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Are we All Suckers for Using Expensive Phones When a Cheap $40 Will Work Fine?

Are we All Suckers for Using Expensive Phones When a Cheap $40 Will Work Fine?

Old Sep 26, 17, 5:55 pm
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Are we All Suckers for Using Expensive Phones When a Cheap $40 Will Work Fine?

I've been a Nexus/Pixel user.

I just sold my Pixel, and started using a $40 phone for a while (at least until the new Pixel comes out.) I bought this prepaid Verizon E4:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Verizon-M...paid/953073971

No Walmart near me, so I price-matched the $40 price at Target. Once I got the phone, I paid $2 for an unlock code on Ebay, and popped in my T-mobile postpaid SIM.

OK, the camera doesn't hold a candle to a flagship phone. But, it has 16 GB built in memory, space for an SD card, and a battery that pops out. And, the screen is not as good as a flagship, but very nice and readable. Videos are very watachable. There was some Verizon crapware but I disabled those apps in settings and they are no longer visible.

I don't need a case - if I drop it and break the screen, I can get a new phone for $40, less than the deductible for Applecare.

I may well buy another flagship for the camera. But, an Iphone certainly does not have 17.5 times the functionality of this phone, but it does cost 17.5 times as much for the base model.

Last edited by BigFlyer; Sep 26, 17 at 6:09 pm
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Old Sep 26, 17, 11:03 pm
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I wish the new Nokia 3110 would work in the US. Would be all over that.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 12:44 am
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Obviously the $999 iPhone X and $40 Moto E4 are at 2 extremes, but yes, many people continue to be suckers. Even spending much more than that, you can get the Moto G5 for $185. That's an incredible phone at an incredible price. Yet people will still easily drop $700 on a phone. And you can find other top notch phones at lower price points.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 1:00 am
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This is why I am still using my Nexus 5X without a plan to upgrade to Pixel...
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Old Sep 27, 17, 1:15 am
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In fairness, your Moto E4 isn't a $40 phone. It's a $100+ phone that Verizon has subsidized down to $40, and you're cheating them out of that subsidized amount by getting it unlocked.

(Don't get me wrong - I have the same $40 E4 sitting next to me at the moment! My sister happily used the previous Moto E on a provider in Australia for several years after I bought it for $10 on Black Friday a few years ago!)
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Old Sep 27, 17, 6:14 am
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IMHO the camera is an essential feature of a smartphone. An inferior one is not acceptable. There are plenty of midrange phones with decent cameras, though.

I fully admit I overbought when I got the Note 8, but I like it.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 6:31 am
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What is expensive? is 400$ expensive? is 800$ expensive? is 1000$ expensive?
What about a TV? am I a sucker to have a 50" TV at home if a 21" can perform just about the same for less money?
What about a car? am I a sucker to have 2 years old car where a 10 year old would still drive me from place to place?
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Old Sep 27, 17, 6:45 am
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I spend a significant portion of my working day and a significant portion of my leisure hours on my phone so 650 over two or three years doesn't seem too much for the value it gives. Conversely, saving money and being irritated day in day out would be short-sighted.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 8:43 am
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I've got a friend who has that phone and I've used it while helping him out with stuff.

I've got no doubt that if I had to use it for any length of time I'd wind up smashing it to pieces in a fit of rage.

Last edited by smc333; Sep 27, 17 at 8:43 am Reason: fixed a typo
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Old Sep 27, 17, 2:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Ditto View Post
What is expensive? is 400$ expensive? is 800$ expensive? is 1000$ expensive?
What about a TV? am I a sucker to have a 50" TV at home if a 21" can perform just about the same for less money?
What about a car? am I a sucker to have 2 years old car where a 10 year old would still drive me from place to place?
Yes to all

On topic, I bought my 64GB GS6 in late 2015 for the subsidized price of $200. I plan on keeping it until probably this time next year when I will think about upgrading to a GS8 or GS9.

For me, at least, this class of phone is necessary in order to access my work email, calendar, and other tools, which are only authorized by our IT for Apple or Samsung Knox devices. Also, for my work-issued phone, the only options (if I were to upgrade now) are varieties of the iPhone 6, 7, and Galaxy S7/S8.

I do feel much better about paying for a subsidized device than paying full price in monthly installments.
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Old Sep 27, 17, 4:28 pm
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Yes & no, I sold our pair of Nexus 5 on Swappa at a good price & upgraded mine the N5X about 2 years ago - just got Oreo latest stock rom on it with a custom kernel, working Android Pay (I think) and I don't see a need to get the latest bells & whisles. Mrs' Nexus 6 is, however, due sooner for a replacement but getting her to downsize from 6" to 5.2" with the Project Fi Moto trade-in deal might be a tough sell, but $250 + tax isn't bad at all.

My daypack's backup is el cheapo Blu R1HD 5" (factory unlocked, dual sim) that I got as a FRU for $30 shipped, use it for GPS off-line navigation, in-car dash cam in rentals and a 64GB mSD for plenty of music/videos ... slot 1 for a travel prepaid sim, swap out as needed & slot 2 with a Project Fi data only sim. That's my MiFi/hotspot on the road when WiFi is out of range. In my books, it's a best buy & yes, stripped of "funny" spyware and OTA disabled, no ads - running pure Android 6.0. Downside, battery life is so so and doesn't have lots of LTE bands but for voice & WiFi calling - get the job done in most places.

Last edited by Letitride3c; Sep 27, 17 at 6:33 pm
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Old Sep 27, 17, 5:07 pm
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There are tradeoffs to be made at any point in the cost level of phones; I've found mid-priced phones to be the best value for my own particular uses, with "value" phones being underpowered and having too small screens for my ham-hands, and with flagship phones offering diminishing returns in value.

Also, 'phone' is a funny word these days -- for most of us, the actually making calls is a small part of what it does. For actually just making calls, sure, most of us would do fine with sub-$40 dumbphone -- it would just be inconvenient to carry one on top of the the more heavily used device
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Old Sep 27, 17, 5:55 pm
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Originally Posted by BigFlyer View Post
I may well buy another flagship for the camera. But, an Iphone certainly does not have 17.5 times the functionality of this phone, but it does cost 17.5 times as much for the base model.
I would tend to agree but could you not say that about most pieces of expensive kit or, indeed, most luxury items? Functionality is only a small aspect of why we choose what to buy (even though we sometimes try to fool ourselves into believing the contrary so as to calm down pangs of guilt/conscience or attempt to persuade ourselves that are irrational choices are based on rational assessments).
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Old Sep 28, 17, 2:46 am
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Just like with any product, it's all about diminishing returns.

My $150 Moto G5 (5" model) loaner/backup phone is easily six times better than a $50 no-name 'burner' phone. I have Android 7 with real security updates, working apps, a usable camera, enough RAM to stream music and run navigation simultaneously, etc. so I think anyone buying the $50 phone when he can afford the $150 phone is a sucker. If all you have is $50, then Android 4.4 and 512mb of RAM beats not being able to call your mom, but if you have the extra $100, why suffer? (As has already been pointed out, the OP's $40 Moto E4 is really a $100+ phone)

That said, the $650 Pixel is in no way four times more useful than the Moto G5. I love my Pixel, especially the awesome camera, but if I hadn't got it during Best Buy's Black Friday mistake sale, I'd still be rocking a Nexus 5X.

Same story for any other consumer good... a pair of $150 boots will probably outlast three pairs of $50 boots, but a pair of $600 boots likely won't outlast four pairs of $150 boots. (Assuming retail price, same style, etc.)
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Old Sep 28, 17, 3:29 pm
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Are we suckers for using expensive phones? I guess I'd say yes.

For the last several years, I've been using an old-model smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S3) that I got for just under $100 on eBay. For the last several years Verizon has been telling me that I am eligible, for a limited time only, for an upgrade to a phone costing several hundred dollars more. Verizon never does explain why it would be worth it to me to do so. Just hopes to make me live in FOMO.
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