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View Full Version : OT tracfone goes smart



skunkworks
11-25-2013, 11:51 AM
So - I have been a tracfone customer for a few years now. I don't like contracts. (and I don't really use it for much - calling/texting wife.) Yes - their support sucks - and I mean sucks big time. If you have a problem - expect to be on hold for a extended period of time trying to get it resolved. You get what you pay for. I am though a computer guy and really have been longing for a smart phone that I can use to check email and light surfing when out and about. Tracfone now offers the zte valet and samsung galaxy - they might offer others but that is the couple I was exposed to...

I went to the local target and purchased the zte for $100 - You can get it cheaper other places. Now this isn't a power house. One of the reasons I picked the zte was because it was running a newer version of android compared to the samsung (jelly bean). I was expecting the phone to be disabled in some way (all tracfones that I have had are disabled in some way - be it not being able to pull pictures off of them through usb because they want you to use minutes to send them or such) But this seems to be a fully functioning android phone. There actually isn't anything telling you how many minutes / service days you have. (you actually have to get an 'app' for that ;) )

I surfed on it for a day over wifi before I transferred my account to it. installed some apps that I use on my Nook and got a feel for the phone. I transfered my account to it - which was surprisingly painless. (the last time I tried to do this (online) I ended up having to call and it took a few hours to straiten out. - see above ;) )

Couple of coolish things.. When you buy minutes that gets split into 3 'buckets' Talk time, Texting and data. This is a triple minute phone so if you buy 100 minutes - you get 300 minutes talk, 300 texts and 300mb data. These are separate from each other. You run out of text - you can still call and so on. (before you had one bucket that if you ran out - you where done) Some complain that the texts are more expensive now - 1 minute instead of .3 or whatever it was before. But with the android - you have other options of sending messages.

you have wifi - so you can use it to surf without using data when you have access to a wireless network.

Cons
a bit under powered - single core processor.
wifi range is a bit small. others have complained about this - it works over my house just fine.
screen resolution is a bit low - but usable.

Overall - I have been using it for a few weeks now and have use only a few mb of data (mainly checking my email and a little surfing) The battery life is ok - I get a few days of my use before having to charge it. I am happy with it.

michigan doug
11-25-2013, 12:59 PM
Interesting options we have now. At work, I use a verizon "4G" MiFi (MyFi ?) device/hotspot. That gets me internet for my laptop, and it's portable. $65/month for 5 gigs (I think that's the limit). I use pretty much all 5 gigs, and occasionally go over a little. Overage is just pro-rated, no big deal.

There are now some smart phone deals out there that are approaching this monthly fee, and of course, that would get me cell phone too, which this doesn't. I have a separate cheapo tracphone where I pay about $20 every 3 months. I think I could tether (is that the right term?) my laptop to the smart phone and use the phone as my portable wifi hotspot right?

I am hoping to combine those two devices and spend the same or less money.

daryl bane
11-25-2013, 12:59 PM
Tracfone user here too. Good to know. I don't know how long I can hold out with the old simple stuff. :)

WhatTheFlux!
11-25-2013, 01:09 PM
I had a Net10 (tracfone sub-brand) smart-phone since March. Battery died due plugging it into the wrong charger.

Only complaint I have with the company is the crapulant customer service. I found rather than wasting time on the phone I simply drop a message on their Facebook Page. I get a reply within an hour or two that way.

Deus Machina
11-25-2013, 06:49 PM
I was considering buying this simply for the triple-minute deal and being able to use Wikipedia and such.
But if the triple minutes are split up like that, it would actually be worse for me than my current $20 flip phone. My phone is a phone, so all those minutes get used to talk.

jdunmyer
11-25-2013, 06:58 PM
I just went over to the Dark Side, got an iPhone w/Verizon. Prior, I was a very happy TracFone user for at least 5 years. Personally, I found their customer service fine, the couple of times I had to use it. Called first thing in the morning, 9:00 Eastern, and got right in. The guys were foreign, one in the Philippines, the other in S. America, but both spoke very good English, were very polite, and got me going. I'd re-up my time once/year, for $100.00, and never came close to using all the minutes. Right now, the phone shows about 14 days left, but over 1100 minutes. The service was at least OK, albeit not quite up to Verizon's standards.

I'll say that the iPhone is a lot of fun, even if it is something I could do without.

madwilliamflint
11-25-2013, 07:43 PM
I too can no longer abide the contracts. They're insidious and expensive. So I pay $50/month for unlimited everything via T-Mobile, and I bought a Nokia Lumia 900 on sale for $200 a year+ ago. It's a little wonky sometimes. But it sure beats any contract deal with the service. The phone subsidies don't nearly justify the contract lock in or the monthly vig.

Marty Feldman
11-25-2013, 07:59 PM
A strictly personal view:
I am a satisfied tracfone user. It does exactly what I bought it for. I paid ten bucks for it and it costs me 80 bucks a year. The idea of paying an extra 50 or 60 every month for social media, texting, hundreds of additional websites, etc. strikes me as ridiculous. No room in my life for it, and absolutely no desire to even give it a try. The only other "device" I own is a kindle (not a kindle fire), which I like for reading on the plane.
-Neanderthal Marty-

gvasale
11-25-2013, 09:46 PM
Tracfone is ok if you don't use it. If you do, then you'll wind up with more air time that you can't use. Example:

My wife has one. At one time she blew through minutes like they were going out of style & every card she bought, got 3 months of air time with 120 minutes of talk time. Beginning of this year, 2013, she had 3 years of air time & about 2 1/2 hours worth of minutes. With common sense, you might expext to be able to buy minutes with 2 years of air time left, but you can't. Minutes cannot be purchased without purchasing air time. So, the scam goes on.

PStechPaul
11-25-2013, 10:27 PM
I've had a TracFone for almost eight years now, and it seems to be a good deal for how I use it, which is infrequently. I just got an email with their latest offer, which is 365 days of service and 1050 total minutes added for $99. But I've been able to get even better deals from Amazon, about $80 for a year of service but perhaps not as many minutes. I have over 2000 minutes but I need to renew for another year of service in April.

https://www.tracfone.com/direct/Purchase?app=TRACFONE&lang=en&fromPopup=yes&payGo=true&promoId=41102&cardType=TSAPP4001Y

They also have 3 months service with 60 minutes for $20, which is good if you don't need the minutes, but just air time.

winchman
11-26-2013, 01:32 AM
I had good luck with TracPhone for several years until they switched carriers in my area. Then the cell service went to hell in a hand basket, and the truly horrible customer service forced a switch to Verizon. I even got TP to refund everything I had paid them for that year when I cancelled after four months.

Now I'm paying $101 a year for Verizon's pay-as-you-go plan, and I get to carry the unused minutes over. I've been on that for four years with zero problems.

gizmo2
11-26-2013, 09:19 AM
I have a Tracfone. Somewhere. That's how often I use it. Suits me fine. My coworker just got one of those everything phones, and between surfing the net and playing the games and texting his friends, he blows about 3-5 hours a day AT WORK on the damn thing. Drives me nuts. Boss should have a rule about it, but it's not my call, no pun intended.

mooney1el
11-26-2013, 10:04 AM
TracFone, StraightTalk, Net10, SimpleMobile and other providers are all part of Carlos Slims' Mexican telecommunications empire. They currently service about 300 Million customers worldwide with an intent and marketing plan to enormously build their customer base. I think most TracFones use GSM technology which uses the AT&T cell towers (here in the States) but they and StraightTalk(Walmart joint venture) do have phones which can be purchased which use CDMA technology therefore using the Verizon towers. Based on coverage in my area, I chose to go with a CDMA based smart phone and since August have been extremely pleased. Especially with the reduced cost over my previous dumb phone from Verizon. Now, I pay $45/mo for everything while before I paid $86/mo for 300 minute limited Verizon service.
TracFone etc have forced the other major providers to offer prepaid and pay-as-you-go plans in order to be competitive. Ain't capitalism great?

Doozer
11-26-2013, 07:31 PM
This is a machinist board.
No one cares about your phone.
Go over to SuperNerd.com to discuss it.
Not here.

--Doozer

J. Randall
11-26-2013, 08:31 PM
This is a machinist board.
No one cares about your phone.
Go over to SuperNerd.com to discuss it.
Not here.

--Doozer

Some of us like the forum the way it is, maybe you should move on if you are not satisfied. You just have not seemed happy here the last few weeks.
James

Doozer
11-26-2013, 08:48 PM
Everyone in the world is obsessed with their handheld phones.
I see it as the scourge of modern society.
It is turning us into a faceless society, devoid of manners,
common courtesy and the ability to spell and command
the English language. People are text messaging and
running people off the road. Pure evil as I see it.
I come to HSM to get away from all that and talk about
manual machine tools and fun projects.
It is a more simple place in this world.
I do not even care for CNC, although it is super neat,
I just don't care for it. Now if someone posts a CNC
subject, they would surely be ushered to the more
appropriate forum. And rightly so. So that is why
I object to this smartphone business being posted.
Worship your false god somewhere else.
Let us talk about Atlas lathes and HarborFreight lathes
and argue which is better. That is way more relaxing
than cell phones.
And I am happy, just grumpy. Can those happen at the same
time? I guess maybe. Sorry if I am a buzz kill. I will try to
stay on my medication.
--Doozer

WhatTheFlux!
11-26-2013, 09:23 PM
I have a phone. It makes phone-calls and I can send text messages as needed.

I prefer face-to-face communication or a well thought-out email.

The smart-phone was a great toy but in the end I prefer my internet on a big screen... my keyboards clicky and my computers large enough to repair.

Doozer
11-26-2013, 09:29 PM
Plus one!

-D

skunkworks
11-26-2013, 10:26 PM
heh - it is more than a phone. The whole point of it is that it is a small computer...

look around the google play store. there are tons of apps for machinists. Lots are even free. Zero_Divide on the forum has an app called FSwizard. I know of a few using their phones as pendons for their cnc's. There are some really neat applications for these devices. For me - it being a phone/texting device is secondary... (and I can check the forum here off and on when I have a break)

It is just another tool to use.

sam

darryl
11-27-2013, 12:30 AM
I have a phone- one of the newfangled ones without the rotary dial, just pushbuttons. Got a wire connected to it.

If Marty is a neanderthal, I'm still a bacterium :)

Sophiedoc
11-27-2013, 07:31 AM
I've been following this thread hoping I would find some answers to my problem of consistent reception.I am in my mid eighties and my wife insists I carry a cell phone for emergency use calls,There are a # of towers within 20 miles and an ATT tower within 6 miles.I tried their Go Phone with poor results and no longer carry it.My shop where i usually spend my time is metal and with the doors closed this precludes consistent reception. GSM better than CDMA,outside antenna,better phone or repeater etc.I carried a pager for years and had much the same problems because of hilly terrain between my shop and towers.( I do not have a land line or satellite TV)

mooney1el
11-27-2013, 09:00 AM
My CDMA phone works inside my metal building as long as I have a door open albeit with only one bar. No idea about a GSM one.

skunkworks
11-27-2013, 09:52 AM
This phone is a cdma. It seems that for tracfone - if the part number has a C in it (this is a z665c) it is a cdma phone.

sam

J. Randall
11-28-2013, 12:48 AM
Everyone in the world is obsessed with their handheld phones.
I see it as the scourge of modern society.
It is turning us into a faceless society, devoid of manners,
common courtesy and the ability to spell and command
the English language. People are text messaging and
running people off the road. Pure evil as I see it.
I come to HSM to get away from all that and talk about
manual machine tools and fun projects.
It is a more simple place in this world.
I do not even care for CNC, although it is super neat,
I just don't care for it. Now if someone posts a CNC
subject, they would surely be ushered to the more
appropriate forum. And rightly so. So that is why
I object to this smartphone business being posted.
Worship your false god somewhere else.
Let us talk about Atlas lathes and HarborFreight lathes
and argue which is better. That is way more relaxing
than cell phones.
And I am happy, just grumpy. Can those happen at the same
time? I guess maybe. Sorry if I am a buzz kill. I will try to
stay on my medication.
--Doozer

Doozer, totally agree with you about the phones. The last few yrs. I have carried a plain vanilla phone tagged on to the wife's plan, and only that because I am pretty severely disabled. If it was not for that I probably would not even have one, don't use it much.

I you would care to search a little, it might surprise you how much CNC content there is here. It is neat, but I am just barely computer literate enough to function here. I am happy with my old manual machines.

I like this forum because of the fact that we can discuss or get an answer on about any subject. Some pretty intelligent folks hang out here. I guess it would be a pretty boring place if we all had the same likes and dislikes.
James