What do I need to know about buying a smartphone?

No problem!

What still gets me is switching the position of two adjacent apps when one of them is on the left or right side. It tends to want to go to the next page or combine them rather than swap spaces. I learned to move the outside one in, and not the other way.

Well, ok maybe the learning curve won’t be completely flat, but at least you’ll be able to more easily figure out the puzzle (to mix metaphors) since apple has what seems to be a pretty well integrated cross platform software system

I believe IFTTT (IF This Then This/That) will do what you want

  • If Home then ring
  • If <> Home then silent

As I stated above, I haven’t had a Samsung since a 4 or 5 because of their bloatware so I don’t know what their current practices are but the list of shit they included is/was

  • default music player (never used it)
  • default email app (never used it)
  • default video player (never used it)
  • Chat on (their own messaging app)
  • Samsung’s own backup software
  • Samsung’s own ‘security’ apps including, DiagMonAgent, ELM, Kies, Knox, KLMS (why did they need so many?)

Note the date of 2014.

I have an iPhone11 which I bough last year (around the time the 12 were out). My first smart phone and though I don’t really use it for much, I finally joined the rest of the world. I still go on-line on my iMac and still have a landline for my home phone. But I’m getting there.

In ME, your first smartphone gives mission creep a whole new definition.

I got my first ever smartphone up and running today. I made the switch mostly because having a dumbphone plan these days is more expensive than having a well-chosen smartphone plan, as ridiculous and incredible as that is.

I rarely use a phone for anything, and very rarely carry a phone when out the door. The breadboard-level size and heft of smartphones is an effective extra repellant for the latter activity.

I’m slowly getting into the habit of ‘not forgetting’ my phone.

My primary computer is a MacBook pro, but i had a hell of a time trying to navigate an iPad.

As an example. I did finally figure out how to move icons, but then i had to use my laptop and Google too figure out how to exit “jiggle mode”. I find many things about iOS highly unintuitive.

Yeah, I’m really rough on phones and drop them way to often. I’ve been running with Moto G series phones for my last 4 phones or so, and I don’t get bummed when they break. The camera is not nearly as nice as a high end iPhone, Galaxy, or Samsung, but it’s good enough for me. The last nice phone I bought was a Google Pixel 3 and I dropped it walking home and clearly some homeless person picked it up and I was out $500 ($1000 list). I know this because I tracked it and it almost looks like it was thrown in the trash at the train station.

I’ve finally put a case on the thing and so far I’ve dropped it about 4 times and it hasn’t broken yet. Plus they sell it unlocked at Best Buy and I can pick a new one up that day if necessary. Also I switched over to Google Fi and theoretically it has world wide roaming event though I’ve only tried it in Mexico and I was within hailing distance of US cell towers so I don’t even know if international roaming was working.

It’s essentially the same UI on Android for moving icons, so in this case it’s not the OS.

Naw, i had used an Android for a while, and my problem was that i expected it to work like the android IO. On Android, you press and hold one icon until it looks different. Then you drag it and drop it where you want. And then you are done. I did that, more-or-less, on the iPad, but all the icons kept jiggling and i couldn’t use it. I had to do something to exist “jiggle mode”. Very frustrating.

My phone needs are fairly modest: Email, light web browsing, Discord, weather, texting and a few other basic things. My photos tend to be in the “Show wife coffee creamer options at the store” and “Check out this weird bird” basket rather than macrophotos of flowers in the rain or motion shots of LED decorated bikes on the beach at night. So every 3-4 years I look up the best phone options for $250 and pick one that works for me, currently a Nokia 7.1 that I got a couple years ago. Looking at it now, I don’t see any egregious Nokia bloatware, just stuff I put on and the usual array of Google apps. I’d actually look more into some of the Asian market phones (I used to own a LeEco) except they often don’t work on T-Mobile’s network.

My wife buys a new Samsung every few years. She likes having a high quality camera so you won’t get that from a $250 phone. Still, the rest of what she does could easily be done by my phone. I’m sure there ARE apps that take better advantage of the processor like higher end mobile games or video editing apps but basically she’s paying $600 more for the camera and Samsung name as she scrolls Facebook, Twitter and Tiktok. (To be clear: Her money, her choice and she makes the informed decision to buy flagship. I’m just saying there’s a pretty big ramp up in cost for not much more ‘phone’ for many use cases).

I have bought mid-line and flagship phones. My current phone is flagship (pixel 5). It does have a much better camera than my prior (mid price) phone. But the reason i bought it is because it’s environmentally sealed, and i bought it early in the pandemic and wanted to be able to wash my phone. I washed it every time i returned home from shopping for months, and that gave me a certain peace of mind. I don’t regret the extra dollars at all.

My point is just that “better camera” isn’t the only difference. I agree that many people will be completely happy with a mid-priced phone. Heck, i was. But other advantages include that there’s tons of documentation on line of you have a question, better build, often a longer period of support…

I got an iPhone 6S when I signed up with Virgin (mow Boost) mobile. My wife became exasperated enough with Boost to switch to Xfinity. I quickly noticed how much better the camera is on her iPhone SE than on my iPhone 6S. When my 6S battery would not stay charged more than a few hours, I could spend $69 for a new battery or $99 (after $300 discount) for an iPhone SE with my switch to Xfinity. I now have a better phone and better service. I don’t need a ‘flagship’ phone, so the SE is just right.

I’ll admit none of these are factors for me. The few times I’ve have a question about any phone I owned, finding an answer online was trivial. I’ve never had a build quality issue (though build quality is a determining factor when researching) and replacing my phone every 3-4 years means it’s never meaningfully out of support (not that I’m usually seeking support). Obviously your mileage may vary and maybe I’m just blessed with good phone luck. But, when I could buy three phones for the price of one that doesn’t offer meaningfully better performance for my use case, things like “marginally longer support window” isn’t good economics for making a decision.

S4 came out in 2013, the term on that phone was “Turn off” & it’s greyed out/disabled for all of the Samsung bloatware. The only way to get rid of it was to root the phone.

I may have missed a mention of them, but I still like my history of getting Motorola. Max price about $400, unlocked, generally with either the option of dual SIM or SIM and SD card, still has a headphone jack. Pretty light on the “extras” as well; it’s not completely stock Android but the Motorola gestures are actually pretty nice (chop twice for the flashlight, for instance). Lots of options as well, depending on what you prioritize. Currently using a Motorola One Fusion+, which I especially like because it doesn’t have that stupid notch. Not a huge fan of the rear fingerprint scanner, but it means that I have a six-inchish screen with no interruptions and minimal bezel.

Not as fancy as a top-end in terms of internals, but still plenty good for my needs. And as I said, I find things like an SD card and a headphone jack more useful than a slighter faster processor or a fancy camera.

I’ve had two Motorola phones and looked them both. And i agree that the Motorola software was both minimal and mostly useful.