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parodon
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Chinese Android phones

Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:43 am

Hi,
There are so many cheap android phones from brands I've never heard of that I do have to ask.

What do you think? Are you afraid of spying (I am a bit)? Is the support even possible?

I found this thing (because its cheap so please do no laugh) with Android 7.0 so not THAT old https://productz.com/en/doro-8040 for around $50-$100 (!!).
I had Samsung which I hated (the software modifications), iPhones or way too expensive and not evolving that much these days.
I liked the idea behind OnePlus but these are getting more and more expensive.

cheers
 
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:46 am

Biggest concern I have is that if a phone has not officially been released in North America, it often doesn't have the LTE bands for your carrier. And for me, then, it doesn't matter about spying. It won't even work right in the first place.
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:52 am

There's a middleground: known Chinese companies/brands. Xiaomi, Meizu, Oppo...
 
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:52 am

parodon wrote:
What do you think? Are you afraid of spying (I am a bit)? Is the support even possible?


If you aren't already worried about the NSA/CIA/FBI/etc doing it for who knows how long already you shouldn't be worried about China.
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:21 am

Pretty sure the active spying on users by the US is more of an issue than active spying of US users by China, unless you work for the US government in the first place. Then you definitely don't want the Chinese government accessing your data.

The US problem is (as already mentioned) that you use LTE instead of GSM like the rest of the planet. I guess that goes with your resistance of Metric and SI units too, but this time it's actually denying you products that would be a huge benefit to you :(
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:32 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
Pretty sure the active spying on users by the US is more of an issue than active spying of US users by China, unless you work for the US government in the first place. Then you definitely don't want the Chinese government accessing your data.

The US problem is (as already mentioned) that you use LTE instead of GSM like the rest of the planet. I guess that goes with your resistance of Metric and SI units too, but this time it's actually denying you products that would be a huge benefit to you :(

Wait, what? Maybe you mean CDMA? The UK has LTE operators. So does most of Europe, hell so does most of the rest of the world? We have (and still do have) GSM operators in the US, with the two largest being ATT and Tmobile. Hell, they used to be all GSM before the LTE networks cropped up.

I'm pretty sure you mean CDMA so I'll go off that. First, Verizon (the largest CDMA operator in the US by a freakin' long shot) is in the process of phasing out CDMA and refarming to LTE for everything. So, once that nightmare is over that issue will be resolved. That's not really the biggest issue though. LTE itself still imposes serious restrictions for operators, OEMs, and IC makers. The swath of LTE bands and frequencies that a modem maker needs to support for their phone to be able to operate on numerous networks is legit insane. It's insane. It's not just the US either, it's everywhere.

Now, I don't refute that the mobile network situation is largely better in the UK/Europe, but the US definitely has some decent networks these days and are only making bigger improvements as the years go. Even today Verizon just launched their "5G" network for home service. Verizon quotes Wi-Fi speeds of ~300mpbs and "peak speeds" of up to 1Gbps. We won't see mobile 5G networks until at least 2019 here in the US, but getting speeds even close to 1Gbps, or even half that, is pretty good.

FWIW, i think the US refusal to use the metric system/SI is insane. Honest to god I'd vote for a politician if this was their only campaign issue.
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:44 am

Wait, yes - I did mean CDMA!

LTE is GSM+HSPA, I just only hear the term LTE in the US as it's just called 4G without any prefixes or suffixes everywhere else :P
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:41 am

derFunkenstein wrote:
Biggest concern I have is that if a phone has not officially been released in North America, it often doesn't have the LTE bands for your carrier. And for me, then, it doesn't matter about spying. It won't even work right in the first place.

Check the bands on the tech specs sheets.
Oneplus is missing one band for my carrier which cuts down my top end speeds.
I'm okay with that since it burns through enough data.
 
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:43 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
Pretty sure the active spying on users by the US is more of an issue than active spying of US users by China, unless you work for the US government in the first place. Then you definitely don't want the Chinese government accessing your data.

The US problem is (as already mentioned) that you use LTE instead of GSM like the rest of the planet. I guess that goes with your resistance of Metric and SI units too, but this time it's actually denying you products that would be a huge benefit to you :(

LTE is the evolution of GSM.
CDMA is the dead standard some U.S. carriers were stuck on.
 
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:18 am

Arvald wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:
Pretty sure the active spying on users by the US is more of an issue than active spying of US users by China, unless you work for the US government in the first place. Then you definitely don't want the Chinese government accessing your data.

The US problem is (as already mentioned) that you use LTE instead of GSM like the rest of the planet. I guess that goes with your resistance of Metric and SI units too, but this time it's actually denying you products that would be a huge benefit to you :(

LTE is the evolution of GSM.
CDMA is the dead standard some U.S. carriers were stuck on.

Just to put it in perspective. Verizon has 151M subscribers. Sprint has another 53 Million. That's ~200M on CDMA. That's roughly 25% of hte population of all of Europe, or all of UK, France & Germany put together. That's alot of momentum to shift to the non-CDMA.
 
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:25 am

I stay away from cheap Chinese phones because they generally are missing bands needed in the USA, and they usually don't get software updates. As far as spying, I am more worried about Google/Apple knowing everything about me, than the various gov agencies. Unfortunately, we have no choice there, as it is a duopoly. Anyway, my future phone purchases will be Android One phones or similar, as I want better software updates.
 
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:42 am

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Just to put it in perspective. Verizon has 151M subscribers. Sprint has another 53 Million. That's ~200M on CDMA. That's roughly 25% of hte population of all of Europe, or all of UK, France & Germany put together. That's alot of momentum to shift to the non-CDMA.

I don't want to discount anything you said because in theory it's true, but in practice it's a little more nuanced. For instance, I'm in Wichita, KS about 90 percent of the time. I'm never, literally never, on CDMA while in Wichita. The vast majority of people in even moderaltely sized metro areas don't touch CDMA anymore. Verizon isn't even adding devices to their network anymore than use CDMA only. It's all LTE all the time now. Most of their metro areas have VoLTE too (and any phone registered with VZW through the carrier/OEM process must include VoLTE now).

So, while Sprint and Verizon still use CDMA as a backup (especially Sprint) it's not near as much of a factor anymore as it used to be. Verizon is completely retiring CDMA in H2 2019.

I'm with Funk on this one though. Not having the LTE bands necessary to operate properly is more than just a top speed issue. Some of those bands (frequencies) get better penetration and propagation. A lot of times that can mean increased (relative to poorer LTE reception) battery life compared to a phone that doesn't have access to everything your carrier provides. It's just one big mess if you ask me.
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:55 am

DancinJack wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Just to put it in perspective. Verizon has 151M subscribers. Sprint has another 53 Million. That's ~200M on CDMA. That's roughly 25% of hte population of all of Europe, or all of UK, France & Germany put together. That's alot of momentum to shift to the non-CDMA.

I don't want to discount anything you said because in theory it's true, but in practice it's a little more nuanced. For instance, I'm in Wichita, KS about 90 percent of the time. I'm never, literally never, on CDMA while in Wichita. The vast majority of people in even moderaltely sized metro areas don't touch CDMA anymore. Verizon isn't even adding devices to their network anymore than use CDMA only. It's all LTE all the time now. Most of their metro areas have VoLTE too (and any phone registered with VZW through the carrier/OEM process must include VoLTE now).

So, while Sprint and Verizon still use CDMA as a backup (especially Sprint) it's not near as much of a factor anymore as it used to be. Verizon is completely retiring CDMA in H2 2019.

Oh, I certainly agree that today it is much less of an issue. I was hoping it would come later than 2019.
 
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 9:57 am

clocks wrote:
I stay away from cheap Chinese phones because they generally are missing bands needed in the USA

People travel globally with their phones. Isn't it a non-issue nowadays?

and they usually don't get software updates.

With known brands I'm not sure that's any more true than Korean/other manufacturers.
There are also Android One models, like the Xiaomi A1 or A2 (sadly, both oversized).
 
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:00 am

meerkt wrote:
clocks wrote:
I stay away from cheap Chinese phones because they generally are missing bands needed in the USA

People travel globally with their phones. Isn't it a non-issue nowadays?

No, it's still an issue. It's insane too.

It usually goes like this. If a phone supports Europe/China, then it doesn't usually have all the USA bands and vise versa. It's so stupid. There are some LTE bands with like five BLOCKS inside of those bands. Modem makers have a tough job to support all the BS that goes on in the LTE spectrum.

That said, there are a number of phones that can get you legit global access. iPhones are usually pretty decent. Google's Pixel phones are good too. Just have to check specs before you buy, and calling your carrier wouldn't hurt either.
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:02 am

Is LTE that important when you can fallback, I assume, to 3G?
 
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:04 am

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Oh, I certainly agree that today it is much less of an issue. I was hoping it would come later than 2019.

Goodness me, I wish it had already happened!
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:12 am

meerkt wrote:
Is LTE that important when you can fallback, I assume, to 3G?

It depends. In the US the answer is "it's complicated."

So, as has been mentioned, in the US Verizon and Sprint use CDMA for 3G services. No joke, top speeds on CDMA 3G are like, less than a megabit. It's so awful. It has really good penetration and propagation because they use a combination of low freq (800-900MHz) and higher freq (~1700-2100MHz) stuff together to make a pretty decent coverage network, but the speeds are so insanely slow.

On the other hand, ATT/Tmobile use GSM/HSPA(+) for their 3G (and since everything is crap they call it "4G" sometimes too even though it's not LTE). You can get pretty decent speeds on GSM and even moreso on HSPA+ in the US. I've seen speeds upwards of 50+Mbps on Tmobile HSPA+. Not bad.

The crappy part is that some modems don't support both CDMA/GSM, at least until recently. Another complication is that most of these companies are refarming their GSM/HSPA/CDMA networks to LTE so they can create more capacity on LTE and move onto "5G" (and 5GNR) in the coming years. So the 3G coverage in the US is actually diminishing at a pretty rapid rate and being replaced by LTE in most cases. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if you don't have a phone that supports the proper LTE bands it can be a mess.
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:17 am

I have a OnePlus now, but my next phone will probably be a Huawei--#2 cellphone maker in the world. Its phones price/features ratio is just too compelling vs. the premium brands--but I might give Nokia a look.
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:18 am

DancinJack wrote:
Usacomp2k3 wrote:
Oh, I certainly agree that today it is much less of an issue. I was hoping it would come laterthan 2019.

Goodness me, I wish it had already happened!

I meant earlier. Whoops. Big difference.
 
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:52 am

Related to my earlier thread comment, I just pulled the trigger on an unlocked GSM Huawei with US warranty, as the gold color price had a temp drop on AMZN from US$249 to US$192--just a really great deal.
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:58 am

Neutronbeam wrote:
Related to my earlier thread comment, I just pulled the trigger on an unlocked GSM Huawei with US warranty, as the gold color price had a temp drop on AMZN from US$249 to US$192--just a really great deal.

https://www.amazon.com/Huawei-Mate-Fact ... B0791BJBX8 -- eh?

I'm not a huge fan of A53 cores, but they do their job I suppose. You're not gonna get top end cameras, or a few other features but it looks like a good deal for sure. Personally, my biggest concern would be the software. They wrap a pretty heavy skin on Android, and I think that phone launched with Nougat, so I wouldn't necessarily count on it getting Pie.
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Oct 02, 2018 12:36 pm

DancinJack wrote:
I'm with Funk on this one though. Not having the LTE bands necessary to operate properly is more than just a top speed issue. Some of those bands (frequencies) get better penetration and propagation. A lot of times that can mean increased (relative to poorer LTE reception) battery life compared to a phone that doesn't have access to everything your carrier provides. It's just one big mess if you ask me.

Yep, if you don't have those lower-frequency bands indoors, you're basically hosed.
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:27 pm

meerkt wrote:
...a middleground: known Chinese companies/brands. Xiaomi...


I should've added a subjective warning. Xiaomi's UI and stock apps are bad (at least MIUI 9, currently being transitioned to 10).

My only in-depth point of reference is Samsung Android 4, which I find mostly nice. Perhaps I've just not experienced the badness of other/current flavors, but anyway... Xiaomi's flavor includes a few niceties, but the core, the basics, are pretty much all underwhelming/disappointing/bad. The UI and visual design, the basic apps (Dialer, Launcher...), serious longstanding bugs (despite seemingly a new update every few weeks).
 
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:19 pm

i think vivo mobile phone is good
 
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:08 am

parodon wrote:
Hi,
There are so many cheap android phones from brands I've never heard of that I do have to ask.

What do you think? Are you afraid of spying (I am a bit)? Is the support even possible?

I found this thing (because its cheap so please do no laugh) with Android 7.0 so not THAT old https://productz.com/en/doro-8040 for around $50-$100 (!!).
I had Samsung which I hated (the software modifications), iPhones or way too expensive and not evolving that much these days.
I liked the idea behind OnePlus but these are getting more and more expensive.

cheers


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The damage was $68 which was pretty nice since the phone I had been using for more than five years originally cost me around $272 (Sony Xperia Active. I know, ouch!). The 1X-2019 has a nice mix of features, throwing a little bit of everything into the phone. The CPU and storage speed is a bit on the slow side. My worst experience with it was when it updated itself to a newer Android version and during app installation. The wait times can be pretty horrible. Other than that, it's very usable for day to day use. Screen quality and sound quality is better than what I was used to and if Wi-Fi/BT is off, the battery easily lasts a week which is amazing to me considering I was putting the Xperia on charging every other day. So all in all, I'm satisfied for what I paid.
 
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Sat Nov 09, 2019 4:48 pm

As mentioned by numerous others, frequency band support is the main issue. But my opinion is that the problem has actually gotten worse, not better. At least in normal people's ability to figuring things out.

CDMA vs GSM/HSPA/LTE is a more well-known problem, let me explain the GSM-lineage side, and let's only look at 3 main regions: US/Canada, Europe(-ish), and Asia.

Back in the days of 2G, there were essentially 4 frequencies and each region essentially takes on a pair: US/Can - 850/1900MHz, Euro/Asia 900/1800MHz. That's why importing phones from across the pond was a fool's errand because none of the bands would match and your phone is basically useless for making calls/data. The advent of tri-band phones made importing/roaming possible, but still no realistic "global" phone. You always have to compromise because on "non-native" region you would always be missing a frequency band and coverage suffered.

Then come 3G (UMTS/HSPA), these were the 4 bands, and then later 1 more joined the group: US/Can 850/1900 (later 1700), Euro 900/2100, Asia 2100 (some territories). Tri-, quad-, and penta-band phones finally made "global phone" a decent reality. But of course, governments and carriers always had to make things difficult for us consumers.

With 4G/LTE (forget US Carriers' use of the term "4G", I am using the more technical naming convention), there are now 40+ bands (with more being available over time, big money with spectrum auctions) in play, each occupying like 20-40MHz of spectrum space. The Megahurtz number does not work anymore; for example, there are 3 (or 4?) bands associated with 700MHz. Even I can't keep up these days and always have to look things up. In US, for ATT, according to (frequencycheck.com), uses 2, 4, 17, 30. Most urban areas would be 2 and 4. T-mobile is like 4 and 12 in most of their earlier deployed areas. Verizon has that critical band 13. Apple sort of led the way with compatibility by first bringing frequency support for like 10+ bands, but with so many numbers floating around you need to fact check like a hawk to make sure that your carrier's bands are supported when you import phones. Missing 13 has always been a problem for people using Verizon, for example.

The reasons are technical as much as business/political. A radio/modem chip is going to be more complicated, larger, and more power hungry if it supports more bands. Carriers/shops/govts obviously do not prefer people buying phones from other countries circumventing markups and taxes. Even most modem chips bands are "firmware" controlled these days, I don't think phone makers necessarily allow you to just flash some baseband firmware and be able to switch bands. The flashing scene is much more difficult these days. You want to talk about Android fragmentation? LTE bands is a worse **** hot mess! :evil:

---

Kind of back to the original topic. Support and maintenance is another important topic. Apart from Google itself with their Pixels, Nokia, or OnePlus, counting on vendors to give you at least security updates is like begging for some huge favour. Larger vendors with carrier ties, like Samsung and LG, have now become a bit better since the 2-year thing is pretty well established. Even so beyond 2 years don't count on getting any updates at all. Chinese vendors are even worse, especially outside of China. You can basically expect to get no updates at all even your initial damage is small. Whether security updates (forget feature updates) are important, will be up to you. If you do any online banking or shopping on the phone, beware.

---

So TL;DR with respect to cheap import Chinese phones in US/Canada? Practically a no, even before spying allegations are considered.

So what other cheap phones to look? It won't be like sub-$100, but I would say Motorola and (somewhat reluctantly) BLU may be your ticket. They have decent choices around the $200-300 mark. Updates is still an issue but that's basically a common Android vendor problem. Or, go with those low end Samsung phones that may be 1-2 generations out, the J's and stuff. They would be usable with guaranteed carrier support as most are sold by them. Don't expect to play the latest games on them or decent camera quality though. I recently found out that OIS is a premium feature and had trouble finding a model with it in the <$400 range, unless you dip into the used market. :-?
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:01 pm

I didn't realize there were quite that many bands. Is 5g going to be so fragmented as well? I realize that will only matter to dense population area folks for the time being anyway.
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:37 pm

Not quite the old TR CPU/GPU matrix, but still huge lookup tables and alphabet soup that no sane person would want to bother:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LTE_frequency_bands
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5G_NR_frequency_bands

Good luck :o
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Re: Chinese Android phones

Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:30 am

I just bought my xiaomi redmi note 7 phone 3 months ago, it costs about $ 210, now I find it very OK with my car

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