Cell Phone Saga 2.0: The Switch

Replaced the Samsung Galaxy Express Prime 2…

While the Samsung Galaxy Express Prime 2 has served me since I purchased it in February 2018, it’s time is coming to a close. The phone has been slowing down and having a lot of issues lately. The operation of the phone has been iffy… the camera takes about 30 seconds to a minute to initialize and sometimes crashes and the phone sometimes locks up when receiving calls. (I’ve missed a couple important calls thanks to it locking up.) It also developed some hardware issues, such as plastic trim starting to separate from the phone and the screen issue in the below photo.

At the top left corner of the screen, a manufacturing defect on the Samsung Galaxy Express Prime 2 became apparent after a couple weeks of use.
The Samsung Galaxy Express Prime 2 served me for just a little over one year…

Obviously, with it not being able to fulfill the functions I need it to, it’s time for replacement.

For a $99 phone, I’m impressed. It managed to last a bit longer than a year. I’ve found that phones in the “cheap” range only last about a year before needing replacement, at least for my usage.

My requirements for a phone are fairly lax: I want something that has good build quality, a decent camera (especially the rear-facing camera), good call quality, decent reception and good battery life. Since I don’t use my phone for gaming, I mainly use my phone for browsing the web from time to time, reading/answering emails and light social media. I don’t require something with lots of horsepower, but enough to get all of my requirements done.

Before we begin talking about the options I’ve narrowed my search to, let’s talk about my experience with AT&T.

AT&T Prepaid: My Experience

During my last “cell phone saga,” I was forced into selecting another carrier after my previous carrier (Virgin Mobile) starting migrating toward being exclusively iPhone-based.

I ended up choosing AT&T’s prepaid service.

My experience with AT&T Prepaid has been extremely positive, with the exception of a billing issue I was able to fix.

Lately, I’ve been faced with another issue: AT&T’s somewhat broken online store. If you’re wanting to order a new phone online, you cannot unless you’re wanting to create a new line. The online store requires you to purchase a plan with the phone and insert a new phone number. I was unable to purchase a new phone online, so I had to visit my local AT&T store to purchase the new phone.

Because AT&T’s Prepaid store did not work, I had to go to the local (physical) AT&T store.

The New Phone: Choices

Online, I narrowed my search down to two phones: the iPhone 6S and Nokia 6.1.

The iPhone 6S debuted September 2015, making it one of the oldest iPhone models still sold new. The model sold by AT&T was 32GB, which was better compared to the EP2’s internal 16GB. Unfortunately, the iPhone 6S lacked a MicroSD card port, so you’re stuck with the internal 32GB storage. The iPhone 6S seems to still be a viable phone for non-power users in 2019, according to reviews. The 6S is $200.

The Nokia 6.1 is an unlocked Android phone (thankfully Windows Phone no longer exists) sold through Amazon. The 6.1 runs Android One, which allows Android to update to the latest version instead of being stuck to one version of Android (like previous versions, such as my EP2.) The 6.1 has a decent camera. Reviews for the 6.1 were favorable, although users of AT&T Prepaid (my carrier) had some issues with calls dropping and, in some cases, not even working at all. Other reviewers claimed the phone slowed down and even failed to function after a few months of use. The 32GB version of the Nokia 6.1 is less expensive than the 6S at $161.

The New Phone: Verdict

After visiting the local AT&T store, I went for the iPhone 6S. I was not really impressed with the other selections in AT&T’s Prepaid store. I really wanted to buy directly from AT&T so I didn’t have to worry about network incompatibility issues that may exist with unlocked phones, a problem some of the Nokia 6.1 users discussed.

The iPhone 6s

The iPhone 6S was set up at the AT&T store and I installed my usual apps at home.

The iPhone 6s, as well as other iPhone models from its era, included earphones. The 6s is one of the last iPhone models to still feature a 3.5mm audio jack.

Despite being an older model, my first impressions of the iPhone 6S were good. Like the iPad, it was easy to use and setup. It seemed snappy and the camera seemed to be fairly decent.

I purchased the iPhone 6S with a case to protect it from damages caused by shock. This is the first time I’ve purchased a case for a phone.

The Speck case rear

Time and use will reveal how well the phone works. As with the iPad, I intend on posting an update after a few months so that I can provide an accurate review of the device with its pros, cons and quirks.

Special thanks to Dusty at the local AT&T store for help selecting and setting up the new phone