What-to-buy - Smartphone for a 16-yr-old

thomas

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Hey Folks!

My brothers 16th birthday is coming up, and because kids nowadays are basically nothing without a phone/smartphone, its his desire to get one, and has been for a while. Currently he's using some "ancient" Sony dumbphone K8something for just that, phoning. But we all know, thats no longer what phones are there for, and in addition to that, for a teenager in school thats totally not cool either. The budget here is limited for a variety of reasons, from "well, because money" to "spoiling him is not intended". And to prevent my mom and him buying godknowswhat for waytoomuch, I declared that I am going to take care of the deciding and buying part, or he can gtfo. :D

What I got to spend: ~200 EUR, maybe a tad more, hardware only no contract, less is always better ;)

What I am looking for in the device:
- fairly current hardware, mainly solid amount of RAM
- screen somewhere in the 4.3-5" range
- camera not totally useless
- default Android 4.0.4 or higher, if the manufacturer is still providing updates, thats a plus

Whats not ok:
- Because its a gift and not punishment, I can't have some chinaphone. Not because hardware, but because name. teenagers in school are cruel, and "Huawei" would cause more bullshit than anything else.
- <4" screen, but I don't think thats a thing anymore anyways
- if I have to root it to make it work good, its out (I don't want him to have rootaccess)

Options and iodeas so far:
His initial "wish" or thought is not even really much out of budget, but I'm looking all around anyway. He was talking Galaxy S3, which is like ~230?by now. Nonetheless I am looking at other options and/or maybe a bit newer or other models, because there is the literal fuckton of options in that price-segment:
- S4 Mini
- various Sony Xperia models
- various HTC One models

All those would fit the bill as currently available new devices. There is still the option to maybe get either of those, or something better, used. But I have no idea about the used market values of any current phone.


So, ideas, opinions, suggestions?

-Thomas
 

JakeRadden

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Can you find a used S4 for around that? They go for $300-350 here.

Failing that, used LG G2?

Galaxy S3 as reliable fallback.
 

Spectre

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Ask Der Stig about how well his Galaxy S3 didn't work out as a phone. :p
 

smib

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Find a Nexus 4 for as close to your budget as possible.
 

thomas

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Looked at it, but with a singlecore and stuff its most definitely too short on power for whatever teenagers do with phones, say play crappy games and watch videos.

Can you find a used S4 for around that? They go for $300-350 here.

Failing that, used LG G2?

Galaxy S3 as reliable fallback.
Looked into used S4s and G2s, but in both cases people are stupid, as used ones go for around 280-300, while both are on sale for 300-320 new!? So yeah, I'm still keeping the S3 as "just what he wanted anyway" in mind.

Ask Der Stig about how well his Galaxy S3 didn't work out as a phone. :p
Well, that goes for probabaly every single phone out there.. I can probably find you one for every model that hated it or had bad luck with it ;)

Find a Nexus 4 for as close to your budget as possible.
Looked into those briefly, but they are mostly out just because. They were sold for 200/250 new in the end and now people are asking almost the same for year old used ones (180/220).

Still got a month to go, but I'll be looking out for deals anyway.
 

thomas

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Nah, 320 EUR that is, and I doubt I'll find a used one for 100 less.

I just found a big shop/provider selling the Sony Xperia Z for 249 (next prices clock in around 290), which seems sorta tempting. I'll keep an eye on that too, maybe I can squeeze that into the budget.
 

evoWALO

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Why not ask the kid what the other kids thinks is cool and hip. All of us I assume are above 16yo. I see android being promoted because of the hardware specs but do these 16yo cliques give a hoot over that?

My brother who prides himself as an android snob prefers the nexus 5.
 

Archie411

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Go away....look at something else...
How about a OnePlus One?. Specs to boot and is ?269 and your brother would have one exclusive phone :p

Although there are problems. Availability will be an issue and it won't hit the markets till mid may. The display is 5.5" so its on the larger side.
 

thomas

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Why not ask the kid what the other kids thinks is cool and hip. All of us I assume are above 16yo. I see android being promoted because of the hardware specs but do these 16yo cliques give a hoot over that?

My brother who prides himself as an android snob prefers the nexus 5.

Well he suggested the S3 himself, so that asking-part taken care of I guess!?

How about a OnePlus One?. Specs to boot and is ?269 and your brother would have one exclusive phone :p

Although there are problems. Availability will be an issue and it won't hit the markets till mid may. The display is 5.5" so its on the larger side.

things that make that a no-go:
- I think 5,5" is just too much, he even told me that he dislikes those huge phones (and apparently thats a shared thought in the school. oddly enough, as I would have assumed "bigger is better" is still valid :D)
- you can't convert USD to EUR here like that, they already anounced it'll be 349 EUR for the cheapest model just now I found a news, announcing it for the just mentioned 269? (299/64GB), so that point of mine is no longer valid.. I guess I found old news before..
- and as a bonus, due to it being a proper china-phone, it does not support a bunch of frequencies used by half the german providers


So as of right now, I'm keeping an eye on the price for new and used S4s, and still maintain the S3 as the "well you got what you wanted" backup-plan.
 
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edkwon

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Looked at it, but with a singlecore and stuff its most definitely too short on power for whatever teenagers do with phones, say play crappy games and watch videos.


Looked into used S4s and G2s, but in both cases people are stupid, as used ones go for around 280-300, while both are on sale for 300-320 new!? So yeah, I'm still keeping the S3 as "just what he wanted anyway" in mind.


Well, that goes for probabaly every single phone out there.. I can probably find you one for every model that hated it or had bad luck with it ;)


Looked into those briefly, but they are mostly out just because. They were sold for 200/250 new in the end and now people are asking almost the same for year old used ones (180/220).

Still got a month to go, but I'll be looking out for deals anyway.


He's a teenager. Get him something functional and nothing more. He can get a nice, high powered smartphone when he earns the money to buy one.
 

Xtreem

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What about the Moto G, its a pretty awesome smart phone for the price.
8gig version is about ?100, 16gig version is around ?130ish.

It has the latest Android 4.4.2

Processor: 1.2 GHz quad-core Cortex-A7
Ram: 1gb
Storage: 16gb
Battery: 2,070 mAh
Display: 4.50" screen with Gorilla Glass 3 @ 1280?720 px (329 ppi)
Rear camera: 5 MP with LED flash
Front camera: 1.3 MP
Radio: FM radio
Connectivity: GPS / GLONASS, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and Micro-USB

Review: [Questionably spammy link removed]
 
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thomas

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Well, its all set now, and not in a way I really expected it to be. Let me recap the past week:

I was mostly set on just getting a new S3, which was 199 EUR at one onlineshop, 219+ on most others. The S4 came down to 280-300 here and there, but I did not wanna go that much over budget. Comes friday last week, a big electronics chain has a today-only special deal on the S4 in all 4 local stores - 250 EUR! I change my mind due to price/value-ratio and head to the closest shop at noon straight from work, just to learn that they were sold out within 30 minutes of opening. I call the 3 other places and just get the same answer. Part of me expected that and I just fall back to the S3-plan. I get home to find out that the price for that went up to 230+ everywhere, and am annoyed. I start looking at used ones again, not really finding deals that are worth going for used. Comes monday I find an offer in the paper-ads with a supermarket-chain selling the S3 for 199 on tuesday only, offline and starting 6pm online. I am like "great, the original plan", and with that fairly minor difference in price, I don't expect there to be a silly rush for it. Tuesday after work I head to the next store of that chain, just to get the same "sold out in 30 minutes this morning, sorry" again. I head home, wait for 6pm, website goes down, comes back 20 past 6, phone sold out. I am sorta frustrated and am now at the point where I am about to order a new S3 tomorrow, if I don't find something used or new worthwhile that evening. A bit later, having not found really interesting used deals, I am like "why not ask the fellow bmw-guys in the facebook-group?", and do so. Took exactly 5 minutes until I got offered a Samsung Note 2 for "we can talk, I'll make you a price between friends". I called my mom and talked about the screensize again, just to find out what I expected in the first place, my teenaged brother would totally not mind a huge-ass screen. So I get back to my friend and ask for a price, just to say "done deal" the moment I heard the price.

So the facts:
- Samsung Galaxy Note 2 16GB
- 1.5yrs old
- looks like new
- came with a "Suncase" leather-case that clearly look all the scratches, unlike the phone that does look 1.5yrs old
- pricetag between friends: 100? dhl-shipped, it already arrived today and I already updated it to 4.3

Fucker is huge, runs like a charm (did not expect anything else from 1.6ghz quad and 2GB), and I hope my brother digs it. Also due to the great deal I am in half what I expected.

Lesson learned: Next time I'll ask around first :D.
 
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