New phone help, Nexus, Lumia, Galaxy or HTC?
June 6, 2013 7:33 PM   Subscribe

I would love some direction (have read the reviews of course) in finding a good phone to play movies and listen to audio books for which I will not need to use a Data Plan with AT&T. I tried the Lumia 620 but it died on me in a week and returned it. I think Android looks good, but have not experience. I should just plug in the SIM, right? Thanks all.
posted by 1inabillionmistake to Technology (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have a galaxy and the screen is gorgeous but it is buggy as hell, not a very good phone and the selection of ringtones, alarms and general design ethic makes me wonder if it was designed by people stored in a basement since 1983. The voice recognition software isn't merely bad it's 100% unusable. And don't get me started on the shoddy texting experience. It takes auto correct to new lows.

If I could trade it in for a HTC One tomorrow I'd do it.
posted by fshgrl at 10:43 PM on June 6, 2013

I have a Galaxy S4, and it's awesome. So I guess the opposite experience of fshgrl? Unless she's talking about an earlier version of the Galaxy? Though my previous phone was the S2 and it was also great, but it was an unbranded one so didn't have AT&T bloatware on it. And the S4 I have now is the Verizon version, maybe the AT&T bloatware is awful?

Anyway, I'm not sure that is going to help you though since any 2yr contract with AT&T on the new phone will include data. Unless you mean you're going to buy the full price unbranded phone for $600+? In that case, I can recommend the S4 pretty highly. Though the HTC One would be my second choice. If it had the ability to swap batteries, I probably would've gone for that over the S4. And I think the speakers on the One are supposed to be pretty good, if you plan on watching stuff without using earphones.
posted by Grither at 5:16 AM on June 7, 2013

The HTC One has the highest build quality of any android phone I've laid hands on. I'd jump on that in a second.

If you do just pop your SIM in though, AT&T can detect that you're using "smartphone" levels of data and will just add the data plan to your account.
posted by Oktober at 7:54 AM on June 7, 2013

The HTC One is now available in a "Google Edition" that is stripped of all the bloatware that phone manufacturers use to "differentiate" their phones from their competitors. I believe it's $599 unlocked/no contract. If I were in your shoes, that would be my choice.

FWIW, the Galaxy S4 is going to be available in a Google Edition as well, should you prefer that hardware. The issues fshgrl mentions can be solved by installing a different keyboard (I like Swype, but other options exist) and the Google Edition phone should use Google's voice recognition, which has worked pretty well for me. Other than repeatedly mishearing "Little Wing" as "Little Wayne" when I'm wanting to listed to classic Hendrix tunes instead of lobotomized hip hop.
posted by EKStickland at 8:13 AM on June 7, 2013

While the Google Edition is a great idea, frankly, the sense skin isn't terrible obnxious, and right now AT&T is offering the HTC One 32 GB + Beats Pill (bluetooth speaker) for $99, so if you're tied to AT&T anyway, that's probably the better deal.
posted by Oktober at 9:14 AM on June 7, 2013

I ♥ my Galaxy S3 to death. It's fairly new to me, and the price has dropped since the S4 has come out. I used to watch videos on my first-gen iPad, but the S3's quality is so much better, I've switched to it. Despite the much smaller screen, the picture is just stunning.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:31 AM on June 7, 2013

I have an S3 on a smaller carrier. I have installed a couple keyboards but I remain unimpressed with the phone. It just infuriates me that it's sooo laggy and buggy. Often I have to tap the screen 2-10 times to get it to respond (no cover) and I swear it takes 10 seconds to call someone after you hit call.

I had two HTC phones before and they did not have any of those issues.
posted by fshgrl at 1:02 PM on June 7, 2013

I have a Galaxy Note II. It is absolutely awesome. Great for movies and reading books on.
posted by dobbs at 1:26 PM on June 7, 2013

If you put your SIM in any phone that AT&T sells, even if you didn't buy it from AT&T, you will have a data plan added to your line. AT&T requires that all smartphones they recognize have a data plan.

You can get around this by buying a phone AT&T doesn't sell and never giving them the IMEI (unique serial number) for it. I know for sure that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Android) will work, as will the Nokia Lumia 521 if you get it from a Microsoft store (not T-Mobile).
posted by fireoyster at 3:00 AM on June 8, 2013

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