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New phone recommendations (longevity focused).

Go to solution Solved by BiotechBen,

The Moto G100 (international version) I have has been rock solid, nearly completely stock android, just a few quality of life additions. The updates are a bit slow to roll out, but it's got a 5000mah battery, snapdragon 870, 8gb ram 128gb internal storage with micro SD expansion via hybrid dual SIM, headphone jack, 90hz screen w/dci-p3 color spectrum, side mounted fingerprint reader that reads perfectly 99.9% of the time, good cameras, for bootloader it's a Tually so easy to enter that I accidentally did it doing a hard restart. Currently about $400 on sale rn.

Short version: my phone kicked the bucket and I'm looking for suggestions on what I can get to replace it. 

 

Long version:

Spoiler

My Pixel 4a just decided one night that it's screen was gonna stop working, can't figure out why, screen wasn't cracked, it just started having a blue tint over everything one day, then the next morning it wouldn't light up at all. The phone itself still works (I can accept a call if I go on muscle memory, it's just that I can't see what it's doing) and I would be fine with just getting a new screen for it, but the problem is this phone only sells for $150 on eBay for a meh condition phone (mine's got a number of scuffs on it and the casing by the headphone jack has a small crack in it, it's perfectly usable but you can tell it's been used) and most of the screens I've found are $140 or more. It's just doesn't make sense to spend more on the phone to fix it than I would get back if I sold it IMO, so unless I want to gamble on buying one with water damage or (more sketchy) bad ESN on eBay and salvaging the screen off it, it's a write-off at this point. It sucks since I was planning on running that phone for 4+ years, using it till it stops getting software updates, then loading up LineageOS and running it till it dies, but it looks like I'm stuck buying a new one now. Warranty expired a couple months ago btw, if it was still under warranty I would've already RMA'd it. 

 

My original plan was to buy a Pixel 6 off FB Marketplace for $40, it had a cracked screen and the frame was bent, and I was able to fix it, albeit with a nonfunctional fingerprint reader. Sidenote: FUCK YOU GOOGLE AND YOUR BROKEN FINGERPRINT CALIBRATION SOFTWARE. YOU KNOW IT'S BROKEN, YOU SURE AS HELL HAVE ENOUGH DEVS THERE TO FIX IT, AND YOU HAVE AN INTERNALLY FUNCTIONING VERSION, JUST FIX THE DAMN THING ALREADY. Anyway, I got that phone and I can live with a broken fingerprint reader, the problem is the guy lied about it being factory unlocked, and it's stuck on Xfinity mobile. I don't use Xfinity mobile, I'm not about to switch to it, and there aren't any known ways to unlock it if you aren't the original purchaser as far as I can find. If you know a way to do that, I'd rather just use this phone and not deal with having to flip it, but I've pretty much given up on it and figured even locked and a busted fingerprint reader I should probably be able to get ~$250 for it, still making ~$50 on the repair. 

 

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out what I should try and buy. I don't need anything fancy, the most intensive game I play on it is minesweeper, and I'm not a photographer so as long as the camera can scan the occasional QR code and be workable for posting something on Craigslist, that's fine. My only requirements are in this order of importance:

  1. An easily unlockable bootloader that doesn't break anything by doing so. I run my phones for as long as possible since I really don't need much out of a phone (as long as it turns on and isn't noticeably sluggish, I'll use it, I used my Nexus 5X for ~6 years before eventually switching it out, and it was being held together with duct tape by the time I did), so being able to unlock the bootloader and flash a new, freshly patched ROM like LineageOS once it inevitably stops getting software updates is pretty much a necessity. This is part of the reason I've stuck with Nexus/Pixel devices for so long, Google has been very good about letting you unlock the bootloader with very little effort and providing downloads for stock ROMs right on their website, but having my 4a die on me for no reason has left me jaded enough to want to try and avoid them (plus I've seen some of the software weirdness these phones have, and I prefer it when my phone just works). Also, I don't want it to have something like the Galaxy Fold, where the camera stops working if you unlock the bootloader.
  2. Not repair unfriendly. I don't need to have a Fairphone or anything, I'm fine with doing more advanced repairs on a phone, I just don't want the manufacturer to go out of their way to make it so fixing the phone is unnecessarily difficult. Basically, I don't want a situation with Google and the Pixel 6's fingerprint scanner, or the iPhone with FaceID breaking if you try and replace the screen. Again, I want to be able to run this thing as long as possible, so being able to fix something that commonly breaks without doing micro soldering or writing my own calibration utility is kinda important. 
  3. Stock-ish Android. This isn't particularly necessary, since if it follows req. #1 I can just run LineageOS or similar instead, but I don't like Samsung's Android skin or skins like it, and if I can run the stock ROM without having to do that, I'd prefer it. 
  4. Rear mount fingerprint reader, again not necessary, but it's what I'm used to and IMO where the fingerprint reader belongs, and it's still IMO the most consistently good biometric authentication you can get on a phone. The under screen ones are cool and all, the tech itself if interesting, it's just not where I want to have to use my fingerprint reader. 
  5. Headphone jack would be nice, but I know finding a phone still being made with one of these isn't exactly easy, especially with everything else I want from it. 
  6. Would be nice if it wasn't something all glass. Yeah they feel premium and look nice, but my first thought seeing them is "that's twice the likelihood of cracking it." Again, I run my phones for a while, and would rather have something that'll last than something that'll break more easily.

Basically, I want a 4a/5a but I'm more or less done giving Google my money at this point until they can prove they can make a phone that doesn't have issues. I could live with an iPhone, software support with them is really good, it's just that I want to be able to fix it when it breaks, and having a lot of family of iPhone users, does happen fairly often (plus I am just used to Android and would have to jailbreak it to get some of the features I'm used to). The Fairphone 4 is an option, but it's also double the price of the 5a if I can even find it in general (I'm in the US, AFAIK their website doesn't ship to the US). I would prefer to buy something current gen just because it will get software updates for longer, though I'm fine with buying a used phone from last gen if it means I can get what I want out of it. Also cheaper is better, it's not like I need a flagship phone for playing Minesweeper or texting, though if the only phone that exists with the features I want is $800+ so be it (I'll just try to find one on eBay with a cracked screen for half price). 

 

Thanks for reading and for your suggestions in general. If I'm asking for something that doesn't exist anymore, let me know. 

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I skimmed the entire post but look into a galaxy xcover pro

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I'm really with you on the rear mounted finger print sensor and head phone jack, but.... as far as some of the other requirements, The OnePlus 8T is going to be up there, and you can get it direct from OnePlus for $399. Don't have to worry about getting a TMobile version or anything like that, warranties, etc. It meets the qualifications, of easily unlocked, official Lineage support, etc.

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26 minutes ago, OhioYJ said:

I'm really with you on the rear mounted finger print sensor and head phone jack, but.... as far as some of the other requirements, The OnePlus 8T is going to be up there, and you can get it direct from OnePlus for $399. Don't have to worry about getting a TMobile version or anything like that, warranties, etc. It meets the qualifications, of easily unlocked, official Lineage support, etc.

If I'm gonna go that far back, I might as well get a used device. I did find a guy selling the 8 non-T around me for $180, I might just go for that, especially if I can talk him down a bit. 

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The Moto G100 (international version) I have has been rock solid, nearly completely stock android, just a few quality of life additions. The updates are a bit slow to roll out, but it's got a 5000mah battery, snapdragon 870, 8gb ram 128gb internal storage with micro SD expansion via hybrid dual SIM, headphone jack, 90hz screen w/dci-p3 color spectrum, side mounted fingerprint reader that reads perfectly 99.9% of the time, good cameras, for bootloader it's a Tually so easy to enter that I accidentally did it doing a hard restart. Currently about $400 on sale rn.

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7 minutes ago, BiotechBen said:

bootloader it's a Tually so easy to enter that I accidentally did it doing a hard restart. Currently about $400 on sale rn.

That's not really the same thing as being able to unlock it. Just because you can enter it does not mean that you can do anything useful while you're in there. Motorola phones are in the C-tier of unlocking the bootloaders, you can't just do "fastboot oem unlock" in the terminal to get it to unlock and actually need to go through them to get an unlock code, voiding the warranty at the same time (a bit BS IMO, but better than nothing). Still, at least it's doable, and it does look like it checks most of my boxes and might end up being my best option unless they make one with a rear mounted reader. I will have to do a bit of research though to make sure nothing breaks when you unlock the bootloader, but thanks for the tip. 

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17 minutes ago, RONOTHAN## said:

That's not really the same thing as being able to unlock it. Just because you can enter it does not mean that you can do anything useful while you're in there. Motorola phones are in the C-tier of unlocking the bootloaders, you can't just do "fastboot oem unlock" in the terminal to get it to unlock and actually need to go through them to get an unlock code, voiding the warranty at the same time (a bit BS IMO, but better than nothing). Still, at least it's doable, and it does look like it checks most of my boxes and might end up being my best option unless they make one with a rear mounted reader. I will have to do a bit of research though to make sure nothing breaks when you unlock the bootloader, but thanks for the tip. 

When I accidentally entered bootloader it said something akin to "continue to unlock". I also came from rear mounted fingerprint reader and hated the side mounted, but the accuracy I've had with the side mounted has converted me. From what I could guess, the things that would break with bootloader modification would be the Moto specific features like chop to activate for the flashlight, and the capacitive double tap power button shortcuts, and maybe the ReadyFor (Moto version of DeX)

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38 minutes ago, BiotechBen said:

When I accidentally entered bootloader it said something akin to "continue to unlock". I also came from rear mounted fingerprint reader and hated the side mounted, but the accuracy I've had with the side mounted has converted me. From what I could guess, the things that would break with bootloader modification would be the Moto specific features like chop to activate for the flashlight, and the capacitive double tap power button shortcuts, and maybe the ReadyFor (Moto version of DeX)

Think you might've gotten into something else. Still, it doesn't look like anything breaks, and just for a sanity check to make sure there are at least some parts available I found a place selling refurb screens for $36, so parts do seem to be abundant and cheap (I'm genuinely considering ordering one, as well as the charging port and maybe a fingerprint reader, just to have a spare in case it goes out of stock if it breaks, and I can get it fixed the same day). It does look like it should be my best option. I'll try to find one used (again, I'm cheap and if I can fix it and get it for less, I'd rather do that), but if I can't find one within the next day or so I'll probably order one from Newegg tomorrow. 

 

Thanks!

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Went back to the screen mentioned before:

AP Fastboot Flash Mode

And it did say OEM Locked

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2 minutes ago, BiotechBen said:

Went back to the screen mentioned before:

AP Fastboot Flash Mode

And it did say OEM Locked

OK, so that was the bootloader. No idea why it said "continue to unlock," weird. 

 

Anyway, I gave up buying a used one and it should be here on Saturday. 

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14 minutes ago, RONOTHAN## said:

OK, so that was the bootloader. No idea why it said "continue to unlock," weird. 

 

Anyway, I gave up buying a used one and it should be here on Saturday. 

Hope you enjoy it. I've already used the macro lens for the map fold prescription pamphlet that's in like 20 languages and size 2 font

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