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large, affordable smartphone recommendation for elderly relatives

6,412 1,273 November 2, 2017 at 11:55 AM
I helped a couple of elderly, retired relatives move from Sprint to RingPlus a couple of years ago, and they enjoyed the free service until it went belly up.

They are now using Tello, and Tello is great. The prices are great, the customer service is bar-none great.

The only issue is they are using very outdated Sprint phones (galaxy S3, S4), and they want newer, bigger displays for their aging eyes.

I don't think it make sense to stay on Sprint's network since the phone selection is so limiting, so I'm thinking of having them move to the T-mobile 2 for $60 for 55+ customer plan. That way they can buy cheap unlocked GSM phones and can swap at will.

The main requirement would be a large 5.5" or larger display, and a fingerprint reader so it's easy for them to unlock the phone when they travel.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a very large but affordable smartphone for use with T-mobile service?

Any other thoughts / recommendations on this subject?

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#2
Why do you say Sprint's phone selection is limited? You can almost bring any model phone to Sprint. Tello has 2GB/unlimited text/unlimited minutes for $29/month. I don't know of an "affordable" 5.5" phone. For 5", the Moto G4 is about $150.

I'd skip the T-Mobile move until an "affordable" 5.5" phone comes around that will take advantage of it's new Band 71.

https://www.pcmag.com/news/356449...ed-to-know
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#3
Quote from jaymez619
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Why do you say Sprint's phone selection is limited? You can almost bring any model phone to Sprint. Tello has 2GB/unlimited text/unlimited minutes for $29/month. I don't know of an "affordable" 5.5" phone. For 5", the Moto G4 is about $150.

I'd skip the T-Mobile move until an "affordable" 5.5" phone comes around that will take advantage of it's new Band 71.

https://www.pcmag.com/news/356449...ed-to-know
The problem with Sprint is most phones have to be certified to work on their CDMA network (and to a degree Verizon as well), so you are limited to mostly Sprint devices, that in the past haven't worked well on other carriers.

So most cheap phones that come out, like Honor, BLU, Moto Z Play, will not be compatible with Sprint. The Moto Z Play being a recent example - it is GSM only, unless you purchased a Verizon version.

So Sprint has the worst phone selection because most GSM phones simply won't work on it. Plus Sprint has this nasty policy of only allowing compatible phones if it's in the Sprint ESN / IMEI database. I had to take an unlocked Verizon iPhone 5S to several Sprint stores, until I found one that was competent enough to add the phone's ESN to the Sprint database for it to work on Sprint. Folks with Moto X Pure devices had to wait weeks until Sprint was able to whitelist their phones in its database to be used on the network.

Plus SIM cards are specific to different brands with Sprint. You can't take a Sprint LTE SIM card from an iPhone to use on a Samsung, or a Samsung SIM card to use on a Moto, etc - the SIM cards have different SKU's. It's a little bit crazy. Verizon / AT&T / T-mobile are so much better when it comes to this issue.

I left Sprint after 10+ years with them, and feel so liberated to be using other carriers that are not so draconian and back-wards in technology.

You do make a good point about band 71, although I'm not sure how much that will impact my elderly relatives. They are home most of the time on wifi, and they don't travel out of the city much so T-mobile coverage in town is not so much an issue for them.
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Last edited by cheap_bastid November 2, 2017 at 12:55 PM.
cheap, fast, good - pick any two.

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#4
Honestly, the form factor of the Galaxy s5 is the same as the 7 and 8. For intense app usage, the 5 might lag, but the screen is just as crisp. and the s5 is the oldest smartphone on tmobile to be able to effectively utilize the 4gLTE network (I only switched in May to the s8.

Sending you a PM for more details.
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#5
T-mobile has the REVVL for $150, 5.5" or financed at $6/mo if you go that way.
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Quote from cheap_bastid
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The problem with Sprint is most phones have to be certified to work on their CDMA network (and to a degree Verizon as well), so you are limited to mostly Sprint devices, that in the past haven't worked well on other carriers.

So most cheap phones that come out, like Honor, BLU, Moto Z Play, will not be compatible with Sprint. The Moto Z Play being a recent example - it is GSM only, unless you purchased a Verizon version.

So Sprint has the worst phone selection because most GSM phones simply won't work on it. Plus Sprint has this nasty policy of only allowing compatible phones if it's in the Sprint ESN / IMEI database. I had to take an unlocked Verizon iPhone 5S to several Sprint stores, until I found one that was competent enough to add the phone's ESN to the Sprint database for it to work on Sprint. Folks with Moto X Pure devices had to wait weeks until Sprint was able to whitelist their phones in its database to be used on the network.

Plus SIM cards are specific to different brands with Sprint. You can't take a Sprint LTE SIM card from an iPhone to use on a Samsung, or a Samsung SIM card to use on a Moto, etc - the SIM cards have different SKU's. It's a little bit crazy. Verizon / AT&T / T-mobile are so much better when it comes to this issue.

I left Sprint after 10+ years with them, and feel so liberated to be using other carriers that are not so draconian and back-wards in technology.

You do make a good point about band 71, although I'm not sure how much that will impact my elderly relatives. They are home most of the time on wifi, and they don't travel out of the city much so T-mobile coverage in town is not so much an issue for them.
I get your frustration with Sprint. I guess I was lucky; I had 4 RingPlus phones just because they were pay once, use "forever?" I ported a Moto G and iPhone 5s to Tello no problem. Both are very low usage on Pay-As-Go.
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#7
If they want to move to Metro PCS which uses T-Mobile towers, this is a nice phone. 6" screen with 1080 resolution and only $99.

https://www.metropcs.com/shop/pho...0214654182
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Quote from goodale69
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If they want to move to Metro PCS which uses T-Mobile towers, this is a nice phone. 6" screen with 1080 resolution and only $99.

https://www.metropcs.com/shop/pho...0214654182
That's very tempting!! Thanks!!

6" screen will be good for their eyes for sure.
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#9
Affordable is a very relative thing. Phones themselves run a wide price range as do various cell providers. Elderly is also pretty ambiguous.

The S4 and S3 where pretty good phones in their day and in some ways they may still beat some of the cheap phones that are out there.

Cheapest phone you can get your hands on with a fingerprint reader is the Moto E4 Verizon Prepaid, but the screen is only about 5".

Cell plans vary a lot. It would be helpful to have some sense of their usage per month both talk and data. It sounds like they may not have a landline anymore but it's hard to guess what their usage is. If they have wifi most of the time they may not need much data.

TracFone has plenty of issues and lackluster customer service, but they are the cheapest option. You can get a low end 5.5" LG Fiesta 2 and 1 year of service with 1500min/sms/1.5gb data for $120
https://www.hsn.com/products/lg-5...es/8501879
no fingerprint reader.

If dropping a few hundred on a phone isn't an issue the upcoming LG Q6 might be worth considering in addition to the Moto X4.
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#10
I don't know where your located but make sure you actually get decent service on some of these options. I know in my midwest capitol city T mobile is terrible. I am also a fan of spending a little more on a phone that's likely to be used for a while. Your more likely to get security updates, and easier to find cases, accessories, etc.
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#11
Revvl Plus coming 11/17/17 for $200. 6" display. What I don't like about Android in general are the slow updates unless you have Moto, Pixel, Nexus, etc. Those are the only Android phones I'd use personally. I also hate manufacturer skins; I prefer plain Android.
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#12
Verizon E4 Plus Prepaid unlocked with Ebay code + Red Pocket 1 year Ebay plan. All the network for you to choose from (except Sprint of course which you running away from).
Pick the Ebay package depends on their needs. Tons of info. all all plans and the Moto here just search.
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