Saturday, March 31, 2007
As to the service, minutes will now be charged in half-minute intervals, at 13 cents for 0:01-0:30 and 9 cents for 0:31 to 1:00, increasing margins for Virgin Mobile by nearly 20% yet providing the average customer with a false sens of less expensive calling. The monthly plans will have similar changes, with all plans going to the half-minute schedule, but with only 60% more half-minutes than minutes. Night and weekend calls will be billed per 40 seconds rather than half minutes. Also in this fee structure is a "nickel and dime" plan which allows Virgin to count all phone usage and bill 5 cents a minute for it. So don't hold your new Virgin phone too much...
As to the phone, it is a joint venture between Kyocera and UTStarCom, or rather Kyocera and Audiovox...Audiovox disowned the phone some time ago and changed its name for that very purpose. Anyway, the phone, which Kyocera now calls the KX1337d, will be called the CRAPY on Virgin's own network. It has already been recalled on several carriers after only two weeks' stint due to phone failure rates. The phone will have a price point of $29.99, including $2.50 worth of credit. The new rate plans will be required on this phone.
This phone, supposed to be a flip, has the distinction of being the first phone where the Virgin Mobile logo is prominently placed on every possible surface of the phone, including the screen, which has a Virgin Mobile-shaped mat around it. The screen is 16 color, but more colors are not needed as the user interface, which takes several seconds to respond to commands from the rather spongy keypad, is all shades of yellow and red. Polyphonic ringtones are suppored, but there are only two ringers preloaded on the phone, plus one messaging alert. All other 'tones will have to be downloaded from Virgin's new XS (Xtra Small) service, designed to fit the phone's small, nonstandard, 109x109 pixel display, which as I said is matted so give up if you want wallpapers.
The phone has a camera, which is rated at 1.3 megapixels but actually uses a QCIF (176x144) sensor and uses the antiquated nearest-neighbor method to interpolate to 1.3 megapixels. Pictures tend to be undersaturated to the point of greyness, yet are blown out into shades of yellow and red on the phone's display. Oh, and the caller ID display, which was going to be on this phone, was removed per Virgin's instructions and replaces with the Virgin logo. Speakerphone is available, but battery life will suffer...estimated standby time is 18 hours with a new battery or 20 minutes talk time. With a software upgrade the standby time should be increased to 20 hours.
Sorry, it's late. Gotta go to bed. Happy April 1st everyone! I think I'll go for the Marbl, before it's taken offline in favor of the CRAPY, which is rumored to be financially a profit for Virgin Mobile, at a wholesale of $17.92 per unit...
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
But why Marbl in the post title? Because, if I get another $10 or so in ad money this month, I'll buy a Marbl, review it and have it as a phone on the sweepstakes (yeah I said sweepstakes) I'm going to have for my 500th post. Which, I promise, won't be that far off.
But anyway this month's ad clicks go toward a Marbl to review, to see whether it's better than the Oystr or the K132 that it's very, very similar to. Stay tuned!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
,,,and yes, I will make an exchange for another phone, hopefully a more decent one. Kyocera Candid anyone? How about a nice barely-used Razr v3c that I can flash to CricKet when I go to Colorado (MIT said no...this time...) for college. If I can only get the phone for the 40% Pocket discount on "B-stock" phones...but I digress...
CDMA: Code Division Multiple Access. Used by Verizon, Sprint, Alltel and a lot of little rural carriers, as well as "unlimited carriers" like MetroPCS and CricKet. CDMA has better coverage in the US and better cell site capacity, but isn't used worldwide like GSM is and is harder to use across multiple carriers...
GSM: Global System for Mobile, based on TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access). Used by Cingular\AT&T, T-Mobile and a lower number of minor carriers. This technologies makes use of SIM cards so it's easier to change your service or phone (just pop out the card and pop it into another phone, with some reservations). And it's a worldwide standard in that it is used in many more countries than CDMA...so you can use GSM "world phones" (the Razr is one) internationally. But network capacity isn't as large as CDMA, and a whole new technology (WCDMA) is required to get high-speed data (on CDMA it's just another upgrade).
Personally, I'm a CDMA guy, but GSM is nice since you can just buy one phone that will work with all the GSM providers in the world...but anyway for more information take a look at these sites:
And if you're wondering what "cell breathing" is (not as much of a problem on CDMA now as it was several years ago, since 99% of CDMA networks are upgraded to a better technology...)
If you have questions or comments, comment and I'll see what I can do...
Monday, March 26, 2007
EDIT: MOST promotional codes are one-time-use. But I suppose there are some (57676 for example) that can be used multiple times, subject to a few restrictions of which I ahve no idea. Thanks for the correction people!
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Here are the good deals (all of them come preloaded with 300 minutes and 60 days of service):
Nokia 1100 (refurbsished) - $20
Nokia 1600 (refurbished, color phone) - $30
Motorola v171 (refurbished) - $40
Motorola c139 (new, blech) - $40
Motorola c155 (new) - $40
Everything else isn't a particularly good deal, costing $80 (Motorola v171, v170) or $90 (Motorola c261, v176) but the other phones are nice buys if you just want to talk and text...
Thursday, March 22, 2007
- The 50 cent monthly fee is waived until June! Yay cheaper minutes!
- The $50 card now gives you 500 minutes and the $80 card clocks in at 1000 (!) minutes. You can buy the latter at BabbleBug.com...or will be able to buy them once BabbleBug gets the new-rate cards. Yes, that's 10 cents a minute for $12.50 a month and 8 cents a minute for $20 a month. Tasty!
- A few new phones are out. At BabbleBug the Motorola t720 ($40) and Audiovox 8600 ($50) are available. On PagePlus's own site, you can get the Motorola c343 bar phone for $20, the LG vx4400 flip for $40 and the Audiovox 8910 camera phone for $60. All phones come with $10 (71 minutes) of airtime, which is nice too, considering that Tracfone and Virgin Mobile normally come with 20 minutes or less...
Yes, PagePlus has just gotten a little bit better, folks...
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
First off, as an aside, I'll be getting the Sanyo Katana from Total Call Mobile (yes I know it's expensive but yeah) soon and will be of course reviewing it here. I hope to get the black one, because in my opinion all the other colors are just as plasticky (that's why this phone is on prepaid and you don't see the metallic Razr) but black is a little more refined...
Anyway, the subject of this post: Tracfone is coming out with some new phones soon! Thanks for posting the tip, Chris; I wouldn't have noticed for awhile on Tracfone's site...heck, the Nokia 1112 still isn't out online...gues they're waiting for Nokia 1100s to sell out.
Anyway, there are three new models coming out soon. And yes, they're all GSM. :( I know it's sad for people who actually want a great signal everywhere, but for thos epeople (including me) the LG 3280 is okay for what it does...
Speaking of CDMA, the Nokia 2126 refurbished phone deal is now gone. If you want that "twofer" deal you now have to use the Nokia 1100 option.
Anyway, two of the three phone models are (whether this is a surprise or not I'll leave up to whoever wants, as it looks like LG is now a Tracfone manufacturer over Nokia) made by LG. And the third one is made by Motorola. What are the models?
- Motorola w370
- LG 1500 aka C1500
- LG CG225
First off, the Moto:
This phone looks nice and sleek, and will be Tracfone's thinnest flip to my knowledge, at a svelte 0.75 inches. Okay, it's no Razr, not even a Krzr, but it's a bit thinner than the LG phones that Tracfone also says are coming soon so hey...oh and yes it is designed to be like the Krzr so maybe, just maybe, people will mistake this phone for the Krzr (but probably not).
The phone is like its cameraphone sibling the w375 in...well...pretty much everything! There's no Bluetooth on the Tracfone model (of course!) but otherwise it has the same features as the w375, sans camera. Which include an okay-sized screen on the inside and wierd message-waiting indicatiors on the outside (though they do look cool...but I'd rather have a real external display). And the phone has web browsing (ka-ching for Tracfone...limited and not free for the moment) too, plus a two-way speakerphone...which pretty much rounds out this phone. My price prediction? $50-$70...I'd be surprised if it was cheaper, less so if it was more expensive, but it should hit around that range alongside the Motorola v176...or maybe not alongside it...maybe more expensive with its slim profile...
Next up, the LG C1500...er...1500 (this isn't such a short post after all)
Note that this phone has been discontinued by Cingular. Whereas the Motorola hasn't been released by anyone. Which means that this is a slightly older phone already, but that's okay; you don't really need a whizbang phone to take advantage of what little Tracfone ahs to offer. What the phone does have to offer is a half-duplex speakerphone, web access (or at least it should have...unless Tracfone took it out of the firmware for some wierd reason), an external caller ID display (with a color background, which is interesting, but not a real color screen, which is actually a good thing for battery life and visibility). The screen is smaller than the Motorola, and the phone is thicker, but it does have that external display (the first GSM Tracfone to have one, and the first color flip of any Tracfone breed for this feature actually). So I'm guessing it may sell in the $50-$80 range.
Lastly, but not least, the LG CG225...
Which has been continued by Cingular...er...AT&T recently but looks to be a pretty nice phone, considering it's a Tracfone. It is basic, with no color external caller ID display, and no real whizbang features, but it does raise the bar on Tracfone (rather than Razing The Bar on Cingular). It looks good in the black casing, it has a camera that is probably quite decent for its resolution (VGA), it has an external display, it has a speakerphone, it has web...what more can you want from a Tracfone at this point? Pretty much zip, so I'm thinking that this phone will also raise the bar in price...maybe $80-$100, and it'll probably stay there too. As opposed to the Motorola c261, which has halved its price in the year or so it has been out (it has been that long!?!).
Well, there you have it: Tracfone is coming out with some new phones. If anyone wants reviews on them, they have only to click on some ads and I'll be happy to oblige. Heck, if enough ads are clicked, I may give away the phones after I've reviewed them!
Friday, March 16, 2007
First off, I have to say that this phone is nice and thin. It's no Razr but it is quite thin, maybe even uncomfortably thin for some. But that means thatyou have a budget phone that you can slip into your pocket easily, as longas you're fine with the extendable stub antenna sticking out, as this phone, like all other Audiovox\UTStarCom flips I know of, has an extendable stub antenna. But anyway the phone is small.
Then again, the feature set is also small. You can talk, text, use the phone book, do the typical voice and organization features and (if you can find them) play a game or two. No web, no caller ID screen (just a two-color light on the outside). But then again some people don't need much, and for those people this phone delivers...
With ringtones that are actually quite fine and quite loud, courtesy the phone's external speaker. And yes, the phone does have speakerphone functionality, which works fine. The phone screen may be small, but the UI is clear enough, so you can get along with the small screen for doing what the phone is made for doing. Oh, and vibrate alert is strong enough...
Let me take a break here and say that if you want to compare the7025 with the 7000 there isn't really any comparison. The 7000 just seems alot older, lessrefined, first-gen, etc. while the 7025 is actually a budget phone that, whilegeneric-branded, is truly not bad at all.
Anyway, everyone is probably wondering about call quality. Please note that my house is in a relatively strong Sprint service area, but then again I have to hand it to the 7025 fr delivering some sharp calls to *2 and 611 when I called them, and the extendable antenna should keep those calls sharp for awhile.
Battery life? Well, I'm not sure when I charged the phone, but it has been working for at leastfour and a half days, maybe longer, including some areas with no signal. So I'm thinking this phone's batterylife is around that of the LG 3280, which is saying a lot...looks like UTStarCom doesn't really make junk phones...at least not now...
In sum, the UTStarComm 7025, from my experience, is a solid phone, though its feature set isn't the most desireable out there. Then again, if you don't need anything more than voice and text, and don't need caller ID on your phone, this phone is perfect for anybody who wants something slim and, to my knowledge, good at doing what it does.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
Hope this helps everyone! Sorry that the elongated hiccup (the host my host was reselling folded) happened but now go4prepaid.info once again leads here. Enjoy!
Thursday, March 08, 2007
But anyway, the new Tracfone revolution is revving up...and it's great for everyone!
I just updated the PRLs (preferred roaming lists) for my mom's, dad's and my own Tracfones. Just so everyone knows, all Tracfones use the same PRL if they're CDMA, whether they're SingleRate (LG 3280) or not (everything else for the moment). The PRL looks to be what's known as "America's Choice I", still having roaming areas in which Tracfones charge 2x the airtime they usually charge. But I'm thinking this area is getting smaller, and on the LG it doesn't matter anyway, and probably gives you a tad MORE coverage than the typical Verizon plan...just a guess...and no, in case anyone was wondering, Tracfone doesn't seem to use ERIs...
But anyway right now is a good time to take your CDMA Tracfone (LG 3280, Nokia 2285, Nokia 2126, Nokia 5180, Motorola v60, Motorola c343, Motorola v120) and call *228. When Verizon picks up (or your other home carrier...you want to do this when you're in your home area and the PRL update will be good for other carriers besides Verizon, though Verizon is what I'm mainly talking about here) press 1 to program your phone (again the procedure will be different on non-Verizon-powered Tracfones). After about a minute your phone will be reprogrammed, and it may restart itself (the Nokias didn't; the LG did for me). After that, be satisfied in the knowledge that your phone is up-to-date, roaming wise.
Now the other thing: Tracfone's "Forever Plan" as people like to call it. What is this plan? To put it simply: 30 extra units on all refills but the first one when you activate your Tracfone. Probably doesn't apply to the double-minute, zero-minute card but for everything else that's another nice reason to activate a new Tracfone. A little ways through the activation process this notice will pop up to let you know...
Which brings up something interesting: does this apply to the 30-minute card? Who knows...Tracfone probably wouldn't undercut themselves that much, making the card much more attractive than it's double-cost companion, at a mere 17 or so cents per minute. Then again, with the double minute plan the $10 card would rack up 90 minutes, versus the $20 card's 150...no wait, the $10 card is still ahead there, price-per-minute-wise. Odd, that. They probably won't let you have the extra airtime on the 30-minute card, but who knows? If they do I'm buying a new Tracfone ;). With double minutes and such it looks more and more inexpensive...
Yes, I said new Tracfone...ones that are already activated don't get the promo, though I suppose you could call Tracfone up and ask them to apply it...
But one more thing...aside form an exhortation to click some ads and support this site...Tracfone airtime is now infinitely stackable! Yes, that's right: you can now add as many airtime cards as you want, and the expiration date looks like it will extend sometime into the nether oblivion. So if you want to pick up four 60-minute cards and daisychaim them to make a 1-year, 240-minute, $80 card, have at it! Or 360-minute card if you get the 30-minute promotion. Of course, you'd get more minutes with the $100 400 (or 430) minute card (as I pointed out a day or two ago an interesting flip from when cost per month was why you'd buy the 1-year card)...unless you are on the 30 extra minute plan but not the double plan...but the cost per month is a dollar or two lower ($20 over the year...more if you snag some airtime cards off of eBay or Tracfone's own phone store...on eBay they're going for $16 apiece) than the 1-year card so hey...
Again, all I can say is things are interesting for Tracfone these days. Wonder if they'll release some new phones, maybe the Nokia 2366i or something crazy like that...only time will tell...
Monday, March 05, 2007
Tracfone now has on the Buy Airtime seciton of their site the new airtime cards (double-minute, 30-minute and 200-minute) as well as 90-day expirations for the other cards and 400 minutes for the 1-year card. There's a totally new card design too, which looks interesting...
The design is also there with net10. Except the minutes are in different values, of course. But the Net10 lineup has been shaken up a good bit, to make it a tad more expensive per month, starting at $15 instead of $12.50. But the maximum airtime purchase is now $100 instead of $180...but anyway...
$15 - 150 minutes and 30 days of service
$30 - 300 minutes and 60 days of service
$60 - 600 minutes and 90 days of service
$100 - 1000 minutes and 180 days of service
The only really new card (aside form the design) is the $15 card. But it's pretty interesting to watch and see what Tracfone will do next.
$30 - Nokia 6030 (No change)
$50 - Nokia 6101 (now that's cheap for a cameraphone on prepaid, a good one too!)
$80 - Samsung t319 (I think there's no change here)
$200 - Motorola Razr (about time T-Mobile cheapened things up...you can get this plus a SIM on eBay unlocked for around $150)
$400 - Sidekick 3 (as you'd expect)
Also, DealKing.com is offering $5 cash back on T-Mobile To Go purchases, a nice bit added onto the fun. I may have to get te Nokia 6101, since it's such an inexpensive cameraphone...
Saturday, March 03, 2007
New features? Well, for 15 cents per "message", Boost has this wierd hybrid walkie-talkie\picture messaging feature, if you're using the i855 or i875 (and I'll bet i885) phones. In my opinion, it's a gimmick. Who knows\cares?
They also have a new combo social networking\GPS system called Boost Loopt. Just take a look at the site to see more info on the service.
Also, the premium plans have changed. The $30 plan is just unlimited walkie-talkie and 10-cent cellular calling. $50 gives you 400 minutes on top of that. $70 gives another 200 minutes, plus unlimited starts-at-7 nights and weekends. $10 more on any plan gets unlimited web and text. *shrugs*. I suppose it's okay, feature-wise...but I'm not really jazzed about it...
Now to phone prices...
i885 (highest-end iDEN non-smartphone, high-res camera) - $300
i855 (low-end cameraphone) - $150
i835 (the iDEN phone that's actually relatively thin, in black, white and green) - $100
i455 (just your average flip with color internal and b\w external display, now in wierd black) - $50
i415 (the cheap but okay color bar phone) - $30
Yeah, prices have gone down to levels that are reasonable compared with other prepaid providers...generally...at least compared with previous pricing...just thought people might want to know...
From BabbleBug (want a reliable source? Try the people who sell the airtime( I heard today that Tracfone is indeed changing their airtime lineup drastically...hmm...where to start...
Well, what about the 90-day expirations? Well, the rumor is true; it's just that Tracfone hasn't updated their systems yet so don't add your airtime quite yet...but all the 60-day cards will now last 90 days...
Second, the double-minute and $80, 400-minute cards are now gone...
Because Tracfone is putting out a new $40 card with 200 minutes, thus introducing a lower price point for 20-cent-a-minute airtime. And Tracfone is introduccing a double-minute card for $50.
About this card: it has no minutes on it, but it has no expiration either. So after the single $50 purchase Tracfone becomes very economical, suddenly. The double-minute proposition used to be a very expensive one, at $130 a year (including 400 minutes). Now it's a good bit cheaper, and that's a really good thing. :)
And the 1-year card now has 400 minutes standard. So now the 1-year card is actually cheaper per minute, rather than per month, compared with the $20 card...
And a new $10 card, which has 30 minutes on it and 45 dcays of service. Which is nice, as that's exactly half the minutes and expiration of the $20 card.
All of this means that the average Joe gets more for his money on Tracfone generally, and once you pay for the double-minute card (which lasts for the life of the phone) you can get 10-cent rates on a phone that works practically everywhere (CDMA) or has web access of sorts (GSM). In short, Tracfone just got a bit more atTractive.
Though I must say that this will likely be the beginning of the end of promotion codes. Promo codes were for savvy users, and now the double-minute card will probably fill that niche. Plus, the new card denominations (the $10 and $40 cards) provide a convenient way to end-of-life promotion codes for at least some of the airtime. Who knows...they may keep going with promo codes for awhile, which would be great. But I wouldn't count on it...
But then again, Tracfone's rates with the card are very good so why fool with promo codes when you can get 10 cent minutes and 3 cent text messages practically everywhere in the US for...well, okay $50 plus $50 (LG 3280 plus double-minute card) is expensive but it's worth it in my opinion.
It's a bright day for Tracfone when they put this stuff out. I'm just looking forward to innovative new phones, or at least something in the way of new phones, like for example the Nokia 1112 being available online. But yeah, I'm pretty happy about Tracfone right about now.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
But anyway Tracfone changed up their website today. Most of the changes were on the CDMA side (a grand total of two) but there was also an update on the GSM side...
...though Tracfone's site currently registers as "under maitenance" whatever that might mean, so the deals could change again...
On the CDMA side, Tracfone reinstated the refurb Nokia 2126 deal, as in the one with two 60-minute cards for the price of one, plus the 2126. This is a pretty hot ite, so grab it while it's still there\if it's still there.
Also, Tracfone put the Nokia 2285 up as available for $10, like the 1100 on GSM. Not that the 2285 is a wonderphone or anything, but it's another option, though it's one I'd miss out on.
As far as GSM goes, the Motorola c261 is now $40 instead of $50. In other words, it's half the price it was when it came out some months ago. But hey, it's an okay cameraphone though Tracfone minutes are expensive, so I'd consider it a fair buy at that price.
The Audiovox Snapper is still $60, the Kyocera Slider Sonic is still $100 and the Kyocera Switch_Back is still $100. The Nokia Shorty and the Kyocera K10 Royale are still "free" with $20 starter airtime. The Audiovox 8610 is still "free" with $25 starter airtime. And the Kyocera K9 is still $10. The black UTStarComm Slice is still $50 and the Kyocera Oystr is still $20...
Note that I said "black Slice" though. Yes, now the red UTStarComm Slice is available online for the same price as the black Slice. Previously it had only been available at BestBuy, I think only on their website.
There's also this new phone that Virgin Mobile calls the "Marbl". It looks to be the replacement for the Oystr, with a price of $30. However, the phone looks waaaay too close for comfort to the Kyocera K132 "Shadow" except with a grey color scheme...if I get enough ad money here I'll grab it and see if it is indeed that phone and if it's any better (or worse) on Virgin's platform.
Oh, and the Kyocera Cyclops is down to a cool $80, making it the cheapest 1.3 megapixel camera phone I know of. Then again, I'm not really looking at the 13 megapixel cameraphone market. Personally, I'll pass on the Cyclops, as 25 cents per message is a lot for picture messages.
One last, non-web thing: the Oystr is now available in different colors. The normally-white shell is now available in wierd pastel shades of green and pink, at the same price as the white model of course. Not that this redeems the poor quality of this phone (geesh...aren't all Kyoceras that way?) but it's interesting nonetheless.