My Very First Smartphone [Samsung Galaxy S9+] — Please Critique This Plan

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iceport
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My Very First Smartphone [Samsung Galaxy S9+] — Please Critique This Plan

Post by iceport » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:48 pm

Hi all,

Well, it seems my day of reckoning has finally arrived: I've decided, at 56, to join the rest of the connected world and purchase my very first smartphone. :shock: I'm not a big talker, having relied on a TracFone flip-phone for use exclusively in the car. However, now in my second year of retirement, I find find myself wanting access to mobile data without relying on the presence of others, especially on the road or on the trail. I am completely oblivious to the options available to me as a single prospective user. What's more, I don't want to spend a lot of time in research mode.

So after a cursory review at Consumer Reports, this appears to be a reasonable plan of action:

► Purchase a new unlocked Samsung S9+ phone with 128 GB memory from a big box store for <$800.

► Use a no-contract Consumer Cellular plan with 1GB data/mo. for $25/mo., with the option to bump up the data limit if I find myself needing more.

Do you see anything wrong with this plan? Are there any better/cheaper options that you would recommend? (Note that as long as I'm diving into the market at this advanced age, I want to start with a state-of-the-art phone. And now that my compact point-and-shoot digital camera has worn out, this would serve that purpose as well.) Would it be possible for me to use my landline phone number for this phone? :)

I'm really looking for a basic reality check. Do you see any big flaws?

Thanks for any advice you could offer this complete newbie.
Last edited by iceport on Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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damjam
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by damjam » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:52 pm

iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:48 pm
Would it be possible for me to use my landline phone number for this phone?
Yes. You can port a land line number over to a wireless carrier. It will take at least a few days to do it. Otherwise you can get a new number with little to no delay.

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iceport
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by iceport » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:54 pm

damjam wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:52 pm
iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:48 pm
Would it be possible for me to use my landline phone number for this phone?
Yes. You can port a land line number over to a wireless carrier. It will take at least a few days to do it. Otherwise you can get a new number with little to no delay.
Thanks! Would that involve abandoning my landline, or could the same number be used for both?
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

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damjam
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by damjam » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:59 pm

iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:54 pm
damjam wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:52 pm
iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:48 pm
Would it be possible for me to use my landline phone number for this phone?
Yes. You can port a land line number over to a wireless carrier. It will take at least a few days to do it. Otherwise you can get a new number with little to no delay.
Thanks! Would that involve abandoning my landline, or could the same number be used for both?
You would loose your land line with this plan.
As an alternative you could keep your land line. Get a second number for your mobile. Then have calls to your land line forwarded to the mobile. Or vise versa.
Of course this requires having a plan that provides call forwarding on your land line. The mobile phone plan almost certainly would have that capability.

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iceport
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by iceport » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:08 pm

damjam wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:59 pm
iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:54 pm
damjam wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:52 pm
iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:48 pm
Would it be possible for me to use my landline phone number for this phone?
Yes. You can port a land line number over to a wireless carrier. It will take at least a few days to do it. Otherwise you can get a new number with little to no delay.
Thanks! Would that involve abandoning my landline, or could the same number be used for both?
You would loose your land line with this plan.
As an alternative you could keep your land line. Get a second number for your mobile. Then have calls to your land line forwarded to the mobile. Or vise versa.
Of course this requires having a plan that provides call forwarding on your land line. The mobile phone plan almost certainly would have that capability.
Thanks for this info!

A related question: my primary email account is with my landline/dsl isp provider. Could I continue to use that email address easily with the phone? Or would I be required to set up a gmail account for use with the android phone?
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

bloom2708
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:15 pm

Cricket Wireless a $499 deal for the S9. Great plans and AT&T coverage. Pretty tough to beat on the phone itself.

https://www.cricketwireless.com/content ... offer.html

I just helped my in-laws port their land line to a cell phone.

One stumbling block was Cricket does not allow ports from land lines.

I moved the number to a Verizon Prepaid $30 line. Before that month was up I ported the line to Cricket Wireless. They already had their 2 cell phones there. Now they have a "home" cell phone.

3 lines with Unlimited data (3mb cap speed) for $90/month taxes/fees included.

It sounds worse than it was. Step 1, Step 2. Crickets website is very good for porting in. You do the port with your plan purchase. Verizon you activate new number and then port the landline over the new number. Just took a few days.

Porting your Tracfone number from Tracfone to Cricket would be very easy. Your current phone works until you activate the new phone (upon receiving from Cricket). It is slick.

Good luck with which ever option you choose. Total Wireless is another Verizon MVNO that has reasonable plans. I only go with Verizon or AT&T.
Last edited by bloom2708 on Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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damjam
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by damjam » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:16 pm

iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:08 pm
damjam wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:59 pm
iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:54 pm
damjam wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:52 pm
iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:48 pm
Would it be possible for me to use my landline phone number for this phone?
Yes. You can port a land line number over to a wireless carrier. It will take at least a few days to do it. Otherwise you can get a new number with little to no delay.
Thanks! Would that involve abandoning my landline, or could the same number be used for both?
You would loose your land line with this plan.
As an alternative you could keep your land line. Get a second number for your mobile. Then have calls to your land line forwarded to the mobile. Or vise versa.
Of course this requires having a plan that provides call forwarding on your land line. The mobile phone plan almost certainly would have that capability.
Thanks for this info!

A related question: my primary email account is with my landline/dsl isp provider. Could I continue to use that email address easily with the phone? Or would I be required to set up a gmail account for use with the android phone?
That depends on your ISP. If your internet service provider allows access to your email via the web then it should be possible.

Edited for clarity
Last edited by damjam on Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dual
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by dual » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:22 pm

iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:48 pm

► Purchase a new unlocked Samsung S9+ phone with 128 GB memory from a big box store for <$800.

► Use a no-contract Consumer Cellular plan with 1GB data/mo. for $25/mo., with the option to bump up the data limit if I find myself needing more.

Do you see anything wrong with this plan? Are there any better/cheaper options that you would recommend? (Note that as long as I'm diving into the market at this advanced age, I want to start with a state-of-the-art phone.
The Samsung phone seems like way over-kill. I used to be a Tracfone user and I get by very well with an LG Phoenix that I bought on a Black Friday sale for $25 for my wife and a Moto E that I bought at a BestBuy sale for $35 for me. These were unlocked or unlockable with no cost. They have-to my eye-great cameras that are certainly the equivalent of a point and shoot. Bargains like these may not be available everyday but many have mentioned here that you can get a good Android unlocked phone for about $50.

I use H2owireless for the LG and Real Mobile for the Moto. The H2o uses the ATT network and costs $10 a quarter ($40/year). That can be used for charges like 10cents a minute for voice calls, 5 cents for text messages, and 10 cents a megabyte for data. I never use all of the $10 so I just rollover the unspent amount for use during times that I use more like when I am traveling. The Real Mobile uses the Sprint netork. Its charges are similar, actually a little cheaper at $10 for 4 months.

You have to ask yourself what $800 is buying you? Do you play games on your phone? Watch movies? Talk for hours on end?

I use it for the occasional call or text when I am out and about, for directions with a map program, and to read ebooks when I am waiting for something. For that, the phones we have are more than enough

dsmclone
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by dsmclone » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:22 pm

Just some general thoughts off the top of my head.

The Samsung S9 is a very nice phone but maybe overkill for someone just getting in the game. How about buying something like a Moto E5 play for a few hundred? What do you think you'll be using the phone for most of the time?

If you don't want to go this route and want a premium phone, you may want to wait for the new Pixel 3. It will probably be about the same price, will have pure Android, and will also allow you to use Project Fi, which is a good service for those not using a lot of data.

Nothing wrong with your plan, just giving options.

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iceport
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by iceport » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:52 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:15 pm
Cricket Wireless a $499 deal for the S9. Great plans and AT&T coverage. Pretty tough to beat on the phone itself.
bloom2708 wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:15 pm
Good luck with which ever option you choose. Total Wireless is another Verizon MVNO that has reasonable plans. I only go with Verizon or AT&T.
Thanks for the other options, bloom2708.
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bob60014
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by bob60014 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:57 pm

The S9's will be dropping in price soon as the new model will be coming out. If interested in them, do you need the 128gb model? It does have a card slot, if needed.

aristotelian
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by aristotelian » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:00 pm

Seems like overkill going from a flip phone to a state of the art flagship. Clark Howard recommends the Moto G series, which you can get in the $200 range. I have used even cheaper phones than that and have been completely satisfied. The only complaint I would have is that the cameras usually aren't good in that price range, but I don't use my phone for photography.

We have had good service with Cricket but I am trying Mint for $15/mo with 1 GB and it's been good so far (uses T Mobile network).

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iceport
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by iceport » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:01 pm

dual wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:22 pm
The Samsung phone seems like way over-kill.
dual wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:22 pm
You have to ask yourself what $800 is buying you? Do you play games on your phone? Watch movies? Talk for hours on end?
dsmclone wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:22 pm
The Samsung S9 is a very nice phone but maybe overkill for someone just getting in the game. How about buying something like a Moto E5 play for a few hundred? What do you think you'll be using the phone for most of the time?
Thanks dual and dsmclone, this is a valid point. I can easily see myself using the phone for:

GPS
traffic
weather/radar
news
watching short videos
streaming music
email
taking pictures, both casually and somewhat more seriously

(My old compact point-and-shoot was actually very good, except in low light. I expect the phone will be an upgrade in that regard. I found myself not missing the old film slr when I went digital, so I expect a quality phone camera will serve my needs well.)

taking videos

Texting and talking will likely be the least used functions.
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

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iceport
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by iceport » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:09 pm

bob60014 wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:57 pm
The S9's will be dropping in price soon as the new model will be coming out. If interested in them, do you need the 128gb model? It does have a card slot, if needed.
Good to know. Any idea of the timing?
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:15 pm

$800 for a phone?! I hope there's a 5 year old Civic attached to it.

Most I've paid for an iPhone ever is $100. I did buy a brand new somethingorother android phone for my son for Christmas that altogether with Cricket ended up costing $200.
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FreemanB
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by FreemanB » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:20 pm

iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:01 pm
(My old compact point-and-shoot was actually very good, except in low light. I expect the phone will be an upgrade in that regard. I found myself not missing the old film slr when I went digital, so I expect a quality phone camera will serve my needs well.)

taking videos
Just about any smart phone will work well for most of your needs, regardless of the price point. However, it sounds like camera quality is one of your main considerations, I'd definitely look into either a Pixel 2 or Pixel 3(Coming out in a few weeks). The Pixel 2, even though it is a year old now, still has the highest rated camera of any smart phone currently, and the Pixel 3 will likely be at least some improvement on that. There's also nothing wrong with the S9 camera and it would likely work for your purposes as well, but both are worth considering. I personally prefer the Pixel line over the Galaxy(And I have a Pixel 2, so I can vouch for the quality of the pictures), but other than the camera, most of the reasons are subjective. If you went with some of the cheaper phone options, you probably wouldn't be very happy with the camera quality, particularly in non-optimal conditions.

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iceport
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by iceport » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:21 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:15 pm
$800 for a phone?! I hope there's a 5 year old Civic attached to it.
8-)
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iceport
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by iceport » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:22 pm

FreemanB wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:20 pm
iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:01 pm
(My old compact point-and-shoot was actually very good, except in low light. I expect the phone will be an upgrade in that regard. I found myself not missing the old film slr when I went digital, so I expect a quality phone camera will serve my needs well.)

taking videos
Just about any smart phone will work well for most of your needs, regardless of the price point. However, it sounds like camera quality is one of your main considerations, I'd definitely look into either a Pixel 2 or Pixel 3(Coming out in a few weeks). The Pixel 2, even though it is a year old now, still has the highest rated camera of any smart phone currently, and the Pixel 3 will likely be at least some improvement on that. There's also nothing wrong with the S9 camera and it would likely work for your purposes as well, but both are worth considering. I personally prefer the Pixel line over the Galaxy(And I have a Pixel 2, so I can vouch for the quality of the pictures), but other than the camera, most of the reasons are subjective. If you went with some of the cheaper phone options, you probably wouldn't be very happy with the camera quality, particularly in non-optimal conditions.
Thank you for this! I'll look into it.
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

bloom2708
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:22 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:15 pm
$800 for a phone?! I hope there's a 5 year old Civic attached to it.

Most I've paid for an iPhone ever is $100. I did buy a brand new somethingorother android phone for my son for Christmas that altogether with Cricket ended up costing $200.
Really only $499 (Cricket deal).

A $100 or $200 phone will work just fine. Don't ever actually use an S9 or newer iPhone or try one. You might discover why sometimes better is better. :wink:

Similar: If you have a Corolla, don't ever ride in or drive a Lexus LS 500. :o
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The Wizard
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by The Wizard » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:25 pm

I had Consumer Cellular several years ago but gave up on it.
They only support actual AT&T cell towers for data. Some parts of the US have partners that AT&T roams to but with CC, you get only voice coverage, not data.

Cricket may be similar, I'm not sure.

I'd recommend Google Project Fi for cell service along with a Pixel 2 smartphone or maybe Pixel 3 if you can wait a month. Or save some bucks with one of the Moto offerings on their website.
Only the phones sold on the project Fi site will work with Project Fi, so don't buy a Samsung and expect to use it with Fi.

Fi also works internationally in a seamless manner if that matters to you...
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squirm
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by squirm » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:28 pm

Just get a moto g series phone for a fraction of the price of a Samsung.

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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by neilpilot » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:29 pm

iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:01 pm

I can easily see myself using the phone for:

GPS
traffic
weather/radar
news
watching short videos
streaming music
email
taking pictures, both casually and somewhat more seriously

(My old compact point-and-shoot was actually very good, except in low light. I expect the phone will be an upgrade in that regard. I found myself not missing the old film slr when I went digital, so I expect a quality phone camera will serve my needs well.)

taking videos

Texting and talking will likely be the least used functions.
Well my wife and I both do all of that using the LG X Charge, which cost us $1 each, no contract, when we signed up for an Xfinity Mobile promotion. But we do pay $2.75/mo each for unlimited calls and text, and a small amount of data. So I guess Comcast will eventually make a bit of money on us. :D
Last edited by neilpilot on Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Luke Duke
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by Luke Duke » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:30 pm

Others have already said it, but you could save a lot of money by getting an older phone. You may also prefer an iPhone to an Android.

mikep
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by mikep » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:32 pm

If you go with cricket, don't forget to get a $25 referral from someone who already has the service.

reddit.com/r/nocontract is another excellent site to do some research.

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wabbajack
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by wabbajack » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:37 pm

How much are you on your phone? Do you expect to spend much time learning the ins and outs?
Are you a gearhead? Do you enjoy tweaking every little setting?
If cost is not an issue, my recommendation is easy - get the iPhone. If you hurry, you may be able to find the outgoing iPhone X for $849.
This device will keep you entertained for hours, and if you ever stumble, the friendly (hippie) folks at the Apple store exist only to help.

As for service, consider T-Mobile's $50/mo prepaid plan. You'll have to be the judge of what carriers make sense where you live. People who do not live in cities tend to have to get more expensive plans because coverage is spotty in the boonies.

The iPhone gets a bad rap for being expensive, pretentious, and all that. But if you can get over the price, it really is one of the better devices out there.

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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by sunny_socal » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:53 pm

I like your plan as stated OP. IMO Android >> iPhone and if you're paying $25/month that's pretty good.

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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:58 pm

iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:52 pm
bloom2708 wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:15 pm
Cricket Wireless a $499 deal for the S9. Great plans and AT&T coverage. Pretty tough to beat on the phone itself.
bloom2708 wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:15 pm
Good luck with which ever option you choose. Total Wireless is another Verizon MVNO that has reasonable plans. I only go with Verizon or AT&T.
Thanks for the other options, bloom2708.
The $30 plan (taxes and fees included) at Cricket gets you Unlimited/Unlimited/2 GB 4g LTE data. Consumer Cellular likely adds taxes/fees to the $25 (not sure, but Total Wireless does), so quite close together for another GB of data.
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Watty
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by Watty » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:30 pm

I also converted from a tracfone flip phone a few years ago.

I don't talk a lot on the phone an one thing that surprised me was how little data I actually used. One thing to remember is that when you are at home it will use your home wifi network for the data and that helps a lot. If you can connect to wifi networks at places like work that will help the data usage too.

As long as you don't do video on the phone or stream a lot of music you might be fine with a low data usage plan. Some GPS apps use a lot more data than others so you need to check into that. I do not have facebook on my phone but I heard that it is a hog and always running and updating so that may be something to avoid unless you really want it.

In researching where to buy my first smartphone I was surprised to find that for Tracfone some of the best deals are on the Home Shopping Network website. I would never have thought of shopping there. They bundle a smartphone with a prepaid Tracfone plan.

The details of the tracfone plan vary with the model of the phone but sometime the lower end smartphones will be basically thrown in for free and you can get the bundle for about the price of years service on Tracfone.

https://www.hsn.com/shop/tracfone-cell- ... sted=false

Target regularly has tracfone refill cards on sale for 15% off so if you watch for sales you can save on that too. I never run out of talking minutes or text but I might have to do a $10 top up on my data once or twice a year. With the annual renewal and a data top up or two it costs less than $150 a year for the service. That is about $13 a month.

I don't know the current models but I got a Samsung Luna Pro(?) through them and it has worked very well for me even though it is sort of a low end phone.

One thing to check on in the reviews is how well the camera works since in the low price smartphone market some of the cameras are pretty bad. I am an amature photographer and the phone I have actually takes pretty nice snapshots. It won't replace a decent camera like some thousand dollar phones will but it is fine for pictures of the the grand kids.

Get a phone with at least 16GB that also accepts a micro SD expansion card.

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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by inbox788 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:36 pm

aristotelian wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:00 pm
Seems like overkill going from a flip phone to a state of the art flagship. Clark Howard recommends the Moto G series, which you can get in the $200 range. I have used even cheaper phones than that and have been completely satisfied. The only complaint I would have is that the cameras usually aren't good in that price range, but I don't use my phone for photography.

We have had good service with Cricket but I am trying Mint for $15/mo with 1 GB and it's been good so far (uses T Mobile network).
Agree. It's overkill. I'd suggest even smaller steps, tackling one or two functions at a time. You've made do without a smartphone for over a decade, I don't see the hurry to get caught up overnight. IMO, you'd be wasting most of the capabilities in the beginning.
iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:48 pm
...I find find myself wanting access to mobile data without relying on the presence of others, especially on the road or on the trail. I am completely oblivious to the options available to me as a single prospective user. What's more, I don't want to spend a lot of time in research mode.

So after a cursory review at Consumer Reports, this appears to be a reasonable plan of action:

► Purchase a new unlocked Samsung S9+ phone with 128 GB memory from a big box store for <$800.

► Use a no-contract Consumer Cellular plan with 1GB data/mo. for $25/mo., with the option to bump up the data limit if I find myself needing more.

Do you see anything wrong with this plan? Are there any better/cheaper options that you would recommend? (Note that as long as I'm diving into the market at this advanced age, I want to start with a state-of-the-art phone. And now that my compact point-and-shoot digital camera has worn out, this would serve that purpose as well.) Would it be possible for me to use my landline phone number for this phone? :)

I'm really looking for a basic reality check. Do you see any big flaws?
How are you using mobile data relying on others? You can't avoid some research to find out how you use the phone and what is best for your uses. There are plenty of better options depending on the use case. Chances are you won't use a lot of things you think you might use, but you won't know until you try it.

Yes, you can port your landline number, but there are several choices and complications. Are you getting rid of your landline and making your cell phone your primary number? How many contacts rely on that number? How many would be difficult to update to a new number? If it's less than a dozen personal and another dozen business contacts that use the number, a new number isn't going to be that much trouble and it's easier to be mobile/flexible with numbers. Phone numbers have become less relevant with email and social media taking over (e.g. twitter, facebook, messenger, whatsup, wechat, snapchat, skype, line, etc.)

Here's a suggestion. Minsim is a good plan for less than $200/year for 2gb/month LTE data and goes well with an unlocked iPhone, maybe an iPhone 7. And even this is more than likely more than you need for the time being.

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BL
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by BL » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:47 pm

I stuck with Tracfone when I switched to smartphone and am happy with that. I ported the number from flip-phone. I ported remaining minutes as well, so I have too many of them. I buy 1 gb every now and then for $10. Car's speaker pulls music from my phone as well as calls. I have an unlocked Moto G5 Plus, bought for under $200 during Amazon promotion last Fall. I am quite happy with it. (I started last year with a smartphone from Tracfone for under $30. Worked great for GPS in new city, but decided I wanted a bigger screen for my oId eyes.) I don't do videos yet but do use Facebook. I buy time online and costs are probably the same as above.

There should be no problem setting up another mail account; I have several.

Katietsu
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by Katietsu » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:57 pm

A few comments:
-Your plan is fine as long as the geographic coverage area works well for you.
-You should be able to set up your existing email account for access from your phone with no problem.
-I think you may have already realized it, but, in my experience, many of the suggestions for lower priced phones, $100-$200 retail or less, (Moto G, LG Charge, etc) will be disappointing as far as the photo quality. You do need to get to at least the next tier for that.

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gtownsend
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by gtownsend » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:59 pm

A great Boglehead approach would be to get Google Fi phone service with a Moto X4 Android One phone ($250 from the Fi website). This is what I have, and it is a great phone with an excellent camera. I especially like the ability to get phone service over WiFi when I'm deep inside a building. If I wanted to upgrade from excellent to superb I'd probably get a Pixel phone; Wizard said upthread that a new one is imminent.

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black jack
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by black jack » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:00 pm

Consumer Cellular is oriented toward people who don't use much data (hint: notice the age of the people in their ads). Since you don't have experience with a smartphone, you don't have a sense of how much (or little) data you will use. 1 GB a month may be more than enough. But you listed a variety of things you would use the phone for, and mentioned using it while on the road and on trails (meaning you wouldn't be able to rely on your home wifi), and some (many?) smartphone apps use data in the background even when you're not using the smartphone. With Consumer Cellular, if you go over that amount they charge you an additional amount for their next tier data plan.

You could try Consumer Cellular and see how your data usage goes, then switch to a more comprehensive plan if you find you are using enough data to make other plans more cost-effective.
We cannot absolutely prove [that they are wrong who say] that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us, and with just as much apparent reason. | -T. B. Macaulay (1800-1859)

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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by Shallowpockets » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:04 pm

We went same route as you, this spring. Got an unlocked Moto G5 Plus since it was recommended so frequently on a similiar thread here on BH. Less than $200 each. Used it in Europe with a SIM card bought there.
Now have MINT service.
You can get 7 days trial for $5 and convert to a 3 month $45 plan. Or just go straight to the 3 month, six month or year plan. We get unlimited text, calls, and 2GB 4G LTE renewed each month.
We live out west and have found that sometimes coverage is not there. Was in Rocky Mountain National Park last week and no coverage in the Park. had no coverage in Laramie, WY either. Back east may be no problem.
Going from a flip phone to a smart phone you will have a big learning curve.
At any rate what you want to use it for is just fine. Like using a tablet. Wifi is the same as using the data plan. So you will be able to learn by using your home wifi network. You don't even have to have a phone plan to start using a smart phone.
Have not dropped my home phone yet. Home phone is house phone and dropping it means putting out new numbers to everyone and even for each person in the house.
Prepaid plans will let you try out your new phone and you can see how the service is. Change if it does not meet your needs.
Oh yeah,,that data usage you will be able to view and track on a smartphone. A learning experience there. All your apps, new learning.

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iceport
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by iceport » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:18 pm

OP here...

Thank you — EVERYONE — for your thoughtful replies. I can't respond to all of you individually, but I really do appreciate your experience and detailed advice. I will carefully consider all of it!
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

epictetus
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by epictetus » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:23 pm

since you are familiar with Tracfone you could just buy a smartphone and continue using Tracfone. we recently bought a new smartphone from Tracfone for right at $100.
Focus on what you can control

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BL
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by BL » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:42 pm

epictetus wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:23 pm
since you are familiar with Tracfone you could just buy a smartphone and continue using Tracfone. we recently bought a new smartphone from Tracfone for right at $100.
+1
With an unlocked phone and no contract you can move on to another provider anytime you wish!
Way before I started using mine, I picked up a $20 Verizon one at Best Buy, mentioned here on BH, just for fun. It let me practice using a smartphone (computer) on my wifi. I bet friends have a lot of old smartphones just laying around!

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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by notinuse » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:25 pm

epictetus wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:23 pm
since you are familiar with Tracfone you could just buy a smartphone and continue using Tracfone. we recently bought a new smartphone from Tracfone for right at $100.
+2 If you're happy with Tracfone, you can port your existing account to a smartphone. I did that a few years ago, and I am using the bring your own phone program. I have a Moto E4 with a Tracfone bring your own phone SIM kit. The SIM kit costs $1. My wife is using a low end Samsung phone (Tracfone branded) that included one year of service time, plus 1200 minutes/text/MB for around $100, sometimes cheaper on sale. Check the deals on qvc.com and hsn.com. My wife's phone came from hsn.com.

GAAP
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by GAAP » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:34 pm

Do yourself a favor: walk into several stores and try different phone models. The phone you mentioned may not be the one you really like.

You don't have to buy in any particular store -- be clear that you're shopping models not service and are not planning to buy "at this time".

killjoy2012
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by killjoy2012 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:01 pm

I agree - go do some window shopping and make sure you know what you want. If you're just getting your first smartphone now, you may actually like the iPhone better than a Droid - JMO.

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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by jerryk68 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:11 pm

A related question: my primary email account is with my landline/dsl isp provider. Could I continue to use that email address easily with the phone? Or would I be required to set up a gmail account for use with the android phone?
[/quote]

A couple of questions regarding your home service? Do you get your internet service thru you phone line? Do you have cable TV or wireless internet service?

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Toons
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by Toons » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:17 pm

Straight Talk S9+ 699.00
100 off if you purchase a plan
https://shop.straighttalk.com/shop/en/s ... lsrc=aw.ds

They have several plans to choose from.

I purchased an S9 a while back.
I have the unlimited data plan for 55.00 a month.
They reserve the right to review your usage once you hit 60 gigabytes. :mrgreen:
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

inbox788
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by inbox788 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:08 pm

iceport wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:08 pm
jerryk68 wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:11 pm
A related question: my primary email account is with my landline/dsl isp provider. Could I continue to use that email address easily with the phone? Or would I be required to set up a gmail account for use with the android phone?
A couple of questions regarding your home service? Do you get your internet service thru you phone line? Do you have cable TV or wireless internet service?
Yes and yes. Both! What app are you talking about? A cell phone today is more handheld computer than telephone. And you will find e-mail less and less relevant. Still, you may want to stick to one email for simplicity. Now may be a good time to untether yourself from your ISP dependency in case you want to cancel some day.

You can use gmail app or any of dozens of other mail apps and use either or both email accounts. Your gmail account will be needed for the play store (where you get apps).

gold99xx
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by gold99xx » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:16 pm

The new iPhones just came out, they have a pretty great camera. Also, you will help the SP 500, Dow and TSM by purchasing a new iPhone!!
They also can do everything you need, and then some!

Saving$
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by Saving$ » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:40 pm

1. S9 is overkill. Get a good Moto for about $250. Then you don't need to worry so much about what happens if you drop or damage the phone. The G5 works on any network so you can go from Verizon to Att to Sprint to Tmob (or any of their MVNO's)

2. Don't ditch the landline and merge it into your cell. It is good to have 2 numbers. There are many things now days that REQUIRE a phone number (ie ordering something online) and if your cell is the only number you have to give, you will be inundated with spam calls. Keep the landline and port it to a google voice line eventually.

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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:45 pm

Well, I didn't read all the responses. My Father (age 70) recently did the same- moving from a flip phone to a smartphone. You don't need an $800 or $900 phone. A $250 phone will be completely sufficient. There are many that fit the bill, but I would stick with major brands (I got my Father a Motorola).

As to plans, you will probably use more data than you think over the long run. I prefer prepaid plans. They are cheaper. I have used StraightTalk, Cricket, MintSim and all the major carrier other than Verizon (expensive). I am currently on MintSim - $250 for a year, 5gb data.

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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:49 pm

gtownsend wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:59 pm
A great Boglehead approach would be to get Google Fi phone service with a Moto X4 Android One phone ($250 from the Fi website). This is what I have, and it is a great phone with an excellent camera. I especially like the ability to get phone service over WiFi when I'm deep inside a building. If I wanted to upgrade from excellent to superb I'd probably get a Pixel phone; Wizard said upthread that a new one is imminent.
My comments on this would be it is great if you use not too much data. It is also great if you travel a lot, as you can use the data in most countries at no additional charge. Like Xfinity Mobile, if you use a lot of data, it isn't such a great deal.

mouses
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by mouses » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:51 pm

The Wizard wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:25 pm
I had Consumer Cellular several years ago but gave up on it.
They only support actual AT&T cell towers for data. Some parts of the US have partners that AT&T roams to but with CC, you get only voice coverage, not data.
I have Consumer Cellular based on AT&T (they have Tmobile as an option.) I use my phone over a fairly large area of New England without problems. If it is currently true about the data comment above, it looks from AT&Ts coverage map that you have to be out West somewhere to not have AT&T cell towers readily accessible.

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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by OnTrack » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:18 am

The Wizard wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:25 pm
Fi also works internationally in a seamless manner if that matters to you...
Although not every country or territory is included in Project FI. Currently, there are 170 countries on the Project FI website and some of are not really independent countries such as Hong Kong. The UN has 193 member states and if areas under jurisdiction of other countries are counted (such as Aruba which is not on the Project FI list) there are (by at least one count) 247 countries.

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: My Very First Smartphone — Please Critique This Plan

Post by FrugalInvestor » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:39 am

I haven't read the entire thread but noticed that Google Fi has been mentioned. It's a great service that both my wife and I use. The first user is $25/month (second is $15/month) plus actual data used at $10/Gb. We use data when we need it but we're mindful of not using it unnecessarily when we're away from wifi (the Fi phones typically default to wifi for data and calls when possible). By doing this we typically use only $2-$3 of data per month each unless we're traveling and even then we may use $5 or so each.

I'd also suggest checking out the Moto G6 phone currently on special for $199 (plus a $50 service credit - net $149).
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

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