Re: Uh... what?
"Have you ever tried using an Android phone without a Google account?"
Yes, sort of.
You are 'locked in' for the purpose of downloading [your] apps from the Play Store - so what I did was sign into my Google account to initially download the apps I use. There's no way to then sign out, so I then simply removed the account from the phone*.
If I ever want to download another app (or if I need to update an existing one), I'll have to sign in again, which is fair enough - but I'll then sign back out by removing the account again.
So it's a partial lock-in AFAIC - although my reason for doing it is pure tinfoil-hattery because of Google's slurpy reputation.
* Edit: To clarify, I say initially, but in practice, I only decided to do this a couple of months ago (ish) - so that initial period ran from when I bought the phone until then. So far, however, running without being signed in has not been a problem.