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Shopping for a new phone: Reviewing the Samsung Galaxy A15 5G

Samsung Galaxy A15
Purchased directly from my carrier, T-Mobile

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With my old phone no longer taking a charge, the port was shot, I begrudgingly started shopping for a replacement phone.

I tend to hang on to whatever model phone I have for as long as I can, I'm not a gotta have the latest trendy phone kind of guy.  My old phone was a Galaxy A32 which I purchased in the spring of 2021 (The A32 was introduced in Feb. 2021).  So I made good use of that phone for almost three years, about my average for replacing a phone.

I'm a fan of the Samsung brand and I'm a mid-range phone person, I simply need a phone that will perform everyday tasks, and has a good camera and decent battery life.  I don't play games or watch movies on my phone, and I don't need a bunch of features I'll never use (or figure out).  The A32 served me well, the charge port simply wore out.  And is it just me, or does cell phone quality lean 'disposable' these days, forcing you to upgrade before you should really have to?  

In shopping for a new phone, I focused my search on what my service provider, T-Mobile, had to offer.  That means I'm buying a "locked" phone, to mean, it's only going to work on the T-Mobile network, but I'm OK with that, as I have no plans to switch carriers. I considered non-Samsung phones, staying in my mid-range comfort zone.  With no need for the latest trendy phones like the Samsung A24 Ultra priced at $1,299 and the iPhone 15 Pro Max costing $1.199 - GAG! - I set my budget at less than $500.  I didn't want a monthly payment and a 24 or 36-month service contract.  Other phones considered were the Google Pixel 7, iPhone SE, Motorola Edge, and OnePlus Nord N30.

I went with the Samsung Galaxy A15 5G, which was introduced in December 2023.

I usually buy a replacement phone by going to a local T-Mobile brick-and-mortar location, but on this occasion, I purchased my phone directly from the T-Mobile website.  Having done my homework online, I didn't need a phone recommendation from a local store employee, and phone activation and data transfer these days is easy-peasy, just follow the prompts.   I received my phone in two days (down to 28% battery on the old phone), the shipping was free and the setup took me about 15 minutes.  One area where T-Mobile has cut costs, is they no longer include a USB plug-in adapter, it's now "sold separately."  They provide you with a USB cable, but not the adapter so you can use a traditional outlet for charging.  I'll have to buy a second one for a backup.  My old backup wore out, another made to be 'disposable' item. 

The A15 features a triple-lens camera and the latest Android operating system, Android14, which was released in October 2023.  Costing me $228, the Samsung Galaxy A15 5G falls into the budget phone category in price but provides good value for the money.  While the camera on this phone isn't quite as good as what I had with the A32 (which had a quad camera and more pixels), it's got better Bluetooth connectivity, better battery life (36 hours vs. 30 hours), faster charge time (full charge time 1:21 hr vs. 2:19hr), a newer operating system (Android 14 vs. Android 11), and faster performance in all the processing benchmarks. 

USB plug in adapter
No longer included with a T-Mobile Samsung phone purchase

While I did sacrifice a bit on the camera, considering the typical still-shot type of pictures I take, the difference is negligible.   The A15 outperforms the A32 in virtually every other category, so although going budget buy, it was still a phone upgrade.

Comparing the price for the A15 vs. other carriers:  Both AT&T and Verizon charge $199.99 for the phone, plus a $35 activation fee.  You can also get 'free' standard delivery and 'free' setup, but those so-called freebies come with nuances, like if you sign up for phone protection plans, an additional monthly expense, or it's a new phone line, another potential expense.   The A-15 is also available at retailers like Walmart ($195), or Best Buy ($199.99) the phone comes unlocked, leaving you free to go to any carrier of your choice.  You'll still have the activation fee to consider.  TIP:  If you are a long-term customer of any carrier, ask to have the activation fee waived.

So far I'm happy with my budget phone with mid-range performance.  It's been a super easy transition and hopefully, the charging port on this one is a little more durable.  A phone that is wireless charging capable would be nice, but it's a feature that drives up the price, and something I don't "need."

$pend Wisely My Friends...

~ Mike

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