a model for T-Mobile? Or is there one GSM model that works on both?
And the Moto G seems nice because it has a pretty clean version of Android, and it looks like it will receive OS updates for at least a while. And the price, obviously. But I haven't touched one in person yet so I don't know how I feel about the size.
Please give me your thoughts on these two phones, any other phones you think would be a good fit, and whether I need to up my price ceiling to get a good phone.