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.

AT&T New Web Video Options

DirecTV launched some new plans that are geared toward the younger millennial crowds. Gone are the days of having to sit in front of your TV to watch your favorite shows. We’ve known this was happening for a while but with AT&T’s purchase of DirecTV they can now start offering up television as well.

Roger Cheng (@RogerWCheng) from CNET explained it “There’s DirecTV Now, a package of on-demand and live programming that customers will be able to access on any Internet-connected device, from a smartphone to a Roku streaming box, without the need for a traditional pay-TV subscription. DirecTV Mobile, meanwhile, is a feature for DirecTV subscribers that lets them access their content on any phone, regardless of the carrier. Lastly, there’s DirecTV Preview, a free mobile-TV service similar to Verizon’s Go90 mobile app, which offers a mix of short and long videos.”.

I know streaming shows has become an issue of late. With so many of those cord cutters not having paid TV service when you want to watch live events like awards shows you can’t. Most service providers make you log in even to watch the free channels and with out that log in no award shows and upset wife. So hopefully this will solve all our problems.

Inflight Wifi

Onboard WiFiWifi in the air is a pretty new option for airlines but is it a lot of nonsense or a tool and deal breaker for you when you fly?

For years now I have been using Gogo Inflight wifi, for transparency sake I usually get it comped by Gogo. Over the years I have observed many people using it but what are the pros and cons and do you really need it?

The pros are you get onboard internet access for almost everything besides video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Though Gogo offers a selection of movies to watch.

The cons??? I can’t think of any unless you want to be disconnected while you fly, some people really do using it as a respite from the daily grind.

For many it is more than just for entertainment and checking email, with our lives in the “cloud” it is important to be connected to the web so you can access your files and use services like Google Drive and DropBox.

For others it is mostly about the opportunity to connect to coworkers, friends and family via texting/iMessage or some of the OTT services like WhatsApp or Viber. Still to this day my kids get excited to know I’m texting them from 30,000 feet up in the air.

Have you used inflight wifi? What do you use it for???

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.

What Is The Right Age Or Circumstance To Give A Kid A Phone?

Young businessman talk on cell phone in a tie

What is the appropriate age to give a kid a phone? Or what circumstances make it ok to give a kid a phone? These are common questions I talk to parents and executives about on a regular basis. How young is too young is the magic question.

I know kids these days are getting iPod Touches or old hand-me-down iPhones at a young age but they are not hooked up to a cellular carrier. That is not what we are talking about today. How old should a kid be to get a hand-me-down iPhone connected to a cell phone carrier with their own phone number?

There is no exact age like Facebook that says kids need to be at least 13 years old to get an account. Parents don’t get any guidelines for this kind of thing. In many cases kids get phones because maybe they have a dance class or soccer practice that the parents don’t always attend so they could potentially be left alone and being 2015, should be able to call for a ride. In other cases kids get left home alone or go out with a friend or grandparent and the parents want to be able to reach the child. More and more people are giving up their land lines so there is not that static phone line always available at home or at a friends home they may be visiting.

What have you done with your kids or seen others do in these situations? With the gift giving season upon us this is going to be a topic of conversation with many parents.

Me personally… We let our kids play with our old iPhones but we’re considering putting an AT&T sim into one of them so our 8 year old will be reachable. We had an issue yesterday where we couldn’t reach my mother in law (who had the kids) because her phone was on silent. We weren’t worried but wanted to coordinate dinner plans. So we may just be “those” parents giving a 3rd grader a working cell phone.

AT&T Is Slowly Rolling Out WiFi Calling On iPhones with iOS 9

IMG_4492I am over the moon that we’re finally getting voice calls over WiFi on AT&T. Everyone knows I’m a big fan of AT&T but I’ve been bummed out lately that the first half of 2015 came and went, Summer has come and now we’re in the home stretch and until today I haven’t heard about WiFi calling. But today is the day. Today I got excited about AT&T for the first time all Summer.

WiFi calling allows at this moment iPhone iOS 9 users to make voice calls over wireless internet. So next time I visit my cousin in Utah and stay in her basement where I get great WiFi but zero AT&T reception I’ll be able to make and receive calls. This is exciting news because as good as AT&T’s coverage may be they aren’t everywhere, like in basements and middle of big buildings.

I’m hoping that AT&T makes the right choice and chooses not to bill customers for making WiFi calls from outside the US while they’re roaming. T-Mobile is killing AT&T on the roaming front and it is not looking good. I know dozens of international business travelers that were staunch AT&T and Verizon customers that have dropped their carrier of choice for the free data roaming when they travel abroad.  This will really make a difference but I don’t think it will be enough.

Either way I’m very excited and now that I have the settings and get most of the way through the set up I’m sure my account will be enabled soon to make calls over WiFi networks in hotel rooms with bad reception and AirBNB homes in foreign countries.

IMG_4491One last thing Ralph, this is a great move that we’ve been waiting a long time for, I really hope though that you don’t consider this a final destination, it is just a stepping stone to a flat planet with no roaming. If I may give you my 2 cents I don’t think AT&T needs to give away free international data but should at the very least offer highly reduced roaming plans. Like 500min/texts and 1GB of data for $10-$20 while roaming. T-Mobile still has a better offer but you don’t have to beat their offer you’re beating them with coverage.

Good job AT&T, keep up the change.


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

Coverage Is King At Coechella As The New Ten-Ten-Antenna Debuts

coachellaLast week AT&T debuted the first Ten-Ten antenna’s at Coechella Music Festival. Even though selfie sticks are banned from the event we are going to see millions of selfie’s uploaded, Instagram pics posted and more Facebook updates than any human can count. AT&T is predicted to handle more than 12TB of data with their new set up that consists of two spherical balls with their tops and bottoms cut off that send out radio frequency (RF) signals in various directions based on how the network engineers attach transmitting elements to each antenna.

What does this mean to customers??? It means no dropped calls and always on connection at speeds that should beat down every other carrier. You’ll be able to Tweet and Meercat to your heart’s content.

So who’s going to Coechella this weekend?

AT&T Ten-Ten-Antenna

Two Points To Consider When Buying A Tablet

IMG_6178My buddy just bought his first tablet, he got an iPad mini. His main purpose is to be able to FaceTime with his family now that he has a new kid. I wanted to drop 2 tips here about buying an iPad or any tablet for that matter.

1. If you can afford it get a 4G enabled iPad. I have had both a wifi only and a wifi and 4G enabled (mine is from AT&T and their LTE is FAST), there’s no question, if you can afford the 4G enabled you should go for it if you plan to take your iPad out of the house.

2. Get a keyboard if you plan on working on it or even just doing email. I prefer the Zagg keyboards and that’s what my buddy got. I’ve had 2 of them over the years and they’re both solid. One thing to consider is if you want it to protect the back of the tablet and also I highly suggest getting one with a hinge. You want it to open and close like a laptop so you can set the screen at any angle.

These are just a few suggestions that I shared the other day with a friend and wanted to impart to you. What do you think?