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Thread: BYOD phones still worth it?

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    BYOD phones still worth it?

    I think we've all taken note of Cricket pushing their branded devices for the full experience (VOLTE and VoWiFi), and now there's that rumor about them eventually cutting off new BYOD activations in the near future.
    I've always used unlocked unbranded phones, mostly because I find them to be a better deal for what I get (and the ability to avoid preinstalled apps and tether for free has been a nice perk!). But my wife's phone, a Cricket branded LG X Charge, clearly can make calls where mine drops them, especially in the lower floor of our home where we have mostly WiFi only. My current phone is aging (Moto G5 Plus), and while I'm not ready to give it up yet, if a deal comes along I want to consider it... my question is, what should be looking towards at this point?
    I'm getting the feeling that perhaps I don't want to continue with BYOD if this is the way things are going, but is there any way to bring your own device and still get the benefits of a branded one? I know iPhones can act like a native Cricket branded device, but what about flagships like the Galaxy S series or LG Gs? If I buy a used one on clearance or something like that, can they be flashed with cricket firmware or something like that so that it acts like a cricket phone? Or am I better off just throwing in the towel and buying a branded phone from them next time?
    Been gone a long time. Hello, HoFo- I'm BACK.

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    I just bought an S9+ for $300. I'd say it's worth it.

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    Read all your post. Cricket isn't going to stop allowing BYOD. I'd also argue that he LG probably gets wifi calling. The Motorola you bought was never a nice phone so not hard to believe her LG gets better signal. Premium Samsung phones S8 and up automatically do carrier customization when you put your SIM in. Cricket doesn't carry plus or Note models so nothing changes.

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    yes, especially if the phone is factory unlocked. if you decide to jump ship later down the road, you don't have to wait to get the phone unlocked unlike with cricket branded devices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ls3mach View Post
    Read all your post. Cricket isn't going to stop allowing BYOD. I'd also argue that he LG probably gets wifi calling. The Motorola you bought was never a nice phone so not hard to believe her LG gets better signal. Premium Samsung phones S8 and up automatically do carrier customization when you put your SIM in. Cricket doesn't carry plus or Note models so nothing changes.
    Hey now, if I could go off on that tangent for a moment, the Moto I got was a VERY nice phone! Some motos are meh, but this one was awarded most significant phone of 2017! 64GB storage, 4GB ram, F/1.7 camera lens with the Sony sensor found in the Pixel2, hexacore CPU, 424 ppi density display... there's not much on the Cricket lineup that comes close outside of exponentially more expensive flagship devices, and this is a device from 2 years ago!
    My wife's LG actually gets worse signal as far as GSM coverage goes, but in our house which has poor signal overall, she gets WiFi calling thanks to it being a Cricket branded phone. That's actually what started me thinking about this.
    When we are out and about, my Moto usually gets better signal. The only reason I want to move on from it at all is that the official firmware was never more than 32-bit (a weird design choice) so if I want to run Google Cam ports I need to run some custom roms. There are plenty of them out there, currently running a Pie rom which is pretty sweet, but it isn't without bugs and takes a toll on battery life. A lot of the after market scene is moving on to other handsets and I feel like its a matter of time before this phone doesn't have anyone fixing the custom firmware bugs anymore. I'd rather get out before going down with the ship, if you know what I mean. But again, not in a rush- this handset is still solid, but I'm starting to wonder where to look next to keep an eye out.

    That's good info about the S8 and up getting auto customization. So its sort of like how iPhones do it now I guess? HD Voice and WiFi calling will just work with that, no matter where it came from? Do any other manufacturers do that yet? And what about AT&T branded phones?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dishe View Post
    Hey now, if I could go off on that tangent for a moment, the Moto I got was a VERY nice phone! Some motos are meh, but this one was awarded most significant phone of 2017! 64GB storage, 4GB ram, F/1.7 camera lens with the Sony sensor found in the Pixel2, hexacore CPU, 424 ppi density display... there's not much on the Cricket lineup that comes close outside of exponentially more expensive flagship devices, and this is a device from 2 years ago!
    My wife's LG actually gets worse signal as far as GSM coverage goes, but in our house which has poor signal overall, she gets WiFi calling thanks to it being a Cricket branded phone. That's actually what started me thinking about this.
    When we are out and about, my Moto usually gets better signal. The only reason I want to move on from it at all is that the official firmware was never more than 32-bit (a weird design choice) so if I want to run Google Cam ports I need to run some custom roms. There are plenty of them out there, currently running a Pie rom which is pretty sweet, but it isn't without bugs and takes a toll on battery life. A lot of the after market scene is moving on to other handsets and I feel like its a matter of time before this phone doesn't have anyone fixing the custom firmware bugs anymore. I'd rather get out before going down with the ship, if you know what I mean. But again, not in a rush- this handset is still solid, but I'm starting to wonder where to look next to keep an eye out.

    That's good info about the S8 and up getting auto customization. So its sort of like how iPhones do it now I guess? HD Voice and WiFi calling will just work with that, no matter where it came from? Do any other manufacturers do that yet? And what about AT&T branded phones?
    It stops being AT&T branded as soon as your SIM goes in. I thought you were following me here.

    As far as the G5 Plus. It came out the same time as the S8. It HD as similar specs, well kind of. The moto already had a dated GPU and CPU. Already not getting updates. The S8 is. Does it have fast and induction charging? I know it doesn't have MST and it may or may not gave NFC. A reason the bear G5 Plus resale value is lower than the lowest S8. I'm not trying to jock Samsung here, but Motorola and LG aren't something people are lining up for. They're something that gets sold as almost as good when someone can't or won't pony up for Samsung or Apple. My buddy has a Moto with the gadgets and stuff and those are cool. I don't think yours supports them. Anyway he hasn't asking me to find him sweet deals on the hottest Motorola. He'd rather a previous generation Samsung with better specs at around the same price.

    If you're wanting the advanced calling features you'll need Cricket branding at present or an iPhone. I forgo them and buy Note and plus lines with U1 firmware. My wife would also, but she doesn't like the size of those models. I buy her the cheapest variant and leave it with the Cricket software instead of making it international. I mean you're on a budget carrier, if you want premium features gotta pay to play. I'm sure it'll change in the future, but there will be some other feature introduced that'll likely be the same way.

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    At this point, I'm getting out of Android BYOD phones. VoLTE/HD Voice and WiFi Calling are gradually becoming must-haves for me due to their usefulness. I'm going with the Cricket-branded phones. The Cricket S9 right now for $275 is a very good deal (using one right now). The Moto G7 Supra looks like an excellent phone for $180 (and probably less in a few months). There are a few other interesting handsets too (A6, Stylo 4, Nokia 3.1+)

    AT&T branded handsets might be a possible option. You should get VoLTE/HD Voice if the phone is LTE capable. My AT&T Moto Z2 Force gets VoLTE/HD Voice. I'm unsure if WiFi calling from an AT&T branded handset will work on Cricket. My Z2 doesn't do WiFi calling on Cricket, but it doesn't do it on AT&T either. Also, you might be SOL on getting software updates using a AT&T branded handset on Cricket as they generally require an active AT&T for those updates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cthomp21 View Post
    At this point, I'm getting out of Android BYOD phones. VoLTE/HD Voice and WiFi Calling are gradually becoming must-haves for me due to their usefulness. I'm going with the Cricket-branded phones. The Cricket S9 right now for $275 is a very good deal (using one right now). The Moto G7 Supra looks like an excellent phone for $180 (and probably less in a few months). There are a few other interesting handsets too (A6, Stylo 4, Nokia 3.1+)

    AT&T branded handsets might be a possible option. You should get VoLTE/HD Voice if the phone is LTE capable. My AT&T Moto Z2 Force gets VoLTE/HD Voice. I'm unsure if WiFi calling from an AT&T branded handset will work on Cricket. My Z2 doesn't do WiFi calling on Cricket, but it doesn't do it on AT&T either. Also, you might be SOL on getting software updates using a AT&T branded handset on Cricket as they generally require an active AT&T for those updates.
    I'm a bit of a noob, but I can do wifi calling from Google Voice. It was very useful to me while I was in Canada with a data-only SIM (non Cricket)

    I don't know if my U1 Galaxy S8 has "VoLTE/HD Voice" on Cricket but I don't think so. What am I missing there? Better call quality?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ls3mach View Post
    It stops being AT&T branded as soon as your SIM goes in. I thought you were following me here.
    I am. I was asking about other phones, as in not Samsung or iPhone. Since the network is ultimately AT&T, I was wondering if VoLTE and WiFi calling worked on newer AT&T branded handsets, even ones that don't change branding (since that is a given). Sorry if I was vague. I sort of got my answer though- looks like VOLTE will probably work but unsure of Wifi.

    As far as the G5 Plus. It came out the same time as the S8. It HD as similar specs, well kind of.
    When it launched, the S8 wasn't out yet. That's why they were comparing the specs to the S7, and pointing out how the camera sensor was actually an updated version. It was later revealed that the Pixel 2 had the same sensor so they started comparing that one instead. But it was pretty impressive that I could get 4GB of RAM and those incredible Google Cam HDR+ shots on a device around $200. Performance even bested Snapdragon 8xx chips from the previous generation, all while using less power (the later 825 and onward chips did outperform it, but it was absolutely NOT a slouch, which is more than I can say for anything else in that price range).
    Does it have fast and induction charging? I know it doesn't have MST and it may or may not gave NFC.
    Ah, you are confusing features with experience. The higher end phones (X series, etc) have MST and induction charging, but the only important feature for actual real world usage you mentioned is fast charging, which this does have (Qualcomm 3.0).
    I used to have NFC on my older Galaxy S phones and Nextbit Robin, but I only used it a handful of times to pair with my Sony camera, and honestly once you've paired it once it just uses Wifi direct to connect anyway. Don't really need or miss it. MST is cool, but I wouldn't say that makes or breaks a phone experience. You made it sound like the Moto G is a low end phone, and then said it is missing mostly bells and whistles. That's an interesting perspective. What made it considered the most interesting phone of 2017 is that was the first lower-end priced handset that didn't offer a lower-end user experience. It performed as well (and better in some benchmarks) than much more expensive handsets, but left out the extra bells and whistles some people didn't feel the need to pay for (like me). Usually leaving out those features equaled a low end handset with a subpar experience, which would go along with what you were implying before. The entire point of this phone, and why is bought it, is that is ISN'T THAT.
    But anyway, this is getting wildly off topic. My point is, I like that phones like this are available to me, rather than pony up for the expensive flagships to get a decent experience. If I went with only branded handsets, I'm stuck with either much more expensive phones or under performing ones. I like the phone I was using precisely because it wasn't either of those. Guess I got a little jumpy at someone calling it low end after all the reasons I decided to get it and still love it.

    If you're wanting the advanced calling features you'll need Cricket branding at present or an iPhone. I forgo them and buy Note and plus lines with U1 firmware. My wife would also, but she doesn't like the size of those models. I buy her the cheapest variant and leave it with the Cricket software instead of making it international. I mean you're on a budget carrier, if you want premium features gotta pay to play. I'm sure it'll change in the future, but there will be some other feature introduced that'll likely be the same way.
    I also don't like the size of those models either. Honestly, I considered the Sony phones because they are the only ones making small handsets with decent specs, but they are waaaaay too overpriced for what you get. I just want the best experience for the money, which is why I'm on a bells-and-whistles carrier or handset right now.

    But you've given me a lot to think about. I think a used S8 would be an upgrade from what I have and if it really can get the perks of Wifi calling, might be a good place to look next. Thank you!

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    If I wanted the smaller one I'd buy the S9 from Cricket. The S8 is better, but a used one is only a $100 savings.
    As far as I know Samsung is the only manufacturer with MST. I believe they bought the company that was making the tech. NFC for 2 devices is a useless function to me, but that's how most payment systems work. That's the feature of MST, works at virtually every terminal. I don't bother with benchmark test. I go off functionally. this isn't a car so my dyno and track numbers don't matter. I didn't even mention the vastly superior PPI thar you were touting. Personally I like all the things that you think are just bells. You'd probably not approve of such frivolous things as buying an AMG.

    I ask. Why do you get to decide what I think is an important feature. You've never had a charging port go out? I like being able to pay at every register. Big fan of the waterproof rating too. The better gorilla glass. The community support. The resale value. All these are great features to me. I'll the phone the S9+ is replacing for the same as I paid. Free upgrades if you know how to buy and sell correctly. That'll never happen with other manufacturers. My flagship HTC never resold for crap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hogan773 View Post
    I'm a bit of a noob, but I can do wifi calling from Google Voice. It was very useful to me while I was in Canada with a data-only SIM (non Cricket)

    I don't know if my U1 Galaxy S8 has "VoLTE/HD Voice" on Cricket but I don't think so. What am I missing there? Better call quality?
    Yes. When you're having a conversation with another person and you've both got higher end handsets (with good mics/speakers) and VoLTE, the difference is substantial. In my own experience, it was like going from SD television to HD television.

    I upgraded my wife to a Cricket-branded S9 from an unlocked Moto X 4 (very nice phone btw) primarily for the better call quality and secondarily for the WiFi calling. My hearing isn't quite as good as it used to be in the upper ranges (female voices) and this helps me to hear and understand quite a bit more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ls3mach View Post
    Free upgrades if you know how to buy and sell correctly. That'll never happen with other manufacturers.
    Agree 100% with the first statement, but not the second.

    Cricket will have some pretty good sales a couple of times a year, such as the S9 right now for $275. I sold my S8 for more than that last month after having used it for over a year.

    I've gone through plenty of other non-Samsung handsets since going into Android from Windows Phone a few years ago. Some I've sold on after using them for quite a bit less than I paid (Sony). Others I've purchased at a good price, used them for a while, unlocked them, and then sold them on for more than I paid for them (ZTE, Moto, Apple, Kodak, LG). I usually keep an eye on the smartphone section of Slickdeals for interesting hardware. My wife says I've got a problem....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hogan773 View Post
    I'm a bit of a noob, but I can do wifi calling from Google Voice. It was very useful to me while I was in Canada with a data-only SIM (non Cricket)

    I don't know if my U1 Galaxy S8 has "VoLTE/HD Voice" on Cricket but I don't think so. What am I missing there? Better call quality?
    Though you are able to make a call on Wifi in this case, it isn't what is called Wi-Fi calling. Where you are using carrier supported calling, using/receiving calls with the phone number assigned to your phone.

    Now, for many people, that might be a feature. Some people don't care about the actual phone number of the phone. They use the GV number for everything. They can switch carriers and not port, and still use the same number.
    iPhone X is my current primary phone. I have older model iPhones and Moto phones available on other lines. Currently prepaid, though would consider postpaid on right plan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevink1 View Post
    Though you are able to make a call on Wifi in this case, it isn't what is called Wi-Fi calling. Where you are using carrier supported calling, using/receiving calls with the phone number assigned to your phone.
    I'd second this - while Google Voice is great (along with the various other VoIP services), most of the discussions on here are concerned with the native Wi-Fi calling features where your Cricket-assigned number can be used over Wi-Fi.

    Years ago, I was really turned off by Verizon's custom firmware (remember when the Verizon RAZR didn't act like a RAZR?) There was also the clunkiness of device-swapping on CDMA, so I ended up going with T-Mobile (a little cheaper than Cingular and coverage was good in my area). Currently, I use a BYOD iPhone on Cricket, so I'm coming at this from a somewhat outside perspective, but I've always tended to value my device and choice over sticking with a particular carrier.

    My take on all of this is that if AT&T starts phasing out their HSPA network, they're going to have to start supporting features on non-branded devices. While they may not care about a user with a random OnePlus phone on Cricket, they probably won't want to anger business customers. There's a lot of devices for custom uses and I suspect that if they limit the compatible options, there will be a lot of customers looking elsewhere.

    Then again, there may be some consideration of the consumer side, as many currently incompatible devices could be could just as easily be taken over to T-Mobile or Verizon and enjoy those features. I think the last thing AT&T needs right now is a mass exodus when they're trying to minimize their debts.

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