Help me pick a Ting phone
June 20, 2013 2:01 AM   Subscribe

Based on an answer to an AskMe question on Tuesday, I'm very interested in switching to Ting for wireless service. I don't have a phone that can be brought over to Ting, so a new one is in order. Help me decide!

The various phones available and their prices are listed here. I know that the HTC One and Galaxy S4 are the top dogs, but you pay for them. Are there any other phones listed there that have high Bang For The Buck quotients?

If it matters for reference, I have an LG Optimus V right now that I got in November 2011 (and that was a last-generation phone even then), so having the absolute latest-and-greatest isn't essential, though I'd like a clear upgrade. (That would rule out the Rise or Optimus Elite.) Is the S2 a good phone still? How about the Galaxy Nexus?
posted by OHSnap to Technology (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I guess to save people a little reading, here's a few things of note:

1) The Galaxy S2 uses Sprint's WiMax 4G, which is available in my city, whereas LTE is not (and Sprint has not announced plans to deploy it yet). All the LTE phones would run on 3G until then, which I'm used to.
2) Note well that's the Galaxy Nexus (though upgraded to Jelly Bean), not the Nexus 4.
posted by OHSnap at 2:20 AM on June 20, 2013

Sorry to threadjack, but are there similar a la carte phone providers that are on networks besides sprint? The possibility of paying less than $30 a month for a plan including data is literally leaving me salivating.
posted by Strass at 2:24 AM on June 20, 2013

posted by OHSnap at 2:41 AM on June 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Oh snap!

thanks :D
posted by Strass at 2:48 AM on June 20, 2013

(In case any one else is looking for non-Sprint options, there's nothing even close to how cheap Ting is)

To answer the OPs question: The Nexus is a great phone. If you don't want to shell out that extra $100, I'd go for the Nexus. I've never used the Galaxy SII, but it never got the acclaim that the SIII did.
posted by Strass at 2:58 AM on June 20, 2013

From personal experience, the Nexus is an excellent phone. What I really like about the Nexus line is that they are stock android, so they aren't bogged down with UI tweaks and overlays that are seen on almost all other android phones. Nexus phones also get software updates on the leading edge of roll-outs, which is awesome. The phone is a nice size, not freakishly huge like the S4 and One, clean hardware design, responsive processor. For its price point I'm fairly confident there isn't anything that approaches it.
posted by mcstayinskool at 5:20 AM on June 20, 2013

Also the Nexus 4 is ridiculously cheap for its feature set.
No idea quite how, possibly google subsidy?
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:39 AM on June 20, 2013

I use Republic Wireless, which is on the Sprint network. $19/month for unlimited everything.

There are two catches:

1. There is, at the moment, only one phone to pick from - the Motorola Defy XT. It's Android 2.3 and a little long in the tooth. This is supposed to change going forward.

2. The phone is configured to do everything over WiFi (even SMS), and you agree to use wireless whenever possible. If wireless is not available it switches to Sprint cellular.

By and large, it works pretty well. It still is a little quirky, but Republic has been pretty good about incremental improvements. Impossible to beat the price, though.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:19 AM on June 20, 2013

I like my Kyocera Rise a lot, but 1) it's my first smartphone so I don't have much to compare it to, and 2) because it has a slider keyboard, it's too thick to fit inside some things like those bike handlebar dry bags. It's cheap, though, and I really like having a physical keyboard.

Ting is fabulous; if you don't know a current subscriber to get the refer-a-friend discount, feel free to MeMail me.
posted by asperity at 7:33 AM on June 20, 2013

I have the S2 through Ting, and I've really liked it. It's big, so somewhat easier to see and use, but can be inconvenient to carry around. Battery life seems a bit short--I can't always get through the day without charging if I'm online much. Ting has been great for us, too.
posted by Sybil Stockwell Oop at 8:02 AM on June 20, 2013

I'm using an HTC EVO 4G LTE on Ting, and it's a TON better than my old Optimus V. Full HD, big screen, fast processing, the works. Even w/ the stock applications installed, the battery life is pretty great, with multiple days of standby time between chargings. Cost about $200 used, and that was a bit before the One came out.

I get that the form factor of phones like the EVO, One, and Galaxy S(II/III/IV) aren't for everyone. Head to a store and try hefting them first (they're all basically the same large-and-flat size, so if you've tried one you tried them all.)
posted by Wulfhere at 1:07 PM on June 20, 2013

Ting will let you bring over most any Sprint phone. I would say you're much better off looking for a Sprint device on ebay/craigslist than you are buying from Ting.
posted by kickingtheground at 2:07 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Are you interested in a gently-used Samsung Transform Ultra and/or a Galaxy S "Epic" (with slide-out keyboard; also with CM10)? Because I, uh, know somebody who has those phones, and no longer needs them.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 2:47 PM on June 20, 2013

I would say none of the phones on that page. Scroll through this list and then go hit craigslist. Check the esn on sprint chat to make sure you aren't getting shafted.

I found galaxy SII's for $75 advertised as clean ESN, and SIII's for $220-290, i think i even saw some for less. I also saw a galaxy nexus for under $200. (note, this was on the seattle craigslist)

So yea, craigslist. I've also seen cheap smartphones on ebay, but the mega-deals are generally on craigslist.
posted by emptythought at 3:50 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

With deference to the kind advice to buy from CL/eBay, I ended up opting for the Nexus. I decided a factory warranty and clear ownership was more important than sorting out ESN issues and making sure a used phone worked properly/wasn't stolen/wasn't a knockoff etc.

It also happened that the wife drowned her phone in a storm drain the other day, so we both switched. Got her the SIII.

Thanks for the help, AskMeFi.
posted by OHSnap at 9:42 PM on July 2, 2013

kickingtheground: "Ting will let you bring over most any Sprint phone. I would say you're much better off looking for a Sprint device on ebay/craigslist than you are buying from Ting."

Late to the party warning — with that mindset, I bought a used Moto X for my wife. Turns out that phone is *not* on the whitelist. Sprint has changed its policy so that now phone models must have been out for (at least?) a year before you can use them as a BYOD. You can buy new Moto X directly from ting. At this point we're just going to sit it out until we can switch over.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:29 AM on March 23, 2014

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