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Since i can't get a v20, what are my options?

Long story short, my ideal phone is one that:
  • I can replace the battery, and install an extended battery into, because prior experiences dictate that no phone with a sealed battery will even give a third of the advertised usable life, or actually last more than a year, in total.
  • Has the bands to work on multiple carriers, because after the horror story that is my dealings with Sprint, i never want to be on a phone that is basically useless if i need to switch carriers. T-Mobile has been good to me for the past three or so years, but i wish i was joking when i say that I've yet to have a contract phone that hasn't even lasted one year without having significant problems
  • Sd slot. Headphone jack.
Based on what i could find, there is no phone from Anyone that meets these needs. The closest i can find is the us996 variant of lg v20. But nobody has that new, and both eBay and swappa are jacking up the price on every listing that does show up. $200 for an intentionally damaged phone is ridiculous.

I had previously tried to upgrade from my 3g only note 3. At the time, the only real option was the mxpe, for being the only phone with a universal radio and retaining its sd slot. Well, long story short, all of my recurring problems can be traced back to its miserable battery, that only got worse with every month. $400 is way too much to spend on a phone that can't even survive one hour of pokemon go. As such, i am back to the Note 3 because i could give it a fresh zerolemon battery. and have 1.5 days as my primary phone between charges.

Only phone I'd been able to find with my own research with even enough battery to be suitable for my needs was some Oukitel brand that has a factory 10,000mAh battery. That ir was ruggedized was a nice bonus, especially for the price. Problem is, it had no bands to even try to work with a carrier here.

So, that's the problem. I need a phone that can work here. I need a phone that can last. I need a phone that allows me to switch carriers easily. But I'm just not finding it. Maybe if project ara was still a thing, i wouldn't be suffering like this.


#1 codezer0, Feb 14, 2018
I feel ya.

but where does it need to work again? that'd be helpful for other suggestions.
#2 Astr4y4L, Feb 14, 2018
I guess the best way i can clarify, is being able to operate on different carriers. Even if i could get a refurbished v20 from T-Mobile, I'm not as happy about that because i know it'll be a version with a radio that won't work on any other network.

Prior experience has already demonstrated without fail, that every time I've had a phone on contract or a payment plan, it will eventually stop holding a signal or refusing to hold a charge (whichever comes first). And if the network stops working where i live or work, nothing is as infuriating as being told that i have to both finish paying off the phone that doesn't work, and buy another that would. I don't want to deal with that anymore. That was a big part of why i settled on the moto x pure back then.
#3 codezer0, Feb 14, 2018

Oh man,
yeah and looking at this
even the OEM wants to force you into a carrier locked version of that hardware.

What a load of Krap.

i recommend something like this


but the choice is really yours.
#4 Astr4y4L, Feb 14, 2018
Before i could even consider another phone with a sealed battery again, i would basically have to assume (read:swallow) the cost of time and labor of replacing the battery.

That phone shares too many similarities (and more downsides) than the moto x pure i suffered with.
Sealed battery, no battery life at all, no SD slot, and I'm well aware that the rooting process for a nexus or pixel involves a point in time where the phone deliberately wipes itself. In the unlikely chance that i lose power during that phase, i basically would have spent all that money on a brick. :mad:
#5 codezer0, Feb 14, 2018
Well no, the bootloader unlock on a Nexus, Pixel, or many others does involve a wipe, but that's just a normal factory reset, i.e. it only clears the /data partition. Interrupting that (only possibly if the phone is faulty to begin with or you try doing it with 1% battery of something equally silly) would not brick the phone anyway. It's far less risky than the hacks that many handsets rely on for rooting.

I'm afraid that I can't suggest a solution though, because I know your problem and the last time the only thing I could think of was the V20.
#6 Hadron, Feb 14, 2018
Okay, partly a bump, but also needing to express thoughts as I'm still researching this myself, and wanting to be on the same page. And possibly, come up with a more action-able plan.

So, since someone did bring up the Nexus 6P, I needed to see just how difficult it would be to replace the sealed battery on it. iFixit shows a tear-down that not only requires a lot more tools than I have available to me (added $$$), but also the high risk of damaging other components along with it (also, more parts needed to get). Searching for said teardown showed that Google was also in a habit of replacing warrantied 6P phones for a Pixel XL, in large part because of (big deal for me) battery problems. The very reason that I had to dump the MXPE so quickly. So, that's a hard pass for me.

So, besides a US996 V20, was trying to research what else was available, and basically realized "oh, hang on, I forgot about the G4". I would have said a G5, but since nobody ever made an extended battery for it (thanks to the design choice for the body). I know I held off in part because of the apparent endemic of phones falling into an unrecoverable boot-loop, but based on its specs, the US991 G4 would be able to work fully with AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and partially with Sprint. To its credit, there's a wealth of choices for Extended batteries, too. Swappa has them reasonably cheap, too. I'd just need to see about how far they were able to be updated, and if I can find some supported custom ROM's like I was able to find for my existing Note 3.

I had a friend try to offer me their T-Mo branded Galaxy S5, but the one they have is going to be a fixer-upper. Most notably, the power connector is in need of replacement. iFixit's link for that shows it is somewhat doable, but the fact that it requires removing the screen before I can access anything else, is a point of concern. The power portion might be modular, but I'll admit I'm no expert. The risk of damaging more along the way does bother me. It wouldn't do much good to get (even at a far reduced price) a phone that doesn't fully work right now. Maybe if I already had a working phone and was getting one for a stand-by or something I'd be more willing, but definitely not now.

Failing all that, I suppose the inevitable fallback would be to get a phone financed from T-Mobile itself (my current carrier). However, a quick glance of what they sell now, and what I know of their own insurance/warranty thing, I basically have two options:
  • If I prioritize the ability to actually be able to take said phone with me and switch to other carriers, then the only option that qualifies is some flavor of iPhone 6S (likely, plus), since it retains the headphone jack. On the aspect of battery replacement, I do have most of the tools for the job already, and sourcing batteries for it is far easier than it's been for ANY android phone model. Downsides with this include the famously tiny battery, the insidious nature of Apple outright gimping performance on anything but the current model of iPhone to try and drum up sales, and the rather stingy and cynical nature that most of the useful add-ons for a jailbroken iPhone are behind paywalls.
  • If I prioritize battery life/capacity/upgradeability, then the only choice they offer that even lets me replace the battery easily, is the LG Stylo 3 Plus, which I know nothing about. What I do know, is as of this writing, there were extended batteries listed on Amazon for the battery, but not anymore. That and based on bands, the thing is basically a $225 brick if ever T-Mobile's network either gets sour, or I end up moving somewhere during that time that doesn't get usable service. If I can't even secure an extended battery for it, it's otherwise not worth it.
What I do know of their insurance/warranty program also made it sound like not a deal at all, seeing that per their in-store reps, it wouldn't cover if a battery goes bad, much less anything else that would render it unusable (soft/hard brick, etc). And prior experience has thus far been that without fail, every phone I've ever had under any kind of finance, contract, or payment plan, has always went sour, and I could never get any satisfaction from the carrier I was with, essentially forcing me to pay for a phone (and service) I can't use, raise enough to be able to buy another phone, and look for the fastest way out. Because you'd best believe that I'd be taking my business elsewhere if they do that with me. If anything, said unlocked Note 3 was expensive as heck for me when I bought it, but it's spoiled me for basically being the first phone that's remained usable well after the two year window I initially gave it. And just the absolute lack of bloatware and ability to slap on custom ROMs and the like giving it a new lease on life. But anyways, back on topic.

Obviously, I would rather get new, or as near to new as possible. Considering that basically if it's going to be my daily driver, it has to work. Also, given my ongoing grievances and gripes with eBay, I'm very reluctant to the idea of buying from there.

Would I ever consider a phone with a sealed battery again? that's a rough maybe... and it hinges both on the capacity of battery it has, and how easy it is to get a replacement and be able to slap a new one in. And honestly, it would have to be a pretty enormous battery (in terms of capacity) to begin with. Considering that for a time, I was desperate enough to consider an Oukitel K10000 entirely because of the cavernous stock battery; the ruggedized nature of the build especially for that USD price is a bonus, too. I would have to see a drastic shift in capacity, and durability, if I could ever accept such a phone design without reservation. Especially for any high price (read: $200 and up).

Would I consider something that wasn't a high-end phone to begin with? Oh, sure, if the specs are still good enough to still run what I've got. While another user here did help me out by loaning me a second-hand Moto E 2nd Gen, even compared to the MXPE, it was hard not to be disappointed and be further resolute to try to get my Note 3 up and running again as soon as possible. Not only would it refuse to let me install or run Pokemon Go, it would just up and quit while playing Magikarp Jump; while I was using it.
#7 codezer0, Feb 19, 2018 at 11:30 PM
About the Oukitel, as it is a cheap import from China, you'd better check it's suitable for your particular carrier especially if you're in the US. Also anything that requires warranty service, you'll need to ship it back to China at your expense.
#8 mikedt, Feb 20, 2018 at 12:43 AM Last edited: Feb 20, 2018 at 1:15 AM
I can't even begin to consider the oukitel because it wouldn't work with any network here. It lacks the bands.

If it were possible to swap the radio chip to be compatible, that would be a different story.

Is it any wonder how much i pine for the likes of project ara? Or to be able to build and customize a phone the way one can build their own PC? If that were possible with the note 3, i would have done so already.
#9 codezer0, Feb 20, 2018 at 6:13 AM