Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

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Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:50 am

So, after 3 years my HTC Incredible is starting to die. Reboots are frequent enough to be annoying, battery overheating causing reboots, those same reboots causing corruption and forcing factory resets...its time has come. So I'm looking to buy a new phone. Here's what I'm looking for:

    'Great' Camera (I know that since it's on a phone it can only be so good, but I'm not looking for D-SLR quality. Just a replacement for point-and-shoot)
    Fast and smooth (Obviously)
    At least Android Jelly Bean
    MicroSD expandable
    Good D/A converters for audio to headphones (I would like to replace my Zune with this device as well, if possible)
    Available on Verizon
    Good price/'performance'.

One thing that I also have to weigh is that since I do not want to lose the contract I'm currently on (family plan with family, original $30/unlimited data plan), I will be buying the phone at full price. My budget is, therefore, around $600. The less, the better.

So please, if you have any opinions, advice, or know of any good reviews to read, please let me know!
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:57 am

Galaxy S4. I love it! Screen is AMAZING (1080P AMOLED)! Has the best battery life of any smart phone I have owned (iphone 3g, iphone 4, galaxy s2). I can easily get 2 days out of it. Its fast and has a great camera. If you don't like touch wiz just download a new app loader.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:38 am

Its hard to beat the S4. Even the camera-centric S4 zoom doesn't have as good of optics as the S4.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:07 pm

MIght wait a month or so, see if you can grab a Moto X. Should meet all your criteria.

In the meantime, this is a decent place to look for phones. I've bought a couple from here and had zero issues.

http://swappa.com/devices/verizon
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:10 pm

Since you are paying full price, check out Swappa, Ebay, and other places to get the best deal on whatever phone you choose. I have had good luck with Swappa. And let me put down another vote for the Galaxy S4; hardware wise it is pretty much the best phone out there, though it does benefit from some software tweaks. Like turning off Air View, and installing a more flexible launcher like Nova or Apex.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:31 pm

So, I read some reviews based upon your guys' suggestions. After that, last night I went to the Verizon store and played around with 4 different phones. The four phones I had whittled it down to were the Galaxy S4, Droid DNA, Incredible 4G, and RAZR MAXX. All of them had roughly (within ~300bits) the same 4G speed, which was good to see. However, given the prominent and poor button placement on the DNA and MAXX, I decided to axe those two. Holding the phones to my face, my thumb seemed to default push down on the power/standby buttons on those two phones. Quite annoying.

Which leaves me with the S4 and the Incredible 4G. Obviously, from a technical specifications the S4 is much better. While I find TouchWiz, etc. to be annoying, I know I can fix that stuff by either rooting the phone and fixing it or replacing it entirely with a different ROM. However...the Incredible 4G seems to be just as fast at most tasks (I don't plan on 'gaming' on my phone, as that is just silly), including browser loading, etc. I also like (am used to?) HTC's Sense UI, so I wouldn't have to bother with 'fixing' that. The 13MP camera on the S4, as far as I could tell, wasn't really all that much better than the 8MP camera on the Incredible 4G. Obviously it's higher resolution, but in terms of grain, etc. they seemed fairly even. Colors seemed more appealing on the S4.

The biggest sticking point for me at this point is price. The S4 is definitely better than the Incredible. But buying new, the Incredible 4G is $350, and the S4 is $650. On Swappa, that price divide is even bigger: $550-600 for the S4 and only $150 or so on Swappa (well, at least for phones in the 'recently sold' category). I'm not entirely convinced that the S4 is $300 or $400 BETTER than the Incredible. $100 better? Almost certainly. But $300 or $400 is a LOT of money to spend.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:44 pm

Does the incredible 4g run ICS or Jelly Bean? Consider HTC's poor support of non-tier 1 models. -> From an owner of an HTC One S that was promised an update to 4.2 which was recently axed: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/07/ ... old-phone/
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:33 pm

It runs ICS, sadly, as it was released last year. As an owner of the original Incredible, I'm aware that HTC is relatively notorious for not updating their phones' OSes. However, I think that this is true for...every vendor, at this point, except for Nexus devices that are controlled by Google. They want to encourage you to get the new phone (in this case, the Droid DNA or Butterfly, which doesn't have µSD expansion, so I refuse to buy it) which will run the new one. My Incredible did get a couple of updates to the factory OS, from Eclair to Froyo to Gingerbread. So I'm fairly confident that while it might take a while longer, it should come eventually.

What's Samsung's track record with updates?
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:38 pm

I believe Samsung is one of the best, as far as updates go. Usually the fastest to release the updates, as well.

Have you thought about the google play editions of the Galaxy S 4 or the HTC One? Not sure if they support Verizon's frequencies, but they are unlocked, and presumably will receive updates faster than the non play editions.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:41 pm

I was gonna recommend the Google Play edition of the Galaxy S4, but if you scroll to the very bottom of this page, it says it only supports AT&T and T-Mobile in the US.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:49 pm

My wife has the Incredible 4g, and the camera is only average. Everything else said is true.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:53 pm

Yeah, the only 'Google' device on Verizon, as far as I know, is the Galaxy Nexus which was released in 2011. It's only a year older than my Incredible 1, so I wouldn't consider than an upgrade. Arguably, the Incredible 4G is only two years older, but since the Droid DNA is so bad (seriously...no µSD slot?) the 'latest' in the line is out the window.

Edit: Emrys, average in relation to what, exactly? It seemed better than the camera in my Incredible 1 (though, I didn't get to to a real 'benchmark' type comparison, obviously), which is definitely solid as a point-and-shoot camera.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:39 pm

Sadly microSD is becoming one of those features that gets removed for apparently no reason. It's the only major issue I have with my Nexus 4.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:51 pm

DancinJack wrote:MIght wait a month or so, see if you can grab a Moto X. Should meet all your criteria.

In the meantime, this is a decent place to look for phones. I've bought a couple from here and had zero issues.

http://swappa.com/devices/verizon


I swore I read that Moto X would not be coming to Verizon. My Contract is up in 3 short months, I cannot wait to leave them. So over-priced.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:55 pm

steelcity_ballin wrote:
DancinJack wrote:MIght wait a month or so, see if you can grab a Moto X. Should meet all your criteria.

In the meantime, this is a decent place to look for phones. I've bought a couple from here and had zero issues.

http://swappa.com/devices/verizon


I swore I read that Moto X would not be coming to Verizon. My Contract is up in 3 short months, I cannot wait to leave them. So over-priced.


From what I've read, it's all major carriers. Speaking to the VZW thing, mine is up very shortly as well. I'm gonna keep my VZW phone for a bit and try out T-Mo prepaid in my area. We'll see.

There is a VERY clear reason microSD slots are not being included these days btw. USE OUR CLOUD, USE OUR BANDWIDTH, WE'LL GLADLY CHARGE YOU FOR IT.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:32 pm

So, after thinking it over for a day, I think I've decided to spare my pocketbook a little bit and just go with the Incredible 4G. It's an inferior phone, but it is at least superior to my current phone. I really, really, really want the Samsung S4...but I just can't afford to fork over $550 for a near-mint one on Swappa or $650 for a brand new one from Amazon or NewEgg.

And the funny thing is, I went to Amazon just now to order it. But, surprise surprise, the phone is now listed at $500 instead of $350. Wtf?
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:13 pm

I'm sworn off Samsung- they can keep their S4. The HTC One is at the top of my list, with the iPhone right behind it.

If you could live with the smaller screen and iOS (I know), there isn't a better phone. I don't know if I can either, so it may be HTC; but I am looking very hard at Apple.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:16 am

Airmantharp wrote:I'm sworn off Samsung- they can keep their S4.

How come?

Hey, I thought the phones from the Play store were fully unlocked. Why would one of those phones be limited to just AT&T and T-Mobile?
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 8:56 am

flip-mode wrote:Hey, I thought the phones from the Play store were fully unlocked. Why would one of those phones be limited to just AT&T and T-Mobile?


The Nexus 4 is GSM only; in addition to AT&T and T-Mobile, it should work on any of the smaller regional and MVNO carriers in US, and on most foreign networks. CDMA networks make it easier for a carrier to control what devices are attached to it, and Verizon is a control freak about what phones it will let on its network. The Galaxy Nexus is the only Nexus phone Verizon has allowed on its network, and even then they have been crappy about letting Google update it.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:31 am

CDMA networks also have the benefit of being way cooler than boring TDMA/FDMA networks like GSM ;)
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:02 am

flip-mode wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:I'm sworn off Samsung- they can keep their S4.

How come?


They always disappoint. No matter how fast the processor is or how much RAM they have, they always wind up being laggy POS's. And I don't just mean a 'little laggy', I mean laggy to the point that you can't use the device effectively as a phone. They can keep them.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:08 am

Airmantharp wrote:
flip-mode wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:I'm sworn off Samsung- they can keep their S4.

How come?


They always disappoint. No matter how fast the processor is or how much RAM they have, they always wind up being laggy POS's. And I don't just mean a 'little laggy', I mean laggy to the point that you can't use the device effectively as a phone. They can keep them.


I don't really agree. At least not to the point where you can't use the phone.

That's one benefit of Android though, root/unlock and put whatever ROM you want on it.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:10 am

Airmantharp wrote:
flip-mode wrote:
Airmantharp wrote:I'm sworn off Samsung- they can keep their S4.

How come?


They always disappoint. No matter how fast the processor is or how much RAM they have, they always wind up being laggy POS's. And I don't just mean a 'little laggy', I mean laggy to the point that you can't use the device effectively as a phone. They can keep them.


Touchwiz (the default Samsung ROM) is a piece of crap. It's a hog, bloated, and ugly to boot. I'm on a much less capable phone than an S4 running CyanogenMod 4.2.2 currently. It's not perfect, but it's brought a second life to my phone while I wait for this contract to expire.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:17 am

The camera is average to most all VZW Android phones. Same lens and aperture. The Google (Samsung) Nexus has gotten some pretty spiffy camera upgrades with the last push to JB (its the phone I have). My wife loved the Incredible and LOVES the Incredible 4G. Reason being, is its really the only option for a pocket-able phone from VZW that has decent capabilities. It really is significantly smaller and is a tremendous phone form factor. Its far more narrow and works great for her needs (she is hardly a power user).
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:22 am

TheEmrys wrote:The camera is average to most all VZW Android phones. Same lens and aperture. The Google (Samsung) Nexus has gotten some pretty spiffy camera upgrades with the last push to JB (its the phone I have). My wife loved the Incredible and LOVES the Incredible 4G. Reason being, is its really the only option for a pocket-able phone from VZW that has decent capabilities. It really is significantly smaller and is a tremendous phone form factor. Its far more narrow and works great for her needs (she is hardly a power user).


https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/view?q= ... 7094711426 10MP taken with Moto X.

Edit Another one : https://plus.google.com/photos/11737892 ... 3620319300
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:42 pm

Soooooooo...surprise! After coming back from the verizon store tonight, in which I spent some time talking things over with one of the kind gentlemen who work there, I found that Amazon had re-instated the 30% price drop to $350. Soo...I bought it! I also bought a hard shell case for it. I'm not sure how good of a case this is, but I hope it's solid. If nothing else, it also comes with a screen protector. I bought it because a lot of the other color combinations for it (blue/black, etc) had solid reviews.

Also, Amazon had $3.99 Saturday Shipping, so I paid for that. It should be here on Saturday :D
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:05 pm

CampinCarl wrote:Soooooooo...surprise! After coming back from the verizon store tonight, in which I spent some time talking things over with one of the kind gentlemen who work there, I found that Amazon had re-instated the 30% price drop to $350. Soo...I bought it! I also bought a hard shell case for it. I'm not sure how good of a case this is, but I hope it's solid. If nothing else, it also comes with a screen protector. I bought it because a lot of the other color combinations for it (blue/black, etc) had solid reviews.

Also, Amazon had $3.99 Saturday Shipping, so I paid for that. It should be here on Saturday :D


The Incredible 4G is a very tidy little handset, and a good (and logical) step up from your Incredible :) The Trident cases stand up pretty well to hard treatment, and I generally find them a little more resilient (although much harder to find in Australia) than OtterBoxes.

Although I liked the One (well, specifically Sense 5), I feel that HTC really got Sense 4 right before they tried something different. Performance is good, and all updates over Sense 2 that your original Incredible had are logical - you'll see most of them and say 'yep, that should've been there initially'. The new camera sensor will show improvements for you, too. It shares the camera module with the HTC Vivid and the HTC Amaze, which had an excellent sensor.

I buy-and-sell phones for a hobby, and CDMA ones with GSM functionality fetch good prices over here. Having used one of these personally and, (sadly for my wallet) having used a large majority of the devices released over the past five years - you've made a good, sensible choice. Mobile hardware has all but reached the point of diminishing returns for everyday performance - you don't need eight cores and 2GB of RAM to experience good day-to-day performance.

Enjoy! :)
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:13 pm

juzz86 wrote:The Incredible 4G is a very tidy little handset, and a good (and logical) step up from your Incredible :) The Trident cases stand up pretty well to hard treatment, and I generally find them a little more resilient (although much harder to find in Australia) than OtterBoxes.

Although I liked the One (well, specifically Sense 5), I feel that HTC really got Sense 4 right before they tried something different. Performance is good, and all updates over Sense 2 that your original Incredible had are logical - you'll see most of them and say 'yep, that should've been there initially'. The new camera sensor will show improvements for you, too. It shares the camera module with the HTC Vivid and the HTC Amaze, which had an excellent sensor.

I buy-and-sell phones for a hobby, and CDMA ones with GSM functionality fetch good prices over here. Having used one of these personally and, (sadly for my wallet) having used a large majority of the devices released over the past five years - you've made a good, sensible choice. Mobile hardware has all but reached the point of diminishing returns for everyday performance - you don't need eight cores and 2GB of RAM to experience good day-to-day performance.

Enjoy! :)


Thanks! I'm thinking I will, especially after your comments! As far as I'm concerned, it hits 6 out of 7 of my target goals, the only miss being that it currently runs ICS and not JB. But that should be rectified sooner rather than later. Also think I should be able to come up with some fun projects for the old Incredible.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:26 pm

You don't need eight cores and 2GB of RAM- but the two cores and 1GB of RAM in my Note 1 is seriously not enough. I cannot wait to get rid of this thing; sometimes it works okay, many times it's so slow you'd think I was running Vista on it.
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Re: Best Android Phone to Buy (VZW)

Postposted on Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:14 pm

The HTC One, Motorola Droid Ultra, Motorola Droid Maxx, and Motorola Droid Mini are all going to be announced (and released) for Verizon soon. The same goes for the Moto X, but it's rumored to be for all major U.S. carriers, not just Verizon.
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