I'm looking for a new or gently used phone for the first time in a while. They all seem to look alike, and the features I care about are not well advertised. I have an AT&T Note 4, which is not able to get custom ROMs loaded to it due to a locked bootloader, though temp root has been achieved.

I want to use the T-Mobile $30 walmart plan (100 minutes, unlimited texts, 5GB high speed data) with this new-to-me phone. T-Mobile is GSM and therefore requires a SIM card. I'm looking for a phone for use in the USA with the following criteria:

  • Removable battery
  • MicroSD card slot
  • The phone has 2GB or more of RAM
  • USB Host or USB OTG support
  • The phone has been rooted
  • The phone is reasonably popular and has ROMs available somewhere, preferably across all of its carriers
  • Costs $100 - $150 ish

Wish list (probably not gonna happen)

  • Hardware keyboard

I thought by now there might be midrange or budget phones that meet this spec, but I can't seem to find any. I think my best bet is going to be eBay.

Here are some phones I have found that meet these criteria:

  • Samsung Note 2 (eBay)
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 (eBay)

These meet the criteria except for price:

  • Samsung Galaxy S4
  • Samsung Note 3
  • Samsung Note 4

I have found the site GSMArena and while it has all the information I am looking for, I cannot search by removable battery nor USG Host/OTG. There are somewhere between 70 and 200 phones for me to search through.

What phones do you recommend?

  • There's also the option of the often cheaper "Chinese" phones. If you want 2gb of ram for that price, you are not going to have many options though. Dec 25, 2015 at 17:51
  • I am not averse to cheaper Chinese phones, but finding other info is harder on them since they are not as popular. Dec 25, 2015 at 18:16

6 Answers 6


In general the Samsung SII+ and Note 2+ series fit very closely to your criteria because:

  • All have removable batteries
    • almost exclusively a Samsung feature
    • except the S6 and Note 5
  • All have a MicroSD card slot
  • All have USB OTG support
    • this feature is not to be underestimated
  • All phones are very popular, can be rooted/have ROMs available and should work across all carriers. Refer to: xda-developers.com

As for the following:

  • Costs $100~150
  • The phone has 2GB or more of RAM

It really only leaves (in order):

  1. Note 2
  2. S3 (my own preference)
  3. SII

The Note 2 has enough RAM (2GB) and you'll probably get it for under $150. You should get the S3 easily under $150 and even though it has only 1GB, you've considered it above so on that basis I've added the SII which is also 1GB. The SII is nice to get comfortable modding with, because you can get one for less than ~$100 last time I checked, most likely cheaper now.

I've played with almost all the Samsung phones in the S and Note series and as it looks like you'll be using the phone on a day to day basis I'd go for the S3 myself because:

  1. 1GB is perfectly fine for normal use
  2. The processor is the same as the Note 2 and performance is arguably similar/better
  3. I prefer the S Pen with Samsung Apps
  4. It's better than the SII (faster and has better internal storage)
  5. It's not that much more expensive than the SII so is nearly as disposable

I thought these may be helpful

Accessible general guide to rooting:

How to Root T-Mobile Galaxy S3 SGH-T999:


If you are thinking about Xiami Redmi Note 2 you have to know that:

  • It has removable battery
  • It uses MIUI, it is operating system based on Android but developed by Xiaomi Tech.
  • It is important to check which kind of screen you will get Tianma or Oppo. Tianma screen is kind of yellow in comparition to other phones. XDA Developers thread about this problem.
  • It is dual SIM and can use microSD card with both SIM cards. (no hybrid slot for second card)

After reading this suggested question, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2 seems like it might be a good fit. GSMArena specs look promising, though I'm not sure if it has a removable battery yet.

I wasn't even familiar with this brand of phone, but apparently they're a big manufacturer.


UleFone be touch 2 should meet your requirements. I haven't tried OTG on mine although it's listed as having it in the specs.


Most people appear happy with it and expect the build quality to improve with RMAs and process engineering.


Antutu score better than 89% of smartphones http://www.kimovil.com/en/ulefone-be-touch-2/antutu


First of all I want to clarify answer of your question, i check online features like this removable battery, SD Card slot, USB OTG, USB HOST and bugdet $100 to $150,i think this phone will fulfill your needs, see specs http://www.pdevice.com/product/ulefone-be-touch-2-specs, this phone has some great features like

  1. Octa Core processor
  2. 64 bit mediaTek MT6752 Processor
  3. 4G Supported
  4. 3 Color option Metal Grey, Silk White
  5. Corning Gorilla Glass for better protection
  6. Average performance back 13 Megapixel Camera.

Even If you want to search more smartphone specification you can search manually one by one.


You can try Moto E4, It supports all of your requirements. It has removable battery, OTG support, SD Card slot and 2GB RAM/16GB ROM. You can check its complete specs and available sellers list from BuyMyPrice

  • Has this phone been rooted and if not, it is easy to root? Are ROMs easy to find? How much does this phone cost? What about a hardware keyboard? please edit your answer to include the answers to these questions.
    – Cfinley
    Mar 9, 2018 at 20:10

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