How raspy got a new smartphone just in time for new year

Discussion in 'General Smartphone/Handheld/Wearable Discussion' started by raspabalsa, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Hi all!

    A few months ago I began considering buying a new phone to replace my 2.5 years old LG G6. The G6 is working properly but I wanted a device with a larger screen, more storage, and better cameras. I've been looking hard at the Oneplus 7 Pro, and while it seems a great value for its price, I decided to take a step back and organize my priorities:

    1. Phone must work in the countries I most often travel to: Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia. In these countries you no longer can buy any phone abroad and activate it in the local networks. The phone model must be "homologated", which means its model number must reside in a database kept by the communications regulation agency in each country. If the phone isn't there, it will be eventually and permanently banned from the networks. Luckily, the databases are accessible online by anyone, so researching models is easy.

    2. Phone must be at least equal or improve on the LG G6 in features and specs. Quick rundown on the G6: 5.7" QHD screen (1440 x 2880), IPS LCD, 4GB RAM, 32GB internal + SD card (128GB card installed), Snapdragon 821, compass, barometer, NFC, capacitive fingerprint sensor, dual back camera (normal and wide), 3.5mm headphone jack. I decided that the only features I could compromise on where the SD card if internal is at least 256GB and headphone jack if the phone exceeds the other requirements.

    3. Large screen, 6" or larger. My main usage by screen time is watching movies.

    4. Very good cameras. The G6 cameras are good enough most of the time, and on previous purchases I have paid little attention to photo quality. But a few months ago I began considering getting a phone with a better camera. Features I most wanted are optical zoom and better low-light pictures.

    5. Under USD 900 price, taxes included.

    The Oneplus 7 Pro was still the main contender, with its 6.7" QHD+ (1880 x 3120) AMOLED display, Snapdragon 855, 8GB RAM, 256GB internal storage (no SD slot), and three back cameras (normal, wide, telephoto). The O7P's price in Colombia is USD 875 so it was within my budget. However, I began to have second thoughts because of several features it lacks such as 3.5mm jack and IP rating. The 3.5mm jack is still hard to leave behind especially since other flagships still include it, and the IP rating is something that no one thinks will need - until they do. A key selling point of the O7P is the 90 Hz refresh rate of the display, but this is not something I need or care about. For me, the major point in favor of the O7P is the fully obstruction-free screen. The O7P's front camera is retractable, so a game or movie can be enjoyed on the full 6.7" screen. However, the retractable camera and lack of IP rating are weak points, especially since I spend so much time in the field.

    My second choice was LG. As expected, the LG G7, LG G8, LG V40, and LG V50, exceed the LG G6 in every spec and feature imaginable. But the sad part is that LG is doing very badly in South America, and its market share keeps shrinking, so newer models aren't introduced. I found that the G7 and G8 are homologated in Peru and Ecuador but not in Bolivia or Colombia, and neither the V40 nor the V50 are homologated in any of the four countries. This means that if I get any of them I run the risk of having the phone banned from the networks. So it was with a heavy heart that I turned my back to LG. Remember that I purchased the G6 even after my V10's premature death (bootlooped after 13 months), and I've been very happy with the G6 for the past 2.5 years. I think there will always be a special place in my heart for LG phones :newpalm:

    I looked at other flagships or "flagship killers" such as the Xiaomi Mi 9 Pro, Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro, and Huawei P30 Pro, but those didn't make it into my list because their screens are just FHD (1080 x 2340). I can clearly see differences in everyday usage (note taking, web browsing, Excel) compared with QHD screens. Honestly, it baffles me that reviews will call these models "flagships" or that they rave about the "superb screens" when they're just FHD.

    I also considered the F(x) Tec Pro1, especially after Hook's stellar review. But logistics are still not fixed and I fear shipping to Colombia will take even longer than to the USA. Plus, the F(x) phone isn't homologated for the countries I need. The final nail in the coffin is that the Pro1's screen is FHD, so no go.

    Then I started looking at the Galaxy S10 lineup. In order of increasing size (and price!), the family starts with the 5.8" S10e, then the 6.1" S10, then the 6.4" S10+. Main specs are very similar across these models, except for cameras and that the S10e has a FHD screen, so I kicked it out of the list. Both the S10 and S10+ are massive improvements over the LG G6 in every respect. But I couldn't get either because of the price. In Colombia the S10 costs USD 1015, and the S10+ costs USD 1160. If this sounds like highway robbery, then I'll let you know that they're even more expensive in Ecuador and Bolivia, with the S10+ going as high as USD 1400. They're all the 8GB RAM, 128GB internal versions. The price tabs on the 256GB versions are even higher.

    I briefly considered the Galaxy Note 10, which is slightly more expensive than the S10+, but the Note 10 has a FHD screen, so no go. The Note 10+ costs even more than the S10+ 256GB versions. Also, neither Note model has a 3.5mm jack.

    About 2 weeks ago I went on vacation, and got some hands-on time with the Oneplus 7 Pro, the S10, and S10+. I already knew they were all improvements over the G6, but I wanted to test the screens. I ran videos side by side, and they all look great, except for the punch holes in the S10 and S10+. However, I -very surprisingly- found that the punch holes are less distracting than I expected. I tested some notched phones next, and the notch seems to take much more room than even the S10+ dual punch hole. I also tried a compromise with the S10+: zooming and panning the movie so it will not use the punch hole area. This takes just a couple of swipes on MX Player, and the setting "stays", meaning next time you play the video it will appear at the same zoom and pan setting. Even then the image is much larger than on the LG G6, but of course smaller than on the O7P. After my screen tests I kept leaning towards the latter, if only for the uncompromised screen and lower price compared to the S10+.

    I had decided to purchase the Oneplus 7 Pro on my return to Colombia when an unexpected thing happened: I found the S10 models at reduced prices in a Samsung store in Quito's airpoirt. Mrs. R and I had a couple of hours to wait until our next flight was called, so she went shopping, and so did I. In the Samsung store the S10 went for USD 750 and the S10+ for USD 810. The S10+ was cheaper than even the Oneplus 7 Pro, and it was right there for the taking! Still, I spent about an hour testing the S10, the S10+, and the Note 10 and Note 10+. Again, I couldn't make much sense of the S-pen (they're! not! Palm! devices! :D), so soon I was playing only with the S10+, and after consulting with Mrs R. I purchased it! I got it just in time for the New Year celebrations, and the pictures I took with the S10+ during the family dinner were the envy of everyone present. They all took pics with their phones, but then they all asked me to send my pics to them.

    I'm really liking this device. Setup took me about 3 hours, but I didn't use Samsung's included switch utility. Instead, I manually installed all my apps and downloaded settings and data from apps (Nova Launcher, Calengoo, AquaMail, etc) from the G6 to the S10+.

    For the desktop I'm using Nova Launcher with the Faddy iconset and a few widgets. I tried masking the punch hole with one of literally hundreds of wallpapers available online:

    Vader.jpg

    I also tried my hand at creating my own wallpaper using templates available online, and decided to embrace the punch hole:

    Deadpool.jpg

    My initial impressions of the S10+ are that it's a solid, premium, feature-packed device, very worth its price. My major complains right now are that the fingerprint sensor is harder to use than in the G6, and I'm still not fully comfortable with the curved screen edges.

    The fingerprint sensor is invisible to the eye and touch, being under the screen. If I keep the always-on display on on the screen displays the location of the sensor, but if AOD is off, you have to guess were it is. Also, it's slower than the G6's capacitive sensor. I have to train my fingers to hit the sensor area and remain in place for the best part of a second for the sensor to unlock the phone.

    As for the curved screen, it makes me tap on icons when I don't want to and also introduces some glare bands if the phone is held at a certain angle relative to a strong light source. I slapped a silicone case on the S10+ (dimly seen in the above pics) and this has reduced the unwanted tapping by "raising" the sides a bit, but the glare of course remains. This is no big deal, since I watch movies mostly in the dark.

    This is how videos look on the S10+ and G6 if using the S10+ full screen:

    video punchhole.jpg

    Both devices are at full brightness, no image effects applied. The S10+ has video enhancements but I haven't enabled them yet. I'm not sure which of the two devices has the proper hue and saturation.

    This is how the same scene looks if I zoom and pan the video on the S10+ to avoid the punchholes:

    video no hole.jpg

    The S10+ still beats the G6 in video size by a significant margin. Regardless, I'm watching movies full screen, and usually I can ignore the punch holes in the perifery. Time will tell if I get used to them.

    Now that my vacation is over I can start exploring other features of the S10+, such as wireless charging (I have a Qi pad and a Qi-equipped battery back purchased when I had the LG V10), reverse wireless charging, audio and video enhancements, camera AI, etc. I have high hopes for the super slo-mo camera (960 fps) and the 2x optical zoom. I also increased storage by installing a 256GB card, so now I have a whopping 384GB total storage. I moved music, images, ebooks, everything to the internal, and the SD card will hold only movies.

    Now I'll see if I can make another wallpaper, this time with an image of Cable and Deadpool mocking the "The Creation of Adam" fresco from the Sistine Chapel :D :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
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  2. scjjtt

    scjjtt A Former Palm User

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    Raspy, congrats on your new phone and thanks for the taking the time to share with us everything going on to make your choice and decision. It sounds like you got a great deal and a great phone. I'm so happy for you, except I feel a little lonely carrying on the LG brand...

    I don't know about the countries you are in, but the last two years, being in Panama, I can't believe how many Samsung stores and billboards there are. They are everywhere! It is as if Samsung is the only phone maker and they have Samsung stores like our Apple stores in the U.S..

    Enjoy your phone and again, congratulations!

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab A (10.1") /128GB using Tapatalk
     
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  3. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Hi Scott! You're very welcome, but I guess everyone knows how I enjoy ranting :D

    I really felt sorry about leaving the LG family. But they seem to be uninterested in keeping or winning back their market share in South America. LG's Ecuadorian website still shows the G6 next to the G7, and no V series phones is shown. LG's Colombian website also shows the G6 and the G7 Fit and G8s, both dumbed down versions of the G7 and G8. Worse, it still shows the V10 :( and no other V series model.

    Samsung phones are everywhere in most countries I've visited in Central and South America. Iphones are very common in Panama, Colombia and Ecuador, not so much in Peru, almost non-exisiting in Bolivia. Huawei has lost a lot of market share following Trump's war on chinese tech. Motorola and Asus have very little market share here.

    It was somewhat surprising to me to purchase a Samsung phone again after so many years. When I moved from Palm to Android I started with Samsung devices, but my last was the Galaxy S3 Mini in 2014. In recent years I've avoided Samsung phones mostly due to the Knox lockout and amount of bloatware reported. But I don't root phones anymore, so Knox seems to be a benefit. Also, the phone I purchased is the international version, and has almost no bloatware. Just a couple of apps from Samsung, Facebook, and that's it. I did log in to the Samsung account to see what's Bixby good for. I'm not impressed so far.
     
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  4. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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    congrats indeed, raspy! I'm glad you've gotten a great phone at a relative bargin price.
     
  5. scjjtt

    scjjtt A Former Palm User

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    Mrs scjjtt & I both have Samsung watches. It has Bixby. I prefer Wear OS with Google speech recognition. Bixby is pretty weak.

    Sent from my LG v10 using Tapatalk
     
  6. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Actually I don't use Google's assistant much. I just wanted to know if Bixby was any better. Seems like it isn't, except for something called "Bixby routines" that let's you automate a lot of things, kind of like Tasker. My G6 has a similar tool, but Bixby routines seems more powerful.

    I don't have a smartwatch (I'm still not convinced I need one). My son kind of wants one, but he's not convinced either. We were looking at some Huawei and Samsung models, but none really interested him. I'm starting to believe he only wants a smartwatch because he doesn't like analog watches. I'm thinking of instead buying a nice digital watch for him, perhaps from the Casio G-Shock line. I think he'll be happy with one :)
     
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  7. jigwashere

    jigwashere Mobile Deity

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    I just cracked the screen on my G6. I'm not quite ready to replace my phone though so we'll see. My son does love his Galaxy S10 though.

    Sent from my moto g(6) using Tapatalk
     
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  8. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    That's too bad, jig. Losing or damaging a phone is always a great inconvenience, and that's even before talking about the attachment one usually forms with their gadgets! Do let us know if you upgrade your device.

    Coincidentally, Mrs R also uses a Moto G6. She loves it very much. It's in pristine condition. Last week I purchased a new silicone case and glass protector (there's another thing I'm not convinced is really necessary). I asked her if she would like to move to my LG G6 but she said no, because earlier I had told her I was thinking about selling the LG G6. I insisted, but she really likes her Moto G6. I guess moving one letter down the alphabet and keeping the "G6" was not worth the hassle for her :D

    My G6 is now wiped, ready for a new user. Have vacation plans, jig? Weather is not so awful these days in Bolivia, and I'll happily trade my G6 for beers over dinner :newpalm:
     
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  9. jigwashere

    jigwashere Mobile Deity

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    Thanks, raspy! I've been craving salteñas and paceña. Is there a Dumbo's near you? ;)
     
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  10. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    There's a Dumbo in El Alto and another in La Paz near the migration offices. Both are close enough to Viacha. I'll pass on the salteñas (not a fan of hot food) but I'll accept Paceñas or better yet, Huaris. The Huari is a bitter beer, my prefered kind.
     
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