Looking for two specific features on a cell phone


Pokemon Go is a battery hog. If I didn’t play, my phone’s charge would last 2-3 days (when it was new). If I play, the charge lasts about 3 hours.



I’m an iPhone person, but I do feel that the biggest power hog on my phone is firing up GPS/Location Services. Last vacation I used it sparingly when walking, basically turning navigation on/off as needed and not doing any turn-by-turn. Actually worked pretty well, and we avoided “GPS Dependency Syndrome.”

When we did our WDW trips we used it pretty heavily (and their app definitely consumes some battery if used heavily), but they have reasonably good park-wide WiFi so at least you’re able to use that and spare the cell radios a bit.



Yeah. GPS is a battery hog. I noticed it long ago when using it for driving directions. I turn it off when not using it.



Got a Xiaomi Redmi 4A.

Nice phone, but the recent software upgrade borked its hotspot. Gah.

There is another upgrade in the works, will wait for it and see if this fix the hotspot issue.



Just in case anyone is looking for a new cell phone soon, here’s another thing to be aware of for any of them that have a curved screen.

The curved screen moves the main area of the screen up at least an eighth of an inch. Which means you’d need a protective case where the edges that protect the screen are also at least an eighth of an inch taller. The problem is if you found a case that would protect the phone from a face-down impact, the sides would be so tall that you wouldn’t be able to look at the edge of the screen very easily on the curved side.

I think that’s the selling point of a curved screen. You can look at it edge on and still be able to read something like a tiny marquee scrolling along the edge.

Well, the phone I was issued by work slipped out of my pocket as I was getting up and landed on a tile floor slightly on one corner of the screen. The protective glass saved the main screen, but it’s cracked and it actually popped off the phone when it happened. The rubber outer shell did nothing to protect the phone from this kind of impact.

So, whenever it comes time for me to get a new personal phone, I’m going to make sure the screen is a standard flat screen and put it in a sturdy Otterbox case with raised sides. That way, even if the phone falls perfectly flat face down, the case will prevent the screen from suffering this kind of damage.

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I’m running with a Samsung S9+ and previously an S7 Edge, both with the curved screens. I honestly don’t drop my phone much, but the few instances I have I was worried about the same thing. The Incipio Case I have mitigated all damage to them…

For the super concerned, you can always go with Luxury Doom Armor… I’ve got a couple of these in different colors when I want to carry a brick but look really cool!



I use Otterbox cases, and those look a little too big for me. That’s saying something.



They are huge, solid, purportedly able to be dropped off a motorcycle at greater than 55 MPH and protect the device, and I’m fairly certain able to be used as a blunt weapon in extreme need.

Vastly impractical but great conversation starters about the insanity of phone protectors…



I’ve had my PH-1 for a couple years now and here’s hoping for a couple more.

I don’t need anything faster and battery is still kicking for a full day. Mine and my wife’s are paid for and still cranking along.

Looking at new cell phone prices scares the crap out of me.



Is the trend towards bigger screens with no bezels or wasted space all round still ongoing?



The Samsung Galaxy S10e has hardly any bezel, but it’s a fairly compact phone as a result with a 5.8" flat screen and most of the features of its larger siblings, basically minus a telephoto camera of the others and a screen with less resolution (still looks great).

I’ve been very happy with it since getting one last month. My carrier was running a special at the time for existing customers (sadly rare) so I was able to get it at half-price.



$Wife and I are still using our Moto X Pure Edition phones - 2013 design. For the most part, we love our Motos. Both have had the batteries replaced. But they will never get another OS update, so they’re stuck with 7.0, which isn’t bad in and of itself, but I have run into a couple of apps that require a newer OS, and there are some apps that tax the system a bit and cause general slowness (and eat battery). There are several features that I will sorely miss, but it is time to replace them.

Went to look at phones with $wife last week. She likes the Samsung Galaxy S10 (and the S10+), but was not as jazzed with the S10e. I’m not loving the price tags.

For me, the S10e is tempting, but if I’m going to switch to something with a fingerprint reader, I don’t want it on the back or side. I think the Samsung Galaxy S7 or S8 had a physical front home button with a fingerprint reader in it. That would be fabulous, except for the no bezel trend, as @Ook mentioned. (I just don’t understand Ars’ Ron Amadeo’s fixation with no bezels. Has he never handed his phone to someone to show them a picture or something? With no bezel, where do you hold it that won’t cause an unintended swipe or click or whatever?) Same for the curved screens, which seemed like a gimmick when first released. (on the S6?) Too easy to inadvertently touch while merely holding it in your hand, and too easy to break when dropped. And if you’re watching a movie, does it bleed off into the curved part? It seems like they’re counting wasted space toward the screen size. But then again, I haven’t lived with one to find out if I would like it or not.

Back to price, I’m tempted to get something cheaper as a temporary filler between what I have now and something that checks more of my boxes later. Something like the Moto X4 with AndroidOne for $150-200ish, or whatever the Moto was (G?) that I saw in the store (It had a really nice hand feel!) for a couple hundred bucks. I just don’t like the idea of spending almost grand on something that doesn’t have all the features I would want temporary.



This came across my news feed today…

I’m not sure if I really want a refurb, but the discount is appealing.



Yep, this. Also, holding the phone to take a picture. My wife already has enough trouble with that without removing the bezel as well.
I once saw somebody answer the question “what will be the next big innovation in mobile phones?” with “truly bezel-less screens” and my response was “no, the question was about innovation, not gimmicks”

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I got my S10e for $375 so I was very happy with the price. If it weren’t for the deal my carrier was running at the time, I might have been tempted by an S10 or S10+. I had an S7 Edge, which had the fingerprint reader on the physical home button and it worked pretty good there. I never was a big fan of the curved screen, but I could live with it.

The side mounted finger print reader on the power button took some getting used to, but it’s better at detecting my fingerprint than the S7 and is set up for both my thumb and index finger. The screen is flat on the S10e and it has no bezel, but that isn’t that big of a deal to me since my phone always sits in a case. The screen is actually larger than the old phone at 5.8" versus 5.5" while being a physically smaller phone, which as it turns out, I really like.



That is a very nice price!
T-Mobile has an ad for buy a S10 or S10+, get a S10 (or was it S10e?) for free, but it is via invoice credits spread out over, like, 30 months, and only counted if one of the phones was being activated on a new line. Well, eff you very much TMo. We already have 4 lines on the dang plan… I’d rather change it to have less lines than add moar!.* I understand spreading out the free, so you stay on their service, but don’t like the industry trend of virtually screwing existing customers by not including them in promotions.

*Me, wife, and her 2 grown-ass, adult children. But, in fairness, they had the plan before I was on it, and it is a really good deal… only slightly more than I was paying for one line through Sprint. My old Sprint plan was unlimited everything, which made sense when I was using it for business (and getting reimbursed), but I’d had a work phone for a decade, sooo yeah, getting on the family’s plan made sense. 4GB of high speed data per month per line is plenty. Oh, and it was already a four line plan - one line wasn’t being used, but when they got it, it was cheaper than the 2 line plan plus 1 line added on.



My wife was told that we could throttle back from the unlimited plan a few years ago when Sprint cared. The salesdroid Dan my data history a d was like, whups, nebermind. she had told him I used a lot of data but he didn’t expect 9 GB average with spikes of up to 15.

I often listen to YouTube let’s plays while working, and use it for a jukebox as well. Plus Pandora.

I paid 120 for my PH-1, even if I didn’t love it if still love it for that. Apparently the camera is capable of incredible pictures of you load gcam and load some specialized settings, but that looks like a black hole.



Now I know why the screen protector popped off so easily. It only had glue along the top and bottom, so there wasn’t much keeping it attached to the phone. Once it came off, it started coming off more easily and cracking more each time.

I bought one made by Armor Edge. The instructions don’t specifically say it, but there appears to be some kind of glue on the entire glass that will hold it in place. The video on the website does say that once it’s on, you can’t remove and reapply it.

We’ll see what happens the next time the phone takes a tumble and lands face down.



It’s rare that my carrier (US Cellular) has promotions for existing customers that doesn’t require adding a new line so I was surprised to see this offer. I could have actually kept using my S7 for a while longer, but it had a dreaded row of stuck pixels and the battery was just hanging on.

The catch was I did have to upgrade to a different unlimited data plan than the one I was on. It’s $10 a month more than my old plan and has the same throttling after 22GB, but also credits you $10 a month per line that stays under 3GB of data. I have 4 lines and my wife and I historically stay under that limit per month. Both my kids on the other hand…

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In Oct of '17

And just the other day, so April '19

Is that the Essential phone?

Unless we get a miraculous deal, like BOGO when the wife buys her phone, I’m leaning toward ordering a refurb S9 from Amazon. It has the fingerprint reader on the back, so I probably won’t set it up. I’m also not thrilled about the curved screen, but once it is in a case (which will negate any svelte-ness) that will add some girth to hold onto around the perimeter. Unless I really cheap out and get a Moto X4, which would leave a few more boxes unchecked in the trade for less dollar signs.
The more I shop, the more disinclined I am to spend more than my monthly car payment.