Smartphones and Plans...

Discussion in 'Smartphones and GPS Navigation' started by xcel, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Ehh...public WiFi doesn't do anything for me, even if it's free. "Security" on an open connection isn't really a thing. The best you can do is avoid using it for anything sensitive and then hope it hasn't been targeted by someone who really knows how to exploit it. And as my favorite saying goes, "Hope is not a strategy."
  2. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    How secure is the cell network? I have no idea.

    Most of my time is spent on cell, or my home wifi (known good) or work's wifi (known good).
  3. Harold

    Harold Well-Known Member

    If securty is important then a cell phone is probably a no no! i agree with Andrew. h
  4. RichXKU

    RichXKU Well-Known Member

    Very. It's essentially zero chance of packets being intercepted.
  5. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    A local T-Mobile dealer near my mom and sisters home allowed me to take an older 4G only (no LTE) Nokia Windows phone out for 30-minutes. 4-bars for voice and the calls sounded good from both ends. A little hollow given the Nokia phone. The indicated 4G data signal allowed achieved lower to mid 3G rates with this older non-LTE capable Windows phone.

    Speedtest(s) on T-Mobile

    Inside my parents’ home______________________Inside my sister’s home.

    Inside Gurnee Mills Mall about 6 blocks from my home.​

    The final test was a Speedtest taken on a T-Mobile kiosk reps Samsung Galaxy S4 with T-Mobile 4G LTE within Gurnee Mills Mall. 4-bars of signal strength and a voice call sounded fine. Speed was excellent when connected to a WI server. A second test connected to an IL server showed over 20 Mbps down. I have seen > 20 Mbps from the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX HD on Verizon at home.

    With the non 4G LTE windows phone for the first test somewhat inconclusive, I ordered a 7-day T-Mobile Test Drive iPhone5 smartphone. It should arrive on the 12th or 13th so I can perform some real world tests over a few days of use.

    I ordered (2) Sim cards for $0.01 a piece from T-Mobile just in case I move to them with a Nexus, Moto, or Samsung.

  6. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    Spent an hour or two in the OnePlus One forums yesterday to find out more about their phone offering(s). The $299 16 GB version is no longer available. Aki to the Tesla Model S 60.

    Many know about the superior HW specs and price - 5.5" display, 2.5 GHz quad core, 3 GB RAM, 64 GB, 13 MP Sony lens rear and 5 MP front and all for for $349 - but there are some big chinks in the company’s armor.

    There are simply too many problems to consider this smartphone for the general consumer despite all the raves by most tech pages on the net.

    This is not a one off occurrence by any means but one owner has been waiting for his RMA to be processed for over 6-weeks and he initiated it on day 2 of ownership with random reboots. The 14-day return policy is long gone so he waits.


    One individual that has the random reboot issue has a huge thread going on about how they will not complete the replacement. He is 8-weeks into the process…

    The funniest response in that notification was this:
    While the OPO has some outstanding specs on paper + an incredibly low price, the vid and the hundreds of reboot, battery, audio port, and screen display anomaly posts have made me pause.

    If this were the auto industry, there would be a few sold, a few deaths would occur on the road soon after, and a class action so large it would make GMs current predicament look like a walk in the park.

    We expect a certain level of quality in our purchases and the OPO does not reach that level today.

    The only thing customer service should be needed for on an electronic device is an RMA/14-day return and in this case, OPO appears not able to handle that correctly?

    Whether HW, SW, or a combination, this is an OPO design/configuration/production problem and until these problems are found and permanently repaired for existing and future customers, the OPO brand is being tarnished by its own design. No matter how great the OPO specs and price are, the phones are nothing more than a beta “project/product.”

    T-Mobile and AT&T would not offer this phone given the reported problems today and it is most certainly not ready for the general consumer to purchase on his or her own dime.


    Too bad as I was ready to pull the trigger but cannot take the risk of losing $350 + $10 to $15.00 shipping. Maybe in another few months after some new HW and SW configs and beefed up return policies, it may finally be ready for the consumer?

  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    The iPhone 5s? Owners may praise it but it is laggy, still has bugs (inability to run Pandora and receive a call via BT at the same time in the 15 Sonata), has way too small a screen (4") to productively get things down on the web, and is also outrageously priced at just under $600 retail even today?

    Apple's iPhone 5s with the Toshiba laptop.​

    The new Apple iPhone 6s - 4.7" display at $649, $749 and $849 for the 16, 64 GB and 128 GB models respectively and 5.5" display at $749, $849, and $949 for the 16 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB models respectively are ridiculously overpriced.

    If only the just released $179 Moto G 2nd gen had an LTE antennae. :(

    Which leaves the upcoming HTC One M8 (expensive and its Wi-Fi Hotspot needs to be proven after the poor results of the Thunderbolt we reviewed a few years back), the Nexus 5 with a price drop after the 6/X is released, Moto-X Gen 2 after it is released, or a Note3 after the 4 has been released.

  8. seftonm

    seftonm Veteran Staff Member

    I'm waiting for a price drop on the Nexus 5, will probably get that. Also considering the Moto G.
  9. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Mike:

    That will probably be my first choice. A 16 GB version for < $300 or 64 GB version for a little over should do it? I will hand it over to my mom all setup when the Note 3 drops a lot more as we head into Christmas.

    The price drops on the latest phones begin… Not really a deal by any stretch but there is pressure already.

    The non-Contract $499.99 Moto X Gen 2 (2014) that is not even available yet is being hocked at $449.99 with valid .edu email address.

    Moto X for $449. You should see this one for < $400 soon which is still a bit pricey for a $300 to $350 phone imho.

  10. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    The Harbor Mobile Business Plan deal - Unlimited Talk/Text/Data with a 1 GB LTE - just went to 2.5 GB.

    T-Mobile network, Unlimited Talk/Text, 2.5 GB of LTE and unlimited at 2G afterwards, unlimited Music streaming via Pandora, iTunes, iHeart Radio etc..., free texting on GoGo flights, and all 2.5 GB are Wi-Fi Hotspot open for $30/month + $3.00 in taxes. That is it.

    The 2.5GB from 1 GB apparently ends at the end of the month however.

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
  11. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Super Moderator Staff Member

    Looking at it again, a put off to me is the non-replacable battery on their phones, and no SD card is a downer. I only pay a marginal $15+tax for my flip phone each month and I've had it for 7 years. Since I'm a keeper the replaceable battery is a big deal. But then I decided to do a quick Google to check and what do I see...


    Looks like they want to expand. At $99 for a basic smartphone with an SD card slot that would allow it to function as a music player, I think it's more appealing.

    Incidentally, on thecommunity thread, a Republic representative posted a teasing comment that suggested they're working on roms for something new, which would likely be newer X and G, which, I think, both add an SD card slot.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
  12. PaleMelanesian

    PaleMelanesian Beat the System Staff Member

    I'm not too concerned about the battery. It would be nice if it was replaceable, but I keep mine topped up most of the time. The lack of expandable memory is a major oversight on Motorola's part.

    I do miss my old flip phone (classic Moto Razr) that would go a week between charges. It was GREAT at being a phone, with good clear calls and long life. Nothing else, but a great phone.

    I have the X and my sister has the G. I see very little difference between the two. I was too quick on the trigger and didn't wait for the G to come out. That cost me $150. :/
  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    It is almost a daily upgrade... For those on T-Mobile with the 4-Lines for $100 - 2.5 GB LTE, 2.5 GB Wi-Fi hotspot/tether, Unlimited at 2G after 2.5 GB, Unlimited music streaming, and all kinds of International editions - now has a $10 upgrade to 4.5 GB.

    Not sure who the CEO of T-MObile is but this guy has smelled blood in the water and he wants subscribers. With my drive from North Milwaukee to South Chicago proving great Data and superb voice connection, anyone that is in an area with a solid T-MObile connection should consider it mightily.

    I will only have two lines for now so it is $66 for both with a BYOD, unlimited Text/Talk, 2.5 GB of LTE, 2.5GB of Wi-Fi Hotspot, free streaming, etc...

  14. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    Instead of the Galaxy Note 3, I decided on the Galaxy S5 for the better camera. I hope I did not make a mistake.


    After the 7-Day test drive with the iPhone 5s on T-Mobile last week, I found their network was more robust than Verizon on the Motorola between Milwaukee and the south side of Chicago othen than in Racine County along I94 where 2G/Edge data was all that was available. Out in the boonies, they will drop off to 2G or just voice according to most online reports. :(

    Thanks to the iPhone 6, the S5 now costs $484.99 brand new shipped from a T-Mobile MNVO called NetOnTheRun. It includes a free month of unlimited text, talk, data, unlimited Wi-Fi Hotspot/tethering.

    After month one, possibly moving to $33/month incl. tax for 2.5GB of LTE, unlimited 2G after the data allotment, 2.5 GB Wi-Fi Hotspot, unlimited Pandora & iHeart, and free GoGo Inflight Texts from a T-Mobile MNVO called Harbor Mobile.

    Or possibly T-Mobile directly for unlimited data with all the above stuff for $40/month + bigger taxes for a year when I move my mom from her Verizon dumb phone and we both receive unlimited LTE for a year.

  15. aca2983

    aca2983 Well-Known Member

    I have had a Nexus 4 for 2 yrs and I still love it. It has a "non-replaceable" battery, but a $20 Amazon order and a 5 min Youtube video netted me a new battery. Its not that difficult. Hope to get another year out of it. Not a heavy data user, and on Wi-fi a lot. $45 a month Straight Talk SIM on ATT network does everything I need. When I first got it I tried T-mobile for a month, and the speeds were excellent, but the coverage was too erratic. ATT coverage has also been everywhere I need it, including rural areas that I'm frequently in.
  16. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Aca2983:

    Would love to run on the AT&T network for the cross country stuff as it is simply more coverage. Far more expensive when it comes top data too. Locally (large cities and suburbs), AT&T falls far short of T-Mobile in terms of bandwidth and speed with the 8 Mbps limits from their MNVOs.

    What I am concerned with over the intermediate term is that T-Mobile is hell bent on filling that pipe. When it fills, anyone on their now far more robust and quicker network is going to suffer. Sprint pulled that a few years back and never recovered.

    Was looking at the new low-end Samsung Avant ($96) for my mom. Lesser screen res and the camera sucks compared to the S4 ($240) but < $100 for T-Mobile customers of 1-year or more. :(

    New Avants are selling for $175 to $200 and S4s from $300 to $375 on E-Bay.

  17. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    Regarding T-Mobile's free audio streaming (does not count against your data allotment), here is the latest list.

    iTunes Radio
    Milk Music
    Black Planet
    Radio Paradise

  18. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    I purchased a Spigen Neo Hybrid case for the S5 for $20.99 incl. shipping from Spigen on Ebay. With hundreds of case choices, I purchased this one because of its built in HQ buttons with the slim design and gold edge color keeping the nice look of the S5 intact.


  19. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    I would highly recommend that you consider the free 7-Day T-Mobile Test Drive with the iPhone 5s. It could rock your world?

    The brand new Samsung Galaxy S5 live for the first time on the T-Mobile network doing a Speedtest at my parents’ home. Pretty darn hot besides the middling ping time.


    The Motorola RAZR MAXX HD on the Verizon Network was about half the download, approximately the same upload, and approximately 20 percent lower ping time.

    I am using the T-Mobile MNVO NetOnTheRun where I purchased the brand new T-Mobile 16 GB Samsung Galaxy S5 phone. The price of $475 included the phone and one free month of unlimited Talk/Text/4G LTE Data, unlimited music streaming, and unlimited Wi-Fi Hotspot tethering plan.

    I opened the box, installed the incl. T-Mobile SIM, installed the Samsung Li-Ion battery, closed it back up, and charged it to full from the 63 percent it arrived with.

    About 10-minutes after booting it up for the first time, the phone was recognized by the network with a 4G LTE signal showing. I signed into Google, and she started downloading, syncing, and updating the new S5 with the same apps that the older Motorola RAZR MAXX HD was equipped with.

    I will probably switch over to Harbor Mobile’s 2.5 GB 4G LTE and 2G after that allotment Unlimited everything plan for $33 incl. tax next month along with adding a second line for my parents. $63.00 all-in for both. I am also considering moving everyone in my family to the T-Mobile plan with 6-phones, each with 2.5 GB of 4G LTE allotment and 2G unlimited after that plus unlimited talk/text/music streaming all for $120 + taxes (maybe $25 more?). They picked up the T-Mobile 7-Day Test Drive iPhone 5s two days ago and are putting it through its paces all over the San Diego area this week.

  20. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    Thanks for the info, guys...

    I'm now checking out Republic Wireless on a Moto X. Seems nice
    so far. I'm splurging the first month to see what kind of 4G coverage
    I have. I expect I'll back off to the 3G plan for when I need data on the
    road and the $10 plan when I don't. I'm the opposite of a power user/
    road warrior, so I rarely use data on the road. Once settled in, I'll cut
    my (wireless) pseudo-cord from VZW. I expect my wife will stay put with
    her iPhone 5 for a reliable and widely available access for her business


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