Off Topic: Mobile Phones

Off Topic: Mobile Phones

For all of nine months, I absolutely loved the hell out of my LG G4. But as the months have gone on — months, not years — it’s started to lag. Games like Pokemon GO have come out and absolutely bogged the living bejesus out of it. Apps like Facebook Live have torn it to shreds. And I’m pretty damn good at tossing my phone across a room.

So I’m in need of an upgrade. Question is — how much should I spend, and do I go Android or iPhone?

I don’t want this to devolve into an Android/iOS debate, because in truth both platforms do exactly what I want. I’m savvy enough to be able to navigate either ecosystem without a hitch, even though the App and Play Stores both piss me off far more than they should.

I’m just really greedy about the hardware. I wasn’t thrilled by the Samsung Galaxy S7 when I tested it earlier this year — it didn’t feel secure enough in my hand, almost like I was liable to drop it at any point. But ideally I’d love a phone that has a top-end camera. Something with a nice small aperture that can handle low-light situations well would be fantastic.

What phones do you use right now? And what would you recommend for gaming, taking photos, or as an all-rounder for those who don’t have $1000-plus to spend?


  • Have you considered going for a plan rather than buying outright. Most of the big telcos let you upgrade to the newest handset after 12 months of their 24-month contracts for their high-end gear, meaning you can stay in the upgrade cycle without having to skip a handset every second year.

    • If you can afford the price of a new phone, you’re almost always better off purchasing outright. If you really want a new phone every 12 months, you can sell the old one on eBay or equivalent to recover some of the cost, similar to how a telco will resell your old phone if you take them up on one of these mid-contract upgrade options.

      The SIM-only contracts are usually significantly cheaper than the ones that bundle a phone, and don’t generally lock you in to the same telco for as long.

      • Yeah this. I didn’t buy outright, I ended up putting a 6S on Layby at my local Big W (because I could get staff discount basically) & then getting a sim only contract with Telstra and i’m ahead like $50 a month by not going for a plan with a phone. Plus I can sell it and upgrade to a new phone whenever I want.

      • I’ve been wondering, is being locked into a specific telco for 2 years really that big of a deal? I’ve personally never changed my telco…I’ve changed plans sure but never swapped telcos completely, and I’d wager most average phone users have also never switched, or have switched maybe once or twice. There’s only 3 major telcos to choose from so it’s not as if you’re particularly spoiled for choice.

        I do agree that buying a phone outright is almost always better, I’m just questioning how legit this specific point of the argument actually is.

        • If you’re getting something of value in return, then a lock-in contract isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

          My point was that if you can afford the handset up front, then these contracts are usually an expensive way to buy the device. They might not even be good value if you can’t afford the phone but have access to another line of credit (e.g. redraw on a mortgage).

          Now if you’ve got your own device and are going for a SIM-only contract, they might offer you a lower price for agreeing to sign up for a year or two. If you’re happy with the service, then this is the kind of case where the long term contract might benefit you.

          • Well yes, sorry, I wasn’t arguing that a contract or outright purchase is better. I myself have an outright purchased phone and am on a BYO plan.

            What I’m specifically questioning is the argument “you’re not locked into a contract with that telco for 2 years”. While that’s true, I’m wondering how relevant it actually is, considering most mobile phone users don’t change telcos, or have changed extremely rarely. Another argument is, that many telcos allow you to break contract anyway (usually for a fee, granted, unless you’re in your last month or two).

            With only 3 major telcos to choose from and anyone else being a reseller of one of those three, there’s not exactly that many options to choose from if you wanted to switch for some reason.

          • You might not be planning to change carriers over a 2 year period, but circumstances could always change.

            If you offered me two plans that are otherwise identical, but one will charge me a penalty fee if I end it before 2 years are up, then I’d pick the one without the penalty even if I intended to keep the service for 2+ years.

            It just seems stupid to constrain yourself if you’re getting nothing of value in return.

          • I’ve switched telco companies 3 times in the last 12 months haha. Mainly because I’ve never felt like I have the best deal at that moment.

            It was really easy for me to switch because I’ve never put myself in a lock-in contract, I’ve always went with the BYO phone, sim-only plans (also I own my phones outright).

            I think it depends on what your needs are. Some people don’t mind the lock-in contracts and like the phone upgrades they get. Personally, I prefer flexibility.

      • For the S7 Edge I don’t think that’s true.
        Virgin Mobile has a $77 a month plan for 7gB of data a month that locks you in for 2 years for an s7 edge. That amounts to about $1850 over two years. Plus you get a $100 visa gift card.

        An equivalent SIM only plan is $40 a month and the absolute cheapest you’re going to find a new S7 Edge is around $800. In total that’s about $1750 over two years.

        Not much of a difference. In fact there’s almost no difference if you include the gift card.

        And of course, if you buy an s7 edge at full price at like $1200, you’re looking at well over $2000 over two years. Hardly cheaper.

        I went with the plan.

        Edit: There is one major advantage to buying a phone outright actually. I have a credit card that gives me 6 months damage, loss, theft coverage for any item that I buy with it (up to $2000) so that’s a pretty good reason to buy it straight up but honestly I’m not too concerned about that.

  • My Note 7 just shipped. I went from an Iphone 5s to a Note 4, and the only thing I miss is some games that dont come out. I probably would go Android for anyone that looks beyond sending messages and using apps.

    • where did you get it from? i have to wait till the 19th, which prob wont get here till early next week.

          • It’d be on its way. I’m getting the Note7 from Optus with the 256gb card and I’m due to get it Friday I believe.

          • optus starts shipping on Friday if you ordered the silver online. thats who im getting mine through. they told me if i cancelled my order and went to a store and did the preorder with black or gold, i could get the phone in store on friday. its tempting and i almost went with the gold, but ive always been a silver sort of guy.

          • Well shit. I’m silver too, so we’re going to have to wait till next week to get it when my brother gets his friday? What a gib.

          • well, when i went to the preorder section on optus website it said shipping begins on 19th. so i dont know. we could be lucky.

          • Me too! So excited. Not sure why I can’t reply to your other one, but I share your excitement buddy.

          • yeah, got my phone about 9:30 this morning. been fiddling with it at work since 😐 ha ha ha

  • Iphone 4S.

    It’s old, chafed, slow. Even Apple-made apps like Mail or Messages crash to the dashboard. Pokemon Go and other cutting edge apps absolutely crawl on it. Siri is basic Siri and never works properly anyway.

    I am looking at the Iphone SEs. The 6 series seems to big and useless. I’m not keen on the ‘wait now, get the new new stuff out later this year’ mentality. I prefer what’s around and tested and working.

    I’d love to migrate to Android but it’d be another ecosystem I’d have to get used to, as someone who dislikes the amount of time I spend on the handset anyway, it’s counter-productive for me right now to switch.

    This planned obsolescence stuff really bites, I stay away from plans (prepaid all the way) so I’m not part of the upgrade-cycle and while I am a luddite with technology at the best of times, it’s probably about time.

    • The SE is brilliant, you won’t know yourself coming from the 4S.
      The size suits me and it absolutely flies along, the camera is better than I really need.
      The 7 is landing soon, so their might be a new ‘SE’ as well, either way, the SE might get a price reduction, which would be great.

  • even though the App and Play Stores both piss me off far more than they should.

    I’m pretty sure they piss you off exactly as much as they should. I mean there’s so much money being thrown around there yet they can’t hire someone who actually knows how to design this stuff?
    Same goes for Windows phone apps. They can afford to shrug off buying Nokia with a ‘whoops, my bad,’ they’ll sink god knows how much into trying to squeeze their way into a market that doesn’t want them, but they release apps that feel like they were made using Intro to App Programming tutorials.

  • I went from a htc m8 which was a beautiful experience marred by a horrendous camera, to a Sony z5c which is a pocket rocket let down by awful software.

    I’m massively tempted to go back to the htc 10, because they’ve finally sorted the camera without managing to bugger up anything else.

    But I do love how tiny and yellow my Sony is.

  • I have a 6S because I’m lazy and Apple isn’t complicated, plus I can easily sync my iTunes library. That’s the entirety of my input.

  • had a guy at work just buy a xiaomi redmi note 3, saved a lot of dosh from the higher end manufactureres, but it has the specs to be a pretty decent phone when comared to LGs and Sammys and the others, all for under $300

  • Go windows. You’ll never have to worry about Apps bogging down your phone ever again. =P

    (To be honest though, I love the crap out of my windows phone)

    • I have a Lumia 640 upgraded to Win 10 and it’s really good. It’s simple to use and was really cheap. I think you can get them for sub $130 these days from Optus and is really a steal at that price.
      Also Win 10 has come a long way and isn’t missing anything (except apps of course).

  • Take a look at HTC. They’re just like Samsung Galaxy’s without the cheap look and feel.

    Never go iPhone or Windows.

    • To be fair the new Galaxy phones have glass & aluminium (I think..?) giving them that premium look & feel..

        • You’re not wrong there.. Everytime I see an S7 being featured in a video I think “Why does Samsung use the same cheap looking UI as their most basic android phone..?”

  • I run a iPhone 6 for work (which I dont really like but work’s paying for it so cant really complain) and am still kicking a HTC M7 for personal use. My M7 still hasnt missed a beat even though it’s like 4 years old or something. I was thinking about upgrading it, but nothing is really grabbing me at the moment. I was tossing up between HTC 10 and Galaxy S7, but neither has the killer feature to really force me to upgrade. Maybe if either phone decides to kick the bucket I’ll go with one of them…

  • my LG G2 is almost 3 years old and doesn’t lag.

    I don’t install a million junk apps on it which also save battery life

  • New Nexus phones are about to release, they just hit the FCC. Wait for one of them if you can.

  • Lumia 950 XL
    Best phone I’ve ever owned, not to mentioned has essentially the same hardware as the Note 7 which seems a year late to the party.

  • The Nokia 808 is a top phone. Not so many games available for it though, but I have a 3DS for that.

  • The fastest phones out now are:
    Samsung Galaxy Note 7
    Samsung Galaxy S7
    OnePlus 3
    Motorola Moto Z Force Droid Edition
    LG G5
    Sony Xperia X Performance
    HTC 10
    Xiaomi Mi 5

    I would look up prices on all, and then pick based on features/battery/camera– they are compare performance wise.

    • By what metric are they the fastest? Is it tech specs alone or in depth benchmarking? I’m not trying to be confrontational just get some more information. Hopefully consoles and Apple products have taught all of us that the tech specs alone never tell the whole story.

  • LG G5 is dirt cheap off ebay because of LG’s sales woes.

    Alternative I would get the Asus Zenfone 3 deluxe when it’s released however no eta for a western release is known.

    The cheapest option is rooting your phone and placing down a more no frills ROM. Don’t know about Facebook Live but Pokemon Go works well on my Kogan Agora 4G+ which is technically inferior to the LG G4 but I think thanks to a no frills ROM runs it quite fine.

  • I’m using the S7 edge right now and I love it so S7 is a good choice but it is slippery as all hell. Make sure you get a decent case. Oddly enough I went through several cases that were all nearly as bad until I settled on the UAG case due to it adding a little bulk, a flatter back and some tactility which works well for my oversized hands.

    The new iPhones are also a decent choice. Honestly if you have the money I’d suggest the S7 (or S7 edge) or the iPhone 6.

  • A vote here for Nexus – nice clean Android without bloatware (I’m looking at *you* Samsung)

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