What Android phone should I get after my Pixel 3?
July 20, 2020 1:50 AM   Subscribe

My Pixel 3 is starting to struggle a bit, especially with overheating. The model I have isn't available any more, so I'd like to shop around for a replacement. The Pixel 4 is atrocious looking so that's out (for now.) Should I try Samsung? My only requirements are that it's under $800, available for AT&T, and at least a little pretty.
posted by Kitchen Witch to Shopping (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A few months ago I replaced my fading 1st-generation Pixel with a Samsung S10e. It's the first Samsung phone I've had and it seems fine, no complaints.
posted by jkent at 3:46 AM on July 20

At that price, I would look into OnePlus phones. They're premium devices comparable to Samsung phones but cheaper for equivalent quality. I generally trust ArsTechnica for their tech reviews; here's their review of the OnePlus 8/8 Pro. (Ars usually complains of Samsung phones being overpriced.)
posted by number9dream at 6:01 AM on July 20

I went from an original Pixel to a OnePlus 6T to a Pixel 3a. I hated the photo quality on the OnePlus so much that I spent a lot of money to replace it sooner than needed because all my kid pictures were grainy and blurry. I was confused because the camera stats looked good until I realized how much of the Pixel's photo quality comes from the processing algorithms it uses. So if the camera quality matters to you, I would recommend doing some research and testing to see if anything other than an iPhone will compare with the Pixel.
posted by carolr at 6:18 AM on July 20

I am both a Pixel 3 owner and a OnePlus owner. If you do not want another Pixel, I would absolutely get a OnePlus. First, one of the reasons I have two is the size differential. If you have a Pixel 3 (and not the XL), it is going to be much smaller than the OnePlus. While OnePlus is coming out (sometime) with a smaller phone, all their current models are of the XL size. One of the things I like a lot about my Pixel is the software. Google keeps it at virtually stock Android. So does OnePlus, but they brand their version of Android as Oxygen OS. It has very little (none?) bloatware. It actually has a few enhancements that I like better than Pixel Android. Samsung makes major modifications to Android and also installs some programs that cannot be uninstalled and that I would consider bloatware. I think their phones are good phones, but overpriced and without rooting them, the software needs improvement. OnePlus will be priced lower than the Samsung but will have the latest chipset and be a "flagship" phone.

As for pretty or a little pretty, I cannot answer that. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that. Quite frankly, I have never looked at a phone for the beauty factor, but to be fair, I would avoid ugly.
posted by AugustWest at 6:23 AM on July 20

I have a Pixel 3 and don't feel like it's anywhere near end-of-life.

Google's about to release new Pixel phones, a Pixel 4A. It's a little confusing and unlike previous Pixel releases, also may not actually be available until October. But worth considering.

Whatever you get, look into how good the vendor is about updating phones. Android 10 has been out nine months now but many phones still don't support it. Here's a roundup of Android 10 on phones. IIRC OnePlus has a good reputation for updates. Google's own phones will of course be the gold standard.
posted by Nelson at 9:33 AM on July 20

I just scratched my Pixel 3's screen pretty badly so I'm thinking of holding on until the 4a comes out. I like the feature set of those OnePlus phones, but they're far too large for me because I like using my phone with one hand. Does anyone have recommendations for smaller phones with a good android feature set and no bloatware? I would also like a headphone jack and don't care about waterproof
posted by JZig at 10:49 AM on July 20

I'm a Pixel 3XL owner who just decided to jump to Samsung. As in I literally placed my order this weekend. Right now they're offering a 400$ trade-in for the 3 and the XL which brings the S20 to 599$.

My reasons for choosing Samsung is...
1) It's a great trade-in offer. Even Google is only offering like 75$ for the Pixel 3XL.
2) It's great hardware, especially if you like a smaller phone. The only perks on the Ultra and Plus models are largely considered unnecessary by every review I've read.
3) It's so popular it's practically a standard. You can go into any old store or any cool, niche boutique and they will probably have Samsung cases.
4) They ditched the curved side panels, which makes the phone easier to use, but it still looks very pretty.
5) The bloatware, if you're buying unlocked, can be disabled (or sometimes actually adds interesting functionality.) I've hardly noticed it on my Samsung tablet. I'm not sure what extra software comes with the ATT&T version.

My reasons for not going Pixel 4 XL...
1) The only extra camera is a telephoto camera. This is as crazy to me as a brand new car coming out with an ash tray and cigarette lighter, but not power windows or AC.
2) Stock Android is a really nice, but most phone manufacturers seem to be nearly stock at this point (with the exception of Samsung.) I'd rather go OnePlus (cheaper) or even LG (wackier.)
3) Google's support, at least in my experience, kind of stinks.
posted by OMGTehAwsome at 11:40 AM on July 20 [1 favorite]

It looks like I can get an unlocked Pixel 3 or 3a on Amazon right now. They're the same price (which is weird.) Should I just get a 3 again or is there a benefit to choosing the 3a?
posted by Kitchen Witch at 12:41 PM on July 21

Never mind, I am just gonna spring for the 3 and see if it's ok. I was looking into the OneNotes and Samsung devices recommended here and I realized that I am so used to the Google ecosystem that I am not ready to move away from Google phones yet. Thank you for all your input.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 2:34 PM on July 21

I just got the Samsung A17 5G from AT&T and am very, very happy with it. Excellent cameras and battery time. $600.
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:14 PM on July 23

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