What Smartphone and plan is best?

Laptops, PDAs, Cell Phones, and all other tech that you carry with you.

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What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 01, 2011 10:54 am

I've been out of touch with phone tech for years now and haven't paid any attention to it. My current contract is up Dec. 6th. I've read some forum threads here and it seems like a Nexus or Galaxy S 2 phone would be a good choice, or even an Apple of some kind. My current carrier is Verizon but I sure would like to drop them like a hot rock because of the lousy service and gorilla tactics used on me and my family to try and change our contract, which we haven't (we currently have a totally unlimited family plan they used to offer years ago but realized their error and dissolved about as long ago). I love their coverage tho, its the best I've ever had.

I would like a family plan with 4 phones (three smart, one not smart, whatever you call that). I would like the phones to have 2GB data and unlimited messaging. My main concern is monthly cost. Currently we are paying $145 for unlimited everything, but Verizon is screwing us over to get us off that plan. I'm thinking its going to be over $200 a month for 4 phones with those things which is ok.

What's the best phone/family plan out there? What's the best way to sign up: wirefly, the carrier store, the carrier online page, or other?
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:21 am

At ATT family plans go like this:

700 - $69.99
1400 - $89.99
2100 - $109.99
Unlimited -$119.99

Those are prices for first two lines. Each additional line would be +9.99/month.

Family Unlimited Messaging is 30/month.

Data for smartphones is 15/200MB or 25/2GB.

My brother, sister, and I are on a 1400 minute plan all with unlimited messaging and data at VZW. We pay about 80 each a month. It actually works out pretty well. (we were lucky enough to have our unlimited data grandfathered in)
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:29 am

Buy a Windows phone! I'm not joking. Love 'em. I've got one line on my work account that I could upgrade to a Titan but I decided to wait until next year when Windows phone will support 720p displays.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:50 am

As far as the major carriers go, I think that Verizon actually has the best service (so does Consumer Reports customers, BTW), although it sounds like your experience has not been as good. Hope you have better luck somewhere else.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:59 am

cjcerny wrote:As far as the major carriers go, I think that Verizon actually has the best service (so does Consumer Reports customers, BTW), although it sounds like your experience has not been as good. Hope you have better luck somewhere else.


I wasn't sure if he meant customer service or phone service.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:04 pm

Go contract-free.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:50 pm

I am tossing another suggestion for buying a WP7 (Windows Phone). After seeing/using my phone almost my entire family and several friends have jumped to WP7. It's powerful, fast, less problematic than Android and (somewhat) iPhone. I have been using a Samsung Focus for almost a year now and with the exception of two games that I play that are buggy has never crashed, needed the battery pulled or had any issues ever.

Games are fantastic and social integration is without a doubt better than any other mobile os out there.

I'm not sure if the deal is still active but Bestbuy has the Titan (big phone as the name suggests) on sale for free with contract. It's an amazing phone. If you want something smaller there is the Focus S, Focus Flash or on other carrier phones like the Radar or whatever..


Anyways, that's enough gushing about WP7 - go give it a try :)
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:44 pm

DancinJack wrote:
cjcerny wrote:As far as the major carriers go, I think that Verizon actually has the best service (so does Consumer Reports customers, BTW), although it sounds like your experience has not been as good. Hope you have better luck somewhere else.


I wasn't sure if he meant customer service or phone service.



No, like I said I love Verizon's coverage, its the best I've ever had, but their customer support, at least to us, has been hiddious. I havent really though about Win OS. I might have to check it out.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:08 pm

I was referring to Verizon's customer service--not their coverage--as well. Again, individual experiences vary. All the major carriers have decent phones to choose from and they are all pretty close in price. You shouldn't base your choice on a particular phone unless you are in love with a very particular model. If your goal is to get better service, or a better price, look at the small regional guys like U.S. Cellular and Revol. They may not serve your area but, if they do, they typically offer better deals.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:18 pm

I've never had any problems with VZW customer service. I rarely have problems with the bill, and since I'm a "techy" I can figure out most things that go wrong with my devices. Either way, I think their CS is fine.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:27 pm

A T-mobile family plan can be dirt cheap...

1000 shared mins + unlimited text for 4 lines
No phone subsidy (value plan): $60 for 2 lines + $5 x 2 additional lines + $10 x 3 for 2GB data = $100 / month
Phone subsidy (classic plan): $80 for 2 lines + $10 x 2 additional lines + $20 x 3 for 2GB data = $160 / month
$60 x 24 = $1440 over 2 years...

And of course doesn't count activation.

Depends on your exact needs... How many minutes do you need? Are you okay with buying phones outright? Etc.

Also, who knows what'll happen if the AT&T merger goes through (though that looks like it'll be rejected right now).
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:54 am

I've played with several different Android phones that my wife has brought home (she works for a major carrier). I really dig the Galaxy S phones -- very well made, if that's your orientation.

But when it comes to spending my own money, the iPhone has the most polish and Just Works more than anything else; I gladly went for the iPhone 4S upgrade, and haven't been sorry.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:16 pm

Looks like I'm going with Sprint. They still have the truely unlimited plan and because of where my daughter works she gets some kind of hella discount for the family unlimited plan. Now I have to decide if I want to fork out the bux for a galaxy S 2. Since Sprint is still truely unlimited I want something that can stream netflix. I think that means I have to choose the galaxy s 2 but at $200 with contract I'm not sure thats doable. :( They have an HTC Evo 3D for $49 that specs wise looks good. Will that stream netflix? Or the Samsung Conquer 4G is free? Does anyone know? Thanks
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:27 am

I switched from Sprint to Verizon in July and haven't been happier. Sprint's unlimited data plan is decent if you're around any WiMAX (their current "4G") towers, I was averaging any where from 3-8 Mbps. However, if you're not able to get WiMAX, then you're going to be dealing with a terribly slow connection. Since I switched to Verizon right before they did away with their unlimited data plans, I was grandfathered in and I'm enjoying ridiculous speeds on their LTE network. If you're going to be using less than 2GB of data month (or 4GB if you sign up for their double data special), then you might seriously consider Verizon. You might end up paying around $20/month more than you would on Sprint, but it's money well spent in my opinion.

To answer your other question, the EVO 3D is a really good phone and will stream Netflix with no problems if you're on Wi-Fi or WiMAX, but might have problems if you're stuck on their 3G network. One thing to think about is that the novelty of having a 3D capable phone might wear off quickly. I would skip it and the Samsung Conquer in favor of their Samsung Galaxy S II if you can come up with the extra money. It might be $150 more than the EVO 3D, but it's by far a superior phone.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:20 am

I got my hands on the Galaxy Nexus and it was too big for me so I purchased a iPhone 4S just yesterday. Should get it by Friday. (Was upgrading from a nokia n86).
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:52 pm

I've got a Galaxy Nexus (VZW version) reserved for tomorrow. Finally getting off this OG droid.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Wed Dec 14, 2011 6:19 pm

I am pleased with my Sammy GS2 and one thing I have noticed, YMMV, is that because I have wireless in my house I use much less carrier data on my plan than I would have thought. Just don't commit to a huge data plan,you may not need it.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:21 pm

Shinare wrote: My current carrier is Verizon but I sure would like to drop them like a hot rock because of the lousy service and gorilla tactics used on me ..............


Exactly why I left them.........then they acted snide telling me "you'll be back; everyone comes back." WRONG!

I went with a Sprint family plan with Evos/Epics, but 12+ months later and no 4G service in the Detroit area made me feel like I got cheated, so I dumped them too.

Usacomp2k3 wrote:Go contract-free.


Exactly. They can only keep you with good service, not crappy contracts.


MetroPcs was the first carrier with 4G LTE in our area......2-5 megs is what I get which is a 1/3 of what I hear Verizon can do, but more then enough for me.
I have unlimited everything and could not be happier.

I know its not available everywhere, but where it is, you should check it out.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:41 am

I'm in Canada so I can't comment on the carriers, but I can throw an enthusiastic vote behind the Windows Phone 7. It's UI is top notch, it's fast, smooth, never had it crash on me yet, clean and not clunky and very enjoyable to use.

Plus, it's the underdog and I like supporting the underdog*. Feels kinda weird saying Microsoft is the underdog.


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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:45 am

If you want the best of the best, get the Samsung Galaxy Note.

After using it for about a week, other phones make me laugh.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:51 am

BoBzeBuilder wrote:If you want the best of the best, get the Samsung Galaxy Note.

After using it for about a week, other phones make me laugh.


That thing is too large. Otherwise, it is pretty sweet.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:30 am

DancinJack wrote:
BoBzeBuilder wrote:If you want the best of the best, get the Samsung Galaxy Note.

After using it for about a week, other phones make me laugh.


That thing is too large. Otherwise, it is pretty sweet.


Well, I bought it mainly for the size. Depends on your preference I suppose.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:08 pm

DancinJack wrote:That thing is too large. Otherwise, it is pretty sweet.



...................................that's what she said.



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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:15 pm

I'm going to play devil's advocate and suggest looking into blackberry curves for at least a few of your family members

They aren't as fancy or app-heavy as Android or iPhone, I get you. Theyre also nowhere near as powerful.
However they can still surf the net quickly enough (though no touchscreen unless you opt for a bold), they have a very nice keyboard, and their battery lasts more than a day if you forget to plug it in. They're also fairly rugged if any of your family is on the younger or more clumsy side.
More on point the handset is dirt cheap compared to something like the S2, especially if you go no contract (which I'd reccomend)
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:37 pm

I've had the Nexus for about two hours now. Even this feels huge compared to my OG Droid.

ICS is so much better than GB. Everything is so smooth and well composed. Really enjoying this so far.

Also the 4G LTE is pretty awesome. With one bar I got 10 down and 6 up.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:33 pm

Gonna put in another vote for the WP7. If you wanna go with cheap but good WP7 phones, get the Samsung Focus at AT&T. I think they're $50 each with a $50 monthly plan. They update flawlessly to the new mango update (WP 7.5).

I lucked out with mine. Bought mine partially used from a coworker for $60 and had him SIM unlock it from AT&T. I pay $30/month for 1500 minutes (or texts) and 30MB of data on T-Mobile (no contract). I can't use 3G with T-mobile's network, but I don't use data much outside of wi-fi anyway. The 30MB free is nice though for when I need to look something up and I'm nowhere near Wi-Fi.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:10 pm

Just a quick update after having my phones for 2 weeks now. My daughter and I both got the Evo 3D's and my wife got the Evo Shift (because she wanted a qwerty keyboard slider.

I cannot be happier with my Evo 3D. Its flawless in its execution of everything I've thrown at it. Streams Netflix without a problem, every game runs great with the exception of "Hanging with Friends" which causes a force close every now and then. Everything is smoooooth as silk. It has Android 2.3.4 on it but "early next year" Sprint will be pushing out "Ice Cream Sandwich" to all current gen phones, mine included. Honestly, I'm not sure what that will do for me since I really like the HTC Sense 3 anyway so I may see no difference as I do not plan to root my phone. My wife's "Shift" on the other hand feels a little chunky both in the hand as well as the "user experience". Its not anywhere near as smooth with things, and opening anything on it takes some amount of time (a few seconds or more). Maybe the upgrade to ICS will do it some good?

The first day I had my Evo 3D it hard locked up (completely froze) causing a battery pull about 5 times whereas my daughter's 3D had no problems. I took it back to Sprint, they gave me absolutely no hassle, swapped out the phone and all my stuff I had already put on it with a new one, and its been working great ever since. After reading more about my phone I found out that its one of the first phones that you can "3 finger salute" to restart it, without having to pull the battery. Just press and hold the power button, and the volume up and down buttons (as they are actually separate buttons), holding all three down for a while will reset the device, even from a "hard lock".

The feature that I absolutely can not get over in it's awesomeness is (not sure what its actually called) the speech to text. There is a google bar on one of my home screens with a mic on it. I press on the mic and say what I'm searching for and 99% of the time it exactly transcribes my speech onto the search bar. The same with composing texts. And its almost instantaneous in its transcription. Maybe 1-2 seconds of "Processing" to convert to text.

For the purchase of the phones and plan I went to a Sprint "corporate store" rather than a privately owned "Sprint Store". I have to say that I've changed carriers several times and I've never had an experience as nice as this one. The young lady helping us was very nice. Even though the whole process to move us from Verizon to Sprint took almost 2 hours it was a pleasurable experience and she was very knowledgeable in the process. Even moving our contacts and everything over from our old Verizon phones to the new phones was flawless using a small machine they had there. Three smart phones and a "feature phone" with unlimited everything family plan (1500 anytime minutes which will never get used) after discount will be around $180 per month including taxes and fees. I say not bad, not great, but not bad.

Now the downside. Sprint no longer is pursuing WiMAX as their 4G service and, as such has, for some time now, halted expansion. There is little 4G service in my area, just some speckled coverage which I assume are places (like Target) that have a WiMAX antenna of their own. I say this because sitting in the Target parking lot, to my surprise, I had a single "bar" of 4G coverage, but no where else. So I assume that there may be places that have it but its not like all over the city. Because they are going to 4G LTE like everyone else, there is some speculation that current 4G phones will not be compatible with LTE period, and so will never have "4G". Others say that with a software upgrade newer phones (current generation and up) like the Evo 3D will be but it will be years before they get any kind of 4G LTE coverage anyway. So basically I'm paying for 4G but I only have a 3G phone.

So basically, I'm really happy with my phone and Sprint with the exception of not having 4G coverage.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:00 am

Surpised no one mentioned Virgin Mobile. They have an unlimited data plan for about $35 bucks. Great plan but you won't get the latest and greatest phones.
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Re: What Smartphone and plan is best?

Postposted on Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:57 am

Shinare wrote:I would like a family plan with 4 phones (three smart, one not smart, whatever you call that). I would like the phones to have 2GB data and unlimited messaging. My main concern is monthly cost. Currently we are paying $145 for unlimited everything, but Verizon is screwing us over to get us off that plan. I'm thinking its going to be over $200 a month for 4 phones with those things which is ok.

What's the best phone/family plan out there? What's the best way to sign up: wirefly, the carrier store, the carrier online page, or other?


By your statement, I take it that you don't have major issues with data use. If you are even close, you might put some value into your current data plans. With 4G data rates, usage could go up.

Also, talk to people you know about signal and coverage in your area. After all, different carries to have differing coverage and you need to prioritize having a working phone.

For me, personally, I just went to VZW with a Motorola Bionic for myself and 1 texting phone. I really like Android...far better than iOS in my opinion (I have an iPad for work), but that's a personal opinion. I also happen to like the lighter modern version of Blur that Moto is using atop Android better than Samsung's TouchWiz or HTC's Sense. My strong recommendation: go to a store and look at the phones in person. After all, you've got to be reasonably happy with them for 2 years!

I got my phones and plan through Amazon wireless during one of their recent penny sales. You can definitely save some money -- if you are sure of your phone selections -- by not going through the carrier story. I paid activation ($35/phone) + 2 cents for two phones. Right now, I have 700 minutes and individual text plans...because with free in network messaging -- and a lot of friends are with VZW because of coverage in my area -- I will never go over the limit and two phones don't warrant the cost of the unlimited Family messaging. If I added two phones, two data plans, and it would be something like $220 (I've got a discount through my company that I'm trying to back out in my head).

If you've got a data plan in your old Grandfathered plan, you might consider buying phones that are not subsidized...depending on what you want...and maintaining your old plan. It is easy enough to crunch the numbers. I've done that before until AT&T, my previous carrier, flatly stopped offering my grandfathered plan.
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