13 votes

Phone recommendations: Pixel 2? 3a? Something else?

My OG Pixel died last night and while I'm waiting for tech support to get back with me on how I can still use MFA to do my job, I figured I would ask you all how I should proceed with getting a new device. My first impulse is to get a Referb Pixel 2 on Amazon for $99, as I liked my original Pixel, I like having the latest Android version and I like only paying $99 for an older flagship phone. Additionally, I was considering a Pixel 3a as it would presumably last a bit longer and has had good reviews but is three times as much and hasn't devalued nearly as much when used, which is good and bad.

I'm open to anything that's relatively stock Android and still updated, and am curious about iOS, Kaios or other options. Landlines are a hard pass.

28 comments

  1. [2]
    Loire
    Link
    If the choices are the 2 and the 3a then you want to go with the 3a. My own Pixel 2 is getting long in the tooth and performance just isn't there anymore. I'm not sure how well a refurbished model...

    If the choices are the 2 and the 3a then you want to go with the 3a. My own Pixel 2 is getting long in the tooth and performance just isn't there anymore. I'm not sure how well a refurbished model performs but between the 5 hour battery life, screen stutters and just general slow down, I'm sure you could do better. The camera has also inexplicably devolved over the last 2 years. Sure you could survive with the older phone but for how long? Three hundred dollars for a phone is cheap, especially when considering you use it every day, numerous times dtimes a day for three to four years.

    Alternatively if you can find some way to hold out a month, you could wait for the Pixel 4a in May which will be the same price as the 3a is currently and presumedly would last you until 2024.

    10 votes
    1. moocow1452
      Link Parent
      Considering that it's the end of the world right now and two day shipping is closer to two fortnights until further notice, waiting for the 4a to reassess is probably the best move.

      Considering that it's the end of the world right now and two day shipping is closer to two fortnights until further notice, waiting for the 4a to reassess is probably the best move.

      6 votes
  2. [9]
    Durallet
    Link
    The latest Pixels (3/3a/4) have much better hardware security in the form of the Titan M security chip. Additionally, the Pixel 2's update support ends on October 2020 whereas the Pixel 3a has...

    The latest Pixels (3/3a/4) have much better hardware security in the form of the Titan M security chip. Additionally, the Pixel 2's update support ends on October 2020 whereas the Pixel 3a has guaranteed support until May 2022 (per Google's official support timeline).

    And finally, a plug for GrapheneOS as an alternative to stock Android. It's a hardened fork of AOSP without any Google Play services baked in. Since it's focused on security and privacy, GraphenOS's support for the Pixel 2 will probably end in October (Pixel 2 builds are already marked "legacy").

    9 votes
    1. [8]
      moocow1452
      Link Parent
      Will look into Graphene, am a fan of Cyanogen/Lineage from way back, and if I can put GPS or at least integral apps on it without breaking the security, it sounds like it could be a winner.

      Will look into Graphene, am a fan of Cyanogen/Lineage from way back, and if I can put GPS or at least integral apps on it without breaking the security, it sounds like it could be a winner.

      2 votes
      1. [7]
        Durallet
        Link Parent
        Many people use Aurora Store or Yalp Store to download apps from the Google Play Store (Signal, Keybase, etc). The developer of Graphene does not recommend using microG (explained on reddit). But...

        Many people use Aurora Store or Yalp Store to download apps from the Google Play Store (Signal, Keybase, etc).

        The developer of Graphene does not recommend using microG (explained on reddit). But if you wanted to use microG or the actual Google Play services you'd need to build Graphene with it yourself (flashing/sideloading wouldn't work since the official Graphene operating system image uses verified boot).

        RattlesnakeOS-stack is an alternative project which allows you to make custom builds of AOSP on Amazon Web Sevices. They don't recommend using microG either but there is a community repo for building with microG. (Disclaimer: building AOSP on AWS is not secure, can cost a lot of money, and I have never tried to build Rattlesnake with microG).

        2 votes
        1. moocow1452
          Link Parent
          I'm familiar with Yalp and I think I could make it work. Thank you for your time.

          I'm familiar with Yalp and I think I could make it work. Thank you for your time.

          2 votes
        2. [2]
          sandaltree
          Link Parent
          How do you deal with push notifications? I used LineageOS with microG which was pretty spotty, until even that stopped working (they had some serious maintainer/developer issues ath the time)....

          How do you deal with push notifications? I used LineageOS with microG which was pretty spotty, until even that stopped working (they had some serious maintainer/developer issues ath the time). Sockets drained by battery really fast. That and the constant updating made me switch to iOS, and I've been pretty happy with it.

          1 vote
          1. Durallet
            Link Parent
            You're dead on about sockets and how they drain battery. It's not too bad with just Signal but using a lot of apps has a noticeable drain. I don't have problems getting through a day with it, but...

            You're dead on about sockets and how they drain battery. It's not too bad with just Signal but using a lot of apps has a noticeable drain. I don't have problems getting through a day with it, but keep a charger pack around in case the phone battery levels get too low for comfort.

            1 vote
        3. [3]
          Contentus
          Link Parent
          Small tip: you can download Signal directly from their website and it self-updates without Google Play Store or other replacements.

          Small tip: you can download Signal directly from their website and it self-updates without Google Play Store or other replacements.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Durallet
            Link Parent
            Depends on your threat model. For a regular person it is much safer to download from an app store (although downloading their Yalp or Aurora presents its own risks). Open Whisper Systems refused...

            Depends on your threat model. For a regular person it is much safer to download from an app store (although downloading their Yalp or Aurora presents its own risks). Open Whisper Systems refused to add a F-Droid repo and only grudgingly added the website download (as evidenced by how hard they made it to find the actual download link). In fact, I would bet that nobody verifies the fingerprint on the apk's signing certificate.

            1. Contentus
              Link Parent
              My goal is to use as few apps as possible outside of F-Droid. I was down to 2, including Signal. I prefer to get it from their website than increase my dependence on a 3rd party store like Aurora....

              My goal is to use as few apps as possible outside of F-Droid. I was down to 2, including Signal. I prefer to get it from their website than increase my dependence on a 3rd party store like Aurora.

              Now I just need to get rid of the parking app. It will happen when I move to the city and stop using a car.

  3. [5]
    wundumguy
    Link
    Skip the 2, it will stop receiving security updates starting in October. Have you considered getting a 3?

    Skip the 2, it will stop receiving security updates starting in October. Have you considered getting a 3?

    4 votes
    1. [4]
      moocow1452
      Link Parent
      I have, but I also like having ownership of both my kidneys.

      I have, but I also like having ownership of both my kidneys.

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        wundumguy
        Link Parent
        I mean, it's the same price as the 3a... https://swappa.com/mobile/buy/google-pixel-3/unlocked

        I mean, it's the same price as the 3a...

        https://swappa.com/mobile/buy/google-pixel-3/unlocked

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          moocow1452
          Link Parent
          Fair, but used price someone will sell it for is different from referb which is different from MSRP.

          Fair, but used price someone will sell it for is different from referb which is different from MSRP.

          1 vote
          1. wundumguy
            Link Parent
            You're correct, however I've used swappa for my pixel, pixel 2, wife's pixel 2, and now my pixel 3. Never had any issues. I'd recommend it

            You're correct, however I've used swappa for my pixel, pixel 2, wife's pixel 2, and now my pixel 3. Never had any issues. I'd recommend it

  4. moocow1452
    Link
    Update: For the time being, I'm using an Acatel Go Flip 3 because one happened to be in stock, rush delivery was available and I was always curious about it. The Google Assistant is nice, but...

    Update: For the time being, I'm using an Acatel Go Flip 3 because one happened to be in stock, rush delivery was available and I was always curious about it. The Google Assistant is nice, but limited in certain things (can't play podcasts, cannot do live navigation, music request goes to a YouTube webpage) and otherwise, phone is a phone. AMA?

    4 votes
  5. [2]
    vegai
    Link
    Until they get the new SE model out (it would've been in mass production already without the virus), the iPhone 8 is probably the best price/quality phone out there. Of course, if money isn't a...

    Until they get the new SE model out (it would've been in mass production already without the virus), the iPhone 8 is probably the best price/quality phone out there. Of course, if money isn't a problem, you can just get the latest 11.

    3 votes
    1. moocow1452
      Link Parent
      I am curious about Arcade, ScreenTime, and the app exclusives, but there are some sticky points on third-party defaults and sideloading that is a bit of a turnoff.

      I am curious about Arcade, ScreenTime, and the app exclusives, but there are some sticky points on third-party defaults and sideloading that is a bit of a turnoff.

      2 votes
  6. [3]
    Diet_Coke
    Link
    Just my 2 cents, I don't see a huge difference between the 3A and 2. I have a 2 for my personal phone and a 3A for my work phone, so maybe I just haven't had a need for cool next gen features. The...

    Just my 2 cents, I don't see a huge difference between the 3A and 2. I have a 2 for my personal phone and a 3A for my work phone, so maybe I just haven't had a need for cool next gen features. The camera is definitely better, and the screen is a little bigger. Up to you if those are gamechangers.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      moocow1452
      Link Parent
      The stickler on the 2 is that even it it was fresh out of the box, it's at the end of its software life and will stop receiving security patches in October per @wundumguy. I'm fine with using...

      The stickler on the 2 is that even it it was fresh out of the box, it's at the end of its software life and will stop receiving security patches in October per @wundumguy. I'm fine with using Lineage, but on a device I just got that could fall down go boom doesn't seem like a smart move.

      3 votes
      1. Diet_Coke
        Link Parent
        Oh, I didn't know about that - might be time to look at an upgrade myself in October!

        Oh, I didn't know about that - might be time to look at an upgrade myself in October!

        2 votes
  7. [3]
    EightRoundsRapid
    Link
    I'm at the stage where I really need to buy a new phone. I currently have a Nokia 7 Plus and it has served me well. Stock Android on the Android One programme with three years of reliable monthly...

    I'm at the stage where I really need to buy a new phone. I currently have a Nokia 7 Plus and it has served me well. Stock Android on the Android One programme with three years of reliable monthly security updates and two years of OS updates. I've been putting off and prevaricating for a couple of months now, but have decided I'm sticking with Nokia. I will either get the Nokia 8.3 or if I'm feeling like I really don't need to spend £400 - £500 on a phone, the Nokia 5.3, which is slated to cost under £200 and looks to be excellent value for money.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      moocow1452
      Link Parent
      I heard good things about the 5.1, and that one is actually shipping soon. You have an opinion on it?

      I heard good things about the 5.1, and that one is actually shipping soon. You have an opinion on it?

      1 vote
      1. EightRoundsRapid
        Link Parent
        I don't know about the 5.1, but I've heard positive stuff about the 6.2 and 7.2, both of which are reasonably priced. It sounds a bit spammy but take a look at what's available direct from them on...

        I don't know about the 5.1, but I've heard positive stuff about the 6.2 and 7.2, both of which are reasonably priced. It sounds a bit spammy but take a look at what's available direct from them on their site. Obviously there's a lot of marketing speak and hard sell, but still worth a quick look. The 4.2 looks to be very good value.

        https://www.nokia.com/phones/en_gb/android-phones

        2 votes
  8. Keegan
    Link
    Just a reminder to check what bands your cell carrier uses and which the phone supports. Some phones (Pixels are probably fine) don't have all the bands for certain carriers which really sucked...

    Just a reminder to check what bands your cell carrier uses and which the phone supports. Some phones (Pixels are probably fine) don't have all the bands for certain carriers which really sucked with my current phone.

    2 votes
  9. DonkeySlingshot
    Link
    I have the 3a and I can't recommend it enough. It's perfect.

    I have the 3a and I can't recommend it enough. It's perfect.

    2 votes
  10. weystrom
    Link
    I've been using Oneplus 7T for a while and it's good. No-frills machine, well-built, good camera, stock Android 10. Still no TWRP or Lineage OS, so I kept it stock. It's pretty huge though, not...

    I've been using Oneplus 7T for a while and it's good. No-frills machine, well-built, good camera, stock Android 10. Still no TWRP or Lineage OS, so I kept it stock. It's pretty huge though, not sure if you'd be into that.