Choosing and buying a new smartphone in Taipei

I have an old Samsung S6 but the battery has gone kaput on me. I can still use it connected to the mains and perhaps I can get the battery changed. But it has been opened up several times and it is clearly coming to the end of its active life. Therefore, I am thinking of buying another smartphone here. However, I don’t want to pay too much. I would like–

  1. A phone that doesn’t insist on me doing everything in Chinese and has a good English keyboard.

  2. Plenty of space and clear screen so I can load the usual programs.

That’s about it I guess. Not too expensive. I don’t need an iphone or the latest Samsung.

Any ideas? Maybe with a recommendation of a purchase point/shop? If they are known to speak English that is a plus.

How much is your budget? And are you using postpaid or prepaid?

IMHO, you don’t need a local salesperson to tell you the pros and cons of a phone unless you’re purchasing it alongside your phone plan. You just need to look at the available phones out there and read reviews/watch YouTube reviews to figure out if they have the features you need.

Phones in Taiwan work like they do everywhere else. They’re not in Chinese by default.

If you’re on a tight budget, you can buy a second-hand phone. There are plenty of Facebook groups for that.

Thanks for your useful reply. I am glad to know the phones will not have Chinese as a default.

I guess my question is very general and maybe I can get another year or two out of my S6. I have an even older Samsung Galaxy too–but it works. I wouldn’t want to spend more than around 15000 NTD. I heard Nokia is popular here and I saw a few shops. Are they good phones? I also remember reading some time ago that Taiwan was bringing out its own phone to rival iphone and Samsung. Is that on the market now? (Asus?)

ASUS has sold phones for a long time now.

The Zenfone 7 is a high end flagship phone that has mostly S20 FE specs with a few small differences, including a movable camera that can take pics from both the front and back, a dedicated SD card slot and 8K recording. $17000

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Thanks. I guess that’s the one…Zenphone: nice name. Price is okay. Is there any advantage in shopping around?

I think 15K-20K is a reasonable range. What do you use your phone for? Does a really good camera matter to you?

Samsung’s A Series may fit your budget. Check out the Google Pixel 3A or 4A phones too. ASUS Zenfones may have mid-range models that fit your budget too. I wouldn’t recommend China brands such as Oppo, Huawei. You can also check Sony. Nokia is not that popular, I’m not sure if you can find them here.

If you want to see these phones for yourself, which I recommend you do, go to Syntrend in Guanghua (near Zhongxiao Xinsheng MRT). Then buy them from Guangha Digital Plaza, the building across Syntrend. LOL. You might find it sold cheaper there.

Thanks again again. Also, in this case will it come with a lot of pre packaged programs in Chinese that can’t be uninstalled? Even downloadable programs might download to Zenphone in Chinese? If I leave Taiwan, will the parts be unobtainable elsewhere?

iPhone SE. 14k.

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Just get an iPhone.

Most pre-installed third party apps can be uninstalled. The ones that can’t be uninstalled are the apps from the brands themselves, and they may vary per country. You have to live with them LOL. But they hardly take up internal storage so you shouldn’t worry.

Downloadable apps/programs will download in the language you chose.

Speaking of parts, warranty will be Taiwan-based. Just go to an offshore branch, if you’re abroad, and I think they can help you with replacements.

iPhone is also a good option. There’s an app you can use to transfer all your Android apps to an iPhone so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Pixel 5 is 18990 currently and might be cheaper for Black Friday. It has a very nice screen with minimal bezels, compact so easy to use with one hand, and one of the best cameras in any phone. Top that with 5G capability, excellent battery life and latest Android guaranteed - it’s one of the best options for the everyday user. The only hardship is that it’s hard to find these days, you might have to wait a bit.

If you don’t care about 90 Hz refresh rate and some stuff like wireless charging or a little lesser RAM, the 4A 5G is also a great option.

Most can be uninstalled or disabled. There aren’t many bloatware apps and the primary ones I have disabled are Facebook and Twitter.

I love to but I can’t afford to pay to play their game. Apple is big on planned obsolesence and that means you would pay big money to buy the phone, and would have to constantly buy new ones every 2 years.

I’m not sure if flagship Android phones are any better though.

However auto correct on Android sucks compared to ios

My iPhone 7 is used everyday by myself. In fact it’s being used to type this.

Upgrading for something new is just a personal choice.

how’s your battery life?

I had a iphone SE, bought brand new from the Apple store in 2017. As of last year battery life became poor. Had it replaced once and earlier this year it was poor again.

Now I got this HTC u12 life and the battery life is much better and it runs web app (like Hero wars facebook) fairly well.

My last iPhone was an iPhone 7 which I used for more than 4 years. You definitely don’t have to buy a new one every two years.

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Maybe it was my luck… or that Apple uses low quality components in iphone SE. Made me wonder if it is better to buy older flagship iphones than new SE’s (for example iphone XR)

The problem is Apple effectively killed right to repair with the newer devices. It pairs with components so even if you swap them with another iphone, the phone detects them and effectively breaks.

The battery for example will not charge at all if swapped. It will show charging but actual power level will not go up. I had that problem with the last XR I had (the battery was swapped)

I still get all day use out of it.

Reasons not to upgrade from the flagship Galaxy S9 and others to the flagship Galaxy S21

  • Resolution downgrade the Galaxy S21 now equipping it with an FHD+ panel as opposed to a QHD+ one.
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No microSD card slot
  • No heart rate and oxygen saturation (SpO2) sensors.
  • No charger included
  • No complimentary pair of headphones
  • No LED notification light. The real, discreet one, leaving you with Always On Display as an alternative, which is going to drain the 4,000 mAh battery faster than normal.

I really like Samsung but I might be forced to go elsewhere.