1. 31

My venerable Google Pixel 1 has finally gone to the great phone booth in the sky. Considering Google is no longer providing support for the phone anyway, this is somewhat good timing.

I’m considering buying another Pixel, but I’m honestly rather disappointed with Google’s support window. I’m also considering de-Googling my life, since essentially everything I do goes through them (my personal domain and mail is hosted there, my phone with all my personal data is linked to Google, etc) and I’m getting a little wary of trusting so much of my digital life to one company.

(I’m already in the process of moving my personal hosting and email over to Gandi.net…)

I need a smartphone: I’m on the road too much to not have something that I can use to get directions, find local restaurants, watch movies on the plane, etc. Whatever phone I get I’d need to be “officially supported” by apps like Netflix, my bank’s app, my airline’s app, and so on.

It seems the only option if I don’t want Google is an iPhone, but I’m willing to hear suggestions otherwise. I’m also curious to know what other crustaceans’ opinions are on iOS-vs-Android privacy.

So, what mobile phone do you use?

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  2. 26

    iPhone SE. My top reason is the form factor. No idea what I’m going to do when support is dropped. Every other modern phone feels massive in comparison.

    1. 3

      Have you tried Samsung s10e? I feel that modern phones tend to be too big too and this one has been a keeper for me. It’s super comfy!

      1. 2

        With its 5.8” screen, it is significantly bigger than the iPhone SE. It is even bigger than most non-Max iPhone.

        1. 2

          The screen to body ratio is much much higher, so in reality it’s not much bigger whole giving you almost double the screen size:

          S10e: 142 x 70 x 8 mm
          IPhone se: 124 x 59 x 8 mm

      2. 2

        Same here, and also for flat camera. I need a communication device, not a real big camera.

        1. 2

          The quality control had become crap by the time I realized I wanted the iPhone SE. I went through four of them in less than a month before giving up and going to the iPhone 7. I emphatically do not believe that this was a generic iPhone SE issue; I have heard similar from people who bought them too late in their life cycle. I agree with you: that thing was my ideal form factor, and I’m genuinely disappointed I missed out and don’t have one.

          1. 5

            What exactly were the issues you had? Curious, I’m holding on to mine (about to replace the battery for the third time).

            1. 1

              In no particular order:

              1. Screen with dead pixels
              2. CarPlay simply didn’t work. The details varied, but this one was actually pretty consistent across all four phones.
              3. Screen with dead touch areas or vague touch area so that precision touching was a no-go. This was especially deadly prior to iOS 13, when they let you hold and drag on the spacebar to select individual letters.
              4. Battery operated as if it were a really forking old battery. It’d go from 100% to 30% over 15 minutes, then recharge back to 100% in as much time.
              5. Bluetooth would occasionally just decide it had had enough with life and was going to exeunt stage left

              To be clear, these were, at least nominally, brand-new phones bought directly from the Apple Store. That’s specifically why I gave up and bought an iPhone 7. I’d otherwise have simply gone to them and tried again for an SE.

              1. 1

                Thanks for clarifying! Didn’t think those issues could happen with new store-purchased phones.

                (FWIW, my recent carplay issues turned out to be due to a pile of lint stuck in the lightning connector.).

            2. 2

              Try craigslist? I’ve never had a problem there.

            3. 2

              What I wouldn’t give for an iPhone 11 jammed into the case of an iPhone 5.

              1. 1

                I hope my SE never dies. I can reach all four corners of the screen with my thumb. Plus, I love having a headphone jack.

                1. 1

                  That’s sort of why I got an XZ1c (specs). I bought it before my previous phone died, because I worried that they might stop making it. Sigh. There just aren’t very many of us asking for such phones.

                  FWIW, after disabling all the google things I don’t particularly want to use and ticking the right checkboxes, the phone appears not to tell Google anything significant. At least Google’s account history page is just an empty list.

                2. 41

                  I use the latest normal iPhone, upgraded on T-Mobile’s JUMP! program every year. I have way too much to worry about in my life to spend any amount of brain cells on something as silly as a smartphone. I don’t want root, I don’t want customization, I don’t want software update headaches, I certainly don’t want to download a ROM from some random person on a forum, and I don’t want to worry about compatibility. I just want a dumb appliance that works exactly as it was intended by the manufacturer, is reasonably secure and privacy-focused by mainstream standards, and gets out of my way.

                  I never have to wonder what my next phone will be, or what ecosystem is better, or when I’ll get the latest software (or from where). I know that basically any mainstream application will work and has been spot-checked by a human to make sure it does what it says, which gives me reasonable security to download and try out any app I find interesting.

                  The amount of cognitive overhead I freed up when I switched from Android to iPhone was astounding. It’s just a phone, I don’t ever want to think about it. I just want it to work and then get out of my way.

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                    I’ve been carrying around a OnePlus 6T running LineageOS for over a year now. It’s got massively better privacy than any iPhone and, of course, any phone running OEM Android. It’s also incredible for tinkering! I get all of that without having to give up on things like mobile banking and Netflix.

                    If you’re in the market for a well-supported, privacy-respecting device, I recommend taking a look at the device list on LineageOS’s website and picking your next phone from there.

                    If you’re genuinely interested in protecting your privacy and security, I would recommend staying far away from proprietary citadels like the Apple and Google ecosystems. If you’re willing to give up access to things like banking apps and Netflix, the PinePhone is probably the absolute best option currently available.

                    1. 4

                      I too have the OnePlus 6T. Last I tried Lineage on it, the on-screen fingerprint sensor was buggy as hell. Has it improved since?

                      I’m guessing you don’t run Gapps; how do get your location provider to work? MicroG doesn’t work too well on LOS.

                      1. 3

                        The baseband modem on the 6T is part of the SOC. You say that it has massively better privacy than an iPhone but do you have any evidence to suggest that the baseband communicates with the APU using anything more than the most basic shared memory? The iPhones at least have separate chips connected over HSIC which means that a whole class of possibilities of getting spied on by your modem are eliminated. The pinephone also uses HSIC with a separate baseband.

                        I don’t think any qualcomm snapdragon SOC based phone can be really considered private if you’re worried about baseband modem based attacks.

                      2. 9

                        Nokia N900. The official support has ended, but there’s still communities doing the work

                        1. 1

                          Are you still running stock Maemo, or something else?

                          1. 2

                            running stock maemo with the upgrades from cssu

                            1. 1

                              Wow, I remember hearing of cssu a long time ago, I’m surprised it’s still going. It seems like one major issue now is that there aren’t any browsers supporting TLS 1.2 (since openssl on stock maemo is old), is that a problem for you?

                              1. 1

                                nope. mostly because i don’t use it for browsing the internet. but apparently there are ways to get around this by using things like: maemo leste or postmarket os (not sure about how usable those are)

                                1. 1

                                  I’m one of the main contributors to N900 support in postmarketOS, and the situation there is better for browsing but the lack of any userspace 3D acceleration contributes to some poor UI performance. I’ve tried maemo leste recently, which uses the powervr sgx userspace driver, and the UI is (obviously) much better.

                                  What do you use your N900 for exactly? (sorry for the questioning, I’m genuinely curious. I often dream about using only my N900 again for mobile whatever stuff)

                                  1. 1

                                    interesting, and what about performance in general?
                                    i use mostly to: gaming, listening to music, reading, watching movies, and programming.
                                    also like to take pictures, the camera is pretty good.

                                    1. 1

                                      Performance with Leste seems better than with stock Maemo (I didn’t measure it directly, it just felt like hildon was flying). It’s based on Devuan Linux, so quite a lot of software is available for it. I think audio (it works, but AFAIK there are no protections to prevent the speakers from being blown) and the camera are still WIP though, but I’m not really involved in that project so I don’t know what’s left to make those functional. Also telephone calls and SMS don’t really work unless you’re willing to play with ofono on the commandline.

                        2. 9

                          To preface, I really care about autonomy, self-direction, and control with my devices. So obviously I’m a big fan of freedom-respecting software. This attitude, uh, colors the following response a bit.

                          Current

                          I use an LG G5 with Lineage OS (and no Google anything). I can’t recommend my setup if you need “official” support of anything. But for what it’s worth, it’s the least bad setup I’ve found so far, and I decided it’s sufficiently on-topic to be interesting to some readers.

                          It’s an old phone, but it’s been my go-to for some time to recommend to others who want something cheap. If you want to use the stock ROM, it’s probably getting old. I worry about the security, the kernel is pretty old. But I also don’t want to ride a $500-1000 upgrade train every year, so for now I just live on the edge like that[1]. But because it has no software controlled by Google and the likes (beyond Google’s inescapable design and steering of Android development), it has no built-in software to spy on me, hijack my brain via the subconcious assault that is advertising, or maximize engagement with irrelevant notifications. But then again, I also use a web browser.

                          I think its hardware is great. It’s physically a good size, it has enough RAM, a good enough processor, the screen is fine, the cameras are good enough for my purposes, you can (easily) replace the battery, it has an SD card slot that supports the latest standard (which supports up to 2TB, if I recall correctly), and it has a USB type C port that you can use with a dongle to use USB devices (keyboard, mouse, etc), HDMI, etc. I’m sure newer hardware is much better, but honestly the G5 is a great phone.

                          Software-wise, it’s a disappointment, but I feel that way about all phones available today. It’s no longer officially supported by LineageOS, but a few people have made some updates and it works with the latest version of LineageOS if you build it yourself (or download an image from some forum, if you like to roll the dice that way). A few things seem a little wonky on my device currently, but it’s not so bad[2]. My biggest regret is that HDMI only seems to work on the official ROM.

                          I use F-droid to get Android apps, and what I really need is there. Open Street Map is good enough for navigation, there are serviceable music players, and there are apps for reading text in any format I need. Any commercial services that require an app I just do without. I don’t feel like I’m missing much so far.

                          I use a chroot environment with Arch Linux on it to be able to use various other pieces of software I rely on (they aren’t available through Termux, or I might just use it). I like to use a lot of custom scripts and such, and doing that in a chroot environment is really the only reasonable way forward for me right now. The boilerplate and tooling required to make a GUI program for Android is intolerable to me[3], although I would actually like to create some simple GUIs on a phone where I don’t usually care for them on a desktop with a keyboard.

                          I somewhat recently replaced my old G5 with a new one after I broke the camera glass somehow. I considered researching what newer phone to get, but I decided that getting a cheap G5 on ebay was the simplest thing to do, as I knew what I would be getting (eg. that it’s rootable and how to root it), etc. My (hopeful) intention is to hold out with my current phone for a year or two and then get a Librem phone or Pinephone with sufficiently working software.

                          Future, hopefully

                          This wasn’t really requested, but I decided to write about it anyway.

                          Ultimately I want to run the same OS (NixOS, for the foreseeable future) on all my computers. I want to be able to easily write custom software (“scripts”, mostly) that will work on all my computers, using whatever language I want. And I want to have all of my custom configuration, including the list of installed programs, checked into a git repository and easily, automatically reproducible on a new machine. I have all of this already on all of my computers but my phone, and I find it, uh, incredibly frustrating that I can’t do it on my phone. Particularly, I see the smartphone as the most personal computer yet, and for most people it’s their primary computing platform, and by far the most important in many ways.

                          Once I can use my phone as a first class computer, I intend to start using my phone as my primary “human interface” computer. In other words, not only will it be my go-to device that fits in my pocket and goes everywhere with me, but I’ll dock it to laptop shell or desktop for serious work. Modern smartphones are sufficiently powerful for the majority of my computing use cases, and ssh to a more powerful remote server is always there.

                          Laptop shells like I want are not currently on the market as far as I’m aware. However, all the tech is there to build a DIY version, and I want a good ergonomic keyboard anyway. So I’ll probably find a way to strap a USB-powered monitor to a folding arm attached to a Kinesis keyboard with USB dongle and battery packs attached. I might use the phone display as a trackpad, mounted in the middle space of the kinesis.

                          Docking as a desktop already works quite well. Once a couple years ago my laptop SSD died, and I decided to give my phone a try docked as a desktop to do a day’s work while waiting for the replacement. Android is a terrible OS to try to do desktop work, but the hardware was sufficiently capable. More specifically, using local files or compilation was a little slow (file access was slow but not too bad, compilation was a little painful), but for just writing or working remotely it was great.

                          [1] - I’m a grad student, so I’m not rolling in money like many professional programmers are. And also on principle I don’t want to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for hardware that’s locked down to (mostly proprietary) garbage software[1.5] and that’s built and “maintained” for intentional, rapid obsolescence. A lightly used G5 sells on Ebay these days for $60 or so.

                          [1.5] - I’ve already toned down what I’m calling the software available on phones a few times. To be more fair, there are various measures by which a lot of today’s phone software is good. But I hate it.

                          [2] - OK, most people would probably not accept the level of wonkiness. Brightness detection doesn’t seem to work, which is mostly annoying when the touch screen doesn’t turn off when I push the phone to my face while on a call, but I’ve learned to turn the screen off while taking calls. Auto-rotation doesn’t work. But it gave me an excuse to write manual rotation scripts, which I actually wanted anyway because auto-rotation never does what I want. And HDMI doesn’t work, but I suspect it’ll never work on anything but the official ROM due to some driver nonsense that nobody will ever bother to reverse-engineer. As far as I can tell, everything else works fine.

                          [3] - I’ve created a couple of Android packages, and I never want to do it again. Or even update and re-build the ones I have made. Building software for smartphones is just insanity. I routinely write software for my other computers by writing one single file, and maybe compiling it. Building anything for Android is a relatively monumental task.

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                            I’m using a OnePlus 5T with custom ROM (Lineage).

                            I’m not sure about OnePlus support, and they definitely don’t support Lineage. But their phones seem to be quite nice to put custom stuff on. I really like them.

                            1. 2

                              I’m using this phone too which I purchased about a year ago. It’s a great value. When I bought it, it was only about $370. It’s unlocked, has dual SIM, headphone jack, and a decent screen in my opinion.

                              I try not to be on the phone a lot, so I didn’t go looking for the latest and greatest, but this one is a lot better than I expected.

                            2. 7

                              I have an iPhone 7 Plus.
                              The Android ecosystem terrifies me and I didn’t want to have to think about security updates.

                              1. 6

                                I feel like iOS is most likely better aligned with my interests, privacy wise, and I am quite convinced that it’s no worse.

                                Over the past several years, I’ve bounced from iPhone to Android semi-regularly for my “daily driver” primarily in the interest of having a decent feel for what users are likely to perceive as “normal” on both platforms. (I used to do it every 6 months or so, but I’ve been on an iPhone 8+ for a while now, since I’ve needed to do drastically less Android work for the past 2+ years.)

                                For crossing international borders (which I do quite infrequently) I tend to just pick up the least expensive prime exclusive unlocked android available from amazon, patch it up as far as the manufacturer allows, pop my SIM in, populate it only with the data that I’m sure I need on my trip, and carry that. Those don’t suck as much as I’d expect. But I’m generally not using them heavily in that scenario either.

                                For daily use, I find myself liking the iOS environment best. But it’s fairly close.

                                I’m really hoping there will be some UBports derivative that can run reasonably on some handset I can easily purchase by the time I need to replace the 8+. “reasonably” for me means that I need calls, voicemail and SMS/MMS to work well, I want the camera to be about on par with the iPhone 8+, and I want the battery to still have several hours life in it on those occasions where I have to go 24-30 hours without charging it (but am still using the phone). And it needs to have a good browser, but I almost didn’t mention that because I rather suspect that is the most “shoo-in” of all my criteria.

                                Were I in your situation, I might prefer to pick up an inexpensive-ish android, commence the de-googling (if you go that way), install an AOSP derivative when that is done, and hope to install a UBports or similar derivative by the time the inexpensive-ish android handset kicks the bucket.

                                1. 5

                                  Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, lot’s of phone for your money. Install LineageOS, don’t install any Google bits - use microGapps if you feel the need - and you’re set. The battery can hold for 4-5 days of (for me) normal use, good display, 3.5mm plug, IR blaster, fingerprint, camera’s OK, dual-SIM, takes an SD card, no stupid Apple-inspired notch in the screen, etc. In short a no-nonsense device which does what you want it to do without getting in the way and without kowtowing to the latest fad (OK, it has a dual back camera, that’s a bit of a fad…).

                                  1. 5

                                    I run a de-googled Android (LineageOS specifically) on a recently bought Samsung Galaxy A5.

                                    I specifically wanted something older (and cheaper) since I don’t feel like mobile phones are really that interesting in everyday life. Few weeks in the novelty value wears off and the Latest And Greatest becomes yet another glorified alarm clock with an internet browser. I don’t feel like any noticeable strides were made in mobile phone development since that day when someone put both internet access and a GPS in them – all we got is faster hardware, required to be able to support software shittier than ever. Hence I got a phone as old and as cheap as I could, while still having something that has official LineageOS support.

                                    Since I don’t much care for Google or any “official apps” I don’t really mind the lack of Google Services and apps requiring it. I try to stay away from apps in general, as I find them generally hostile to the end-user. Were I forced to use them, I’d seriously consider getting an iPhone over a Google Android – maybe because I never had an iPhone though :)

                                    1. 5

                                      Nokia 101 (phone booth replacement, if I’m outside. holds my private phone number) motorola one vision (pretty much my “landline”, stays in the office. holds my public phone number)

                                      I do not like home banking or even email on my phone: with the first holding my money and the second many, many online accounts, it would be a single point of failure, should someone pick it from my pockets or should I lose it.

                                      Mobile Websites are not for me: I’m almost 50 and my eyes clearly show age, I hate dumbed down mobile versions of websites, and I have given up on taking all the adblocking and privacy efforts twice.

                                      1. 3

                                        I do not like home banking or even email on my phone: with the first holding my money and the second many, many online accounts, it would be a single point of failure, should someone pick it from my pockets or should I lose it.

                                        I feel the same way, and it’s interesting to me that more tech-savvy folk do not also. I don’t even have an email client on my laptop; I only do email from a desktop. I guess in this modern age, people have grown so attached to their digital lives that they’ve accepted that having silicon parasites on you 24/7/365 is just considered normal.

                                        1. 2

                                          What do you do with your laptop? Staying connected is my main use case for a laptop these days.

                                          If I am away from my desk and can get someone who’s working for me unstuck by firing up my laptop and helping them over email or chat in less time than it would take me to get back to my desktop once or twice a year, I’ve paid for my laptop and justified keeping it nearby most of the time. I could make a slightly less direct argument for using it to help someone I’m working for.

                                          1. 1

                                            My big use case is maps, public transit directions and/or Uber, looking up locations (e.g. restaurants or museums) and light web browsing to kill time in transit.

                                        2. 4

                                          iPhone Xs. I switched from iPhones to Android phones for a while. I liked the additional hardware choices. But I just got fed up with the update situation, random bugs, and wanted to purge Google from my life as much as possible. Except for the price, I have been extremely happy with my iPhones.

                                          History: iPhone 3G -> iPhone 4 -> Nexus 4 -> Moto X 2013 -> Moto X 2014 -> iPhone 5s -> iPhone SE -> Nokia 710 (?, drowned my SE) -> iPhone 6s -> iPhone Xs

                                          1. 1

                                            In the same time frame I only went through 3 devices:

                                            • 2006: Qtek S200 (pensioned, still works)
                                            • 2011: Motorola Defy+ (Google-free, in active use)
                                            • 2018: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 (Google-free, in active use)

                                            Why do you go through so many devices? Wasn’t one of the selling point for the overpriced Apple hardware that it lasts longer? How then can it be that these seem to last way shorter than a mid-range device like the Defy+?

                                            1. 3

                                              I just like updating regularly. I also upgrade my MacBook every 1.5-2 years. The resale value of Apple products is high (which was another pain point with Android devices, they are not worth much second-hand). So e.g. a new MacBook typically costs me ~400 per 2 years, which is a very reasonable price for nice, high-end hardware.

                                          2. 4

                                            Alcatel OneTouch 2045X. It cost me $20, does everything I need it to do, and when I plug it into my computer it offers to present as a COM port (and yes, it responds to AT commands!).

                                            However, the keyboard membrane is awful, and typing often misses or doubles keys. It’s hard to find a good dumbphone these days…

                                            1. 3

                                              I use Android, because I want to own my phone. Google is pretty bad about respecting ownership, but Apple is worse. And when it comes to privacy I can make an Android phone respect my privacy.

                                              I want to be able to run my own and others’ software on my phone; I want to be able to run Linux; I want to be able to run a real Firefox; I want to be able to run software that angers Google and Apple. I can do that with Android: I cannot do that with iOS. There’s just no competition.

                                              Edit: also, I want a headphone jack. I do not want a high-latency, flakey wireless solution when there is a low-latency, reliable wired alternative.

                                              1. 3

                                                I use an iPhone 8+. It was an impulse buy - our kid’s phone broke when overseas and I was pressured to donate my 5SSE to them, while not having enough time to really research alternatives. The 8+ is WAY TOO BIG for me.

                                                I’ve been a satisfied iPhone/iOS user since the 4.

                                                I really appreciate the new warnings you get regarding location information in iOS 13.

                                                1. 3

                                                  IPhone 8. Happy with while also hating it for being such a time suck that I can’t just ditch entirely.

                                                  1. 3

                                                    Used to use Androids but the support cycle was ridiculous, I felt like most major upgrades never landed on phones I had. Then got iphone, it felt hassle-free and everything just worked and they support older models pretty long too. I’ll probably use my iphone x as long as it gets updates.

                                                    1. 3

                                                      I use a Pixel 3a XL with GrapheneOS. Had it a while and loved it so far.

                                                      I don’t think it will quite let you ‘de-google’ as much as you’d like, considering the apps you want. You would have to use a play store hack app like Yalp or Aurora, and probably Microg to connect to google services.

                                                      For me it’s great, but for you I might recommend an iPhone.

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                                                        If you are heading in the direction of de-googling your life, then you will probably want to go iOS unless you want to mess around in the Android without Google ecosystem that exists. It’s an unfortunate reality that those are the only two games in town for production usage right now. The purism phone is getting there but it probably needs another year or two of development before it becomes something that has enough traction to attract app developers.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          I’m running a beat up iPhone 6 that does everything I’m looking for it to do: {calls, photos, music, marine maps}. Previous was an SE that was company provided, and I agree with the comment on sizing after the SE

                                                          1. 2

                                                            I have an Huawei P30 Lite as personal phone. I am very happy about it.

                                                            As work phone,I have an iPhone8.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              I really don’t like Apple. I am using a Microsoft Surface Book right now, use Windows 10 servers in my office, use Azure for our cloud. I use OneDrive instead of Drop Box. I even used a Zune when portable music players were a thing.

                                                              But the best, most hassle free smartphone experience these days is on iPhone. I have an iPhone X. I’ve tried all sorts of Android phones, but they were very “fiddly”, worked in unpredictable ways, and had maddening features (like a button on my Samsung phone that at the time couldn’t be disabled and brought up this usless “Bixby” personal assistant and would get pressed accidentally all the time).

                                                              1. 6

                                                                In the end the best, most hassle-free smartphone experience these days is on devices which are capable of hosting AOSP-derived Android distributions like LineageOS. OTA update, Google-free if you want it to be, you can choose between a host of different sizes, the price range goes from ‘dirt cheap’ to ‘almost Apple’. You get to be the one who decides what runs on your device and what will not, you get to be the one who decides whether you want to firewall the thing, which browser you get to use, etc.

                                                                What you describe might be the easy way out by trusting Apple to be there for you. If you trust them, good for you but don’t forget that in the end they are more intent on watching their own bottom line and their own interests. Should those go against yours it should be clear which side will win the argument. It is not the most hassle-free as you’ll have to deal with the consequences of those decisions, from not allowing other browsers (i.e. real browsers, not just shells around WebKit) to booting competing apps to keeping your SMS service hostage should you ever dare to move away from iOS (you can check out anytime but we’ll make it as hard as possible to actually leave) to… well, I guess you know the drill.

                                                              2. 2

                                                                I have your phone (XL) but I bought it with the intention of putting LineageOS (with micro-g) on it. I still get updates, also no Google!

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  I use an iPhone, last year’s big one, which is largely the default, because I do not use Google’s products/services. I’m sure Android is at least as good as iOS, but I trust Apple’s incentives, and, fundamentally, their inability to do anything in services well enough at scale to be creepy. I genuinely derive value from being trapped invested in the Apple ecosystem.

                                                                  I badly wish that Microsoft hadn’t tripped all over themselves with mobile; having another vendor of phones that wasn’t Apple might lead to a mobile technology market that isn’t quite so designed to sweep up all of our data in the service of lousy contextual ads.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    I recently upgraded from a Pixel 1 (which was on its second battery, which was not doing well) to a Pixel 3a, and so far (~3 months) I absolutely love it.

                                                                    (I feel pretty gross about how much of my life / data is entrusted to Google, but so far the convenience outweighs that.)

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      I use a Nexus 6p phone I bought when it was a new model, with LineageOS installed on it. I’ve had the battery replaced once, and that was long enough ago that the replacement battery is now noticeably unable to hold a charge for more than a few hours of normal use, requiring me to pretty much always carry a charger. Also the screen is cracked from dropping it and theres some other physical damage. I plan to buy a PinePhone fairly soon and hopefully it will be good enough to replace this phone with.

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        I always get the biggest iPhone (physical size and storage) so I’m currently running on an iPhone 11 Pro Max.

                                                                        The camera tends to be best on the larger phones, lots of battery life, and I rarely need to expunge media from my phone due to low disk space.

                                                                        @freehunter’s response is pretty spot-on as to why I continue to use iPhones. However, before I got the iPhone 5 all those years ago, I was a staunch Palm Pre supporter. I despise HP with all my being to this day.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          Agreed. I still miss webOS and a physical keyboard.

                                                                        2. 2

                                                                          Samsung s10e has been the best phone I’ve had or tried so far. It’s quite small and super comfy, flat screen, great double camera(normal + wide), waterproof and has all of the bells and whistles and is really cheap - I bought mine used in mint condition for $300!

                                                                          I haven’t been this impressed by a phone ever so excuse my rambling - it’s just such a good overall package and very few people are paying attention to it!

                                                                          I am also really excited to have my Librem 5 delivered but it’s not replacing my s10e.

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                                                                            On degoogling: until pretty recently I used a Sony Xperia XA2 (and before that an Xperia X) running SailfishOS as my daily driver but I heard this is harder to obtain outside of Europe. I really like it, especially since the Android support on the XA2 works pretty well and can fill in gaps the native OS doesn’t offer (banking apps for example).

                                                                            Whether you can handle this really depends on what kind of person you are, it’s a bit like using Linux as your main OS 20 years ago. You do lose a lot of convenience that you’re used to but you also gain some that you might not have expected[1]. When degoogling it’s not necessarily a net loss in convenience, but you do have to make some conscious adjustments.

                                                                            Having said all this I recently switched to a Huawei P30 Pro for the camera which is fscking great. I always seem to switch back from SFOS for the camera, that’s my main issue with it. However, if LineageOS would run on it and I could keep the native camera app I would switch in an instant (and not install Google Apps).

                                                                            [1] I’m at work and kinda busy, so I’m not going to make a long post but having access to the commandline and scripting my photo backup using rclone was actually an improvement over what Dropbox, pCloud, etc. offer.

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                                                                              Last week I bought an iPhone Xr after 5 years with a One Plus 2. Five years ago I trusted Google more than Apple, that’s no longer the case, and if I don’t want any headache with things not working and I don’t want Google Apple is the only real alternative these days.

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                                                                                AT&T ZTE 223 that I bought unlocked off Amazon for like $40. (The seller had clearly purchased it, cut open the package, unlocked the phone, and taped it back in.) Works pretty well! Good battery life (a week or more), assignable ring tones, decent calendar and alarms.

                                                                                Big downside is that it doesn’t have an SD card, so I have to turn on Bluetooth to load custom ringtones. And it doesn’t have call recording.

                                                                                I use a laptop when I need internet. Laptops have gotten very thin and light these days, for better or worse.

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                                                                                  Samsung Galaxy S9

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                                                                                    Got a OnePlus 3, which worries me now it doesn’t get any more software updates. This is absolutely something we need to factor in to any purchase, given some have a very limited lifetime of one, two years worth of updates.

                                                                                    Essentially having to manage my expectations of security, vs requirement of meeding to use Banking Apps, RSA tokens, etc, but as yet…still comfortable. Self-managing android security advisories isn’t much fun.

                                                                                    At some point, expect to move to LineageOS. Just replaced the battery, which really is the only thing that has aged.
                                                                                    Phone is still super capable.

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                                                                                      Xperia XZ1 Compact. Imo, the last premier compact phone.

                                                                                      I’ve got three that are unlocked, and enough repair supplies to keep them going for a long time.

                                                                                      I miss the era when you could use a phone with a single hand…

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                                                                                        I have a ZTE Axon 7, bought before Mr. Trump embargoed (and then unembargoed) them. It has solid build quality, and has performed well for the 2.5ish years I’ve had it so far. A connector is partially loose inside, so occasionally it needs some percussive maintenance. I haven’t jailbreak it out of laziness; I think it had a Lineage OS port. Probably not the best phone for the security conscious.

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                                                                                          iPhone 7. My concern is that when it is EOLed, the next iPhone to buy will be so expensive that I won’t.

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                                                                                            I have the Pixel 3A and I don’t hate it.

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                                                                                              My favorite phone I’ve ever had was a Pixel 3, followed immediately by an iPhone SE. But I’m currently on an iPhone 7. The reasons a bit complicated, but the quick summary would be that 1) I trust Google monumentally less than I trust Apple, which made having the Pixel 3 ethically complicated for me; and 2) the iPhone SE had major reliability issues by the time I decided I wanted one, leaving the iPhone 7 as the best runner-up. What I really want is an iPhone SE with iPhone X internals, but that sadly does not (as of January 2020) exist.

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                                                                                                Currently, Samsung Note 8. Got it in a pinch after my Huawei 6P suddenly bricked itself one morning. It went into a boot loop and never came back. Huawei phones are garbage and I’ll never buy anything from that horrid company again

                                                                                                But I do love my Note 8 and will likely buy another Samsung phone in the future.

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                                                                                                  Pixel 2 XL, the size is immense but it makes up for it with its immense battery life, despite over 2 years of daily use still lasts over a day. The support is indeed a big issue, finishing in October this year less than 3 years after I purchased it. Not sure where I’m going after this.

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                                                                                                    Whatever phone I get I’d need to be “officially supported” by apps like Netflix, my bank’s app, my airline’s app, and so on.

                                                                                                    It seems the only option if I don’t want Google is an iPhone

                                                                                                    Given that first constraint, your assumption is correct. The iPhone 8 or newer should be supported for a while yet. There’s an unpatchable bootrom exploit in everything up to and including the X, so you should be able to jailbreak those forever if that’s something you’re interested in. If you’d rather have a more secure phone at the expense of a little bit of customization, you’ll need an XS or newer.

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                                                                                                      Also, if you want to use 3-d touch/force touch (which, imo, is amazing), don’t get the XR or anything newer than the XS.

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                                                                                                        iOS 13 made force touch significantly less useful (many things are activated by long press instead of force touch now). Kinda annoying how they took away a feature in an OS “upgrade”…

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                                                                                                      Nexus 5X as of July 2016 - best damn phone I ever had and I hope it will survive as long as I can get Android updates.

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                                                                                                        iPhone 11 Pro.

                                                                                                        I’m far too embedded in the  ecosystem to use anything non-Apple. Laptop, Phone, Watch, cloud services all integrate and work together as one. Fully accept where I am and that I have to keep partaking in this or it’s a brutal breakup for me.

                                                                                                        About 3 years ago I realised that all my fancy cameras were gathering dust and I was just shooting everything on my iPhone 7 and “making do” because it was the camera in my pocket at any given time. Once the iPhone X came out with two cameras in the “small” form factor (vs the old Max factors which were too large), I decided to sell my cameras and jump on the flagship phone bandwagon, via the iPhone Upgrade Program. I’ve continued to upgrade every year, through XS and then 11 Pro after completing 11 payments of the upgrade program’s 20 months. Basically means I get the latest fancy camera annually for an annual payment of £79, plus ~£55/month. Oh, and it makes phone calls.

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                                                                                                          iPhone 11 Pro Max: battery life decent. Privacy wise, probably could make a better case for iOS now. I was an Android user in the G2 years. It’s. Just. A. Phone.

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                                                                                                            Xiaomi 5S + LineageOS 16.0 + Google Play Services

                                                                                                            Xiaomi’s Qualcomm-based phones tend to run LineageOS well and have a good build quality to price point ratio. The up-to-date equivalent to what I have is probably the Mi 8 or the Poco F1.

                                                                                                            Have thought about switching to microG to remove google play services but I haven’t had the time/appetite for it yet (requires a full wipe to set new signing keys, and unclear what might no longer work properly).

                                                                                                            I often recommend Android One phones to friends (ie Xiaomi “Mi A” series or even Nokia’s phones). However if you have the appetite for a bit of fiddling around then I find LineageOS’s Privacy Guard feature is worth the extra fuss compared to any other Android offering.

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                                                                                                              I was on the xperia series for a while, they’re friendly about rooting/custom roms. But then I tried out iOS and it’s such a more usable experience… plus I trust the privacy story on iOS way more (another comment mentioned it but they crack down a lot on random location information collection). So now I have an iPhone 8 that works well (save for random crashing of some apps since iOS 13…)

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                                                                                                                Cubot King Kong. It’s an absolute tank of a phone which is necessary since I have a bad history of obliterating the phones I own in some way or another. I only really use it for GPS, phone calls, and text messages so it doesn’t really have any apps on it.

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                                                                                                                  I have a Pixel XL and I hadn’t noticed / forgot that it’s no longer supported by Google! Thanks for this post, spurring me into action :)

                                                                                                                  I’m looking into installing LineageOS on my phone now, and I’m beginning research on what phone to eventually replace it with. I plan to buy the next generation of the Pinephone for funsies, and if it turns out to be a usable phone by the time my Pixel XL dies, I’ll just keep using that.

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                                                                                                                    A regular iPhone 11 (not a “Pro” one) mostly for the same reasons than @freehunter. Yes it has an LCD display instead of an OLED and yes nerds complain about this, but you will probably not notice this unless you read the specs. Sometimes the latest technology isn’t much better.

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                                                                                                                      iPhone Fits-In-Your-Hand (SE). I thought about giving in and buying a 7 over the holidays but decided to stick with this until it dies or they release another phone this size.

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                                                                                                                        Past: Jolla phone. Ran smoothly for 5 years, after which a portion of the touch panel stopped working. It still received official software updates though (and I think it still does, which is incredible compared to most phones, even apple ones). The form factor was nice and the expandability too (you could build custom modules for it and communicate with them with the i2c pins on the back. I still have the hardware keyboard). I might try to repair it someday.

                                                                                                                        Present: Xperia XA2. Officially supported by Lineage OS, and by Sailfish OS. They both run great, and sailfish supports android apps too. I bought it because I wanted the smoothest possible custom rom experience and 5+ years of software updates on both OSes.

                                                                                                                        Both phones have no trace of proprietary google software.

                                                                                                                        Future: basically what @willghatch wrote.

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                                                                                                                          Alcatel Go Flip 2 running KaiOS. Very minimal but I really don’t miss many features from my smartphone. I use for alarms, calendar, messaging, and calls, and am going to try to build a simple podcast app for it. When I’m working I’ve already got a laptop handy, and when I read I use my Kindle (Eink).

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                                                                                                                            The current era of smartphones sucks compared to some years ago in terms of diversity and option. Everything today is basically the same and it is either Android or iOS. The only thing that really got amazing are the cameras they are attaching to the phones but if photography is not your thing then it doesn’t really matter. In the past I was heavily invested in both webOS and Firefox OS and both systems were a breath of fresh air, especially webOS. Unfortunately we don’t have anything as polished as an alternative OS these days and we can’t really use those old devices effectively anymore. Heck my old BB10 Passport is still one of the best phones I ever owned but Blackberry dropped the ball. I managed to use a Sony Z3C with Firefox OS up to late 2015 or early 2016, don’t recall. But the writing was already on the wall, it was a dead system and then banking apps made me move to Android. I have a good Android device but I miss the other options, if it was not for banking I’d use something else.

                                                                                                                            So I guess it boils down to what are your needs? What features you can live without? Understanding those might make it easier for you to make a choice.

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                                                                                                                              I use a Nokia RM-1035 from 2014.

                                                                                                                              I never changed the battery since then, so the battery life is only around 2 weeks now (but that’s still fine for me).

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                                                                                                                                Using an iPhone 6S, but the battery is crapping out which means I’ll get a replacement battery or get a new phone. If it’s the latter, I considered an iPhone 8 the newest iPhone I would buy, as none of the newer models are in a comfortable size. Someone else mentioned Samsung S10e, which could be promising - I have no loyalty towards either iPhone or Android - and I have used both - but the thought of “migrating” all my stuff puts me off switching to Android for the moment.

                                                                                                                                I do feel like my iPhone 6S has decent performance, and I wish I could get a modern phone with twice the battery life (compared to the phone when it was new), even if means little or no performance improvement. Suggestions are welcome, but the iPhone 6S size is near the pain point of how big a phone I will tolerate.

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                                                                                                                                  11 pro. Gives me up to 4 days of battery life.

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                                                                                                                                    OnePlus 7 Pro with original SW (but several apps disabled). Nova launcher.

                                                                                                                                    The HW is nice and fast, screen is really fast, camera could get quicker.

                                                                                                                                    The price was tolerable for the spec. I would enjoy a smaller size. Updates every second month only.

                                                                                                                                    All the software I search at F-Droid first but honestly Play is much better place to find the results in the end.

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                                                                                                                                      You can use Aurora Store to get (free) apps from the play store, no Google account needed.

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                                                                                                                                      A used iphone 6s i got from a friend.

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                                                                                                                                        iPhone 6S and 7S (slowly migrating to the later one). Have plans for 11.

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                                                                                                                                          iPhone 6s bought new two years ago. The touch screen failed three months ago and was replaced without charge (IIRC). The battery failed gradually over the past year and was replaced by Apple for $50. Overall happy with it.

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                                                                                                                                            Right now? A Samsung Galaxy Note 4 running LineageOS. As soon as it arrives? A PinePhone, probably running Ubuntu Touch.

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                                                                                                                                              I’ve used android phones for around 6 years after my first kid was born and I couldn’t justify it to myself anymore to buy a phone that was a very big chunk of my monthly pay. I finally quit android and bought an iPhone XR last year, for 2 very different reasons:

                                                                                                                                              • every 2 years I had to buy a new phone because either support was gone or the phone became bugged after an update. Bluetooth connection drops, battery drains, call disconnects, … all the time. Things would be better after a month or 2 most of the time, but man, the frustration…

                                                                                                                                              • google knows a lot about me, so I switched to lineage for some time but my banking apps, Pokémon go, … would not function anymore, so back to plain android. As a privacy aware person, it sickened me a bit to see what kind of data, and the sheer volume of things apps could access.

                                                                                                                                              In the end I realized that for the price of 3 Android phones in 5 years, I could buy an iPhone and probably have less annoyances about random things that stop working. Yes, iPhones are far from perfect, but if Apple messes up big time after an update, they release a fix. Android vendors do the same, but it ends up being packaged in a monthly update so you know you’re going to have to endure the bug for 4 more weeks.

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                                                                                                                                                I used my last phone - a Motorola Defy running CM12 without any Google-specific bits - for 7+ years before being forced to move to something more up to date by the Swedish electronic ID system dropping support for Android < 5. The thing went from Froyo (2.1) to KitKat (4.4) and is still in use as a work phone due to its handy size, robustness and the fact that it is waterproof. I have a host of these things around doing duty as remote cameras, media players and such.

                                                                                                                                                That whole thing about Android devices being ‘bugged by upgrades’ or ‘needing to be rebooted’ or what have you… is not my experience at all. I reboot mine when I happen to do an update, otherwise it keeps on running. This has given me a kernel uptime of more than a year on my current device since updates rarely require a full reboot.

                                                                                                                                                Going from my own incarnations of Android to iOS would be the equivalent of moving from my farm to a rented apartment in the city in that I would give up my freedom/replace a little bit of effort in keeping the thing up to date with a set of binds and shackles to keep me inside my Apple-designated cage - no thank you. it is, after all, MY phone on which I get to decide what gets to run and what doesn’t.

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                                                                                                                                                  I never had your luck it seems. My first android (nexus 4) was riddled with issues after each upgrade. Ranging from wifi drops, bluetooth drops, battery from full to 20% in 2 hours in standby to just random reboots. I took it to the store but ‘there was nothing wrong with it’ and they just did a re-install and that obviously didn’t help. I sold it after a couple of months and went back to my old iphone. Next was a nexus 5 that had serious gps issues. Locking on would take ages and the battery life was pretty bad sometimes. I used it till I was fed up and bought a moto g4 and that was actually an okay phone but updates soon ended. I tried lineage but was locked out of all my financial apps and some others because it wasn’t using an official android release. The last one I tried was a xiaomi a1 and that one had to be the best of them all, but after some updates bluetooth/call drops where frequent and I simply gave up and bought an iphone again.

                                                                                                                                                  I understand your comment about the walled garden, and I’m glad everything worked out for you, but I like to tinker with my laptop, vps and pc. If one of them is unavailable I’ll manage. The phone just needs to work reliably and my experiences with android phones where quite bad, hence my choice.