Illustration for article titled I bought an unlocked LG V20 because I wanted a cheap flagship-ish phone with a good camera (UPDATE: and now its $20 cheaper)

I have a Moto X Pure Edition that I bought a couple years ago. It still works totally fine! The only problem is the USB port on the bottom is getting loose, and depending on the cable, it doesn’t charge steadily. It’ll cost $150* for Motorola to repair it.

Loose USB ports are apparently an issue with the Moto X Pure. The standard repair from Motorola involves replacing the entire circuit board the USB port attaches to, so you get a fresh USB port. Or they just send you a refurb phone as a replacement. Either way, it would be $125, plus another $25 to do an advance exchange where they send you a fresh refurb phone and then you send them back your phone.


I called around to phone repair places for estimates, and got three very different responses:

  1. Nationwide chain store: “Sure, we can fix that for $79.”
  2. Local store 1: “We can probably fix that, it would cost about $60-70, but there are some other components on the board near the USB port and soldering in a new USB port might damage them. I’ve successfully done this type of repair on other phones. We won’t charge you anything if the repair isn’t successful.” (but of course then you have a totally worthless phone)
  3. Local store 2: “You shouldn’t try to fix that phone, soldering in a new USB port will burn out the microphone.”

Features that are important to me in a phone are:

  1. Better CPU and RAM than the Snapdragon 808 and 3 GB of RAM in my current phone
  2. Better camera
  3. 5.5” or larger screen
  4. Fingerprint scanner
  5. NFC
  6. Verizon & T-Mobile compatible because I’m on Verizon thru Total Wireless now, but T-Mobile is expanding their network in WI and I may switch at some point.

I was all ready to buy a ZTE Axon 7, because it ticks all those boxes, and I recently recommended my sister buy one. Newegg even ran a sale last week for $329 instead of the usual $369. But there were some remarks about its camera being kinda crappy in low light, and I wanted to see what my other options were.

So I found that B&H Photo is selling unlocked, originally-for-US Cellular versions of the LG V20 for $369. It was listed as “more coming soon,” and I confirmed with a chat agent that they expect them in on September 4th. It’s kinda huge, but it ticks all my boxes, and has a better camera than the Axon 7. So I bought it. It should be here at some point relatively soon after September 4th.


Once it arrives, I don’t think it would be good to try and sell my Moto X Pure with the deteriorating USB port. I’ll probably take my chances with local phone repair place #2, and then sell the phone once it’s (hopefully) fixed.

I was hoping to stretch my Moto X Pure to something past 2 years, and it was still working totally fine except for that stupid USB port. But I figure it’s better to repair it and move on now while it’s still worth something, rather than repair it and keep it to some point in the future where it’ll be worth a lot less.


UPDATE: Today I looked at the B&H product page for the V20 and the price dropped to $349. Since the phone won’t be in stock until September 4th anyway, I did another quick session with a chat agent, and they adjusted my order to the new price. Yay. Now if only B&H had less terrible employment practices I’d feel better about this.

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