Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Apps That Windows Phone Is Missing That Really Aren’t Missing

Nothing drives me crazier than strolling through a forum post or a Facebook comment string and seeing the phrase, “Well if Windows Phone had ______ I would switch.” Of course the immediate reaction to this is to say, here visit this link to see _____, but most just laugh and move along. It’s almost like we don’t want someone like that using a Windows Phone because once they find that App, something else will be wrong with it. So, just to bring everyone up to speed on the Apps that everyone wants, but Windows Phone isn’t missing…

Instagram BETA

Instagram – Yes, the official App is still in beta form. What isn’t said with that is that the beta is one of the most stable Apps I have ever used. Sure, it’s a bit slow and needs some streamlining, but it is there for the taking on almost every Windows Phone 8 device. For those back on 7, I’m sorry – now go ditch that gorgeous hardware and grab a Nokia Lumia 520 or Nokia Lumia 521 and call it good. Of course, here are still two very strong 3rd party Apps for it as well.

Instagram BETA6tagInstance

Pandora

Pandora – Yep, Pandora snuck through the system months ago. Still most users had no clue that it was out there. Even scarier, the Windows Phone version launched with a no ads bonus for the first few months.

Pandora

Kik Messenger

Kik Messenger – With all the hubbub about BBM going multiplatform, it’s easy to forget that Kik is one of the most used messaging services on the planet. The good news is that it is on Windows Phone and the new update included some of the features that were lagging severely behind other platforms.

Kik Messenger

Vine

Vine – Ok, have to admit here… I don’t get Vine, but most people still don’t know that it’s on Windows Phone. Those little 6 second video clips are just weird, but if that’s your thing, then have at it.

Vine

Google Maps

Google Maps – I’m not sure where Here Maps would fail people, but if you are one of those that just doesn’t do Here, there is Google Maps from Clarity to the rescue. It offers mapping, turn by turn directions and even street view. See, Google doesn’t hate Microsoft that much. Of course now that it’s known that Windows Phone has Google Maps, they will probably start blocking the API that it uses.

Google Maps

Did I miss an App that everyone else is missing? Let me know in the comments below and maybe I’ll just do a full review of it!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Price Drop: Grab A Nokia Lumia 521 For $69.99

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In a deal of epic proportions, you can now snag the Nokia Lumia 521 for under $70 at the 4GFastData.com web store. The $69.99 price tag also qualifies for free shipping. This stellar deal won’t last for long so grab it quickly. The Nokia Lumia 521 is compatible with T-Mobile’s network, which makes it a great fit for plans from Spot Mobile or Simple Mobile.

You can get a free SIM card for either of these plans from www.4gfastdata.com. Compatible plans start from $24.99 a month.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Get In The Christmas Mood With Nokia MixRadio

If there is something that few people agree on at Christmas time, it is what style of Christmas music to listen to and how early to start playing it. There's no need to fret any longer, Nokia MixRadio is here to save you from a terrible disaster.

MixRadio lets users select from preprogrammed mixes or create ones with their favorite artists, download them and listen to them offline. The process is painless, and the holiday mixes are pretty decent. Oh and did I mention that they are free? Users can download up to 4 mixes at a time without paying a dime.

It isn't all roses with Nokia MixRadio. There is the small issue of the mixes not having much in the way of selection, as some report that after about an hour plus of listening, they start hearing ghr same tunes again. There are also a few bugs, like the "audio drop" that occurs for some. This is where MixRadio is playing along and then suddenly, the audio drops as the song continues to "play".

All in all though, Nokia MixRadio is the perfect addition to your music for the holidays. Commercial free and a great selection content make this a must have App for the season.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Game Review: Frozen Free Fall

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The new Disney movie Frozen is a holiday hit in the theaters and now Disney is returning the favor to Windows Phone users with their gem matching classic Frozen Free Fall. I won’t take too much time getting in to the details on the game play as it is a simple jewel matching puzzle challenger, but the graphics are superb and the play moves along great until you start hitting the harder levels that come around level 25 or so.

Frozen Free Fall is free to download and play, but there are some options for in App purchases of power ups. So far, I haven’t needed any to keep going, but if you lose too many times in a row, you will have to take some time off to recharge your hearts (lives) or pay for additional ones.

For what it’s worth, the 74MB download is a decent sized game, but well worth the install room on any device. Download it from the Store today and enjoy a bit of winter magic before the holidays are over.

Simple Mobile Adds LTE For Lumia 925

www.4gfastdata.com

Back in February of 2013, Solavei announced that LTE was coming soon to their network. Fast forward 10 months and there’s a whole other story coming to pass. Simple Mobile has become the first MVNO to offer full LTE speeds on their $50 and $60 unlimited plans. Not only does this mean that you get better prices with Simple Mobile, you also get higher data tiers and LTE speeds.
In addition to the new LTE speeds, Simple Mobile added a new $25 unlimited talk and text plan to their lineup. Visit www.4gfastdata.com now to get a free Simple Mobile SIM card. That’s right, you can get started with Simple Mobile now and start saving while getting those great LTE speeds your new device needs.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Grab Disney Titles For Free

That's right! Just in time to install on those Lumia's you grabbed at the Microsoft store today, Disney's popular WP titles have gone FREE!

Choose from any of the Where's My... series, Monsters U or Wreck It Ralph or choose them all. The games are very well executed and offer fantastic experiences on everything from a Lumia 520 to a new 1020.

Remember, once you "purchase" a title, you can uninstall and reinstall to any device with your Windows Live account installed on it. So even those devices with extremely limited storage should grab then all while their free. Grab them today by visiting the Collections section of the Store.



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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Product Review: zBoost YX545 Cellular Signal Booster

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Ever found yourself inside your home and that brand new cell plan you just got started with has a perfect signal in the living room, but nothing in the bedroom, bathroom or office? It’s one of the biggest issues affecting the user that has dropped their landline in favor of a cellphone only life. Some people have been creative and use Wi-Fi calling services or maybe a VoIP service, but usually those involve a second number or another bill. Where can one turn to get the best coverage indoors? Try starting with the zBoost YX545 Range Extender.

The zBoost YX545 works with both the 800MHz and 1900MHz bands, meaning AT&T and T-Mobile in the US, and will quickly take your signal from zero bars to full bars in no time at all. In fact, the zBoost YX545 set up in about 10 minutes and had me covered about 45 seconds after I fired it up.

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The box includes the main unit, which is about the size of a small network router. It also has a 50 foot co-ax cable to stretch from the antenna to the main unit. The power supply antenna and mounting bracket make up the rest of the primary supplies in the package.

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After laying out the parts, it only took a few seconds to place the box inside my dead house and attach the indoor antenna to it. I then ran the co-ax cable down the wall to a window and used a ‘flat’ adapter to run the wire out the window to the location where I wanted to put the antenna itself. The mounting bracket for the antenna quickly installed near the window where I ran the flat adapter for the co-ax cable to and attached a shorter outdoor co-ax cable to the adapter and the antenna. All in all, about 10 minutes total and my zBoost YX545 was up and running.

The three mounting options that the zBoost YX545 offers will work in apartments, homes, offices and just about anywhere else you can find a space to put them. Running the inside setup is the easiest – and before you ask, yes if your home is wired with co-ax cabling, you can use it to carry the signal through to another outlet – as you just mount the antenna next to a window and make sure the box is at least 15 feet away from it. For stronger performance, you can put the antenna outside the window like I did for my demonstration purposes. For strongest possible signal boost, mount the zBoost YX545 antenna on the roof or in an attic. The best way to find out where to mount it in your location is to find a place where your phone has the strongest reception without it and place it there.

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Finding a nice zero to one bar zone in the house was pretty easy as the kitchen, bathroom and hallways always provided me with challenging coverage. I kicked the phone into field test mode and selected GSM. The image on the left is the signal of the device before the box was fired up. The image on the right is the device in the same spot with the device turned on.

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To further prove this, I reversed the theory and went to my one bar kitchen with the device 10 minutes later. Once again, the zBoost YX545 completely proved itself in the toughest room of my house. From 4 full bars of service to barely pulling a signal with one simple unplugging of the power supply.

It was simple to see that the zBoost YX545 not only performed well, but was so easy to setup that even a technical novice could have it up and working in no time at all. There is a very important notice in the instructions – make sure to set the unit up at least 15 feet from the antenna. You can grab the zBoost YX545 Range Extender for under $200 from GetSmartphones.Info. You can also take a look at the zBoost website for more information.

 

Features
  • Extends cellular coverage for single or multiple users in homes or offices--provides up to 2500 square feet of coverage
  • Dual-band device works with 800/1900 MHz frequencies from all major carriers--AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Alltel, Cricket, and more (not compatible with Nextel)
  • Omni-directional signal antenna receives signals from multiple cell towers
  • Antenna can be installed outdoors above the roofline or indoors in the attic or near a window
  • Extends phone battery life--uses less power when signal is stronger

Specifications

PCS Band
  • Frequency: Uplink: 1850 to 1910 MHz | Downlink: 1930 to 1990 MHz
  • System Gain: 60dB
  • PCS band supported: A, D, B, E, F, C
  • Networks: CDMA, GSM, GPRS, EDGE, EVDO, 1xRTT, UMTS, HSPA, 3G
Cellular Band
  • Frequency: Uplink: 824 to 849 MHz | Downlink: 869 to 894 MHz
  • System Gain: 60dB
  • PCS band supported: A, B, A', B'
  • Networks: CDMA, GSM, GPRS, EDGE, EVDO, 1xRTT, UMTS, HSPA, 3G
General
  • Coverage (open areas): Up to 3,000 square feet
  • Dimensions: 5 x 7 x 1.25 inches
  • Weight: 9 ounces
  • Power consumption: 3W standby; 7W max signal; 2.0A Max

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Instagram Beta Hits Windows Phone 8

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It was a long time coming, but an official, well almost official, Instagram App has made its way to Windows Phone. The App is still officially a beta, but the functionality of it behaves like a long time veteran App. It’s very apparent that Instagram took their time perfecting this before running it out to a public Beta.

Overall, the App is great and from the early on usage, the memory usage is much more well managed than 6tag and Instance. So, give it a shot and see if you are as impressed with it as I am.

You can grab it here on most Windows Phone 8 devices.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Friday, November 15, 2013

Nokia Lumia 1520 Drops Under $100

If you were thinking of grabbing the new Nokia Lumia 1520 Phablet, tonight is the night to do it. AT&T's website currently lists the monster Lumia at $199.99, but when you click in to see the item, it reveals a $99.99 price tag.

Sure, you do need to signup during AT&Ts 50% off sale and you can grab the new power house for under $100. Of course, you still have to pony up $36 for an activation fee and a minimum plan of $70 plus taxes and fees applies as well. Overall, the $584.99 sticker price and Red Pocket Mobile service from www.4gfastdata.com will be cheaper by over $570, but the limited out of pocket expense with the half off deal makes this Lumia 1520 quite an easy pickup.

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Windows Phone Still Failing Small Biz Owners

When the time comes for a small business to look at a mobile platform, too many of them don’t even glance at Windows Phone. Unfortunately, this is for a good reason. For all the positives that Windows Phone devices deliver to a business owner, there are still a few glaring negatives in the mix that just can’t be overlooked. Going back to my April story of Where Windows Phone Fails Small Business Owners, the three items that were highlighted are still major issues for smaller companies.

The lack of a native or 3rd party fax from mobile solution is terrible. Both Android and iPhone are getting more and more refined options for mobile faxing, while Windows Phone still has only 2 third party options that are both non-functional. It’s sad, but true. The lack of connectivity for Windows Phones is only the start of the issue for these users though, as the issues continue with the lack of wireless printing.

Wireless printing is almost a no-brainer today. Both Android and iOS have 100’s of options available for wirelessly printing documents directly from them. Windows Phone however, has zero. About the only way to get that precious Word document to print without a computer is to grab a printer with HP Connect and email the files to it. Not the best way to get a contract printed, but at least it is something. It’s almost a sin that Microsoft hasn’t just dropped some pressure on long time PC partners like HP and Epson to create a wireless driver for Windows Phone, but apparently they don’t see the urgency in doing so.

Credit card acceptance… Wow! So here we are 6 months after my first post about this and guess what? There’s two viable options, sort of. Aircharge is the first one, but it doesn’t seem to play nice with WP8 and they want $345 for a reader. Ouch! The second option is MerchantPlus. The MerchantPlus system isn’t terrible, but the monthly fees are more than most small biz owners would ever want to endure.

The start up fee is $14.99 to download the App. Then you have your first monthly maintenance fee of $29.95 and a first time transaction fee of $15.00. Then you pay just 2.15% on the transactions for the month. This means to match someone like Square at 2.75%, you would need to ring through about $10,000 to make that cost back. So, while the one time fee disappears, the monthly cost of MerchantPlus is just too high to be considered an option for many small mobile businesses. With the $359.40 a year monthly fee, you would need to turn quite a large amount of charges to bring the cost inline with the ‘free’ providers like PayPal and Square.

Overall, Windows Phone and Microsoft have made no ground on the others in fixing these glaring small biz errors. I guess they are depending on someone else to grow the business end of their platform for them. Overall though, the lack of a few key features doesn’t make Windows Phone less attractive for business, but it may scare a few people off with it’s lack of options.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Game Review: Pinball Star

For anyone that owned a WinXP computer, Pinball Star will be that, "Oh... My... Goodness!" moment that lasts just long enough for your first ball to get lost. Yes, Pinball Star is nothing short of a brilliant port of that classic Windows title that sent so many of us to deep space on mission after mission.

The game play on Pinball Star is quite smooth on my Lumia 810. There were no lags once the game was rolling, although the initial launch sequence did take a second more then it looked like it would. The fluid controls made play simple and fun as well. I will say, playing an XP game on a 4.3" is a little challenging, but the controls made it pretty easy.

The bottom of the screen controls the flippers. Left and right both responded well to touch. The top of the screen is broken into three "nudge" sections. These allow you to get unstuck, move the ball quickly or just tilt the game with enough roughhousing.

Overall, Pinball Star is a great effort to bring a classic Windows game back from the dead. If you are a pinball fan, you owe it to yourself to check it out. If you aren't, you probably won't love it, but the free price tag still makes it a tempting addition to your gaming lineup.

Check out "Pinball Star" for Windows Phone http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=673fc8df-0fe5-4dea-bc7d-f233ed6118ca

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Monday, November 11, 2013

Grab The Lumia 1020 Camera Grip For Under $60

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It’s a lucky thing that you are a Nokia Lumia 1020 owner that hasn’t snagged that new Lumia 1020 Camera Grip/Extended battery option yet, because the prices on them are continuing to fall. Even if you own one already, having a spare or two for those long vacations may not be the worst idea ever. The power supply in the grip provides an additional 55 minutes of shooting per charge and the grip will help you steady that device while taking all those vacation photos over the holidays.

The $59.47 price tag on the PD-95G is the lowest I’ve seen yet and the fact that it is eligible free shipping is even better. Check out the Lumia 1020 Camera Grip today and grab one before this deal is gone!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Reserve Your Nokia Lumia 1520 And Get A Bonus

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If there is one thing more fun that grabbing a device on presale, it would have to be getting one on presale and getting stuff with it. That’s exactly what you can expect from your local Microsoft Store or microsoftstore.com when you preorder your Lumia 1520 from them. The new 6” monster device can be had for a lowly $199.99 with a new 2 year agreement from AT&T or for $549.99 without contract. The pricing at the Microsoft Store includes a flip cover and $50 App Card as well.

The draw back to snagging the early model will be that there is only a 16GB version available, so if you are needing more internal space than that, you may have to hold out a while longer. To make this move a bit less frustrating, you can grab a  SanDisk Ultra 32GB card to put in the device for under $30.

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I’ve covered the specs on the 1520 before, but if you need the rehash, click here. Probably the most recognizable spec is the Zeiss lensed 20MP PureView camera and the new Nokia Storyteller Software. This should be a welcomed addition to the most seasoned Windows Phone user, and the quad-core Snapdragon should provide the fastest Windows Phone experience yet.

Grab yourself a reservation Nokia Lumia 1520 online at microsoftstore.com or at your local Microsoft Store. The question isn’t whether or not to grab one of these, it’s if you want to spend $200 upfront and $130 a month or $550 upfront and $50 a month?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Service Review: On The Spot With Spot Mobile

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When looking for a value carrier, there are quite a few choices out there. Spot Mobile is one that has stepped up out of the shadows and created a beautiful mix of plans for the smartphone user and feature phone user alike. Getting in to Spot Mobile is as simple as grabbing a SIM card and inserting it in to any unlocked or T-Mobile compatible device. Yes, that is correct, Spot Mobile runs off the magenta 4G nationwide network, which means great coverage in metropolitan areas and a bit lower coverage levels on the outskirts of towns. With their recent refarming of the 1900mHz bands nationwide though, T-Mobile’s network is more than ready to handle most 3G and 4G devices with HSPA+ capabilities. Though Spot Mobile hasn’t jumped on to the baby LTE network that is currently rolling out, users can expect 10-15Mbps downloads with HSPA+42 compatible phones.

Cost: The plan options are even more impressive than the coverage. Starting with just a standard Talk & Text Plan for $24.99 a month, the “always around Wi-Fi’ers” will find a very low cost bill in their future. To add that occasional data use and MMS messages, you only shell out an extra $5. That $29.99 a month gets you the same unlimited talk and text with the added bonus of 250MB of data and a $5 credit for international calling. Stepping up to the $39.99 level, you get unlimited talk, text and data with the first 1GB at 4G speeds. This is double what T-Mobile offers with their $50 Simple Choice plan. You also land yourself a $10 international calling credit as well. For $10 more ($49.99) you double your data to 2GB of high speed and for $20 more ($59.99 a month) you get 3GB at 4G speeds.

One added bonus to the full offering of Spot Mobile plans in the $29.99 and higher range is the direct dial international long distance package. With the $29.99 package, you get a $5 international calling credit. Jumping to the $39.99 plan doubles it. The $49.99 and $59.99 plans both include unlimited international calling to select destinations and a $15 or $20 credit for those locations that aren’t included on the list.

Coverage and Network Speeds: Now that you have the rundown on the Spot Mobile plans, it’s time to see how the service performs. The nationwide network performed very well in the areas where our testing occurred. I especially appreciated the fact that the coverage map doesn’t include areas that require a footer of “coverage not available in…” I found that voice quality was very strong, but I did encounter a few of those “Downloading Media Content” errors that the T-Mobile network is known for. Overall, Spot Mobile’s coverage was excellent across the board. Data speeds approached 15Mbps on the Nokia Lumia 810 and topped out around 10Mbps on the slower HSPA+21 handsets that were tested. Even on an older iPhone 3Gs (HSPA+7.2) speeds were a solid 3Mbps downlink. Overall, Spot Mobile exceeded my expectations of how well it would make a $100 phone run and performed just as well on the latest and greatest hardware from various manufacturers.

Customer Service: If there is one thing that the majors have that the MVNO’s are missing, it would be stellar customer service. Fortunately, with social networking, service has become much easier for MVNO’s to offer without having to staff a full call center. Our experience with Spot Mobile ranged from “Amazing” to “Really?” but tended to slide towards the positive. Of course, our one “Really?” rating was more due to the fact that a certain editor didn’t read the instructions on how to port a number in, but I’ll get to that in a minute. I tested every mode of communication with Spot Mobile and found that calling customer service directly was the fastest option. Twitter (@spotmobile) was a very close second and actually beat the call center during normal business hours. That said, I don’t anticipate having to call for service very often as their entire system is very simple.

Refilling: They couldn’t make refilling your device much easier. Just visit a website, purchase a PIN number and key it in at the Spot Mobile website or via the instructions on the refill email. I found purchasing refills from our partner site www.getsmartphones.info very easy and the non-tax internet variety refill saves even more money.

Now, not everything was coming up roses for Spot Mobile, mainly due to the fact that the instructions on the SIM card were so easy to discard. If you are activating a new number, life is simple: 1) Buy a refill card, 2) Go to www.spotmobile.com, 3) Click activate and fill out some basic info. Done. If you are porting in a number though, you need to make sure you get your refill PIN, then call the 800 number or find an authorized dealer to perform your activation. There were a few glitches in the system that actually ended up giving me a ‘new’ number upon activation instead of porting my old one in.

Overall: I know that there are power users out there that will need more than 1GB of data. I also know that there is a very large portion of the population that will never go over 1GB of data. For users like this, Spot Mobile offers better service and more transparent options than much of the competition. While the 1GB plan at $39.99 may not be quite as good of value as the $45 2.5GB’ish Straight Talk plan, I have to like the fact that Spot Mobile tells me how much I actually get every month without being throttled or cut off. Too many of these “unlimited” plans don’t do that. Plus for an added $60 a year savings over those other plans, included international calling and better customer service, I find it hard to pass on Spot Mobile.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Accessory Review: Bose Soundlink Bluetooth Mini Speaker

Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker

Bose has long been a name associated with amazing audio performance. The company has brought us brilliant designs in the past and continues to amaze with designs like the one found in the Bose Soundlink Bluetooth Mini Speaker. A perfect marriage of sound and portability, the Bose Soundlink will deliver 7 hours of music fun in a tiny 2”x7”x2.5” package. And what a package it is. The Soundlink Mini delivers a construction quality that makes you wonder if you dropped it off the Space Needle or Empire State Building if it would survive. The Soundlink Mini is built like a tank and will take quite a bit of abuse before it starts to show.

Moving on to the sound quality of the Soundlink Mini, I found the sound to be at its best when I gave the speaker a backboard to bounce off of. Placing the device on a table top resulted in good sound, but it never got as clear when it was turned up loudly as when it was at medium volumes. Once I put the Soundlink Mini against a wall though, the sound boomed out and had amazing tones.

Overall, the Soundlink Mini is a worth addition to anyone’s audio setup – especially the one that uses their device for everything. The Soundlink Mini is ultra portable, great sounding and under $200. It’s just about the perfect device for those looking for a superior listening experience that goes anywhere they want it to.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Accessory Review: Soundbot SB220 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones

SoundBot® SB220 Bluetooth Noise-Cancellation Stereo Headphone for Music Stream & HandsFree Calling w/ Extended talk and play time, 400 hrs standy time, Built-in Mic A2DP, AVRCP by EyeCandis
Hot off the heels of my Skullcandy Titan review, I wanted to keep the music theme going with a few more must haves. This time, I take the music up a notch by removing the strings. The $19.99 street price on the Soundbot Bluetooth SB220 Headphones is a great deal. Although not a perfect pair of headphones by any means, the durable construction and good sound is the perfect combination for the active listener that may want to take advantage of their Window Phone’s text to speech capabilities. With a simple activation of this feature, you can be out for a jog listening to your favorite tunes – without wires – and when a message comes in, you just tell your phone to read it and it does.
The Soundbot Bluetooth SB220 Headphones have amazingly good sound, especially for the price. Lows are big and full. Highs were clean and clear. Mids had nice clarity and rounded out the sound nicely. The folding construction makes carrying the SB220s an easy chore. Of course, the hinge mechanism may wear over time, so be gentle with them. If there was a negative to the construction, it would have to be that the charging port is a MINI USB instead of a Micro USB port. Sure, Mini USB ports were great during the time of the BlackBerry Curve and Pearl, but this is 5 years later and they should probably update the design to match with current times. Fortunately, finding Mini USB cables is pretty easy and it will charge fine off most 5v USB bricks.
Overall, the Soundbot Bluetooth SB220 Headphones are a great addition to your device’s audio capabilities. The fact that they can be used as a bluetooth headset while on the run, at the gym or even in the car (keep one ear uncovered please!) is just a bonus. The battery easily lasts 8 hours on a single charge and my music sounded fantastic the entire day. Give yourself a treat to start November and grab a pair before they jump back to the $30 range where they usually are.
You can grab the Soundbot Bluetooth SB220 Headphones from the GetSmartphones.Info webstore powered by Amazon right now for $19.99.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Expand Your Storage With The SanDisk Ultra 64

SanDisk SDSDQUA-064G-U46A Ultra 64 GB microSDXC Class 10 UHS-1 Memory Card 30MB/s with Adapter

Hot on the heels of the announcements of the Nokia Lumia 1320 and 1520, I have quite the deal for those looking to expand their media potential before they upgrade to that new device. This is especially a great deal for those with a Nokia Lumia 520 or a Nokia Lumia 521. The SanDisk Ultra 64GB MicroSD card is priced under $50 at the Getsmartphones.Info web store, powered by Amazon. Actually, it’s currently listed at $49.34 and ships free, which makes it an absolute bargain for anyone that shoots a ton of photos or needs to carry about 20 days worth of music without listening to the same song twice and still have room enough to store all those photos and videos from your vacation.

The UHS-1 speeds on the SanDisk Ultra are fast enough to record full HD video, play back movies and videos at HD quality. The high speed SanDisk Ultra cards are even able transfer to computers faster than their Class 10 counterparts. The UHS-1 speeds transfer up to 30MB/s2. For those that need a bit more kick and have a compatible device, there is the SanDisk Extreme 64GB MicroSD card that features write speeds of 95MB/s2, though this card rarely works in most Windows Phone devices and has a street price of over $100.

If both of these cards offer a bit too much storage, and a bit too big of a drain in the pocket book, the SanDisk Ultra 32GB card could be the perfect solution. The 32GB card still features plenty of storage for the average user and comes with a much more sticker friendly $23.75 price tag. Of course, make sure you add a case or something to it to qualify for the free shipping on orders over $25 or you may as well just spend the extra $10 and pick up the Ultra 64GB card instead.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Product Review: Skullcandy Titan Earbuds

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When it comes to music, good headphones will make or break the experience for most people. Skullcandy earphones are usually one of the better bang for the buck deals out there, so I took the a pair of the  Skullcandy Titans out for a test drive. First off, the packaging is very sturdy. This is probably done to help retailers keep the items in the boxes. You need to punch a tab at the bottom of the box to get into it.

After you get in, you will see various sized ear tips, the headphones and a carrying bag. The bag is a nice touch for storing your buds when not in use. After a quick swap of the standard tips that felt a bit large in my ears I pushed the packaging off to the side and got started.

Sound: Out of the box without any EQ setting on my Lumia 810 produced a clean crisp sound. The highs were very clear and the lows were there, but didn’t have too much punch. Once quick flip in to the Audio settings on my device though, and the bass kicked in and the Titans delivered. I now understand why so many people say that Skullcandy knows earbuds.

Build: Since the performance was spot on with the Skullcandy Titans, I wanted to examine the build quality of them. There had been a few issues on Amazon reviews with the earpieces falling apart or even the ‘copper’ series ones oxidizing. Fortunately, I wasn’t trying the copper ones, so that wasn’t an issue for me. As far as other complaints about the quality, I found them to be empty. The seam where the plastic parts and metal stems meet is extremely solid, The rubber tips fit very snug over the plastic caps on the buds themselves. Overall, they seem very solid. That said, I wouldn’t try throwing them on the ground and stomping on them, I just don’t think they would take much abuse like that.

Overall: At a price nearing $30, the Skullcandy Titans are one of the lower end headphone sets out there. I won’t even justify the bargain basement under $10 models that we sometimes pick up just to have a pair in this comparison because they wouldn’t even measure up to the Titans. Throwing them up against the Sennheiser CX 685 or Bose IE2 headsets seems more logical and for me, a more even match. The bottom line is that these little $30 earphones can hold their own against these two headsets that cost 3-4 times as much. The Skullcandy Titans are one to check out for any music lover in the crowd.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Accessory Review: Nokia DT-900 Wireless Charging Base

WP_20131023_20_27_52_Pro

The Nokia DT-900 Wireless Charging Base is one of those accessories that most people don’t give a second glance to, but once you’ve tried it, you wonder how you lived without it. The DT-900 is the ‘flat’ model of the Nokia chargers and works with any Qi compatible device or charging plate. The built in charging on the Nokia Lumia 920 makes a great companion for the DT-900, as does the various charging backs for other Nokia models.

The charging plate for the Lumia 1020, Lumia 925 and the Lumia 820 works perfectly with the DT-900. Also, for those of you that have older devices that are Qi compatible or have Qi compatible backs. The DT-900 is available in Black, White, Red, Yellow and Cyan.

The DT-900 charges your device is a very efficient manner. My Lumia 810 takes about 3.5 hours to get a complete charge on the DT-900 as compared to about 2.5 hours on the standard USB charger. Personally, I pair my 810 to my Sony Wireless Network Speaker and set it on a DT-900 to keep it charged while listening to music with Nokia Play To more often than actually charging the phone on it. I also picked up a DT-900 for my bedside table for overnight charging.

The cost effective DT-900 runs about $35 on average and will really save some wear and tear on that charging/sync port on your device. This alone makes at least one DT-900 a great idea for any Lumia household. You can grab a DT-900 from GetSmartphones.Info’s Amazon store today for a great price.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Nokia World: Two New Phones Worth Looking At

Lumia 1320_632

What a night for Nokia! With the announcement of a few new devices, some accessories and a tablet, they pretty much have everything that Microsoft will need to compete on a level playing field with Samsung and Apple. Now, if they could only start securing a larger market share, they could start climbing back into the mix with the average consumer.

Dragons-Adventure

Let’s hit the cool gadgets and software announcements first. Probably the biggest news of the day – Instagram is officially coming to Windows Phone soon. For most users this is pretty anti-climactic as we’ve been using 6Tag and Instance for quite some time. Vine and Flipboard are joining the Windows Phone family as well. Of course, the software highlight of the day for me was Dragons Adventure for the 2520, which uses Here Maps and augmented reality to make a very interesting gaming experience. Though the 2520 isn’t on my must have list right now, Apps like this sure make it look enticing.

Lumia 1520 wireless charging_632

The biggest news for me was obviously the new Nokia Lumia 1520 and 1320 handsets. The 1520 will be the contract carrier’s dream handset at a retail of $750. They should be able to bring that down to the $299 price point starting out and finally leveling it out to $199 after a few months. This still isn’t enough for me to offset the total cost of the contract (around $3500 on AT&T for 2 years) but it’s quite the piece of hardware. Cramming a 2.2GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM into a body that houses a 6” display and 20MP camera, Nokia pretty well smashed one out of the park with the 1520. The specs are only made better by the fact that you can add additional storage for photos, videos and music. The Lumia 1520 is definitely going to raise the bar for the mega-phones going in to 2014.

Even with the 1520 super-phone announcement fresh in my mind, the device that really stood out for me was the Lumia 1320. At least it did for a few minutes… Unfortunately, the only way to get your hands on one of these is to be in a country other than here – for the moment. The little brother of the 1520 features a brilliant 6” display, a dual-core 1.7GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. It also has a smaller internal memory, coming in at 8GB. While many will pan this immediately, remember that you can kick a 64GB SD card in there for all your media needs. What you end up with is about 2-3GB of storage for Apps, which isn’t all bad, unless you are an avid gamer. If so, then pass on the 1320 and spend the extra to grab something with a bit more internal storage – like the unlocked 32GB Lumia 920 for under $350 right now.

Both devices are slated to launch in early 2014. The 1520 will probably be an AT&T exclusive out of the gate with the 1320 being limited to international availability at launch. The retail price for the 1520 is expected to be near $750 and the 1320 should hit the streets for $339 without contract.

Specifications for the Nokia Lumia 1320

Operating System: Windows Phone 8 with the latest updates
Networks: LTE-ROW: GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz; WCDMA 850, 900, 2100 MHz; LTE 800, 1800, 2600; LTE-LTA: GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz; WCDMA 850, 1700, 1900, 2100 MHz; LTE 700, 850, 1700, 1900 MHz; HSPA+: GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz; WCDMA/HSPA + 900, 2100 MHz.
Speed: LTE:3, 7, 20 bands – 100/50 Mbps (cat 3); DC-HSPA ROW: 42/5.76Mbps (cat 24 DL/Cat6 UL); HSPA+ CHINA: 21/5.76Mbps (Cat 14DL/Cat6 UL); GSM: EGPRS 236.8Kps
Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB internal user memory; 7GB SkyDrive cloud storage, micro SD card support up to 64GB
Display: 6-inch HD LCD IPS (1280×720), Super sensitive touch support for glove and long nail use; Gorilla Glass 3
Processor: 1.7GHz Dual-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400
Primary camera: 5MP Auto Focus, flash. Video 1080p @ 30fps
Secondary Camera: 0.3MP VGA.
Size & weight: 164.25 x 85.9 x 9.79* mm (*volumetric). Weight: 220g
Connectivity: BT 4.0 + LE, Micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm AHJ, WIFI 802.11(2.4GHz b/g/n)
Battery: 3400 mAh (integrated)
Audio: 1 HAAC mic; 3.5mm AV connector, HD Voice; FM Radio

Specifications for the Nokia Lumia 1520

Operating System: Windows Phone 8 with the latest updates
Networks: GSM/EDGE: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz; WCDMA: 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz; ROW LTE: 1, 3, 7, 8, 20; USA LTE: 2, 4, 5, 7, 17; HSPA+: DL 42 Mbps (Cat 24) / UL 11.5 Mbps (Cat 7)
Speed: LTE 150/50 mbps, DC-HSPA 42mbps
Memory: 2GB RAM, 32 GB internal user memory; 7 GB SkyDrive cloud storage, micro SD card support up to 64GB
Display: 6-inch full HD 1080p LCD , ClearBlack, High Brightness Mode, Sunlight readability, Super sensitive touch for glove and nail usage, Gorilla Glass 2
Processor: 2.2GHz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800
Primary camera: PureView 20-megapixel Auto Focus ZEISS optics with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), 2x lossless zoom, oversampling technology, dual LED flash, 1080p @ 30 fps full HD video with optical image stabilization
Secondary Camera: HD 1.2-megapixel wide angle
Size & weight: 162.8 x 85.4 x 8.7mm (volumetric). Weight: 209g
Connectivity: NFC, A-GPS+GLONASS, WLAN (2.4/5Ghz) a/b/g/n/ac, ╬╝USB, BT 4.0 LE, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Magnetometer, Gyroscope, Ambient Light Sensor
Battery: 3400 mAh (integrated) with built-in wireless charging (Qi compatible)
Audio: Rich Recording with four microphones; Wideband Voice and multi-microphone noise reduction with four microphones; Dolby(R) Headphone, Graphic equalizer, Audio leveling; FM radio

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Game Review: "Stack"

Are you a fan of Tetris but a bit bored with the game play? If so, Stack from LoonApps is the game you need to try. This random block faller takes every thing I love about the classic puzzle game and puts it on steroids!

The game is simple enough, with blocks falling from the top of the screen to the bottom. The area above the drop zone is the accelerator, or in most cases, the almost instant drop. A quick flick of a row or column allows you to move blocks in the same row and score even larger groups.

Stack is completely worth the $.99 price tag, but for the next few hours, you can snag it for free through the #myAppFree program for Windows Phone.

http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=a622b814-67af-4929-9c17-7eeeb9dfb724

You can find the latest from Loon Apps on Twitter by following @loonapps.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

The HTC 8X Drops In Price Again

Unlocked Windows Phone 8X by HTC 16 GB (Blue) view 2

In the search for the best unlocked Windows Phone for a good price, I stumbled across a rather interesting deal on the HTC 8X at the Microsoft Store. The non-contract price of $399.00 might seem a bit high for snagging an unlocked, since you can snag the unlocked AT&T 8GB model for under $250 and the 16GB international version for a measly $259.99 from GetSmartphones.Info.

None the less, a sub $400 non-contract device directly from the Microsoft Store is nothing to sneeze at. The 16GB international version still doesn’t quite compete with the pricing on the Nokia Lumia 520 and Lumia 521, the $250 sticker price makes a worthy competitor for the best value around in Windows Phones today.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Protect Your Nokia Lumia Device

The Friendly Swede (TM) Bundle of 6 Premium Flexible S-Line TPU Skins/Cases/Covers for Nokia Lumia 920 + 2 Screen Protectors + Cleaning Cloth in Retail Packaging

When you get that shiny new Nokia Lumia, the first thing you should invest in is a quality case that won’t get in the way of those fancy Qi backs and other great accessories that you picked up. Below, I’ve selected my favorite TPU cases and deals.

The Friendly Swede (TM) Bundle of 6 Premium Flexible S-Line TPU Skins/Cases/Covers for Nokia Lumia 920 is an amazing value at $13.99. This pack includes 6 colors that can cover any occasion. The flexible cases are durable and will protect your phone from most of the scrapes, bumps and bruises that your phone will endure on a day to day basis. The 6 Pack of TPU cases will also help the resale value of your phone when that time comes to upgrade it.

The Premium Flexible S-Line TPU Cases are available today for $13,99 for the set or about $2.33 each.

Iwotou Nokia Lumia 925 Case Bundle/ Pack Wave Series S-Line Rubber Skin Soft TPU Gel Case Cover for Nokia Lumia 925 (AT&T, T-Mobile) + Cleaning Cloth & Wristband (Lumia 925, Red/ Purple/ White/ Pink)

If you have a Lumia 925 in hand, the Iwotou Nokia Lumia 925 Case Bundle is where the action is at for you. The same protection level as the S-Line TPU cases above, and a $9.98 price tag makes this 4 pack a great deal. The White and Red covers are the strongest in the group, but the lavender and pink will certainly add a bit of color when needed. I like to think of this pack as as the perfect couples pack.

The Iwotou Nokia Lumia 925 Case Bundle is available online for $9.98 for the set of 4 or about $2.50 each.

Eagle Cell PHNK521YSTBLBK HypeKick Hybrid Protective Gummy TPU Case with Kickstand for Nokia Lumia 521 - Retail Packaging - Blue/Black

Moving on to the smaller Lumias, the Nokia Lumia 521 has 100’s of options available. My favorite is the Eagle Cell Hypekick Gummy Case. With a retail price of $2.21, you can grab a few of these handy protectors and change colors whenever you feel the need. This goes great with the standard white back of the Nokia Lumia 521. Grab a few of the color selections in the online list and save them for when you feel the need to change it up.

The 521’s sister phone, the Nokia Lumia 520, also has the Eagle Cell Hypekick Gummy Case as my favorite protection option. With prices from pennies to around $10, there’s the right case in the right color for everyone. Check out the list for the Lumia 520 to find your perfect case.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Record That Lecture With Yivosoft Recorder

I think we all had one back in the day. One of those little micro-cassette recorders for taping our instructor's 45 minutes of boredom at 8:00 in the morning. Yes, I remember those days well. Of course this is 15 years later and the micro-cassette has been replaced by chips and the digital recorder has been replaced by an App.

Yivosoft Recorder is exactly the app you'd want for this function on your Windows Phone. Easy to use, very powerful and on the free page today, Yivosoft nails the voice recording need to the wall. The large buttons are finger friendly, the sharing features are plentiful and the App itself is amazingly stable.

This $2.99 App is free today via the MyAppFree program and is well worth the download. You can snag it at the store right now.

Check out "Yivosoft Recorder" for Windows Phone http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=f663e7b0-f65b-e011-854c-00237de2db9e

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Friday, September 27, 2013

Are You Ready For A Windows Phone?

If you are like me and just got sick of restarting your phone daily, force closing Apps and repeating text messages, you might want to keep reading. I’m here to tell you about Windows Phone and cutting the contract. From the entry level Nokia Lumia 520 to the uber powerful Nokia Lumia 1020, there is a Windows Phone that you will love. Let’s take a quick journey through the options and decide what network you want to use and how much you could start saving every month.

Pick Your Plan:

Something most people don’t know is that there are The Wireless Carriers and there are wireless carriers. The Big 4, as everyone refers to them, are Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. They control about 95% of the airwaves and hardware to make that cellphone do what it does. Now, they have more room then they know what to do with, so they contract out to MVNO’s or Mobile Virtual Network Operators. These are companies like Straight Talk, Net10, TracFone and a few of my favorites: Red Pocket Mobile, Simple Mobile and my carrier Spot Mobile. In essence, these MVNO’s give you the same service for a lower cost. They aren’t paying for retail stores, sales people and other overhead that the big boys are. They are just plain cheaper to run.

That said, do a quick check of the list and pick your ‘Big Carrier’ now and see what MVNO you could switch to and start saving from.

Verizon Wireless – Page Plus Cellular runs off the Verizon 3G network. For $29.95 a month, you can land 1200 minutes of talk, 3000 texts and 500MB of data. For $55 a month, you can go unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data. For $69.95 you can take that data out to 5GB. If you can live without that blazing fast LTE network, you can save upwards of $80 a month over Verizon’s postpaid rates.

Verizon Wireless – Verizon Wireless Prepaid runs off the same Verizon network you know and love. For $60 you can snag unlimited talk, text and 2GB of data. Adding an extra $10 gets you up to 4GB of data. Again, you are limited to the 3G network, but for a cost of about half of the normal plans, you can forgive that buffering on that YouTube video.

Sprint – Ok, now this is going to get tough here because there are literally a billion choices for Sprint’s MVNO’s and prepaid services. Here’s the bottom line on this one. Any Sprint phone, and since the HTC 8XT is the only Windows Phone 8 device they have we will use that for our example, can be activated across the board on their services. From $6 a month for Ting to $55 for the unlimited Boost Mobile LTE service, there is a plan for everyone. Of course, The HTC 8XT is carrying a price tag of almost $400 without a contract so you do have to figure that in.

AT&T – Red Pocket Mobile is still my first choice on AT&T’s MVNO list. Their simple and upfront pricing makes figuring out what you need very easy. From their $29.99 plan that includes 100MB of data for picture messaging to their $59.99 3GB plan, you have to appreciate the options that Red Pocket Mobile gives users. Compared to the standard AT&T postpaid plan, users can save as much as $75 a month or $1800 over the life of that contract. $1800 can buy an awfully nice Windows Phone – or you can just snag the beautiful Nokia Lumia 520 for $99.99 and love the savings! The other option would be to grab a new Nokia Lumia 925, Nokia Lumia 920 or Nokia Lumia 820, both work wonderfully on RPM’s service. A neat bonus to RPM is that their $39.99 and higher plans includes international calling to many destinations.

AT&T – Straight Talk/Net10/TracFone and their buddies are great options as well. My issue with these guys is that they talk that ‘unlimited’ game and don’t back it up well. There are too many occurrences of people getting interrupted, throttled and just plain cut off to feel comfortable in my mind. Sure, the extra $10 a month is awfully tempting for the lower data user, but I would still run to the $39.99 500MB plan on RPM or the $49.99 1GB plan over the unspecified amounts on the America Movil groups MVNO’s.

AT&T – AT&T GoPhone is a great option as well. For $60 a month you get an unlimited talk, text and 2GB data plan. You can buy additional GB’s for $10 each. The plus to this one is that if you want to shell out for one of those fancy Nokia Lumia 1020 or HTC 8X devices, you can land yourself that LTE connection for blazing fast speeds.

T-Mobile – It goes without saying that technically the T-Mobile Simple Choice plans look great on paper, but when you factor in the taxes and fees that get tacked on to that Simple Choice plan, they become a bit less attractive. Either way, you can snag an unlimited talk and text plan with unlimited data for $50, plus another $10 in taxes. Of course, that $60 gets you 500MB of high speed data, $72 gets you 2GB of 4G speeds and $85 lands you unlimited HSPA+/LTE data. That said, you really need a specific T-Mobile handset to really take advantage of their AWS frequencies. That said, the Nokia Lumia 521 is a great device to get rolling on a T-Mobile plan. If you need a bit more power though, the Nokia Lumia 810 or Nokia Lumia 925 are also available.

T-Mobile – Spot Mobile is currently my carrier of choice. Their $39.99 plan gives me great coverage, unlimited talk, text and data, plus in my area, access to using any one of a bajillion handsets with their 1900 MHz refarm. Currently, my pocket is armed with the Nokia Lumia 810 and I love it. With the Amber update installed, the device runs unlike any other phone I have ever used. Smooth OS, no force closing Apps and amazing battery life are all part of my daily usage experience. Back to the plans though. Spot Mobile makes it as easy as possible to find the right plan for you. For $24.99 you get unlimited talk and text. For $5 you get MMS added in to that or more accurately, 250MB of data for MMS and light data use. For $39.99, you get the unlimited data added on, with 1GB of 4G speeds. $10 more gets you 2GB and $59.99 gets you 3GB of 4G speeds before dropping to 2G. Spot Mobile just works for me and their simple, upfront pricing has saved me almost $100 a month over a comparable AT&T or Verizon plan with no noticeable loss of service. When I combine the $279.99 price tag of the Nokia Lumia 810 with my $39.60 refills from GetSmartphones.Info I come out with a total 2 year cost of just $1230.39. Compared to T-Mobile, I am saving almost $800 over the 2GB T-Mobile offering. Another bonus to Spot Mobile’s coverage is that they offer free international calling to some destinations and offer an international calling credit on all plans of $39.99 and above.

T-Mobile - Simple Mobile is another great choice in the world of MVNO’s. I don’t rate them as high as Spot Mobile due to some of the complaints in their forums, but they are a solid offering as well. $40 gets you the unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data plan. $50 gets you to 3GB and $60 gets you to 5GB. Of course, all the data plans are unlimited, so it’s just the extra 4G HSPA+ data that you are purchasing. Again, for Windows Phone choices on Simple Mobile, your optimal devices will be the Nokia Lumia 521, the Nokia Lumia 810 or the Nokia Lumia 925 for T-Mobile. Make sure the Lumia 925 you purchase is the full T-Mobile model and not the unlocked AT&T or international version as these will not have the full AWS spectrum that the T-Mobile version does.

Now that you have sorted out what carrier you are going to choose, you can get to picking that new handset. Below are the 5 second versions of the reviews for the current line of Windows Phones.

Nokia Lumia 520 (AT&T) – This entry level handset features a 4” display, 5MP camera and 8GB of expandable internal memory. This is the perfect phone for saving up to get a premium handset later. The $99.99 price tag is budget friendly and the Lumia 520 performs closer to a $400 Android phone than a $100 one. Locked, it works with AT&T, GoPhone, Red Pocket Mobile, Net10 and Straight Talk.

Nokia Lumia 521 (T-Mobile) – This is the T-Mobile counterpart to the Lumia 520. It has the same display, memory and camera. This device runs in the neighborhood of $115-130 new and can be used locked on T-Mobile, Spot Mobile, Simple Mobile, Net10 (T-Mobile SIM) and Straight Talk (T-Mobile SIM).

Nokia Lumia 810 (T-Mobile) – The 810 met it’s demise earlier this year with the arrival of the Lumia 925, but it is still a very solid handset with some impressive specs. The 4.3” display looks sharp and performs well in the daylight. The 8GB of storage is enough to keep the average person going and the expandable memory makes adding 32GB or 64GB of additional storage easy. The 8MP camera on the back takes great photos and the 1.2MP camera on the front works beautifully for video chatting and selfies. Overall, the $279.99 price tag isn’t all bad for such a powerful device. Also available as a variant as the Lumia 820 for AT&T and the Lumia 822 for Verizon Wireless.

Nokia Lumia 920 (AT&T) – The Lumia 920 was the first Nokia device to feature the PureView camera. The 8MP camera takes amazing photos and is still one of the best smartphone cameras around. The 32GB of internal storage is more than enough when you team it up with your SkyDrive. The Lumia 920 is still one of the most popular Lumia devices out there today and with the minor differences between the new 925 (AT&T version) and this, we recommend saving the cash and grabbing the 920 before it’s gone. Locked, it works with AT&T, GoPhone, Red Pocket Mobile, Net10 and Straight Talk.

Nokia Lumia 925 (T-Mobile) – The replacement to the Lumia 810. The 925 brought a PureView camera, larger display and sleek lines to T-Mobile. The gorgeous design of the 925 led to Nokia pushing the device to AT&T as well. It was also the first Lumia on T-Mobile to support their LTE frequencies. Locked, this devices works on T-Mobile, Spot Mobile, Simple Mobile, Net10 (T-Mobile SIM) and Straight Talk (T-Mobile SIM).

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Check out Note Plus for Windows Phone

Sometimes One Note just isn't what we need to take a note and keep it where we want it. That's not a slam against the cloud based note pad, but rather a thought about how Microsoft was a bit more concerned with functionality rather than the physical appearance. Step to the plate Note Plus.

Note Plus offers users the ability to change the look of your notes, lock notes and back all of your content up to your SkyDrive account for safe keeping. It is a rather complete package. From start to finish, Note Plus just works.

Currently, Note Plus is Free is the Store, so go grab it right now. It won't be this price for much longer.

http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=32fc5eae-7a21-4cc9-ab82-bb09da02fb39

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Game Review: Fortress Under Siege

One of my favorite PC games of all time is Stronghold Crusaders. I've searched for a mobile alternative for that classic for far too long. Finally, after years of searching for something like it, and suffering through endless tower defense titles, I found Fortress Under Siege.

This classic plays beautifully. Smooth action and fun animation makes Fortress well worth the play. Take your time learning how to play as troop movement and positioning is the key to victory. Make sure to place your battlements in strategic locations as well.

Fortress Under Siege is a sure fire winner in my book. No, it isn't quite Stronghold, but it is one of the closest experiences that I have had the pleasure of playing.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

The Best Value In Wireless: Nokia Lumia 520

Nokia Lumia 520 GoPhone (AT&T)
For just a touch under $100, you can have in your hand a contract free Nokia Lumia 520 smartphone. The device, which ships locked to AT&T, will work with popular services from Red Pocket Mobile as well as other AT&T MVNO carriers out of the box. With a bit of work, the device can be unlocked and used with services from Spot Mobile or Simple Mobile for even more bang for the buck. Let’s look at the device and the Red Pocket Mobile service first since that’s where this phone will shine for you.
The first question is how good is a $100 phone? The Lumia 520 is quite a beautiful piece of hardware. The 4” display is clean and clear. While it lacks the “Clear-Black” technology of its bigger siblings, the performance is still stellar when compared to the QVGA and VGA screens that other devices in this price range have on board. The 5MP rear camera captures clear, well balanced images in most lighting conditions. The additional features of the device will all be found in the software that is coming up next.
I find Nokia’s software suites amazing. First, we have Here Drive+ which acts as a fully offline GPS mapping system. This will allow you to save monthly by not require data to navigate. While it has some issues pulling up exact addresses without a network, if you have a cross street nearby, it will get you to the intersection with ease. Then there is Nokia Music, which allows for unlimited online streaming of music and downloading up to 4 music mixes for free. By signing up for the service, you can get unlimited downloaded mixes, but I’ve never used more than my 4 freebies at a time anyways. This is another huge data saver over Apps like LastFM and Pandora.
Next up, using the Lumia 520 with a money saving plan. Sure, you can go the AT&T GoPhone route and spend $60 a month on unlimited talk, text and 3GB of data, or you can go with something that has a bit more variety in it to fit your needs. Using the Lumia 520 with Red Pocket Mobile doesn’t require unlocking the device. You simply insert a Red Pocket Mobile MicroSIM or trimmed SIM and configure your APN’s. It’s that simple. Within seconds, you have access to plans ranging from $24.99 a month for unlimited talk and text to $59.99 for the same package that the GoPhone program offers. In the middle, you have a $29.99 plan that offers 100MB of data, a $39.99 plan that offers 500MB and a $49.99 pan that offers 1GB of data. The nice part about going the Red Pocket Mobile route is that you can change plans month to month and only pay for what you think you will use.
Overall, the Nokia Lumia 520 delivers an experience far greater than the $99.99 price tag. I would feel safe comparing this to Android handsets that cost three times as much. While it isn’t a flagship device by any means, the clear screen, good camera and overall user experience makes the Lumia 520 a clear winner. So, if you need a backup for that Lumia 920 or just want to pick up something new for the kids to use, the Lumia 520 is a great choice.
For those on T-Mobile, Spot Mobile or Simple Mobile the Nokia Lumia 521 is an equally good choice in the $100-130 range depending on the retailer and the deals of the day. Either way, don’t forget to visit my sponsor www.4gfastdata.com and check out their great deals on service from Red Pocket Mobile, Spot Mobile or Simple Mobile. Right now, you can get a FREE SIM card with any plan purchase!
Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Game Review: JumpWheel

When you need an interesting game to kill a bit of time, JumpWheel is an interesting option. This "jumping roller game" starts with a bang and continues to keep you rolling for hours of fun. Although the controls leave quite a bit to be desired, once you master them, the gaming experience is quite nice.

If you are a fan of good graphics and an interesting style of play, you should check out JumpWheel and give it a try.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Monday, September 16, 2013

App Review: DeliTape

For those of you that were around long enough ago to remember mix tapes and recording stuff for your Walkman off the radio, Umbrella Software Development has something for you. DeliTape... Or rather one of the most unique media players for Windows Phone on the market.

DeliTape is a straight forward media player. There aren't many bells and whistles in this one, but the looks at the gym and the office were enough to make the player worth the storage space. With a bevy of options for how your tape looks, DeliTape is fun and keeps it entertaining.

With a free pricetag you need to head to the Store and check out "DeliTape" for Windows Phone.

http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=93756491-dff1-4c07-8ec6-d779e024024e

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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Friday, September 13, 2013

Nokia Glance Gets An Update

Nokia Glance, the screen setting App, received an update from the Store today. It looks to be superficial tweaks and bug fixes that comprise the bulk of the update. Hopefully after a few days of use, I'll be able to let everyone know if the battery drain bug is gone and how well it performs verses version one.

Sent from my Nokia Lumia 810
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$40 Unlimited Talk, Text and Data