Suggestions for Smartphone Under $200

Just thought I would ask for opinions.

I have a LG Optimus S that I really find frustrating to use and thought I would move up.

Right now I am stuck between buying a used/refurbished iPhone 4 (I have an iTouch 5 that I love unreasonably and use for almost everything, but we live in an area that has power outages frequently and not everywhere has wifi so I can use google voice etc. so I need a smartphone to use when I can't use the touch) or a new Kyocera Hydro Edge. My son has an Edge though Boost and really likes it.

 

I know they are 2 totally different operating systems and part of my issue with the LG is that I'm so used to Apple.?

Any suggestions on other low cost smartphones?

Thanks

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Comments

18 comments
  • You can get an excellent Galaxy S 3 for about $175.  Great phone.

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  • The S 3 is a good one.  I have a Galaxy S 2, which you can get even cheaper (just a little over $100 now on Ebay etc.).  It's almost exactly the same size as the S 3, but the main difference is which type of high speed data connection they can do.  They can both do 3G, which is available almost everywhere.  The S 2 can do 4G WiMax.  The S 3 can do the 4G LTE network.  LTE is certainly faster and is the future thing that they are moving to, but there's almost no LTE coverage in my area, while there is good WiMax, and I just don't use data much, so it just wasn't worth paying more for LTE capability that I couldn't use.

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  • Thanks.

    I was almost ready to buy a iphone 4 (not a 4S Siri means nothing to me, never use it) but I am now thinking about a Galaxy 2 or 3. LTE has been expanded (kind of) here at the house. I actually got data on my LG the other day which I could not before.

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  • Also, the website PhoneArena.com is fantastic for looking up specifications of pretty much every cell phone there is, comparing side-by-side, overlaying visually to compare sizes, etc.

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  • Also, here is the official, constantly updated, list from Ting of which cell phone models from Sprint can be brought in and activated with Ting.

    https://ting.zendesk.com/entries/22567167-BYOD-Supported-Devices-Whitelist-

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  • Rocky, thank you for the S2 idea.  I'm not a huge data guy either but want the occasional convenience.  I am much more interested in saving close to $80 per phone if I am able, however.   

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  • Novice Question Alert !!!

    When buying a used Galaxy S II on ebay many listings say that it DOES NOT come with a SIM CARD or MEMORY CARD.   Do I have to have these for my phone to work on Ting?

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  • Novice maybe, but good questions.  It's stuff about cellular technologies that people ask and learn about sometime.  There are two main types of cellular networks in the U.S. and for the most part a cell phone will usually only have the hardware to run on one type or the other.  The types are:  GSM (T-Mobile and AT&T) and CDMA (Sprint and Verizon).  SIM cards are used by GSM type phones to identify the phones to connect onto GSM networks.  That is why you can have "unlocked" phones that just need a SIM card.  With CDMA networks, they use the serial number of the phone to identify and activate on the network.  You probably see ESN (electronic serial number) on some of the listings.  That ESN is also how they can blacklist certain phones if someone skips out on their bill or a phone is lost or stolen.  They mark that ESN as bad in their database and then it can't be activated.

    If you look at that link I gave about phones that Ting can activate, you will see that they can only bring in phones that were specifically Sprint phones before.  So include "Sprint" when you search listings, which will exclude those GSM versions that use SIM cards, which can't be brought to Ting anyway.  On the Galaxy S2, there is one slightly odd thing about naming.  Samsung made two slightly different versions of that phone--one for GSM and one for CDMA.  The actual official model name for the Sprint CDMA version is called the "Epic 4G Touch", even though on the back of my case it still says "Galaxy S II".  I know that's a little odd that that particular phone seems to have two model names.

    So as long as a phone is in that Ting BYOD list and it's specifically a Sprint phone, it should be fine to bring.

    Oh, memory card--not really necessary.  You could put one in if you want to store a lot of extra stuff, like pictures or music, etc.  Some of the lower end phones have a really tiny amount of built in storage space, and they get full and problematic quickly if they don't have a memory card.  The Galaxy S2 and S3, though, actually have a lot of built in storage memory, so they will work fine and you can put quite a bit on them without needing a memory card.

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  • Yeah, I'm certainly not one who obsesses about data speed.  3G is fine for me when I use it.  I was just on a trip out of town for a couple of days, so I did end up using my data some, and I had 3G pretty much everywhere, but couldn't get much more than that out in Utah and Idaho.  I figure I have a miniature computer in my pocket that can access all of the information in the world wirelessly.  Yeah, for $80 less, I can wait an extra second here and there to see the info I'm looking for.

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  • Thanks for these responses. I obsess over buying anything over $80 or so and buying a new (to me) used cell has just taken over my free time. So many phones on ebay. Plus I did not know that with the ESN you could "clone" a phone(?) so one very nice person selling a phone (who says he has used it w/ Ting) I wanted at a price I'd like to pay did not want to give it to me. Another large seller gave me a number that is in no way shape or form the ESN/MEID number. Frustrating. soooooo....

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  • Not having to worry about ESNs is why I think Ebay is the perfect place to buy used cell phones. Ebay sellers care INTENSELY about their feedback ratings, so you don't find anyone trying to pass off a phone with a bad ESN. I've bought several phones on Ebay, and I did have just one issue. It was a big electronics reseller with tons of good feedback. They do sell some phones with good and some with bad ESNs, and they specify that in the listings. They accidentally sent me one with a bad ESN, but as soon as I let them know, they apologized, sent me a pre-paid return shipping label, and refunded my money--easy fix.

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  • @ Rocky - thanks so much for the insight.  I feel about as expert as I need to be to know that the Sprint version of the Galaxy II is the one I want and why it will be easy to get one via Ebay.   Awesome and much appreciated.   John

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  • Glad to help.  I like how the really fast phone development cycle helps us used phone buyers.  We get these phones that were top of the line a couple years ago for about $100, and then in another two or three years we'll be able to get today's best stuff for about $100 then if we want to upgrade.  We're never paying five or six hundred dollars, and I don't have to be too paranoid about losing or breaking my phone if I'm getting them at these cheap prices.

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  • Just wanted to update.

    Got  a refurbished Galaxy 3 on ebay for under $200. It is huge. Setup was a breeze. sent text. made phone call. could not access internet w/o wifi, but I might be doing something wrong in my settings. Not sure. Still my frustration level is quite low which has surprised me.

    Fingers crossed it lasts a year or so.

    Thanks for all the help.

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  • Hey Julie, Lets get that sorted for you. I will send you an email and we can go over some troubleshooting steps so you can fully access the device. 

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  • Thanks!

    I did figure it out, just needed to check the "receive pictures and..." in my device settings in my Ting account.

    Now anyone know if I should do this Android update?

    Being an Apple user I have a natural fear of updates.

    ;-)

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  • Heh.  Yeah, my wife was PISSED about how the iOS7 update ruined the email client, which is the primary constant thing that she uses her phone for to do work stuff.  And she has checked around, and there seems to be no allowing her to go back.  That's one of the things I like a lot about Android phones.  You have access to install or roll back the Android version that you want, as long as it is somewhat supported for that phone.  If you try the new Android version, and don't like it, you can install the old version again.

    Usually the Android version updates are great, although occasionally there can be some problems.  I have a Galaxy S2, and it's still on Ice Cream Sandwich, although I know that the Jellybean version is supported on it now.  I've heard that it has some good features, but I've also heard of some of the included apps sucking battery life some, although I could probably uninstall or disable those.  Mainly, my phone works pretty well as it is, so I'm just not wanting to risk it right now.

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  • Bought an iPhone 4s on EBAY last week for $190. latest iOs update, clean ESN, perfectly good phone.  Did it so I can test out TING using an iPhone because my wife is not up for trying out Android just yet.  Testing looks good so we will dump AT&T this month.  

    Back to the question, you can now get a gently used iphone 4s that works with Sprint/Ting for under $200.  average I saw was $175-$200. 

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