Simultaneous Voice & Data is a MUST

Frustration abounds for Sprint customers. Still in January of 2017 Sprint, who would like to be considered one of the big players in mobile for the US still uses some antiquated technology. Through my investigation and research it is a widely known fact that Sprint customers can NOT utilize data like surfing the web, sending iMessages or uploading pictures while they are on the phone.

As I call out Sprint on this shortcoming lest we forget the company they are within 1% of (according to Sprint commercials) Verizon doesn’t support voice and data either on many of their older phones.

Sprint though is the center of my disgust today because as far as I can tell even their newest devices don’t support voice and data. Research shows me that this is a hardware issue on the side of the consumer, Sprint doesn’t purchase phones that have the correct antenna array. Additionally Sprint doesn’t offer Voice Over LTE yet which is the other key piece, this is on the infrastructure side. I could be wrong about either part of this, Sprint doesn’t like to publish much data about their shortcomings.

From experiences of the people I interviewed about this they are all frustrated. One a general contractor let’s call Andrew, can’t send pictures or videos to his customers showing updates to work he’s done while he’s on the phone with them. Andrew wants to show the owner of the piece of property the headway he’s making on a remodel but can’t because Spring doesn’t support being on a phone call and using a data plan at the same time. Nathan a Hollywood businessman and another Sprint customer can’t send or receive emails or iMessages while on the phone with his business partner. They found a hack which is having to talk over FaceTime Voice which is using data so he can then receive text/email.

The funny thing is both gentlemen want to leave Sprint specifically for this reason but they’ve both been customers for so many years that they feel some sort of obligation to suffer. This is a crazy antiquated notion in my opinion and it’s time to jump ship and get on a carrier that allows them to use their phones to their fullest capacity.

What do you think? Are  you a Sprint or Verizon customer who doesn’t want to leave out of loyalty? Have you already jumped ship and gone to a different carrier?

Samsung Galaxy S7 Active Review

I was very excited when AT&T asked me to join them at Hurricane Harbor to “test” the recently launched (yup, I’m very late to publish this) Samsung Galaxy S7 Active.
We were a small group at the water park but we made a big splash. Thank you AT&T for the fun day and the oppourtunity to review this phone.

The water park was fun but fast forward 2 months (see how late this really is…) and I took a family vacation with my wife and 2 kids. We went to Hawaii and spent a week being tourists. Every day we were swimming, snorkeling or just being lazy in the water. I am an iPhone guy, it has it’s benefits for me personally but I was using the Samsung Galaxy S7 Active a lot during this vacation. I took it into the ocean to play in the surf, the pool taking underwater selfies with my kids and videos of them on the hotels water slide and I even took it snorkeling, where I new it wasn’t very deep so if I dropped it I could retrieve it. That’s my one compliant about the phone, it needs to have the ability to attach a wrist strap or something like that.

Now to talk about the other details… It’s not small, it’s not thin and it’s not graceful but darn it this thing was amazing. I loved knowing I had a rugged phone in my pocket, not my dainty iPhone. The Active felt good in the hand, the battery lasted the day while I was using it for maps, keeping on top of my email and taking a LOT of pictures/videos.
For me having 1 device that was my phone and camera is great but it’s what most people expect in this day and age and Samsung didn’t disappoint. I’m not a camera aficionado but I think the Active takes better pictures then my iPhone 6S in that the colors pop more. I don’t know if that’s the phone enhancing the pictures for me but I don’t care, I was taking pictures underwater.
That’s it, it’s a Samsung Android phone, big whoop but it is if you have kids or live an active lifestyle. I’ve reviewed LifeProof cases before and they are great but there’s nothing like having a phone built to be tough. If you are a weekend warrior or have kids who seem to spill liquids or drop your phone then this phone is for you.
The holidays are coming and I can promise you that I would be stoked to get one of these as a gift. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Active is exclusive to AT&T so go get it there.

LG G5 Automatically Shows You Incoming Messages On The Lock Screen

LG G5The LG G5 I’m playing with today from AT&T  is a monumental android phone for me. I’m serious. I’m an iPhone user for many reasons including the fact that the iPhone screen lights up and shows you part of the new email, sms or any other alert on the home screen without ever having to unlock the phone or pick it up in your hand.

For years one of my many complaints about Android in general was the fact that I couldn’t read even the subject of an email or the first few words of an SMS when it would arrive and the phone was locked. Problem solved with LG’s newest flagship phone the G5. Besides having a removable battery and a microSD card slot which puts it above the newest Samsung the G5 is my newest favorite Android.

Now what is this new Advanced Messaging on the G5? Something about read receipts.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Is Still Solid But We’re Waiting To See the S7

Samsung Galaxy S7 WaterproofWith the Samsung Galaxy S7 just being released there have been a ton of commercials online and on TV which have convinced me to do more than play with the S6. I used the AT&T Galaxy S6 all weekend and have been really enjoying the experience.

Samsung missed a few things with the S6 that have been covered to no end, lack of replaceable battery and memory. That being said everything else about the phone is right on. I’ve really enjoyed the feel of the phone but more than that I am in LOVE with the camera. This thing is quick and with the pro settings available to the user it is taking things to the next level. Some people believe it over corrects the color but many others appreciate not having to do any post production work on the shots.

As a whole, the S6 is still a solid camera and phone but everybody including myself is super excited to see what the S7 brings to the masses. With the Summer coming being water repellent is a BIG deal. Will it beat the iPhone 6S camera and it’s predecessor the Galaxy S6? We’ll have to wait and see.

Pick The Carrier That Works Where You Need It The Most

how-to-switch-carriersI continually get asked about switching carriers from friends and family.  Sometimes I suggest they switch sometimes I don’t. These days people want the nicest iPhone or Android but still have the mentality the carriers evoked from us years ago, trying to get the phone for free or really discounted. Carriers are desperately offering hundreds of dollars in bill credits and a few might even still be offering cash for you to jump ship and break your legally binding contract with your current carrier. Forget the legally binding bit, who in their right mind doesn’t want the newest, shiniest and most technologically advanced phone available? If you’re reading this I know you do. And the second tier carriers are boasting how they’ll deeply discount your bill and give you unlimited everything, so come on jump ship… Still here? Good, this is what you need to consider first.

  1. Where do you spend a bulk of your time?
  2. Where else do you spend most of the rest of your time?
  3. Can you live with sub par reception when you’re at the above mentioned locations?
  4. Does your carrier support WiFi calling and is WiFi available at the above mentioned locations?

So what are your answers? Home, work, a certain special friends house? Maybe in some peoples case it’s in the car or on a plane.

Let’s just go with home and work for the moment and fill in the blanks for yourself if my examples don’t align with yours. So which carrier yours or the one you’re considering jumping to have the best service at home and at work? In my case it’s AT&T and only AT&T.

Now lets remember a few things, the newest iPhones and probably Androids from AT&T and T-Mobile both support WiFi calling. Sprint may also support it and I think Verizon will soon (remembering soon is relative). So is there WiFi at home and at your office? If yes then do you need great service? Or do you just need great WiFi coverage at your home and office? I don’t write about wireless routers because I’m not interested in them so I’m going to just assume everyone is like me with a strong WiFi signal in their house and office.

Let’s get to the conclusion of this post before I hit 500 words. If you want to switch go ahead but make sure you can make calls, send messages and use the internet on your phone where you need to the most, whether it be over your carriers 4G (cellular data connection) or WiFi. A brand new fancy phone is only as good as it’s connection to the outside world so make sure it works well where you need it to.

Short AT&T Samsung Galaxy S6 Review

Samsung Galaxy S6 IMG_4359Wow, just wow. I do not say that very often any more about devices. Phones lately have become pretty utilitarian to me. That was until I got my hands on the new AT&T Samsung Galaxy S6.

This new flagship from Samsung has been a real pleasure for me over the last few weeks. For starters, Android has nearly caught up in terms of apps and beauty of those apps. They still are not as sleek as iOS apps but they’ve come a long way.

Looks wise it is a sleek, skinny and small in comparison to other current top models. In fact it feels pretty darn good in my hand, maybe even better than the iPhone 6. It does not feel TOO thin or that I’m always going to drop it like another phone I just mentioned. Oddly the bottom of the Samsung Galaxy S6 looks like a knockoff of the iPhone 6. It’s pretty disappointing to me that they look so similar. In fact the entire silver rim around the S6 looks nearly identical to the iPhone 6, it’s just missing the mute switch (which I LOVE).

Now to the camera. Oh the camera, it is a dream. For someone like me who mostly takes pictures of my kids, sunsets and activities I’m able to capture them all, quickly and with great vivid color. In so far as the testing I’ve done already I adore this camera more than the iPhone 6. It’s not even a close race, take a look at the picture I posted and the better pic is from the SGS6, no need to even label them. No one tell my wife I posted these pics, she won’t be happy.

Now a few things that I don’t like about this phone. My biggest pet peeve right now is that the fingerprint reader works maybe 1 out of 6 times. It helps a little that I put my finger print in twice. I recorded into the phone as 2 different prints which seemed to make it work maybe 20% more often. This is the biggest disappointment I have with the phone especially because Samsung Pay is going to rely on it for quick transactions. If Samsung can’t fix this there is really no point in launching their opponent to Apple Pay. My other big issue is with Android in general. I place my phone on my desk sometimes in a stand when sitting and I like to see notifications come across the screen. For some reason Android has not added the ability to have the screen light up and show me what the new message is that just arrived. Oooh, it has a blinking blue light to tell me a message has come in, great, I get about 100 email a day, who knows how many text and WhatsApp messages don’t get me started on Facebook and Twitter. I don’t want to just know I got a message, I want to see what that new message is, at least who it is from and the subject of it if it’s an email. It’s 2015 Android, let’s make this an option already.

Thank you to AT&T and the nice folks in their LA office who were kind enough to lend me the Samsung Galaxy S6. I don’t like to pump up AT&T all the time because they let me review phones but because theirs is the only cell phone service that works in my house. Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint don’t even come close, I’m not able to make calls in my home/office whereas AT&T has 5 full bars. Calls don’t drop, I can hear people clearly and their internet speeds are comparable to my terrestrial high speed internet.

All in all if anybody is looking for their next Android phone I highly suggest getting the Samsung Galaxy S6, it may not be the most rugged or have the best battery life but it sure takes great pictures.

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs. iPhone 6 camera test

Samsung Is Doing What Apple Couldn’t, Samsung Pay Will Work At 90% Of POS CC Machines Thanks to LoopPay

Samsung-Pay-oficialFamily, friends, CEO’s and parents at my kids school always ask me what was exciting at MWC this year.  By Monday morning, the first day of MWC, I’m pretty sure I have already seen what is going to be the biggest and most important announcement of Mobile World Congress 2015 and instead of stringing you along I’ll just tell you , it’s Samsung Pay.

Samsung announced their new Galaxy S6 and S6 edge Monday morning (read my Galaxy S5 review here) and part of the keynote covered one of it’s newest features. Samsung Pay is clearly Samsung’s answer to Apple Pay and on the surface it looks so much better.  Both services let you go shopping and pay with your credit card but without the plastic in hand.  They use any number of wireless radios but that probably doesn’t matter to you.  It doesn’t matter to the average consumer what radio or how your credit card number is kept secure.  What I’m going to tell them and I want to share with you is that Samsung Pay works at 90% of credit card terminals around the US according to Electronics VP for Product Strategy and Marketing Team Justin Denison.

20150127samsung_paySo what does all this mean?  Well for me and many others, it means Target, CVS and Trader Joe’s along with thousands of other businesses will likely accept Samsung Pay.  No more need to carry credit cards everywhere you and I go.  It seems as if Samsung is doing what Apple could not and that is putting mobile payments into the pockets of everybody using their newest devices.  Apple Pay only works on a handful of places I patronize, though Samsung Pay should work at all of them.

I am really looking forward to getting my hands on the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (it comes standard on the S6 as well) to test out the new service.  I’m happily surprised Samsung is doing exactly what Apple could not by purchasing LoopPay and incorporating it’s technology into their phones in a matter of months.  Though I am concerned how many more years are we going to be able to swipe credit cards utilizing the magnetic stripe versus using the chip that will be taken by most credit card terminals by the end of the year.

I hope Samsung just one upped Apple and will beat them at mobile payments.  Now I just need to know how soon AT&T will have the new Galaxy S6 phones. By the way I think the S6 edge in white is for me. What about you?

Blu And Low Cost Phones Will Gain Popularity This Year

(null)I get the feeling handset maker Blu is going to make some waves in 2015. We can all see what Xiaomi is doing and it’s paving the way for other phones to make a splash. Blu a handset maker out of Florida has been on my radar for a while now and last year at CTIA they really caught my attention with their super thin super sexy flagship Android phone. I don’t remember what it’s called and it doesn’t matter because in 2015 we are going to hear a lot more from them.

People around the world are tired of paying a significant portion of their paycheck to buy a new smartphone, it’s not an engagement ring and you’re not marrying your phone. Baby boomers for example are making their way on to a fixed income and adding another $30/month x 2 phones for 20 months would affect that income. So a Blu phone that does everything that $600 phone does for 1/3 the price will seem pretty appealing.

Anyways, Blu is well known in South America and I think with the right marketing and PR it could really make a dent in North America over the next few years. It may never be Xiaomi but on the other hand, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be.

For the younger crowd that may want a spec’d out phone, Blu has got a serious device for you… Their Vivo Air looks to be more than just acceptable. Plus their phones are sim free so when you travel abroad you can buy a local sim or use a Truphone sim and not pay outrages roaming fees.

I’m not a psychic and I’m not getting paid to write this, I just know from talking to people that they are ready for Blu or the likes. iPhones may feel premium but so do Blu phones from what I’ve read and iPhones aren’t a status symbol like they once were. I believe people want something nice but less expensive and Blu may just be the thing.

BlackBerry Is Clawing It’s Way Back On AT&T

BlackBerry Passport and ClassicWell BlackBerry is at it again and they got AT&T to launch their 2 newest devices, the Passport and the Classic.  We haven’t heard a whole lot from Canada’s onetime jewel of the mobile industry but clearly this is part of their master plan for a comeback.

AT&T got an exclusive deal and will be launching the BlackBerry Passport and BlackBerry Classic on February 20th.  Both devices will have solid but not amazing camera’s I presume and will hopefully have the amazing keyboard the company is well-known for.

I for one am excited to see BlackBerry doing what it can to come back, stay relevant or whatever it is that it’s doing.  They have now made it easy to download and use apps from the Amazon App Store along with the usual BB App World store.  They also have an app and service called BlackBerry Blend making it possible to do a lot of what you would do on your phone on a computer or tablet. I look forward to playing with these phones in particular the new flagship Passport and by the way, it looks amazing in white.

Acompli is Rebranded Outlook by Microsoft

OutlookI’ve been testing Acompli for what seems like ever and have loved it from the beginning.  The email/calendar app is intuitive and easy to use.  Last month Microsoft purchased them and has now rebranded it Microsoft Outlook.  At first I was worried they were going to dumb it down or mess it up altogether but low and behold it’s just as it was.

Outlook is a wonderful app that works like a charm.  It is only missing one single feature for my liking and that is swipe to mark as read and archive. That being said I still use Acompli daily and will now be a Microsoft Outlook user.

It launched on iOS and Android, go search Microsoft Outlook in the respective app stores and download it right away.  This app really may change the way you interact with your email and calendar.  By the way, one of the killer features on the calendar is being able to share specific times you’re available for appointments and letting the recipient pick and time and lock it in with you.

Congratulations to Javier Soltero and his crack team.