I need a new phone, and I need help deciding which Android to get.
December 12, 2015 8:21 AM   Subscribe

I have a DROID Mini that I need to replace. I like the back button on the left and the active display, so I am leaning towards a Motorola phone. I am on Verizon, so that limits my choices. I want a good battery, decent camera, durability and price <$400. I mostly use my phone for email, text, web surfing, photos. I am nervous about buying a used phone since I plan to keep it for 2-3 years. I do not like the huge phones, but that seems to be the only option. I definitely need to be able to use it one-handed. What do you recommend?

I am considering:
new Galaxy S5 ~ $300 EBay. Back button on the right side annoys me, but maybe I'll get use to it.
used Moto X 2nd gen ~ $200 Amazon. Used worries me a bit.
new Moto X pure style ~ $400 Motorola- Huge phone, maybe not great battery?
posted by sulaine to Technology (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I quite enjoyed an unlocked Moto E I bought unlocked at Best Buy when my primary phone (a Huawei G7) got dropped and smashed the first day of a weeklong vacation. Surprisingly zippy and nice in the hand - definitely not oversized. Good battery life too.

The only complaint I had about it is that the cameras are pretty lousy.

I bet you could pick up a Moto G for not much more that resolves the camera problem and gives you a little more screen real estate.
posted by area.man at 8:44 AM on December 12, 2015

I like my Moto X. I don't make great use of its advanced features, and would think of going to a Moto G if I were to replace it. The phone is OK for the uses I make of it. I don't expect a phone camera to by hyper-wonderful.
posted by SemiSalt at 9:39 AM on December 12, 2015

I have a Moto G 2015 I bought for around $250 Canadian. It works well, and the camera is nice and has a handy gesture (wrist twist) that turns it on. The only real drawback is a meager amount of memory (8GB onboard expandable with up to 32GB via SD card) and managing apps around that can be tricky, although that is supposed to improve in a new firmware update. It only has 1GB ram so that might be an issue but I don't do anything too complicated so it hasn't been a problem so far.

I understand there's a 16GB/2GB ram model as well for not much more money, but it wasn't available when I was shopping. I'd definitely go for that one.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 10:59 AM on December 12, 2015

I have the Moto X Pure and it is a great phone. Definitely big, but the battery life isn't bad at all. I would recommend the Droid Maxx 2 though - slightly smaller than the Moto X Pure/Style and with a significantly bigger battery. I think it costs around $385 from Verizon.
posted by Venadium at 12:04 PM on December 12, 2015

I do not like the huge phones, but that seems to be the only option.

HTC one M9?

It gets a lot of crap that honestly, it doesn't deserve. I know a couple people who have them and really like them. They're super cheap used. You can rearrange the buttons and put back on the left if you want in sense(HTCs slightly modded android version)

It's basically the only mainstream phone that's JUST 5in on the display. And looking at verizons options, it seems to be the smallest-screened current gen phone.

It's also really really nicely put together and feels really sturdy.

There's some other stuff i'd recommend, but... verizon :(
posted by emptythought at 1:13 PM on December 12, 2015

Moto G is great.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:23 PM on December 12, 2015

Hi, I'm in a similar boat and have been looking at the Moto phones, too. I was also going to suggest the Moto G 3rd Gen, but unfortunately it doesn't look like it's available for Verizon.

Motorola is still offering new Moto X 2nd Gen phones within your price range: see bottom of their All Smartphones list (I'm linking to this list because it shows "2nd Gen" there; the actual product page for the Moto X 2nd Gen doesn't seem to state 2nd Gen, so be sure to check the specs). Right now it says the 16GB version starts at $300 and 32GB starts at $350. You'll need to choose non-Pure Edition to see the carrier option for Verizon, since the Moto X 2nd Gen Pure Edition isn't Verizon compatible. *However,* since you want phone longetivity, be aware that the Moto X 2nd Gen non-Pure Edition isn't currently on the U.S. list to get Android Marshmallow.

When considering used phones: I've seen listings (granted, this was on ebay and swappa) that mention the phone is still under warranty or has Moto Care for accidental coverage. If you're buying from the original owner, you can ask if the phone is still under warranty and if they've ever used it, and whether they can transfer the warranty (which apparently some people have done for Moto Maker phones, according to some forum posts I've read).
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 8:10 PM on December 12, 2015

I have a second-generation Moto X and I think it's a very nice phone, especially if you like the active display or other Moto extras.

If I were buying today, I'd probably choose the Nexus 5X which is about the same size as the second-gen Moto X and is currently on sale for $330 to $380 dollars. It has a similar ambient display feature, and will continue to get software updates for at least the next three years. It's also supposed to have a very good camera.
posted by mbrubeck at 7:31 AM on December 13, 2015

Response by poster: I should have included the Nexus 5x. I probably would have bought that already if the charger hadn't changed. I am annoyed about a new version.
posted by sulaine at 7:56 AM on December 13, 2015

I feel your pain, since I have dozens of micro-USB chargers and cables around the house that won't work with newer phones. But almost all new phones and accessories for the next several years will be switching to the new USB-C connectors. At least the new plug is reversible!
posted by mbrubeck at 8:28 AM on December 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

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