Need advice on choosing cellphone

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Bobby McGee
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Need advice on choosing cellphone

Post by Bobby McGee » Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:58 pm


Due to a change of lifestyle I am looking to cancel my land line and cable internet to switch to a cellphone with a data plan. I need the mobility since I will live half of the year in an off grid cabin and will need phone and internet. I have freelance work and need internet at home to do so. The closest access to public internet is 50km-30 miles away.

I never had a cellphone before, I kind of despise them but for the first time in my life, I will need one. I see plenty of used cellphones (3-2 years old) for sale on Kijiji and Craiglist. I tend to favor the used cellphone instead of buying a new one but I have very limited knowledge on cellphone, I kept my head burried in the sand for the last 10 years. Buying a new one would also mean a warranty if something go wrong.

I don't text, to me the purpose of a phone is to... make phone call. The data plan would allow me to receive files from clients and then to flip them on my laptop using the cellphone as a wifi device. I don't use more than 3 GB per month of internet usage.
Any piece of advice ? Used vs new cellphone.

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Re: Need advice on choosing cellphone

Post by fiby41 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:55 am

Exactly how many pieces of advice do you need on choosing a cellphone?

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Re: Need advice on choosing cellphone

Post by Farm_or » Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:57 am

We scrapped our landline three years ago. We are remote with no chance of other Internet. The smart phone has been my only link. I kept the same phone until about six months ago, the microphone was dying and people had difficult time hearing me. Found my current phone in the bargain bin at wally world for $25. Why buy used?

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Re: Need advice on choosing cellphone

Post by vexed87 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:21 am

I think choosing the right plan will be harder than choosing the right phone.

You can go with used, but don't forget that mobile phones are designed with planned obsolescence in mind, which means that often after a few years of service a component will inevitably fail. Many consider this an insidious attempt by the industry to encourage the user stay on the 'upgrade' cycle. The other tactic is to force the user to update certain apps, but as your hardware ages, developers freeze your model out of the updates, claiming your hardware isn't up to managing the new OS. Admittedly, this is less of a concern if you only want to use basic functionality.

You can always repair or replace broken components, but inevitably something else will fail and the cost of repairs is not always economical. Sourcing new LCD screens for my old galaxy cost more than buying some other model used! If you don't mind churning used phones, then that's the route to go for, its less destructive to the environment than buying new, but there's no guarantees on how long these used phones will last, particularly if they are older. Personally I have never had a handset last more than 4 years, and I try not to abuse my stuff. So look for used models around 2 years of age, this may well be the sweet spot based on my own anecdotal evidence. Flagship handsets like the iphone or galaxy and note lines can carry a lofty tag, even when used. Stick with the middle of the road stuff, e.g. the motorola, sony, nokia or huawei's.

You only need something that can tether your internet, and ideally 4G compatible (not sure if it's called 4G in the US?) which is faster, yet backwards compatible with 3G/LTE/H+??. Most android phones released within the last few years have 4G. I have a cheap Moto G handset. It does everything I need but there's no mega high res camera or gaming capabilities... I just use it for my internet like your plans. However, I was quickly eating through 10gb a month with my old wireless mobile router... I'm scekptical that you can get away with just 3GB a month unless you are a really light user and completely avoid all multi-media, software updates and image intensive sites like facebook/twitter, youtube and netflix are killers. 10GB equated to about 300 MB a day, with a little wiggle room. Remember software updates are often not optional, they are important for security, so some months I was going a few days without home access as I waited for the month to roll over.

I managed with 10gb for a year before giving up and upgrading to 30gb for just a little extra £££. In order to live on less than <300mb/day I had to restrict myself, and couldn't let DW or friends have access to the wifi key. Some days I would get home from work to find out that DW had been streaming netflix videos and had topped out the monthly limit in a couple of days /facepalm. It caused some tension! :)

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Re: Need advice on choosing cellphone

Post by wood » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:35 am

So I need some help in deciding on a phone... Ideally I want to go for a phone that was launched around 2 years ago, because they are still fairly new and you can purchase them second-hand at a good price. I need a phone that can work the following apps for as long as possible: snapchat, facebook, instagram, whatsapp, internet, texting, calling, photography. I don't care about design, battery life or storage space.

I don't want Iphone, because they are difficult to get rid of when selling them (phone gets locked to the user). I currently own a 5 year old Iphone 4, and pretty much all apps are letting me down one by one... Apparently one needs snapchat for social networking in my country these days. Seriously, people ask me for my snapchat before they ask for my number. And I've realized a decent phone goes a long way for doing side hustling.

I'm abit sceptical to Motorola, Nokia, Ericsson, HTC and Huawei but thats just because I haven't owned one in more than a decade. Maybe Huawei could be worth a try? Their 2-year-old models seem fairly cheap, even new. Maybe that's a bad sign?

For now I've looked at Samsung:

Samsung Neo sells at $400 new and $150 used here.
Samsung S6 sells at $450 new and $250 used.

I'm tempted to go for the second-hand Neo, it seems like a good compromise between price and a good phone. $150 is just around my budget. I believe I could keep a Neo for 2 years and resell it for $50. What do you think? Or is the S6 THAT much better? Other models I should have a look at?

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Re: Need advice on choosing cellphone

Post by Smashter » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:50 am

I am happy with my service from Google Fi. It's $20 per month base for unlimited calls and texts and then you pay for data as you use it. They seem to have good coverage. You can find a used Nexus 5x for a decent price. No need for a warranty in that case.

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Re: Need advice on choosing cellphone

Post by rfgh » Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:59 am

OP should check Project Fi's coverage at their remote cabin, as the cellular networks it uses aren't typically strong in rural coverage.

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