Greg asked: “My wife is in need of a new smartphone and I was trying to find out what would be better, one that is unlocked, or one from a carrier. I know the carrier will have their own applications that they will put on there. I’m trying to find one that’s going to keep the speed.”
It depends on what your needs are. An unlocked phone will work with more than just one carrier, and it would give you the freedom to use the phone with other carriers, for example, if you travel. Unlocked phones less likely to have carrier specific bloatware, but it may still have manufacturer bloatware.
For example, if you buy an unlocked Samsung phone and don’t need the S Health app, too bad, it’s there waiting for you to change your mind and use it. If you buy an iPhone and you don’t intend to use Apple’s Health app, too bad, it’s there taking up space.
Generally speaking, Nexus phones are somewhat preferable in the Android world because you will get updates straight from Google as they are released, and you won’t need to wait for the carrier and the manufacturer to add their apps and customization. That doesn’t matter for iPhones because every iPhone gets its updates straight from Apple even if they’re locked, but it’s something to consider if you’re thinking about Android, since updates can be security fixes in some cases.
As for what’s going to keep the speed, phones seem to slow down less than computers, they just get old and struggle with newer software that demands more powerful hardware, but that’s unavoidable. Whether the phone is locked or unlocked will likely matter less in terms of the phone slowing down over time and more in terms of your wife running low on storage.
When you want to take a picture and your phone is out of memory you start to really hate those annoying, useless little apps you can’t get rid of.
Since you mentioned your concern about vendor installed apps on your phone, as we’ve already noted, Apple and its iPhone are never subjected to bloat from the wireless carrier. Some might argue that Apple’s own apps are bloated enough, but at least you’re just dealing with one set of software engineers and not multiple layers of them.
Apple’s new payment plan lets you get an unlocked iPhone direct from them and activate it on any network you please. You pay a monthly amount that varies depending on the iPhone model you select and whether you plan to trade the phone in every year or whether you plan to keep the phone and pay it off over two years.
We mention the Apple plan because you’re dealing with the hardware vendor independent of the wireless carrier. You never sign a carrier contract, and you can switch carriers through Apple if you’re not pleased with the performance you’re getting. It’s certainly something to consider, given the concerns you expressed.