Looking for a new phone, narrowed selection to three models

Discussion in 'Smartphones' started by raspabalsa, Jun 20, 2016.

  1. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Hi all! My 2-year old Sony Xperia Z1 is starting to show the abuse it's been subjected to, but I'm not fully decided on a successor. Below I list my requirements, in order of importance:

    - Unlocked (I'm not in the US, so I won't discuss carriers)
    - Not a current flagship (because of cost), but last year's or earlier
    - SD card
    - Barometer
    - NFC
    - 5" screen or larger, 1920x1080 resolution or higher
    - At least 2GB RAM, at least 32GB internal
    - Lollipop, rootable, if possible upgradeable to Marshmallow
    - Infrared port (optional but preferable)
    - Stereo speakers (optional but preferable)

    I don't mention the camera or CPU, because models with the above specs are usually good at both. I don't care whether the back is plastic, glass, or leather, since I'll keep it in a case all the time. I don't mind if it looks "like last year's flaghship" (actual comment read on a review elsewhere). I don't care if it's waterproof or not, because in 2 years I've used this feature only once on my Z1. I'm indifferent about a removable or internal battery. I need the barometer because I'm using survey apps that need high accuracy altitude readings and the GPS is not good enough for that, NFC because I plan to get a few more cool accessories, and infrared because I miss this feature from my Palm days. I've narrowed my selection to the following three models:

    - LG G4: meets all specs except for stereo speakers (not critical), has 3GB RAM, but I've read that it's very hard to root. I have an LG Optimus L7 and it was hard to root. My wife's LG G-Pad 8.3 tablet was also somewhat hard. I wonder if this is a brand trait. The G4 has the highest screen resolution of the three at 1440x2560 pixels, although this is overkill for my needs.

    - Sony Xperia Z3: meets all specs except the infrared port (somewhat important), has 3GB RAM, will be an easy transition from my Z1, and I already know how to root and ROM it. It's also the only one that has stereo speakers, although I'd prefer if it had infrared.

    - Samsung Galaxy S5: meets all specs (except for stereo speakers), but it's the only one of the three that has 2GB RAM. Still, my Z1 also has 2GB and I seldom feel the need for more. I've read that current Galaxy devices are hard to root, but my personal experience with Samsung phones ended with the S3 Mini, which had a one-click root method.

    I'd like to hear opinions about these devices (especially the G4 and S5), especially concerning rooting and ROMing, and the actual usefulness of the infrared port when using the phone as a remote control. I'm very interested in the G4, but I don't know what to think of its curved screen.

    Opinions, thoughts, and suggestions are highly welcome :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  2. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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    I have the S5, it wasn't hard to root but unless I go to a "custom" ROM I'm stuck (happily!) on 4.4.2, due to carrier (Verizon) making later versions impossible to root via extremely locked-down bootloader. The IR port was easy to set up, and works from 10 or 15 feet away, on the TV and set top box. Not sure what else I can tell you, raspy -- being on Verizon, its CDMA (even though it is 4G-LTE) and as such, battery life is somewhat dismal (stock battery). otoh, even through a 2.0 microUSB cable, it charges quickly, and its even faster with the USB 3.0 cable.
     
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  3. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Thanks, Rick. Perhaps what I've read about the S5's difficulty with rooting is due to the carrier as you say. I haven't paid attention to that part on threads about rooting. I'm worried with the S5 requiring unlocked bootloader to root, though. My Z1 can be rooted without unlocking it, and the same is true of the Z3.

    If I do get a phone with IR I plan to get a 3rd-party universal remote app so I can stop juggling three or four remotes when I want to watch a movie.

    My Z1's battery life was never too good due to poor signal coverage, but I carry a portable charger everywhere. I guess it will be the same with whatever model I choose.

    Sent from my Xperia Z1 using Tapatalk
     
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  4. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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    in the US, of the 4 major carriers, rooting the S5 on either Sprint or T-Mobile is (was?) easy, it was only Verizon and AT&T that locked-down the bootloader.
     
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  5. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    I had the LG G2 and really liked it except for issues with the GPS and problems related to a bad screen replacement. This early model had a lot of custom LG apps that tried to match or exceed what Samsung puts on their phones -- lots if whizz bang. The IR port and included app worked great. I think LG devices have improved and I would consider one in the future. I am concerned with LG if you would ever need warranty service. My experience with them was bad (they outright lied about water damage), and to this day, I hear bad things about their service.
     
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  6. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Then it should follow that rooting an unlocked (no carrier) S5 should be easier, right? Hope this hasn't changed in more recent batches.

    I plan to have some hands-on testing next week. Both the Z3 and S5 feel like known stuff for me. It's the G4 I'd like to try most.

    Sent from my Xperia Z1 using Tapatalk
     
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  7. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Thanks, jig. I remember your bad experience and hoped you would stop by. But I've had very good experience with both my L7 and wife's G-Pad, both have never required any service, so maybe they do have improved.

    As for tech service, I guess most brands are equally bad. I've heard terrible stories from people I know with almost every brand. Remember I have the added disadvantage of being on South America, where customer service is mostly a sad joke.

    Sent from my Xperia Z1 using Tapatalk
     
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  8. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    A friend of mine graduated from the LG G2 to the LG G3, but dropped it and picked up the LG G4. Last I heard, he was very happy with it. He lives out of town, so I haven't had much opportunity to see it myself. LG made the Nexus 5 (nearly the same phone as the LG G2), which I think Hook has enjoyed.
     
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  9. internetpilot

    internetpilot Flying Dog (...duh...)

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    Rooting my Note 2 was relatively easy, but as I was neck-deep for a while in a mostly Samsung device family (tablets, phones, and even a camera), I have to say that they've gotten progressively more difficult to root and Knox is quite a pain in the.......

    As someone who was approaching (if not actually achieving) zealot levels with Samsung, I won't own another anytime soon -- probably never again unless they re-think their stance (official or unofficial) on rooting.

    I was heavily leaning toward the G4 before encountering the Black Friday deals on the Nexus 6 that I now own. I didn't want to buy another contract phone (I'm on Sprint), and couldn't really get anyone to nail down whether or not an unlocked G4 can be easily activated on Sprint. But that's my only reason, because I really liked the G4.
     
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  10. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    I also initially considered the G3, but the price difference compared to the G4 is not too high around here, and the G3 does not have a barometer.

    Nexus devices are out for me because they have no SD card slot. Except for that the Nexus 5 would be a great choice.
    Yes, Knox is among the Samsung stuff that worries me. I don't like worrying about tripping the e-fuse and blowing the warranty if I try to root or unlock the bootloader. Plus, I don't need or want to separate my phone's data into personal/business stuff. I fear this extra layer of security may be too troublesome. This is also why I've stayed away from Samsng since my S3 Mini days.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
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