Seeking a new cellular phone and plan

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I am in the market for a new phone. To date, I have used prepaid pay-as-you-go plans and dumb, non-data phones for as long as I have had cellular service. Now, as I begin my career in the military (I graduate from tech school in May) and will be having prospective employers contacting me in the coming says (I am in the Air Guard), I find that I need to upgrade my cellular aptitude.

When I come off training orders later this year, it is likely that I will be employed as a technician, needing dependable cellular service that can receive plentiful texts and electronic schematics/specification sheets (via email?). On the personal side, there is an "app" in which I can take a photo of a bar code and learn the prices of the product at surrounding businesses through the phone. That would be helpful to have access to. I'm not a big tech guy - I prefer simple to having lots of "bells & whistles" - but if I can find an app that makes life easier (thus I will use it often), a phone capable to have such a feature would be helpful.

I loath spending money, however, which is why I won't just buy a random $300 smart phone at the Px. I would prefer to buy a phone that is older (thus cheaper) and is already unlocked so it can be utilized on a variety of different networks (should I need to change providers). Online, customers rave about the Nexus, iPhone, even the upcoming HTC One (which has a current $100 off promotion) - is either "superior" to the others for any significant reason (like longest battery life)? Also, what is a good approach to purchasing a phone at a discounted rate (but without a contract since the phone is unlocked)?

Being a penny pincher, I am tempted to try Lycamobile's pay-as-you-go plan. Otherwise, Platinum Tel's $40 unlimited everything plan is enticing given the slick deals half-off code (which can be bought multiple times in separate transactions and is good for as many months as were purchased...so I'm told). What other plans are available that are reasonably priced? Apart from Republic Wireless' unlimited everything for $20/month plan (restricted to using an overpriced Motorola Defy XT handset), all unlimited plans (with data) seem to cost $50/month (over $600 annually), which is madness.

All thoughts and recommendations are appreciated.

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You're probably not going to get to many input (famous last words, like mission accomplished) but here is my take anyway. The verdict is pretty much out that the Pay as you go $30 unlimited data 100 minute talk plan is the way to go for most penny pinching technophiles that are savvy on both the tech and the money front. That's the plan I'd be on were it not for the fact that I flipped a Nexus 4 for a decent profit after all costs primarily due to a free Galaxy Note 2 offered from TMo to keep me on contract on the post paid side another 2 years. Ironic that this was offered only a few months before they went prepaid only but who am I to argue...

GWBush: $30 unlimited data is very attractive, but what about the costs for overage voice minutes? I will easily go over 1,000 per month between calling my family out-of-state and my future employer. Most pay-as-you-go plans offer 4-5 cents per minute, which is the lowest one can get outside of Lycamobile's 2-cent/minute (but Lycamobile's data is dreadfully slow). Is the plan you speak of T-Mobile? How intuitive is the Galaxy vs. Nexus (or does it indeed depend on the individual models?

After discovering an online promotion, I have decided to switch to Ptel $50/mo unlimited plan. Now all I need is a reliable unlocked gsm that can work on a prepaid network. I was looking into the Samsung Galaxy S III, but being a 4G, it won't work on prepaid.

Any suggestions?

If it's not too late, have you looked into GoSmart Mobile from TMobile?
https://www.gosmartmobile.com/
It's $35/month for unlimited talk, unlimited text and unlimited 2G data.

KayK: GoSmart isn't a bad option based on those stats; however, I was able to get Ptel for under $20 per month for unlimited voice, text, and 4G. Can't beat that package.

I am now seeking an appropriate smartphone. From my haunts in the forums, a general consensus that one needs a 1.5 GHz processor in order to operate at a decent speed. Is this true? Also, is 16 GB RAM also expected in a solid smartphone?

I really like the Pantech Flex, but I can't find a single unit for sale unlocked AND new. Without a contract from AT&T, a locked phone is $449 - that's outrageous for an obsolete model. I am not sure that this phone accepts 1700 AND 2100 data bands, however. I need both in order to receive data on Ptel.

Thanks, Solomon960 and KayK. We want to switch from our contract carrier to prepaid and were not previously aware of the two companies you mentioned

How about the Google LG Nexus 4......$299 for the 8 gig. GSM.........

What is the difference in operationality between 8GB and 16GB? From my reviews of phones online, there seems to be developing a consensus that anything less than 16GB is unacceptable (why I wouldn't know since I've never owned a smart phone to date).

If a phone's listed bands reads "GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 (Quadband) HSPA+ 850/1900," does that mean that it cannot receive bands 1700 AND 2100?

Solomon960 said:   If a phone's listed bands reads "GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 (Quadband) HSPA+ 850/1900," does that mean that it cannot receive bands 1700 AND 2100?Correct

I would also suggest the Nexus 4 for $299.
Since it's a pentaband phone, you'll get the highest data speeds with both AT&T and TMobile MNVO's

Several members have recommended the Nexus 4. Is there only one model or multiple? If only one, my visit to google.play confirmed that it receives both 1700 & 2100 bands. The 16 GB goes for $349 while the 8 GB is $299. What is the trade-off between the two different ROM values?

Solomon960 said:   Several members have recommended the Nexus 4. Is there only one model or multiple? If only one, my visit to google.play confirmed that it receives both 1700 & 2100 bands. The 16 GB goes for $349 while the 8 GB is $299. What is the trade-off between the two different ROM values?

The 8 or 16 GB refers to the storage space on the phone. The Nexus doesn't have a removable storage option--no micro SD slot, so you will have to
store all of your aps, email, etc on whatever memory is left over after the OS install.

The Nexus 4 has 2 GB of RAM.

You can't go wrong with the Nexus 4 with your budget.

LongDongSilver said:   You can't go wrong with the Nexus 4 with your budget.

Sound idea.



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