Sunday, December 31, 2006

More Tracfone Stuff

To follow up on my review yesterday of the Motorola c261, the phone also activated over the code entry required...which seemed pretty slick for Tracfone, but to be expected of such an advanced Tracfone I'd suppose...

Also, regarding the person who commented about typing in an URL and being able to go to it on the c261, I got the 403 Forbidden edrror when I tried to access other sites than Tracfone's own deck that way...

Now, a side note: for some reason (maybe because I had call waiting at second 0 of a call with the person I was calling!) my LG 3280 crashed, as in vibrated for awhile in spurts then stopped and simply locked up. I took out the battery, then put it in again. Lo and behold, all my airtime was gone! A quick call to Tracfone solved this problem. Something interesting about Tracfone: they can now add to your phone, or at least the LG 3280 and probably the c261 and v176, units in increments of single units. No more rounding up to ten units, but hey, it's an upgrade...

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Motorola c261 & Tracfone New Features

This phone, due to its being washed (ech!), is now sitting out to dry, but nonetheless I should be able to give a pretty good review of this phone, its features, and Tracfone's new Cingular-powered features of its own...

First off, this phone has the new prepaid features that the LG 3280 incorperates, such as a double-digit airtime counter, a rearranged prepaid menu with airtime adding on top and code entry on the bottom.And of course incoming SMS is units each. And now we know why there is a double-digit readout on the airtime display...

...for buying ringtones! Yes, you can buy ringtones and graphics from the convenience of your slick-looking Motorola c261 (especially slick in the matte red I got it in). And the prices aren't horribly expensive...5.97 units per ringtones translates to a maximum of $1.99 per ringtone, with a minimum of $1.19 each if you're looking at 20-cent-per-minute airtime. Sounds pretty good to me, at least compared with $2.99 ringtones on Boost Mobile.

And yes, the phone has web access to get these ringtones, as well as view news stories and play online games and such. Small problems:

  1. It's slow...really slow. Motorola doesn't have EDGE on this phone (wait...they don't have EDGE on the Razr or the Pebl either...geez) and the GPRS seems quite sluggish. Either that or the web portal is serving over cousin Vinnie's DSL connection...serving the 50 people who use web on the c261 all at the same time...
  2. It's limited. Want to go to Facebook? How about Google? HowardForums? No, no and no. Just Tracfone's own predefined WAP deck. T-Zones on Tracfnes anyone?
  3. It costs! Half a unit per minute for any data access, whether it's downloading a ringtone, browsing the news, or sending\receiving an MMS message...on top of the MMS or ringtone charges!

And MMS costs 1 unit per message either way. Not my idea of dirt cheap, but you take what you can get with Tracfone...even though sending MMS messages is a slow in it takes a minute or two to send an 80k message. Bleh.

Not to discount the phone, though. It is svelte, as mentioned before. While it's no Slice, it is slim enough, and its rounded edges make it look like a higher-end phone than the Slice, at least in my opinion. The keypad is easy enough to press, and the phone's screen is nice and large, especially for a bar. With a 128x160 resolution, the screen is big enough to offset the kludginess of Motorola's user interface, and texting is quite viable, though iTAP ain't quite what T9 is in terms of ease of use, at least to my reckoning.

Ohyeah, and the phone has a camera in it, a first for a Tracfone. Yes, everyone thought that Tracfone wouldn't come out with the c261, picking instead the cameraless c259 (I think that's the model number). But the jolly green giant of prepaid wireless put through their first camera phone, and its a passable camera phone, too. We're not talking print-quality photos, but on the highest quality setting the photos are quite good enough for casual emailing and pasting online in random places,albeit via the oh-so-slow MMS system, as the phone's rumored Bluetooth is either nonexistent or disabled and I know of no cable that can hook up to this phone.

Side note: the camera is VGA, and the screen is portrait, so you have an annoying conundrum when setting wallpapers: yours with a border or Motorola's without a border? Anyway, pictures look good, and the screen is maybe half again as large vertically as that of the Slice, on par with the average contract flip phone. Small problem with the screen: it solarizes very easily when viewing photos, at least if you're holding the phone normally. Horizontally, wierdly enough, the images are fine...except they're of course rotated 90 degrees...

Now to the important parts about any phone that's supposed to be used as a phone: reception and battery life. Reception-wise the phone is great, as far as receiving calls goes. Cingular's network works well with this phone in that respect. Transmission? Not so much, but I'm thinking that the problem is more network-related than due to the phone itself: Cingular "razes the bar" once again! I actually had to switch phones (used my dad's Verizon-powered Trac Nokia 2126) when talking to someone due to my cutting out on his end, even though I had a signal that was quite good.

Battery life is okay, though merely okay. Three or four days seems to be hwo long it lasts with light to normal usage, which would be on the good side for CDMA but is merely fair for GSM. If you're looking for great battery life, look at the LG 3280 or something like that, not at the most feature0laden phone that Tracfone offers.

In my opinion, this phone is a big step forward for Tracfone, being as how it puts web and MMS on the table as network features and a camera as a phone feature. The phone's onboard apps and games are nice, too. But there's no reason to get this phone over another Tracfone unless you want the camera and the ability to get ripped, download ringtones and graphics and view news storeies...if you want GSM and just usually talk and text the Nokia 2600 is still a great choice. If you want more coverage while still being SingleRate, the LG 3280 is best. However, if you do want a camera, and an okay one at that, Tracfone now gives you an option, and now it's at a fairly palatable price ($49.99 plus tax currently from their site for a black one, and you can get a red phone, which looks really me, I own one :)...from Wal-Mart's site for around the same price). Heck, maybe BabbleBug still has one in stock...e-mail me if you're interested and I'll ask.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tracfone Referrals - Back Up!

Remember the Tracfone backdoor that I used to get refer-a-friend emails sent? Well, it's working again! So anyone who wants can look back to that post, follow the instructions, and get back into the refer-a-friend game! Viva la chance! And if you don't have a phone to refer the other phone, drop me an email and I'd be glad to shoot a refer-a-friend email your way! Hope this helps everyone!

Kyocera K7 "Rave"

People have been wanting a review of this phone for awhile, and now I'll give it. Hope this helps someone out there...though the phone has been surmounted by, at last check, the K9...

First off, this is a very old phone, as cell phones go. That's not a bad thing necessarily, but you aren't going to get the new features you'd have on newer phones, such as full web access and suchlike.

However, this phone does have polyphonic ringtones and an LED flashlight, as well as a relatively large black-and-white screen with a user interface clear enough that you can use the phone fairly well, for what it does.

The typical "tools" are on the phone (calculator, etc.) plus the flashlight, which is reasonably bright. The phone is definately basic, but it's okay for people who will only talk and text a little anyway.

With regard to texting, the phone's keypad is okay for the pursuit, though Kyocera's T9-clone input system is another thing to learn...

For voice quality, suffice to say that it's pretty good. Which it should be, considering this is a PCS-only phone on a PCS-only network. But then again the phone isn't incredibly loud. No speakerphone, either.

As far as battery life goes, I'm really not sure about how long it lasts (a friend now has the phone). But battery life, courtesy the phone's refurbished-ness, seems quite short. As in a few days on standby. That's what's not to like about a refurbished phone, but what can you honestly expect for $10? You have to have something that gives...

But other than battery life, the phone is solid for what you'd use a $10 phone for: taling and texting. Hope this miniature review has helped someone.

By the way, if you want to help out the site and are going to activate a Virgin Mobile phone, put in 830-456-2634 as the person's phone number who referred you. That way, I get a "kickback" from Virgin Mobile. And as an added bonus, for every $10 I get in kickbacks (the first person I refer gets me $10, everyone else gets $20) I'll lay away $5 to buy something from Virgin Mobile to the tune of phones, so I'll have something else to review. Again, hope this review helped!

P.S. More reviews are coming soon...

UTStarComm CDM7000 & Movida Unlimited Service
Motorola c261 & Tracfone's New GSWM Services
Nokia 2366i (see below)

One note about the Nokia 2366i: I'm not activating it...for myself, at least. But if anyone wants it I'll gladly sell it for $70 shipped activated on PagePlus...or Verizon INPulse, whichever you want. But anyway if anyone wants the phone emailo me, and I'll send it on when I'm finished with my review!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sold Out...Again!

Well, I got the rest of my airtime cars in today...and am selling one on eBay and the rest to a bulk buyer. So I'm sold out again! But I'll probably have some more cards back in stock in a couple of weeks...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Tracfone Cards - Now Available!

Just to let everyone know, I have a large (42 cards in all) shipment of Tracfone airitme cards in right now. Grab 'em while they last!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Virgin Mobile & Tracfone Airtime

First off, Virgin Mobile now has the Snapper refurb deal back online, as well as the K9, available for a cool $10 + tax. I think the main difference between the K7 and the K9 is that the K9 has MP3 ringtones or something like that...I'd buy one, but it wouldn't get to me in time for Christmas...going on a trip starting Friday (the 22nd).

Second, I'm getting in half my boatload of airtime cards tomorrow :). Grab 'em while they last...they'll all be gone by the middle of next week, if not sooner! In which case you'll have to wait another few weeks before I have some in stock...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Virgin and Tracfone Shake Up Their Lineups

Over the past few days Tracfone and Virgin Mobile have changed their available online deals...Tracfone first...

The biggest news here is that not one but three phones are now $15, down from $20 or $30. These three phones are the Motorola c139, Motorola c155 and Nokia 2600. All are new. My choice, out of personal experience from all three of these phones? The 2600, by far. It's old, but it's good. The c155 seems to ahve reception issues, and its bulbous form factor isn't quite pretty. The c139 only has mono ringtones, though it has great battery life, and there have been many cases of people's units just disappearing on that phone. The Nokia 2600, the GSM, older, equivalent of the 2126, has neither problem. If you need a Tracfone on GSM and want a $15 phone, the Nokia would be it.

One gotcha: $15 doesn't include shipping. Unless you bring your order total above $19.99. But hey, the 2600 is an okay deal even at $20, with the Nokia 2126 at $30 new. Anyway, buying two phones would alleviate the shipping charge. But, in a nutshell, the Nokia 2600 just became a better deal than ever.

As an aside, the Motorola c261 is down to $50 plus tax on Tracfone's website, in black. The v176 is still $60. Interesting...the phone was $80 when it came out! Is Tracfone not getting enough sales on the phone? Or are they trying to push picture messaging and web access to the masses because it's very profitable for them? Not to mention ringtones...

Now to Virgin Mobile...

First, the bad news. The refurb Snapper, which was a mere $40, is now sold out. Maybe, however, they'll reinstate the deal when there are enough refurbs to start shipping again. Personally, I'll stick with my Slice, but then again I got the phone for $20 plus tax. Also, the $10 phone is temporarily no more, though it too might pop up again, in the form of the Kyocera K9 (the K7 was the last deal).

Second, the blah news, or maybe it's good news. But anyway the Audiovox "Vox" 8610 is now a mere $25 plus tax. People don't seem to like this phone, but they seem to dislike the Kyocera Oystr even more, citing batery life concerns (by the way, this phone is $20). Then agsin, the Vox doesn't have web's a toss-up.

Now to the pretty good news. Virgin Mobile now has two "free" phones: the Nokia "Shorty" (2116i) and the Kyocera K10. Okay, they're $20 with $20 in airtime added as a bonus, but it's airtime nonetheless so I'll still call the phones free.

My choice between these two phones? It depends. The Shorty, being made by Nokia, is a very solid phone, and it's very small. But it has only a black-and-white screen, and there's no web access...and the Kyocera K10 has both of these. Just depends on what you want.

By the way, this is the first post on the new Go4Prepaid blog. It should run faster for everyone, and should have more features and such. Hope everyone likes it!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sold Out!

Sorry everyone, but I'm completely, at least for now, sold out of Tracfone 60-minute cards. I will, however, have some in the Monday after next. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Answer to Slice

Responding to the person who commented on the Slice...

First off, I just don't think that the Slice is a $50 phone. True, it's thin, really, really thin, but that's pretty much its only merit. Not that it needs other merits, but it's so thoroughly average otherwise that its thinness is its only redeeming quality. And due to its thinness, plus the cost-cutting measures involved (and there are some measures involved) you get a phone that seems a tad on the glitzy side, with a keypad that feels none too good. nThe phone may be thinner and lighter even than the SLVR, which is expensive, but you're taking out a lot, and I mean a LOT, of features. Which people may or may not need\want anyway, but the only thing you can compare with the SLVR and the Slice is thickness. The Slice is a cheapie phone, simply put.
About CDMA users settling for expensive handsets and minutes, some people like to have their phone working everywehere, even if it's more expensive. However, CDMA isn't necessarily better coverage-wise, or more expensive, than GSM. Sprint actually has a quite small coverage footprint, somewhere around that of T-Mobile, maybe a little bit more. However T-Mobile now has roaming agreements even on prepaid, and thus you can get their service at 10 cents a minute or less in a lot of in A LOT of places. :)
In this case GSM is cheaper than CDMA, but Cingular GoPhone is WAY more expensive than Virgin Mobile (25 cents a minute vs. 18 or $1 a day for 10 cents a minute + M2M versus roughly 28 cents a day for the same thing minus M2M). This is about the cleanest analogy possible, as comparison between AirVoice and a comparable CDMA carrier would lead into comparison with "indie" carriers like STi Mobile and its league. Heck, Tracfone GSM now charges the exact same per minute as the LG 3280 on Trac CDMA, though GSM does have more features.
Another look at things and you'll find that Virgin Mobile's text rates are becoming the cheapest in the industry. everyone is starting to charge 15 cents per text, which is absolutely annoying to the point of death. Virign is looking like it will stay at 5 cents per message both ways. If you don't get on a texting plan. Which I'm actually doing very, very soon (as soon as I top up). I will then have 2.5 cents per text message, better than anything in the GSM arena, as far as prepaid goes, has to offer, to my knowledge. And what phone am I using for this? The Slice.
In short, I'm not bashing the Slice for being what it is. I'm just bashing it for being what it is an being $50. $40 would be okay in my opinion, but not $ that point you're looking at higher-end phones, and even this phone's thinness doesn't quite rank it as higher-end.
By the way, I actually don't like any of the ringtones on the Slice really. All of them are pretty obnoxious, even the normal ring. Same with the backgrounds. But I'm going to live with them since I'm not even going to use this phone for voice calling. The big idea from Virgin mobile here is that people, fed up with the lousy offering of 'tones on this phone, will pay their horribly high rates to download new content that is actually normal and bearable an suchlike. And it's probably going to work, making the net cost of the phone even more ($65 including tax anyone?) for people who actually want to personalize it. Nice business model, Virgin. Ah well.
Well, have to go. Homework. Hope this clarifies things for everyone considering getting the Slice. It's a nice buy for $20 but not for $50.
By the way, I found out why there was a hundredths place in the new Tracs' airitme display...buying ringtones! At least for the Moto c261. Not that I needed another ringtone, but The House of The Rising Sun is still neat to have on a Trac, and the ringtone speaker on the c261 is nice. The only beef I have is the time it takes for things to load on the phone (seems like GPRS Class 0, lol) and thus the airtime it uses in loading things. Ah, but such is life...more on the c261 later.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I solved my dilemna about the ringtone. Just heard the same progression in Nickel Creek's This Side. Anyhow, I'll be eventually putting up some photos I've taken with the c261. They're okay in quality, for a camera phone, but GPRS is so dang slow (maybe because I'm roaming?) that it's really expensive to send pix messages (0.5 units per minute of web time required + 1 unit per message...gotta love the ripoffs).

Ringtone - Motorola c261

Well, I just had t0 put up on here one of the ringtones on the Motorola c261. Why? Because I know the song from somewhere...and I don't remember where! Comment on this post if you know what the 'tone is. Sorry about the quality of the mp3, but hey, it's that much quicker to download! Anyway, I'll put up a picture from the phone's camera as soon as I find out what the dang ringtone is (it's hotlinked in the title of this post).

Tracfone Cards For Sale - Delivery Within 24 Hours! - Again!

Well, the 60-minute cards are back again. Get them quickly, or you'll not be able to get them at all. Just click on over to the Cheap Tracfone Minutes link to order one, two, or however many (though i don't have very many actually) you want. As usual, they're just $12.50 apiece.


P.S. I just got a red Motorola c261 yesterday (as part of Black Friday's double-minute card deal; the double-minute card went to my dad). Of course, the review will be forthcoming. Interestingly, it too has a hundredths-place airtime counter. Interesting...and red...:)

Sunday, December 03, 2006


I really need to do a variety of things on this site, but I haven't had the time. The podcast, and putting the podcast on iTunes, will likely have to wait till a few days from now. Same for updating my sale page (the ESN minutes are gone, but I think I could get some 60-minute cards for $12.50).

But to help some people out, the LG 3280 has a vibrate mode. Just press and hold * and voila, Manner Mode. :) Do it again to switch back to normal mode.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tracfone Deal Alert

Just looked at Tracfone's website and the $80 1-year and $100 double-minute deals are gone. However, the Nokia 2600 is now down to $19.99. If you're looking for a GSM phone right now and don't need a camera or web browsing, get this phone!

?!? Tracfone Style

Tracfone refer-a-friend doesn't seem to be working correctly tonight...I just tried to send a refer-a-friend email...actually, two...and it seemed to go through...until I checked my email. Zip. Zero. Nada.

If anyone wants a referral, email me with your serial number and I'll see what I can do. But ESN minutes are, at least for the moment, not available. :( I'll update here when I get more information\things change etc...

As a side note, I got my two Slice phones in the mail from RadioShack today. If anyone wants one, email me. I'm thinking $27 shipped, plus using 8304569332 as the "referrer" when you activate.

I also received a review unit of the UTStarCom 7000 on Movida (thanks!). One small problem though: the ESN was invalid (ugh). Stupid Movida\UTStarCom. Once I get another, correct-ESN phone, I'll do a full review of the phone and service, and post it here. Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

ESN Minutes - They're Available! Same with Refer-a-friend!

Just to re-stress to everyone, ESN minutes are available right now at $12 for 120 minutes. And the minutes can be added to with promo codes (58094 adds 60 minutes if you haven't used it already). So grab 'em while you can!

Also, if you're activating a Tracfone soon or have activated one on between now and last Wednesday, email me and I'll send you a refer-a-friendd email! You get 120 minutes, again promo-able, and I'll even take $2 off whatever you buy from me if you do get your minutes!

Just trying to help out...$30 worth of minutes for $12 is nice, and $30 worth of minutes for free, if you're a new Tracfone user, is even nicer! :)

Who I am...

Let me tell everyone a little about myself...

I am, as I said, fifteen years old and a seniopr in a small private school. Hopefully I am going to MIT next year with the ultimate result being a degree in Computer Engineering or the like, with Colorado School of Mines or Texas A&M as backups. I live in central Texas.

Just to let everyone know, I'm going to start putting specials on various phones that I have. A senior trip to Washington D.C. is coming up in May and I need money for that, and lots of it. So if you would like to support me\my site, buy a phone or two.

Okay...athat's the end of my shameless plug for my phone-buying part of the site, and my own life. Hope everyone has been well-informed with the podcast and the recent posts!

Tracfone Online Deals

I recharged the battery of my laptop so I can put up the other main thing I talked about on the podcast: the Tracfone deals on the GSM side of their website right now.

First off, free ground shipping is available for all orders that are $19.99 or more, which is a savings of around $5.50 per order, when tax on shipping is included. Which is always a good thing.

Second, if you make an order of $60 or more, you'll get a free "GiftBox and Universal Accesory kit". What this is I'm not quite sure, but it looks to include a case, headset and car charger, which is nice. However, even if you buy the maximum (3) order of $20 refurb phone deals, you don't get this kit and giftbox, as the order total is $59.97. Even if you buy the most expensive phone (the Moto c261 or the v176 on GSM, the LG 3280 on CDMA) you still won't get the kit. You have to buy one of the 1-year-card deal. Sounds like a "free phone with a contract" idea to me.

But hey, the deals are really good!

First off, and best, is the deal that just came online and will end today if it hasn't sold out already. In this deal you get a double-minute card and a red Motorola c261 for...hold on to your hats...$30 less than the price of the double-minute carrd alone! Needless to say, this is one heckuva deal...and you get not only free shipping on this deal but also a gift box and accessory kit! Grab this deal while you can...the total value of what's available right now in this deal is roughly twice what it's selling for...I'm likely in on this one!

Second, and longer-lived, the Motorola c155 and, more importantly (it's a better phone) the Nokia 2600, is available with a 1-year card...for $80! Yes, as in $20 less than the cost of the card alone! Again, this is a really good deal. You get a $30 phone, and a good $30 phone, and a new $30 phone, plus a 1-year card, for a good bit less than the card alone. This is a good deal too...and you get the accessory kit and free shipping in the mix. I'm probably not going to get this deal, but it's good nonetheless.

Third are the deals that have been around for awhile. The two-60-minute-cards-for-$20-with-a-refurb-phone deal is still going on right now, now with the Nokia 1100. It may be a barebones old phone, with only monophonic ringtones and a black-and-white screen, but it works great...better in fact than the Motorola c155...and that's what counts here. Which is good.

It seems that Tracfone's online site is really promoting phones, trying to get them off of the shelf with $20 or $30 discounts on airtime cards besides giving the phones away. Which sounds a lot like the "better than free" contract cellular offers, but it's prepaid...and you can take the card and put it on your old\own Tracfone. So in my eyes it's all good...

Though two one-year card deals, one with the refurb Motorola v170 (the color flip with the teeny display), one with the refurb Nokia 1100 (one word, why???) are available at the normal price for a 1-year card. Which leaves me scratching my head...but okay...

Last is the "phone ladder" that Tracfone has put into place. They seem to have put into play a system where, if you pay $10 more, you get a better (or more feature-rich, at least) phone, from $10 up to $40, then skipping to $60.Which is a neat idea.

The bottom end is the Nokia 1100, for $9.99, refurbished (all other phones in this lineup are new). However, this phone isn't eligable for free shipping, so it's actually better to get the 60-minute card deal in this case. But now Tracfone has a $10 deal.

For $20 you get the Motorola c139. Pass this phone up...unless you want crazily long (week-and-a-half) battery life at the expense of polyphonic ringers and call quality, and possibly your minutes (they've been known to disappear with this phone).

For $30 you get a choice: either the Nokia 2600 (very good) or the Motorola c155 (in the wors of Borat: not so much...and no, I haven't watched that movie). Just to stress what I said, the Nokia 2600 is a very good phone, pretty much equivalent to the Nokia 2126, except for GSM, and a little bit older. The 2600 may not have web and picture messaging, but it's a great phone for voice and text...text which is free to receive.

For $40 you get the Motorola v170. Again, this flip has a tiny screen. I'd pass this up in favor of the other deals, such as the deal on the Nokia 2600 which is $10 + tax cheaper. But to each his own; some people just need a flip...

For $60 your choice is between the Motorola c261 and the v176. I don't know about how good these deals are, but they seem to be pretty good deals, considering that they're the only web-enabled Tracfones. Also, the Motorola c261 has a camera and picture messaging...and it's thin.

That wraps up the current state of the Tracfone website deals, as far as GSM goes. CDMA hasn't changed, except for the free shipping and free accessory kit deals. And that finishes up the information I covered in the promised, I covered everything here that I covered there. Hope this helps everyone!

Nokia 2126 Wal-Mart Sighting

As my laptop battery stands at 7% and counting down (I have about 12 minutes before, at 1%, this computer hibernates due to low battery), this is going to be a short post...but anyway...

At Wal-Mart Friday night, while I was waiting for a manager to pricematch RadioShack on the UTStarComm Slice (long story short: RadioShack in town didn't have them and Wally World wouldn't pricematch them so I went online and got two phones, shipped free, direct from; the $19.99 promo stays in effect until, and including, the 26th), I noticed for the second time the new "inline" packaging for the Nokia 2126. I had first seen this packaging on the Motorola c139 and v176 (shipped to me and at RadioShack in a Cingualr area, respectively). Then I saw it on the LG 3280. Then I saw it at RadioShack on the Nokia 2126. THen I saw it at Wal-Mart.

Anyway, I checked the back of the package and saw that the phone still wasn't SingleRate (roaming is still 2 units per minute and texts are 0.5 units apiece). But on the front of the phone was a sticker: Get 60 minutes of free airtime upon activation ($18.92 value).

While 60 minutes of airtime isn't, in my opinion, worth $18.92 (as my previous sales of 60-minute cards for $12.50 will attest), it's a step up from the small 10 or 20 minutes included in Tracfones that aren't marked that way. Maybe Tracfone is trying, with certain phones, to recompense users for the loss of refer-a-friend. Whatever the case, another 60 minutes is always good, however you get it, so I thought this would be nice to point out.

LG 3280 Review (finally here!)

Everyone who did not get a chance to listen to the podcast, rejoice! Here is the main thing that probably everyone really wanted to knnow but might not have been able to access, due to the podcast being...well...a podcast: a review of nothing other than the LG 3280.

First off, I have to give this phone a rating as a solid option if you want to get into Tracfone, or rather want to get into Verizon's network, except on prepaid. Which is what you're doing with the LG 3280, because it's SingleRate. But more on that later...before I talk about that, I want to say a little bit about the other new things that the LG 3280, which incidentally is a rebadged, rebranded version of the Verizon (plus a bunch of regional CDMA carriers) LG vx3300, has to offer on the Tracfone scene.

The LG 3280 sets a lot of firsts for Tracfone. Besides being the first SingleRate CDMA Tracfone, it's the first Tracfone to be made by LG, and the first in five or six years to be made by a company other than Nokia or Motorola. I'm guessing that Tracfone switched to LG for CDMA, at least at this point, because Nokia is slowly but steadily moving out of the CDMA business, and while the Nokia 2126 (or 2125 or 2128...they're the same phone) is a solid phone with good features, it's getting a little bit old and will probably dry up stock-wise eventually. So Tracfone is introducing LG on the relatively high end ($50 for the 3280 vs. $30 for the 2126) early on to get people used to having a different user interface for their Tracfone. SingleRate is probably the carrot Tracfone is dangling to get people to make the switch. Why?

Because of a little, tacky sticker on the LG 3280 when you buy it, or rather what the sticker tells you. That sticker, sharing the glory with another clear badge telling the world that this is a Qualcomm (CDMA) 3G (um...2.5G thanks...1xRTT) phone, says two words: "OTA CAPABLE". At first blush, this may not be such a big deal. But this capability means that firmware upgrade may be applied to the phone, and thus new features added, "in the field". And new features are sure to be added...

I get this idea that new features are sure to be added for several reasons. The first is that the phone has a hundredths place in the airtime balance display. Right now this hundredths place isn't used for anything; everything is still conducted in tenths of units (texts) or whole units (calls). However, this system allows for fine-grained billing structures heretofore unavailable to Tracfone. Now Tracfone can instritute quarter-unit decrements with aplomb, or go to even smaller increments (pay-per-KB web access anyone, via a firmware update?). Or they can institute a dollars-and-cents mentality; a call will cost $0.15 a minute instead of 1.0 units a minute. Just thoughts...

The second reason is that, in the hundred and forty-four "info pages" of the Tracfone prepaid system, there seem to be mentions of web and picture messaging charges, a la Motorola c261\v176...with the same prices. If you have an LG 3280, these pages can be accessed by entering *#104, then hitting OK, and scrolling up and down from there. Interesting, to say the least.

The third reason, or half-reason, is that the "Buy Airtime" function of this phone (!) is currently unavailable on the phone. Yes, this phone has the option, though unavailable at this time, to buy airtime directly on the phone through the prepaid menu...don't know the exact specifics yet but it looks good. A firmware update would be ostensibly required to turn this feature on.

I'm guessing thast Tracfone will, using this capability, add features and services and such to the LG 3280 (and future ohones) as they make better agreements with the underlying carriers. I'm digging it.

So we have here one advanced phone. And SingleRate takes things up a notch...

We're talking about real, honest-to-goodness SingleRate here. Whether your phone says local or roaming, you're still only charged one unit per airtime unit. And this is on CDMA, too. Text messages are also cheaper now, at 0.30 (note the extra decimal place, everyone) to send and receive, down from 0.5 units so as to be the same as the pricing on new GSM phone models. But the sweet fact remains that you can now go anywhere on Verizon's America's Choice II network (read: Verizon contract coverage) and talk for the same rate as...well...everywhere else. I'm not saying that Tracfone is cheap, but now nobody can complain about small local coverage...the US is your home area...all of it...beat that, Cingular (no wait...they can't hear me...the chainsaw they're using to raze the bar is too loud).

As you can see, I'm excited about SingleRate, since the phone will, albeit reluctantly, switch to our excellent local co-op's cellular signal (Five Star Wireless) and charge the same rate for calls and texts! Yay Tracfone!

But now to the phone...

I might as well start with what counts: reception, call quality and battery life. On all three, I'm impressed. My 3280 may not be able to cath a signal quite as well as my parents' Nokia 2126s, even with its stub antenna (Nokia always seems to make really good phones), but it works great nonetheless, with great call quality. The only dropouts and lost calls i've had are in naturally low-signal areas.

As far as battery life goes, I usually, with light usage, get six days on a charge. Which may be merely average for GSM. But it's really, really good for CDMA.Then again, there's no excuse for battery life to be anything but good, since the phone has no external caller ID display and thus has very little to power for most of the time the phone is on. But, nonetheless, six days on a charge is very good.

However, if the phone slips into analog mode (which it can do, as it is a tri-mde phone), you'll have to kiss good battery life goodbye. The phone simply doesn't last long on analog...but then again no phone does these days so I'm not holding this foible against the 3280.

Going on, the phone is designed well and feels solid, like the highst-end Tracfone should feel. THe Nokia 2126 set this standard and naturally, since it's more expensive, the LG must rise to this challenge. It does. However, the battery cover on my phone has developed a wierd discoloration on part of it. Nothing huge, but wierd nonetheless.

As far as features go, this phone is great for Tracfone CDMA but not so great everywehre else. It has polyphonic ringtones, which can be loud, and monophonic ringtones, which can be ear-splittingly loud, a la Nextel. Which is great for people that need that sort of thing. It also has a vibration motor in it, and the vibrate function is nice and strong.

The phone is a flip with a color internal screen but, as has been the case for every color Tracfone, has no external caller ID display. This omission might be due to the Motorola v176's not having such a display...thus Tracfone didn't want to over-promote their CDMA side. The typical extras, ranging from voice recording (including in-call recording of the other party...very useful for certain stuff) to using those recordings for ringtones, to voice dialing, to standard and tip calculators, to limited PDA functions, are all here too. However, games are wierdly omitted...firmware update anyone? The phone also has, naturally, two-way speakerphone, which can be used (again a la Nextel) to play voice recordings with...which is great; the Motorola v176 is reputed to have only a one-way speakerphone.

The phone isn't a Razr, but it isn't too thick either, and fits well in the hand and looks passable. Changeable faceplates are a nice bonus, and Tracfone includes two in the package. One is silver and one is dark gray. Both bear the Tracfone logo...but the faceplates are neat nonetheless.

The phone's screen isn't exactly huge, but it is bigger than that of the Nokia 2126. Then again, this phone is a flip so a bigger screen is to be expected...though the LG 3280 screen isn't as big as the Motorola v176's or c261's screen, at 128x128 (I think) vs. 128x160 (I know). But LG, as always, puts this real eastate to good use with a user interface that is quite useable. LG may not be as elegant as Nokia in making user interfaces, but it's a lot better than Motorola, Kyocera and UTStarComm and, being a former LG user myself (LG 5225 and 225, from STi Mobile), I'm fine with the UI LG puts on this Tracfone. It's clear, fast and pretty, so I'm not in the least complaining.

I guess that's it for the review of the LG 3280. Again, it is definately and always SingleRate, unlike any of the other CDMA phones, including the Nokia 2126, even with the new packaging (though the 2126 is still a great phone). If anyone has any questions about the 3280, just comment on this post and I'll answer them! As I said, I'm catching up here, except in greater detail, to what I said on the podcast, and I decided to start with something everone was wanting. So enjoy!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Podcast Responses

Whew! That was a lot of feedback on my podcast! Keep it coming! I'm on a brief respite from a Boy Scout camping trip (which isn't that bad actually...the camping trip, that is) so I still won't be able to submit my 'cast to iTunes or make the podcast info page...those things will have to wait till tomorrow...but they will get done, and I'll respond to the comments now:
"8.1 MB? Ian, that is almost 1-2 hours of downloading on a dial up connection? You may wish to provide a text summary!~"

True, it's 8.1 MB. But take a look at the podcasts at (big podcast place). They're all at least that much, of not waaaaaay more. Podcast stuff isn't really a dialup thing, though I myself just go to the local coffee shop (I'm there right now) to do all of my 'cast downloads and uploads. However, I did provide somewhat of a summery of the podcast topics that I covered, several of which I already talked about on the blog. The remaining topics will be put up here eventually, probably before the next podcast...

"Great info. Comes through great with [DSL]. I'd recommend breaking it up into easier bit sizes--lots of information. The blog actually is nices because it can be referred to over & over & just for specific information looking for. Great job but doubt I'd use it much, I like the blog format the best. "

Yeah, the blog format is nice, but podcasts are fun, too. They're sort of targeted at different audiences. Don't worry about the blog, though. I'm definately keeping it :). I type about as fast as, in the end, I speak for podcasts.

"Is it possible to search on your blog? I am trying to find what needs to be changed to access the different carrier phones through Tracfone. The archive links are not working right now--at least for me so can't look manually either. Great site & I refer to it alot. "

If you're looking for info on how to Tracfone-ize other phones, you will find no info; it can't be done. But you can just use Google to search my blog (type in along with your query). I may switch over to BlogSpot as my host, so everything will work right and blog search will be easier; I can't for the life of me figure out why the archive links aren't working and switching back to BlogSpot would bring everything close together and thus remove room for error...

"How does one see the CDMA page vs the GSM phone page for Tracfone?"

In the URL of the Tracfone site you'll see "tech=GSM4" or "tech=CO" somewhere. CO shows CDMA phones. GSM4 shows Cingular phones (GSM5 shows T-Mobile, which is more limited). Just edit the URL, hit Go and enjoy!

"I like the availability of a podcast. You need to use a bit more emotion and appeal to create more interest. It would also be nice to have a text transcript. Break it down, take your time, give breaks, and add some more music."

Emotion and appeal...hmmm...appeal...give me an example of a podcast with particular appeal and I'll try to follow suit. As far as text transcripts go, I will cover, sometime or another, the meterial I covered in the podcast here on the blog. Breaking it down anhd taking my time seems to be hostile to those people on not-so-high-speed connections, but again I'll take suggestions in the form of podcasts I can look up to. As far as music goes, I'm probably going to get some more of that as time goes on. This is episode 1, so things will change :)

"Is that your voice or did you disguise it?"

That's my voice. I'm fifteen years old and I talk like that when I'm miced...only a slight change from normal...but yeah that is my voice.

"8.1mb on dial up shouldnt take that long.@56kb you should get at least 350kb per min so entire file should take like 25 min"

Wel...dialup is NEVER 56k, but yeah...this podcast isn't really THAT painful even on a dialup connection. It's about the size of a long song like Sufjan Stevens' Star of Wonder, downloaded via eMusic. (I like Sufjan actually, and I like eMusic).

Thanks for your comments! Have to go see everyone tomorrow probably! By the way, I just ordered two Virgin Mobile UTStarComm Slice phones from for a total of $43.28, including tax and shipping. THe Black Friday deal is online and is until tomorrow, so grab some phones while you can, and email me if you'd like to support this site by giving me a kickback!

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Podcast - It's Up!

The podcast is up! The title is hotlinked to the MP3 file. If you want to use podcasting software, like iTunes, to get the podcasts, just point the software to I'll be putting it onto iTunes soon, and I'll have a podcast page up with links to the various episodes as well, coming later today.

In this esposide I cover all things Tracfone:
Tracfone's Refer-A-Friend Backdoor
Tracfone's Online Deals
Wal-Mart's Tracfone Rollbacks
BabbleBug's Tracfone c261 Deal
LG 3280 Review

So take a look, download it, listen to it, and speak up! Comment on this post with your views and reviews of the 'cast. Is the quality not good enough, audio-wise or material-wise? Should I keep doing this? Let me know! Hope this helps everyone!

THe Podcast - It's Coming!

Just letting everyone know that the first episode of the Go4Prepaid Podcast will be online today. Get iTunes ready; when it is up the feed will be at! I'll post again when the podcast is actually online!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Podcast Coming...

Right now I'm in the research phase, but I should have the first Go4Prepaid podcast up by Saturday. Stay tuned...and tell your podcast-happy friends that there is now a prepaid cell phone podcast. I'm looking forward to trying the idea out.

When the 'cast does come out, I'd appreciate it if people would leave comments on the blog post related to the podcast, saying whether it's any good or not. One thing I will promise, though, is that either this podcast or the next one will have the long-awaited LG 3280 review in it.

Tracfone Deals - Refreshed!

Tracfone just updated their GSM website (SingleRate for the Tracfone-ites) and the results are quitte favorable. Gone is the refurbished Motorola c155 deal...and the Nokia 1100, albeit refurbished, is back in the running as the phone that comes with the two-60-miniute-cards-for-$20-plus-tax deal! Which is great in my opinion; the Nokia 1100 may be barebones, but it's solid.

Also new on the block is a $20 rollback on the Motorola c155 and Nokia 2600...with a 1-year card! In short, you can now get a new Nokia 2600 ($30 value) AND a 1-year card for $20 less than you'd be able to get the 1-year card alone for. You're saving a cool $50 on the whole deal. Same thing with the Motorola c155, except it isn't such a great phone.

In short, you're getting a great deal.

P.S. The Motorola c261s for $50 - a $5 coupon are still available, with the big possibility that refer-a-friend will net you 140+ minutes on them. Grab 'em while you can!

By the way...

Because of the refer-a-friend program, you can get 140 minutes with the Motorola c261. So you're getting a camera phone on Tracfone, plus 140 minutes, for $45 (with the coupon code). I'd say that's a really good deal. You can even add a promo code and give yourself even more minutes than 140 on the phone! In every way, you win. But there are only two of these phones left, so scroll down and order one now!

Refer-a-friend...It's Aliiiiiive!

Courtesy dave940 at, refer-a-friend can very well be alive and kicking even now. Here's how to do it:

Use the following link:
1. Fill out the form to send invitations. Instead of clicking SEND,
click the PREVIEW box.
2. Click on the green box that says BACK.
3. You will see the "dear John" letter about RAF ending on Oct. 15.
Click the back button of your web browser.
4. You will see your RAF invitation filled out again. Click on SEND.
You should see the message saying that your invitation has been sent.

What does this also mean? Why, ESN minutes are now available again! Go to my minutes page and you'll see that I am now selling them for $12 apiece. Don't forget to email me with your phone serial number when you order.

Also, I'm getting in the phones starting Friday, and there are more than enough phones for the ESN minutes to go around. Then again, $12 for 120+ minutes is good. So preorder your minutes now...and enjoy refer-a-friend while it lasts!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A few Moto c261s for $50 shipped

I just made a deal with BabbleBug...

They have two (just two) Motorola c261 Tracfones available at $50 shipped. I take the order, they ship it. Likely faster than Tracfone's own site and even cheaper than Wal-Mart!

I'm getting a little bit off of this, so I can afford to subsidize. So in that vein, the first order gets a $5 discount via the coupon code "yournewmoto". Order quickly and I might not even have time to turn off the coupon for the second phone...who knows?

Anyway, here is the Google Checkout button to buy the phone...enjoy!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Wal-Mart Rolls Back Tracfone Prices

On their website and at probably at their stores, Wal-Mart now has the Motorola c261 available for $50, in both black and red colors. Let the war of the camera phone prices be waged! Seeing as how Virgin Mobile has the refurb'd Audiovox Snapper for $40 direct from their website, and Target has it for $40 new at their stores, or will have it at that price Friday.

On a side note, the price of the Motorola c139 has gone down, too. By one dollar. Nonetheless, a rollback is a rollback, so now you can buy a candy bar and the phone isntead of just the phone itself, though I'd say the Nokia 2126 is a better use of one's money, especially since you can get it with two 60-minute cards on Tracfone's store for the price of the c139 along.

Speaking of Tracfone's online store, they themselves are still selling the Motorola c261 for $60 :(

And while we're on that topic, has anyone noticed that T-Mobile-based Tracfone areas don't have the Motorola c261 or the Motorola v176? Maybe because TMo and Tracfone still only have a voice-and-text agreement with each other? While Cingular also has a web\pix messaging agreement with the carrier?

Then again, if you want T-Mobile based service, you can just go with T-Mobile To Go; it has a good amount of roaming coverage now when compared with its contract version, if you're complaining about coverage, and it has web and pix messaging, for usually less than Tracfone (usually as in Tracfone has promos). Plus there's a larger phone selection.

But anyway, viva la competition! I'm personally looking forward to $20 camera phones on prepaid, preferably with Bluetooth tethering :)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Tracfone - Triple-Stacking Now Available

Just to let everyone know, Tracfone now lets you "stack" airtime expirations up to 180 days from when you add the airtime. So if you want to use 60-minute cards for getting a long time in service, you can now do that, up to half the time of a -year card. Nifty.

P.S. The $12 refill coupon code is no more, and neither are my 60-minute cards. I'm selling all of 'em that I get to elsewhere. I'll tell everyone when the cards get back in though, and if ESN minutes start working again I'll post about that too.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

60-minute card promotion!

Only for Sunday, and only for Sunday, I'm lowering the price of the 60-minute Tracfone cards, through a promotional code (aren't they fun!) that will, for one order per customer, lower the price of the refills to $12 apiece.

I only have eight cards left, and the coupon can only be used once per customer, so stock up on airtime cards while you can! Feel free to put this coupon code wherever online...

The code is "$12 refill", without the quotes and with the $ and the space. Enjoy!

Tracfone Deals...Better Ones!

Tracfone updated their phone lineup Friday. Here are the deals:

Free ground shipping on all orders of $19.99 or more ($5.36 savings including 8.25% tax)
Need I say more?

Free universal accessory kit and gift box on all orders of $60 or more
Small problem: the refurb deals, even three of them, as far as 60-minute card deals are concerned, don't quite add up to $60. So you have to spring for something more expensive to get the gift...more expensive by $10. Which means there's one less order of phones with two 60-minute cards included. Dang. But then again, if you're in for a 1-year card deal all is good.

Take your pick; buy a 1-year card and get any of these phones free:
Nokia 2600 - New (!)
Motorola c155 - New
Nokia 1100 - Refurbished (!?! but okay)
Motorola v170 - Refurbished

So you get a phone usually costing between $10 (Nokia 1100) and $40 (Moto v170) for zip when you buy a 1-year card. Sounds like getting on a contract plan to me, but hey, it works...and the Nokia 2600, new, is part of the mix!

Also, the Motorola c261 is still available for either $60 alone or free with a double-minute card. Sounds like a contract typa thing to me, but's a camera phone!

Here's the lineup of phones, stretching from $10 to $60
Nokia 1100 Refurb - $10
Motorola c139 - $20
Motorola c155 - $30
Nokia 2600 - $30 (good deal if you ask me)
Motorola v170 - $40
Motorola v176 - $60
Motorola c261 - $60

On the CDMA SIDe of things (geeky pun intended) nothing has changed, which is a good thing. The Nokia 2126 is still available for $20 refurbed with two 60-minute cards, and that's really all that matters. Though now with free shipping the LG 3280 is a good deal online just like it is least I think it's a pretty good deal.

Anyway, hope this helps!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Tracfone Deals...New Ones

Actually, there isn't much to say here, except that Virgin Mobile now has competition...sort of...for the $10 phone. That competition is the Nokia 1100 if you're in a GSM area...but the Nokia costs $4.95 to ship, plus tax on that $4.95. The K7 Rave ships free. But then again, GSM coverage is a lot bigger than Sprint coverage. It all depends...yet the Nokia 1100 now sits on Tracfone's website, waiting to be bought refurbished for $9.99 plus tax, shipping and tax on shipping. I can't wait till they're back into being given out for zip with two 60-minute cards; the Motorola c155 is my opinion...

Another sale is with the Nokia 2600...though the sale is the same as last time, to $30 down from $40. It's an okay deal for what kind of phone you get, I suppose. The Nokia 2600 is a good phone, ya know.

Last and maybe least is the Motorola v170. The flip phone with a tiny screen on the inside and no screen on the outside. For $40. At least it's not $50...

Red Slice, VM Stash

First off, some good\neat news...

Now available from BestBuy is a red version of the UTStarComm Slice. Dunno about anyone else, but some people, me included, think that the red plastic on the phone looks better\sturdier than the black plastic of the normal Slice. And it's red. But then again it's $50 plus tax and shipping (if your local BestBuy is a long ways away\doesn't have the red version of the phone\both of the above), whereas next Friday RadioShack will have the sufficiently good-looking black model for a mere $20 plus tax. But hey, people pay more for red stuff than black stuff, and more for black stuff than white or silver stuff usually. Just ask Apple ;) Oh, and the box of the Slice says "Red" in little letters above "Slice". Nifty...

That's the good part of this post. Now to the bad part: showing what a total ripoff Virgin Mobile's
Stash card is. Take as a contrast my personal bank account, which I'm changing soon to something even better...

I don't get any rewards, but the debit card is just $12 a year. No per transaction fees. And I only had to spend $25 to open my bank account, which has no monthly fees, no minimums, etc.

On the other hand, you have Virgin Mobile's Stash card. Which costs $6 a month...if you have a Virgin Mobile account! Otherwise it's $10 a month! Anyway, to add insult to injury, you can also opt for a per-swipe cost $1 per item bought! I use my debit card waaaaaaay too much for the first, and the Stash card costs as much in two months as my debit card costs in a year! And I'm complaining about my debit card costing, since another local bank offers a debit card for free ($100 minimum deposit).

Adding even more insult to injury is Virgin Mobile's "Rewards" program. Where they start you off with 200 points, if you spend $60 to put $50 onto your card. How much are these points worth? Zippo, until you spend $300 (your initial $50 plus another $250, plus per-transaction or monthly fees) using the card. At which point you have 500 reward points and can get...gasp...25 minutes of airtime for your phone! Let's see...$310 spend...minimum...for $4.50 in rewards. But paid them $10 to start out they're still making money off of you!

It gets just get a point for every dollar you spend after those first 200 points in bonuses. So you're gonna hafta spend $500 (!) plus transaction and monthly fees (!!!) to get another $4.50 in airtime. And I'm betting that you're going to have to pay either the $5.95 monthly charge or $5+ in transaction charges to put $500 of spend on your card.

But wait...this isn't out of character for Virgin Mobile after all! *shrugs* Just don't get pulled in my this whopper that you actually gain something from using the Stash card.

I've Got Virgin Mobile Now... if you're activating a phone do me a favor and say 8304569332 sent you, if nobody else wants you kickback.

But anyway my K7 Rave came in today so I'm messing around with it. When the battery runs totally down I'll post a review...honest!...and everyone will know how theis $10 phone fares.

OK. SO I'm shamelessly begging another bit of support from everyone. Here's what I have to give in return:

RadioShack is offering the UTStarComm Slice for $19.99 plus tax Black Friday (the day after thanksgiving). I wasn't too keen on this phone with its $50 price, but for $20 it is a steal. Considering it has a color screen and mp3 ringtones, as well as 1xRTT web access. And yes, for $20 I'm forgiving the hard-to-press keypad and glitzy LED status light.

So yes, there is now a truly good deal on a Virgin Mobile phone that can take advantage of most of the service's features (as opposed to the Rave, which can't do web access and such stuff like that). And if you get the phone because I talked about it (though you'll have to hurry that day because the phones will likely sell out quite quickly) maybe help me by sending me a kickback...since it doesn't cost anything.

Later, people...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tracfone Cards For Sale - Delivery Within 24 Hours!

Just to let everyone know, I have ten Tracfone cards for sale, available right now through my Tracfone Airtime page. You can use PayPal, but Google Checkout actually works better for me...and probably you, too.

You see, the person I usually sell the airtime cards to backed out on that part of the deal. So I have ten airtime cards for the world at large to consume at a price that's much lower than you'd pay at Wal-Mart...but everyone already knows that.

But I'm just letting everyone know so everyone can take advantage of this offer. Hope this helps! But keep in mind that I only have ten cards so buy now...

Friday, November 10, 2006

I bought...

Today I bought the Kyocera K7 Rave on Virgin Mobile. Thte main reason is that I want a phone that has really cheap text and I may be able to get kickbacks etc. and thus get free minutes...

Which means that I'll have Virgin Mobile and the phone pretty soon and I'll post a review here! Also, everyone now has another way to support this site: if you want to activate a Virgin Mobile phone tell them I sent you. I'll have my number up here when I activate.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What Virgin Mobile Phone To Get?

Several people want to know what Virgin Mobile phone to get, judging from their comments on my recent posts. And they want good phones.

To which I reply that the Audiovox 8610 isn't a good phone. It's limited in features and overpriced...since you can get the refurbished 8915 (Snapper) for the same price. The Snapper is easily a much better phone than the plain-Jane Vox and since it's on this much of a sale I'd get it.

If you don't want to pay $40 for a phone, the Kyocera Oystr is good too, though sometimes it takes a second for menu commands to execute. But it's a solid phone for $20.

If you want thin, you may actually be able to put up with the Slice and its price tag, inordinate as far as Virgin Mobile phones go. Its wierd keypad is probably there just because the phone is so thin, as is the battery life. The user interface isn't great, but then again it's the same as any other Audiovox's so it's a "might-as-well" type of thing.

For cheapie phones, you can get them in abundance. The Kyocera K10 is color. The K7 Rave is really, really cheap. And the Nokia Shorty is just plain good.

If you're willing to shell out for a more expensive phone, my choice would be the Kyocera Cyclops or the Slider Sonic, depending on whether you want a slider\MP3 player or a phone with a 1.3 megapixel camera. Both are good buys.

Notice that I still left out the Switch_Back in my once-over of the phones. That's because $130 is too much to pay for just a phone with a QWERTY keyboard in it. At least in my opinion.

Hope this helps anyone going VM. If anyone gets a phone, tell Virgin Mobile...never mind, I don't have one of their phones yet. Guess that's my next purchase. :)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Tracfone and Virgin Mobile News...And They're Both Good! And other News...

First off, some news from Tracfone. And a lot of make up for the fact that I haven't posted here in quite awhile.

1. The Motorola c261 is now $60 plus shipping and tax (and tax on shipping, naturally) on Let the price wars begin, and the consumer benefit! :) I may eventually have to pick one of these up, just to get another thin phone and one with pretty much full GSM coverage.

2. The Nokia 2600, which is a nice phone in my opinion, at least for just voice and text, is now $30 + tax\shipping\tax on shipping on Tracfone's website, down from $40, down from $50. If you don't like the Motorola c155 (I don't either) and are willing to pay $30 for a Tracfone this is a good bet.

3. The two-60-minute-cards promo is still going on in both CDMA and GSM areas. GSM has reveted to the Motorola c155 as their "free phone" (bleh but oh well; some people like a color Moto over a b\w Nokia). But CDMA is still plugging away with the excellent Nokia 2126. How excellent is it? I just ordered 6...that's how excellent :).

4. Refer-a-friend might be up again! Email me if anyone wants a referral. If it does indeed work, I'll start selling ESN minutes again. Yay for everyone! See for yourself...the refer-a-friend form is at . Enjoy!

Now for Virgin Mobile news...

1. I reckon the battery life, with low to moderate use, for the UTStarComm Slice to be around 3 days. Apathetic for CDMA...until you compare it with the LG 3280, which lasts twice as long. But then again, bar phones keep their displays on longer than flips with no caller ID screen. But then again, PCS frequency only phones (aka the Slice & co.) *should* use less battery power...which leads me to conclude that this phone's battery life suffers from a case of a too-small battery...which can easily be explained by the phone's thinness. But anyway, I think I'll pass on laying out $50 on this phone right now...I don't text a ton so Virgin has not too much to offer to me...:)

2. Two phones are officially out now, the Slice and the Cyclops, both online.
2a. The Slice Slice...I already reviewed it. And it's $50 online...not horrible for a phone that's actually thinner than the Motorola SLVR (trust me; I checked the specs and won a bet on those specs) but then again its keypad is darn hard to press.
2b. The Cyclops, by Kyocera, is $100 and Virgin Mobile's second Kyocera flip. More importantly, it's Virgin Mobile's first 1.3 Megapixel camera phone. Other than this nifty bit of trivia, its vertical outer display, and its quite moderate price tag (considering everyone else's 1.3 megapixel camera phone costs that much with a contract!) there isn't much news here. Except that the phone is moderately thin, too.

3. Phone prices are falling again! I may have to buy something of Virgin Mobile's, especially if they don't have tax in my area, just to have an active Sprint phone...or a phone with good text rates...or some other such are the deals:

  • Kyocera Oystr - $20 - This cheapie flip with a fair-sized screen is $10 cheaper online than it is at Wal-Mart...even with included ground shipping
  • UTStarComm Slice - $50 - I just mention this again since it's out of stock! Whoa, what a demand!
  • Audiovox "Vox" 8610 - $40 - They call this a special deal? Okay, this phone of auld is $10 less than in stores, but still it's a passer-upper for the moment.
  • Nokia "Shorty" 2115i - $15 - Want a cheap Virgin Mobile phone that just works? Don't mind having a black-and-white screen? This phone has the primo-ness for the job at a nice price :)
  • Kyocera K10 "Royale" - $15 or $20 w\$20 of airtime - Wow, they must really be trying to get rid of this phone. Which is okay, sine it's not an outstanding phone in any specific area, beside the fact that it's web-enabled. But hey, the price is pretty much right...especially if you like the concept of a "free phone".
  • Audiovox 8915 "Snapper" - $80 or $40 refurbished - New, the price on this phone isn't something to write home about. True, it is well below $100 and it's a camera phone, but that's no biggie. What's really big is that the phone's price is cut neatly in the fact that it's refurbished, if you buy refurbished. Meaning that for the same price as the Vox 8610, or twice the price of the Oyster, you get a halfway decent camera phone with flash, speakerphone and caller ID display. Halfway decent meaning it's made by Audiovox, but that's forgiveable considering the price...less than I paid for a flip phone with no caller ID screen, let alone a camera, the LG 3280.
  • Kyocera Slider Sonic - $100 - Considering that you get not only a phone but a cameraphone, MP3 player (based on MiniSD cards) and videocamera\video phone all in one slider form factor for this amount of cash, I'd have to say that this little number is a good buy, even if it's getting a little old. Heck, it's what they're selling on Amp'd, basically, for the same price...after a mail in rebate!
  • Kyocera - $130 - Sorry, but I still think this phone looks dorky. But I suppose a miniature keyboard has its uses if you're really, really into texting and want to burn up your Penny Texting's 1000 monthly texts in the first ten days of the month with an ease unknown to man. But the phone still looks horrible.
  • Kyocera K7 "Rave" - $10 - Yes, you saw right. $10 shipped will get you a utilitarian, dated pass into the world of Virgin Mobile. Forget a color screen, polyphonic ringtones, vibration alert, web...but then again if you just want to talk and text and maybe use your phone as a flashlight (the K7 has one) this may be all the phone you need, at a glove box friendly price...but for the fact that Sprint PCS isn't exactly your glovebox provider...ech...back to the drawing board...

4. Anyone heard of Audio SMS? Me neither, but the Kyocra Cyclops and, soon, the Switch_Back, will be able to do it. Think of it as SMS, except with voice, except free for now for the first hundred messages per month (10 cents per message after that). Free until July '07, that is. But it's a neat concept, and a fair reason to get that $100 phone that Virgin just came out with. Hey, Audio SMS is a gimmick, and gimmicks are fun, right?

5. Ever heard of Suger Mama? Where you spend a bit of your time on wacky surveys via text or web to get free airtime for Virgin Mobile? Well, it's getting better slowly...and it's a nifty way to get a minute or two here and there. Not saying that it's efficient over a dialup connection, but it's interesting. There is a cap on how many minutes you get per month (35 I think) but that's okay. It's an interesting thing to do anyway...seems like Virgin Mobile is focused on being the "interesting" prepaid.

6. Virgin Mobile just did a slight overhaul on their refer-a-friend program. Now, the maximum number of friends you can refer per year is 12 (up from 10) but you only get $10 on the first one ($20 for each one thereafter). The catch is that your friend needs to add $15 to his\her account within 45 days of activation for you to get the minutes. But hey, you can get $20 off of just $25 for the Kyocera Rave and some airtime...which is darn good the way I look at it!

Those are all the Virgin Mobile announcements I have right now...but I have a few other noteworthy things to say:

1. Amp'd has released their own version of the Motorola Razr v3m. For $200 after a $100 mail-in rebate if you're going for prepaid. Which isn't that bad really. Especially since it is, in fact, the Razr.

2. A few friends are on Virgin Mobile. On has the Kyocera K10 Royale. One has the Oystr. Both are just kids; one is 13, one is 12. I know, I know, this should be in the Virgin Mobile section, but bear with me...

The friend with the Oystr used an astounding (to me) $9.80 in the past five days. Right...that's practically $2 a day on cell service. 40 minutes in the last five days. 30 texts.

The friend with the Royale used up the 50-for-$2 text option I enabled for one day! *scratches head* Kids these days. If I remember right, his phone got topped up to about $33 on the 1st of the month. Now it's $5.76. That's $27 used over five days!

The moral of the story: for every person like me who barely uses any minutes, there are kiddos out there who should be on a different plan...WAY different. I'm going to see if I can help these two out...with all the money they're pretty much throwing away on the phones they could do stuff in Boy Scouts...lots of stuff...they're both new entrants into it (I'm an Eagle Scout). Anyway, I see here the moral of keeping track of your prepaid stuff.

Well that's all for now. Hope everyone's enjoyed reading this. If you have, click some ads and help me pay for phones and, eventually, a senior-class trip to Washington D.C. this spring (no costs like $1800...$1400 of which I don't have yet!)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Of Tracfones...The New Ones...And More Tracfones...The New Ones

I've been planning to write this article for a looooong time, but now is first time I've been able to get enough totally homework-free time to do it. But anyway, here's my perspective on what Tracfone is doing and where it's going.

The recent introduction of such phones as the Motorola c261, Motorola v176 and LG 3280 has markedly changed Tracfone's focus, at least in my opinion.By introducing these three phones, they've come back into direct competition with more feature-rich carriers, and their pricing structure is also changing (going lower, it looks like) to actually offer a viable alternative, albeit with tons more coverage, to single-network prepaids.

Why are the Motorola c261, v176 and LG 3280 so great? Let's start with the first phone. Offered now for $50 at a Wal-Mart near you (if you're in an area that has CDMA phones as opposed to GSM), it's pretty darn innovative. You can also get it online now.

For starters, it's the first color CDMA flip phone on Tracfone. Second, it's the first non-Nokia, non-Motorola phone Tracfone has had in a loooooooong time. Third, there is a hundredths place on the airtime balance display...which means Tracfone can now offer more fine-grained services (like pay-per-KB web access).

Fourth, and this isn't known by many people since it's buried in one of the higher-order (out of 144!) code info pages on the phone, MMS and web browsing (which look to be respectively 1 unit per message both ways and 0,5 units per minute) already have billing structures set in place. Waiting only for a firmware upgrade or such on the phone to reveal them in their full glory. That's right...I said firmware upgrade; the phone has OTA (Over The Air) firmware upgrade capability.

Furthermore, the phone has a function, though not enabled yet, for buying airtime directly from the phone (also in code pages are the various values for airtime...which are normal). And there's the new airtime adding function, that has a seperate step for entering promotional codes...yay ease of use!

Personally, the LG 3280 beats the pants off the GSM equivalent (Motorola v170). Everybody go CDMA! :) I like the idea of having a Verizon contract phone without the contract, which this phone basically is...a slightly modified version of the LG vx3300 (like the Nokia 2126 vs. the Nokia 2128i). Viva la SingleRate! Heck, texts are now 0.3 units both 0.30 units...on this phone, which is just as good as the new SingleRate phones. And Tracfones don't charge you for incoming texts until you open them say bye to evil incoming spam message charges...the Erase function is your friend!

OK. Now to the Motorolas that wre introduced on the high end...

The Motorola c261 is, in a nutshell, amazing for Tracfone. First off, it's a really thin phone...well, not like the UTStarComm Slice, but then again this phone has a heckuva lot more coverage than just Sprint's network. And this Moto has a camera. And Cingular (or T-Mobile) postpaid coverage! Yes, I may be a bit over-excited, but it shows a change of focus when Tracfone gets on the bandwagon of such features.

What features? Well, web and picture messaging of course! Picture messages, taken by the phone's 640x480 camera (which is surprisingly OK, from the pix I've seen), are one unit to send or if a picture is truly worth a thousand words you're getting a good deal here...even though while you're sending\receiving picture messages Tracfone is zapping you at half a unit for every minute it takes. You see, the phone also has web access, charged by the minute, at half a unit per minute (so does the Motorola v176 actually...what I would call not quite feature-equivalent to the LG 3280 lol). Though right now it's limited. Ech...I get limited web for free on T-Mobile. But it will change\might have changed already to full access. Woohoo! Also, the Moto c261 has Bluetooth for the soul brave enough to unlock it...though nobody has been able to do that yet.

All in all, you get a lot for the $60 plus tax that the phone costs at Wal-Mart now ($80 is its online price...or $130 with a double-minute card, plus tax and shipping and tax on shipping). With this phone Tracfone has started a move toward new things as far as prepaid goes; it looks like everybody wanta a camera\web phone now and thus Tracfone must oblige to get a bit more income...and a bit more they'll surely get. When the Motorola c257\c261 showed up on PhoneScoop as being slated for Tracfone release, everyone thought that Tracfone would get the cameraless c257...everyone was pleasantly surprised and Tracfone got itself updated!

I for one am looking forward to how this innovation plan will can mean naught but good to everyone, at least from here on out...nothing worse an happen really now that refer-a-friend is gone...and it'd be great to get the program back.

But anyway, I jsut love how Tracfone is marching forward...anybody with me?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

"They have 7 p.m. Nights!!!"

SOmeone posted a comment that VIrgin Mobile is the only carrier that has 7 p.m. nights. Sorry, but whoever said that is wrong. Dead wrong. A few other carriers have the feature, such as STi Mobile's Plan 3. Look around before saying that X carrier has Y exclusive feature.

By the way, I suppose you could say the Slice is growing on me. I'm still unimpressed by its user interface, but it's thin and is holding up well. My final review will come out when I finally manage to run its battery totally down.

Friday, October 27, 2006

UTStarComm Slice

First off, I'm glad that I have good relations with the guys in the local Wal-Mart connection center, where I got this phone for $48.74 plus tax...I had intended to return the phone after I reviewed it...and now I definately am going to return it.

You see, it is 0.3 inches thick. Yes, that's right, three tenths of an inch in thickness; I think PhoneScoop has their thickness measurement wrong because my handyman dad used a fine-grained ruler...and got around 5\16 of an inch as the thickness. It's a thin phone by any stretch of the imagination, and I think I'll probably carry it around for the next few days just to see how many people say "ooh and aah" at it. That's the pro to it. And that's basically the only pro to it. I still can't get over how thin the phone is...but at the same time I'm disgusted enough with it to take the phone back anyway. You might say that this phone is the poor man's SLVR, but I think you have to be dirt-eating poor to sacrifice as much as you do when you get the Slice. The phone is light too, but I think it feels cheap. But maybe I'm biased.

True, the phone is thin and black and has a keypad backlit to, at first glance, look like the fabled chemical-etched, metallic Razr keypad...but as soon as you touch the phone you know it ain't so. The keypad is decidedly plastic, and is pretty darn hard to press. Furthermore, the keys are close enough together that you might actually press two when you're supposed to be pressing just one. Why couldn't they use the real estate below the screen to give some more space for the keypad? No, wait, the Virgin Mobile logo is there...never mind.

The phone doesn't flex or anything like that under pressure, but yet it still has that cheap feel about it, despite UTStarComm's best intentions. The whole phone, matte or glossy, is a fingerprint magnet, except for the wierd keypad mentioned before. Yes, the phone has the right proportions for talking into, but for some reason I still don't like its whole aspect.

Maybe it's because of the relatively small screen. Then again, I shouldn't expect much for $50, but the screen just seems a bit smaller when it's bounded on all sides by shiny black plastic, and Audiovox doesn't, in my opinion, make good use of screen real estate. It has that generic feel to it, though with a Virgin Mobile twist...that characteristic teeny-bopper feel that limits you to four installed, loud-as-possible wallpapers and four preinstalled ringtones, three of them obnoxious voice ringtones. Ech. There's also a red\electro-blue LED on the front of the phone that is conspicuous when off and flashes when a call or text comes in. I'm left scratching my head why they put it there.

Speaking of ringtones, the phone does have a reasonably good speaker and speakerphone. And reception os OK, but doesn't stand out from the pack at all...though it does connect calls a wee bit faster than my LG 225. So if you're wanting a phone just for voice, this may do the job, but you'll have a heck of a time putting in numbers with the over-stiff keypad. The phone also packs vibrate alert into its small case, and the vibe alert is strong enough, but it isn't synched to the music or any such fun.

The phone has text messaging, and even has a progress display for when you're sending the message. But the user interface seems dreadful to me...not enough soopthing gradients or something...or maybe I'm just spoiled. Also, there's web. But I know people that could grow beards waiting for the pages to load in the Openwave browser. I was going to test how fast the 1xRTT data was on the phone by visiting such sites as GMail, but then decided against it...things went way too slowly for me to do that.

I don't know about battery life yet, as I just got the phone tonight, but I do know that the charger is pretty darn huge, compared with the models that ship with the likes of LG and Motorola phones. Maybe I'm picky, but this sideways wall-wart is a bit on the obese side, just as the Slice is emaciatedly thin.

Maybe I'm overreacting to the phone's keypad and stark user interface, but I come off with a felling that, even though this phone is paper-cut-inducing thin and cheap to boot, I'd rather go with something a bit thicker in exchange for better features and such.

My final verdict is that this phone, if you want a fashion icon on the cheap, may be fine for calling and maybe a text or two...and maybe, must maybe, for web in a pinch. But the keypad is a pain in the neck, and when you can get the Kyocera K10 with nearly the same features, bu for the size, for 30% of the price this phone seems like a pretty bad ripoff. Heck, you can get a flip phone, the Kyocera Oyster, for 40% of this phone's price, shipped to your door...and it's a flip phone!

But then again, to be fair, some people think that thin is in beyond all reason and for them this is a cheap way to go thin. Also, I need to test out battery life; if the phone turns out to last a long time I may change my opinions. But right now I'm mildly disgusted with this new entry onto the Virgin Mobile scene...if only because of the keypad and the fact that the calculator is only seven digits and goes down to only two decimal places (yes, I'm a math nerd)! But anyway, don't buy this phone from it from a place where you can return it if you want to buy it at all. And I'll have the rest of the review up fairly soon, meaning battery life and conclusions with battery life in mind! I've yet to put the $50 phone through its full paces, and so you'll see more info on it soon.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Virgin Mobile - Phone Deals

Not that I'm a fan of Virgin Mobile's pretty high rates, or their limited Sprint service (pretty much every prepaid now has better coverage than Sprint prepaids)...but some people just might want their $10-for-1000 texts deal or whatever...which leads me into what phone deals Virgin Mobile has right now online...

*For $25 you can either get a Nokia Shorty or a Kyocera Slider...with $25 in airtime on it! The Slider is out of stock...but I'd rather have the the Slider is refurbished
*For $80 you can get the Audiovox Snapper. Not that you'd want it, but then again some people just have to have cameraphones and this is the only camera flip for Virgin Mobile in a normal form factor available online...and it is okay in price.
*The Kyocera Oyster is now a mere $20. Not bad for a flip phone! Except that it doesn't have a caller ID display...but then again neither does the LG 3280 and the two phones are quite similar in target...and the 3280 is $30 more expensive. But then again, you get a lot more coverage for the 3280.
*The Kyocera K10 Royale is...gasp...$15...including shipping! Sheesh...they must want to really get rid of this phone! But hey, it is a pretty old bar phone so I can see their rationale. Heck, if you want a color phone of any sort to delve into prepaid with this would be least in my opinion...if you were on a shoestring budget that is. It's also my opinion that the Nokia 2126 deal currently available with Tracfone is a heckuva lot better than anything Virgin Mobile has to offer, beating up the Nokia Shorty, at about the same price.
*The is still $130...not that anybody'd want to buy such a hunka junk anyway...sorry but the phone looks butt ugly!
*The Kyocera Slider Sonic is now $100...with $20 in airtime included! If you want a fast-looking phone, viva la Sonic! Not that I'd personally sell my soul back to Sprint service...let alone 18-cent-a-minute Sprint service, but then again this is a reasonably nice phone\mp3 player combo that is reasonably cheap. I mean, I don't see any other prepaid selling mp3 phones for $80 effectively.

More For Sale!

Just to let everyone know, I now have Motorola c155s, unlocked and unbranded, for sale, at $25 shipped apiece! Which is pretty darn cheap, considering that the phone is color and has web access and other such fun. Also, the T-Mobile SIM has a lot more airtime on it...for an even better price! Take a look!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Super Duper TMo Deal

In short, you get a $50 card for $35. Which is 30% off! And if you call T-Mobile Customer Service you can "stack" two of these refills to make a $100 refill. Which gets you 1000 minutes and a year of service for $70! Needless to say, that's really, really good. Have fun! I think I'll get two of these as well.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Clarifications for Tracfone

1. Just because you don't have a local number on your Tracfone doesn't mean you have to pay long distance to call from your Tracfone to other phones that are local...long distance on all Tracfones is free!

2. Just because you're roaming doesn't mean you're getting charged extra for a call; all GSM phones, plus the LG 3280, are "SingleRate" which means both home and roaming calls cost one unit per minute.

3. If you want to get T-Mobile's selection of phones rather than Cingular's in a GSM area on Treacfone, substitute GSM5 for GSM4 in the URL of the Tracfone orders website.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Local Number? Roaming?

To answer a question just posted here, you won't get a local number is Tracfone, in its coverage map area, does not list phones of your technology (GSM or CDMA). If, for example, you have a GSM phone (like I did) in an area that Tracfone doesn't have down as being GSM (only CDMA phones show up on the coverage map view), you will not be able to activate phones using that zip and, unless another, GSM-enabled zip near you has numbers local to your zip, you won't get a local number.

About roaming, CDMA Tracfones are programmed with specific "system IDs" (SIDs for short) in which the phone will register as in home service. Everywhere else, whether your phone is still on the network it was activated on (usually Verizon) the phone will say it's roaming and charge as such (this is the big advantage of the LG 3280: roaming costs nothing extra!). I'm a little bit more fuzzy about GSM roaming, but I'm pretty sure that the phone will only say it's roaming if it's actually on a different provider's towers than the one it was activated with. Not that it matters anyway though; while roaming features and rates are the exact same for SingleRate GSM phones.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tracfone Refer-A-Friend - What Cometh Of It?

Sorry, but I don't know the answer to this question. However, general belief is that, in a month or so, maybe a month in a half, but in time for December\Christmas, Tracfone will put out some new form of refer-a-friend. It will likely have more restrictions than the previous one, but such is life. At least they'll likely make rates better. BUt that's basically all I know.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Clearing Up Confusion...LG 3280 Roaming

Just to let everyone know, from personal experience (I have this phone) and from peering into the phone's prepaid parameters, the LG 3280 is definately a SingleRate phone, except with a CDMA twist. It's SingleRate in that, even if you're roaming, you're still charged at one unit per minute of airtime used. And yes, I've tested this. And text is 0.3 units, like with the newer GSM SingleRate phones (Motorola c139, v176, c261).

The CDMA twist is that, if your outgoing call isn't longer than 15 seconds, you won't be deducted airtime for it. Incoming calls, though, cost from second one. But anyway, just clearing things up. If I've helped anyone, click an ad or two for me. :)

At the Risk of Getting Sued...You've Got Questions, I've Got Answers

Someone in a comment asked whetehr you could unlock the Nokia 6030 from T-Mobile and put it onto Cingular. So far, all reports I've heard give a resounding "Yes". You should just be able to unlock it with a normal unlock code generator, but I would do a Google search just to make sure.

And yes, you can use a postpaid Cingular SIM in any prepaid Cingular phone, or t'other way around, with no modification of any sort.

Hope this helps anyone having questions!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Target Deals

Only at stores, rumore has it that they're giving away Nokia 6030s if you buy a $100 card on T-Mobile To Go. If Target was in my area, I would already have bought this deal, but alas they aren't. If anyone does have Target in their area, this is a great deal!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My 3280 is Activated!

Just to let you guys know, my LG 3280 is now activated! I will put a review up after I have fully drained the battery, which will be a hard thing to do on a flip with no external display, mostly in standby :).

Friday, October 13, 2006

GoPhone Pricing

I just checked Cingular's GoPhone website and their offerings are slimming down to subpar (in my opinion) or rancorously expensive handsets for their Pay As You Go offering. For example, you can't get the Nokia 6030 refurbishe ($35 now) on Pay As You Go; it's either $70 new or with Pick Your Plan. The Motorola c139 is $30, with Pay As You Go...and that's too much in my opinion. Other than these few things, the lineup remains the same...except that I'm pretty sure both Pantech handsets, the flip and the bar phone, have been hiked by $10 inb price. And the c300 flip looks like it's only available now to Pick Your Plan! Sheesh...

Tracfone...The Deals Just Got Better!

I just checked Tracfone's website and their deals for phones are still there (which is really, really good) with two new of which is out of stock right now but simply rocks.

This deal is that you can get a Motorola c261 and a double-minute card for just the price of the double-minute taxc and shipping and tax on shipping but have a $80 phone there! Counting the phone at face value ($80) and factoring in shipping and tax, it's like you're getting the double-minute card for $60 or so. Which is 10 cents a minute! Why ten cents? Because the promo code 50809, valid until the end of November, applies not only to 1-year cards (giving them 450 minutes) but also to double-minute cards! Which makes this a pretty good deal, albeit an expensive one up front. But you do get a nice, thin camera phone with it. I'm strongly tempted to take advantage of this deal, but then again I just got the LG 3280...

Yes, I said I just got the LG 3280! My local Wal-Mart had them for $49.98 plus tax, and now the Tracfone website has them for $49.99 plus tax and shipping too (that's the other deal Tracfone's online store has now). I actually got the phone yesterday, but haven't activated it yet...I'll do that Monday; hopefully they'll have some semblance of a refer-a-friend program up by then.

And don't worry; I'll be reviewing the first single-rate CDMA Tracfone, the first color CDMA Tracfone flip, the first LG Tracfone, the first Tracfone with hundredths of units on the display, the first non-Nokia, non-Motorola Tracfone in maybe five years (all the same phone), the LG 3280, in the near future. Stay tunes, and maybe click a few ads so I can get back the cost of this phone. Or maybe buy some of my other phones...

But anyway, the things above don't even tell all the info about this please stay tunes! Because, in my opinion, this is one pretty sweet piece of polyphonic plastic. Though not a cameraphone or anything, it's still really neat. Again, come back soon for my full review on why I'm so very infatuated with it!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

STi and T-Mobile

Just a little bit of househeeping:

Effective now, or rather about a week ago, STi activations get new, slightly better plans. They're still annoying to me, but they are better. The 10 cent per day plan is now 10 cents flat per minute, instead of 10\12. And the 7.9 cent per minute plan is now 25, instead of 39, center per day. Also, the "you have $xx.xx and xx minutes" reminder at the beginning of each call is gone (yay). You can listen to it by dialing *555 from your STi phone.

Also, has $50 T-Mobile refills for $44.99. Nice as it is, especially when you remember that, by calling T-Mobile To Go customer service, you can "stack" two $50 refills into one $100 refill. Which gets you a $100 refill for $89.98...a cool 10%\$10 off. Granted, CheapPhoneCards has the same card, without the whole stacking bit, for $92.22 or so, and you get $2.63 or so in reward points for the purchase, but if you want your airtime for less outright you can use PosaTec.

Hmmm...interesting how I'm selling both an STi Mobile phone and a T-Mobile To Go SIM card right now... :)


OK. I'm getting the LG 3280 and that will become my primary line of service. And since the phone costs an extravagent $50 plus tax (and I need money for a senior trip in a few months...and I have too many phones) I'm selling most of my cell phones. Take a look at them on the "For Sale" page (see the righthand link bar). They're priced cheaper, to my knowledge, than anything on eBay, my object being not having to sell them there. So please, if you think you could turn a profit on them by eBaying them, be my guest. And if you just want the phones, which are in good if not near-perfect condition, to use for yourself, that's great too. Anyway, take a look at the phones for sale.

One promise: if I sell all the phones there by the end of the month, I'll buy the Motorola c261 and review it, for the enjoyment of all.

LG 3280...Available!

Yes. It's here, with pictures coutresy Eric...thanks Eric...that show that this puppy is indeed the first CDMA SingleRate Tracfone (click here for the other picture, showing the front of the phone; Blogger idn' working correctly)! Granted, text messages cost to receive, but hey, things rock when roaming is all free. If my Wal-Mart has this phone, which is $50 or so retail, it's mine! I will post a review of it soon, as soon as I can get my grubby paws on it. Even with the dissolution of the old refer-a-friend program, this will likely be a nice, cheap phone for me. And it's on Verizon in my area (though Verizon is PCS-band here) with a local number!

Rest assured, if I get this, I will provide a thorough review on it to everyone here. Stay tuned!

By the way, the 60-minute cards are likely backordered further than I thought. But I'll honor anybody's purchases if they're made before I get the cards. And if anyone wants to sell their 60-minute cards that they got with the recent Tracfone deals, I'll help them! Email me!

Sold Out and Standing Offer

Just to let everyone know, I just sold out of 60-minute cards. One eBay buyer bought all six of them, at $14 apiece! However, I just ordered another bunch of phones (Nokia 2126s). So I should have another batch of 60-minute cards in about this time next week. But don't wait...preorder the card(s) today so that they won't get bought up again before anyone can get some!

Also, if anyone can\knows who can reflash Nokia 1100s and\or Nokia 2600s, I'll gladly pay $5 plus whatever I pay for shipping per phone to get that done. Same with Motorola c155s.

Monday, October 09, 2006

60 minute cards in!

Just got the Tracfone Nokia 1100s I ordered. If anyone wants the 60-minute airtime cards that came with them, they're for sale in my airtime store now for $12.50 apiece. Which is $1.50 cheaper than I'm selling them for on eBay ($14). So get 'em while you can!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

QuickBlip: Rapid Refill

Just to let everyone know (including the person who commented on this), all new Tracfones, from the Motorola v120 (which is oooold) on through to all the phones that Tracfone currently sells except the mystery Nokia 5180, have the ability to do Tracfone Rapid Refill (where you put in your PIN and promo code on the phone and they text you the minutes; no more dealing with the website to add airtime), with the exaeption of TDMA phones, which aren't sold anymore anyway. And most are enabled to do it. Which means that the LG 3280 will naturally be able to do it too.

Tracfone Internatinal Long Distance - Free!

Tracfone now has calling-card style international long distance...for free! As in it doesn't cost any more to use it from your Tracfone than normal. Which, I have to say, is great for the few of us (not me) that use that sort of thing. Here are the steps to do a Tracfone ILD call:

1. Call 1.800.706.3839 from your Tracfone (making it an address book or speed dial entry are two good things to do).

2. Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish. You will hear dialing instructions, which you can skip over by proceeding on to...

3. Dial 011 + country code + city code + phone number. FOr Canada, just dial 1 + city code + number.

That's it. You now have international long distance that doesn't cost anything above your normal Tracfone minutes! Though they're still a bit expensive...unless you want a 60-minute card from me or get one of the current Tracfone deals (see the previous posts). By the way, until tomorrow, when I get them, they're $12 instead of $12.50 (since they're preorders).

Here are the countries you can call to with this service (the table is copied directly from a Tracfone email forwarded to me; the second columns of each table are the country codes):

Andorra 376
Argentina 54
Australia 61
Austria 43
Bangladesh - Chittagong 880
Bangladesh - Dhaka 880
Bangladesh - Sylhet 880
Belgium 32
Brazil - Belo Horizonte 55
Brazil - Brasilia 55
Brazil - Fortaleza 55
Brazil - Recife 55
Brazil - Rio de Janeiro 55
Brazil - Salvador 55
Brazil - Sao Paulo 55
Bulgaria 359
Canada 1
Canada - Cellular 1
Chile 56
China 86
China - Cellular 86
Colombia - Armenia 57
Colombia - Barranquilla 57
Colombia - Bogota 57
Colombia - Bucaramanga 57
Colombia - Cali 57
Colombia - Cartagena 57
Colombia - Medellin 57
Colombia - Pereira 57
Cyprus 357
Czech Republic 420
Denmark 45
Estonia 372
Finland 358
France 33
Germany 49
Gibraltar 350
Greece 30
Hong Kong 852
Hong Kong - Cellular 852
Hungary 36
Indonesia - Surabaya 62
Ireland 353
Israel 972
Italy 39
Japan 81
Malaysia 60
Malaysia - Cellular 60
Mexico 52
Mexico - Cellular 52
Monaco 377
Netherlands 31
New Zealand 64
Norway 47
Peru 51
Poland 48
Portugal 351
Russia - Moscow 7
Russia - St. Petersburg 7
San Marino 378
San Marino - Cellular 378
Singapore 65
Singapore - Cellular 65
South Korea 82
Spain 34
Sweden 46
Switzerland 41
Taiwan 886
Taiwan - Cellular 886
Thailand 66
Turkey - Istanbul 90
United Kingdom 44

Note that most countries bill incoming calls on cell phones as free, and outgoing calls to cell phones as more expensive than usual. Hence, you may or may not see "cellular" on the list of countries for whatever country. If you don't, you can't call cell phones in that country with Tracfone's ILD scheme.

And that's about it. Enjoy!