What are the best Android phones (without breaking the bank)

Doug Briggs

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I am getting a little fed up with my Moto Z phone. It could be app incompatibility but I'm not anxious to play the reset and reinstall game at this point. An add for a Samsung Galaxy S21+ Plus for about $750 (25% off) caught my eye. I have very much enjoyed my previous Samsung and would be ready for another. So my budget is flexible but I find it a bit of a stretch to pay more than $750. Really $500 but I'm being realistic.

My priorities are:
  1. long battery life
  2. must behave in the cold (this is a skiing site after all)
  3. excellent camera
  4. work well with Strava (reliable and accurate GPS)
  5. must work with Verizon
What are your favorite current phones and why? Only one caveat. I'm only interested in Android.
 

surfsnowgirl

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I've been an Samsung Note person for years. I have T-Mobile so can't attest to Verizon. Points 1 thru 4 are covered. I don't use Strava but I use other fitness third party apps and it synchs beautifully with my Samsung smart watch. I'm a phone junkie, pretty particular about my phones and the Note series is just a powerhouse of a phone that does so many things. If you aren't hooked on screen size or a stylus then the Samsung S series is pretty awesome too.
 
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scott43

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Well..you're not happy with Motorola..however..I have a Motorola G7 Power and if you want battery life...this is the phone for you! I believe there's a G8 Power now. The price is reasonable, the phone is reasonable, no regrets for me. The Google Pixel is actually a nice phone that's not THAT expensive.
 
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Doug Briggs

Doug Briggs

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@surfsnowgirl, I don't need a huge screen. Probably not a stylus unless I'm missing something about using a stylus. I like the Samsung build reputation, too. Hence my being attracted to the S21.

@scott43, I actually like Motorola as a brand, but my phone has been goofing off lately. Auto-shutdowns, hanging. In generally being less reliable than I need. I'll take a peek at the G7 and 8.

@François Pugh, I really liked my S4 but eventually Verizon wouldn't support it due to the older cellular tech that it uses.
 

tball

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I've had a Pixel 2 for three years or so and still love it. That's after a series of Samsung phones.

If I had to replace it, I'd probably go with the inexpensive Pixel 4a at the moment:

The software on Pixels is great. Much cleaner than Samsung.

I especially love the great camera and integration with Google Photos with unlimited free storage. I take as many photos and videos as I like and they get automatically uploaded and cleaned up from my phone so I don't need to worry about running out of space on my phone.
 
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Doug Briggs

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I thought I'd taken a look at phones recently, but following the recommendations above and looking at the Verizon store has opened my eyes. Decent phones are down right cheap. Phones with 48MP or better cameras are under $500! Plus 128GB installed is great.

Interestingly I can only find Moto G Power (2021) and Moto G7 Power, but no 8 (or 9) on Motorola's site. They're on eBay but I like to review the manufacturer's pages on a product to get the straight line on features.

@surfsnowgirl, I presume you find a stylus a plus since you mention it specifically. What does it do for you? I've not used a stylus for anything digital.
 

graham418

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@Doug Briggs , When my phone died last year, I found out that you don't need a flagship model to to get a lot of features and quality. And if your current phone is 3 or 4 years old, a new phone that is a lower model will be far ahead of what you had. At a fraction of the price!!
 
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Doug Briggs

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And if your current phone is 3 or 4 years old, a new phone that is a lower model will be far ahead of what you had. At a fraction of the price!!
That is exactly what I'm finding out. For $250 you can get 48MP, 128K, and a huge battery life. I'm really glad to see this transition. I was getting tired of having to buy used or paying more than I pay for a laptop to get a decent phone.
 

Plai

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I'm a pixel 3 user. Like above, love the batter life. I tend to use my gps watch for exercise related tracking, but have used the phone in the past with SkiTracks and found it ok. I'm also on AT&T. I would get any Pixel w/ the "a" appendage. I like old wired earpods, instead of BT airpod type.
 

Andy Mink

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I use the S20+. My main desire was a really good camera. So far, I have been very happy with that aspect of the phone. My S10 was working fine and took good photos but the battery was dying quickly. New battery vs. new phone. I went big. I think there's an S21 or something now, or coming up, so S20 models (there are three of them) may be coming down.
 

PinnacleJim

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The Moto G Power after the G7 Power was called the G Power (2020) and the newest is the G Power (2021). Both are shown on the Motorola website. A few specs are actuslly better for the 2020 version (like a higher res screen).
 

surfsnowgirl

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I thought I'd taken a look at phones recently, but following the recommendations above and looking at the Verizon store has opened my eyes. Decent phones are down right cheap. Phones with 48MP or better cameras are under $500! Plus 128GB installed is great.

Interestingly I can only find Moto G Power (2021) and Moto G7 Power, but no 8 (or 9) on Motorola's site. They're on eBay but I like to review the manufacturer's pages on a product to get the straight line on features.

@surfsnowgirl, I presume you find a stylus a plus since you mention it specifically. What does it do for you? I've not used a stylus for anything digital.
I mentioned the stylus for 2 reasons. If having one isn't a big deal to you then you can get the same phone pretty much with the S series. I love the stylus and use it all the time. I use it mainly to create screen shots and to write on photos. There are many customizations possible and other things you can use stylus for a well.
 

Jilly

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I have the Samsung S9. My priorities were similar to yours along with the fact that it had to fit in my inner ski jacket pocket and not hurt me in the ribs. The newer model should have a better camera.

Can't say anything about Verizon, but I didn't have a problem roaming in Florida with my old S5.
 

Sibhusky

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I have a Pixel 3a XL that I love. Unlocked, from Amazon. I'm using it with Google Fi, but it works with Verizon. Comes with an eSim and a slot for a Sim card.
It's not the newest model, but it's only $309 (and that's apparently fluid, I see it changed $2 after I first posted). I slightly wish the storage were larger, but I've moved a bunch of stuff to Google Drive and pay for Google One so I'm not feeling that constrained. If you want more storage, I think you'd have to go to the 4a or 5a, but that's more $. You might want to go smaller for pockets, but mine fits in my ski jacket pocket. According to its stats, my usage means the battery lasts 30 hours.
 
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