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I’m on a mission to select my next smart phone. I’m attempting to use crowd wisdom to help me find the right one.

I’ve put some effort into describing my requirements. (Somehow my feelings about the market leaked into that description, so I’ve added the rant tag.)

Can some crustaceans help?

…I’m worried that this isn’t the right sort of post for lobste.rs. It feels like spam. …But, I’m not selling anything… I dunno, let me know! And thanks!


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    FWIW, I bought a Xiaomi 5S six weeks ago to run LineageOS on. I have no complaints, I think it stacks up well to phones that cost at least 50% more. The fingerprint sensor isn’t setting up properly in Lineage right now (and is apparently a bit unreliable in the stock MIUI OS) but this doesn’t bother me. Other than that everything I’ve tried works fine and performance is excellent.

    There are a few places it doesn’t quite meet your list:

    • Closer to $300US for the 64GB model. I’ve also used a Xiaomi 5 a bit and it’s almost as good as the 5S, probably a bit cheaper now.

    • Unlocking is free and supported by Xiaomi (doesn’t even appear to void warranty but I may be wrong about that). However it’s a bit fiddly and takes a few days end to end (have to register with a phone number, unlock developer mode in the stock MIUI OS and then register the phone to your account for unlocking purposes, then wait 72 hours, then use Xiaomi’s Windows unlock program - I ran it in a VM - to do the unlock over USB). Your account can only unlock one phone a month. I believe the process is to avoid resellers & service shops doing sneaky bulk unlocks to add rootkits/shovelware. It seems very well designed from this point of view, but on a personal level it’s still a little irritating to leave your shiny new phone in a drawer for three days!

    • No MicroSD card slot. FWIW, for my last phone I wanted storage more than any other spec so I bought a mid-range 32GB phone (Moto X Play) and a 128GB SD card. I regret that decision, Android “extended storage” never worked 100% for me. There were always random app pauses, glitches or problems with the card not re-registering at all after a reboot. This time I bought a phone with 128GB internal storage and everything just works.

    • One of my (Australian) carrier’s LTE bands is missing from the modem, although it’s the least common one from what I can tell. I don’t know how that compares to AT&T, but should be easy enough to find out.