Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Can I Get a Map For That?"

"Can I Get A Map For That?"

Once you've decided which awesome phone works best for you, the next big question comes into play. Which carrier should you put your smartphone on?

All the companies have 4G networks, and "blazing fast speeds", but where will you get the best bang for your buck? Who has the best network? Or the best data plans? Or even the most affordable plans? Well lets do a little carrier analysis and let you decide for yourself.

Let's start off by taking a look at Verizon. I've often heard people say that Verizon is the absolute best network to be on if you want coverage pretty much anywhere you go. However I've also heard it's one of the most expensive. Before we look at any actual figures and statistics let me first say this. Verizon has recently made some huge and exciting changes this year in their plans. They no longer have individual or limited talk and text plans for smartphones which you can see below.

Unlimited Talk and Text-
Share Everything Plans $40 per smartphone and they have share GB tiers which are as follows..
1 GB- $50 a month         10 GB- $100 a month         20 GB- $150 a month
2 GB- $60 a month         12 GB- $110 a month         30 GB- $225 a month
4 GB- $70 a month         14 GB- $120 a month         40 GB- $300 a month
6 GB- $80 a month         16 GB- $130 a month         50 GB- $375 a month
8 GB- $90 a month         18 GB- $140 a month

So that's how Verizon's new plans measure up.  Pretty straightforward, I'd say. Let's take a look at how their coverage is.

As we can see, Verizon not only has great basic coverage but is also the leading carrier in LTE coverage as well.

Now let's dive into AT&T! 

AT&T also known as "the Big Blue" network, offers a wide variety of plans and add-ons. One major advantage that this company holds over it's competitors is a more globally-expanded network.

Individual Plans-
$39.99 450 Minutes
$59.99 900 Minutes
$69.99 Unlimited Minutes

$20.00 Add On Unlimited Text

Data Add Ons-
300 MB- $20
3 GB- $30
5 GB- $50

Family Plans-
$59.99 550 Minute Shared
$69.99 700 Minutes Shared
$89.99 1400 Minutes Shared
$109.99 2100 Minutes Shared
$119.99 Unlimited Minutes Shared

Text Add-on-(per account)
$30.00 Family Texting

Data Add-on-(per line)
$20.00- 300 MB
$30.00 3 GB
$50.00 5 GB

Family Share Plans- 
Unlimited Talk and Text
$40- 1 GB Shared Data- $45 per smartphone
$70- 4 GB Shared Data- $40 per smartphone
$90- 6 GB Shared Data- $35 per smartphone
$120- 10 GB Shared Data- $30 per smartphone
$160- 15 GB Shared Data- $30 per smartphone
$200- 20 GB Shared Data- $30 per smartphone

So now lets go ahead and see just how well AT&T's coverage matches up with our other carriers.

As you can see AT&T's basic coverage is pretty much the same as it's competitors, however the LTE coverage appears to be severely lacking. Overall however they match up pretty well with the other carriers.

Sprint also known as "the Now Network" is probably one of the most well known cellphone providers. One of their best features is their unlimited data. Since their creation the company has never placed a cap on data usage for a customer.

Single line plans-
$69.99 450 Any Mobile Any Time Plan ($10.00 up charge for smartphone data, but it is unlimited data!!)
$89.99 900 Any Mobile Any Time Plan ( $10.00 up charge for smartphone data)
$99.99 Simply Everything ( $10.00 up charge for smartphone data)

Family Plans
$110.00 Everything Data Share Plan 1500 with Any Mobile Any Time
   -2nd thru 5th line is $19.99
   -$10.00 smartphone data up charge for each smartphone on the plan.
$150.00 Everything Data Share Plan 3000 with Any Mobile Any Time
   -2nd thru 5th line is $19.99
   -$10.00 smartphone data for each smartphone on the plan.

Because Sprint has two different maps for basic coverage and data, I've included both below. The first is of their basic coverage areas.

Although T-Mobile is not typically thought of as a leading competitor, they have recently increased their business and customer base dramatically, and are quickly moving into the forefront of the cellphone industry. With their "bring your phone" program, you can connect your iPhone to T-mobile, at least until they officially release the iPhone on their network! 

Classic Plans- Individual
$49.99 Talk and Text 500
$59.99 Unlimited Talk and Text

Value Plans- Invidual
$39.99 Talk and Text 500
$49.99 Unlimited Talk and Text

Classic Plans- Family
$79.99 Talk and Text 1000
$99.99 Unlimited Talk and Text

Value Plans- Family
$59.99 Talk and Text 1000
$79.99 Unlimited Talk and Text

Data Add Ons:
2GB- $20
5GB- $35(includes smartphone mobile hotspot)
10GB- $65(also includes smartphone mobile hotspot)
2GB- $10
5GB- $25(includes smartphone mobile hotspot)
10GB- $55(also includes smartphone mobile hotspot)

T-mobile is in the process of partnering with MetroPCS so the map below reflects both companies as one. 

While it's clear T-mobile has no where near the coverage that others carriers have, they are a rapidly expanding company that is improving and developing daily.

"Where Does Your Coverage Lie?"
Well we've looked at several major wireless providers and seen how their plans and coverage compare with each other.  Whether it's in cost, coverage, or options, each carrier has it's own benefits and downfalls. As the customer it's up to you to decide which works best for you. Please remember this is just a brief rundown of each company. To make a fully educated decision you must still do your own research and use your best judgement.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

iPhone vs. Android: The Great Debate

iPhone Vs. Android- You Decide

Nowadays everyone seems to be buying the newest and latest technology. In fact often times it's hard to keep up with the fast pace of development, especially when it comes to the cellphone market. Today it's all about smartphones. Everyone seems to have one or want one. And let's face's almost imperative that you have some sort of cellphone in today's society. But which smartphone should you go with? Android? Or the infamous Iphone? Each company has their own special little features embedded in the software of the phones, but when it comes down to it, which operating system is actually better?  They both have sleek, clean features, and thousands of apps, but when purchasing a cellphone you need to know exactly which one suits you. So lets take a look at Android and Iphone and let you decide!

Android, Anyone?

Lets take a look at some features of the Android phones and see exactly why these phones are so popular.  One of the biggest and most popular features that draws consumers to this phone, is the ability to customize your screen and font. Unlike the Iphone, the Android allows the user to change it's interface without jail breaking or rooting the phone. In addition to customization, these phones literally come in nearly any size, color, or design that you want. Whether it's with a keyboard or without, green or black, touchscreen or standard, finding one that suits your personality is easy to do. Another great feature of the Android is availability and price. Since these phones are so popular and in such high demand, you can find them anywhere and on any network. And if money is a little tight its fairly easy to find one that can fit your budget. So your options are pretty much wide open. With so many seemingly wonderful characteristics of the Android, you may be asking yourself is there any reason not to get one. Unfortunately the phone does have it's faults. Many times, but not always, an Android device that has either too many applications running or too many text messages saved can run into major complications. This "information overload" can cause freezing and crashing which can quickly become frustrating to the user. In addition to this common issue, there are some flaws within the Android Market, now known as the Google Play Store. As an open source market anyone is capable of creating and uploading an app to the Android Market. Unfortunately some of these apps, if used, can either spam or place a virus onto the phone. Often times these issues can't be reversed except with a master reset and occasionally by replacing the phone all together. However, overall, Android has made some major improvements since its debut and has placed itself as a top contender in today's ever changing cellphone industry. Now let"s take a look at Apple....

How About A Bite Out Of Apple?

It seems as though everyone has the iPhone now. It's new, it's hip, it's got the look and brand name that many find appealing, but how does it compare when placed next to Android? Well for starters, the iPhone has a strong software platform that is constantly improving. Each time a new software change is available, a download is sent immediately to your phone allowing you to be up to date at all times. It's for this reason that the iPhone rarely has any type of software issues. If however something does go wrong with the phone, most problems can be fixed easily and quickly by the consumer through iTunes. Another advantage of the iPhone is it's application selections. Unlike the Android Market, the Apple app store has an approval process that any app has to go through before it is published.  While not all applications work great on the phones(usually due to developer issues), they are much more reliable than those on the Android Market. Very rarely will these apps ever cause issues like freezing or crashing on your device. One other advantage the  iPhone holds over Android, is it's user friendly set-up and navigation. While the Android often confuses the user with it's options and menus, the iPhone prompts the user along with helpful tips and easy, manageable menus.  Although it may seem as though the Apple holds a slight advantage over Android, it does have a few setbacks.  First and foremost are the options in the design of your phone. As we've already discussed, Android has pretty much any design, color, and style you could want in a phone. iPhones however are very limited in these areas. The phones only come in two colors, white or black, and they come in only one style. You cannot choose between touchscreen or standard, keyboard or no keyboard, and you cannot customize the interface unless you use a jailbreak. Keep in mind that jailbreaking an iPhone not only voids the warranty, but if done incorrectly can ruin the phone beyond repair. One last fault these phones bring to the table is cost. If you're not nearing an upgrade or starting a new account with a cellphone carrier, then you can expect to pay an arm and a leg for this phone.  Overall the iPhone is basically maintenance free because Apple does the legwork for you. As long as you somewhat keep track of how many gigabytes you're using in apps, pictures, and miscellaneous, the phone works nearly perfect. 

Here's where you decide-

So, now its decision time! We've looked at some advantages and disadvantages to both Android and Apple. Having been in the cellphone industry for a little over four years now, I have had ample experience with both Android devices and the iPhone. My personal opinion is that while Androids are generally reliable and have come a long way in development, Apple is not generally reliable. Apple is ALWAYS reliable. I've never had a problem with any iPhone I've ever had, and I would wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone and everyone. This of course is my own personal opinion, the decision is ultimately up to you.  What will you decide?

If you have time please take a minute to check out my other blog. Just click the link below! :)