Phones Best country-agnostic international GSM alternative

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by jnpy!$4g3cwk, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. jnpy!$4g3cwk, Apr 24, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013

    macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    Goal is a good switch-the-SIM unlocked GSM smartphone for use in the U.S. (T-Mobile, but, should also work on AT&T if necessary), Australia, and, for good measure (this part is wishful thinking right now), Europe.

    Easily switchable SIM, replaceable battery, easily removable microSD, all required.

    International functionality should be a good usable browser on 3G, but, tons of other apps are not necessary. Expect to use with prepaid SIMs internationally with modest 3G use.

    Good (fast, real) GPS a must. Good, usable GPS navigation apps a plus.

    Good camera with geotagging.

    Mid-price, mid-size. Flamboyant design basically a negative; innocuous looking is just fine.

    Looked at Nokia 808, but, frightened off by complaints about 3G/HSDPA/HSPA+ stability issues.
  2. macrumors 68020


    Jan 29, 2010
    Lexington, KY.
    Now that the S4 is coming out, you can pick up a very lightly used unlocked or international S3 on the cheap. That would be the route I'd recommend.

    Frankly for what you've described, I'd go for the international version.
  3. macrumors 6502

    Dec 18, 2012
    If you have any sort of budget, the international S3 would be the goods. Model is GT I9300.

    If you want best and brightest, the international (octo-core) S4 would be the go. GT I9500.
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2012
    If you are looking for a phone that can fully function on both AT&T, TMobile, and work internationally, you may want to look into the Nexus 4. The Nexus 4 is pentaband, and thus will work fully on both AT&T and TMobile, and has the bands to function internationally also.
  5. Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    Whakatane, New Zealand
    Nexus 4 does not have an SD slot, and it may also have a non-removable battery (not sure).
  6. viskon, Apr 25, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013

    macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2012
    +1. The reason I have a Nexus is that it works anywhere on any gsm carrier.

    If you are looking for a pentaband phone with microsd and removable battery, Nokia might be your only hope - my wife has a Nokia C6 that meets all your criteria. Only problem is that it runs Symbian.

    Edit : on the other hand, picking up one of the later Symbian phones, like the N8, might not be such a bad idea if you are looking for a secondary phone to be used while traveling.
  7. macrumors 68000


    Mar 9, 2009
    Correct, the Nexus 4 lacks a removable battery and a SD card slot.

    I'd recommend the Galaxy S III, or the HTC Butterfly (with a SD card slot but no removable battery).
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2012
    The problem is, there isn't any current phone (that I am aware of) that will have each of those characteristics, so I recommended a home that would offer the most functionality (can work on all GSM networks fully).
  9. macrumors 68030


    Jan 6, 2009
    The nexus 4 And used galaxy nexus are both pentaband gsm phones. They work on essentially any gsm network .
  10. thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    Thank you all for your pointers.

    I admit that I need to do more research, but, there is a massive amount of information out there but little of what I am looking for. As an example, Apple at least gives a small amount of information on this page:

    What it boils down to is that Apple has optimized the iPhone 5 into two models that cover most of the world's existing or planned LTE implementations. For the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, the hardware supports GSM band 4 - "AWS" (combined 1700/2100 MHz, although whether T-Mobile actually uses 1700/2100 as AWS is not clear), and, a suballocation of GSM 17 - 700 MHz ("700b"). The other GSM model that supports many other countries carriers, uses GSM 1 (2100 MHz), 3 (1800 MHz), and 5 (850 MHz).

    This information is helpful as far as it goes, but, I don't see where it says what bands it supports for GSM voice, Edge if that is still supported, and various 3G formats. I guess it is assumed that the phones also support the right combination of other capabilities in all those markets.

    When I look at the specs for some of the phones that folks have kindly suggested, I can't seem to get full information on what formats are actually supported in what bands, and consequently, what capabilities the phone would have in the U.S. on, say, T-Mobile/AT&T, and, in Australia on, say, Telstra.

    Does anyone know of some web pages out there where this information has been collected?
  11. thread starter macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    How can I tell if/what 3G data service will work on T-Mobile in the U.S. for the international versions?

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