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Need to replace US Android phone in Chiang Mai


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Hi all,


I've read through the phone rec thread¬†and some other threads but haven't seen this particular issue addressed. I hope you guys can help ūüôā



I am visiting SEA for a few weeks, leaving for Vietnam in a few days. I brought my (US) MetroPCS (T-Mobile prepaid) unlocked phone with me and bought a dtac SIM (only service that works with T-Mobile fast data frequency according to frequency check site), and it's been great so far. 


The other day my phone got wet in the rain and the microphone was damaged - no one can hear me on a call, no sound on video, etc.  I'm not going to try to fix it, in my experience water damage isn't really fixable.  If that got damaged who knows what else is waiting to fail and I can't be without a phone. 


So I'd like to go buy a replacement phone here in Chiang Mai. 


I can go two ways - buy a cheapie that will work here and Vietnam and replace my main phone when I get back to US next month, or buy a real replacement phone here that will work with MetroPCS.  I'd prefer to do the latter but won't be able to test it, obviously. If I have an IMEI I can run that through a checker on their site to see if it's compatible. 


So my first questions is, where can I go to buy a phone? It can't be a cheap flip phone, I need access to various apps. It can be a low-memory cheapie if I am only using it here, but if I am buying a phone to replace the current one, I need certain specs (it's an LG K20 Plus - love everything about it except the video mic was never great). 


I'm staying near CMU but have a motorbike. Need to spend under 3500b for a full replacement, less for a cheapie temp phone. 


Help? And thank you. 


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2 hours ago, Lizm said:

buy a cheapie that will work here and Vietnam and replace my main phone when I get back to US next month


This way. Unfortunately. 


Your metro pcs phone (LG?) should still be under warranty, right? But still better to get a U.S. variant when you return home.


You may be able to find a phone here which supports all the T-Mo frequencies, but it might be very, very, very expensive (think iPhone).


Band 4/LTE (1700x2100) is the biggest issue.


That said, a Xiaomi Mi A1 (32 GB) can still be found for 4,500-ish, and in the GLOBAL version (I bought one here) it supports BAnd 4/LTE and works for me on T-Mo in the U.S.


Check out Lazada for makes and models under 3,500, then have a look in the shops... https://www.lazada.co.th/shop-mobiles/?from=onesearch_category_3973&price=1500-3500


Bag your phone with rice, see if that dries it out.



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I agree with MTIS that you might want to go to Lazada and check different phones in your desired price range.  I would add my opinion that it might be wise to spend more than 3,500 baht which gets you only very low spec'd models and instead consider something like the Samsung Galaxy J6 (2018) which is 5,119 baht at Lazada.
Here is a link to Kimovil which tells you which bandwidth it supports and the bandwidth of many US carriers.  I checked out several phones in this price range and the J6 had the best coverage in America, and covers band 4 LTE (1700 x 2100), I believe.
The Samsung has a bigger screen, and Super AMOLED vs your ex-LG, a better CPU, more memory, a bigger battery with faster charging, etc, etc.  It also has a svelte and light body, which I personally am a fan of.  I check phone models at Amazon in America, and most of the time Lazada has them at a much lower price, so my thought is to by a keeper phone now while you have the opportunity, from a reliable Thai online seller such as Lazada.
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Personally, I wouldn't buy a phone, assuming my primary domicile was the U.S. and I was on T-Mo (Metro PCS is owned by T-Mo) without Band 12/700 or 71/600 MHz. (Your LG may not support these bands, but they are becoming more important as T-Mo expands this service nationally now.)


For short trips back, and assuming metro areas, then partial support (band 4) is OK. But it would suck to get back home and have a phone which did not work where you live.


Buying a phone in Thailand then immediately going to Vietnam, for a few weeks, kind of removes any warranty option? Not sure how much a "reliable" seller helps you once you leave Thailand?


You can buy the J6/SM-J600F in the U.S for $163 (5,360 THB), if you have to have it.


Or if the J6 works for you now, maybe look in a mall (Central Plaza Airport) in a full-service shop like PowerBuy or Jaymart, where they might have it for 4,990 and give you the VAT Refund (7%) form. Assumes you're flying from THL to VN.


But honestly, if you like the LG then pretty much any phone, even a used one, would probably be fine for a few weeks?





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Thanks all. Went to Maya, got frustrated trying to figure out which phones worked using https://willmyphonework.net/ - it had none of the models I was finding in the stores there.


At this point I think I'll either buy a decent phone or just get a headset/microphone so I can take a call tonight on my laptop (this is my immediate issue, a conference call that's super important coming via Google Voice).


J6 could work, actually, maybe I'll check Central (yes I'm flying, will bring passport for VAT credit).


Was thinking to also check Pantip?


Band 4/LTE (1700x2100)  - same as B66 (1700/2100)? The latter is supported by the J6. 

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6200b. Got a free battery pack/charger thing and a half decent set of headphones as freebies with it. Will get the VAT back at the airport. 


More than I intended, but I am glad I got¬†a phone I can use back home as well. And I got it set up in for my conference call ūüôā

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I think you made a great choice.  Lazada sells the Samsung Galaxy J8 for 6,299 baht so I just searched Lazada in the price range of 5,600 to 6,600 baht and did not find anything nearly as good as the J8.  I rejected the Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite, the Oppo A3s, the Asus Zenfone Max M1, the Huawei Nova 2i, and the Vivo Y85 as none of them covered nearly the USA bands as the J8.  The J8 was the only model with a Super AMOLED screen, and it covers more USA bands than the J6 covering all T-Mobile 2G and 3G bands and 5 of 6 4G bands (lacking only B71 (600).
It has a decent battery, CPU, and camera set up.  About the only thing missing in light of the watery death of your last phone is IP68 rating; so keep it dry.
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The J8 looks like a decent phone, and Jaymart does have it on sale from 9,990 to 6,490 this week. Good find. They always throw in extras and are helpful with the VAT Refund paperwork too, should have mentioned you may have to pay 5,000, so the J6 at might not have made it at 4,990, without an extra 10 baht purchase. Leave some extra time at the airport to process the VAT refund.


About the only thing missing is band 71, but you should be fine unless in one of the newer areas serviced by this rollout. 


T-Mobile 600 MHz Extended Range LTE Now Live in 900+ Cities & Towns, Coming to Puerto Rico


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I didn't get it at Jaymart, I got it at a different store and I should remember the name. The sales folks were super helpful. This was the only store with the J8 as opposed to the J6, that I found.  It's very close to the escalator. I have a photo of the woman who sold it to me (we did a selfie testing the camera) and a receipt somewhere, but can't recall the name of the store! 


Got a good case and screen protector at Pantip. 


Got VAT handled, am now using phone in Vietnam (airport SIM) with no issues.


Again, many thanks to you all for the help. 

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