How to buy a cell phone

So i am in need of some help. I feel like I'm becoming old man in my comprehension of electronics and even the online tech marketplace in general. All I want to do is buy the best phone for my needs at the lowest price without risking ripoffs or shady shit.

I don't want to change carriers or plans or order sim cards to swap and fake like it's a new account with my partners ss# to save twenty bucks I just don't want to overspend my needs...Which are primarily to text, read news/twitter as a personalized news feed and talk (in that order), secondarily to listen to podcasts or music and in a very distant last place to play one game (coc) or occasionally sudoku. Battery life is very important. I do not stream anything on my phone and have very little concern for picture quality.

I have always been an android guy and pretty loyal to samsung galaxy line...currently rocking the s6. My biggest concern is that I do not want to pay for a bunch more than i need but I am not without means to pay if it is worth while. Yesterday, Galaxy s10 came out, seems pretty impressive but largely bc of camera stuff that i give literally no fucks about. Apparently the galaxy s8 and 9 were popular and made modest adjustments to a successful line  But is it worth the savings to buy a two model back phone for $500 when i can get the brand new base model for 750?

I have Verizon, with wife, and they don't seem to be very excited to buy my 5 year old phone.  Appreciate any advice.

Regardless of (or informed by) the specific phone, I'd also really appreciate advice on how to buy it. Verizon seems to charge significantly more than Amazon but I'm nervous about buying unlocked stuff which then turns out to be counterfeit, refurbished bs, or a lemon. Anyone go through this recently and willing to lay down some wisdom? I spent six hours reading wired, cnet and related articles with advice on the phones and how to buy them cheaply and, honestly, I'm more confused than ever.

Appreciate any thoughts! 
Teresa from Concord


  • MmmBopMmmBop United Kingdom
    Why not just go straight to say ‘Samsung’ if that’s the phone you want, ask for unlocked phone and for them to put your old sim in the new phone. I think that might be called porting your number. Don’t quote me though. Your carrier will charge more for a phone as they sell higher for contracts. I’m in UK so perhaps it’s different where you are. 

    My son has the Samsung 9 and it’s really Good apparently. 
     I would never personally never  buy a phone from Amazon but again I don’t trust a lot of phone sellers, unless I am very sure.

    If you want sim only, using your sim with no contract Samsung would help you. Obviously you would pay for the phone outright then with no monthly contract just the cost of your pay and go deal of your choosing. I hope this makes sense. I am no phone techie
  • I like LG phones- they tend to be a little better than Samsungs for a bit less money. I like the V-series and I'm on a V30 right now but had the V10 previously and it was a great phone too. Not sure if they are still selling V10s out there but there was a V20 as well. 

    I always get my phone from my carrier (t-Mobile) but that's because I like the interest free payments....  There's no harm in getting yourself to the mall or wherever the carrier stores congregate and just walk around and see who will give you the best deal.
  • If you don't care that much about having a bleeding-edge camera check out Motorola, they are a lot cheaper and overall good quality, especially for the stuff you mentioned. There Moto G7 just came out and costs $300 new and would do everything you need.
  • Costco sells an unlocked Motorola in warehouse, for like $200-260, I'm a little foggy on which model it is currently, but they have a 90 day return policy.  
  • Not sure where you live but in Europe, Chinese phone brands are becoming increasingly popular (Huawei/Honor, Xiaomi etc.) I know what you're thinking - I didn't even wanna look that way as I've been pretty much a Samsung loyalist. But then my phone died and I was broke. I caved and bought a Huawei. I was ashamed of even taking it out in front of others at first lol. But honestly, I love it and converted pretty much my whole extended family to it now. For the price you can't beat it. I also see a lot of people with them now, unlike a few years ago.
  • HunkuleseHunkulese Québec, Canada
    Your statement doesn't make a lot of sense. You say you don't want to overspend, but you already have too much phone for all of your needs. A new phone isn't going to text, Twitter, talk, podcast, or play Sudoku better than an S6.

    What is it about the S6 that isn't cutting it? If you just want something new, any $200-300 phone will meet your needs.
  • There's a thought in the US intelligence community that Huaweis were spying on users, or at least built to be capable to spying on users. I can't get too deep on that conversation because I don't really know for sure. 
  • @CeciliaM Yeah, but Apple and Samsung have been accused of the same. Not to mention apps like Facebook. Sadly I don't think anyone's data is 100% safe with any phone.
  • JoshTheBlackJoshTheBlack Atlanta, GA
    @Bhorten1, I would like to reiterate @Hunkulese question.  What is it about the S6 that is no longer working for you?

    If it's battery life issues, I would recommend you get the battery replaced.  A reputable local repair shop should be able to do this for you for a fair price.  My shop charges $59 parts and labor to install a battery into the S6.  In the event the back glass breaks (about 10% of the time) or is already broken, we can replace that too for $20.  

    If you have some other issue with it that is broken, I can give you an approximate cost of what it should cost to repair at a reputable shop.  

    If your device is completely inoperable, you might look at replacing it with the same model.  You should expect to pay around $200 for a used S6 in good condition.  Amazon tends to have good customer service and should your device arrive unusable, or not to your liking I would imagine they would be able to solve your problem.  I would be more wary of ebay or craigslist.  This is also something a local cell phone repair shop might be able to help you find.  Our distributors offer factory refurbished devices with a decent quality S6 going for around $150 before our markup, though that price is only available to repair shops that spend a large sum regularly with them.  
  • Reni said:
    @CeciliaM Yeah, but Apple and Samsung have been accused of the same. Not to mention apps like Facebook. Sadly I don't think anyone's data is 100% safe with any phone.
    It's true that privacy is not guaranteed any time you go online and many companies have poor records in terms of data privacy, but this was something different. I'm not great at articulating this but I'd encourage anyone who is interested to read more about it, wth the caveat that when you're reading articles sourced with intelligence sources, it can be frustrating because you never get the full picture.

  • I still use a Samsung Galaxy S6 as my main smartphone -- it's a good smartphone. IMO it only makes sense to get a later model Samsung to use the newer Gear VRs.

    I would not use a Huawei, because "reds under the bed", etc..

    Maybe rooting smartphones and only installing open source operating systems and software could make them safe, but even then I'm not sure.
  • Just bought myself a Nokia 6.1 for a little less than 200$
    Great battery life, built like a tank but still very elegant, not the best camera but good enough.

    Best selling point, though, is that it comes with plain vanilla Android, and Nokia releases updates as soon as Google makes them.
    I really hate the crappy software that Samsung, LG and most other brands put on top of the normal android software. So that you end up with two photo galleries, two web browsers, two calendars, etc. Bloatware that takes up resources and delays security updates.

  • Hunkulese said:
    Your statement doesn't make a lot of sense. You say you don't want to overspend, but you already have too much phone for all of your needs. A new phone isn't going to text, Twitter, talk, podcast, or play Sudoku better than an S6.

    What is it about the S6 that isn't cutting it? If you just want something new, any $200-300 phone will meet your needs.
    Why should what I say make sense?! How very logicalist of you, i am offended!

    Honestly, nothing I've done with this fucking phone has made sense. It was a solid phone when I got it almost new but major cheap buy for whatever reason then i inexplicably bought insurance which I never needed and think is a total ripoff, and then 2 yrs later the battery started crapping out on me and wouldn't hold the charger in the port properly (very common) so I made an insurance claim hoping to put off buying a phone another couple years bc it had been great for all purposes until it stopped holding charge. Refurbished arrives and in one month it is doing same thing, can't hold charge and battery port is wiggling loose... I don't solder so I'm not going to go into phone to fix it. I've loved this line of phones for a while, this is probably the third generation that I've bought so I just kind of trust them (even though mostly more phone than I need)... However it is frustrating that they're built to fail after two or three years.

    Ultimately, I wish I could buy another S6 but new like ACTUALLY new, not "new" but really refurbished bullshit. Since I'm probably buying a new phone now, I'm just trying to lay all my info out to get the best suggestions from the group.

    Really appreciate all the thoughts you guys have shared. Even @Hunkulese cutting me to my quick, you're not wrong .. I just don't know what the best buy for my needs would be since buying 2+ year old phones new doesn't seem possible.  And don't get me wrong  i like cool things... So if 400 gets me this significantly faster processing speed or better Bluetooth for my wireless speakers or whatever then I'll gladly pay it.

    Does that really not make sense? I have two kids under five and we're in the middle of some hellish sleep training with the most 2 year old and my brain is basically tapioca at this point. Sorry.  I'll keep trying to make sense. 
  • Okay, you'll definitely want to buy a phone with a USB-C port then (which is more solidly built than the microUSB port on your current phone, and also charges faster)

    Did I mention Nokia 6.1?
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