Saturday, July 28, 2007
For starters, I noticed that the construction of the Motorola phone actually beats that of the Nokia, but that's probably only because the send\end\softkeys on the Nokia are big blocks of plastic that extend to the phone's edges rather than typical buttons as seen on the more conventional Motorola. I also gotta say that the term "basic phone" has been redefined with these phones...I wouldn't mind carrying one around if I needed to keep my Mogul safe elsewhere, either style-wise or feature-wise...
...though of course I still would use my Mogul as my main phone as these two models...well...they don't run Windows! :)
Let me end with a shameless plug: support this site! Thanks to you two guys who sent me the phones...everyone else can support this site by posting in the forums when there's news that I haven't gotten yet, and clicking on sponsored links in the mean time. And of course if you have a friend that might find this site useful, by all means tell them! Thanks a bunch everyone for helping make this such a great, highly-visited site!
Friday, July 27, 2007
But I'm posting from my phone anyway. Because T Wal-Mart...at least my local store...has marked their stock of Slices down to $24.74. Five bucks less than the cost of the phone elsewhere. Interesting...
According to T-Mobile, all systems for re-upping users prepaid phone minutes
(online, phone-based, and refill hotspots) are not only currently inoperable,
but have not been functioning correctly for the past three days. As a result, no
minutes can be added to customers phones, but T-Mobile says that users of its prepaid service can continue to
make calls from their phone with no charge until at least 11 pm tonight, even if
they have no minutes remaining. The company hopes to correct the problems
they're having by this evening, and we'll bring you more info as it becomes
available. In the meantime, use this freebie to catch up with grandma!
Thursday, July 26, 2007
But here's the site;
This guy has AT&T and T-Mobile activations, Tracfone airtime cards, Beyond Wireless GSM refills, Jolt Mobile refills, Jolt PCS (different plan...hybrid on Sprint) refills, BeyondWireless and T-Mobile SIM cards, the Motorola c139 from Beyond Wireless and all the Page Plus services you need (activate, ESN change, phone number change). Most products are marked down from retail, and some are significantly marked down (for example, 8% on Beyond Wireless and Jolt Mobile refills). In short, looks pretty neat...
...speaking of this site and Beyond Wireless GSM and Jolt Mobile, I talked with the guy who owns the site and since he's a direct dealer for Beyond GSM he knows what's happening over there: Beyond GSM is going bye-bye. He still has some SIM cards and phones available but activations are going to dry up. The replacement? Jolt Mobile. Interestingly, their website is www.joltwireless.com.
But anyhow, Jolt Mobile now pretty much mirrors Beyond GSM ( didn't they use to be a hybrid plan or something a year or two back?) on everything, except resellers on airtime get same-value refills as buying direct, the branding of course is a bit different...and airtime varies from not as expensive to more expensive per minute than Beyond...and none of it lasts as long as on Beyond GSM, even when compared with third party sales on Beyond!
To expand, the $5 refill gives 30 minutes and 15 days of service...the same as the "retail" version on Beyond. But the $15 refill, while giving the slightly higher 114 minutes provided with Beyond's web-buy card, lasts only 30 days, making the low-expiration $5 card the least expensive card per month, with a lowst monthly cost of $10 unless you include the grossly overpriced 1-year card (available on both carriers).
The $30 card on Jolt Mobile provides a little less 20% more minutes than...um...the $25 card on Beyond Wireless, purchased via web...making the $25 card a better buy all around, because the $25 card on Beyond lasts a month more than the $30 card on Jolt...the cost per month in this
case is 2x as much!
The $50 card melds the minutes of the web card on Beyond with the lousy expiration of the store-bought card...the only card that has actually gotten better with Jolt is the $100 card, which retains a subpar 90 day expiration but gets an amazingly insignificant 14 minutes extra. So it looks like Beyond GSM wasn't cutting it with retailers because the website was undercutting them, so Beyond Wireless moved completely out of the low cost per month arena (remember the no-minimum-minutes TDMA service?) to level the retail-direct playing field. Blech. Oh, and they offer newer phones (if you can call black and pink Razrs at $20 above eBay cost an advance...or overpriced LG c1300s, Motorola c139s or Motorola v180s for that matter). But personally I wouldn't mind if everyone suddenly realized that at least the GSM-based arm of Beyond Wireless (and I'm inclined to say the CDMA wing too) has become quite uncompetitive...and left. I mean, Locus Mobile offers better rates on their plans and they were expensive compared with Beyond Wireless when both were TDMA. But that's obviously not the case now...
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
First off, the Virgin Mobile announcements, three of them:
1. Virgin Mobile has a new plan: 10 cents when you're talking with Virgin Mobile customers, 20 cents with everyone else. Basically, if you use more than 20% of your minutes (yes, only 20%) calling Virgin Mobile customers, and don't use a lot of minutes anyway...or sped less than 35 minutes a month talking to non-Virgin Mobile customers, this is a really good plan believe it or not. Sorta reminds me of Boost Mobile's pay as you go plan...except that nights and weekends aren't discounted. Still, it's a nice addition if you ask me. Choice is always good.
2. You know the LG Aloha that I talked about a few posts ago? The basic, cool-looking LG flip phone that Alltel also has (running on their U Prepaid service)? Well, now Virgin Mobile lists it as coming soon". Again, it's a basic phone but it's gotta be a world better than the Kyocera Marbl, and likely for the same price. Interesting how Virgin Mobile is converting a bit more to LG and such while Tracfone is...well...read on...but first take a look at the Aloha on VM's website...
3. Oh, and the "Slice II" from UTStarCom for Virgin Mobile is also on their website now...also listed as "Coming Soon". Its name? The "Super Slice". Not highly original, but it's an apt description. Better features include a built-in camera, a bigger, higher-res screen, a raised keypad for less painful texting\dialing for those of us with larger hands, Bluetooth (ooooh! aaaah!) and the high=emd software features like IM and Email that aren't on the original Slice. All this while shaving 0.01" off the thickness of the phone (cool!), making it actually a decent bar phone that wouldn't even be embarrased on a contract plan. I just wonder how much it'll cost...speaking of cost, the original Slice is down to $29.99 in both colors on Virgin Mobile's website, which is cool if anyone needs a dependable basic phone. Anyway, here's the link to VM's Super Lice description:
And now for the two Tracfone news bits...one bigger than the other...
1. For starters, Tracfone now posts the LG C200 as "coming soon" on their website. Yay...a new CDMA phone! But wait...this is the same phone that Alltel and Virgin Mobile are coming out with (you know, the Aloha). But I don't mind...it's new, it's CDMA, it's at least a little more stylish than the LG 3280...and it's SingleRate. See it here:
2. Saving the "best" for last, Tracfone is...and no I'm not kidding and this isn't Virgin Mobile...going to carry a Kyocera phone! Of course, it's a CDMA phone, and this one's decidedly low-end...the "color" display is clearly described as being black-and-white with a pretty background. Oh, and you only get 10 ringtones...at least they're polyphonic. Is this going to be a $10 phone or something...just wondering...at least it's small and looks halfway decent. The model number is the K126c...you can gawk at it here:
And last but not least, the Net10 news...
They're getting CDMA! I know this because the same two phones mentioned for Tracfone...well...they show up as "Coming Soon" on Net10's site as well. Except with different color schemes so both look nicer, especially the Kyocera. Interestingly, the Kyocera is marked "not available in all areas" (I guess Trac doesn't make a lot of money on CDMA compared with GSM) but the LG model isn't. MMisprit or not? I wonder...but at any rate I'm glad the choice of CDMA is nwo available for Net10.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
So what I'm asking is, if someone very supportive of this site would send me either of these three phones for a quick review, after which I'd send it back with my sincerest thanks. Again, it's just because I can't get the phones myself that I'm asking.
If anyone's interested, thanks and let me know!
Saturday, July 21, 2007
First off, so far I haven't found out where to get an unlocked iPhone to do that with...
...so what you're left with is a phone that WILL NOT WORK until it has been activated. You have two choices for activation: the contract plan (with the iPhone data package) and GoPhone Pick Your Plan (with the iPhone data package).
Once you activate, you have a fully functional iPhone. Until you put another SIM (not another carrier's SIM...another SIM) into the iPhone. At which point it wants you to activate that SIM through the same process. Or you can ignore that notice and use everything on the iPhone except stuff that requires network access (calling and EDGE). I repeat: even other Cingular\AT&T GoPhone\contract SIMs won't work in an iPhone until they're activated with that iPhone.
I have heard, however that the iPhone may be unlockable, so that you can even circumvent the "must be activated" restriction. But I haven't seen it yet and for now you gotta activate with some sort of plan...on AT&T.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Second, a bit better news: the Motorola c261 cameraphone on Tracfone is...gasp...$29.99! Making it the cheapest prepaid cameraphone on the market that I know of. So if you're in the market for that sort of thing, now's a good time.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
On the Tracfone side of things, the LG 3280 is...until at least the end of July...$20 at Family Dollar stores. My advice: pick it up already! Granted, it may not have quite the reception of the Nokia 2126i but it is SIngleRate, it is a flip phone and it's not a piece of junk, so it's definately worth $20.
Monday, July 16, 2007
...oh, and they connect your call for free...nice if you're calling from somewhere where long distance isn't free...heh heh...
The number? 1-800-GOOG-411
The website? http://www.google.com/mobile/goog411
Well, I might as well just jump in…here’s my review of the UTStarCom CDM7075…
First off this phone is first and foremost a Verizon phone. In fact, there is no sign of UTStarCom branding until you open the back of the phone and look at...or under...the battery. The user interface is the now-typical Verizon "red" version...the only trace of anything else is the ringtone selection. So basically this is the most carrier-branded phone I've ever laid hands on. This is not completely horrible as the Verizon UI is fast enough on this phone and pretty efficient, but in my opinion there are a lot of prettier, easier UIs out there…VZW’s incarnation on this phone is decidedly bare-bones, even dated. And the phone itself doesn't even have any games on it...though a fifth of the user interface is devoted to making you buy games, ringtones and more.
As to the qualities that really count, this phone does reasonably, though not exceptionally, well. In the build quality area, the phone is decent, though the keypad has very little travel and is rather large for my tastes (between keys), making text messaging a chore more than usual (combined with a slightly foreign user interface for texting, though of course it’s very familiar to anyone who has used pretty much any Verizon phone in the last few years). On the whole, this phone seems to me like a retooled, newer overall version of the Audiovox 8910…in short, that phone done right. Unfortunately, this still leaves you with a pretty basic phone.
Voice quality is okay, though not anything to write home about it. Then again, Verizon uses the 1900MHz network where I am and I don’t think they get great signal anyway…yet I still think that an extended antenna should help matters just a little more than it does with this phone. Then again, 190MHz doesn’t really get a boost from an extendable antenna, and the phone does support analog networks, something that’s good for a Page Plus Cellular phone as that way it can serve as a backup for your favorite high-end phone (like the Razr or pretty much any PDA phone).
Battery life sticks out to me as not bad at all…I think the phone lasted a week…albeit in standby mode most of the time…before turning up dead. Really not bad for a CDMA phone. Then again, this phone doesn’t have any real power-drinking features…it’s just a basic phone with a black-and-white external display…so it should last awhile, given its relatively large battery…
As to features, again, this phone is tooled for taking advantage of all the buy-able stuff Verizon has. Meaning that it can support MP3 and polyphonic ringtones, and has a decent (for 640x480 shots…and Verizon’s camera UI isn’t too bad either speed-wise) camera. But if you’re looking for any high-end features (unless you consider MP3 ringtones, a camera or an average-quality\loudness speakerphone high-end) this isn’t your main phone. But hey, Page Plus doesn’t support anything right now beside voice and text, and when they come out with web it’ll be compatible with this phone (which has web access…that’s all I know as I wasn’t able to really test it) so this phone fits the bill at a palatable price.
Speaking of Page Plus, activation was quick, support was easy to access (no wait time or not much anyway) and the service is really dirt cheap for voice. Not quite so much for text messages…you should get Virgin Mobile if you text a lot and want prepaid…but I can’t argue with $80 buying 1400 anytime minutes, useable (and roll-overable) for the next four months, minus a few minutes for the 50 cent monthly fee. The only annoying thing with the service is I think that leaving voicemail costs airtime (or something outrageous like that) and the “minute lady” makes your outgoing calls about fifteen seconds longer than they need to be…though thankfully this mixed blessing doesn’t charge for while it’s talking.
So, overall, the CDM7075 is a fine basic phone for Page Plus and the like, but you’ll have to put up with incessant Verizon branding everywhere on the phone until Page Plus releases their own version (I’m guessing they will). But hey, for $40 you get a speakerphone, mp3 ringtones, a camera, web browsing, an external display and in general a phone that isn’t a total piece of junk. I’m all for that.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
By the way, I'm now on a contract plan with Sprint (in dad's name). I'm on the $30 SERO plan, meaning that everything is unlimited (nights and weekends starting at 7, high speed data....which is available in my area...mobile to mobile, text messaging, picture messaging, video messaging) except for daytime minutes, and I have 500 of those. And if I go over my minutes it automagically adds 50 more for $5. My phone? The HTC Mogul...a little over $300 with tax but not too bad on price considering its internet is pretty much faster than my home internet and will be faster in every way once Sprint rolls out a software upgrade for the little wonder. I'd take the Mogul over the iPhone any day of the week...but I digress prom prepaid...
By the way #2, I'll be reviewing the UTStarCom\Verizon CDM7075 tomorrow probably, so stay tuned! It also sounds like I'll be getting in several phones for review from BabbleBug soon so even if there isn't any prepaid cellular news next week take a look here!
Monday, July 09, 2007
As far as getting a Page Plus phone goes, take a guess at who's your best bet...it's Wal-Mart! Go online and select their free ship-to-store service and a week later pick up either the relatively feature-full UTStarCom CDM7075 (Verizon-branded) for $40 or so plus tax or the Motorola Razr v3m for about three times that amount...I'm really tempted to do the latter and have done the former (well...I just bought the phone at the store that had 'em already). As a side note, yes, you're looking for the INPulse versions of these pones. As long as you don't call any permutation of *228 on them, they'll activate on Page Plus just fine.
Friday, July 06, 2007
I called customer service (still wondering whether that was why my minute counter went down or was that something else?) and asked about two things and got two answers:
1. Yes, web access is coming. And yes, it'll work with your current Verizon-branded phone, as long as your current Verizon-branded phone has Mobile Web on it. Sweet...so feel free to buy a cheap $40 camera phone now 'cuz it'll be more feature-rich as time goes on. Didn't ask about picture messaging, but I'd bet that'll come too, and it'll also likely be compatible with current phones.
2. No, they can't turn off that annoying announcement at the beginning of each outgoing call that tells you just how many minutes you have for the upcoming call. Dangit...I'd like that turned off, but I'd rather not Page Plus pull an STi and charger 10 cents per day after doing so.
And yes, I'll review the 7075 soon!
But basically you can buy an iPhone, enter your SSN as 999-99-9999 to flunk the credit check, and have the wonderful world of prepaid opened to you. Or you can cancel the line after your first bill and have an ewber-kewl iPod, internet browser and generally lean and mean WiFi machine with nary a contract to be found.
1. You gotta use GoPhone's Pick Your Plan...with a $20 addon to get unlimited data (actually, that part's not bad) and Visual Voicemail. No Pay As You Go, and nothing good as far as rates go...200 minutes with the iPhone data ends up being $50 a month plus taxes and junk fees. And you gotta pay that to even get your phone activated.
2. Activation is a slightly rockier road than the oh-so-smooth contact experience. But hey, you wanted prepaid, right? And your iPhone can do just as much as everyone else's...everyone who's paying for their contact...
3. Texting ain't included on the GoPhone plans. So if you want to text (and not pay 15 cents per message for the privelage...texts decrement from the non-data-plan part of your bill) you either pay $5 for 200 texts or $20 (!) for unlimited.And with the iPhone you'll likely use a text or two more than usual, with its cool threaded chat feature...yech...
...and, worst of all for now...
4. EVERY time a call, text or data session is completed...including when the iPhone checks your email...you get a lovely little popup telling you how much your balance is and how much you've spent on that particular activity. Even if you've spent NOTHING. I was thinking more seriously about the iPhone due to its ability to go onto prepaid but until they get that debilitating bug (you can't do anything until you hit Dismiss to that evil dialog and it'll mess up all sorts of things that you're doing) fixed. Right now the only way to squash it is disabling text messaging...dang.
But hey, if you don't mind giving up beautiful texting (the iPhone can go onto the multiplatform web chat at Meebo.com so technically you can text thataway fo' free), don't mind high per-minute rates and don't mind shelling out big time for this modern marvel, you can definately get it contract-free.
Then again, on the other end of things, Boost Mobile just added another plan for their Unlimited offering, still only available in California and Texas: Unlimited Texting along with all the other features. The cost? $5 above that of the normal unlimited plan. Interesting...
Monday, July 02, 2007
Sunday, July 01, 2007
However, Net10 has some new deals. Besides their total underselling with the Nokia 1100 (two deals which both work out to 6.67 cents a minute before tax and shipping) and their "free phone" Nokia 1600 (when refurbished, like the Nokia 1100), they now have no fewer than four options for $40 phones, including $30 of airtime:
Nokia 1600 (new)
Motorola v171 (refurbished)
Motorola c139 (new)
Motorola c155 (new)
Then again the Nokia 1600 is the only phone worht having out of the four in my opinion, and it can be had for $10 cheaper refurbished. There's also the Motorola v170 available for (yikes) $80, and the Motorola v176 and c261 available for $90...but that's pretty expensive for a plain ole Tracfone, especially since the c261 is selling on Tracfone for $40.
By the way, the above promotions (besides the c261 and v176) are available on T-Mobile- and Cingular...er...AT&T-based Net10 phones. Dobson CellularOne, which was just bought by AT&T, currently has a much more limited lineup: the new Nokia 1600, the new Nokia 2600 ($40, also available on T-Mobile-based plans) and the new Motorola v171 for $80. Hmph.
The Motorola c168i, which looks to be the Compal imitation of the SLVR or, more closely, the Motorola L2, is $40. Not bad for a decent, decently thin phone. And this one actually has polyphonic ringtones. Though you're really not buying from Motorola (you're getting a slightly different user interface) when you buy this one.
The Nokia 2610, at $80, costs twice as much for what look to be similar features. But hey, it's a pretty new phone, its a name brand and you can't go wrong with a Nokia so whaddya expect?
Oh, and you can get the new (ish) Pantech C3B for $90, which is basically the C300/C3 but with changeable faceplates and both silver and blue faceplates included. Nice little phone, but it sure is little.
On CDMA phones Tracfone starts charging the second you start the call. Well, not exactly; they give you a 15-16 second "grace period" if you place the call during which you can hang up and not get charged. This is for busy signals and whatnot. Otherwise you're charged regardless of what happens on the other end of the line.
On GSM phones Tracfone starts billing once the call is connected. What this means varies, and there's no "grace period" but generally busy signals are free, as are most "no answers".
Now to the iPhone...
Granted, it's a great piece of technology. Sort of like iPod meets smartphone...but some people won't be comfortable with getting used to the onscreen keyboard, even if it is good, some people will be uncomfortable with the price ($500 for the 4GB model, $600 for the 8GB one, plus at least $60 a month for service) and some people will be uncomfortable th the fact that for the next few years it's stuck on AT&T. And of course you'll likely not see it on prepaid for a LOOOOONG time, GoPhone or no.Personally, no great loss; if you want something thin and smart, get the Motorola Q. If you want something REALLY smart, go with something built by HTC (verizon PPC6700, Sprint Mogul, etc.) and chalk up the added thickness to a nice built-in keyboard. And on Sprint you can get the Q or the Mogul for a fraction of the price of the iPhone and get a plan with an equivalent number of minutes for half the price of an iPhone plan.
In other words if you feel ready to drop $500 on an icon that doesn't run on a fast network unless you're within WiFi range, go for it...just remember you also have to pay $60 a month plus taxes and fees to keep the darn thing going...but there's really no need to bemoan the fact that this phone is gonna take a LONG time to make it to prepaid.