Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

bajaboojum

    I'm finally moving from Windows Phone to Android.  A couple of my priority criteria are which brands (Samsung, LG, Motorola, etc) have the least bloatware, and which get OS updates more frequently and for longer lifespans?  Can manufacturer bloatware be removed or disabled? If T-Mobile strictly releases the OS updates, is it possible to install Android updates independently like with Windows Phones?  Other factors are battery life and integration of MS services, such as email and OneDrive.  I appreciate any feedback, especially from ex-WP users.

      All replies

      • tidbits

        Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

        Pixel line from Google is the best overall since it's coming directly from Google.  There is no carrier installed software, and updates come as soon as Google wants you to have it.  All updates come from manufacturers unlike popular belief.  Anything that's branded still comes from the manufacturer.  They are not going to proprietary code to any company to work on.  There is no way to install updates independent of carriers unless you buy one from the manufacturer but you will lose out on some features like WiFi calling, RCS, or VoLTE(Some unlocked phones do add code for it).  You can always unlock the bootloader and put on custom roms(some manufacturers allow bootloader unlocks), but then you are at the mercy of the modding community and how fast they can do things.

        1 of 1 people found this helpful
        • bradgrant

          I have always found Samsung having the least annoying bloatware though they have plenty. Samsung is usually supported with a major update once in two years than discontinued. No phone gets major updates often because not only does it cost a lot of money to produce but also the chipsets cannot always handle the updating process. In all reality plan to change up your phone every 2 years anyways and don't worry about the updates as long as you are getting security updates. I have found every single phone has bloatware. Even Google Services can be counted as major bloatware if you do not need it e.g. Music, Video. I would go with Samsung even though they do not usually update often they tend to have very stable updates and flagship Samsung phones tend to run a good solid 3 years. You should not expect most phones to last you much longer than a year. I still have a Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE (T999L) in perfect working order after many years. It hasn't had much for updates or anything. LG has a very fast UI but the build quality is terrible. But when you are talking about bloatware and updates it is difficult to say because all phones have bloatware or ware that is unwanted and difficult to remove. I usually just stick with Samsung (last years flag ship so it doesn't break the bank) because it usually has bloatware but nothing terrible and few bugs. The updating on any phone is usually almost completely irrelevant because major updates are super rare. The only way to clean the clock completely as it were would be to get a phone that can be modified with a stripped down ROM Mod. The best phone I ever had with the best and most clean UI, ROM and all that was One Plus One using Cynogen. That has been defunct though. But it was really great for the time I had it. I still do have it. It does not work perfectly with T-Mobile anymore.

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • snn555

            Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

            Google Pixel.

             

            Like Apple iPhone it is flagship with no bloat and fastest updates.

             

            MS has an Android version of pretty much all their apps.

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • bradgrant

                Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

                Google phones are almost always developer phones and may or may not get updates because it's complicated. Apple phone updates don't matter at all. You buy the iPhone software and hardware as a package. iPhone hardware is cheap.

                  • snn555

                    Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

                    Analogy. Pixel is to Android as iPhone is to Apple.

                    Updates matter despite ecosystem.

                    What's cheap about an iPhone? Or a Pixel XL?

                    LOL

                      • bradgrant

                        Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

                        The hardware of all iPhones is very cheap. The updating doesn't matter so much on an iPhone as you simply buy the next iPhone anyways always. The entire point of an iPhone is always having the newest variation regardless. As for Pixel that is complicated as well. Pixel is really a fork of the standard developer model of Nexus variants. Google has discontinued most updating and it would look like to me the updating for Nexus lines goes no longer than 2 years. So, Pixel will probably get insufficient updates. Also, T-Mobile does not release updates at all for neither Apple iPhone or the Pixel. T-Mobile has absolutely no, or very little, control over either of those. T-Mobile does release updates specifically for their own branded phones depending on the model.  But I give a thumbs down for support on the iPhones and a possible thumbs down on the updates for Pixel. Also, iPhone there is absolutely no point in making any updates on it yourself because it will simply break the operating system. As for Pixel I am sure there are roms available but iPhone and Pixel/Nexus lines typically are  workable on T-Mobile but expect almost everything to break. Some of the better phones are actually in the list of phones that work on U.S. Cellular for Wisconsin/Iowa. I will see if I can find the list. Expanding LTE coverage in CA, IA, WA, WI  Yes, it does include iPhones. Those on the list would be the more updated kind of phones because they needed the more updated software for the connection.

                          • tidbits

                            Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

                            bradgrant wrote:

                             

                            The hardware of all iPhones is very cheap. The updating doesn't matter so much on an iPhone as you simply buy the next iPhone anyways always. The entire point of an iPhone is always having the newest variation regardless. As for Pixel that is complicated as well. Pixel is really a fork of the standard developer model of Nexus variants. Google has discontinued most updating and it would look like to me the updating for Nexus lines goes no longer than 2 years. So, Pixel will probably get insufficient updates. Also, T-Mobile does not release updates at all for neither Apple iPhone or the Pixel. T-Mobile has absolutely no, or very little, control over either of those. T-Mobile does release updates specifically for their own branded phones depending on the model. But I give a thumbs down for support on the iPhones and a possible thumbs down on the updates for Pixel. Also, iPhone there is absolutely no point in making any updates on it yourself because it will simply break the operating system. As for Pixel I am sure there are roms available but iPhone and Pixel/Nexus lines typically are workable on T-Mobile but expect almost everything to break. Some of the better phones are actually in the list of phones that work on U.S. Cellular for Wisconsin/Iowa. I will see if I can find the list. Iowa & Wisconsin LTE coverage Yes, it does include iPhones. Those on the list would be the more updated kind of phones because they needed the more updated software for the connection.

                            \ Nexus and Pixels are both Forks.  AOSP is pure Android, and developers version.  It has no proprietary software. Also the iPhone may get updates, but specific updates are mainly for their newer devices and Apple just bumps other devices to the newest version without do much for those devices unless it's a security fix which just like the Nexus and Pixel will get as well. I am not sure where you got almost everything will break comment comes from.  My guess you are using information and experiences from 5 years ago and nothing recent. As for US cellular coverage it has NOTHING do do with the list of phones and all about the spectrum support.  A lot of phones not on that list will work on US cellular as most phones support their spectrum and the reason why those phones can roam there.  It has little effect on those phones being updated at all.  The devices soon to have is receiving a radio update to turn on the spectrum as someone paid licensing to have it turned on.

                          • bradgrant

                            Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

                            The end point is mostly just that as long as a phone is getting security updates at least that is pretty good. A lot of phones get discontinued updates and sometimes still use security updates from last year or longer. Apple updates all the time. The updates are almost always security updates. That is good. But there is very little in the way of changing anything about it or updating it yourself. Also, the chipsets on iPhones are iffy at best. T-Mobile really works mostly with updating LG and Samsung. Otherwise, a lot of the updates are kind of only security. Bloatware is iffy because it depends on what people mean by bloatware. Almost all Google Services are bloatware to many users. It really depends on what the person wants to do with the phone.

                          • tidbits

                            Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

                            bradgrant wrote:

                             

                            Google phones are almost always developer phones and may or may not get updates because it's complicated. Apple phone updates don't matter at all. You buy the iPhone software and hardware as a package. iPhone hardware is cheap.

                            It gets updates based on which tree you are on.  If you are on beta then you will not get monthly updates, but if you are on the consumer tree then you will get those updates.  It's not complicated, but the media and Internet is bad as explaining things.

                              • bradgrant

                                Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

                                I'm also bad at explaining things because I'm kind of a cartoon.

                                • bradgrant

                                  Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

                                  Though I've had Nexus s, Nexus 7. Samsung S3, Samsung S4, S5... Note 3, LG G3, Alcatels, Samsung Vibrant, Samsung s7 Edge, One Plus One... yadda yadda. There are different kinds of updates like security updates and full ROM updates that replace the entire ROM. It also depends on if the chipset is compatible amd if the same phone uses two different chipsets than an update might not happen e.g. Exynos vs Snapdragon. So, it's sometimes just best to find a phone that is up to date now so that it will be at least up to date for a year or two with only security patches.

                            • tmo_marissa

                              I don't have any insight to share here, because honestly I've been a solid Android user (with the exception of one confusing week) ever since my first smartphone (a Galaxy Stratosphere on VZ a million years ago).
                              BUT I did want to jump in and tag another community member -- kpo6969 used a Windows phone up until pretty recently IIRC!

                              Hope you get some good feedback, thanks for posting your question!

                               

                              - Marissa

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                                • kpo6969

                                  Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

                                  This is what I did when I ditched Windows Phone (thanks Marissa for the mention). After months of research I switched to the LG V20 which if you can find one is the best bang for the buck android option currently.

                                  1. Android 7.0

                                  2. Snapdragon 820 (old but same as Lumia 950)

                                  3. Security updates bi-monthly (T-Mobile version)

                                  4. Replaceable battery

                                   

                                  I disabled all the Google and LG stuff I could. I use Microsoft Launcher, Edge browser, Outlook email, One Drive for backup and as a photo viewer, and VLC for music and video since Groove is kaput. Also use One Note and Microsoft Authenticator.

                                  2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                    • bradgrant

                                      Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

                                      I still think in my opinion that a Samsung flagship would be better because of the battery efficiency. LG simply has terrible battery life and it has been proven over and over again. Also, the LG screens are harder to see in sunlight. But LG is faster in my opinion based on absolutely no data but anecdotal.

                                  • bradgrant

                                    If I were you and I was moving to a knew phone and it was Android. I would first set my price range before hand. Androids come in about 100 different price ranges from 20 dollars to 20,000 dollars(and yes there are actual android phones with personal insurance that you buy with the phone and they send a tech out to you personally.) I would read a few reviews and feel some in the store. The outwards feel of an item can sometimes be just as important as how it operates. I would also decide what kind of screen size and value I would want. If I were totally new to Android I would get a Samsung as my top choice phone and a flag ship. For price points I would look into what would best serve me and the bands that it has. Samsung S8 Active on T-Mobile has all of their current bands while Samsung S8 does not. Generally speaking anything over Android 6 should be good for the go. Something to keep in mind. In older Samsung devices I found the Samsung App store useless. But now they have a theme app store and that has made the app store not bloatware. Android doesn't need constant updating. 1 or 2 updates will take care of your ROM while each app updates entirely on its own if you allow it to do so in the background. Important things about android and newer versions of Android. New versions of Android have a lot more security. Samsung screens have really good appearance if not a little oversaturated. You can see Samsung screens in direct sunlight with the super amoled. Samsung S8 Active is more attractive than the Samsung S8 because the active has a flat screen. I find the curved edges a lot to deal with. Curved edges make the phone sleeker though but any positives with the curved edges has a con of nuisances. Samsung usually releases 1 or 2 huge  updates before the end of life of their flagship phones and are really quick to update security patches. LG usually has a higher version compared to similar Samsung but LG has at least from my experience had battery drain issues and is hard to see in the sunlight unless the light is turned up to 100%. A Note 5 can be easily found under 400 dollars and is a great phone. A Samsung S8 can be found for 400-500 dollars especially if refurb. But in my final analyse I would go right for the Samsung S8 Active because it has a bigger battery and a flat screen but it will cost a bit. You can also get older Androids that have Android 5 or 6 at pretty good prices and they will still function mostly normal. In Android you can easily turn off or disabled most bloatware. Some bloatware you cannot always turn off especially if there is something that is dependant on that process.

                                    • bradgrant

                                      Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

                                      This is a screen shot of Google App Store. Microsoft has nearly complete integration with Android. Screenshot_20171218-142630.png

                                      • bajaboojum

                                        Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

                                        Thanks to everyone for their feedback and opinion.

                                         

                                        It sounds like a recent model from one of the major brands is the way to go.  The highest priority now is 600/700 MHz compatibility since the signal inside my house is terrible.

                                         

                                        I'll probably stick with a T-Mobile phone instead of unlocked.  Obviously handling the phones and researching battery life, charging and connectivity options, and other features are next.

                                         

                                        Thanks again.

                                        • hareeshreddy

                                          I would like to throw some light to this topic. bajaboojum par to your requirements (frequent OS updates, installing updates independently and security) I suggest you to go with iPhone instead of an android device. Why? Cause security wise iOS is far more superior than of android in which happens to be found malware/adwares in popular apps from Google Play itself making it highly vulnerable operating system. Apple team has seemingly proved it has been capable of immediate fixes on latest malware and viruses and quickly release a patch for it (i.e. KRACK WiFi Vulnerability). But if you've set your mind for an android phone go with Google Pixel. Choice is yours now

                                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                          • 15yos

                                            Re: Which Brand- Least Bloatware, Most Updates?

                                            1)  If you are fine with having a T-Mobile phone (T-Mobile's own app is a quick and easy way to access your account and if you need to chat with a rep, there is an in-app chat feature and it's a great alternative to having to call in, etc.  When you need it, log on.  When you're done, log off.)

                                            2)  If you like more usage flexibility with your phone (Android)

                                            3)  If you like having a solid battery life (it's awesome, there's two Battery Saver modes that work a treat, and my phone has yet to feel even remotely warm)

                                            4)  If you might find some basic apps useful

                                            5)  If you don't need a lot of add-ons

                                             

                                            I like LG.  And yes, I can personally check off each of the boxes.  Before I got my current phone, I was looking at Google and Samsung phones in addition to LG.  I also considered getting a more budget-friendly phone like the Moto.

                                             

                                            When looking at LG, I was specifically looking at the G6, V20, and the V30.  I'm like you - a Microsoft phone user and fan (I still have mine and still have plenty of use for it) - and given how much I've saved over the years because I had such a reliable no-fuss phone that was very productivity-friendly, I allowed myself a high budget ceiling this time around to be more future-forward.

                                             

                                            Additionally:

                                             

                                            1)  If you like Quick Charging and Wireless Charging (and it works)

                                            2)  If you like your music and/or videos in Hi-Fi quality and have 'lossless' files you'd like to play

                                            3)  If you find the 71 / 600MHz band to be or might be useful

                                            4)  If you're a fan of using manual mode on their mobile camera

                                             

                                            I love LG's V20 (DAC + charging) and V30 (DAC + 600MHz + charging + manual mode) series.

                                             

                                            In terms of "bloat", LG provides their Quick Help app and SmartWorld which are possibly the least useful apps.  In terms of their basic apps, they have the clock, contacts, calendar, tasks, email, camera, gallery, and music player.

                                             

                                            Note: By virtue of LG being on Android, Gmail-related emails are all natively handled through Google's own Gmail app.  Given that you're like me and came from the Microsoft ecosystem, you just might find that the Microsoft apps from the Google Play store to be useful.  I know that I do and I have Outlook, Word, and One Note running.  It's a really great experience.  Still a little jankier in comparison to how it works on a Windows phone, but it's clear the Microsoft team put in the effort with this integration.

                                             

                                            Additionally, LG provides an app called Mobile Switch which allows LG users to easily make a backup to their microSD card and migrate to another LG device (I used this successfully, twice). If you're the sort of person who likes to take quick notes on their phone complete with pictures / graphics and likes the idea of being able to stick it to a home screen as a widget without any fuss (and scroll through all your note Notes from the same widget), there's also QuickMemo+ (which I've used fairly extensively).  I haven't used it myself, but LG also provides a Health app.

                                             

                                            Now, about that DAC because I love my Hi-Fi.

                                             

                                            That stock music player is perhaps surprisingly better than a LOT of other music apps that you might find in the App Store.  If you browse through AndroidCentral, you'll find some comparisons from fellow audiophiles.  I have to agree myself and one of the extra bonuses is that it isn't tied to Google.  Just drop your files in and go and you don't have to be bothered by Google's own default music player which also offers their store, etc.

                                             

                                            Additionally, LG also provides a native HD Audio Recorder and Radio because you might as well have access to both of those as well!

                                             

                                            And finally, I prefer wired headphones / earphones for listening in Hi-Fi and yes, there IS a 3.5 headphone jack.

                                             

                                            All that said, I got the V30+ and for the price that I paid for it and for the features that I love and will likely need (600MHz), it's actually more affordable compared with the other similarly classed 'flagship' phones.  Why?  Because a reputable portable DAC player all on its own costs $100-200+ and throwing in another $50 netted me a great pair of Quad Play earphones along with double the internal storage as well.

                                             

                                            But that's me and maybe not you, so give your options a whirl and if you have a chance to demo your choices, I suggest you do it.  If you can borrow someone's outside of a store, so much the better, and if you're an audiophile have a good listen and see what you think.

                                             

                                            I surprised my T-Mobile store's representative when I told them what I wanted and I even got alternative suggestions - suggestions that I was already investigating.  At the end all be all, though, I chose what I chose and I'm very content with my choice.  The V30 series is truly a class of its own in so many ways and it shows.

                                            1 of 1 people found this helpful