E.T., Phone Hope
June 6, 2012 10:37 AM   Subscribe

Advise me on how to navigate my smartphone issues with the smallest out-of-pocket expense possible.

Carrier: Sprint
Current Phone: HTC EVO 4G
Contract: out of contract and up for renewal with new phone subsidy available

Difficulty: I am on my third EVO 4G, both previously having been replaced for similar issues (crashing when using data-based apps such as Facebook, web browser, YouTube, only to restart with a drained battery). This current phone is starting to do the same thing as my last two and is only 3 months old, though it's likely a refurb. I am gentle with my phones and always have a protective case, and have never dropped them from any damage-inducing height. I've decided that the issues I've been experiencing are due to a faulty product moreso than something I'm doing wrong. Regardless, phone needs to go because it's silly and frustrating paying for a data plan that I can't use lest I make my phone go into a boot cycle. So, it's time to replace...four months sooner than I wanted to. I was hoping this latest replacement phone would last until the iPhone 5 release date, upon which I anticipated using my contract renewal subsidy.

I know that October is just a speculative date for the new iPhone and there is some immediacy in my needs. Despite that, I would prefer not to use my contract renewal until the the iPhone 5 is at least announced so I can determine if the wait is realistic. I can get my phone replaced again, but I'm likely stuck with another phone that will not work properly. I can also use my contract renewal but then I face paying $550+ for an iPhone 5 when it comes out. I know these options.

Is there anything in between that is an obvious easy solution that's not going to drain my wallet? Has anyone faced a similar situation and have advise on how to navigate this without getting locked into something you don't really want?
posted by erstwhile to Technology (6 answers total)
Best answer: I wouldn't recommend this for an inexperienced person, and I have no way of verifying if it would actually fix the problem, but would you be open to the idea of rooting the phone and installing a custom ROM for the time being?

Also you could try doing a factory reset on the phone, in case it's a problem caused by an application. You would lose all of your application information that you weren't able to backup though.

Unfortunately I have no advice to give on actually getting a new working phone if they've given you duds thrice already, but I wish you the best of luck on that score.
posted by trogdole at 11:08 AM on June 6, 2012

Can you make do with a "stupid" phone for a few months? If you don't need the data service right now, there exist a lot of very affordable phones that just make phone calls. Otherwise, I think getting the EVO replaced (again) may be the best option; even if it only makes it for 4 or 5 months, that should be enough to get you to the iPhone release date (assuming they actually release it in October). The type of leaks (and their frequency) suggest a September/October release at the latest although, of course, you never know with Apple.
posted by Betelgeuse at 11:48 AM on June 6, 2012

You could buy an unlocked iPhone 4s now and sell it just before or just after the announcement of the new iPhone without too much of a financial loss, maybe on the order of $100-$200.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:55 PM on June 6, 2012

You could buy a used phone to tide you over. Palm Pres are really cheap.

I'd also recommend doing a complete wipe of the phone or flashing a ROM. As you suspect, it's probably not a hardware issue.
posted by The Lamplighter at 3:57 PM on June 6, 2012

Best answer: You could buy a used phone on eBay or Amazon to hold you over for the time being. That's normally what I'd consider the cheapest option for getting a temporary phone if you're waiting to upgrade.

My opinion of the EVO 4G is generally poor (as someone who's had to sell and troubleshoot them). Trogdole's suggestion of rooting the phone & running a ROM may or may not fix your issue, but is worth a shot if you have the knowhow.
posted by shooze at 9:06 PM on June 6, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the help folks. I'm going to give rooting a shot and see if I'm just experiencing software woes. If that doesn't work then I'll look into getting a second-hand phone to tide me over.
posted by erstwhile at 2:21 PM on June 7, 2012

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