Looking for a hard working smartphone, with a strong user base. Would appreciate your knowledge

whynottoday

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May 23, 2010
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Figured I'd follow the Tom's computer building post format:

Approximate Purchase Date: 1 week-3 months

Budget Range: <$300 (if it's exceptional maybe a bit more, prefer to keep it on the low side though, something that can be lost/stolen/broken without tears)

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
1) Mobile Internet browsing, Radio streaming in car, GPS, price checking, etc.
2) Computer styled usage (some document editing, media player, etc.)
3) Phone/text (not very important, but necessary)

What carrier/plan you plan to use: T Mobile, $30/month for 100 minutes, "Unlimited" data/text

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: no real preference. Prefer to buy used/cheap when possible.

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Parts Preferences: no preference really. Don't like Nokia for some reason but that's about all of my discrimination. Have familiarized myself a little with current offerings- Galaxy Note II, Nexus 4, Xperia Z, etc.

Customization: yes. I'd like something with a strong user base that I can follow. I'm interested in software modifications/customization etc. I can follow directions well, but am by no means gifted with technology.

Additional Comments:
-I want something which is as close to a mobile PC/netbook as I can get (reasonably).
-I really want a large screen (4.5"+) for internet browsing & GPS in the car etc.
-I don't really care about the "phone" qualities (I don't frequently talk/text etc.)
-I don't care about "bling" quality or having a flashy phone to impress others with. It's fine if it's a few years old etc.
-I'd prefer a long lasting battery if it's possible.
-I'd prefer to keep weight down, but if a great phone is heavy that's fine.
-A quality camera would be convenient (if it is better than a simple point & shoot)

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Haven't had a cellphone in 5+ years, finally decided the convenience was worth it. I haven't been paying attention to phone offerings so need a quick orientation of which community to look for more answers in.

TL;DR: I'm a student looking for a utilitarian smart phone. I'll be using it mostly as if it was a netbook, not as a phone/text messager. I don't want something to use to constantly check my facebook/have a pissing contest with my peers. I'd like a big screen, long battery, low cost, and strong user base. It's not the end of the world if it's big and heavy, I'll mostly be storing it in a backpack/car etc. I'm thinking something Android-based at the moment. If you can point me in a direction where I can find more useful information, or similar-minded users I'd appreciate it (have been checking some of the Android forums but don't know which are good). The cherry on top would be if it was waterproof/indestructible or had some other unique properties; I'll happily settle with having a ~$200 phone that may get lost/stolen/broken:)

Thanks; Tom's has already helped me build a great homebrew computer that's been running strong for ~3 years now. Look forward to a similar experience finding/improvising a phone.
 

Thanatos Telos

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Personally, I would wait til May to get the GS4, but if you need it now, then the Galaxy Note 2 and the Nexus 4 are your best options.(The HTC One could also work too.)
 

DarkSable

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If you're on T-mobile, then by FAR the best thing you can get is a samsung galaxy S - on a plan, you should be able to afford an SIII, which is pretty much everything you're looking for. They aren't the best in the world for texting, but since you aren't doing that anyways, they're the best for the other things you're looking for.

The Note also has a LOT of good things going for it, but it has considerably worse battery life due to it's larger screen - it's a trade off you'll have to consider, as that's the downside to a large screen.

I highly, highly recommend going with a samsung; they're built well, they perform well, and they have good customer service.
 

whynottoday

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Thanks for the replies. I'm looking at the Samsung Note/Note II, LG Optimus G, HTC One, Dell Streak 5, and a few others. At least there are options, now it's basically coming down to pricing.
 

DarkSable

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Pay a good deal of attention to the warranty, as well - it's important for small electronics that are easily misplaced or damaged like that.
 

Apanzee

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To be honest, in your price range you're looking at the Google Nexus 4. It has great hardware for the cost, and it's a stock Android ROM with no carrier bloatware if you order straight from Google. It's also a highly overclockable device. The only downside would be the smaller amount of RAM when compared to other phones of similar hardware.

And yeah, what Dark said. Pay attention to the warranty and try to find a device that either comes rooted or specifically states rooting does not void your warranty.

In order to overclock your device, or customize it beyond the wallpaper, you'll need root permissions. This is important.
 
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