My first smartphone

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
User avatar
CABob
Posts: 4627
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:55 pm
Location: Southern California

My first smartphone

Post by CABob » Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:22 pm

A few years ago at least partially based on advice and opinions from this forum I changed my cell phone provider from Verizon to Page Plus for my flip phone. Since I am a low usage customer I have one of PP low cost pay-as-you-go plans and have been very satisfied with my thriftiness and haven’t seen another plan that would be cheaper for my usage.
I am afraid, however, that it’s about time I upgrade to a smart phone. I haven’t decided yet whether it will be an iphone or android, but in either case I think I will have to switch to a higher cost plan and am now wondering if PP is still a reasonable choice to get perhaps a minimum of time, text, and data. I see a $12.00/month plan but that is for 3G phones only. The next step up for 4G phone would be $29.95/month.
Is PP still an economical choice for low usage?
I appreciate any thoughts on the issue.
Bob

User avatar
catdude
Posts: 1586
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:11 pm
Location: Central Oregon

Re: My first smartphone

Post by catdude » Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:01 am

I'm not familiar with PP. I'm a Consumer Cellular user and am real happy with them. Costs me about 25 bucks a month. As for phones, I think iPhones are over-priced... there are lots of good economical and higher-end android phones out there. I've got the Motorola Moto X and just love it. Great camera, great screen resolution. They just came out with a Moto Z, which looks interesting, but I think I'll stick with the Moto X for the time being. The Moto X can be had for a really good price at Amazon if you're willing to go with a slightly used one.
catdude | | All generalizations are false, including this one.

123
Posts: 3911
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: My first smartphone

Post by 123 » Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:19 am

I upgraded my flip phone to a smartphone 6 months ago. I bought an unlocked Moto E (2nd Generation) with LTE from Amazon for about $90. I hated to give up my Legacy Tmobile plan that only cost $10 a year usually since I was a low volume user. I moved my number over to Tracfone's $20 every 3 moonths plan. I also bought some extra data that carries over till I use it up.

The Moto E has excellent battery life but the camera isn't the best and it doesn't include a flash. I really don't use the camera much so that wasn't an issue for me.

I mostly use Wi-Fi but having a block of available data is handy. I'm expecting my smart phone plan costs (including extra data) to be under $150 a year, not too high a price in my book for being trendy.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

Intens
Posts: 177
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:53 pm

Re: My first smartphone

Post by Intens » Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:10 am

Look into FreedomPop.
I don't have personal experience with it.

User avatar
TheGreyingDuke
Posts: 1509
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:34 am

Re: My first smartphone

Post by TheGreyingDuke » Fri Jun 24, 2016 7:23 am

CABob wrote:A few years ago at least partially based on advice and opinions from this forum I changed my cell phone provider from Verizon to Page Plus for my flip phone. Since I am a low usage customer I have one of PP low cost pay-as-you-go plans and have been very satisfied with my thriftiness and haven’t seen another plan that would be cheaper for my usage.
I am afraid, however, that it’s about time I upgrade to a smart phone. I haven’t decided yet whether it will be an iphone or android, but in either case I think I will have to switch to a higher cost plan and am now wondering if PP is still a reasonable choice to get perhaps a minimum of time, text, and data. I see a $12.00/month plan but that is for 3G phones only. The next step up for 4G phone would be $29.95/month.
Is PP still an economical choice for low usage?
I appreciate any thoughts on the issue.
It depends on your needs, if the $12 plan gives you enough of everything AND if you use your data for email and occasional web use, 3G will be fine. I have a Moto G with 3g and it suits my needs well. I am currently using Cricket which is $35 a month for "all you can eat", with data at LTE limited to 3 gb (or is it 3.5 gb, I never use anywhere near the max).
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." H.G. Wells

UncleBen
Posts: 289
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:43 pm

Re: My first smartphone

Post by UncleBen » Fri Jun 24, 2016 8:03 am

I'm still in Tracfone at $6/month.

winterescape
Posts: 261
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 2:53 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Re: My first smartphone

Post by winterescape » Tue Jun 28, 2016 12:47 pm

Bob,
I recommend Republic wireless, consumer cellular, Wal-Mart total wireless, tracfone or Google project Fi.

Check consumer reports, for carrier ratings.

Android is 85% of the market, Apple IOS is 14%,

We chose Republic wireless and have not been disappointed, we both came from VZW.

crake
Posts: 238
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:12 pm

Re: My first smartphone

Post by crake » Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:58 pm

Bob,
One thing I'd like to point out is just because you get a smart phone does not mean you have to get a large data plan. Smart phones all have a setting which you can use to toggle your data connection on and off. I just keep my data connection off the vast majority of the time and will only turn it on if I need to look something up and wi-fi is not available. This happens so rarely that in a typical month I use <20 MB of data. As long as you aren't aimlessly browsing facebook, watching youtube videos, or streaming music you will use very little data.

Most features of my phone still work without a data connection on. I have offline maps downloaded to my phone so the GPS function works, the camera works, and I can save documents to my phone that I might need to access while out.

My personal recommendation if you are a minimal user would be the $10 250 minute plan from airvoice. It is a prepaid plan where calls cost 4 cents per minute, texts are 2 cents each, and data is 6.6 cents per MB. If you have any balance left it rolls over at the end of the month. My recommendation for a phone would be to go to Walmart or Best Buy and pick up an AT&T go phone of your choosing. You can get capable ones for under 50 dollars. You just need to buy a SIM card from airvoice for 5 dollars to put into the Gophone. Airvoice is on the AT&T network which has coverage almost as good as Verizon. I personally avoid T-Mobile or Sprint because coverage is very important to me.

servusdei
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:31 pm

Re: My first smartphone

Post by servusdei » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:47 pm

I bought my first smartphone from Freedompop 6 months ago for $30 total, with basic plan costing zero dollars a month. The phone is a Kyocera Hydro Icon and still works great! Happy customer.

inbox788
Posts: 5693
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:24 pm

Re: My first smartphone

Post by inbox788 » Tue Jun 28, 2016 2:57 pm

CABob wrote:A few years ago at least partially based on advice and opinions from this forum I changed my cell phone provider from Verizon to Page Plus for my flip phone. Since I am a low usage customer I have one of PP low cost pay-as-you-go plans and have been very satisfied with my thriftiness and haven’t seen another plan that would be cheaper for my usage.
I am afraid, however, that it’s about time I upgrade to a smart phone. I haven’t decided yet whether it will be an iphone or android, but in either case I think I will have to switch to a higher cost plan and am now wondering if PP is still a reasonable choice to get perhaps a minimum of time, text, and data. I see a $12.00/month plan but that is for 3G phones only. The next step up for 4G phone would be $29.95/month.
Is PP still an economical choice for low usage?
I appreciate any thoughts on the issue.
PagePlus is terrific for low cost, low usage voice and text. Their data prices are not competitive. The 3G is only useful in a very limited sense, and going forward will only be less useful, so I wouldn't bother. And the 4G $30/month plans are not unlimited like others, and you can get much better deals especially if you have a family plan (someone already mentioned Cricket).
UncleBen wrote:I'm still in Tracfone at $6/month.
This works well for low to moderate usage, especially low data usage. Their data is $10/GB add on and doesn't expire. If you turn off your data when not using, or turn off all the apps except a limited number of low data usage ones (you can use apple/google maps, texting apps, most system settings, email, sync contacts/notes/etc.) a GB will last you quite a while. But if you're not careful and watch a few videos or spend an hour on youtube, it could be gone. And sending a lot of instagram/facebook, streaming music, etc. all chew up moderate amounts of data.

Their customer support is supposedly pretty poor, but I've been able to do most things self serve and is working fine for me. A very cheap way to try it is to find one of the under $100 phones with a year of service and give it a try. They often have sales because the phones aren't the greatest, but some are usable low end android. You can also bring your own higher end android phones or iphones. Also, they use both Verizon/CDMA and GSM phones now (I think it's ATT, but might be T-mobile), so look into that if you care.
http://www.hsn.com/products/samsung-gal ... es/8064467
servusdei wrote:I bought my first smartphone from Freedompop 6 months ago for $30 total, with basic plan costing zero dollars a month. The phone is a Kyocera Hydro Icon and still works great! Happy customer.
My experience with Freedompop is a couple of years ago, but it didn't work all that well for me, and I wouldn't recommend it. YMMV.

Faith20879
Posts: 581
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:16 am

Re: My first smartphone

Post by Faith20879 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:56 am

Hi Bob, I am in the same process and have two questions. Hope you don't mind me budding in. There are some knowledgeable folks here reading this thread and I would hate to pass up the opportunity.

My questions are:
.
1. When I was researching for the Tracfone deals, I was told that Tracfone phones are forever locked. Is that still true?
.
2. Sometime ago I learned from this forum that the US mobile is either DCMA or SIM. But recently I was told that the newer smartphones can use both technologies as long as it is unlocked. Is that real or I heard it wrong?

Thanks,
Faith

inbox788
Posts: 5693
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:24 pm

Re: My first smartphone

Post by inbox788 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:22 pm

Faith20879 wrote:Hi Bob, I am in the same process and have two questions. Hope you don't mind me budding in. There are some knowledgeable folks here reading this thread and I would hate to pass up the opportunity.

My questions are:
.
1. When I was researching for the Tracfone deals, I was told that Tracfone phones are forever locked. Is that still true?
.
2. Sometime ago I learned from this forum that the US mobile is either DCMA or SIM. But recently I was told that the newer smartphones can use both technologies as long as it is unlocked. Is that real or I heard it wrong?

Thanks,
Faith
1) Maybe, but you most likely won't want to even if you could take it elsewhere. Most Tracfone phones are low end. Some folks have had luck using Tracfone phones on other MVNOs like NET10 Wireless, Straight Talk, Pageplus, SIMPLE Mobile, Total Wireless and others. A lot of others have had difficulty. Many more people bring their Verizon, ATT/T-mobile (I think it's only ATT, but not sure) or unlocked phones to Tracfone.

2) There is still a different SIM Verizon/CDMA vs. GSM. I don't know the difference, but I've successfully swapped them between iPhones. I believe, though haven't tried yet to use them in unlocked GSM/android phones. Newer iPhones are supposedly unlocked, so I see no reason why the GSM SIM wouldn't work on a Verizon iPhone.

a) DCMA - Defense Contract Management Agency
b) DMCA - The Digital Millennium Copyright Act
c) CDMA - Code division multiple access
d) CDAM - Centre for Discrete and Applicable Mathematics

3) I'll chime in with my own tangentially related question in case someone here knows the answer. I've had a Pageplus phone for occasional or emergency use on their standard plan putting in $10 every 120 days. Voice is $0.10/min. Text $0.05 each send or receive. Data $0.10/mb. Since the phone really isn't used, I've accumulated a balance of over $100 and growing. I was wondering if there is something I can use the balance for besides the services on their standard plan. I've heard I may be able to apply the balance towards a monthly plan (say I need to use the phone a lot just one month or need lots of data just the month), but I haven't found anything definitive. Conversations with customer service have been mixed and confusing.

mindboggling
Posts: 237
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:35 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Re: My first smartphone

Post by mindboggling » Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:43 pm

I bought my first smartphone about 2 months ago from Net10. It's a first generation Motorola Moto E. I got the cheapest data plan, which gives me 500Mb of 3G data plus unlimited everything else for $35/mo. The phone was $30. So far I'm happy with it. It's amazing what a cheap smartphone can do. There is a learning curve with smartphones. I usually keep the mobile data turned off unless I want to use it. At home, I have secure wifi so I use that. Be careful about using public wifi. Don't go to your banking and investment apps on public wifi.

steve
In broken mathematics, We estimate our prize, --Emily Dickinson

Matt48Ritchie
Posts: 135
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:38 pm

Re: My first smartphone

Post by Matt48Ritchie » Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:54 pm

I'm currently using an iPhone 4s with Page Plus, but I rarely have a need for data. I think I've turned cellular data on two or three times in the last ~8 months. I buy a $10 (~$12 with taxes) "standard pin" every 4 months, so I pay about $3/month. It charges $0.10 a minute for calls, $0.05 for each SMS, and $0.10 per MB of data. If you don't need to use data and can use wifi calling (talkatone, google voice)/texting (WhatsApp, iMessage, talkatone, google voice) apps it's a great option.

chx
Posts: 429
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2016 10:52 am

Re: My first smartphone

Post by chx » Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:19 pm

CABob wrote: I am afraid, however, that it’s about time I upgrade to a smart phone.
I am sorry to lose another to the dark side. My observation is that it does not improve the quality of life of the smart phone addicts whom I see wandering around campus in a fog.

inbox788
Posts: 5693
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:24 pm

Re: My first smartphone

Post by inbox788 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 6:07 pm

chx wrote:
CABob wrote: I am afraid, however, that it’s about time I upgrade to a smart phone.
I am sorry to lose another to the dark side. My observation is that it does not improve the quality of life of the smart phone addicts whom I see wandering around campus in a fog.
It's all about communicating with these addicts. You can't talk to them anymore, even if you're sitting in front of them, but they will respond to text, Messenger, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, WeChat, Line, Kik, Kaokaotalk, Viber, Tango, Nimbuzz, etc.

littlebird
Posts: 1412
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2010 6:05 pm
Location: Valley of the Sun, AZ

Re: My first smartphone

Post by littlebird » Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:01 pm

I'm in pretty much the same position and recently upgraded from a Tracfone flip phone to a Page Plus Moto e 1st gen for $30 and bought the $25 120 day plan. I planned to use it as I used the Tf, almost entirely as an emergency phone, not giving the number out to any one.

My phone cannot set up a voice mail box. I was on the phone with PP for hours and they were unable to do it. The phone appears to be, and is supposed to be, brand new. They first they said they'd send a new phone and a pre-paid mailer to return the old phone. When that never arrived, they then said their rules really were that I'd have to send the phone back, at my own expense, and they would then send a new one. :annoyed

For the price I paid, and my proposed use of it, I decided not to trust their 2nd promise and I kept the phone. Other than not having a voice mail box, it seems to work fine. It only has 1 camera. Although this is my first Android product it's very intuitive to use for me after having several iPod Touches. The only thing that I have difficulty with is the actual phone part, which of course is very different from the Tf, and which I'm learning to use by watching "The Good Wife" on Amazon Prime". :happy

inbox788
Posts: 5693
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:24 pm

Re: My first smartphone

Post by inbox788 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:26 pm

littlebird wrote:I'm in pretty much the same position and recently upgraded from a Tracfone flip phone to a Page Plus Moto e 1st gen for $30 and bought the $25 120 day plan. I planned to use it as I used the Tf, almost entirely as an emergency phone, not giving the number out to any one.

My phone cannot set up a voice mail box. I was on the phone with PP for hours and they were unable to do it. The phone appears to be, and is supposed to be, brand new. They first they said they'd send a new phone and a pre-paid mailer to return the old phone. When that never arrived, they then said their rules really were that I'd have to send the phone back, at my own expense, and they would then send a new one. :annoyed

For the price I paid, and my proposed use of it, I decided not to trust their 2nd promise and I kept the phone. Other than not having a voice mail box, it seems to work fine. It only has 1 camera. Although this is my first Android product it's very intuitive to use for me after having several iPod Touches. The only thing that I have difficulty with is the actual phone part, which of course is very different from the Tf, and which I'm learning to use by watching "The Good Wife" on Amazon Prime". :happy
Voicemail is usually pretty easy, you just need the access number and program it into the autodial (often #1 speeddial). Google Verizon for access numbers since Pageplus uses Verizon. You are probably going to get charged minutes for listening to your voicemails.

Post Reply